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86 Vanagon Oil Pressure Diagnosis
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stevewp
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: 86 Vanagon Oil Pressure Diagnosis Reply with quote

I need some help obtaining some direction on a Vanagon Oil Pressure problem.

The PO contacted me to see if I could help him sell or donate his Vanagon as it has an oil pressure problem and he did not want to invest any more money. He only had 3 days to get it off the street. I made arrangements for him to donate it to our church so we could get him a deduction for the contribution. We trailered the van around October 31 and it sat for about 1 month until we had time to look at it on Thanksgiving. We towed it to my house.

The first thing we tried to do was duplicate the oil pressure problem. By just letting it idle on the driveway for about 10 minutes, the alarm did not come on.

We then drove it for about 8 miles and no alarm came on. So we are confused by what the PO thought was the problem.

Here is the sequence of events as I see them from studying the service invoices:

16-june-2009 Taken to local mechanic for service. They put in 5w30 oil and replaced both oil sensors. They road tested the vehicle and state all is OK.

Link to invoice 7603

23-june-2009 Taken to VW dealership. Customer is complaining the oil pressure light comes on within a block of driving the vehicle. They find a corroded wire and repaired it. They test drove it to verify all is OK.

Link to invoice 736999

26-june-2009 Taken back to VW dealershhip. Customer states after 5 miles or a little more, the oil presure light will come on and buzz. Engine has 5/30 oil in it.

The dealership replaces the oil with 20w50 and puts a Mahle filter in it. Then they test it with a pressure tester and determine after the engine warms, they are only getting 1.6 to 1.7 bar at 2000 rpm. They tell the customer it is worn bearings or a worn pump.

Link to invoice 737066

Here is their words:

Quote:
Removed the lower heat shield from the left side of the motor. Removed the low pressure switch. Installed a pressure gauge. At cold start up pressure was about 75 psi. Ran engine at a very fast idle to warm the engine. Pressure steadily dropped. VW Spec is 2 bar at 2000 rpm. I had about 1.6-1.7 bar at 2000 rpm. Pressure will rise to about 2.1 bar around 2800-3000 rpm. This is about the normal driving range. At 2700 rpm there was 1.7 bar. The motor does have oil pressure but not quite enough. At this mileage it could be caused by worn bearings or a worn pump. Could be both.



I have to be careful that the church does not sell this van to someone and state this problem is fixed when it really is not. We periodically resale vehicles to raise money for apportionments. I don't want to harm this program.

I have purchase a VDO pressure sensor that has binary and pressure gauge outputs. I have purchased a replacement pump but not installed it. I have snapon pressure gauge with adapters for the VDO sender.

Until Thanksgiving, I thought we would run the engine for a while to see how long it would take the alarm to come on. Then take a measurement with the gauge to establish a baseline. After the pump replacement, repeat the same tests to determine if there is any improvements. Now that we drove it 8 miles without incident, I am not sure what to think.

What direction should we take this?

Also, I noted on the invoice from 16-june-2009, all of the belts were replaced and the brake lights were fixed. However, the belts really squeak upon startup and then the noise goes away. Also, the brake lights are continuously on and the PO pulled the fuse to shut them off. I have not confirmed this though.

The PO is an airline pilot and I think he is clearly capable of reading alarms and reporting what he observes. How can there be 2 mechanics state they road tested the vehicle and yet the PO still maintains there is a problem?

The van is not currently licensed or insured, I would have to ask the church to license and insure it so we can make sure all works OK (or report the problems we know of). Then there is a question of value and how much it is worth.

I really want to save this van but I need to get to the root cause of the problem quickly.

If I need to hook up the dual sender, can someone tell me what goes on the "G" port and what goes on the "WK" port?
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erdonline
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I don't have any input on the question at hand, but I couldn't help notice on the second invoice the the dealer charged $68 for two window crank handles. I know some dealers can be quite expensive, but this has got to be a mistake! Why would anyone pay that much for a window crank?

