After returning home from a drive one day and having the problem occur again, I decided to start eye-balling everything around the starter - hoping to see something obvious. I crawled underneath, and started feeling and looking around. Of course the exhaust pipes were hot, but I also realized that the rear J tube was only about 3" away from the starter solenoid. I touched the solenoid, and felt that it was extremely hot. Hmm. I let it cool for about an hour, then checked it again. The solenoid was still extremely hot - too hot to touch for more than a millisecond. So, I figured the exhaust pipe had been transferring an incredible amount of heat to it. The only good way to diagnose that was to switch out the solenoid. I chose to switch out the starter also, since at this point, I wasn't entirely sure it wasn't the culprit. So, I got a new complete unit and installed it. (I also installed a new - correct sized starter shaft busing.) Before running the motor, I wrapped the J tube with exhaust tape and fabricated a heat shield that fits between the exhaust and the starter. The new starter/solenoid cranked the motor over at least twice and fast as the old, and then did the same when hot. And after driving for a while, I crawled back underneath to find the solenoid and starter were both barely luke warm to the touch. Problem solved.  So, I'm guessing the heat from the exhaust basically cooked and was slowly destroying the solenoid - causing the "hot start" issue.

So, it's been about 10 months since I finished the restoration... I've been driving the car all summer and fall.  If you've visited this site before, you may remember that I installed an oil temperature gauge along with a tachometer.  It gets awfully hot here during the summer time - like up to 115F - so the old air cooled engine is constantly fighting to beat the heat.  My gauge would read 240F after about 30-40 minutes of driving time - whether the air temp was 80F or 115F.  They say the proper temp range should be between 180 and 210-220... Then I talked to a VW mechanic friend of mine, and he reported that 240F, although definitely on the hot side, is not uncommon in the high temperature states.  Well......... it's been in the back of my mind since summer.  So, just like every other aspect of this restoration, I did some research on the issue.  But research aside, my personal experience told me that this motor was just running too hot. Period. It ran great, but it ran hot.  I had all the tin in place, I had a doghouse-style oil cooler, the engine compartment seal was brand new and in place, the timing was correct, the valves were adjusted, the carbs were synched, the fan was not obstructed, etc..  But, there were two things I wasn't sure about:  I wasn't 100% sure about the air/fuel mixture on the carbs, but I was fairly sure it was in the ballpark.  Also, the oil cooler was used, and although I blew it out before installing it, I thought it could now be clogged. Anyway, I was not content with the mystery and was determined, one way or another, to get the oil temp down below 210. 

Well, getting to the point - the previous owner had installed an alternator on the old stock motor when it was converted to 12 volts.  So, I counted on using that alternator with my new motor for this restoration.  The problem was.... the alternator was running on the old motor with a 29mm cooling fan inside a stock-sized fan shroud (although I didn't know this for sure until I took it apart to check).  I didn't have the knowledge in this area to know any better.  So, without checking the fan, I installed that alternator with the 29mm fan on my newly rebuilt 1776 with a wider, aftermarket doghouse-style fan shroud. The shroud was meant for a 35mm fan, not a 29mm.  I finally decided to take it apart and check.... sure enough, it was a 29mm.  So, the 29mm was not pushing the air around very efficiently because of the width difference, and not cooling the motor like it should.   I ordered a new oil cooler and 35mm welded fan, and just the other day I installed them both.  (not a very fun job - hint, use an impact wrench to get the 36mm fan nut off) 

I drove it for about 40 minutes in approx. 70F air-temp.  The oil temp never exceeded 190-200F.  After stopping, I opened the deck lid to find an overall cooler motor.  Places that were too hot to touch before were now just warm. Plus, it just didn't smell as hot.  I am curious to see what it will run at at air temperatures over 100F, but I have a feeling it'll be around 210-220.  Problem solved, I say.  Makes sense - wider fan, better cooling.

