A few questions for David Chapman

  • Thread starter paul.j.rasmussen@GM.com
  • Start date


Hi David -

Been reading alot of your articles on the web site - pretty impressive
stuff. Have been too busy with 'returning to America' social events and
kid's athletics to really rip into my car. Hope to dig in this winter and
do radio, alternator, electronic ignition and electric fan. Have been
using the car alot - have put 1,500 miles on this year so far! No major
repairs but some little things needing attention.

Still pretty impressed with the 1500 engine on the torque side. Nice to
tool around town at 20- 25 mph in 4th and just push on the gas to go faster
rather than all the downshifting with the 1200. Pretty handy also in
strong currents. Since I had the 1200 in for a couple of years, I can
really feel the biggest difference going up stream with the 1500 - much
easier. Top speed in water seems a little faster but not much. Can run all
day at 55 - 60 mph. I don't run faster than that as most of the German Club
members said around 3,800 rpm for long sustained distances was fast enough.
Use 2nd gear for most start ups. Did a 3 hour non-stop from upper to
lower michigan in 90+ heat and temp gauge only moved slightly into the
upper range of normal during biggest hills so overheating is really not a
problem. Not really louder than 1200, just a little lower pitched

A few comments:

1) Radio: I also bought a German blaupunkt but with black buttons - the
guys in the club said the black buttons ones were supplied from '64 onward
on Amphicars in Germany from local dealers. I like the ivory buttons
better - if you run across just the ivory buttons, I would be interested in
a pair. I have not tried the radio yet but what are the 4 bands (other
than AM / FM - can I get short wave in US with this baby?)

2) Year of my 1500: if I give you my serial number, can I get the year of
the motor? helps when I order parts - I think it is late '70s but not sure.

3) Ignition: Am thinking of switching to late model Spitfire electronic
ignition - any thoughts? Since my 1500 has the later block, I think '76
and up electronic ignition should work.

4) Fuel Pump: Appears newer style pump requires two thick gaskets - I am
running my original 40 year old 1200 pump and think it is time for a
replacement. Do all 1500 pumps need the two gaskets? I am getting some
surging on the highway. Original fuel tank valve is now clean but still
surges - can I put in a straight pipe in place of the fuel tank tap? I
would add an in line filter. My Solex carb (new, from '84 Opel 1.8L per
German club experience with 8 cars running 1500's for last 4 years, high
miles) has an electronic cut off so I don't need the fuel tap shut off

5) Electric fans - I heard two 9" inch pullers are the way to go. Guys in
the German club tried them and overheating occurred in water. Another
French guy (Michele from Metz) had electric fans on his car and said they
worked great (pullers). He said one fan ran all the time and the other was
only on the highway and in the water. He switched it on only during these
conditions. I agree with your assessment to leave system pretty much
original but to add the fans. I still would like to add a trans. cooler as
well. Several of the German guys had either electric or belt driven trans.
oil pumps running to small coolers mounted on the outside of the raditor
(under air intake area).

6) Heat: Getting the heat out: some of the German guys added air vents
into the outside of the fins - this area gets real hot and seemed to be
good way to dissappate heat. Looked pretty stock - vents were triangle
shaped, similar to shape of the fin. I could even envision two small
puller fans mounted on the deck lid vents that could pull more heat out.
My underhood is really hot after a long run on the highway in 90 degree
weather (hottest summer here in last 10 years - just like florida last 5
weeks - every; day sunny and hot!).

7) Building the new amphicar: Everywhere I go in Michigan since being back
here in US, there is extremely high enthusiasm for the amphicar just the
way it is. We need to give some serious thought to reverse engineering the
original amphicar concept and exact styling in fiberglass and fitting off
the shelf modern components. I would not try to re-engineer very much at
all, just add modern engine, transaxle, brakes, etc.

8) Very stiff clutch- the pedal pressure required to activate my clutch is
extremely high. I have not had time to get into it but was curious as to
your thoughts? The pressure plate came from Ottmar Englert (President of
German Club) who bought it in UK - came in an original box and looked just
like the A-car clutch but I am wondering if spring load was very much
different than A-car. He claimed springs were same color as other pressure
plate. Could I have installed something wrong? I am using the original
throw out bearing as well, having had a Sachs ball bearing type fail on me
- I think some water entered it since ball bearings were rusty. Could
something be binding up with the cable inside the bell housing or is maybe
the clutch just too stiff for the A-car cable leverage system. I have to
dig in on this - I thought it would be better with more miles but it now
has close to 5,000 on it and it is no better than when I put it in.

Thanks for advice - I might be in Europe this fall and will try to look
both you guys up - will give you the Celina download next week -