Month: November 2015

On oil temperature

Well, since the Beetle is back in service, I decided to waste no time on getting back to work on the bus. And, as this is valuable Fallout 4 time on my day off, I took it seriously.

I had purchased an oil temp sender and oil temp gauge for the bus. Since I like the one I got for the beetle very much, I just re-ordered the same sender/gauge set again. Unfortunately, I ran into a snag. You see, the beetle oil temp sender I bought is M18x1.5, which is the size of the Oil Pressure Relief Valve bolt hole (on the picture below, it’s the gigantic flathead bolt right in the middle). On the beetle, the sender replaces the bolt, and reads oil temperature coming off of the pump. On the Type 4 engine that the bus has, however, the pressure relief hole is M22x1.5.

I had already purchased the sender, and started thinking of where I could mount it. I came to the conclusion that the oil sump is a good place for an oil temp probe, as it gives you a hybrid oil bath/case temperature, which is good enough for my purposes. Since no bolts on the bus are M18, I decided to purchase a weld-on bung to weld into the inspection plate cover (one of two plates on the bottom of the engine: one is the strainer plate familiar to anybody who has ever had an ACVW, and the other is a round inspection plate that resides on the sump right where the oil filler goes). In the following image, the plate I’m using is the black one to the far right. The engine pictured has an aftermarket deep sump, but that’s not what I’m talking about:


O2 sensors are also M18x1.5 in many applications, and weld-on O2 sensor bungs are a dime a dozen, so I purchased one. Total cost: $4.

First step, remove the inspection plate:




That’s probably not good.



No idea what it is


Now, I have driven the bus for the past few weeks without issue (even average 10PSI oil pressure when hot and idling, even!), so I’m not too concerned. Of course, there is a requisite level of concern a person is legally required to have when they discover a large chunk of metal in their oil pan, and I will admit that my current level of concern is measurably higher than that minimum. For now, I’m just stuck wondering what it is (was). Regardless, I pressed on.

I used a pilot bit, and then a large Milwaukee step bit, to drill the hole in the plate out to the proper size. Following the drilling and many test fits, I proceeded to “weld” the bung into place.

Why is “weld” in quotation marks? Well, I’ll let the pictures explain:




It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I am not a good welder. Hell, I’m not a welder by any means. But by hook or by crook these two pieces of metal are now attached to each other, and I can’t really see or detect any leaks. The oil temp sender fits in there snugly, and I will be sealing it off with some Aviation Form-A-Gasket. The silicon O-ring that goes around the inspection plate was clearly damaged on installation by whoever used it last, and there has always been a slow seep there. I’ll also use form-a-gasket to help seal that up until I can get a new O-ring ordered.

On emissions



FYI for those that may be thinking of getting a CO meter or something, it does help. However, CO meters have very narrow temperature and humidity ranges they read accurately in, so if you just stick a meter in the exhaust pipe you will get incorrect readings, and ruin the catalyst in the meter head, destroying $200 (mine was a lucky ebay find, but is an older model).

You either need to set up tubing, like dryer tubing, that is long enough to cool the exhaust, or take samples in a bulb and let that cool and any humidity precipitate out and then test with that. Or, you can do what I did, and set up in a low/no wind area, and place the meter a set distance away from the exhaust that stayed consistent, but was also readable. And remember, the emissions station reads percentage, and the meter reads PPM. So, the readings aren’t exactly translatable between devices, but it does give you a reference point at a set distance (/length of pipe) to dance around.

Overall if I had the money I’d pony up for one of those expensive combustible gas meters (that measures things like O2, HC, CO2, NO, etc), but cost vs results led me to pick up the CO head.

And now I have a pretty bangin’ CO meter for around the house, too.

“El Jebus” post=”453072545″ wrote:

Awesome! What do you think was the silver bullet in order to pass idle? Just adjusting?

I rejetted the idle circuit, from a 55 to a 50. In addition, I was extremely careful in setting the initial throttle plate opening amount, by the book. Those probably are what got my HC to just squeak under the limit (and last year, on the old 30 PICT 3 carb the car came with that I subsequently sold, idle circuit was at 388/400, so I have a feeling this is always going to be a bugbear). Having the CO meter to watch while turning screws back and forth certainly helps, too.

I also temporarily lost my air cleaner while doing the emissions test, as usual. Whoops.

As I was leaving the facility, fist-pumping and whooping, a blue Super Beetle passed me the other way, being driven by a woman. She stopped halfway through her turn, and yelled “PASSED?” I yelled back “YEAH, ONLY TOOK ME NINE TRIES” and she laughed and continued into the lot. I have a feeling emissions tests are always a bit of a nail-biter for certain car owners.

(on) carburetion

There are two screws, a large “bypass” screw and the smaller “volume” screw. Here’s what I gather after dredging up a hundred or so posts about the subject on different sites and in different service manual PDFs:

On old (pre-PICT-34) carbs, where the larger (bypass) screw is on the bottom and the small (volume) screw is on the top, the bypass screw controls total air to the idle system, and the volume screw controls fuel. These carbs coincidentally oftentimes don’t have an idle shutoff solenoid, or the shutoff solenoid was located on the right side of the carbs, integrated with the pilot jet, alongside the choke. On these, screwing in the volume screw will lean it out.

