Wrangler of imaginary computers
Mar 26, 2022
Ghia gets a new distributor!

At some point in my Karmann Ghia's life, a Bosch 009-type single-advance distributor was installed. These are popular aftermarket replacements since they're cheap, plentiful, and easy to tune, but the single-advance design means they're only able to advance engine timing in response to increasing engine speed. This can cause the power to lag a bit, and often makes the engine feel bogged down when you first roll onto the throttle.

The car isĀ supposed to be equipped with a Single-Vacuum Dual-Advance (SVDA) distributor which would be able to get ahead of the power requirement by increasing the timing advance based on the vacuum pulled off the carburetor. I found an aftermarket SVDA option which also replaces the points with an electronic ignition setup.

I got it installed, approximated the static timing, and the engine started right up! I made a minor adjustment to set timing to 7.5 BTDC at idle, and this motor purrs. I went for a quick drive and the car feels so much better. No more hesitation when pulling away from a stop, no more bogging down when I come to a stop, and the throttle is now much more responsive at cruising speeds. I'm quite pleased with this new distributor.

This is obviously still not a fast car... but it feels a lot less slow than it used to.