My Automatic '72 VW Squareback

I was originally looking for either a Mk.III Jetta to replace my totaled one or get a Porsche 914 in good enough condition to use as a daily driver. On a lark I checked out the classifieds on The Samba. I saw this respectable looking Squareback with a rebuilt fuel injected engine, rebuilt automatic tranny, and sporting a gas heater. It was local so I gave the owner a call. It turned out to be a fellow who Martin and I had helped with the install of his engine a year prior. John said to come on by to check her out but there was a low battery so I probably wouldn't be able to test drive her. The rear seat release strap was missing so I had to drift the hinge pins out to get the front part of the seat up so jumper cables could be attached to the battery.

Well, it turned out that not only was the battery low on power but the cold-start wiring harness had previously MELTED and it destroyed the injector fitting along with the wiring...mis-wired from what I could see. Also, since the fuel line was also melted the fuel system was pumping fuel into the engine bay -- YIPES! So no test drive that day. John said he'd work on it.

The next weekend I stopped at John's place to see how things were progressing. He had the offending injector harness removed and plugged off the fuel line. Car wouldn't start. I was able to remove the rear seat so we could get better access to the battery and other electrical stuff. I feared the brain was bad so we swapped in an extra unit John had. Just to make sure, we squirted starting fluid into the intake and cranked. There were firing noises! We swapped the original brain back in and cranked and, again, firing noises...but the engine still wasn't turning over on its own. I finally figured out that the fuel pump wasn't turning on for it's one second when the ignition switch was in the ON position. Under the car I wiggled the wiring and the pump worked. After cranking and no firing I got under the car and wiggled it again but to no avail. I ended up running a jumper wire from the fuel pump to the relay under the back seat. After a couple of ON/OFFs of the ignition switch to build some fuel pressure, we started the car and she fired right up and was idling -- WOO HOO! We cleaned things up and I took her for a test drive. She drove fairly well so John and I exchanged papers ($$$ & sales reciept) and I am now the proud owner of a stock fuel injected engine (yeay) with an AUTOMATIC tranny (this is a new world for me :-)