On newer (34-PICT and onwards, including 30/31 PICT modern replacements, like the 30/31 PICT-3 I bought a few days ago), the large bypass screw is on top, and the small volume screw is on the bottom. Allegedly, according to, rob and dave’s VW pages, and a simple majority of TheSamba posts, on these the volume screw now controls idle air, and screwing in the volume screw makes it richer, as you’re controlling air. On these carbs, they have an idle shutoff solenoid located on the left side of the carb, right next to the idle adjustment screws.

From what I can gather, in the second scenario, the pilot jet controls total fuel available and therefore must be chosen carefully, as you cannot push less fuel than it provides, but you can adjust more air into the idle circuit via the volume screw. In the first scenario, (allegedly) you could oversize the idle pilot jet and adjust it down with the (confusingly-having-the-exact-same-name) volume screw, which was helpful as the idle solenoid being integrated with the pilot jet meant rejetting cost quite a bit more.

Added to all of this terrible confusion, we have the fact that there is a current split in the VW-ownership-matrix re: the gigantic number of original, pre-71 cars, and the absolutely mindboggling amount of data about those cars that is stored in difficult-to-access “offline-only” sources, like certain books, and greybeard word of mouth. Converse to that, you have the ACVW “resurgence” of the past 10 years or so, and the huge aftermarket that has grown in size around those enthusiasts. The new enthusiasts tend to be younger and more apt to share info “online” about their cars. Since that online information coincides with the new aftermarket that does weird things like create the mentioned “30/31 PICT” carburetors (named because they replace both 30 and 31 PICT carbs in a sort of hybrid arrangement where the manufacturers picked the best of both worlds) and their weird idiosyncracies (like the reversed bypass/volume arrangement) means doing a google search for information produces opposite and conflicting results.

These carbs are, I think, a perfect example.

Here’s the original, German 30-PICT-3. Notice there is no solenoid on this side of the carb, and in these, I’m 99% sure the small screw adjusts fuel:

Here’s the 34-PICT-3 I was running. Notice it has the solenoid, and the screws are backwards, and therefore theoretically the small screw adjusts air, not fuel:

And here’s the Chinese 30/31 PICT-3, that has the solenoid located the same as the 34 (different than the OG 30), and has the 34-style screw arrangement. Strangely, though, all of the parts from this fit on the OG 30-PICT-3, and is what I used to rebuild the one posted earlier.

The Chinese 30/31 PICT-3 is a hybrid that takes from both generations. Unfortunately, decades and decades of knowledge were built up upon the original 24/28/30-style carburetors, which is the absolute reverse of nearly all aftermarket parts, like the 30/31 replacement carbs. I have found enough posts stating that the later carbs are “assbackwards from every other carb on the planet” in that respect, though, so I’m pretty confident I’m on the right track. That being said:

Those who know ACVWs can chime in here, because I could be deluded in my search and be wrong about all of this on all fronts. No sarcasm: it has happened before.

On Other Cars (deux)

Today I got woken up early by a dying tamogatchi, so I went out and installed the CB (“filstar”) valve covers, as well as the replacement reverse light switch on the transmission.




Drove to work but don’t know if they worked because it rained so the entire bus is wet, can’t tell if there are new oil spots.



Earlier today:


Hello darkness my old friend.

“You Am I” post=”452802149″ wrote:

What are we supposed to notice in that blurry small photo?

“IOwnCalculus” post=”452802716″ wrote:

ADEQ emissions station, the bane of that orange Beetle’s existence.

“Fart Pipe” post=”452802730″ wrote:

Trying to get that Beetle to pass emissions.


Two hours later:

Welp, fuck my life



Failed again, and again. And now I’m out of money until Friday so I’m going to take these three boys and build the best carburetor I can from the rubble.

Two hours ago:



I am a God Damned Wizard



So I now have a (hopefully) working 30 PICT 3, created from Fart Pipe’s 30-PICT-3 body he sent me, and the rest of the parts from the 30/31 PICT 3 I ordered in from China that failed in the earlier picture. I know it got close, but that was after two tries, with adjustments to the best I could do. All of the threads on it were graunchy, and nothing fit right. Using it with the genuine German body is the best bet.

I also took the spare jet that came in Fart Pipe’s carb, a 122, and put it in the eariler 34-PICT-3, the one I’ve been running with the past year, and also the one that failed the first seven tests (tests eight and nine were with the new Chinese one). I had the 34-PICT-3 tuned well enough that it was only failing the loaded hydrocarbon test (it’s final test was the one mentioned in the “PREVIOUS RESULTS” line on the photo of the test receipt above), and maybe the smaller main, to 122 from 125, may fix things?

I’m 50/50 running with this rebuilt 30, or running with the modified 34, for the next (and hopefully final) test.

