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89 Cranks But Won't Start Without Giving it Gas
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: 89 Cranks But Won't Start Without Giving it Gas Reply with quote

Something is wrong with my 89 Vanagon. It has a manual transmission. I try to start it, and it will crank, but won't start. If I give it gas, then it will start, but as soon as I let my foot off the gas, it will sputter and die. After it has warmed up, it has ran fine. It has gotten to the point where I have it just sitting until I can figure out what's wrong. I'm off this week, so having one car out of commission hasn't been a big strain on the family. Next week may be a different story, if I can't figure this out.

Before this whole craziness started, the emergency brake like would come on every so often. I checked the brake fluid, and it was extremely low (couldn't see any liquid through the plastic). I topped it off, but it still won't start (thinking it was a vacuum issue from the master cylinder to the engine).

The only other possible cause of this situation is I ran completely out of fuel (first time I've ever done that). The problem surfaced shortly after that, but not right away.

Could I have burned out my fuel pump? Is my Throttle Position Switch out of whack (I don't know how it would have gotten that way)? Does this sound like a vacuum issue? If it is a fuel delivery issue, why does the van run okay once it warms up? How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?

Thanks!
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ValleyHappy
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your only issue is needing to 'help' it during a cold start, then it sounds alittle like your engine is stuck in lean mode when it should be going to enrich. I am not certain but this I believe is partly controlled by the Temp II sensor....which are known to go bad.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your Temp II is the first culprit to check. Your hint is flooring it to start. When you floor it, the Throttle Switch sends the Full Enrich signal to the ECU, just like the cold Temp II sensor does.

If you think your pump may be bad, you can do the checks outlined in the ProTraining series in the manuals online sticky. To start, get the Temp II, or check the plug for corrosion. It is located on the Thermostat Tower.
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully its just the Temp II sensor. I checked on van-cafe.com and this was their description:

Commonly malfunctioning part that results in rich running condition or loading up. Sometimes it is not the part itself but corrosion on the connector as it plugs onto the sensor. Unplug the connector and clean the contacts on both the plug and the sensor with a small wire brush.

Could it still be the Temp II, even though it says if its malfunctioning, it would result in a rich running condition? I will check the connection in the morning, again, I'm hoping this is all that's wrong, as a $9 part would be a nice easy fix (especially on the pocket book). I've replaced the seal on my former Vanagon, and if I remember correctly, there will be some coolant loss, any tips on ways to minimize this?

Thanks for your speedy responses, I know I can always count on The Samba!

Thanks!
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bucko
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have to press the gas pedal to the floor to get the engine to start, then yes, I'd guess you have a rich condition. Pressing the gas pedal to the floor on a fuel injected engine does not provide more fuel like a carb equipped engine. Starting an engine with a carb, pressing the gas pedal squirted fuel into the intake, and the choke was closed. This caused a rich condition, needed to get a cold engine to start. In a Fuel Injection engine, pressing the gas pedal to the floor is simply opening up the air intake (AFM box), and allowing more air to flow to the intake, and cylinders. Fuel is injected into the engine by it's injectors, not by the "gas pedal", although the opening of the AFM does send a signal to the ECM which is used along with other engine sensors to lengthen the pulse of fuel injectors, and thus spraying a londer duration of fuel to each cylinder. In your case though, getting the engine to start is the problem, or "cold start" mode. The Temp II sensor is used by the ECM (brain box that controls the FI system) to provide a rich/lean mixture to the injectors for a cold engine, as well as once it warms up, is shut off, then re-started.

Good description TENCENTLIFE?

Change the Temp II sensor. They are cheap. Running the gas tank empty may have caused you to suck up some nasty debris into the pump, or pre-pump filter (do you have a fuel filter installed BEFORE the filter?). If so, you may want to change that too.
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will....fourth the nomination for the temp II sensor. I had exactly the same symptoms as you are having. A new temp II sensor and all has been good.
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will change the Temp II sensor then. For only $9, I can handle that. I'm going to try cleaning the connection first.

