I'm new here, so "hello" to all the regulars from me and my alter ego, "Speedbug", a '74 super with stock 1600, who not unlike many other SB's needs plenty of TLC!

I am trying to pin down the best spark plugs and wires. Right now I'm running stock copper core wires and a mix of plugs. I like NGK's, so I tried a set of B5HS. After a few short miles #1 and #2 fouled. I put two of the old Bosch platinums back in and so far #1 has been no problem. WIthin a day, #2 fouled again, so I tried a B8HS I had on hand also fouled very quickly. I suspected the wire to be at fault and changed that out with another original copper core wire, and also put in another "good" B5HS. So far so good for the most part, but it was firing intermittently on the way to work for the first 15 miles, and then seemed to clear itself up. Separate and perhaps related is the RFI I hear on the stereo speakers.

First, what NGK plugs run well in a stock set-up, and what about RFI and the stock wires? I've read that a resistor plug might solve this for me? Thanks in advance.
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Wayne
I run the recommended NGK B6HS and have had no problems. You might want to consider an electronic ignition to give you a bit more zap. That should help the plugs from fouling and the car will drive 100% better as well. You could put an in-line noise suppressor in the power lead to the radio, but I've always had luck running the power lead from the radio directly to the battery. This should eliminate all the static and engine rev noise that you hear.
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Thanks for the quick reply. I'll have to try "direct" hook-up to the battery for the stereo. As for the ignition, I've always been "anti-electronic," but I've read countless testimonials, and it's getting harder and harder to resist. Are you using a standard coil and copper-core wires?
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Wayne
I got the whole package from Pertronix, Flame Thrower Coil, wires and the original module. I absolutely love it and reviewed the product and installation in the Review section located in Tech. Your Beetle will run like a sewing machine after you put this in!
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Ryan
My fav' for 14mm plugs was BP6HS, I prefer the projected tip to normal. Find a set with a -9 at the end and they come pre-gapped to .035" for stronger ignitions, or -10 for .040". I hate Bosch anything lately, they're QC has gone to poop. I've had a set of Jacobs wires for over three years now and love them, no flaws. Taylow wires are also nice, as are Magnacores. I strongly recommend against running a solid core wire, they promote induced firing and RFI as you've found. Those I've listed are a spiral core, or a wire wound around a solid core for the same effect.
If you're fouling a 5 heat range plug, you've definately got a problem, that's a hot plug. I wouldn't even run that hot a plug in a stock engine. Always run the coolest plug you can without fouling. Right now I run a 7 heat range (DP7-EA-9) and could probably even go colder. --Ryan
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more good info....thank you. There's probably more background that I should add. Speedbug sat for two years in the barn because of an electrical issue at the fuse box. I consistently had problems with the box that controls the seatbelt safety interlock. The vdub dealer quoted $150 for a new relay...no thanks. Found a used one from who I thought was a reputable used part supplier for $25. didn't work. poured over the wiring diagram.....it sat in frustration. Couldn't stand it anymore and wanted to drive speedbug on my birthday. With a piece of coated #14 Gauge solid copper, and a handy set of strippers, and a fresh battery. I jumped the lead to get speedbug started. I did drive it on my birthday, and despite the sputtering once in a while, here we are 5 or 6 hundred miles later.

The B5HS plugs in #3 and #4 really look good...light white-greyish color, just as they are supposed to. I do know the carb needs a kit because I have been unable to get the idle to adjust like the procedures in the tech section state. Hopefully, I will have time to put the kit in this weekend. I probably should do a compression test, just to eliminate a problem cylinder, but it runs way too smooth with a fresh plug, so I just can't see that. It is not "using" any oil either, but I have leaks in all the normal places.

