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New member with 1980 Vanagon that has severe lack of power
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Ming
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:01 pm    Post subject: New member with 1980 Vanagon that has severe lack of power Reply with quote

Hi all, a friend of mine just bought a 1980 Westphalia, manual transmission that had sat for about two years in dry storage. From looking at the Haynes manual and the Internet, we think it is a 2.0 liter, California version. It does have what appears to be an oxygen sensor.

We barely got the van home in first gear, it has so little power. We attempted to check the timing but it's a little confusing. The timing marks are on a flimsy piece of plastic that is attached by one bolt, squeezed under another. There was a silver paint mark on a very small notch, actually it looks like a small dent, in the rear periphery of the crank pulley. The mark is much smaller than the drawings of "V" and "U" shaped notches I see in pictures. When I turned the distributor to align with the 5 or 8 degrees ATDC mark, the engine will slow down and stall. It will speed up to what seems a good smooth idle when set to about 30 or 40 degrees BTDC. However, at either setting or in between, the vehicle has so little power that it can't get moving in first gear up my slightly inclined driveway ( maybe a 2 or 3 degree slope).

The previous owner said that this problem developed suddenly, and that was why it was parked. Of course, we don't know this for sure.

So I am hoping for suggestions on how to begin trouble shooting this frustrating problem.

We do have some mechanical ability, and replaced the faulty ignition lock, adjusted the shifter linkage, changed the oil and one fuel line and did other odd repairs so far.
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reluctantartist
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check this out:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/archives/manuals/afc_fi_training_troubleshooting_manual.php
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1982 Westy, 1974 412 Variant... Yes, Aircooled's are great! Oh and I do have modern computer controlled vehicles too, but I just don't care about them.


Last edited by reluctantartist on Mon May 21, 2012 7:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pull the hoses off the distributor and rev the engine up to 3500+ rpm. You want the timing set at 28-30 BTDC. Now reattach the hoses and don't worry about the timing at idle.

Do you get any pulsation out the exhaust pipe? Any throaty sounds of the exhaust valves opening. If the exhaust is unusually quiet and/or makes a hissing sound then the catalytic convertor may be clogged.

These engines have lot of hoses and lots of accompanying vacuum leaks. Check everything thrice.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:54 am    Post subject: Unhappy vanagon Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick suggestions. The AFC manual should be very useful, I'll print it off when I get a chance as I can't do it at home. It does mention a few special tools, but I'll see how far I can get with just the multimeter and timing light.

I like the idea of setting the total timing at higher rpm, but I am back to the problem of not being sure where the timing marks are. I saw in another post that I should set total timing to 35 to 40 degrees BTDC when it is "all in" as well.

On other engines I have used a dial gauge in the #1 spark plug hole to ascertain TDC, but that seems very difficult on the boxer engine.

So I am still stuck with the problem of how do I find the timing marks? I have rotated the pulley by hand and carefully looked the entire periphery over and only found the tiny dent which I am not sure is a factory mark, even though the previous owner marked it with silver paint.
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reluctantartist
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[url] http://www.ratwell.com/technical/FindTimingMark.html[/url]

That should help.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:50 am    Post subject: Re: Unhappy vanagon Reply with quote

Ming wrote:

So I am still stuck with the problem of how do I find the timing marks? I have rotated the pulley by hand and carefully looked the entire periphery over and only found the tiny dent which I am not sure is a factory mark, even though the previous owner marked it with silver paint.


If you pulley came from a 411/412/Porsche it may not have had a mark on the rim of the pulley and the owner may have added a mark where he thought it went. The original mark is just a smallish "V".

Using the original book specs to determine full mechanical advance gives 28-32. The Type 4s and Porsches were specced at 27. This is with the hoses off.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 3:07 pm    Post subject: Timing marks Reply with quote

Thanks Wildthings, I see now why the difference in total timing, as your way is eliminating the vacuum advance. Anyhow, I don't know what's been done to the vehicle, the previous owner couldn't even find it in the underground parking lot, so I take his info with a grain of salt.

It's raining here and we are having a kiddie birthday party at my place today so I won't be working on the Van today.

I wonder if someone has taken out the distributor and put it back in wrong- I once did this on my old Lada, I ended up timing it at 180 degrees out. Amazingly, it ran but badly and I couldn't get it back up the driveway at my friend's. So I have to absolutely determine the TDC position before following your instruction.