Ed in CT
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What years is this van and how many miles does it have? On 1986 and later vans with 2.1 liter engines the rod bolts tend to let go once the mileage is in the 140-200K range. The only warning sign is low oil pressure when hot. This is such a common problem I can't believe that a dealership wouldn't warn someone of it.

Random low oil pressure can be caused by a sticking oil pressure relief valve. Removing the valve and checking and correcting any scoring is the solution here. Not hard to do. The spring for the relief valve also weakens over time and should either be replaced or shimmed to give the correct length.
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RCB
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

erdonline wrote:
Sorry, I don't have any input on the question at hand, but I couldn't help notice on the second invoice the the dealer charged $68 for two window crank handles. I know some dealers can be quite expensive, but this has got to be a mistake! Why would anyone pay that much for a window crank?

Ed in CT


I can understand the cost for the window handles, new ones are difficult to get....the brown handles can fetch $30.00 each and thats if you can find them.

I know that a business needs to make money to survive but charging $90.00 for wires ($33.00 at Autohaus) or $20.00 for an oil switch ($4.00 at Autohaus) or $23.00 for an air filter ($12.00 at Autohaus) or $20.00 for a distributor cap ($7.00 at Autohaus) is highway robbery!!!!

Most VW dealers have no clue as to how to fix something or how to test something to see if it works or not.....but they are proficient wizards in the art of removing and replacing. Very Happy
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stevewp
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it is a 1986 and there are 131,000 miles on it. I had read about the relief valve and purchased a new piston and spring.

The focus has been on the paint. If this could not get turned around, I didn't think it would fetch much. I hope to take some pictures and get them posted.

Again, I think this van is worth saving.

Steven
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Captain Pike
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sell it as a project van as to" wash your hands" of it. No guilt Pray

Test the oil pressure on the driver side,remove the sender between the pushrod tubes, connect there. You will need to move some tin to get there. Post your results.
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stevewp
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some pictures of the vanagon:

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stevey88
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its a Westy! Now we know why you want to save it.
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deprivation
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Umm. How much you wanna sell that thing for?
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stevewp
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are interested, PM me. I guess we don't have a price until we get to the bottom of the oil pressure issue.

Since this is a church selling the vehicle, we want to make sure any issues are clearly explained to avoid an unhappy customer.

Steven
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very nice westy,could bring a high price with the engine issue worked out.
Is the church tax exempt/charitable status? If so try to find a wrench to R/R the engine(he gets a charitable deduction worth $1600 to $2500) Donations for the engine parts(another $1200).
Ebay sale as a tax exempt org. Buyers bid higher if they feel the $ is going to help someone in the long run. You will fetch a higher price and the purchase price may be tax deductible for the buyer.
You have 30 days before the close of the tax year.
$7000 to $9000 if done right. Maybe more.........
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The oil pressure you reported isnt the best but it's not that bad either (still above 20psi @ 2krpm) so at this mileage I wouldn't be too concerned about the potential rod bolt failure, but within another 30-40K miles, or if the OP falls much more, it would be wise to get into the engine. I wouldn't feel bad selling it with that caveat to the buyers, the van looks like a nice Westy and if it's bought to be used as a camper 40k miles might mean a bunch of years of part-time recreational use. There are a lot of people, I know several, who would want a Westy for camping only, not as a daily.

For the PO's previous OP warnings, you should check out the hi-OP pressure switch wire, make sure it is intact and well-connected to the switch, which is on the rear of the engine block, below and to the left of the crank pulley, kind of hidden by the water pump pulley. If the wire looks good, you should try a new hi-OP switch. It is a different switch from the low-OP switch where your mechanic sampled the OP.

Also, check the 14-pin connector for the instrument cluster, make sure it is firmly seated across its whole width.

