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Scared in Texas-oil light flicker, plenty of oil, rough idle
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flyingCoyote
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject: Scared in Texas-oil light flicker, plenty of oil, rough idle Reply with quote

This might be nothing, and it's a bit complicated, but hopefully the detail will be useful.

I was driving down the interstate in Texas tonight in heavy rain, doing about 65, when I got a little bit of oil light flicker. I was near an exit, so I cut the engine and coasted into a gas station to check the oil (which earlier today was about 1/3 of the way between "fill" and "full").

The rain was torrential and sideways, and I couldn't get a good read on the dipstick. Added about a third of a quart and started up again...had a little roughness in lower RPMs, but no oil light. Continued on to the next exit, where there was a motel (I'm there now), and got only a little intermittent flicker at a steady 3k RPM.

Here's a video/audio of what she's like now. A little rough starting, but got going, and no light. Now that I can see the #^%$ dipstick, I realize that I've overfilled, and there is the expected leaking (van came to me filled a bit past full and dripped a similar amount). Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlCsQaveD2Q

Bullet points:
- changed oil 1200 miles back, 20w50 and Mahle filter, plus a few ounces of Marvel Mystery
- van has a history of acting funny after a day of heavy rain, but have never been sure the rain was a factor...loss of power in past. Winds were so intense tonight that I couldn't tell if there was power loss, but if so it was minimal.
- '85 gl with 164k miles, no known rebuilds. Just did 5000 miles in the past month with no engine trouble (just CV joints and fuel filters)

Questions:
- could something totally unrelated cause oil light flicker? Like maybe my "she hates heavy rain" thing?
- anyone know a good VW mechanic between Houston and San Antonio, or limping/towing distance from this area, just in case?

I'm kinda scared here - Visions of renting a uhaul and putting the vanagon on the back for the rest of the trip Sad

One good omen though...after checking into a motel, I see that there's a nice Carat already in the lot...I'm gonna stick a note under his wiper asking about local mechanics...
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vwmaniaman
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 84 Westy did a similar thing one time driving in heavy rain in Arkansas. Turned out that water had gotten in the vent on the O2 sensor since the tire throws water right on it. My gas mileage was terrible and idled bad. Found a new one (Bosch) at the Roy Rogers auto parts place and then all was normal again. Seems that water ruins the sensor. Guess that is why they moved it from that position on the later 2.1 exhaust system. The flickering oil light is probably just due to the dilution from the extra gas getting in the oil.
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flyingCoyote
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

vwmaniaman wrote:
water had gotten in the vent on the O2 sensor

Huh, thanks, I'll have to pick one up and see if it helps next time there's a heavy rain.

ALSO - the rain stopped when we arrived at the hotel. It's about two hours later now. I started her up, got her up to temp, and took a 10 mile drive. No troubles whatsoever, no oil light, had her up to 65 and had full power etc.

Guess I got a room for nothing, but better safe than stuck on the interstate.

My girlfriend insists that the Vanagon just doesn't like long drives in inclement weather (did 350 miles today). She might just be right...
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grundy-vw1984
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

follow the single wire comming off the oil pressure sensor. make sure there are no breaks in the wire and what not. my vanagon's oil light was flashing very randomly, but i didnt notice any power loss and the oil was full and engine sounded normal. i found the wire had broke off and was bouncing around and grounding out on what ever it touched, causing the light to flicker. just some imput, and something thatshould be checked Razz
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FatherofAshlynn
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny, my oil light has come on a few times in the past month and i have plenty of oil.
try having your van die on you because of the rain... Damn rain!
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flyingCoyote
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

grundy-vw1984 wrote:
follow the single wire comming off the oil pressure sensor. make sure there are no breaks in the wire and what not. my vanagon's oil light was flashing very randomly, but i didnt notice any power loss and the oil was full and engine sounded normal. i found the wire had broke off and was bouncing around and grounding out on what ever it touched, causing the light to flicker. just some imput, and something thatshould be checked Razz

Thanks, it's fine now that it's dry, guess the wet O2 sensor is a good place to start.
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flyingCoyote
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FatherofAshlynn wrote:
try having your van die on you because of the rain... Damn rain!

Heh...that's apparently just what happens. Scared the hell out of me, nobody I know within 500 miles Shocked
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had an oil pressure sender wire that actually hung low enough to touch the exhaust. It melted for a little wile and so flickered for a coupla seconds. Then it actually stuck and came on full bright and scared be quite a bit. The engine sounded normal, etc. I second double-checking the pressure switch wire.

Andrew
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flyingCoyote
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it happened again last night here in Oregon. It rained steadily and often heavily for a few days. Last night, after about 3 hours of pounding sheets of rain, I started up to go to the store. Noticed the oil light dimly flickering a couple miles down the road, and turned around. By the time I got home I was experiencing the power loss like in my original post.

