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Oil light blinking, white smoke, am I in big trouble?
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Mrbrown
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:13 pm    Post subject: Oil light blinking, white smoke, am I in big trouble? Reply with quote

Yesterday, after driving for 300km at an Highway speed, I stopped at a gaz station to refill my van. Just before a stopped, my oil light started to blink. I add some oil (1/4 of a litter). I drove for 5 minutes and the light started to blink again. I stopped and had some more oil (maybe to much!!). 2 minutes after I had retart, I saw a big cloud of white smoke in my mirroir. I stopped the van and had it towed to my garage (which is closed today).

I own that van since 3 years and it never overheated and I never had to add oil between oil change... I use to think that this was a good motor...

Am I in big trouble ($$$)??? Is it a head gasket thing??

I want to have your diagnostic before my mechanic look at it...

Thanks!

Martin
syncro 86 sunroof-half Westy
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin,

I overfilled my Syncro the first time I got it. It made white smoke for about 10 minutes when I accelerated until it had sucked all the excess through the breather. It did upset all the folks on the freeway in Texas.

Did you get the buzzer and the blinky light? There is a lot of info here about the buzzer and light. Do a search, as it can be caused by a bunch of things, like wrong oil filter, wrong oil, melted wire, bad senders or it can be your engine is starting to wear out (!).

Cheers,
James
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Mrbrown
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so maybe the white smoke was caused by the overfill of oil. I'll ask my mechanic remove the excess... but that stupid light will still be on!

Yes the light was blinking, but I never heard the buzzer... I'm not even sure that the buzzer is in working condition (how can a see if it's been cut or remove?)

So, what should I look at first to see if I'm in trouble with that blinkage. I used the correct oil and correct oil filter (as read on the forum). Should I look at my motor compression?? I'll appreciate some hint...

Thanks a lot!!

Martin
Syncro 86 sunroof-half Westy
Quebec city, Canada
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The buzzer is in your speedometer where th magic oil pressure monitoring circuit resides. Check the wires. One sender is sandwiched between the water pump and the pully wheel, the other is between the left side pushrods under the engine tin. Both wires go to a common connector near the thermostat. Try unplugging them and see what happpens.

Cheers,
james
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Mrbrown
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Idiot oil light syndrome...

Finally, the motor compression is correct and there is no leakage of coolant. My mechanic cleaned the oil sender (there was some verdigris on the connector) and we will see if the light still go on...

Now, I want to put gauges to see the oil pressure, oil temperature and coolant temperature (anything else??) to be sure to not have an heart attack every time that there is a stupid light that go on...

Can someone provide me the info about where to plug those gauges??

Thanks a lot!!

Martin
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should do a test of your oil pressure while it's in the shop, since that's the initial complaint. Compression and cooling system integrity are good to know, but don't tell you a thing about the oiling system.

If the oil light is blinking but there is no buzzer, that's only normal for that warning system if revs are not over 2000rpm. If you go over 2000 and there's no buzzer, but the light still blinks, run the flowchart tests in Bentley p.90.22-90.29.

The gauges are a very good idea. I won't run a car without at least an oil pressure gauge, which is easy to install. Use the single sender, and install it in a tee that's shared with the existing low pressure idiot light switch. The combo gauge senders are not that reliable. There isn't space to screw in the bigger gauge sender at the stock idiot switch location, on the lower left side of the block between the pushrod tubes, so you have to get creative. I didnt like most folks' solution that left the senders flopping around under the engine. I put in a 1/8" MPT to 1/4" compression fitting, fit about 18" of 1/4" copper tubing to that, and carefully bent it (no kinking!) forward and curving up the front of the engine to emerge inboard of the thermostat housing in the engine compartment. At that end, another of the same fitting adapts the tubing to a 1/8"NPT brass tee, which has both the new gauge sender and the old idiot light switch installed. I drilled a 3" piece of aluminum angle and used one of the T-stat housing bolts to secure it, and the tee is attached to that to keep it from knocking around. It has never leaked. You only need to run a single wire from the sender forward to the cabin for the signal, the other wiring for the gauge can all be accomplished up front.

Water temp: the built-in gauge is pretty reliable, by and large, and incorporates the coolant level warning as well, so I'd just run the basic tests on that one and leave it be. I can't see having redundant gauges if the existing one is trustworthy.

