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Why did you get stranded?
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jyck
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Location: Naperville, IL
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:59 pm    Post subject: Why did you get stranded? Reply with quote

Hey guys, just picked up an 85 Vanagon GL Westfalia Automatic WBX and looking to hit the road with the family this weekend. I just wanted to make sure I'm as prepared as can be for any mechanical failures. I've already swapped out all the fuel lines and performed basic new owner maintenance and checks.

My question is why did you get stranded? More specifically, what part failed (fuel pump, alternator, ECU...) and was there a quick fix that got you back on the road?

Please also state your vehicle info for reference. Thanks!!!
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Water pump one time, alternator two other times. Not stranded, but had a split in a spark plug wire that kept me from starting in front of the house. Wouldn't have seen the split it hadn't been for nighttime.
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fuel pump. Carry a spare.
Starter. Carry a hammer.
Ran out of gas... Embarassed .

Of course many other items could leave you stranded:
Wheel bearings
CV joints
Ignition Switch
Shifter switch (auto trans)
Alt
Battery
Coolant hose(s)
On, and on, and on, and on...
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coolant level sensor - big plastic sensor in top of coolant pressure tank. They age, crack and blow the top of the sensor off. Used a marine rubber/brass cam type hull plug to jam in and drive home. The coolant systems are a common show stopper - always carry at least a gallon of fresh water. If you don't need it - drink it!
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clean ALL engine grounds. in fact I add additional ground strap from starter mount bolt to the chassis..

temp-II sensor..

spare relay and know how to operate w/o a relay (fuel pump or fuel injectors)

if an automatic, we travel with a spare starter on board.. they're impossible to push start.
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16CVs Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ring and pinion in my Syncro once, Same car engine twice, free or cheap used engines will get you every time.
More lately my 2.2 Subaru chucked a rod ,other than that I broke the hot lead from alternator one time ,that stumped me for a while.
Other wise maintenance keeps them on the road fairly well.

Stacy
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Dave Wood
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danfromsyr wrote:
clean ALL engine grounds. in fact I add additional ground strap from starter mount bolt to the chassis..

temp-II sensor..

spare relay and know how to operate w/o a relay (fuel pump or fuel injectors)

if an automatic, we travel with a spare starter on board.. they're impossible to push start.


Bad wires stranded me a couple times, mostly ground wires. These old connections in the engine bay tend to get corroded inside the connection.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BELTS.

Rolling Eyes
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vanagonjr
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2,1 WBX
1) Vanagon Syndrome on X-Country trip. Found the factory replacement harness in Rapid City SD, no less.
2) Coolant Level sensor - JB welded it.
3) Coolant Level sensor again - it was the JB welded on I forgot to replace. Installed my new replacement that was in the van
4)Alternator Reg/Brushes 11 hours away from home. Luckily I had bought the adjustable one and had it in the van.
5) Rod through the block - Bamn! Still working on that.....

I recommend an oil pressure gage.
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clift_d
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our input spigot shaft bearing and clutch disintegrated simultaneously (or one self destructed and finished off the other) and the debris from that took out the starter motor. It wasn't terminal, but it meant several days in the garage, mainly waiting for the parts to arrive.
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wecm31
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ignition key lock cylinder...until I pulled the steering column apart and used
a screwdriver to start.

Newbie tip...whenever you turn the key to start and it doesn't...you have
to bring the key all the way back to off before trying again. If you cycle
the key from ON to START without returning to OFF, you can bust it!!

Happened in the mother in laws garage in Calgary...could have been worse.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I don't think of it as 'a problem' or 'stranded' if I can fix it and continue on - that's just 'driving'. Nevertheless the suggestions above are prudent for preparations.

The one time I was truly stranded a head seal let go and there was nothing to be done but all a flatbed. Fortunately I was only 300 miles from home.
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kirkvw72
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first road trip I blew the coolant hose on the passenger side head that connects to the coolant distributor. It hides under the AFM/Air filter box, and I never thought to check it out. I had replaced so many things in preparation, too. I was pretty irritated. I was able to cobble together a hose using pieces of the old hose, a new hose I found a nearby NAPA, some hose clamps, and a pocket knife (I now carry spares and tools).
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was tragically stranded half a block from home when my Hall sender died. My neighbors mocked me mercilessly as they pushed the van back into my driveway. I wept salty tears of rage and shame
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

in the last 25 years

- fuel pump, once (due to my ignorance)

- water pump, once (due to a mechanic ignorance)

- alternator, once (regular wear and tear)
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RCB
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A cylinder head temp sensor left me stranded once and a few months later a wonky ECU stranded me again. Twisted Evil I now carry spares.
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newfisher
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bought the van 2500 miles away ( was checked out at shop) , drove home and after it sat for 2 hrs a buddy came over to check it out. Took him for a test drive letting it warm up in first gear for several blocks through the neighborhood. Shifted into 2nd and applied some throttle....internal engine failure.
AAA, a cell phone, visa etc is what fixed it.
After reading threads here, I carry tools, fluids, ign and headlight switches. Throttle cable, belts, hoses, clamps and a spare oil filter.
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Truly stranded where I could not get the vehicle home under its own power..

1. Throwout bearing seized. (and grenaded, it turned out)
2. ECU quit.

Regarding
1.
I could have and would have limped home with the throwout bearing problem if I was traveling alone.. but had my entire family with me.. and I am getting too old to play that game of "can't stop the car or the engine dies!" in freeway traffic.. Shocked
2.
I carry a spare known working ECU, now.


I have also had CVs chose to act up on long road trips (twice).. Each time I was able to limp home after adding grease.. and/or repair with a spare axle set on the road.
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danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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hwunger
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
Coolant level sensor ....


hmmmmm yeah .... my present problem complete with the small leak as it does not seal properly .... van still runs and we got home alright, but that will be my project this week .... Crying or Very sad

then again these VW's are a lot of fun aren't they ..... Very Happy
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

not stranded but bugged, power steering belt

agree with another poster, bring spare belts, could have been the alternator one in my case.
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