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Fluke or fix? Vanagon syndrome......
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speedtek
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:43 pm    Post subject: Fluke or fix? Vanagon syndrome...... Reply with quote

So we made the drive from Prince Albert, SK to Red Deer AB area this weekend for camper jam 2011. Due to a fuel shortage at my local Esso before we left, I filled up my almost empty tank with premium (at the price of regular). When we left Friday it was hot and sunny, I noticed on the whole leg of the trip to north Battleford I didn't experience vanagon syndrome once. Now my van has the capacitor mod to the air meter, but it is still very consistent in that it will start losing power when you ease into the throttle after cruising for extended periods, especially when it's hot out. Anyways, I decided I would splurge a bit and fill up with premium the whole trip.....I didn't experience a single instance of the syndrome in over 22 hours of driving (there and back). We drove in almost every condition, cold and wet, hot and dry, cool and dry, warm and wet.....no issues.

Not only that, I was managing to pull 25 mpg out of the old WBX over the course of several fillups and a full load with a roof rack full of crap.

Interesting, not sure if I've stumbled on something regarding the syndrome or if it's just a weird fluke...

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funagon
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to go off topic, but what's that awesome rim & tire combo on your van? Are those BBS rims? Looks great.

I doubt that the octane in your fuel would affect the vanagon syndrome. Maybe there's something else going on? Next time you need to fill up on a long drive go back to low-octane and see how the van drives. Then report back here!
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speedtek
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, 17x8 BBS RY's
A better shot
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And yes, I kind of have my doubts that octane can affect the syndrome, but there has to be some kind of correlation here. It can't just be pure coincidence....I will fill up with regular next trip (well, mid grade anyways, I refuse to run anything with ethanol) and see if it changes again.
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Fluke or fix? Vanagon syndrome...... Reply with quote

speedtek wrote:

Not only that, I was managing to pull 25 mpg out of the old WBX over the course of several fillups and a full load with a roof rack full of crap.


Shocked You sure you calculated correctly? Or, did you mean 25 miles per liter... or 25 km/l?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was managing to pull 25 mpg out of the old WBX

I have the same curiosity as Kam. If that is 25MPG how fast were you going? 45 MPH? I don't think it is possible to get that kind of MPG at freeway speed with a waterboxer.... is it?
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Octane isn't affecting Vanagon Syndrome because you never had it.
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speedtek
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vanjoe wrote:
I was managing to pull 25 mpg out of the old WBX

I have the same curiosity as Kam. If that is 25MPG how fast were you going? 45 MPH? I don't think it is possible to get that kind of MPG at freeway speed with a waterboxer.... is it?


Cruising at 90 km/h, and it was no fluke.......there were three separate fillups that returned 24.5, 24.9 and the best of 25.2......

When I was cruising at 100 I was getting around 22.

For you Americans in the audience, let's keep in mind that's imperial mpg, not US......
US mpg would translate to roughly 21

tencentlife wrote:
Octane isn't affecting Vanagon Syndrome because you never had it.


That's probable as I really have no idea how it works, I was told by the po that what I am describing was vanagon syndrome (as he warned me about it when I bought it). What am I experiencing then?
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Zentaka
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am far from expert but I have experienced something similar, so I will try to offer some guidance.

We would need a more detailed description of your problem. Have you checked/changed your fuel filters? I know my van would die out when I hit the throttle and I would have to change/clean the fuel filters. (I have a rusty gas tank.)


Have you checked these things? (Not necessarily in order.)

Fuel filters
Fuel injectors
Power to fuel injectors
Distributor cap
Rotor

When the van loses power does the tach drop to 0? From what I understand if the tach is dropping to 0 it points to the ICU. If not I would check the above mentioned.

More info on your problem would really help. What year and engine size is your WBX? it looks so pretty and shiny and new!

Does the problem solve itself when you turn the van off and back on? This would point to Vanagon syndrome.


Hope this is somewhat helpful, Good luck and don't give up!


-Zen
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speedtek
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zentaka wrote:
I am far from expert but I have experienced something similar, so I will try to offer some guidance.

We would need a more detailed description of your problem. Have you checked/changed your fuel filters? I know my van would die out when I hit the throttle and I would have to change/clean the fuel filters. (I have a rusty gas tank.)