Oil temp: this one is tough, as there aren't any sender installations available that will sample the oil at a location that is reflective of the real oil temp, without modifying the case. The only one I've seen that would be any good I so far can't find a source for. It was on a German site, and it was a modified plug for the oil pressure relief valve, with a sender in the middle. The other good locations where you could sample oil temp are both being used by pressure senders. I'd like to know if anybody here has any solutions to this.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can put the VDO kit to extend the oil pressure output, available from bus depot.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You have to add a T fitting to put in the idiot light sender. The dual output sender does not have the correct signal. The oil Temp is a sender that replaces the drain plug. It is available still from Bus Boys. Water temp, I still have not found a good place to put the sender, so for the time being, I am skipping my project to put one in. I put an outside air temp gauge in instead.
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08 Range Rover SC
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's how I did it ( also see http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=102662 about the oil cooler installation pictured):

Copper tubing take-off from stock low-pressure sender location (the braided fuel hose is just a sleeve to cushion the copper tube):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Other end of tubing with tees and senders ganged up (both stock pressure senders and pressure gauge sender) near water T-stat housing:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Temp gauge sender installed in stock hi-pressure location using VDO part#323-056 (M16 x 1.5 thread, available here: http://www.egauges.com/vdo_send.asp?Sender=300F_150C) mounted in place of OEM reducer bushing to sample delivered oil temp from the head of the main galley right after the filter/cooler:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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igraul
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
If the oil light is blinking but there is no buzzer, that's only normal for that warning system if revs are not over 2000rpm.


Hey, look what I found using the search! Picked up the van from the shop today; the tech told me that the light was blinking at a stoplight on the test drive and that a tap on the accelerator fixed the symptom, but he didn't know what to make of the blinking light. Sure enough not 5 miles out from the shop, I started to get this same behavior, the oil light blinks at idle, until I rev the engine or start driving.

Why would VW want to warn me that my van is idling under 2000rpms? This is not a rhetorical question. is there a good reason?
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Last edited by igraul on Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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igraul
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh...AND, is there an idiot light primer/tutorial in Bentley (that I missed) or on here anywhere so that I could learn what to freak out about and what not to freak out about.

Thanks!

i
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fuzzymath
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had/have the same problem. Oil light/buzzer go off between 2000 and 2500rpms. I am in the midst of a subaru conversion so I just wanted to shut the damn thing up in the meantime, even though I have good pressure and have tried everything.

The oil sender can be deactivated if it is grounded out. Coming up from your oil pressure senders you will find a collector connector with both a male and female spade connection. Remove either the male or female spade connection and run a wire from that point to a well grounded location. That will effectively stop the blinking light and the buzzing sound.

It is cheap and dirty but it does the trick and will keep you from going postal listening to that damn buzzing.
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bucko
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Why would VW want to warn me that my van is idling under 2000rpms? This is not a rhetorical question. is there a good reason?"




In the later 2.1 liter engines (Beginning with the 86 models), VW added a second oil pressure switch. So these engines have two: one detects low oil pressure during idle, and the other measures oil pressure during "cruising" RPM ranges, above 2000 RPM.

Why would you ignore or bypass this added oil pressure switch if your engine is equipped with both oil senders? My 1.9 liter does not have the second switch, so yes, this has to be bypassed if the later instrament cluster is added to an older Vanagon (one equipped with the 1.9 liter engine), but if you have the later engine, I do not understand why you'd want to ignore this warning!!!

Check the oil pump, and/or repair the second oil switch circuit.
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had one 2.1 Vanagon since 1990to present, a second from 95 to 2002, a third from 2002 to present, a fourth from 2002 to 2004. the oil buzzer system has gone off ina all of them at one time or another, sometimes continuously. the system was never wrong. the engines ALWAYS had low oil pressure.
Well 1 time the hp sender wire was corroded loose at the connector. Stillhooked mechanicall to the plastic.
Every single pushrod 356 Porsche was made without an oil pressure guage. They DID have oil temp gauges.
I think it is a pretty good system.
As soon as overnite tems are over 40 degrees F, I put in Straight weight 40 oil.
Take it easy on revs the first mile. One fill of 20w/50, it goes off. I think the 15w/50 Mobile One stayed off okay.
But mostly, I use the straight weight oil 8 months a year. I have for at least 200k miles on 4 engines.
Al
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's a pretty good system, too. I'm glad it's there; having it gives a margin of engine protection that's just not provided by a simple 6psi idiot light. If the switches and wiring are in good shape it's fairly reliable. I've only heard of one or two cases where there was any evidence to suggest that the controller was to blame for false warnings. It's nearly always due to a bad high switch that fails to ground its signal wire, or damaged wiring to that switch. That wire is routed thru some areas where it's subject to adamage but very hard to inspect, and that is what trips up most complainants.