Haven't done anything with the o2 sensor - problem hasn't appeared since last Jan, until now...but I was wondering, with the heavy heavy rain, if it could be that it's just sucking too much water into the vent on on the right, clotting up the air filter or otherwise throwing off the air/fuel/crap ratios...plausible?
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you ever track down that OP switch wire? Maybe try a new switch while you're messing with it, they're only $10 and they do get sticky and can fail after awhile.

The funky running during the rain? Better mudflaps. Your O2 sensor could just be getting doused with water, which will wreak havoc with the signal, and might even create grounding paths within the sensor that effectively ground the signal circuit. When that happens, these things go ultra-rich and run like crap.

Otherpower loss problems that can surface in wet weather are in the high-tension parts of the ignition, especially plug wires. Try going out in the dark with a spray mist bottle. Run the motor in darkness and spray around the plug wires and diz cap. See any sparks, or a mesmerising miasma of efflorescence? New HT stuff is in your future. Get the Bosch Ultra-Premium wires only, the regular "premium" ones have inferior conductors AND insulation and can exhibit this problem even when new.

Hi to Teri!
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BuckP1
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in Florida and also experiencing a similar problem in my 91. We also had an eincredible amount of rain recently and I think my O2 sensor may be shot. Power loss at operating temp due to engine running rich. I think the oil light flicker may be an unrelated though.
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zerotofifty
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: oil pressure Reply with quote

Get an oil pressure gage hooked up, and see what you are running at, this is important. your enine with that many miles might be getting pretty worn out.

if gas was in the oil, the dip stick should smell like gas

change the oil if gas contaminated, gas has no lube properties.

Besure your motor oil is NOT API SM rated, the new SM rated oils lack needed ZDDP additives required by our boxer motors (see several posts on this issue)
20-50 oil should be about right wieght for you.

hope your lite flicker was nothing more than an electric problem, but dont assume it, you got high milage, and the first warning something might be going wrong. you can only diagnos an oil pressure problem with a gage, the idiot light is the fail safe indicator, and is not good to determine if oil system is up to specification or not.

my vanagon went 178k miles as oil pressure started to drop to below specs, and compression sstarted to go on one, hence engine was pulled for rebuild.

vanagon 2.1 liters tend to throw rods when oil pressure is lost, resulting in a hole int he case. dont risk more expensive damage by running low oil pressure, you could be left stranded, with a biger repair bill

good lcuk
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: Deep Blue has an issue with the Potentiometer, Coyote Reply with quote

Hey there,
I used to own that van, and I sold it in GA about a year ago. If you ever wonder anything about it, or want to know a lot of it's history let me know.

It had a head gasket replacement about 14 months ago, and it was filled and 'burped' with the VW pink coolant. If you've messed with the coolant and added something else, then you might get the infamous 'alkaline battery head' problem. I made a lot of posts about it here, I am sure. I asked some dumb questions about it I am sure...

I put the rack on it, and the fogs, and made an attempt at the blue light switch, keeping the dash clean and intact. Minus a point for the blue LED gauge lights.

I had a computer in it at one time, and if you noticed, it has screens and a small wifi-wire that I used for the high gain outside house antenna, mounted to the rack.

You should still have an awesome Sony CD deck, with the blue neon around it, and the LED gearshifter. I really liked lights? I thought it looked cool, anyway.

I fixed the A/C unit, and it blows cold, but the drain hose is blocked, and it accumlates water and spashes you while you drive. Nice. The 134A conversion kit could be attached backwards, with the blue and red nozzels switched.

The potentimeter, which controls how the O2 sensor sees the data and modifies the mount of air you get may be happening in conjunction with air leaking into the throttle body of the FI, where the throttle connects. Messing with the potentimeter while she is running sill fix all problems, make her run smooth and srtong even in the rain. It's an air issue, around that area. That's why she spits in the rain. And she will shit in high altitude unless either a complete throttle body and new potentiometer are found and installed. SERIOUSLY. Or some tape around the cable attach piece where it meets the air supply (throttle body)...trying to do this without a manual and without drawings is difficult, but if you know what I am talking about then it's easy.

The potentiometer unit is on the right of the engine, between the air box and the TB. It has a small black lid, and it comes right off. Take one screwdriver and twist it LIGHTLY to the left or right to set it on the "scale" on the right brass piece. This will adjust the FI to compensate for either extra air, or the messed up O2 sensor, or the pot istelf.

I did the tint. Sorry. All I had.

I also added the table, and hand made the curtains.

It's a damn good bus if you keep her up. Deep Blue sound good to you?
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