|These sound files are excerpted from How
to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive VW Engine Sounds by John Muir and are
copyrighted, 1976, Eve Muir. All rights reserved. The sounds are reproduced
here with written permission from Eve Muir for your personal, diagnostic,
and non-profit use. Any other use or duplication is expressly prohibited
without the prior written consent of Eve Muir, Box 15738, New Orleans, LA
How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is a popular
book of "step-by-step procedures for the compleat idiot." It's a great
resource to get your volks back on the road. It is available from Muir
Publications in Santa Fe, NM and from bookstores and FLAPS (Friendly Local
Auto Parts Stores) everywhere.
John also produced a diagnostic
flowchart that accompanied the engine sounds
tape. This also is reproduced here with permission of Eve Muir. The flowchart
has been enhanced to provide two levels of interactivity. Read below for
WEBMASTERS: If you link to
this website, please link to this page or the main index page (www.volks.net)
only. Linking directly to other pages is just like stealing, since people
will neither see the copyright information or the information below about
John's other great work. If you know of someone linking to individual
sounds, please let me know so I can ask them to fix their mistake. Thanks!
||The Velvet MonkeyWrench
John Muir also wrote an amazingly prophetic
book about politics, the future, and a philosophy of life.
It is called The Velvet Monkeywrench
and after 20 years out of circulation, it is again available, from Eve
Muir, Box 15738, New Orleans, LA 70175. See the order
Using this Resource
First off, use this resource at your own risk. I'm not a mechanic. I'm a hobbiest. I can't guarantee any of this to be accurate. I hate to even have to mention this, but not everyone has common sense.
You'll find links on this page. If you click them, they'll either start a sound clip or they'll open another page. Some of the sounds are of John's voice...words of mechanical wisdom, encouragement, like that. Labels describing specific noises are the sounds of those noises themselves. Try it, you'll see.
Some of the sound clips are pretty meaty (up to 271 KB), so if you have a slow
internet connection, use your own judgement.
You may have better luck using the diagnostic
flowchart (130 KB) instead. The flowchart has little speakers on it whereever
sounds are available. When you move your mouse over a speaker, look at the message
line in your browser. It will contain specific instructions to help you troubleshoot
the problem. Also, referenced in the flowchart are chapter from How to Keep
Your Volkswagen Alive: a Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat
Idiot. Refer to your copy of the manual for step-by-step instructions. If
you don't have a copy yet, you can order
it here, at Amazon.com.
I'm not sure if these chapters remained the same through all editions of the
book. Please let me know if you find discrepencies.
Clicking Noise (40 KB) - If you hear this sound, check your battery and its connections. Be sure to check the big wire going to the starter! First disconnect your battery!!! That big wire at the starter can spark like crazy if you mess around in there with the battery connected. On a bus, it's right under the fuel tank, too! What you're hearing clicking is the solenoid on the starter. That thing will click even if you don't have enough juice to turn the starter over. Of course, if the starter itself is fried, the solenoid may click and click and click. The quick fix for this is sometimes the addition of an extra relay, as described in John's book.
and Grind and Grind... (35 KB) - This sound means you're not getting enough
fuel or spark to the cylinders or your timing is really way off. First check
to see if you've got gas. Then check the fuel system and everything in the
ignition system past the starter. Is your fuel filter clogged up? Did your
fuel pump fail?
|NOTE: Be VERY careful working around fuel and spark. Take appropriate
precautions not to burn yourself or your ride.
Running Engine (145 KB) - reving up and
Engine Idling on All Four Cylinders (113 KB) - compare this to the engine missing
on 2 cylinders below.
Missing on Two Cylinders (162 KB) - You'll hear a miss as if skipped a beat.
You'll also loose power. A low-speed miss is caused by a tight valve or
some other compression loss and usually disappears at higher RPMs.
Muffler (139 KB) - the noise comes from where the muffler attaches to the engine
or from the muffler itself.
Delivery Problems (80 KB) - check for a clogged filter, broken fuel pump pushrod,
busted fuel pump diaphram and clogged tank. While you're at it, replace
those old fuel lines!
RPM Miss (158 KB) - the engine rythm breaks and you hear funny coughs and whistles at high RPM speeds.
Distributor Shaft (111 KB) -
Noise (139 KB) - sounds like a loose clicking and sometimes disappears at higher
rpms. You might think it's a loose pulley or a loose valve, but it doesn't
disappear when you remove the fan belt or adjust the valves. The cause is
either a loose cam gear or badly worn cam bearings. Engine overhaul time.
or Broken Pulley (123 KB) - listen for the distinctive "click, click." If that's
your noise, be sure to check both the generator and crankshaft pulleys.