If you're getting a warning at idle when the engine is hot, and pressure checks out to be in the tolerable range (29psi @ 2000rpm @80C), using a heavier base-weight oil will probably help, but it's not the fix I'd choose. I also think the warnings to use only the German filters are overstressed. I've seen independent testing of various filters on the market and the German filters don't perform any differently than 80% of the ones on the shelf at your FLAPS. Although the budget Fram was one of the handful that were truly junk, ironically the Fram Extra Gaurd and Tough Gaurd filters were actually some of the better ones out there. The Mobil 1 filter is probably the best filter you will find at most of the national chains. At $10 each, it better be.

VW has put the dynamic OP warning system on most all of their cars since the mid-80's, and I have never heard of it being a problem on any engine but the wbx. So what's different about the wbx? I think one of the main problems is how extensive the pressurised oiling network is in a boxer compared to more compact inline engines. Having to pump oil out 8 pushrods to rockers that are so far from the core of the engine gives less margin of pressure stability when things heat up. For my money, there's one fix that will stabilise pressure across the board and put to rest nagging warnings, and that's to address the main reason the pressure is low in the boxer, which is uncontrolled temperature. If you are willing to spend a couple hundred bucks and add external oil cooling (see my pix above), the motor will have control of the viscosity no matter how long or hard you work the motor. Then you can use any weight oil you like year-round. I've been over and over this with my engines, trying everything under the sun, and once I got the oil temp under control, the pressure problems were a thing of the past.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dynamic oil presure system was too sensitive. Try this part number 068 919 081. This is an oil presure switch for a jetta turbo diesel. It's working presure was 1.4 bar compared to the 1.8 bar. This switch allows the dynamic system to work as engineered, but the oil presure would need to drop a little more to trigger the light. I believe your sender is brown in color and this lower presure one was black in color. This was a recommended fix for cars that ran in hot climates from VWOA that experienced your problem. Hope this is of some help to someone. Cool
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that's one thing about that warning system that is actually nice. You can easily tune the sensitivity, by using switches with different settings. As long as you use a NC type on the low circuit, and a NO on the high, it's plug 'n' play.
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igraul
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it looks like a mann filter actually did solve my problem; for now at least. I drove it all day, including idling in line for a smog test (3x), never saw the blink, and third time was a charm for smog test!

I'll get it tagged tomorrow, and hopefully start tearing into the stereo system.

Thanks for all of the help!

i
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Benjamin Gell
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm setting up my 2.1 for oil pressure and temp gauges, copying Tencentlife's method, but on the oil pressure setup am a little unclear on the fitting that goes into the engine between the pushrods.

Tencentlife said:
Quote:
I put in a 1/8" MPT to 1/4" compression fitting, fit about 18" of 1/4" copper tubing to that, and carefully bent it (no kinking!) forward and curving up the front of the engine to emerge inboard of the thermostat housing in the engine compartment.


Does this mean that one can simply screw in a 1/8" MPT (male pipe thread) brass fitting into the port in the engine case which was made for M10x1? No modification needed?

I assume teflon there tape is ok, because ground for the new pressure sender and 2 original switches, (now ganged on top of the engine) is accomplished via mounting bracket attached to the thermostat housing bolt.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes you can put a MPT fitting in, but you can then never go back to the M10. the MPT snugs in well, but stretches the small threads to make the M10 too loose if you revert to original.. which you shouldn't because youa re afterall improving the factory things in the 1st place.
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Benjamin Gell
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Dan. I'm very glad to be able to proceed. LOVE THE SAMBA!
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