On poly foam

The foam engine compartment seal, being OG and brittle, was a casualty of the engine pull I did a few weeks ago. I thought everything would be fine if I ran with the hood popped a little for short-term driving, but after this thought I had the issue with my beetle’s emissions test, so the bus was put into daily driver service. 18+ miles each way to work, 4 days a week, is a little too much driving to be doing without the compartment seal, as a large portion of the hot air gets pulled back up into the compartment.

I looked online at prices for a replacement seal, and…


well fuck that.

In the spirit of, well, my spirit to do things cheaply, I decided to take a cheaper route.


Since it’s so cheap, I bought two, in case I fucked one up.


(gloves because touching foam gives me the skeevies real bad)

I used my YiHUA $15 soldering station with a flat cutting-style blade to melt the foam apart. Finally a use for that bigass iron tip.

It’s nasty, but I’ll just put this side on the bottom.

All cut up (blurry)




Note to future readers (there aren’t any future readers): this takes 1.5 packages to get the total length, so buy two packages. Then you also have an extra piece for fuckups, or to patch holes in other parts of the tins.

On daily drivers

I’m sick and fucking tired of the oil leaks. I got it, after changing gasket after gasket, to a slow seep that makes things smell like hot oil and puts a very fine mist on the rear of the bus. As the beetle is currently out of commission for registration (failed emissions), and I have to drive the bus constantly, this is unacceptable. So, I bought some things to fix it:

Some bolt-on valve covers:


that use these style of gasket:


There are generally cheaper EMPI brand bolt on valve covers, but both TheSamba and Porche 914 412 forums (both use the type IV VW engine) state that the EMPI ones are hit or miss, and the CB Performance ones are the way to go. Much more forgiving on gasket mating as well as being thicker and supposedly reducing the “tinny” tap-dance sound of the pushrod tappets.

Now, CB Performance has these covers on sale for $75, which is a steal, as even the EMPI ones go for more than $100 on Amazon and similar sites. Since CB Performance, like a lot of VW parts supply warehouses, runs things kind of ‘old school,’ things like free shipping are out of the question. They charge an actual (and honest, I’ll admit) base shipping fee, and adding small parts only increases the fee by like $0.75. Since shipping on the valve covers was like $15 (still less total than an EMPI set), I threw in these two things:

An oil temperature gauge:


And the temperature sender:


These are the same parts that I put in my beetle, and I’m super happy with them. The sender goes in the oil return galley plug, so it gets fresh oil from the cooler, and I believe gives a fairly accurate reading on the oil temp that the engine is seeing, as that’s the oil that is going to the pump that will go to the valves/cams/crank. That, combined with my oil pressure gauge, gives me a fairly accurate readout of engine health without having to resort to head temp gauges (nice, but really expensive) or a tachometer (not necessary, but also kind of nice to have). And oil temperature gauges are fairly cheap; both cost less than $35 put together, and added less than a dollar to the shipping/handling charge.

I’m still working on a solution for the beetle, as I’ve discovered through old email order searching that the carburetor I put on there is a 34 PICT/3, and the one I took off was either a 28 or 30/31 PICT/3. The much larger carburetor may be the reason I’m failing emissions on Hydrocarbons, as it’s just running rich. Now, the plugs looked fine, but a large carburetor is a large carburetor, and they probably only looked fine at the time I did the pull and change (the same day I was trying to run through emissions) because I was also running 40% denatured alcohol. In my defense, I had just gotten the bug, and had no clue that a 34 was too large for the stock 1600DP engine.


Still waiting on the valve covers and carburetor stuff, but on the drive home on Halloween the beetle’s brakes finally gave up. I’ve had a slow leak from the master cylinder for forever, but I totally forgot about it during the deployment, and didn’t check the level at all during the past 4 months I’ve been driving it. The master cylinder finally ran partially empty, and I only had rear brakes for the final mile home.

Well, after playing maybe 4 hours solid of Fallout 4, I felt like a shitbag and that I needed to go outside. The beetle was just sitting there, and I have had the parts on hand for nearly a year now, so I guess it was time to crack on.

Here is the new master cylinder. Note that I got excited and set it up wrong.

I pulled out the old master. Look at the way it just lays there, looking all innocent ‘n shit.

Mmmm, all of that mastic the PO put on there to cover up a big rust spot looks just sublime

Now, I never really wondered why the carpet was always wet. I just refused to look :colbert:

Seven Two brothers, set years apart:

I upgraded the fluid catch reservoir on my vacuum pump. This is an old 3L suction canister from one of our ambulances. We threw all of these away in favor of disposable ones (you’d put a bag inside these then just throw the bag away). It holds an entire bleeding session’s worth of brake fluid. Why let a good plexi can go to waste? Even has a built-in gauge.

Blurry-ass photo of the setup:

Old fluid:


Well, haven’t driven it yet*, but the pedal feels rock-solid so far. A lot shorter travel than before, which is also good. And before you VW gurus chime in: yes, I was sure to leave a little play in the acuating rod at the upper end of the travel (drum brakes build pressure between actuations, and without free play they never fully depressurize and will eventually lock up while driving).