View original topic: Won't idle after changing plugs/wires - resolved.
jayinduluth Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:33 pm

Last Friday I installed new plugs NGK's BR6ES's directly from NGK (cuz vancafe only had 3 in stock..) and new STI wires from vancafe. I had replaced the cap and rotor back in February to resolve a turnover - no start problem. Recently, I had been experiencing some missing/fluctuations while driving on the freeway, so I decided to change plugs and wires, since the only evidence I had of that being done was from 5 years/20k miles ago.

The plug swap went smooth, I did them one at a time, so as not to F up the order, etc. Van started and idled ok after the swap. The next day decided to drive on the freeway and it ran fine, but I felt like the rpm's were a little higher than normal for driving 65-70mph, so I decided to time it again.

After doing that, things got worse, after the van would warm up, the idle when in park would shoot up 2-2500rpm, but then when in gear, it would go down to 900, but fluctuate to 1100, something it had never done before. So I f'd around with the timing again and big idle screw on the throttle body, and now I think its completely messed up as I can't get it to idle unless I have constant pressure on the gas pedal. Doesn't matter if I have the idle stabilizer plugged in or the wires plugged into each other. I unplugged the O2 sensor, didn't make a difference.

My engine is a Canadian reman, 2.1, so I have used the gowesty timing template and marked past the notches, but it has the old 1.9 throttle body and the idle stabilizer. I have the cheapo timing gun from harbor freight which in the past has been good enough.

Today I pulled the intake boot and checked for cracks as a possible source of vacuum leaks for the high idle, but it looked good, very stiff in fact, so I think its not the original.

We're supposed to drive to vegas/lake mead tomorrow to meet some friends, but unless I get this resolved, we might have tent camp (what's that???)

Anyway, how do I get it back to normal?? Which way do I turn the screw? I feel like if I can just get it to idle, I can try to time it again. As far as the plugs, they should come gapped correctly right?

jayinduluth Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:18 pm

I wound up turning the idle screw almost all the way out and then turned back clockwise a few turns and then with the help of my wife, we got the van to at least start while she applied pressure to the gas pedal and once again I got it timed at 3000 rpm's with the idle stabilizer plugs plugged into each other and it was able to idle on its own for a while, but then we shut the van off and went to restart it and it won't idle on its own.. so almost/basically back at zero..

Mikesarge Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:37 pm

Did it run right before you did the plugs? If so, you forgot a step on reassembly. Check everything you touched while changing plugs.

Then, check your plug gaps. Yes, they’re pre-gapped, but often they’re off from shipping or whatever.

Then, if that still doesn’t work, put your old plugs and wires back in and see if it runs better.

jayinduluth Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:44 am

Mikesarge wrote: Did it run right before you did the plugs? If so, you forgot a step on reassembly. Check everything you touched while changing plugs.

Then, check your plug gaps. Yes, they’re pre-gapped, but often they’re off from shipping or whatever.

Then, if that still doesn’t work, put your old plugs and wires back in and see if it runs better.

Thanks for the reply. I will look over everything again, but I did the plugs one at a time, and the van did run ok on saturday and monday after I changed them, I was just trying to resolve a high idle by doing the timing again and adjusting the throttle screw. That's where I got it all messed up.

I pulled the two plugs on the drivers side and to my naked eye, they look to be gapped correctly, especially when compared to the old plugs, NGK's website say they come pre-gapped at .035", which is slightly bigger than vw's .028".

I will try putting the old plugs back in, but I'm worried that I've messed around with the throttle screw too much and now I have too much or too little air that it doesn't or can't idle properly...

jayinduluth Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:29 am

I'm going to mark this topic as resolved. After I removed the air box, I saw that one of idle boost valve hoses was completely disconnected (I think the idle boost valves were only around in 83-85's??), the nipple of the hose reducer had broke off, I must have broken it completely when I put the air box back in after I changed the plugs.
Here is a pic from the Bentley

So I took that broken part to the shop I go to and Norm said no longer available, maybe go to a hardware store, you might be able to find a brass one. Then he said you can just cap the ends of the hoses, you don't really need them. So I went home and capped the hoses

Golf pencil and electrical tape in the skinny hose

I wrapped the broken reducer with electrical tape and shoved it back in the braided hose

Then put the air box back, and had the wife start the van. Nothing. Then realized I forgot to plug the AFM back in, after that, started right up, idled just fine, maybe even a little too low, right around 800. Threw the pooch in the van and took off down the freeway 5-6 miles, then took back roads home. Got home, took a look again at the fixes, they seemed to have held, so we got shit loaded up and took off for Lake Mead, about 340 miles, no issues!!

Sunday, we took off for Lake Havasu State Park, about 140 miles away. No issues. Got to the campsite and parked, then wife said, can you move about 10 ft forward, so started the van back and POOF/POP sound and the van wouldn't start, so we unloaded the shit, took engine cover off and yep, the plug in the braided hose had blown out. I look on the pavement and there it was, so I took the electrical tape off, and put duct tape on it, shove it back in the hose, wrap some more duct tape around it and the hose and it started right now, idled just fine. Yesterday, drove home 300 miles, part of which was in 90+ degree heat, no problems, got 18mpg.

What do people use for capping hoses like this? Is there a chance I can find an actual hose reducer that would fit this? Should I just remove the hoses and just wrap the valve ends with tape?

4Gears4Tires Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:31 am

Pipe dope on the threads of a bolt with a hose clamp will be effective.

MarkWard Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:55 pm

Why not fix it? You should be able to get some brass fittings from the hardware store to cobble something together if you can't find the correct part. One valve raises the idle for the power steering load. The other valve raises the idle for when the AC is on. The auxiliary air regulator is also part of that hose system. It maintains idle speed during warm up. All handy features when they work.

johnnyvw164 Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:06 pm

If it's a simple reducer, hose barb on each end, try McMaster-Carr industrial supply. They have all sorts of things like that. Here's a fancy one in aluminum:

But they have them in various types of plastics and other metals as well.

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