As for exhaust sounds, it sounds normal to me but I haven't owned a VW so I am not a good judge.

Reluctant Artist, thanks for that link to the timing mark. The link is broken, but I found it by searching in Google. I'll add that link:

http://www.ratwell.com/technical/FindTimingMark.html[url][/url]
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FNGRUVN
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it firing on all cylinders? Pull a plug wire(one at a time) and see if the engine stalls or the idle drops. This is a quick way to check if you have spark and/or fuel at each cylinder.

From there I'd do all the normal diagnostic stuff like compression test, leak down test if compression is low, and all the checks and tests that the Bentley or VW Pro Training manual lists.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:15 pm    Post subject: Further tests Reply with quote

After getting the Van home I pulled the plug wires off and felt the spark plugs. All were burning hot to the touch, so I figured they were all firing. I think we'll take the pulley and fan off to double check that they are installed properly. Looking at the "Find Timing Mark" article I am now anxious to check that they are indeed put on right.

We don't have a Bentley or VW Pro Training manual.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does your fan shroud have a black cap right in the middle of its top? If so it is from a 411/412/Porsche and your fan may or may not match up with it.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to check for the black cap tomorrow, but in rereading the "Find the Timing Marks" article, I see that it is for 1972-79 engines.... is it still correct for 1980 models?
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ming wrote:
I'll have to check for the black cap tomorrow, but in rereading the "Find the Timing Marks" article, I see that it is for 1972-79 engines.... is it still correct for 1980 models?


The timing mark is the same for all T4 bus and Vanagon air cooled engines as far as I know.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Wildthings. I'll hopefully investigate the van later today as I am working on another car right now.

BC Westie, thanks for the PM. I can't answer you yet though as I can't send PMs until I am a member for 7 days. I'll answer then, but in the meantime, do you mind if I ask what city you live in?

Thanks.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Progress!

I checked for the timing mark with the help of the "Find Timing Mark" page, and discovered that indeed what looked like a small sharp dent on the pulley was indeed just that- and someone in the past highlit that, thinking it was the timing mark. Checking very carefully I found the proper notch 42 mm from the bolt using the procedure on the "Find Timing Mark" page, and cleaned up around it, painted it and then sanded the dry paint to leave it just in the V notch. Then we set the timing to 27 BTDC at high rpm, distributor vacuum hoses off, although there was a factory dot at 25 BTDC.

Next I tapped in to check the fuel injection rail pressure- 35psi (2.5 bar) while cranking, but nothing when running! I double checked, and the fuel pump is off when it idles- yet it idles! I suppose just the weight of the fuel in the tank, since the van is a little nose up right now.

So I'll try to figure out this problem. I suppose there's a sensor that applies voltage to the pump when the engine is running.

I'm feeling much more optimistic now.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a set of contacts in the AFM that should close when there is air flow through the meter. These points trigger the fuel pump relay which supplies power to the pump. The pump will run during cranking as there is another circuit that sends a signal to the fuel pump relay from the starter solenoid.
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Ming
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 10:17 pm    Post subject: Regress Reply with quote

Well I spoke too soon- the reason there was no fuel pressure at idle was because my friend had left off the connector at the AFM. When we reattached it, we got 30 psi at idle.

I did a compression check and two cylinders are bad. One is 40 psi and one 70. These two cylinders seem totally dead, no change in idle speed when both are disconnected. I checked the fuel injector on no.3, which sprays well. I haven't checked no. 2 yet as it's harder to get to.

Even with low compression I'm surprised these cylinders seem to add nothing at all, the van still can't get out of its own way.
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are the hydraulic lifters properly pumped up for those two low cylinders?

They need to be.

http://www.ratwell.com/technical/FAQ/FAQContent.html#0106

Here is the best rap I have seen on doing a compression test to give you good reliable information. 1.1 and 1.5 please.

http://www.ratwell.com/technical/FAQ/FAQContent.html#0101

http://www.ratwell.com/technical/FAQ/FAQContent.html#0105

I assume that you have the timing scale on there. It should look sort of like this....

http://www.busdepot.com/details.jsp?partnumber=021119249E

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This picture shows the lines, "ll" (in silver paint), for BDC as he checked #2 cylinder's timing at 10 ATDC (since it is a 73 bus with factory dual carbs).
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