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  View original topic: '82 Vanagon overheated, oil light now on and slow oil leak
dlm1897 Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:33 pm

Hi there, I bought an '82 Vanagon back in October. I recently overheated it and not surprisingly it caused some big issues. The oil light is now staying on and a good amount of oil is now leaking from the engine.

How does one go about diagnosing what the issue is? My feeling is it's a blown head gasket, but that's just based on my very limited knowledge of engines.

FYI - the van now has a 1.8 from an '86 Fox or Passat (according to the previous owner).

Also, I realize that this job is probably more than I'm capable of competently completing. For you Denver area folks, I contacted Painter's Grinding VW Specialists today and they said it would be a month and a half before they could take a look. While I have people's attention - do you have any Denver area shops that you would recommend for something like this?

Oil is leaking in this area

Close up of the area

In case anyone was wondering, I attempted to remove the valve cover today to check that gasket and it appears the timing chain cover has to be removed first? Seems like someone installed that incorrectly.

jlrftype7 Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:09 pm

Should be a Timing Belt I believe, running that motor.
I seem to remember the Upper Cover has to go OVER the Valve Cover, since your valve cover must seal against the cyl. head. Belt cover is just to protect the timing belt from things getting tangled with it or damage the engine.

drip Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:57 am

Thatís a CIS injection system installed in a ex 50* diesel van. Iíve got the same thing but used the ABA 2.0L bottom end. Yes the metal timing belt cover must be removed first then valve cover. But probably a oil pressure leak from the top end oil passage. How did it run after the overheating? Gage not working?

dlm1897 Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:26 pm

drip wrote: Thatís a CIS injection system installed in a ex 50* diesel van. Iíve got the same thing but used the ABA 2.0L bottom end. Yes the metal timing belt cover must be removed first then valve cover. But probably a oil pressure leak from the top end oil passage. How did it run after the overheating? Gage not working?

Just curious - how did you know it used to be diesel van?

When I took it for a spin around the block after overheating, the most noticeable thing was hesitation when pressing on the gas pedal. Seems to have lost some power too but that was not real noticeable. Of course, it may have been more noticeable had I took it out on the highway.

The gauge has always worked (to the best of my knowledge), so I'm assuming it is still working. I have not tested the oil pressure myself though.

?Waldo? Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:34 pm

The '82 year vans came with either 2.0L air-cooled gas engines or 1.6 non-turbo diesel engines. It is not uncommon that people swapped in an inline-4 gas engine in place of the original diesel engine as it was woefully under-powered. It would be uncommon for someone to swap from a 2.0L gas engine to a 1.8 inline-4 although it would be an improvement.

You don't show a clear picture of the engine compartment sheet metal around the engine, but it appears to be diesel rather than gasser. A dead giveaway would be if the battery tray is in the engine compartment or if the front lower grill is stock.

drip Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:03 pm

Did you find the oil leak? Yes same answer. When the diesel is pulled out it simple to put a 1.8L or similar block in place. All mounts, carriers and cooling system will work. Just basicly add a coil wire and fuel pump and change your fuel type and exhaust. A few more little things and done. In your case you went from around 48hp to 80hp. Diesel trans can stay in place. Mine did and works good. Sings a nice song.

dlm1897 Yesterday 10:11 am

Turns out it was the valve cover gasket after all. Replaced that and no leak now.



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