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Perplexed - another no start
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chojinchef
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 7:26 am    Post subject: Perplexed - another no start Reply with quote

1984 Westy 'Thingamajigger'

Just replaced rear main seal and clutch. Popped tranny back in, got everything all buttoned back up and the Thingamajigger wont start. Knew the process went too easy.

Turns over just fine, occasional sputter, no start.

Went through to check if I had broken a vacuum line, or disconnected one but they are all in good condition and connected where they should be.

Then for giggles I went through and made sure my grounds were good (including the tranny one I had to disconnect). I removed it again, wire wheeled the contact points and reassembled.

Tank has fuel. Fuel pump is activating when key is on.

Checked the adjustment at the Throttle Position Switch (per Bentley) and that is good. No worn cam on throttle valve, no wobblies, no stickies.

Have not yet broken out the test box yet to test the switch itself (need to go buy some new test leads), but the Thingamajigger ran fine prior to the tranny removal, just cannot put my finger on the problem.

New plugs, wires, cap and rotor a few weeks prior to tranny removal. Nothing changed but the transmmision R&R this time around.

It has got to be something ridiculously simple, and I will probably be embarassed when I find it (or its pointed out to me) but I needed a second opinion on what I may be missing (or a bunch of them)

LP
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: Perplexed - another no start Reply with quote

Check for a wire not hooked up at the starter. The fuel injection gets it's power from the starter motor wiring post. There should be a large wire from the battery and a small red wire for the FI, both going to that threaded post. Another redish wire goes to the starter solenoid spade plug but that one is ok or it wouldn't crank.

Mark


chojinchef wrote:
1984 Westy 'Thingamajigger'

Just replaced rear main seal and clutch. Popped tranny back in, got everything all buttoned back up and the Thingamajigger wont start. Knew the process went too easy.

Turns over just fine, occasional sputter, no start.

.............................
It has got to be something ridiculously simple, and I will probably be embarassed when I find it (or its pointed out to me) but I needed a second opinion on what I may be missing (or a bunch of them)

LP
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chojinchef
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Connected and in good condition.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. then put a volt meter on the wiring post that is inside the black plastic wiring box on the driver side firewall. Not the relay box, the other box. That stud is where the power to the FI connects. It should have 3 red wires under the nut. You need to read the voltage there before and during engine cranking. If it drops much below 12 volts while cranking then the engine won't want to start.

If that voltage is always good, time for a fuel pressure check. There is a test port on the small metal tee where the fuel lines branch out down near the distributor. Remove the tiny bolt that stick up from a barb of the tee. Then slip a hose from a test gauge over the barb. Cycle the key on-off a few times and see what you get. Then crank the engine and see what the gauge does. Gas burns so watch out and have an extinguisher ready.

Mark

chojinchef wrote:
Connected and in good condition.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chojinchef wrote:
Fuel pump is activating when key is on.


Quoting myself from here:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=446702

When you key on and you hear the fuel pump run for a bit, you know a number things are true:

#15 circuit is being powered by the ignition switch, among many other things, that circuit powers or triggers relays that switch power to all engine control systems.

The FI relays have #30 battery power to them, so connections at alternator and inside junction box are intact.

Main FI relay is closing, meaning #15 power is reaching the ignition coil as well since the connection that triggers the relay is made there.

ECU is receiving power via the main FI relay, and has at least basic power-up circuits working because....

the fuel pump relay is closing. The ECU triggers the fuel pump relay when it powers up.

And you know the fuel pump has power and a working ground.

Now knowing these things are true when the key is switched on does not necessarily mean they are true when the engine is being cranked. If it cranks you know the #50 circuit is being powered by the ignition switch. But you don't know whether power to #15 is dropping out while the ign. switch is in the cranking position. So look at the idiot lights; if they remain on while cranking, the ign.switch is keeping power on #15 while cranking as it should.

So, just keying on, cranking however briefly, and looking at the idiot lights tells you a lot of things about some of the essential electric circuits that are required for the engine to run. You don't know much about the quality of some of the switching or connections, just that the circuits are being closed at minimum.



OK, but some of the things things you don't know are:

1.)Whether the diz is producing an rpm signal. There are a couple simple ways to test for this. One is to take the center spark HT lead out of the diz cap and hold it 1/16" from the engine block while someone cranks the engine for you; there should be a regular sparking from the HT lead to ground. This tells you the rpm signal is being passed thru the DIS and is reaching the ignition controller on your Digijet engine. But, it doesn't verify that the rpm signal is reaching the ECU (on Digifant engines it does, but on your Digijet the ignition is independent of the ECU).

