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No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:23 pm    Post subject: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

Howdy

1990 Westfalia, 2WD auto, stock

engine cranks fine, hardly bucks, and doesn't start.

What I've done so far:
Battery
Battery is charged. 12.8V when charged, after some rest (I have not checked battry voltage drop while cranking).
Spark
- good spark out of the main wire from the coil (the one that plugs in the rotor)
- Cleaned the rotor and the contacts (the thing is 2 years / 10 000 km old and in good shape)
- I've checked for spark at cylinders 2, 3 and 4 using an alternate spark plug (just unplugging the connector). Spark every time.
I could check with the actual spark plugs, they are 2 years old, NGK I believe.
Air
- Checked air filter, is very clean. Unplugged the hose from the snorkel, so air comes directly to the air filter box, just in case the snorkel was plugged. AFM rotating door thing moves freely.
Fuel
- Checked spray pattern of driver's side cylinders (3 and 4). Looked good, cone shaped. Injectors professionally cleaned 3 years / 15 000 km ago.
- Cleaned pre-pump filter (added by myself)
- Cleaned fuel pump, found a lot of rust dust and flakes.
- Changed post-pump fuel filter.
- Borrowed a fuel pressure test kit: 35 psi at the T, as per Bentley (pressure is likely above that value, the gaue fitting started to leak so I turned off the fuel pump - I'll do another test tomorrow with a more secure install. Should be closer to 40 psi).
- Fuel level was on the lower side, so I added 20L (5 gallons) just to be sure.

I'm stumped. Tomorrow I'll check for spark properly, and redo a fuel pressure test. Is there another obvious culprit that I'm forgetting?



Note that for all these tests I've been using crazyvwvanman's bypassing tool. In short, it powers ECU. coil and Fuel pump directly from the battery, bypassing all the circuitry (ignition switch, neutral safety switch, etc)

Not sure if it's relevant, but I've noticed that for the last few months, if I failed to start it the first time (releasing the key too soon), it was much more difficult to start the second time.

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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

What repairs have you done to your engine and electrical recently?
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
What repairs have you done to your engine and electrical recently?

Right before it stopped working, nothing at all.
Last work done was
- water pump replacement by the garage, 2 months/2000 km ago
- power door lock actuator, pax side, 1 month 1/2 ago
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:22 am    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

Give it a sniff of ether and see if you get some fire.

That will separate the ignition from the fuel diagnostic tree
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:47 am    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

Another test to try. Open the engine lid and leave off.
Crank it over a few times to try to start it.
If no start, quickly run back and unplug all 4 injector connectors from the injectors and leave them off.
Quickly try to start the engine again a few times. Does it briefly start or sound more like it might?
Quickly try a few more starts, this time pushing the gas pedal slightly with your foot.

----------------
Starting fluid is good to tell you if you aren't getting enough fuel but won't tell you much if the problem is too much fuel.
Known failure mode of 2.1 ECU is too much fuel flooding the intake.

Edit: I should also mention that your previous clue of being harder to start on subsequent tries also points to a possible flooding condition. If the problem is the ECU then this symptom could be made worse when the test bypass harness is fully plugged in since the ECU and the injectors will have constant power and the fuel pump will be running. Different years of Digifant harness would be affected slightly differently with this ECU flooding failure mode.

Mark
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

Assuming the injectors are spraying, the engine must start on the first attempt. If it doesnít, additional attempts will flood the engine. Eventually washing the rings enough to loose compression.

So, you need to figure out why it doesnít start on the first attempt. If itís over fueling, as suggested, introducing a large vacuum leak might improve starting. Remove one of the large hoses from the intake boot. This will introduce air without increasing fuel demand. Itís just a way to pinpoint where to look.
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

I'll try Marks's injector test tonight. I'll plug back the stock wiring too.
I also have a spare ECU too, so I'll test it as well.
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:34 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

So... I tried to do Mark's test, and upon step 2 (injectors unplugged), the starter died.

Shocked

What the hell?

