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Hold Down for Optima Battery 6V

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 1 Comment
By Linus Pauling, Jr. Although the Optima battery has been around for several years, I did not acquire one until recently when I finally got my '65 Cabriolet ready for the road. The Optima represents a very significant advance in lead-acid technology (see Pat Tobin's article in 356 REGISTRY Volume 24 Number 3 ) and is perfectly suited to the needs of the owner who drives his car only occasionally. It does not spill acid, it has a very low self-discharge rate and its low internal resistance means more starting voltage, among other virtues. The only problem with the Optima (besides initial cost) is that its shape is quite different from a standard battery, so the 356's hold-down system will not work. What I wanted is a system that utilizes the original placement, hold-down mechanism and cover. The system I devised does that (see Photo 1, below) by using top and base plates made to fit the Optima's s...

Tie Down for an Optima Battery

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 2 Comments
By Bob Morris The first drawing is the top hold down strap and is the exact dimensions. The small bend goes under the loop on the gas tank wall the anchored the rubber strap. On the other end I drilled a hole to insert a threaded bolt on one end and a U shaped bend on the other end. The U shaped piece hooks on to the front loop that the rubber strap was anchored. The second drawing is the piece that goes on the floor and holds the negative lead from the battery. It loops around the end of the battery. I also used a 1 X 12 " piece of wood on the finder side of the battery to keep the positive pole from touching the finder well. I used 1 X 1/8" galvanized metal stock to make the parts. You can use aluminum to make the top part, but need a conductive metal for the bottom part. Optima battery top hold down fixture. Made out of 1" X 1/8 galvanized bar stock. This is a side view. Click for larger drawing. Optima battery hold do...

Electrical Terminal Designations

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 0 Comments
By Richard Millang Ever wonder what those number codes are on the back of your 356 electrical devices? Or the numbers shown on the 356 electrical diagram? Well, here it is. Please note this is a comprehensive list that contains many codes in addition to 356 electrical items. May be useful for some of us who also have BMW's, Volkswagens, Mercedes or 911's, etc. Terminal Definition IGNITION 1 Ignition coil, ignition distributor, low voltage Ignition distributor with two separate electrical circuits 1a to ignition contact breaker I 1b to ignition contact breaker II 2 short-circuit terminal (magneto ignition) 4 Ignition coil, ignition distributor, high voltage Ignition distributor with two separate electrical circuits 4a from ignition coil I, terminal 4 4b from ignition coil II, terminal 4 15 Switched + downstream of battery (output of ignition/driving...

Changing Spark Plugs

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 2 Comments
  By Dan Metz   Over the years of owning my 356, I've followed with great interests the many posts on 356Talk. To say that this font of information has proven to be invaluable is too small a compliment. Anyone who follows the threads there for an ex-tended period of time realizes that certain topics reappear periodically. One of those topics is changing spark plugs on a 356. Because plugs are a maintenance items that simply cannot be avoided, it is a topic worthy of discussion. Many of the posts on plug changing come down to one or two issues: "How do I managed to get my *@#$ hands in there?" and "How do I get the spark plug started when I can't even see the opening in the cylinder head?" Hopefully, this short note will help answer both ques-tions. By way of background, my own car is a 356B-T6 equipped with a Super 90 engine, Weber carburetors and adaptor plates on the intake manifolds. That combination is probably as difficult as things get, worki...

How to Test 6V Hella Blinker

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 0 Comments
By Joe Leoni   How to Test 6V Hella Blinker Link to PDF file

Debugging the Fuel Gauge

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 0 Comments
By Leo Leoni, Lynn Sheely, Ross Vincenti, Al Zim Q1: My gas gauge stopped working. How do I tell if it is the sensor in the tank, or something in the gauge? A quick check is to remove the green wire from the sensor at the tank. The VDO instrument should then read full scale if the instrument is working and the wires are correctly landed. A further check is to ground the wire (green) at the tank , and the instrument will read nada. Blu/yel on +, grn on G for gauge on the Combination Instrument. A check of the sensor by an ohmmeter will record 200 ohms with a full tank, and 6 ohms with an empty tank. There can be some variations of these numbers. Still they will be close. So now you can test the instrument (gauge) and the sensor. If the sensor doesn't read correctly, it's likely that the wires inside the sensor are to blame. They are broken, shorted together, or the pivot is dragging. I suggest you replace the sending unit, tr...

