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1988 Starting Issue
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10degnorth
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Joined: March 07, 2018
Posts: 154
Location: Bend, Oregon
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:47 am    Post subject: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

Hello all, over the past month I've experienced a consistent issue starting my van. The battery is about a year old, and hasn't exactly been abused.

What happens is that every week or two when I go to start it up it will take a little bit playing with the gas pedal to get started, then the rpms start to drop and don't idle where they normally do (around 800-1000rpm), the engine starts to idle rough and eventually just shuts off. I am able to keep it running by giving it gas, but in the end it just shuts off. After this happens it won't start and acts like it has a dead battery and requires a jump. Once jumped it runs fine and in the past I've been able to get around a week out of it before having to jump it again, but in the last week it hasn't lasted longer than a day before needing to be jumped again. I have jumped it 3 times in the last 2 days.

Not running the battery read 12.6v, running it reads 13.6v and running at around 3000rpm it reads 13.8v (all of these are -ish)

Tightened the alternator belt yesterday to see if that would fix the issue, it did not. Left my battery tender on the battery all right, last nigh it read 4 on the tender and this morning read 9. However I had the starting issue anyway.

I'm still moderately new to these great machines so it could be something obvious, but I don't really know. Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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1988 Wolfsburg, Soon to be Prerunner: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=708000&highlight=

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Vanagon Nut
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Location: Sunshine Coast B.C.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:11 am    Post subject: Re: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

Were there any other symptoms before this issue started happening consistently?

Was the engine worked on before the issue happened?

Does issue happen after driving in rainy conditions? (water in fuel?)

If the battery isn't seeing proper charging via alternator [edit: e.g. van driven for short trips only] or actual battery charger, not maintainer, the battery might only be getting a surface charge and/or not a thorough enough charge. So when the poor or no start issue happens, the battery gets drained lower faster than it would if it was properly charged and healthy. IOW, the battery and alternator charge systems may not be at fault here.

Neil.
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50ļ ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

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Ahwahnee
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Location: Mt Lemmon, AZ
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

10degnorth wrote:
...The battery is about a year old, and hasn't exactly been abused...


Since the battery is probably still under a full warranty I would return to where it was purchased and have them test it. They should also be able to do a quick test of the charging system.

Checking the voltage does really tell you the whole story - a load test is required.

There may be other problems but if your battery is properly charged what you are describing should result in a dead battery so quickly.
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10degnorth
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:23 am    Post subject: Re: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

I have a leaky fuel injector that floods a cylinder, that can occasionally give me starting issue where I need to flush out the cylinder to get it to run smoothly.

Iíve done all my own engine work, and I havenít changed or done anything recently before starting issue started.

I havenít had enough expieriemce with the issue yet to tell if it only happens in certain conditions, however the past month has been pretty dry, a little snow, moderately cold.

Any potential solution if the battery isnít getting a deep charge?

Thanks again for the help.
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

I'd use an actual battery charger, not a "tender" on the battery, see what that does. Maybe even charge it with an old school charger (not a smart charger)

On the load test front, my local auto parts place used a light hand held ('inductance' ??) load type test on a battery I thought was toast. That load test showed battery as ok but from what I"ve read, that type of tester doesn't put the same kind of load on the battery like a real load tester would.

The cold start issue you are seeing sounded like it could be due to fuelling or fuel to air ratio. Was thinking if work was done on engine if temp sensor plug at sensor on thermostat housing, or wiring to that plug had been disturbed causing a poor "signal" from sensor to ECU.

Where I currently live, I tend to drive on short trips with headlights and heater fan on and multiple re-starts in-between. In that kind of scenario, I think there's a tendency for the battery to see short charge periods from the alternator which can result in surface charging only or mostly. i.e. not a real good charge.

Neil.
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1981 Westy air cooled to 15ļ ABA swap: http://tinyurl.com/y9n4xob8

50ļ ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

VE7TBN
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Howesight
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Joined: July 02, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

The Vanagon charging system is known to undercharge batteries. If everything is perfect, as in "like-new" perfect, then the system is marginal. As these vehicle age and wiring develops resistance due to poor grounds, corrosion and the like, then the marginal nature of the system creates symptoms like those you describe.

The solution, (in addition to servicing grounds and connections), is an upgraded voltage regulator. Most moderns cars set alternator output at around 14.4 volts. That additional voltage does wonders for batteries, especially in winter, when loads are high due to harder cranking, headlight use, heater use, etc.

Here is a link to a voltage regulator upgrade that is considered high quality:

https://vwparts.aircooled.net/Adjustable-Voltage-R...ulator.htm

Bonus: your headlights will be brighter!
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: 1988 Starting Issue Reply with quote

Instead of an adjustable regulator that people can mess up trying to adjust, the simpler and cheaper fix is to buy one already set for a more modern higher voltage.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Porsche-928-Saab-900-...mp;vxp=mtr

Lots of places sell this one.

Mark
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