The Engine

I've got my old motor (1776) up on the mount - ready to tear into it.  It sure was a good runner - loaded with premium parts.  It's low mileage, but has been sitting around for a long time. I'm going to see about rebuilding it... I built my work bench to accommodate this motor stand. I built a "notched" section there in the bench, and beefed up the area to support the weight of a long block. This is the type of mount where the motor can spin 360 degrees - really nice for working. If I was starting from scratch, I wouldn't build a motor like this for this car. However, I already have this nice one, and the carbs to go with it. It will save me money and time, and I can always switch it out later for an original-type if I change my mind.

I've got my dual Weber 40mm downdrafts rebuilt and ready to go (except for a good cleaning). I'm using Dellorto polished manilfolds, Dellorto Air Cleaners, and Dellorto polished hex-style linkage with the Webers. Yes, there are 3 in the picture. The third one has always been for parts.

I temporarily mounted the Webers so I could get everything adjusted as much as possible before putting it in the car. It's always a small trick getting the linkage dialed in and adjusted properly. The motor is now at a local shop getting overhauled. I would do it myself, but I want it to actually run...

Should be done in a few days they said.

I've been working on the motor installation off and on for the past week or so...It's going OK, but could be going more smoothly. I've run into a number of little snags here and there. Frustrating stuff. The latest one is ---> the linkage arm that goes to the right carb actually broke. So......I have the part on order, and won't be able to fire the motor until it arrives. Anyway, other than that, it's pretty much ready to go. I will have more detailed information about the whole job after it's done.

Fast forward to the Present! 4/1/17:   The images below are what the motor looks like today. I have recently downsized from the dual Webers to a single PICT 34. Why, you ask? Because this isn't a race car, I no longer have to deal with synchronizing everything (linkage, air, fuel), I wanted a simpler setup, and a cleaner look. That's why. :) See more about the new carburetor and engine on the BOCAR 34 PICT 3 page. 

So far so good, on the engine installation. That's the old 1776cc overhauled/rebuilt. It took me longer to get the engine compartment seals installed than it did to install the engine itself. I'm also using my old merged exhaust system (no heater). I got some high-heat paint, cleaned it up, and sprayed it flat black - looks almost new in the picture.  So, I've got some of the tin installed and the exhaust. The carbs are just sitting there waiting their turn. Shouldn't take too much longer to finish everything up - I just need some more time in the garage. 

I've got the motor running smoothly now, but I have been somewhat concerned about the heat that was being transferred from the header pipes to the rear apron with my fresh expensive paint on it. After doing some research, I found some products out that were made specifically for this situation. A company called Thermo-Tec makes all kinds of cool stuff. I bought my stuff online at I wrapped the pipes in the trouble spots, and got an insulating "mat" that I stuck to the under side of the apron. I ran the motor and drove the car a little bit, and it actually worked. The apron was not hot at all.  I know this is not normally a problem with the stock motors and the stock exhaust systems, but when you start upgrading them using aftermarket, high-performance parts, each car is a little different and all bets are off. Of course, none of this is visible at all unless you stick your head under there.

After I got the car on the road I started having this extremely annoying problem with it not starting when hot... that is, I'd drive it for a little while, turn it off, then it would not crank over again. I diagnosed the problem the best I could, and honestly, there aren't a whole lot of things that it could be. I checked the battery. The battery was good. I checked the wiring and the battery cables. All of it was brand new, hooked up correctly, not corroded, and good. It's possible to have an ignition switch issue, but it worked fine when cold. The problem ONLY occurred when it was hot, so I figured the switch was OK. That pretty much leaves the starter motor and the starter solenoid... Well, I had installed a new starter and solenoid when I put the car back together, so I was a little confused about that. The starter/solenoid I installed was new, however it HAD been sitting around in a box for 13 years. I had gotten a new one 13 years ago for my '65 sedan, and then never used it. I suppose it is possible to have dust settle in the coils, but besides that I don't know what could go wrong with it sitting around in a box. So, I ruled it's age out as a possible cause. 

