Question: Hi there Tom..i have a question...i have a 74 Beetle convertible,,when i got it..the condensor wire and the wire on the inside of the distributor...was burned up..as it grounded out and got real warm and took off all the insulation...well..i replaced the wires and put a new se of points and condensor ..still did not spark..so i replaced the coil and got spark on the distributor, when i turn it over...when i try to fire it up it starts for a second and when i release the key it dies..like there is no juice going to the coil after the key is released..i want to know if you have any ideas on what i could check..do you think it is that 4 wire relay under the back seat...tried to put 12 volts to the coil..from the pos..side of thebattery to the pos..side of the coil...when i did that..the starter engaged...my guess something must be fused t the open pos..any ideas would be much appreciated...Thanks again
Answer: I'd suggest tracking down what DOES have 12V with the key in the on position, but not in the start position.
It sounds like a bad ignition switch.
I'm guessing that the starter turned over when you ran 12V from the battery to the coil because you used the wrong wire. The ignition switch in teh On position just runs 12V from the battery (actually the Pos coming off the gen/alt to the battery). It also puts 12V on a few circuits in the fuse block.
Track down the obvious problems first, and when they are fixes the odd problems may go away, and will certainly be easier to fix.
#1 is do you have 12 V at the coil with the ignition switch on.
Remember, the distributor is on the Neg side of the coil (I guess that's obvious, but it's worth mentioning).
The Muir book "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive" has starting diagnostic procedures, and explains some of the electric system. My online review is at:
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Proficient Motorcycling : The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
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