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Help from some vanagon gurus. I'm perpelexed.
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mcgyver06
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:21 am    Post subject: Help from some vanagon gurus. I'm perpelexed. Reply with quote

Last week I started the van and drove it a few miles to the grocery store to pick up supplies for the weekend. When i came out it wouldn't start. It was cranking but very very slow. I tried to jump it. Same thing. I figured it was the started bushings. I changed the starter. Now it just makes that chunking noise. I can hear the starter kick in but it is not turning the engine. Maybe the cables? So I jumped past them to the starter. Same thing. I did all of the suggested tests to the starter and system with my multimeter. It is getting 12.9 volts to the starter which drops to about 9.9 while the switch is engaged and it is trying to turn the flywheel.
I also pulled the new starter back but left the wires connected, hit the switch and it cranks like crazy. I reinstalled the old starter, same thing, it cranks like crazy. I reinstalled it and even went so far as to connect my truck with jumper cables directly to the starter and ground, bypassing all of the other wiring. The voltage increased to 13.7 while connected to the running truck but still nothing. Occasionally it will turn the engine about a half turn or so and then nothing but that chunking noise.

I feel like I have eliminated, or bypassed, everything in the electrical system that could be wrong and the fact that it was running until I switched it off and the engine still occasionally turns a small amount (like it would if the battery were low) would indicate that it isn't seized up. So what gives? Has anyone had this kind of problem before? Am I completely missing something? Stupid?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The starter bushing is pressed into the bellhousing. Did you actually replace it, it is separate from the starter. They don't tend to suddenly disappear that I know of and the wear is slow not sudden. I guess they could fall apart though.

Have you tried turning the engine over by hand? Does it feel normal? What is the condition of your ground straps between the tranny and the frame and between the frame and the battery?


Last edited by Wildthings on Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bruskyvw
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the club. Laughing maybe my thread will be of some help to you.... I don't know how but I feel like I am having the same problem. and welcome to the samba

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=393686&start=0
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to be jumping to the end conclusion before addressing the things that Wildthings suggested, but it is not uncommon at all for a rebuilt starter to be faulty. It may spin just fine outside of the vehicle, but any kind of load causes it to fail. Just something to keep in mind once you eliminate the other possibilities.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pull the spark plugs and see how easily the engine turns over with the starter without the plugs in place. I'm still thinking weak electrical at this point. The voltage drop should not be that large at the starter. Measure the voltage during cranking at the starter and at the battery. My voltage only drops to about 11.5 at the battery while cranking. If the difference at the two points is large, you have a bad cable.
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camerahunter
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had this same problem with a 91 2.1 GL that I'm still fooling around with. Now it has an overheating problem. But, back to the starting problem. This happened to me early on. The water jacket seal began leaking, a bit of white smoke was coming out for the first few minutes of running, then go away.
On top of that the water pump totally died, wobbling, leaking, totally bad. I replaced that but the white smoke continued, got worse and the van would rung but on a short trip like you took I would come out and it would not start.
Once in a while just holding the key in the start position would get it to go over past the sticking point, fire up and go.
I tried revving it up good before shutting it off to blow everything out, reduce the pressure, and it would help it start again. If that didn't work I took a tire iron and moved the engine past the stuck point via the fins on the transmission, then start it. Eventually the smoke got so bad that I just parked it until this week. I now have the Subaru coolant conditioner in there, smoke is going away but I think the radiator is plugged up.

So, that's my experience and it's worth just what you paid for it.

David
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was there any difference in how the engine was starting and running prior to this?

Oil level ok?
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Franklinstower
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second the idea of pulling your spark plugs and seeing if it spins faster. I had a hydraulic lock once from leaky injectors that had created similar starting symptons. removing the plugs and cranking it revealed the issue when gas was shot out the spark plug hole.

Paul
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rsxsr
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

camerahunter wrote:

Once in a while just holding the key in the start position would get it to go over past the sticking point, fire up and go.
David


David, in your situation, it is possible a cylinder was filling with coolant when the engine was off. The sticking point could have been the piston trying to compress the coolant in the cylinder. With a good starting system, you could probably bend a connecting rod if the cylinder was really filled up. Water can't be compressed, something has to give. Usually the connecting rod.