Battery measures 12.7 V, drops at 12.4 when I'm trying to start (with the starter not cranking that is).

Ideas: the engine ground (left side on the engine bay) looks slightly corroded, maybe I could change that.
Should I have the battery tested just to make sure?
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Howesight
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:59 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

I will not comment on the starter problem, but on the no-start problem before your starter went south, I suggest that you check to ensure:

1. Your distributor rotor is fully and properly seated on the distributor shaft;
2. The distributor shaft is properly seated in the distributor drive.

I agree with the comments above concerning a possible fuel flooding problem. Remove the spark plugs after your next attempt to start to see if the spark plugs are wet with fuel. If so, leave them out and, with the injector electrical connectors unplugged, operate the starter with the throttle fully opened to clear the excess fuel out. And do replace that ground strap.

Hope this helps!
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DanHoug
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

Time to go old school .... put a NEW set of plugs in and try it. Doesnít matter how recently theyíve been changed. Put a new set in and crank it.
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davideric9
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 9:11 am    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

I've had this problem. Mine was resolved with new Temp II sensor. I was able to check this with a spare known good sensor, plugged it into the connector without installing it, and the van started right up. Also easy to check the sensor with VO meter. Check the easy stuff first before throwing parts at it, like the throttle position switch, idle control components. Meter the digifant sensors where you can. Good luck.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

VicVan wrote:
So... I tried to do Mark's test, and upon step 2 (injectors unplugged), the starter died.

Shocked

What the hell?

Battery measures 12.7 V, drops at 12.4 when I'm trying to start (with the starter not cranking that is).

Ideas: the engine ground (left side on the engine bay) looks slightly corroded, maybe I could change that.
Should I have the battery tested just to make sure?


Can you turn it though by hand? Last van I worked on had cylinders full of raw fuel that hydro locked the engine.

Or it's just coinicidence and the starter has been getting a work out if the van is not starting.
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
VicVan wrote:
So... I tried to do Mark's test, and upon step 2 (injectors unplugged), the starter died.

Shocked

What the hell?

Battery measures 12.7 V, drops at 12.4 when I'm trying to start (with the starter not cranking that is).

Ideas: the engine ground (left side on the engine bay) looks slightly corroded, maybe I could change that.
Should I have the battery tested just to make sure?


Can you turn it though by hand? Last van I worked on had cylinders full of raw fuel that hydro locked the engine.

Or it's just coinicidence and the starter has been getting a work out if the van is not starting.


Hmm, good point. I'll try that tonight.
In the meantine I've checked the grounds at the transmission and the battery. They were fine, I cleaned and greased them anyway.
I do have battery voltage at the ignition wire connector on the solenoid, indicaitng that the current does get from the battery to the ignotion switch to the starter solenoid).
I've had the battery tested, it did not pass. Not totally dead, but I bought a new one. I've also bought a remote ignition switch to make my life easier.

So tonight, we'll be having
1/ Install new battery
2/ Test starter with remote ignition switch
If this fails, I need a new starter.
3/ Test turning the engine by hand. If it doesn't, remove spark plugs and blow air in the cylinders.

I'll keep you posted!
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Yesterday 9:46 pm    Post subject: Re: No start - I've got spark, I've got fuel, but that's it Reply with quote

VicVan wrote:

1/ Install new battery
2/ Test starter with remote ignition switch
If this fails, I need a new starter.
3/ Test turning the engine by hand. If it doesn't, remove spark plugs and blow air in the cylinders.


New battery in place. Remote ignition switch in place, nothing happened. Not even a click from the solenoid.
And the engine does turn by hand.

After some forum reading yesterday night, I opted for the TDI starter + adapter plate. I ordered the adapter plate and harness adapter from Werke1 in Vancouver, and found a used Bosch starter from a 2000something Jetta (TDI, manual). Barry @ Werke1 also told me that starters for 1.8T work too. Reference Bosch SR0425N

Hopefully I get these by the weekend and can get crackin' (or crankin').

Wink
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