On your VDO OP sender, the WK is for an idiot light, G is for the gauge. If you use WK as your switch instead of the OEM low-OP switch, you may get a nuisance OP light at idle, because the switchpoint in the gauge sender is at a higher pressure than the OEM switch. The best arrangement is the gauge sender and the OEM switch teed together on a plumbing extension. You will need an extension to install your gauge sender anyway, because the sender won't fit where the low-OP switch does, so adding the tee is no big deal.
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stevewp
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The church is tax exempt. I did not think about tax exempt sale - but in Missouri - they would have to pay sales tax to get license.

We had told the PO the tax deduction letter will be in 2010, not 2009.

tencentlife - the invoices stated both sensors were changed - in fact they were changed 2 times. I think the mechanics looked at the wires - but I need to verify.

I wil need to get under the vehicle to see what can fit.

I will get some measurements before and after a 5 mile drive on the low pressure side and get the results posted.

Still, we have mechanics that say they drove the vehicle and all is resolved.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are only going to be driving a very short distance like 5 miles, get the engine fully warmed up before starting out. You might also keep it a gear lower than you normally would to get even more heat into the oil. To really get the oil warm pulling a 10 mile long 6% grade at 55mph in third gear would be the way to go.
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stevewp
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On Sunday, I was able to work with the Vanagon some. I installed a pressure gauge into the side of the case between cylinder 3 & 4.


At startup, the pressure was at 65 PSI. I let the engine idle for nearly 25 minutes. The pressure eventually got down to 15 PSI. I drove the van for about 1/2 mile and returned. The pressure was about 10 PSI. I let it idle about 10 more minutes and it never dropped below 10 PSI.

My wife warmed up to this Vanagon and we purchased it from the church on Sunday. So, it is my van to drive and diagnose now.

I don't think the low pressure light is going to come on. Look at this math and see if you agree.

1 bar = 14.5 PSI.

The low RPM sensor (.3 bar sensor) should make contact when the pressure falls below 4.35 PSI (.3 * 14.5 = 4.35). Since my pressure after a 30 minute idle never goes below 10 PSI, I think I am ok.

Also, during the testing and idling, when you increase the engine RPM, the pressure goes right back up to 30 to 40 PSI. Pressure should be really good when driving. It drops right back to 10 PSI when the engine returns to idle.

I don't think I will let the van idle for 30 minutes and even if I do, I don't see the pressure falling below the 4.35 PSI threshold. So I will hold onto the bypass piston, bypass spring and pump I purchased just in case I need them. But I don't think I am going to replace anything or open up the engine at this time.

I will compression test the cylinders to see how far I am from getting the heads rebuilt or an engine rebuild.

Can someone review my math and conclusions and give me their opinion?
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rsxsr
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A rule of thumb for engines. 10 psi for each 1000 rpm minimum. Congrats on your purchase.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The oil pressures you are reporting, while lower than the Bentley specs for a new engine, are very common for a WBX-er with some miles on it. Not "new engine" pressure, but it's not time to junk it either. I think you did the right thing by buying it.

Your engine won't get really hot until you take it for a nice long drive. Letting the WBXer idle in the driveway will never get the engine as hot, or the oil as thin, as driving it. To really test the oil pressure go out on the highway and drive in 4th gear between 3500 and 4000 rpm's, for about 30 minutes to an hour. When you exit the highway and roll to a stop somewhere (RPM's drop to zero) see if you get a flickering oil light or the dreaded buzzer. Then you'll know the pressure is too low! This is worth finding out before you go on a long road trip.

You can search thesamba for oil pressure and find lots of info about "fixing" oil pressure. Everything from sensors and wires, to oil pumps, pressure relief valves, and engine rebuilds. But even if it comes to that, you've got a really nice camper there. It's well worth whatever repairs you may need to do to keep it running.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:
A rule of thumb for engines. 10 psi for each 1000 rpm minimum.

Please correct me if I'm mistaken on this, but I thought that rule didn't really apply past 3500-3800 rpm. Or am I remembering something else?
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240Gordy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

forgettaboutit.

I have been driving my '85 for a year and about 8,000 km with <10psi OP.

Least of my worries.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smells OK __________for now.
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