I have a 1971 Super Beetle with a replacement 1971 1600 motor, carbureted, 12v Alternator setup, not generator. The car is somewhat new to me, and is my first Beetle. To give you an idea of what I have, the previous owner had lined the roof and firewall/behind-the-seat area with carpet. House carpet. Rental-apartment-complex beige berber - you know the kind. With lots and lots of cardboard and spray foam. Lots. The really flammable kind. Needless to say I have spent a LOT of time de-previousowner-ifying this car, which is otherwise in pretty nice shape. Mostly.
Two weeks after buying this car, the motor blew out - threw a rod. I shortly afterwards found a VERY nice motor of the same kind, and with help got it put in. It has been essentially trouble-free for months. I have been focused on getting steering and suspension straightened out and flying right, and had begun working on the interior when...
Recently, I have been experiencing voltage drops. Typically, the Voltage Meter reads a nice strong 14v when running. However, a couple weeks ago, it suddenly dropped while I was driving at night, and then died very conveniently on The Long Bridge south of town. I __BARELY__ made it off the bridge, rolling.
Hours later, after re-twisting together several loose wires under the rear seat and getting a jump start, I got the beast-le home.
Then commenced operation Fix That Hellacious Wiring. To give you an idea, some wires had been connected with taped-on female spade connectors. That means, two wires, each with female spade connectors, each of which had been slid into the side of a third larger not-connected-to-anything-else female spade connector. Several large-guage wires had been [badly] twisted together, and were almost totally loose. Some connections weren't taped - un-insulated.
That's all nice and tidy now with a wiring terminal.
Same with the old wiring terminal on the firewall in the engine compartment - replaced the terminal, replaced lots of old wires, replaced EVERY spade or ring connector, crimped right, and insulated.
And then a whole bunch of wires up under the bonnet, but not yet all of them.
The thing is, I am still getting the voltage drop. And I am running out of money to buy wire.
I have had the alternator [which is pretty brand new anyway] and the voltage regulator [internal to the alt] tested, and they are "working perfectly".
Here's what happens:
Each time I start the car after it's been sitting some time, it fires up [cold but running]. 14v hot and solid. I drive down the road - bumpy or smooth, fast or slow, wipers & lights ['tis the season], brake lights, blinkers, whatever - the Beast-le is happy as a clam at 14v. Until I get into town. This is a nine mile drive. Almost like clockwork, as I get into town, and I look over and see that the voltage has dropped down to about 12v, and sinks to about 11v or so by the time I get to work.
Starting the Beast-le after it's been sitting a _short_ time does not "restore" the voltage to working levels.
This leads me to think something temperature related. But what could it be?
The good news is that after re-wiring all the "wiring" underneath the rear seat, I no longer LOSE the battery - it just sinks down around, 11v or so and stays there. However, I have not gone for a longer distance to see if it eventually sinks further, as I don't get super excited about getting stranded out somewhere between No and Where, especially this time of year. However, using turn signals, headlights, wipers does make it drop a little, as is to be expected, but does not seem to actually _drain_.
All this leads me to believe that there is probably a faulty part or a short somewhere, and seemingly temperature related.
I have tried starting it, idling, and then pulling/pushing on wires to see if I can find a bad connection that causes the drop. I haven't found it yet. I am hoping that someone here who has a more comprehensive understanding of these solid little cars might have an idea of where I can look. I _could_ just replace all the wires, but as I said, I just don't have that kind of money to buy all that copper.