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Old Jul 25, 2010, 11:50 AM
Speed Demon
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Antioch,CA,USA
Joined Dec 1999
12,334 Posts
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It's Alive!

I finally got a weekend off work and time to dig into the car. Well I'm glad that I took fellow 917 owner Tony's advice and had the Laser towed home instead of driving it. I can see where the previous owner had such a hard time with it. The alarm system that's installed has fully disabled the ignition. The boneheads that tried to start it went so far as to cut the large positive battery cable that goes back into the wiring harness. I ended up disconnecting all the wiring that went to the engine and ran a few temporary wires of my own from the battery to where they're needed on the engine. Made my own temporary wiring harness for now.

It had no gas in the tank so a gallon of gas was added and the I made a tin foil funnel to fill the float bowl on the carburetor. Pushing the throttle a few times to prime it and hitting the new starter button she fired right up. She purred like a kitten, sounded really quiet too! I shut it down right away and pulled the rocker covers to set the valve lash.

After that was done I left the valve covers off and re-fired the engine. Just wanted to check to see if oil was reaching the top end and it was. Snapped the valve covers back on and brought it down off of the jacks. One tire needed a bit of air so the compressor got some use as well.

Now was the time I was waiting for, the maiden voyage so to speak. Kathy had heard it running and had come out and cleaned the windows for the test ride. It needed that much more than I could have imagined. 1st gear was engaged and the clutch eased out as I inched towards the street. I hit the brakes to ease over the dip at the curb and to my surprise, no stoppie!!!!!!!! %^*&^%$!!!!!

After stomping the brake pedal a few times I got them to work but they're a bit sticky. It must have something to do with the car sitting in a garage unused for eleven years. Good thing the emergency brake is handy. This is something that I'm going to have to take care of right away.

The brakes worked well enough to at least slowly limp her around the block once. By this time it was getting pretty hot in the cabin (no A/C). I cracked open the window for air and inched her into the street. I barely gave it any gas and only went to second gear. I don't know if I ever even hit 25 MPH. Slowly around the block just for kicks and back into the driveway for now.

A couple of things that I did notice. It's REALLY hard to see much around the car with the limited glass area. It's almost the opposite of riding a mortorcycle where you can see all around you without anything in the way. That keeps you looking around ALOT! The other thing is the pedal situation. Man is it ever cramped down there! I can see that this is going to take some modification to make work, at least for me.

You should have seen the smile on Kathys face when I got back. I'm so happy that she seems to be enjoying the new addition to the family almost as much as I do. She says next time that she wants to roll video.

At least now I can get it to move under it's own power and get it out of sight into the back yard. There have been far too many people stopping by to look and ask questions about the car for my taste. It makes me nervous. I get this terrible feeling that it might be stolen from the driveway and won't feel comfortable until it's away from stray eyes and safely behind locked gates.
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Last edited by GregG; Jul 25, 2010 at 09:17 PM.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 06:08 AM
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Mt Tamborine, Queensland, Australia
Joined May 2008
755 Posts
Does it have a flat 4 VW motor? If so, which one? 1200cc? 1600?
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Old Aug 05, 2010, 07:54 AM
Speed Demon
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Antioch,CA,USA
Joined Dec 1999
12,334 Posts
Yes, it's a stock 1500 with a Monza pipe, for now anyway.

35 yrs ago I did a Corvair transplant into a bug. This was the 180HP turbo model. Quite a big change in performance there. I can imagine that power or more in a car 500 lbs lighter.

I've been investigating other powerplants lately. I still like the ease of the Corvair because it is also aircooled and lots of performance parts are still available.

The 1st thing I'm concentrating on is the brakes. It's now got the new tires and the old brakes sucked. I'm looking at disk brake conversion kits. It'll probably get a new master cylinder as well, wouldn't want to take a chance on the old one. I am now in the process of trading out the old rubber brake lines for stainless/teflon lines. I've read that these are the way to go.
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