Why Does My 1 Month Old Have So Much Gas The Burning Volkswagen Kombi – A Fiery Problem For A Classic Van

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The Burning Volkswagen Kombi – A Fiery Problem For A Classic Van

The air-cooled Volkswagen Kombi is an iconic vehicle that just oozes character. Kombi are also practical. You can drive them to work, carry the family around and camp in them and still see them in daily use and refurbished for occasional use. There are still plenty of young men and women who would like to have one as their daily driver.

However, there is one worrying flaw in the Volkswagen combi. They catch fire, and then it’s goodbye Kombi.

So why do they catch fire, and what can you do to prevent yours from burning?

I have yet to find a definitive article in a VW magazine, but having driven my 1976 2L bay window as a daily driver for over 14 years, I have been interested in the problem and learned as much as I could. I will answer the question as best I can.

There are actually a few different things that can cause a Kombi to burn out, but they all come back to fuel escaping in the engine bay. Kombis have a fuel tank in front and above the engine, a hose from it down to the fuel pump and another hose through the tin can to the carb.

Kombi’s are old now and have a lot of age related issues unless they have been rebuilt. Even then, it is likely that not everything has been restored to new condition.

One of those problems of old age is lost and cracked fuel lines. Chances are yours have been replaced, but check them anyway. When they crack, they can leak gas everywhere. One spark and your combi is history. In addition, just below the engine there are two hot heat exchangers through which the exhaust gas passes. I don’t know what causes the bigger problem, the heat exchangers or the sparks, but it doesn’t matter much when your van smokes.

So check those fuel lines, and if you buy a station wagon, don’t drive it anywhere with old and cracked fuel lines. Change them! And don’t forget to check the hose from the fuel tank to the pump. It is out of the way and easily overlooked.

If you’ve opened the fuel lines a few times, make sure you haven’t cut through the line with the edge of the hose clamp. That can happen and then gas drips down into the engine.

The fuel line passes through the sheet metal container surrounding the engine. The sheet pan plays a very important role, it is necessary to keep the engine cool. It’s almost as important as the radiator for water-cooled cars, so don’t throw it away. But check where the fuel line goes through the tin can. The fuel hose must be protected from tin with a rubber gasket. Mine eventually got destroyed and it was one of the few parts I couldn’t buy new, so I wrapped the fuel line in a larger diameter piece of hose to prevent chafing.

Another old age problem is where the fuel lines go into the carb. The carburetor has a brass inlet pipe and they come off. You can imagine what happens. Suddenly the gas that went into the carbine sprays the whole engine. Goodbye Kombi!

I was very lucky. I bought parts from a long time VW mechanic and he told me about this problem. I checked the intakes shortly after and one of them did indeed pull right out of the carby very easily. I put it back on loctite and check both inlets regularly. If yours are loose, have your mechanic check and fix them before driving the van again.

In my Kombi, the supply and discharge pipes in the fuel pump were also loose. They were put back with loctite and they are also checked every time I service the engine.

I have also encountered another problem. There is a rubber corner near the fuel filler opening. Mine died and I smelled gas but couldn’t find a leak. In the end, I found fuel dripping from the bottom of the Kombi, below the filling hole. I must say it was replaced before I drove again.

I don’t claim to have listed everything that can cause Kombi to burn out, so if vee-dubber tells you other reasons, listen to them. And keep an eye on the kombis fuel lines. If you smell gas, find out where it’s coming from and fix it. It must be very depressing to sit on the side of the road watching your beloved Kombi smoke.

And it happens. You’ll read about estate cars burning in VW magazines and forums, and I’ve heard of a few cases personally. My wife was driving to work one day and there was a tower of smoke and the local fire department ahead. As he drove by, he saw Kombi on fire. The burnt shell ended up in a tape yard near where I live for a few weeks.

A couple of months later, the attendant where I got gas told me about his Kombi. His wife was driving it, smelled gas and went to the gas station to check it out. The mechanic saw no leaks so he continued driving. The station wagon caught fire and that was the end of it.

Don’t let it happen to you.

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