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Need help with a no start diagnosis
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Need help with a no start diagnosis Reply with quote

I have an 87 2.1 fuel injected stock wasserboxer. It's a daily driver,been running great no problems. Today I drove about 150 miles to and from different jobs. No problems. Stopped on the way home about 3 times, again no problems. I stopped at home on my way to my daughter's, went out-no start. First I checked for spark-no spark at the plug. Checked for spark into the top of the coil-no spark. With a test light, checked for power going into coil with the ignition on-there is power going in. So could I have a bad coil?? I don't have a spare coil otherwise I would swap it out. The only thing I can thing of is while I was driving this morning I was charging my iPad and the charger was getting hot, so I stopped. Could I have roasted the coil? Do you think I have a bad coil if there's no spark and power going into the coil?
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's 11:30 at night here and dark. I just went out again to check the 3 wires and connector going into the distributer. They appear to be ok. I don't have a helper to turn the key for me. Is there a way to "test" the coil? Or should I just buy a new one tomorrow and try it? Would the the coil just go bad just like that? I went in the house for 5 minutes after driving all day, and she won't start?
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How are the grounds in your engine bay...???
(FWG=flippin' wild guess)
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it starts in the morning after a cool down, you likely have the answer as that would be trademark coil dying symptoms = temp related.

Also, might be a good idea to clarify "no start" as it means totally different things to different people.

DougM
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, sorry. She cranks over but will not start. I had problem like this in my old 88 Vanagon. Randomly it would not start. I remember I replaced the coil and that was not it. It turned out to be the distributor. When I replaced the whole unit, it started right up. I'm wondering if this is the same thing?
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So its the next morning and it still doesn't start. Any thoughts anyone?
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T3 Pilot
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morning,

Download and print a copy of the protraining Manual for digifant.

It will help you go systematically through the system that is the suspect. In your case it sounds like either Fuel or ignition. You Can get in there with a volt meter and start to tick off the elements of the system one by one.

Good luck
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syncroluvr
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, the protraining manual along with a multimeter will get you a long way towards finding out whats wrong. Do the continuity checks and ground checks to start. I had a no spark situation that turned out to be a cut wire in the harness itself. Take it system by system. Do you have spark? fuel? etc. this way you can eliminate complete systems as your problem. Good luck and keep asking questions Laughing
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It appears that I have no spark. I took off the little 7mm screw at the t- fitting and there was gas when it was cranking, so I have fuel. I had a known good coil, so I replaced the coil and it started, but when I went to start it again to move it, cranks no start. Since I had the same problem with my old Vanagon, I replaced the distributor with a new rebuilt unit. Again, it started a couple of times with no problem. But when I shut it off to go get a timing light, again it would not start. Sometimes while it's cranking it sounds like its going to catch but it doesn't. I tried wiggling the key while cranking thinking it might be the ignition switch, that did nothing.
Any help, anyone?
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, once I got it started I drove around fine with no problems. But when I shut it off and went to start it, no start. It's almost like when it's running it's fine, but it can't start-if that makes any sense?
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I'm getting fuel, and now the coil, distributor are all new. The plugs and wires were changed less than a month ago. Does this make any sense?
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you still have 'no spark'?

It seems like a tedious exercise but going thru the ProTraining Manual diagnostics step-by-step is more likely to get this resolved than guesses you'll get here.

Each component (including the ones you're sure of) can be tested, usually with nothing more than a multimeter. Much cheaper, often quicker and certainly calmer than trying new parts.
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This makes perfect sense to me. I have fixed vans with these symptoms many times, often in 87 models but all years wbx.

There are 2 POWER PATHS to the engine, separate paths, needed for starting.

One path comes from the key switch and powers the coil as well as a couple other small things.

The other MAIN power path comes from the battery to startermotor to alternator to fuel injection system. A bad connection along this second path means that battery power won't reliably get to everything during starting attempts, even if the starter cranks fine, since the main power path continues to the back after first reaching the the starter. If the problem is between the starter and alternator the engine can keep running ok after finally starting because power then comes from the spinning alternator instead of the more distant battery. Many people on this forum have had this. I have helped with it so many times I am pretty sick of repeating it.

If the problem is in the power wiring path replacing parts might never fix it. You should stop replacing parts and try to find the actual problem. If you determine it is not in the power wiring paths then you can move on to finding the bad part.

Mark


beteljuze wrote:
Also, once I got it started I drove around fine with no problems. But when I shut it off and went to start it, no start. It's almost like when it's running it's fine, but it can't start-if that makes any sense?
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T3 Pilot
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love reading your replies, I cross reference to my Bentley wiring diagram and digest the information and feel like my Vanagon Kung fu level increases exponentially.

Kind of makes me glad I replaced my starter cable with 3/0 welding cable and copper lugs.
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazyvanman: ok, I will check the connections from the battery to the starter to the alternator. I just finished cleaning all the grounds in the engine compartment, and I removed and cleaned the terminals on the battery and cleaned the ground to the chassis. Whenever I stop working than go back out, the van starts right up. If I turn the key off and try again, it won't start.
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There certainly are other things it can be but begin by making sure battery power is getting where it needs to during the starting attempts that fail. You pretty much need a helper and a voltmeter. Make several measurements at each point, and of course since your problem is hit or miss so you need to catch it during a failure to start.

Measure the voltage on the coil wire post, the black wire connections. That should be about 12 volts with key on and only slight drop during starter cranking. Then open the relay box above the coil and put fingers on the relays while someone turns on the key and then cranks the starter. The relays should always click when the key is first turned on. The one on the right should click when the starter cranks and stops cranking. Do the relays do this?

Then open the wiring box in the front corner of the engine compartment. There is a stud post in there with red wires to it. That post should have 12 volts at all times, key on or off, slightly dropping near 10 during starter cranking. Does it?

Mark


beteljuze wrote:
Crazyvanman: ok, I will check the connections from the battery to the starter to the alternator. I just finished cleaning all the grounds in the engine compartment, and I removed and cleaned the terminals on the battery and cleaned the ground to the chassis. Whenever I stop working than go back out, the van starts right up. If I turn the key off and try again, it won't start.
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark: first off, thanks for the help so far. Yes the black wire at the coil has 12 volts and it doesn't drop much at all while cranking. Both relays are clicking as you describe in the box above the coil. And yes, the post does have 12 volts and it drops down a little when the starter is cranking. The wire connection on the starter is big and has a rubber cover. I am in the process of cleaning that now as well as the smaller push-on wire connector.
Unfortunately my helper(wife) just went to bed.( it's 11:30 here). My Lab however has not come out of the Van this whole time and if he could turn that key I know he would be.
I am going to keep checking wire continuity and connections for awhile than start again in the am. Thanks again for your help and patience. Frank
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beteljuze
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

***Update*** ok, so last night as I was cleaning grounds and connections I would try to start the Van after each "procedure". After cleaning the battery to chassis ground connection and reconnecting it it started right up. I continued on the path that Crazyvwvanman and others had suggested, meanwhile I kept starting the Van at intervals and it always started. Again this morning it started right up. I just finished cleaning the K&N air filter and checking and tightening clamps/hoses in the engine compartment. I also reset the timing. I took it for a ride several times and it is acting ok, so far. I believe it was a faulty ground connection at the battery, because after cleaning that it started up everytime.
I will be the first one to admit I am guilty of just " throwing parts at it" till it's fixed. I should know by now that with a Vanagon a problem could be either very complicated or very simple, but it takes time to find the solution. I know I went about it the wrong way.
Truly thank you to Mark and everyone else that helped me and my Van.
Frank
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