Bucko, as to your last question, I did install a low-flow filter before the pump, it could be full of crap, I'll have to check that (I can't remember if I put one in you can see through).

Thanks Everyone!
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ourv12
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How interesting! I have a 89 also and now that the weather is cold I had the exact same problem you described. It would crank but not start but when I hold down the pedal it would start then die if I let off the gas pedal. But if I held the pedal so It wouldnt die for about 5 minutes and warmed up it would idle fine. I checked everything that I could( Temp 2 sensor was fine TPS was fine fuel pump was fine idle stabilizer was fine) I was stumped! Then I started playing with the idle speed adjusting screw and the air bypass screw and now it starts right up and idles normally in the morning when cold.
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Surfnvan
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My '84 is having a similar problem, although I cannot get it started at all right now. Used to be when cold I would crank it 3X for about 10sec and it would start, but now it won't start at all. The engine cranks strong and I can smell fuel, but no start. Would the things in the previous messages work on the 1.9L as well? I wil check them anyway if they apply.
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've replaced the Temp II sensor with a brand new one. Still not starting. If the timing was slightly off, could it be a reason for the Van not starting all of a sudden with the drop in temperatures? Ourv12, I appreciate your help, but I'm not sure I want to go messing around with those screws, especially since I don't have access to an exhaust analyzer. I guess the next step for me is to replace that inline filter pre-pump and see what happens. I'm just not looking forward to a fuel bath, if you know what I mean!

Thanks for the help, I'll keep you posted...

Brent
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check your throttle position switch. If I'm not mistaken, wide open throttle should send the same signal to the ECU as a closed throttle. It sounds like it may not be closing the switch when the throttle is closed.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other temp sensitive item is the AFM temp sensor, or Temp I. Do these tests and see what you get:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You need to go through these manuals which are on the stickies in manuals online.

http://www.loam.org/vw/Vanagon/VanagonProTraining/DigiFant/

Or you can download the PDF versions from my public folder:
86 Vanagon Protraining.pdf
Vanagon Protraining Digifant I 86-91.pdf
Vanagon Protraining 86-91 Fuel Systems.pdf

http://homepage.mac.com/WebObjects/FileSharing.woa...mp;lang=en
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot,

I did take the ECU connector off, and checked to make sure the wires from the ecu to the Temp I and Temp II were functioning. With my multimeter in the 200K range, I got 3.5 from the Temp II and about 4.6 from the Temp I. Is that right? It says it should be in the 1000's, but if I'm reading my multimeter right, wouldn't that be 350000? I'm not sure if I'm reading it right.

I'm going to do a test of the TPS, again, maybe the cold weather has knocked it out of whack, or its gotten sticky.

Thanks!
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I would need to know the temp at the time of the reading to get some kind of idea if it was in range. If you had it set for 0-200K and it read 3.5, it would seem to me to be 3,500 ohms or 3.5K, this would be OK if the OAT was in the 33 to 48 range at the time of the reading for the Temp I for example.

You can simply unplug the Throttle Switch and see if it gets any better, it just will not idle correctly. The suggested shot of fuel additive to get out water might be an easy check as well.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all these guys are much more experienced than me but i have gone over the 2.1 engine recently with troubles of my own. and from what i have encountered the ecu has only two outputs the fuel injectors and the ignition system ie spark plugs. easy way to check the ignition system is to put a timing light on each spark plug wire to see if it working. at the same time check the timing. you can even put the timing light on the coil wire to the distributor and see if you are getting a good signal to distributor. i had several new plug wires that were intermittantly bad.
on the fuel injection side follow the bently or the pro manual just look at the injector spray pattern (and leaking) and fuel line pressure. if they are ok then every thing before them is probably alright. again the pro training manual shows some test on how to test this system.
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Pushkick has a point. In my own tortured path to find a problem with my van. I ended up finding the entire problem was a bad, almost new Bosch spark plug wire. So testing the essentials to ignition would not be wasted time.

We are all experienced, after solving a few problems on these beasts.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yellow Rabbit wrote:
Check your throttle position switch. If I'm not mistaken, wide open throttle should send the same signal to the ECU as a closed throttle. It sounds like it may not be closing the switch when the throttle is closed.