One way to verify that the ECU is receiving the rpm signal is to put a "noid light", an LED, into one of the injector connectors and crank the engine. If there is an rpm signal to the ECU, the noid light will flash regularly while the starter is operated. Lacking a noid light, you can lift one injector pair out of the manifold and watch the injectors while someone cranks the engine. If they spray in brief repetitive pulses then you know the ECU is a getting the rpm signal and that the fuel pump is delivering fuel and developing pressure, obviating checking for fuel delivery and pressure as well (see #2.)

2.) Whether there is actual fuel delivery and pressure, even though you can hear the pump run. Quickest test is to just crack open the test port on the 4-way tee provided for this purpose (with engine static after pump has run, cranking is not needed nor advisable while checking). A bit of fuel will spray out when you crack open the tiny 7mm-hex bolt (an since someone will surely come flogging the dangers of gasoline, I will counter in advance by saying that I quite reasonably presume I am talking to adults when I offer advice).

The better test is to put a pressure gauge on the test-port and jumper the fuel pump to run, to verify that the spec pressure is being delivered, and pull a vacuum on the FPR to see that it modulates pressure according to spec. But lacking the tools or the time, just cracking the port does tell you the pump is generating pressure and the fuel delivery circuit is not blocked.

3.) If you have the spark leads connected in the right order, the most common noob mistake of all time. Now normally when two are crossed, the engine will start but run very rough, but sometimes this can result in a no-start condition. The easy mnemonic for spark leads is, with the #1 rotor firing position at the southeast (notch on diz rim), the leads for the right (1 & 2) cylinder bank will cross each other (SE on diz to NE on engine; NE on diz to SE on engine). The leads for the left bank do not.


There's more, but those are some basics for you to check. It's all stuff you need to know anyway if you want to work on your own van.

I know Mark posted while I was (slowly) typing, so apologies if I'm repeating any of his suggestions. Although I respectfully disagree that voltage at the #30 post in the wiring box while cranking should stay above 12V; you'll normally see system V drop well below 12V while cranking. The fuel pump, ECU, and ignition will deliver the goods with voltages down to about 10.5 in my experience. A strong battery is always called for when starting but seeing system V drop below 12 is not cause for worry, indeed if it did stay above 12 I would say you have one helluva good battery.
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chojinchef
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
chojinchef wrote:
Fuel pump is activating when key is on.



OK, but some of the things things you don't know are:

1.)Whether the diz is producing an rpm signal. There are a couple simple ways to test for this. One is to take the center spark HT lead out of the diz cap and hold it 1/16" from the engine block while someone cranks the engine for you; there should be a regular sparking from the HT lead to ground. This tells you the rpm signal is being passed thru the DIS and is reaching the ignition controller on your Digijet engine. But, it doesn't verify that the rpm signal is reaching the ECU (on Digifant engines it does, but on your Digijet the ignition is independent of the ECU).

One way to verify that the ECU is receiving the rpm signal is to put a "noid light", an LED, into one of the injector connectors and crank the engine. If there is an rpm signal to the ECU, the noid light will flash regularly while the starter is operated. Lacking a noid light, you can lift one injector pair out of the manifold and watch the injectors while someone cranks the engine. If they spray in brief repetitive pulses then you know the ECU is a getting the rpm signal and that the fuel pump is delivering fuel and developing pressure, obviating checking for fuel delivery and pressure as well (see #2.)


yes, brief repetitve pulses

tencentlife wrote:
2.) Whether there is actual fuel delivery and pressure, even though you can hear the pump run. Quickest test is to just crack open the test port on the 4-way tee provided for this purpose (with engine static after pump has run, cranking is not needed nor advisable while checking). A bit of fuel will spray out when you crack open the tiny 7mm-hex bolt (an since someone will surely come flogging the dangers of gasoline, I will counter in advance by saying that I quite reasonably presume I am talking to adults when I offer advice).

The better test is to put a pressure gauge on the test-port and jumper the fuel pump to run, to verify that the spec pressure is being delivered, and pull a vacuum on the FPR to see that it modulates pressure according to spec. But lacking the tools or the time, just cracking the port does tell you the pump is generating pressure and the fuel delivery circuit is not blocked.