I'll probably try those B6HS and look at wires and an ignition module at the least. Thanks again for all the helpful info.
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68autobug
New VW Beetles came with copper wire spark plug leads with resistors in the piece that connects to the spark plugs and in the Rotor... I don't know when or If, they ever changed to carbon or silicone leads..
Our last Beetle was the 1976 standard Beetle..
I have all New VW ignition parts on My Beetle's engine, apart from the Bosch 009 dizzy, which I would like to change if I ever get the chance.. I do have a High Voltage electronic ignition system to add one day.. Maybe I should look for a set of spiral spark plug leads which sound excellent, but I have never heard of anything like that, down here in Australia... I'll have to investigate further...
Thom, I wouldn't go using any?? spark plug.. looking for trouble there.. especially used plugs...
I have heard that the seatbelt interlock system broke down after a few years and that most are now "short circuited" and have been for many years.. We never had that stupid system in Australia.. Best to have the Stereo or other electronic gear connected straight to the battery with heavy leads, and a heavy duty fuse mounted near the battery.. I am a Ham Radio operator, and I have installed a heavy shielded wire to the dash for Transceivers I will be fitting.. the shield is grounded for shielding RFI..
Wayne, I think Your Beetle may have an Alternator fitted, as they are OK RFI wise, its usually Generators, Distributors and spark plug wires that cause the problems on High Frequencies.. VHF & UHF are usually noise free FM..

Lee --
68AutoBug - helping keep air cooled Volkswagens alive in Australia & around the World -

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Thanks Lee..still more good info! I know what you mean about used plugs, but I just cannot help myself on the used plugs! I suspect half of them were pulled out of some other engine as a result of fouling! I guess in the future, I need to throw these things as far as I can when they are pulled.

Back to #2: I pulled the B5HS out yesterday because oddly it seems to be working at least intermittently for 20-30 miles at a time. I cannot recall a situation before where a plug would clear itself once fouled, but it looked good, so I decided to leave it out and see what another plug did. I put in an old German Bosch W 145 T1. It worked maybe ten minutes, I put a Champion L88 in and it to is not that good. The moral? It's hard to cure an intermittent ignition problem using questionable spark plugs! I'll be picking up a set of the B6HS at lunchtime, just as Wayne recommended.

I have been wondering whether the bakelite plug connector is at fault here. I know plug wires are not to have more than a certain amount of resistance. What exactly is the procedure to test a wire and could that same process be used to test the connector itself?

Sorry about the long post too.
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68autobug
I probably did the same thing many years ago Thom, but I have learnt since with lawn mowers that stop... always turns out to be the spark plug... even filing etc.. won't make any difference... New Plug.. Starts straight away.. So I have learnt My lesson.. Champion spark plugs don't have the correct thread angle for VWs, and I'm told that Bosch plugs aren't what they used to be.. Beru, made in Germany spark plugs, I've used for many years.. sold by VW aftermarket spares.. The resistance of the spark plug leads themselves should be nil, but the bakelite spark plug caps are 995 Ohms or approx 1 k Ohm.. You test them with a meter set on Ohms and just put the meter connections at each end of the connector.. I would replace Your distributor cap Thom, they can cause arcing problems and RFI.. also the condenser can cause many problems, such as running bad, then good, etc.. they can be intermittant..
these two items are inexpensive and should be changed every 30,000 miles... If Your points have a rough surface, that means the condenser is at fault... file the rough bits down with a points file.. I Love points files..
Also check the High Voltage spark plug leads at night with the engine going.. I had a type 3 wuth similar problems many years ago, when I happened to check at night, and the silicone spark plug leads were shorting to the body or to each other... something I could never see during the day..

Lee
68AutoBug - helping keep air cooled Volkswagens alive in Australia & around the World -

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I should have mentioned earlier that the during the first week of driving, a new cap, rotor and points went in. My local supplier didn't have a condenser on hand, so I left the "old one" on. It was new last tune-up in 2000, so what could be wrong with that, right? Big mistake as you mentioned. It caused intermittent spark, resulting in rough idle, backfires, or no-start condition.

I am pleased to report that, with a fresh set of "correct" plugs, Speedbug is really purring down the highway. It was so smooth at 65 mph, that you could hardly hear the motor! I suspect that the replacement wire i put in is fine, but I'll have to dig that ohm meter out just to be certain.

Can't thank everyone enough for the help. See you on the road.
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68autobug
Good to see that You have fixed the problem Thom, and that You are Back "Beetling" again...

Lee
68AutoBug - helping keep air cooled Volkswagens alive in Australia & around the World -

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