That's correct and I think this is a very good theory. Besides actually testing the TB switch, the quick way to trick the ECU to make the TB switch look closed with throttle closed would just be to unhook the TB switch conector on the right manifold and bridge its two pins with a paperclip. Try cold-starting with your foot off the gas, and if it fires up good, go after the TB switch.
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent about an hour on the van, and it is now drivable. I'm not exactly sure where the problem is, but here is what I did:

I first check the TPS to see if it is adjusted correctly, and it was about .002 off. I adjusted the spring (made it tighter so it would pull the TPS closed. I rechecked the gap, and I was spot on. Tried starting the Van, no luck.

Next, I unhooked the Temp II (new sensor), and the van fired up, although the idle was high (about 1500 RPM). I decided to try timing the van, I unhooked the idle stabilizer and kept the Temp II disconnected. The van started and went to about 2200 RPM. I unhooked the oxygen sensor (as per Bentley). As I was trying to figure out the cheap Advanced Timing Light I purchased at Harbor Freight Tools, my wife informed me it was time to leave. I hooked up the Temp II and Idle Stabilizer, but left the Oxygen Sensor unhooked. The van started up. Now I figured it started because I had it running at 2000 RPM for a little while and it was just warmed up. Later, I started the Van (cold) and it started and idled correctly. The oxygen sensor is still disconnected.

I replaced the oxygen sensor this past summer, so I am reluctant to say that is the problem. I haven't tried hooking it back up, but I will tomorrow morning, to see it it will start cold. I'm also wondering if there is air in the coolant lines, possibly not having coolant touching the Temp II, making it give a false reading, is that possible?

I will reconnect the Oxygen Sensor tomorrow morning, and I will report back with my findings.

Thanks again! It is so cool to have a great group of people on here I can trust to help me out. You people are awesome!

Brent
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

O2 should have no effect on starting, hot or cold. By the program, the ECU ignores it for a time after every start, the duration depends on the coolant temp. I say it shouldn't, but these things don't always respond as we think they will, so try out your theory anyway, and let us know. What we know about the program is from the overview in the ProTraining manuals and from deductions based on observation for the most part, and it's far from complete.

Bubbles isolating the coolant temp sender is an interesting theory but pretty impossible, I'm afraid. Bad temp senders, even new, are not uncommon, though. Luckily they are easy to ohms-check against the temp table.

When you unplug the Temp 2 sender that signal goes open circuit. This is the same as telling the ECU that the motor is extremely cold. Apparently yours responded by enriching starting mixture more, so it started well.

There's another thing that has thrown some folks off course with starting problems. There is a connector on the starter solenoid that feeds circuit 50 starter trigger voltage to pin 1 on the ECU, and to pin 6 on the idle speed control unit. This tells the ECU to use its startup program. Sometimes the signal wire has fallen of the starter solenoid, so check that it's not hanging loose near the starter.
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slunk33
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't able to test my theory with the O2 this morning. I was a little rushed getting out of the house and back to work, plus we picked up a power wheels dune buggy for my 2 year old daughter and it's sitting over the engine, too. I plan on testing it out tomorrow morning, but tencentlife, you say it has no effect on it for start up purposes. Maybe that slight adjustment to the TPS return spring is what it needed.

I'll tell you one thing, and I know you sell an upgraded WBX tencentlife, but I test drove a Subaru powered 89 Wolfsburg from Small Car on Monday, and wow, I'm hooked. If you could incorporate a change to the faulty TPS into your WBX design, then I would consider that path, but its these stupid little things that make me want to do a transplant. I have a 92 Subaru Legacy Sport Sedan (which is for sale, I might add), and even-though the car has 20K less miles than my Vanagon, that engine has always been reliable. We did have to replace the transmission at about 115K, but that engine is as strong as the day we got it. I'm not sure if I will have Small Car do the engine replacement, but I'm certain I will be putting a Subaru engine in, once all the small problems with this poorly designed engine commence all at once...

Thanks for your help, I'll keep trucking away...
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