Today I installed the new linkage arm, and adjusted both sides. I also got the oil filter mounted - tucked up underneath the left rear fender. I didn't like the way the muffler was hanging... It was resting directly on the bottom of the apron and right rear fender, so I made a bracket for it out of a steel bar I had. It is now fixed nicely below the apron and fender - about 1/4inch. Having a welder in the garage is so nice!

So, I ran up to the gas station, and brought back a few gallons of fresh gas (at $2.22 per gallon!!). I probably put about 3 or 4 gallons in the car, and promptly started searching for leaks... none. OK. I took the coil wire off the center of the distributor cap so it wouldn't try to fire yet, and cranked it over. It cranked over nicely (I installed a new starter, too). However, it took a LONG TIME for the gas to reach the carburetors... there must be a better technique than letting the motor/fuel pump do it. By the time gas actually arrived, the battery was too weak to turn the motor over. Rats. So, I put the charger on it while I ate dinner. After a second helping, I headed back out to the garage. I reconnected the coil wire, cranked it over, and it fired right up. The garage already smelled like gas (spilled some), but I pulled it out so it wouldn't smell like exhaust, too.

I've learned that the better way to do that is to fill the carburetor bowls with gas, then start the motor. The motor will turn around 900rpm at idle. In comparison, the starter only turns the motor around 120rpm? or so. So, having the motor running will draw the gas back to the carbs MANY times faster.

The pictures above are: #1 - I had to take the left rear wheel off to mount the filter. #2 - Filter mounted. #3 - The rebuilt speedo shows ZERO miles, the alternator light and oil lights are working, and the fuel gauge is also working. #4 and #5 - I drove the car up and down our street twice, then parked it, and left it running. It ran well and idled well. Big sigh of relief! I was really pleased that I hadn't screwed something up... But, it's not perfect yet... I've either got a wire hooked up incorrectly, or the ignition switch is bad because turning off the key doesn't kill the power. So, I've got that problem to diagnose tomorrow. 

Some details about the motor - 1776cc: 

   69mm counterweighted 8 dowelled crankshaft.
   90.5mm pistons
   041 heads
   swivel feet on the rockers (valves set to a snug .006")
   Engle 120 camshaft
   Bosch 009 distributor  
   Bosch blue coil
   dual valve springs
   lightened flywheel
   heavy duty pressure plate and clutch, both NEW
   external oil filter (Fram PH8A)
   dual Weber 40mm IDF downdrafts  single BOCAR PICT 34 3
   merged exhaust Vintage Speed exhaust system w/heat risers

I finally figured out the ignition/electrical problem I was having...The red and green lights in the speedo would come on the instant the battery was attached, and the motor would continue to run with the key turned off. Long story short:  The new fuse box I installed is an after market unit, and terminals #1 and #2 were bussed together.  They shouldn't be - at least not on my year.  I had to literally cut the link between them, solder a new post onto #1, and re-attach the wires from the rear of #2 to #1. That did it. Thanks to Wolfsburg West for helping me diagnose that one! 

I'm also currently trying to get the !@$%&* carbs adjusted...  it's running too rich. When I get it figured out, I'll post some of the info I learned about synchronizing and adjusting dual Webers.

A person doesn't absolutely need an oil temperature gauge...there are other ways to determine if your motor is running too hot (John Muir says the oil temp should stay between 180F and 220F). However, I really think it is a good idea. Especially, if you've put a good amount of time and money into your project. It is just a small bit of insurance that may save a great deal of heart ache.

I chose the VDO cockpit royale series gauge because I thought it looked nice, and it wasn't super big - 2 1/16". For the time being, I am using a VDO dipstick-type sender unit. It replaces the original dip stick, with two electrical posts sticking out of the top. It seems to work OK, but I am not overly impressed with it for a few reasons... It is too long and kind of flimsy. It was too expensive. Also, mine had the ground and power posts mis-labled, too! That had me scratching my head for a good while.

I made a little bracket out of some scrap metal so I could mount it in the engine compartment. I may move it near the dash someday, but then again, maybe not.