To the original poster, I would want to also remove the spark plugs and be sure I could turn the engine over by hand.
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camerahunter
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxr

Yes, that could be what was wrong. I don't think it had much coolant in there but some. The engine runs fine today, just a tad hot, little smoke, but nice and smooth.

For what it's worth all my troubles started with a simple get in, turn key, nothing, turn off, try again and it would go with no hesitation.

David
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Franklinstower wrote:
I second the idea of pulling your spark plugs and seeing if it spins faster. I had a hydraulic lock once from leaky injectors that had created similar starting symptons. removing the plugs and cranking it revealed the issue when gas was shot out the spark plug hole.

Paul


Voila...

You did the right thing by jump starting the starter directly with your truck.

2 possibilities

-Bad starter (i don't think so because the old has the same problem)
-Hydro lock.

Hydro lock is mostly cause by gas. Faulty injector or fuel pressure sender.

Good luck
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rsxsr
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A word of caution, if you expect the engine is hydralocked with gasoline, be sure to have the coil wire removed from the distributor cap and securely grounded. Cranking the engine, will explel the gasoline, but it also creates a very flamable environment. One spark and you could have a bigger problem.
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camerahunter
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's hydralock wouldn't the smell of gas be prominent?

David
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not as strong as you might think. Any engine that cranks but does not start that has a working fuel system would have a similar smell. You could pull the dipstick, most likely if a cylinder is filling with gas, it is washing past the rings and will be mixing with the oil.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<<Hydro lock is mostly cause by gas.>>

Gas could do it Benny---but not as fast or as a hard lock as a coolant lock.
Coolant into a cylinder will lock her up tight as a fat ladies socks --right now
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mcgyver06
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:58 pm    Post subject: Thanks for all of the suggestions Reply with quote

To answer a few questions.

It was running until I shut it off.
I did install the starter bushing.
It has oil and is only about 1500 miles since the last change.
I checked the battery ground when I was trying to diagnose the battery/starter problem but I feel I took all of that out of the mix by trying to jump it from my truck directly to the starter.

I pulled the plugs this morning and, no I could not turn the engine easily. It did turn a bit but it was very difficult. I would imagine with no plugs and in neutral it should be easy to turn.

So I'm guessing this means something in the engine could be dragging or hung up correct?

Any other ideas? I really appreciate all of the help and suggestions.
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rsxsr
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy is relative. If you could get a socket on the crank pulley with a long ratchet, the engine should turn through freely. If you were grasping the alternator pulley with you hands and trying to turn the engine, it would have some resistance.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for all of the suggestions Reply with quote

mcgyver06 wrote:
To answer a few questions.

It was running until I shut it off.
I did install the starter bushing.
It has oil and is only about 1500 miles since the last change.
......

I pulled the plugs this morning and, no I could not turn the engine easily. It did turn a bit but it was very difficult. I would imagine with no plugs and in neutral it should be easy to turn.

So I'm guessing this means something in the engine could be dragging or hung up correct?

Any other ideas? I really appreciate all of the help and suggestions.




As a point of reference, with plugs removed, using a 1/2" drive ratchet, it was relatively easy to turn my air cooled engine. Same for my Jetta 2.0 (currently installed).

Ok. So thinking this through "out loud"....

So oil level is ok right? If so, likely no hydrolock due to gas in crankcase.

Since engine is hard to turn by hand, some remote but easy to check possibilities:

engine and transmission bolted together properly?

Try turning engine with clutch pedal depressed. I obviously don't know the inside of the tranny very well, but if there was something hanging inside transmission causing input shaft to bind, (even when in neutral) this might make the engine harder to turn.

I know you swapped starters, but did you try turning engine with starter removed? Thinking that in spite of starter sound, starter pinion might be stuck in place (related to recent bushing install)

Neil.
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'm no mechanic by a long shot, so don't laugh. But...

... your description (slow cranking with clunking noise) is exactly the symptoms I experienced when I cleaned my engine with a high pressure washer. I was in a rush and forgot to cover the distributor before I blasted away. All that occurred back in the summer. Then it happened again for a split second the other week. No problem since then, however. Coincidental with a bad fuel injector? Maybe my description will help you diagnose your problem.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remove the lower cover from your steering column, disconnect the electrical connector from the ignition switch, bridge the red and red/black wires (make sure the van is in park/neutral first!). This triggers the starter. If it sounds normal (the engine won't actually start because there is no power to the ECU), replace your ignition switch.
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