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Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving!
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ianNJ
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:45 am    Post subject: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Morning! Happy thanksgiving

My wife and I were about 40min into our drive and while cruising around 65 on the highway (in cruise control) there was an aggressive sputter. It did it a few more times and we decided to turn around and get a different car (we had 6 more hours of driving).

On the way home I played with it a bit and there seems to be no way to repeat the issue. It does it when it feels like it... it happens in all gears except 1st to my knowledge. It does seem to happen during acceleration.

I should also mention: my heat didnít work today as well as it has in the past. It is 25 degrees out which is colder then Iíve driven it before. The engine had rebuilt heads around 8k miles ago. Around 4K the heads were replaced again, something to do with a bad seal or it being out on wrong.

Any ideas?
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:25 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Last year I had an intermittent sputter while on a trip West in late October.

It started noticeably in South Dakota where it got strikingly colder.

I had no starting issues hot or cold.

I noticed it bagan to happen consistently only after a hot stop getting food/fuel or a bathroom stop.

I checked many things finding no problems. I carry a Vanagon parts house when I travel.

Once I arrived in Western Montana where we planned to stay for a few days with my daughter, which was good as it snowed the entire visit, blocking us in town as the passes iced over and the mercury plunged to -9į F.
We only got out using a hail mary pass and running South into Idaho on treacherous highways. We certainly weren't going West over Lolo pass or going farther north into Glacier!

I while there, on a lark, plugged in my spare ECU. Took a few test drives in the Valley basin and discovered that the stumble was gone after making test hot stops.

For the rest of the 8,000 mile journey it performed just fine. The Van recently took a 5,000 + mile trip South to Florida, West to San Diego and then North into the Pacific NW ....... it is in Northern Oregon as of yesterday and still running fine.

A lot of words to say...... check your ECU.

Sometimes you can unbolt the ECU assembly and remount it upside down. This changes the strain on the internal circuit board and can actually "heal" an ailing ECU.

Dave
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ianNJ
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply! Iíll try that when I get back saturday. It doesnít sound like a trans or head issue? (The only other vehicles Iíve had that were problematic were Jeeps).
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:55 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Generally mechanical problems happen all of the time.

Electrical gremlins often hide and come out like snipers taking shots at you.

I would read up on the injection system and how to trouble shoot it. (Found in the FAQ section of Vanagon)

And also remove check and clean all of you fuel injection grounds. Ground locations for the 2.1 are all clearly identified in the FAQ section.

Dave
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ianNJ
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:19 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

You may have a form of Vanagon Syndrome too.....

No one answer, lots of things to check.

If shutting it off and going again "fixes" it, that is a huge clue.

Odds are, you probably would have been just fine for the six hour journey.

Low heat?
Control cable not turning heater valve on fully?
Heater box seals are rotted away allowing ice cold air to dilute your heat?
Mice have built a nest clogging up the air flow?
Heater core is plugged?

My Van, even in that -9į last Fall, would cook us!


Dave
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:07 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

check your air cleaner didn't suck up a load of water.. a wet filter doesn't flow thru well.

cold
wet
salted/brined roads?
wreak havoc on the ECU millivolt readings from the various sensors. O2, TempII, injector grounds. essentially the ecu doesn't get clear consistent readings.
plus the chassis ground. as the 2.1 ECU is grounded under the back seat, and is most often overlooked in Gnd cleanings.

I like to add a GND wire from the ECU to the engine block ground when servicing mine.
note that any small GND wire can carry the full brunt of the starter and Alternator (think headlights) if/when the main chassis ground fails.
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Marshj
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:29 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Related to the salt post above. Last night all the interstates here in North Jersey were over salted. Could be a grounding issue as stated
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:44 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

The pins will sometimes work their way out of the plugs for the AFM and other FI components. Pretty easy fix if that is all it is. Pull each plug and verify that each pin is at the correct depth in the plug. If a pin is pushed back, remove it, bend the little locking tap and bit more, and reinstall it.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

AFM and FI components? Question
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

AFM ..... Air Flow Meter

FI .... Fuel Injection

Dave
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


So I started looking for grounds and was in the engine. And notice this green wire was not connected. I re-connected it. Any idea what it is?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Green wire is the O2 sensor SIGNAL wire.
do NOT allow the braided shielding to contact the primary wire in the middle or the connection.

also do NOT allow the O2 wire half from the ECU side to short to gnd..
do not allow salt/brine to trace or interfere electrically.

make sure it's a clean good fitting connection if/when you reconnect it.

there are many threads on the O2 sensor and it's wiring

sometimes people unplug it and it runs better

for a while..

but the variables of effects are many.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

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It looks like at some point the black wire was cut on the one side (toward the front of the car) and then this green wire it was spliced in at some point.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

After driving with the O2 signal plugged in it sputtered much more and very often. It was not aggressive at all but a lot in 2nd and 3rd. Unplugged it stops... I wonder if the O2 hit the frame and grounded? Maybe that caused the aggressive sputter.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:50 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

ianNJ wrote:
After driving with the O2 signal plugged in it sputtered much more and very often. It was not aggressive at all but a lot in 2nd and 3rd. Unplugged it stops... I wonder if the O2 hit the frame and grounded? Maybe that caused the aggressive sputter.


The O2 is not necessarily at fault, it is just sensing a miss which it reads as an overly lean condition and the ECU is attempting to compensate.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:43 am    Post subject: Re: Engine/transmission aggressive sputter? ... on thanksgiving! Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
ianNJ wrote:
After driving with the O2 signal plugged in it sputtered much more and very often. It was not aggressive at all but a lot in 2nd and 3rd. Unplugged it stops... I wonder if the O2 hit the frame and grounded? Maybe that caused the aggressive sputter.


The O2 is not necessarily at fault, it is just sensing a miss which it reads as an overly lean condition and the ECU is attempting to compensate.


^This. If you have a leaky exhaust upstream of the o2 sensor there will be much more o2 in the exhaust and the sensor will try to compensate by richening the mixture.
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