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Fuel injection vs. carburator in a '79 Westfalia

Hello, I just got a ?79 Westfalia. It doesn?t work yet. I has some gas problems. My friend recommended me to remove the fuel injection and replace it with a carburetor. He says that is much simpler than the fuel injection, specially because we are going to drive from California to Argentina in it. What do you guys recommend?

Nope,fix the fuel injection.

Argentina, eh? You should research what you can get fixed in S America, and use that. If VWs made in the last 10+ years down there used carbs, then use a similar car setup. Do you have lots of VW experience?

I don?t have experience with the VW. I don?t know what is available there but if I have any problem my friend can mail me parts, I just going to be in the same place until I got the parts

While I would like to say go with the carb, there is an issue. What kind of shape is the car in that the injector does not work. These were not computer injected. But the bosch system was really bad. Complicated points on the distributor shaft for the fuel circuit, if i remember correctly. That distributor itself is a collectors item for the automobile hall of shame. Just behind the edsel. I would recommend a cheap toyota pickup with a bed cab. Everyone south of the border can fix a toyota but this vw could be a nightmare.

I recommend you become an expert on keeping this antique running. It will need lots of repairs.

Not so,you are thinking of the system known as AFC (air flow control) used on the Type III. These Buses used the very reliable Bosch L-Jetronic and by 1979 had electronic ignition.The difference in reliability over the AFC system by the L-Jetronic is about 1000 times.

The AFC system did have a “computer” of sorts (this is the fuel injection system that people claimed CB radios affected) The fuel injection trigger points looked just like a set of non-adjustable ignition points,they seldom were a problem. I can remember getting sick to my stomach back in 1973 when one of these cars came in and was not running correctly. One big problem was a pretty simple one,the F.I harness grounded to the heads and the connection would would get loose,car ran really bad with poor grounds.After some pretty good improvement with L-Jetronic VW and many others moved more firmly into K-Jetronic (the dreaded CIS).

These L-Jet systems did have a bit or a weak area,a backfife out the intake could jam the flapper door inside the air flow meter. I liked the L-Jet busses more than I liked the dual carb versions but the dual carbed versions really did run pretty good (they had their weak spot also as the carbs liked to wearout the housing the throttle shafts passed through,causing erratic idle). The Porsche 914 made extensive use of the AFC system but the 912E used the L-Jetronic system. Almost all of my dual carb work was with the VW bus and if I could get them to idle and pass emissions anyone could:)These busses had a very strong transmission (we used to put these transmissions in our class 2 race car) and they had large strong CV joints. Good size disc brakes up front and really huge ball joints up front. They had a weak shifter coupler that at times made for problematic shifting but all in all a very strong platform. I appreciated the move to the type IV engine in the buss as the “Bug” air cooled engine was overtaxed in the bus. VW did make a Type 4 (called the 411) and these cars were some pretty peppy performers.Right at 100 hp or so I think.

Old technology vs new technology. What a great question. A friend of mine organizes motorcycle tours of India. We had that discussion many times over a few Kingfishers. He feels the Royal Enfield, 60 year old technology, is best. They need a lot of maintenance, but are mechanically simple, parts are widely available and with some tinkering you can almost always get a broken one somewhere for repair. More advanced technology may more reliable but lose a fuel injection component in the middle of nowhere and you will be walking.

My advice, if you are determined to go in a ?79 Westfalia, stick with the original design. Unless you want to go through an extended development process making major modifications brings on its own set of problems and you will be stuck with a configuration that only you understand. Get good manuals that have diagnostic procedures. Take critical spares and a good set of tools, but check to see if they will be subject to import duty. Depending on the country parts shipped in may also be subject to duty.

Samba is a great source of information. You might start with:

Best of luck, it will be a great adventure

I’d stick with what the VW came with.
What I question is buying a 31 year old Bus that doesn’t run with the intention of driving it to another hemisphere.

Make sure that you take the title with you. Seriously . . . a trip like that in an ancient VW Bus sounds cool, but may end up as a headache. Without any other information about the trip (are you going to live there for any extended time?) . . . I’d fly and rent a car somewhere in the host country. Just how far IS the drive? What kinds of roads? Good luck! Rocketman

Just a reminder that you will not drive from California to Argentina. Google for Darien Gap. Your car will be on a boat going around that.