Fuel pressure is good. Gauge showed approx 30psi at the T fitting. Doing this all by myself, using phone to record readings when I need to crank key.

tencentlife wrote:
3.) If you have the spark leads connected in the right order, the most common noob mistake of all time. Now normally when two are crossed, the engine will start but run very rough, but sometimes this can result in a no-start condition. The easy mnemonic for spark leads is, with the #1 rotor firing position at the southeast (notch on diz rim), the leads for the right (1 & 2) cylinder bank will cross each other (SE on diz to NE on engine; NE on diz to SE on engine). The leads for the left bank do not.


Spark leads are good. I checked again to be certain, but they were not removed in this circumstance and I was driving the van last week (hence noticing the leaky rear main seal)

tencentlife wrote:
There's more, but those are some basics for you to check. It's all stuff you need to know anyway if you want to work on your own van.

I know Mark posted while I was (slowly) typing, so apologies if I'm repeating any of his suggestions. Although I respectfully disagree that voltage at the #30 post in the wiring box while cranking should stay above 12V; you'll normally see system V drop well below 12V while cranking. The fuel pump, ECU, and ignition will deliver the goods with voltages down to about 10.5 in my experience. A strong battery is always called for when starting but seeing system V drop below 12 is not cause for worry, indeed if it did stay above 12 I would say you have one helluva good battery.


Battery is new (about a month), and fully charged. Still I have battery tender attached at night while I work on her by day. Did not check at the post as I will require another person to crank over while I observe. Setting up the tester and then the phone in recording mode while I run and crank it over is not likely to work.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's cranking strong your voltage is probably just fine.

What I didn't see you did was verify spark delivery (with Digijet you kinda have to check both spark and injector pulses since the systems are largely separate). Hold the center HT lead near ground, or better yet pull a spark plug and with its lead attached hold the side electrode to ground while cranking (if that's buried in your quote block then sorry, I missed it).

If you're working alone you really should make up a starter switch so you can crank from the engine bay.

Check other basic things like AFM, Temp2, and injector connections. Sometimes the female pin in a connector can get pushed backward out of the connector body when you reattach them.
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is not what I was saying. It is going to drop in all cases. Exactly how much depends, but it will be somewhat below 12. As I wrote "If it drops MUCH below 12 volts while cranking then the engine won't want to start". I don't really care to put an exact number to it but 10.5 is reasonable. Other factors can influence it though.

Mark

tencentlife wrote:
...............

I know Mark posted while I was (slowly) typing, so apologies if I'm repeating any of his suggestions. Although I respectfully disagree that voltage at the #30 post in the wiring box while cranking should stay above 12V; you'll normally see system V drop well below 12V while cranking....
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In response to the query about spark, I had checked it in the AM first thing. Had good spark from two plugs, so I did not see the need to pull the other two.

When the inquiry came back about spark, I had not checked it when tencentlife asked again, but went out and checked since I was ata loss as to where I should go next. Result - not so good.

This got me to thinking - When I was researching issues, and other folks back posts about similar circumstances this morning, I came across a discussion about cold coils. This when I was getting quite heated about just about anything related to the Vanagon. My new horns showed up in the mail, and that is another issue in itself.

Today in the lovely state of Taxachusetts, it started out a decent partly sunny day, but got progressively cooler as the rains came in. Not that is was cold like the posts had stated, but it got me thinking about my coil. Why not I mused.

I pulled out the coil. cleaned up all the contacts, warmed it gently with my heat gun and re installed. Also cleaned off the ground connector below the coil again, installed a few star washers and reassembled. Thingamajigger started right up.

Its running smoothly out in the driveway right now, and I am going to order a new coil. Went through everything I could think of, and I cannot come up with any other explanation. Coil faulty, condensation or otherwise, for the 50 bucks I would rather order it and know I have a new one.

Anyone else have an opinion? Or diagnosis?
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So its a few weeks later, and starting a new job kept me from tinkering too much. Two weeks in Tampa for training got me hankering to be on the road.

I did replace the coil and in the dry weather it runs great. Today, after two days of rain it did start up, but died in the parking lot of the local Staples and won't start.

