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Wisconsin VH4D


Hello guys,

I am pretty much a novice on engines.... I can keep an economy hit n miss going mostly, but much more then that I am lost.

On my Vh4d it spins over great but won’t start. What has me baffled is when I choke it it drags bad, like it is vapor locking.... is this a valve problem? Or a timing set to far advanced?

Some background info:

I acquired the engine 2 mo ago.
To improve it, at least I thought, I changed plugs to new d5 plugs, put in a pertronix conversion kit in distributor. Did not remove it or rotate it to change time, just converted in place.
Engine ran hot and potted a hole in head. When I disassembled it had rats nest all over cly body. All fins packed full. So I assumed I just got too hot.
As an after thought, I pulled both heads and checked to make sure I had movement on exhaust valves. All free so I reassembled and put on new gaskets etc.

Ran engine, 30 mins it became weak , by pass increased, and now won’t start. Could I have it out of time? Why the choke vapor locking cranking for lack of a better term?

I like oldstuff

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Re: Wisconsin vh4d

Do a compression test. As you cooked the hell out of it it may have warped the valves or it has lost valve clearance. Better yet do a leakdown test.
You say bypass. Does that mean a lot more vapor from the breather? If so the rings may have lost their tension from the overheating.


Thanks, I did a compression test results
1. 62#
2. 60
3 64
4 54

So #4 has a clear problem but should run anyway, I would think. Maybe not smooth.

Leak down is next

Thanks for your input. I need all I can get


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When mine overheated that bad it melted a piston skirt. Did you put the ignition back to points to see if that changes anything?


60psi is quite low, but it will run on that. A good running rebuilt VH4D will have around 105psi compression in each cylinder. Your engine could be dragging down because of sticky/gummy valves, bad bearings, melted pistons or stuck rings. Before pulling the heads back off, remove the carburetor and pull the four valve covers and inspect the valves for movement. Check all valve clearances cold. 0.008" for the intake, 0.016" for the exhaust valves. Adjust as necessary, then try again. If the engine got really hot, check the valve springs for tension with a screwdriver. They should have plenty of spring to them. It takes a lot of heat to kill a Wisconsin engine, they are tough. You should be able to turn the engine over nice and smooth with the four plugs out. If its dragging, something major could be the matter. Melted pistons, melted big end rod bearings....It is not rocket science. Let us know what you find.