Here are pictures of her at her new home. John was sad to see her go but he knows she's in a good home. I'm now the fourth owner and the car is originally from Canada, thus the gas heater. The gas heater doesn't work (but the complete stock system does) at this time but its condition looks fine so I just need get my hands dirty on it and get it working. The sunroof works as do all the locks. The automatic is going to need some attention because it's not shifting as good as it should be -- I'm suspecting too much tranny fluid but the Bentley shop manual will be helping me out. It's also going to need the kick-down switch wired up and all the forward fuel lines replaced. There are several places where the rust is going to need attention but overall she's a nice driver and I'm quite pleased!
Gapped the points, set timing and idle speed, unplugged the kick-down wire from the coil (directly attached, no wonder it shifted so bad!) and drained at least 1/2 qt. of ATF to bring the level down to the top mark. Car runs GREAT now! I have acceleration and smoother shifting. Installed the original metal flex tubing on the driver side that runs between the body and heat exchanger, then insulated it. Replaced all of the front FI fuel lines and removed the original fuel damper (dampener?). Replaced the fuel filter. Adjusted the front hood so it closes more tightly.
16Feb2005 - odometer: 4412
After much trouble-shooting I found out why the fuel pump and AAR (aux. air regulator) were not working: The grounding wire from the FI brain to the fuel pump relay was unplugged! Plugged it to the proper connector and both units are working. Reset the idle after the engine warmed up and moved the timing down. Later I'll reset it properly at the shop using a timing light. New left brake/running light bulb and front right running light bulbs. Put on my old European rear tail light lenses so I now have amber turn signals (as all cars should be IMO). Removed the very annoying 'door open' buzzer (simple relay) and lubed all the key locks with spray graphite, including ignition switch.
17Feb2005 - odometer: 4423
Properly timed car and set idle. Running pretty good now. Not the 'umph!' I am used to but I can pull into traffic without causing everyone to slam on the their brakes :-) Drove around with the sunroof open and the heat on as it was clear out -- quite nice. Installed a push-spring on the automatic throttle linkage.
19Feb2005 - odometer: 4427
Since oil was leaking past the breather body and mount I took the whole assembly apart and cleaned everything (including the PCV valve), made new gaskets, and properly tightened everything down. Replaced the breather-to-intake hose. Replaced the #1 spark plug wire as the original was torn in several places. Finally got around to adjusting the valves...whoo-boy did they need it, quite tight all around! Idle then became rather low so I adjusted it once again and guestimated timing. I'll need to go into the DDB shop once again to set the timing. At least this time it should be the last. Let Antonette drive to and from the store so she could get some experience driving it. She commented that it was smoother than some modern cars she's been in :-) Vacuumed interior. Cleaned and lubed the side view mirror mounts. Installed clip-on wide angle rear view mirror. Installed a new pull handle for the rear seat release then mounted back seat properly back into car.
20Feb2005 - odometer: 4446
Adjusted timing and idle once again...but this time was the last! Car drives very nicely, now. Cleaned all of the windows and replaced wiper blades with 16" units. Adjusted wiper arms for more windscreen sweep. Took apart both window regulators/winding mechanisims and cleaned/lubed them. Windows now roll up and down with ease!
25Feb2005 - odometer: 4523
Finally checked engine against VW 1218 fuel injection tester. Failed step #14, wire from terminal 50 (starter motor) to wire #18 in FI harness. Visual inspection shows it's missing. Replaced/installed lower sheet metal bolts to keep cooling tin from ratteling against the engine and heat exchangers. Lower #3 exhaust nut backed all the way off so I tightened it and all of the others...a couple needed it. Then I noticed that the engine's rear, lower, fan housing to engine tin is missing. The cooling flap on the right side is up and I couldn't see the left side...I'm hoping it's there in the up position. Left head is an early one because the FI temp sensor boss is not there and -- get this -- the temp sensor is in the valve cover vent boss! So it looks like I'll need to drop the engine and get the proper head and install the stock cooling system and tin. I have to go now and put ice on my forehead cuz I've been banging it against the wall after this inspection, the mechanic who built this engine obviously didn't care or doesn't know anything about the Type 3 engine.
27Feb2005 - odometer: 4570
Inspected front beam. Right upper torsion bar retainer was LOOSE! Judging by the looks of the locking tab the front was never touched. Tightened everything up according to the Bentley manual. Now she doesn't wander nearly as much nor shake when hitting a bump. Will still need a front alignment and the rear KYB shocks have GOT to go. Tried adjusting the rear alignment of the sun roof but it turns out one of the screws is broken and the other is bent :-( Those will need replacing and the broken one will require removing more parts from the sun roof. Removed the rotting seal from around the sun roof opening. Completed passenger side bracket for early '80s Bus retractable seat belt install. Won't install until driver side bracket is made because current stock attachment point on the shift tunnel is one piece, not individual attachment points like later vehicles and the retractable belts I have almost ready to install.
28Feb2005 - odometer: 4574
Lubed rear sun roof lift assemblies and replaced both adjusting screws. Rear of sun roof lifts higher now. Looks like plastic(?) runners on rear slides need replacing.
02Mar2005 - odometer: 4574
Finished the left side bracket and installed my "new" retractable seat belts. It may seem minor, particularly to those who are used to the non-retracting style, but since I've only had cars with self-retracting belts this is such a nice touch. Makes it super easy, of course, for anyone to hop in either side of the car and be safely secured! Besides, the right side had been neglected so it was VERY difficult to adjust it and only the driver side had the spring-loaded lap adjuster. My girlfriend feels more secure plus I can now easily reach the glove box or the passenger side door pocket or the automatic shift selector. Yeah!
06Mar2005 - odometer: 4716
Wires from terminals #50 & #30 on starter to the test network were miswired and quite likely the cause of melting the cold start system. I fixed that screw up and wired in the cold start valve to #50 so now at temps below 50°F the cold start injector will squirt fuel into the intake plenum when the starter is energized. Identified and labeled the three wires under rear seat as part of the test network for the battery. There's no need to connect them so they are safely tucked aside.
08Mar2005 - odometer: 4770
Removed the FI and tin from the right side to install engine cooling thermostat & bracket, vertical actuating rod, pivot assembly and spring. Removed the the fan housing to install the engine tin that fits under the fan housing exit. The right side piece was bolted in on the LEFT side! When I unbolted it, it dropped right to the ground. The front part of the fan housing is broken, likely due to over-zealous use of the fan puller (studs punctured forward fan housing). Had to rethread the left fan housing mount and install a bolt since there was none. In order to do all of this I had to cut the lower exhaust-to-exchanger pipe in half -- the muffler wasn't clamped to the exchanger, it was welded! More carelesness employed to 'fix' things. Everything is set up correctly and missing bolts put back. Next is to weld flanges on the lower muffler pipes and heat exchanger so next time it'll be easier to remove.
11Mar2005 - odometer: 4770
Welded up muffler and upper heat exchangers. Included lower flange mounts, mending cracks and securing muffler/exchanger tin.
12Mar2005 - odometer: 4770
Attached muffler. Used M8x1.25 nuts for all rear exhaust mounts. This will make removal next time a little more easier, particularly for the #2 lower exhaust nut! Used flexible hose to replace failed rubber joint from fan housing to upper heat exchanger elbow. Attached my tow hitch. Need a ball for it, though.
18Mar2005 - odometer: 4770
Took the air cooling bellows from my baby and put it on The Canadian. Put a vertical mark with a white China marker on the end of the cooling flaps rod. Drove to the DDB shop and checked the white mark -- it was almost horizontal! Looked at the thermostat bellow and it was fully extended. Yeay, the engine cooling system was working (I'm so proud of myself). I plugged the 28mm pipes that run from the elbows to the warm air mixers so I'm not losing cooling air. I need to find some 28mm hose to properly fill the gap so the engine & heating system will be back to stock specs but for now she's road-worthy enough to travel the 300 miles to visit Brian Fye and help him fix his T3's for the move to their new house.
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