Have you checked these things? (Not necessarily in order.)

Fuel filters
Fuel injectors
Power to fuel injectors
Distributor cap
Rotor

When the van loses power does the tach drop to 0? From what I understand if the tach is dropping to 0 it points to the ICU. If not I would check the above mentioned.

More info on your problem would really help. What year and engine size is your WBX? it looks so pretty and shiny and new!

Does the problem solve itself when you turn the van off and back on? This would point to Vanagon syndrome.


Hope this is somewhat helpful, Good luck and don't give up!


-Zen


The problem does (used to) resolve itself when you turn it off and back on again (for awhile anyways). The rotor and cap were new this year, but the problem was there on an earlier trip after they were changed. I just find it strange that the premium gas has any effect in this regard...do these things even have knock sensors?
No, the tach never died in any incident before

Van is an 88, 2.1, 4-spd
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Zero419
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you losing all power, or just a little?
My van loses some oomph after a long climb and everything heats up near its limits.
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Zentaka
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would check the fuel filters. Take them off and dump the gas through a coffee filter, with the gas coming out the way it normally comes in. I have a clear filter on the tank side of the pump, you might be able to just get under the van and see if the gas looks murky through there.

IIRC there is a pressure tester that you can get and attach to the t-point in the fuel lines to see if the pressure is up to snuff.

The fact that it seems to run better on premium makes me think you might have dirty gas, but it's so hard to say because of the intermittent nature of the problem.

Hope this helps,

-Zen
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speedtek
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zentaka wrote:
I would check the fuel filters. Take them off and dump the gas through a coffee filter, with the gas coming out the way it normally comes in. I have a clear filter on the tank side of the pump, you might be able to just get under the van and see if the gas looks murky through there.

IIRC there is a pressure tester that you can get and attach to the t-point in the fuel lines to see if the pressure is up to snuff.

The fact that it seems to run better on premium makes me think you might have dirty gas, but it's so hard to say because of the intermittent nature of the problem.

Hope this helps,

-Zen


It runs perfect 97% of the time on regular as well, the only time I ever had an issue was extended highway driving........and then only after a while and it went away by cycling ignition. Around town you wouldn't even know there could be a problem, this motor purrs. Now that I started using premium for the highway it seems to have even fixed the remaining 3%...... don't really know what the issues might be, but I would doubt that a plugged filter could be the culprit.....I would notice power loss as soon as I tried revving up over 4. When they're plugged bad enough to cause running issues, they will usually starve the engine of fuel every time it asks for a lot more...btdt.

Thanks for the input and I will take a look, but I'm skeptical on that one. The filters and lines were all replaced when the engine was rebuilt a few years ago afaik.

hero419 wrote:
Are you losing all power, or just a little?
My van loses some oomph after a long climb and everything heats up near its limits.


When I did happen, it would be pretty much all through about the first quarter of throttle pedal travel....if you floored it and waited a second it would go fine and come back to life. Once you got into the mode it was pretty much happening as soon as you backed off the throttle completely and then went to ease back into it, you'd have to pretty much floor it or it was like you were choking out the motor.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possible intermittent TPS problems?
Maybe the idle "click" is not working, but you are getting the full throttle "enrichment" click...
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You probably have something that is causing a misfire at speed. The O2 sensor will read this as a lean condition and try to correct it causing the engine to lose power and run poorly. Turning the ignition off and on resets the O2 sensor circuit so it will run okay for a while until the engine begins to misfire again. Since this is happening mainly on the highway I would start by changing out the plugs. What plugs are you running now?

You should also check your timing. If it's too far off and it could cause the plugs to run too hot and maybe misfire. High test might have some affect here.

I consider 22-24 mpg(US) to be normal for highway running, so 25 mpg(imperial) is nothing special.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason I said your problem is not VS, is because VS happens when the throttle is held steady for an long period. Your problem occurs when you alter the throttle position. VS is a very narrow and specific symptom set, peculiar to Digifant alone, but unfortunately people have inflated it into an overarching bugbear that encompasses just about any gong-down-the-road problem anyone encounters.

Things you should check:
TBS operation, not just audibly but with a VOM
Fuel pressure tests
AFM potentiometer signal
Ignition timing, set for total advance
O2 sensor operation, both open-circuit and verify that lambda feedback is functioning in closed loop
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