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Tech Question - Calling Air Cooled Vanagon Gurus
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vanagondubz
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Joined: July 26, 2016
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Location: Minnesota
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:25 am    Post subject: Tech Question - Calling Air Cooled Vanagon Gurus Reply with quote

My 1980 Vanagon was running fine couple months ago… we took a couple camping trips (100 mile round trips) and everything was great until Memorial Day weekend:

We were half way to our destination (about a 180 mile drive) and the van started running like crap. It wasn’t idling and the engine would sputter and kill if it wasn’t being revved. After limping home, I discovered that the air intake boot was cracked. I was hoping that this was the issue but after replacing the boot and the rough running issues were only slightly improved.

Next I tested the air flow meter. The resistance tests made me think the air flow meter was bad, so I ordered a rebuilt one. It just arrived yesterday, and I rushed home to install it. To my dismay, the van is still exhibiting the same rough running characteristics.

Has anyone experienced anything similar? Does anyone have any suggestions of other tests or things to try?

Thanks in advance for the help!
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MarkWard
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Joined: February 09, 2005
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Location: Riviera Beach, Florida
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: Tech Question - Calling Air Cooled Vanagon Gurus Reply with quote

Hello, I am no guru, but I would suggest you do a compression test before going any further. Examine the sparkplugs while you have them out for the compression test. The plugs can give you an insight into how each cylinder was functioning. They should all be the same in appearance.

Back in the day, it was not unusual to find a melted piston in one of these engines. Verify the compression is good and even and report back. If it has good compression, the problem should be able to be sorted.
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1982 Vanagon Camper with ALH TDI conversion.
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Terry Kay
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Joined: June 22, 2003
Posts: 13331

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:16 am    Post subject: Re: Tech Question - Calling Air Cooled Vanagon Gurus Reply with quote

Do take a compression test.


Burning valves & valve seats are common, and a big part of owning an air cooled VW.

Ask me how I know.
I smoked the valves & valve seats in my 74 Westfalia, just by pushing it a little bit too hard for too long.

Same engine you have, only not injected, it's got carbs on it.

Rude awakening in driving habits.

Find out if you have compression in each hole.
This will give you an instant answer.
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gchristensen
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Joined: October 09, 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Sacramento Ca.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: Tech Question - Calling Air Cooled Vanagon Gurus Reply with quote

I have a 1980 as well and experienced the same trouble. Pulled the engine and pulled the heads and found the valves were bad. probably the original heads and no work done. so yes check your compression and then you may know more.
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1980 Vanagon Westy. A rolling restoration. Not so rolling right now. Joining now is our new 1982 diesel. Both projects under construction.
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