Electronic Ignition

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 2 Comments
By Myles H. Kitchen   A common misconception is that a CD ignition is a "high performance” ignition. Acutally, most CD's produce far lower spark energy than conventional inductive storage types. What CD's do, is produce a very quick, high voltage pulse that's helpful in lighting oil-fouled plugs. However, the spark duration is much shorter (usually 10 times) than an inductive storage signal. The spark energy is determined by the product of the voltage times the current times the duration, or the area under the spark pulse. Lean burning engines (which most should be if they're producing maximum power and minimum emissions) need lots of spark energy to keep the mixture ignited under the high turbulence and swirling conditions in the cylinder. High energy, inductive storage systems are better at delivering this energy than CDs, usually. Multiple spark systems also have advantages, as they can re-...

Taillight 12-volt Halogen Conversion

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 0 Comments
By John Kent After cleaning all contacts and fuses and relining the lights, though improved it was still unacceptable. Converting the car to 12 volts was not an option so I compromised and converted just the brake/turn signals to 12 volt and installed 20 watt halogen bulbs. IT IS SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER. Two 6 to 12volt inverters, 30 watt. JC Whitney part 81zx3904b. $89.99 each   One Hella conversion Kit 170-81140 at $28.50 from PUMA, Eastlake, Oh. 800-354-3552. One kit does both rear brake lights.   Spare bulb is $8.95 I installed an inverter in each brake light line near the rear light. The inverters are potted with epoxy and sealed. I mounted on the fender brace. This can be done by removing bullet connector from brake light. Obtain bullet connector and sleeve and solder to the inverter leads with necessary wire. The unit can thus be installed with the ability to return to origin...

Headlight Alignment and Adjustment

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 0 Comments
By Bill Macy An Abridged Rendition from the German Source: 1964 Edition of the "Inland" (Domestic) 356C Driver's Manual For those who are able to read the "mother tongue" the original text is included below. 1. Orient the long axis of the car perpendicularly to the alignment target area/chart (in this case probably a wall!) on a level surface. 2. Fill the tires to the correct pressures. If the driver remains in the car the fuel tank should be full. Without the driver the tank should be empty. 3. Approach the wall, but stop the car about 20 ft (6 m) in front of it. Then roll or push the car forward until the distance between the headlights and the wall is 16 ft 4 3/4 in (5 m = dimension d. in the figure). This is to allow the suspension to settle into its normal driving attitude.( Note: alignment is done using the low beams, one light at a time, with the other light covered.) Now measure off the following reference points on your alignment target (The Wall): ...

Headlight Bulb Types

September 23, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair | 0 Comments
By Brad Ripley Reprinted from the 356 Registry Magazine Volume 19-4, by kind permission of Gordon Maltby I regularly get questions about bulbs for the so-called "Euro" headlight assemblies. Euro headlights, and pieces thereof, have been unearthed at swap meets and from the back bins of old VW shops in order to live again on 356 restorations. These are usually Bosch units, although Hella also made some versions. They all have in common a "bulb holder" (see Fig. 1 below, ref. #23) which locks to the back of the reflector (a large spring keeps the tension). Assuming your unit is complete, the inevitable question is, "Which bulb fits which Euro headlight?" Here a Bulb, There a Bulb, Everywhere a... EARLY BOSCH UNITS used a simple bulb known as a BA20d (see fig. 2 at right). Note that it has flat prongs at the same height on each side and two soldered contacts on bottom (no prongs for a plug). The normal wattage was 35 watts on the high beam and also 35 watts on the lo...