My '63 aircooled VW beetle has been having trouble starting lately. The generator just got repaired recently, it has a new external voltage regulator, and it has a new starter (and I assume new solenoid). Oftentimes, whenever I turn the key, the starter doesn’t even try to turn the engine over and all I hear is one faint click from either the starter or solenoid. Pretty much, when I turn the key, nothing happens. If I push start it, it will fire right up and it will start a few more times, then I’ll get the same issue again. It should also be noted that the battery tests fine (12.3 volts) and, when I got it tested at an auto parts store, it said that the voltage regulator was defective, even though it’s newly installed. Also, my alt/gen light will come on sometimes, but not all the time.
Two possibilities on the no-start and you may have more than one problem involved.
One is whether or not the starter motor transaxle bushing was replaced at the same time as the starter. Quite often that bushing gets overlooked and it’s a critical piece.
Two is a voltage drop in the aged wiring and connectors which necessitates the installation of an external solenoid to shorten the current path to the existing starter solenoid.
The flashing generator light could be caused by a faulty regulator, regulator that needs to be adjusted, worn generator, or generator belt that is out of adjustment. Keeping those belts properly adjusted is critical to engine life that belt also spins the engine cooling fan.
It is unlikely that the parts store clerk knew how to test the voltage regulator.
How tight is the belt?
What is the battery voltage when the engine is running at a fast idle?
When you replaced the starter, did you replace the bushing in the trans-axel? If you did not I would start there.
I did replace the brushing, but the belt actually seems to be a likely culprit, it looks loose when the engine is running. I should see if I can tighten it. I have yet to test the battery while idle.
If you don’t have the book “Volkswagen Repair for the Complete Idiot” it might be wise to get copy. Tightening the belt is quite a unique experience.