Sunday, January 28, 2007

Solex 32 PHN-1 carburetor rebuild

I bought this carb NOS from Bill and Steve's about 15 years ago and ran it on my daily driver 1500 Ghia for five or six years. My current Ghia came with a faulty carb rigged with a manual choke (an unfortunate clue to the kind of life the car has had), so when I sold my first Ghia I transferred this newer carb to it. It has never been opened up in the time I've had it, until now. Years of daily use will take their toll on new parts:

My '62 Ghia would have originally been equipped with a Solex 32 PHN, but the early Type 3 sidedraft carbs were really problematic. They were prone to flat spots on acceleration and fuel starvation on turns, leading to many of the original carbs on these early cars being replaced over the years. The carb design went through multiple iterations until it reached the version I have here -- 32 PHN-1 [VW 1-3] -- sometime in December 1963. Though it's not technically "correct" for an April 1962 VW 1500 I'll gladly run it for its improved driveability.

I tore it down and cleaned everything thoroughly. There was some evidence that this probably wasn't really an NOS carb after all, but rather a factory rebuilt or "remanufactured" one.

Taking things apart is easy -- the trick is remembering how it all goes back together.

Rebuild kits for these carburetors are getting harder to find, but they're still out there. They come with all the needed gaskets and a new float needle valve and volume control screw. I tend to reuse the old needle valve and volume screw when rebuilding a carb if they're in good condition because the ones that come in the rebuild kits are no match for the quality of the factory originals.

Here it is reassembled. I replaced the later style electromagnetic cutoff jet that came with the carb with the earlier type, which was used through July 1963. It was time to install the carb, so I dug out VW178, the factory 13mm wrench for the job.

Without one of these or another offset wrench the lower mounting nut is almost impossible to reach.

Here's the carb installed, with the fuel lines routed and the air cleaner in place:

An overall shot. I broke one of the plug wire clips (far right below the coil) when installing the wires. If anyone has an early plug wire clip to spare please let me know! It's now complete and ready to put back in the car.


Charlie said...

drool drool drool

i want your engine!

amazing work pal.

Scott said...

Thanks Charlie. Almost finished with it.