I turn it over, it cranks well, sputters and then nothing. I opened up the dist cap (dry), checked the plug wire connections and they are dry, I even resealed with some dieelectric grease to be sure it stays that way.

I made sure the grounds on the block were good, the bulkhead groundstrap connection is good, the connectors on the motor (throttle switch, temperature switch, distributor wires) are all good and clean. Windshield does not leak, but the ground connectors behind dash have been cleaned up.

I also checked the relays: with the key on I disconnected the single connector to the relay box, then reconnected and immediately I hear the click of the relay and the hum of the fuel pump.

I am baffled, and slightly pissed that I have not figured it out yet.

Any thoughts?
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so I have my thinking straight, and please correct me if I am wrong:

There is only a few things that can cause this lack of start- starting with the basics:
Lack of spark, Lack of fuel, Lack of air in (blocked intake), Lack of air out (blocked exhaust)

Since the car was running moments prior and there were no loud noises from engine compartment, I can assume that the timing is a non issue and nothing catastrophic happened within the engine.

I have half a tank of fuel and good fuel pressure, and although I have not checked today, I did have a good pulse and spray last check (two weeks ago) when I had same issue in similar cold wet weather. Maybe should check again tomorrow?

Plugs are still in good shape. Will have a second set of hands in morning to crank engine and determine strength of spark. Plug wires are installed correctly, dry and now newly sealed again.

Flow of air to engine is good. Have replaced air filter this week with a K&N, and did try to see of the removal of such made a difference, but results were same. Even opened up the top to allow air in and see if intake prior to filter was blocked up in the quarter panel somewhere.

Exhaust was recently done, and removed from engine to install a couple helicoils, have good pressure at exhaust tip when cranked, so I do not believe this is an issue.

That leaves some sort of electrical or electronic gizmo, correct?

Noteworthy contenders (from reading other posts) are the ECU, Hall unit and coil. I just replaced the coil with a new Bosch unit, so I am tending to believe that is not the issue. The plug is still in good condition on the side of the distributor, and although the Bentley provides a procedure for testing the hall unit, a few have questioned the ability to get decent results. I did hear the fuel pump relay click, and I cleaned off the connectors to ensure a good connection.

Suppose the manner in which would be most effective would be to try another ECU and rule that out? Anyone in the Northeast have a spare they will rent out for me to test?

I am just trying to wrap my head around it before I need to go out of state again for a week.

All thoughts or ideas welcome.

Harleys are so much easier to fix when I break them.

LP
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For better or for worse, one of the common things I try with an older engine I cannot get to start is spray starter fluid. An engine that will not fire on a weak spark will zoom to life.

Also, if you suspect a gremlin that happens during the starting phase vs during the running phase you can turn the ignition to run and push start it down a hill or with a friend. If it then starts easily you've just narrowed the hunt down enormously.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tested the Temp2 circuit and sensor?
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chojinchef wrote:


I did replace the coil and in the dry weather it runs great. Today, after two days of rain it did start up, but died in the parking lot of the local Staples and won't start.



A long shot, but given that it ran ok in dry weather, but not in wet weather....

Any chance water is getting in the fuel chain somehow or affecting some other electrical component?
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got it.

Almost embarassing, but more anger inducing.

When I checked fuel delivery, I was by myself. Heard pump, saw that sender showed over half a tank, and when I set up my phones camera to watch the trickle out the fuel 'T', it showed good.

So after tracing everything back and getting frustrated in the rain doing so, I threw out all what I had learned and started over. This time I had someone there to assist.

When I checked fuel delivery at the T again, I got an initial spurt, but no flow (insert ah ha! moment here). Fuel pump seemed to be working fine, but no significant flow. Sonofabitch.

As it turns out, fuel pump is fine, the van had been sitting so long prior to me buying it, and since I had been doing incrementally increased trips I must have knocked something loose in the gas tank because the brand new filter I put in a week prior was completely blocked.

I bypassed it with a piece of copper tubing my 'assistant' a general contractor neighbor had in the back of his truck and the van started right up. I grabbed a spare filter I had for the wifes Honda out of the garage, quickly installed it in case there was significantly more in the tank, and drove it the mile and a half home very cautiously.

Now its back in the yard, tank is draining into a spare gas can and I am contemplating a whole fuel tank overhaul. Thinking a new tank, new sender, crossover tube and seals all around out to remove that issue for a couple years. If I need to drop it, I may as well do it up right.
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