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Ghia Starting Problems
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supercharged
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:18 am    Post subject: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

I am not sure if this is a Karmann Ghia specific problem, but we own a 1972 Ghia and its happening to ours.

If we dive the car every day, it starts like a top. But if we let it set for a couple days, sometimes when we try to start it, nothing happens. Just like itís got a dead battery or the wiring in loose. No sign of power at all, but the radio and lights work. But if we come back in an hour or so, it starts right up with no problem. The other crazy thing is that it doesnít do it every time, its sat up for a few days.

It has never not started once driven and then parked. Iíll admit the wiring is a combination of original and a ratís nest caused by several past owners. But normally everything works as it should.

We have had several VW shops look at it and they have no idea whatís causing it. Also, they have all warned us against trying to install a new wiring harness. Their excuse is that it would likely cause more issues.

Most mechanicís once asked what the source of this problem could be simply reply ďWell thatís how old VWs are!Ē

So has anyone out there had similar issues and found the cause? I really would like to fix this but not being an electronic wizard, I would hate to make things worse.

Thanks
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c705ncp
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

It's not a Ghia problem , a lot of old cars including VW's have wiring problems which make us pull our hair out . I had a simular problem a few years ago with my 73 Ghia. If you have both generator and oil pressure lights on and starter will not turn it could be a couple of things. 1st check wires going to starter motor are clean and tight. The one that usually causes problem is the thin wire that fits on spade connection on starter motor that activates solonoid. pull it off and give it a good clean, that Im sure will solve your problem. If you have a multi meter you can check to make current is coming through. Connect one terminal of multimeter to the thin cable and the other to earth,DO NOT CONNECT TO SPADE TERMINAL ON STARTER, and get some one to turn ignition as if to start and you should get a 12 volt or near enough reading .If not the problem is faulty ignition switch. Try and see if this resolve your problem and let us know.
Robert
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supercharged
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

Many Thanks
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slalombuggy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:21 am    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

Actually you want to test the starter wire under load so raise up the back of the car on jackstands, pull the power wire off of the ignition coil, leave the wire on the starter and have someone crank the engine over while you measure the voltage at the starter terminal.

brad
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NOVA Airhead
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

Here is an article that encapsulates much of what has been said and should help with the problem.

http://www.wolfsburgwest.com/wired/wired_03_01/wired_03_01.htm
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Starbucket
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

It's simple your car is mad at you and wants to be driven everyday that's why it always got you home. That mechanic knew VWs. P.S. if your Ghia is a boy and you gave it a girls name you are in for problems till you change it.
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c705ncp
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

The way I read it Slambuggy the engine does not turn over at all so problem is something to do with live feed to starter motor solonoid from ignition switch or main feed from battery to starter motor.
Robert
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slalombuggy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

c705ncp wrote:
The way I read it Slambuggy the engine does not turn over at all so problem is something to do with live feed to starter motor solonoid from ignition switch or main feed from battery to starter motor.
Robert


The reason you should test for voltage under load is that with no load on a wire, even one strand of the wire can pass 12V with next to no amps, under load that same wire might have enough resistance to pass only 3 volts or 8 or none at all.

When testing intermittent or problematic wiring problems I actually use a test light made using a headlight bulb. If I can apply a power or ground to the bulb through a wire momentarily I know that wire is good enough to power anything on a car (except maybe the starter circuit). I learned that test from an instructor who has a shop that does nothing but fix wiring problems for other shops and dealerships in Toronto.

brad
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Montego
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

The truth is a lot of mechanics are lazy when it comes to electrical issues, so take their word lightly. I had a similar issue with my car a few years back. Sometimes it would start sometimes it would not. I dealt with it for about a few months but it got old quickly. My mechanic said something similar to "old VW's its part of their charm"... Yeah nothing charming about having to push start your car 1 out of 10 times...

Finally, I had had enough so I purchased a multimeter and a wiring diagram and kept them in the car so whenever it would do it again I'd be able to track it down. Starting with the battery I measured several connections that should be seeing voltage. It turned out to be the headlight switch as there was V going in but no V coming out. What made it weird was that the problem was independent of the headlights turning on/off. Easy fix (once I found it)
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Mtinie
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

Do you have issues starting it at the same time each day, or in certain weather?

The comment you made about the car always starting up without a problem after it has previously run triggered a memory of an auto problem troubleshooting story I read a long time ago:

"Car Allergic to Vanilla Ice Cream"

You may find it useful when considering out of the ordinary causes for this strange behavior.
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teryjaki
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

How funny. I'm suffering the same problem with my 74 Ghia, just back from a complete stock powertrain overhaul. Starts ok the first time, then won't start after. Towed the car back to the mechanic in Riverside who overhauled it and he gave it back to me a week later saying it was fixed. It wasn't. Still won't start on the second try. Took it to a general mechanic who cleaned connections and jiggled wires then said it's working. It wasn't, won't start on the second try. I've surrendered to replacing the entire harness but have discovered that no amount of money will get a mechanic to do the job. I guess the mysteries of electrical work are just too much to deal with. Still searching So. Cal for someone to tackle the job and not clean and jiggle wires. Agh!
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bhartwell59
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Ghia Starting Problems Reply with quote

for a '74, it could be the seat belt interlock. the safety feature to force the driver + passenger to buckle up.

had this issue last summer, car would start, run fine, then one day, nada. new starter, jumped battery... nothing worked until someone mentioned the interlock. completely forgot about that pita feature.
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