April 12, 2003

Frayed Wires Vacuumed out the baking soda I had left covering the battery area as well as the other side of the rear seat. I noticed that there was a yellow with red stripe wire that had been taped off with electrical tape coming from the positive side of the battery connection. I looked it up in the Bentley manual wiring diagram and I believe it just went to the computer connection that VW used to check the engine and electrical system. It was probably used to check the condition of the battery. Looked like it would’ve connected to an older stock battery?

Anyway, I also found by the voltage regulator on the other side that several wires were frayed and uncovered. It looked like someone had tried to splice them together and didn’t do a very good job at it. I don’t think I have any leeway in cutting them down and resplicing them though because they’re in there pretty tight and it’s a hard place to get at. I’ll have to find out what each connection is for and then figure out if it’s causing the car not to start, or if it will provide problems later on. Could very well be a ground to something. Interestingly enough, this battery is shorter than the one I pulled out and has a positive terminal cap to prevent shorting out on the seat springs. The Interstate battery it replaced did not have a cover and was most likely tall enough to hit the seat springs. Wonder what kind of hell that could’ve caused?

After the battery was in, I replaced the points (heavily pitted) and condenser, set the point gap, lubed the distributor cam and popped the cap back on. Decided to see if the pitted points were stopping the engine from running. Turned on the ignition and nothing but the first “click” and the hum of something in back of me (fuel pressuring up?). Also, the oil and generator lights went on. Turned on radio. It worked. Horn worked too. Before I started suspecting a starter problem, I took the car out of park and put it into neutral, then tried again. Car turned over, but didn’t start. OK, so much for me taking the lazy way out. Changed the spark plugs and was VERY happy I had picked up one of those double-jointed elbow sockets on the way over because it made the job not only easier, but possible.

Plugs were covered in soot, but were not oily. Engine must have been running rich, but my previous thought that the compression might be bad might not have been entirely accurate as there was no sign of oil on the plugs. Of course, the one thing I was supposed to get on the way over — a compression tester — was the one thing I totally forgot about when I stopped at Pep Boys. I did pick up one of those lighted telescoping magnets though, which came in infinitely handy when trying to put the condenser hold-down screw in. Another weird thing — the new condenser goes in upside-down. Only way I could get it in, and the way the new bracket is attached it looks like it’s meant to be that way.

Lost the rubber gasket from inside my spark plug socket on #3 cylinder. Popped it off the plug but it’s now stuck under the engine tin. I couldn’t get to it with my fingers, but I’ll have to try again tomorrow when I go back to do some fuel injection troubleshooting. Didn’t put any anti-seize on the plug threads either, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. Aircooled.net says use milk of magnesia, but I had none available, so I put them in dry. Looks like the old ones were put in dry as well, so I’m not worried.

Tried to start the engine quickly again, and no dice. I know the type3 list talks about two clicks you should hear from the fuel injection system — one when you turn the key, then another one a second or two later. I don’t hear the second one. Will have to find out what the second one is for. Looked through the Muir book when I got home and found out it has a pretty decent troubleshooting section on getting the Type3 FI engine started. I guess I’ll start going over that from start to finish — going to set the valves, then check for spark & fuel & all the stuff it suggests. I am a bit worried that Muir says 100K is the top of the life expectancy of this engine, but hopefully when I do finally get a compression tester on it the results won’t be horrible.

Discovered the timing marks on the crank pulley are for 0, 5, 7.5 and 10 degrees BTDC. Static timing is set to 0 degrees, but the Bentley says timing should be set with a strobe, so I’ll do that after I get the engine running. Zero degrees should be good to start with I think. Also realized that the gas tank filler door does not open. Guess I’ll have to find a way around that. So I guess the goal right now is to get the engine started. Once it starts, I’ll get to replacing fuel lines and other stuff before it’s actually driven anywhere. I’m trying not to let anything else distract me too much.