VW Idle Shut-Off Valve

Idle Shut-Off ValveI see articles on forums written up all the time about this little device and the issues it may cause. I’ve never had trouble with one (except for the other day), so I thought I’d write up the symptoms that I experienced with a failing Idle Shut-Off Valve in hope that others may know what to look for if it happens to them. So this past Sunday, I decided to get Mabel out for a drive. It was a nice, warm fall day about 80 degrees outside. I drove her a couple of miles to a gas station, got a few dollars worth of gas, then headed down the road. About a mile away from the gas station, I had to stop at a red light. When I did, the motor died. It fired back up, but would not idle. I had to keep pumping the gas pedal to keep it running. I carried on to my destination, about another 3 miles away to visit my mother. After the visit, the engine was almost completely cool and fired right up but still wouldn’t idle. So I had to do the whole drive with one foot on the brake and gas all the way home. By the time I got home, the engine was good and hot, I opened the deck lid only to hear a percolating sound from the carb and the base of the carb was very, very cold to the touch. Almost freezing cold. Based on articles I’d read in the past, my first thought was the idle shut-off valve. Since it was so easy to get too, I removed it from the carb to test it with 12 volts. It appeared to work as it should when power was supplied. I checked the connectors from the valve to the coil just to make sure they weren’t corroded, the looked fine, but I cleaned the terminals anyhow. Put everything back together, fired right up and idled perfectly. I let it sit for a couple of hours, then took it for a test drive around town, again, no problem, she idled perfectly every time I stopped. So, the conclusion is that I either have a failing shut-off valve or I had a bad electrical connection. For now, she continues to run great and idle great. The shut-off valve is a pretty cheap item, 15 to 20 dollars. I may order a spare to have on hand in case this one decides to fail again. I’m leaning towards a bad electrical connection though.

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