Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's alive!

I decided to follow the engine builder's advice to just go ahead and start it up. It started almost immediately and within a few seconds the oil light went out. Nine months after beginning the teardown the Ghia is alive again. No leaks from the oil cooler (yes!), but there is a very slight leak from the oil strainer plate and another one where the right cylinder head meets cylinder #2.

Starting it up revealed a few more problems to be diagnosed. The generator warning light stays on, which means the charging system isn't working. The generator was tired when I took the Ghia off the road seven years ago, and sitting for that long hasn't done it any good. Also, on the video you can hear an intermittent harmonic whine in the background -- also the generator? I used the old big-screwdriver-as-stethoscope trick and was able to able to narrow the source of the sound down to either the generator or the fan housing. I then removed the belt to disable the generator and when I restarted the engine the sound was gone. A rebuilt 6-volt generator is already on the way. No driving until I have a working charging system -- I'm not interested in tempting fate.

Another annoying problem was that the fuel gauge wasn't registering anything. With a newly painted tank and a new sender a bad ground was the most likely cause, but I checked it out with a volt/ohm meter and the ground was good. I had no voltage at the sender though. I checked the ground and voltage at the gauge and everything was o.k. Can wires go bad just sitting there? It turned out to be a break in the wire inside the insulation near the sender connection. An easy fix, but it took a long time to track it down!

My original plan was to take the Ghia to today's Karmann Ghia Treffen in Ventura, but sadly it was not to be. I still need to give the brakes a once-over and check to be sure everything is roadworthy, but it looks like next weekend it'll be on the road, just in time for the VW Classic. Yeah!

Many thanks again to everyone who contributed parts, advice, help, and encouragement! Couldn't have done it without you.

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