Valves (85 KB) - run the valve adjustment procedure.
fan (119 KB) - to repair this, you must straighten the fan or put on a new one.
Generator Bearing (110 KB) - when you run the procedure, be sure not to run the
engine for more than 20 seconds with the fan belt off. Otherwise, you'll
fry the engine.
Object in Fan (115 KB) - On Types I and II, these noises disappear when you take
the fan belt off. On Types III and IV, the fan is on the crankshaft, so
these noises don't disappear.
Fan (166 KB) - notice how the noise disappears in the higher ranges. Tighten
Heads (135 KB) - best thing to do is to pull the engine and rebuild it. If the
heads have been loose for some time, they're going to be warped. If you're
on the road, a quick, temporary fix is to retorque the lower case fasteners.
Loose heads will crack your engine case in a very short period of time.
Crankshaft (109 KB) - a similar noise is made by a loose flywheel. Bummer! Don't
try to get to grandma's house with this, even if it's just over the river
and through the woods.
Flywheel (115 KB) - similar to a broken crankshaft. Either way, pull the engine.
Odds are you're looking at crankshaft damage anyway...meaning overhaul time.
Connecting Rod (202 KB) - Alternately rev and back off engine. Listen for the
"rattlesnake song" of the loose rod. The rod knock noise flutters in and
RPM miss (188 KB) - miss disappears as engine speeds up.
Miss (90 KB) - caused by fuel delivery problems.
in upside down (124 KB) - this will only happen when you (or someone else) have
had the engine apart and you put the pistons in upside down.
- Pinging (129 KB)
- happens if your engine is timed too fast or if you're using cheap gas.
John says "listen for the tinkle, almost like breaking glass." You may need
to retard your timing. Even if it's set correctly, retard it a little. Stop
buying low octane gas.
Runs on (105 KB) - you shut off the key, but the engine keeps going. This is
also called deiseling. It's an indication that your engine is too hot (carefully
check; don't burn yourself), your automatic fuel shutoff valve (on some
carburetors) isn't working right, or you're using cheap (low-octane) gas.
engine as clutch is pushed down and let back up (130 KB)
- you can't hear a difference, can you?
input shaft bearing (59 KB) - Push the clutch down and then let it up. If you
hear this noise, start laying aside some bread for transaxle repair. Hear
what John says about this (150 KB).
ring and pinion gear (270 KB) - Heard in all gears.
throughout bearing - This is the sound you get as you push down and let
up on the clutch. Normally, you should hear no difference. To fix this, you
have to pull the engine, replace the bearing, then reinstall the engine.
Pilot Bearing (69 KB) - put the car in gear and slowly let the clutch up.
The pilot bearing is at the front of the engine. It supports the trans input
shaft. In Type 1, 2, and 3, the pilot bearing is in the gland nut. In Type
4's and later buses, the pilot bearing is in the end of the crankshaft. Auto
tranny cars don't have pilot bearings.
Wheels and Axles
boxes going bad (271 KB) - Listen especially
toward the second half of the clip...coasting in neutral; engine idling.
bearings (260 KB) - Find a quiet road and get up to about 30 miles per hour. Coast
in nuetral. Swerve the car back and forth across the road--don't hit anyone
or get caught by the man--listen for the "ballsy rumble."
Joint sounds (95 KB) - Remember, you're coasting in nuetral and the engine is
silent. Muir describes this as a "duh duh duh" sound. Wonder if that's where
they got the dah dah dah commercial idea?
brakes (122 KB) - the sound of metal against metal.
brakes (113 KB) - could be caused by dirty brake linings or glazed brake linings.
Sometimes new brake linings may squeal too, John says, though I don't think
the new style organic linings do squeal until they wear to near the end. Let
me know if I'm mistaken, please.
- Cant' shift comfortably or without grinding
gears? Clutch is badly out of adjustment or you have clutch linkage problems.
- Feel like the engine is going faster than
it normally should to get that speed? Slipping clutch -- try adjusting, but
if you can't adjust out the slipping, you need to install a new clutch disc.
"Love and Good Roads"
This (146 KB) is how John closes on his engine sounds tape. Pretty cool wishes, I think.
flowchart accompanied John's original engine sounds tape. It also has been reproduced on this website with permission.
Use this and other information on this site at your own risk! See our legal
notices regarding use of information provided on this site.