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Overheat and power loss
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Rebelmama
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:41 pm    Post subject: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Hi all!
Recently replaced my thermostat and water pump, and leaking oil pressure sensor on my 1983 / 1.9,water cooled Vanagon. My heat sensor isn't working, but I've stayed full of water and oil since completing the work.

I'm now on a trip from WA to CA and one of my belts appears to have cut into my coolant return hose. I heard an explosion (the hose blowing out?) and then experienced a loss of power. The van would still idle and would start again when it died, but couldn't get it up to speed. Is this "Vanagon Syndrome"? No knocking; no black smoke; no bucking, or sputtering. No milky oil.

It's at the mechanic now, but it's someone I don't know. I'd like to have some ideas before I go in there for the diagnosis so I don't get ripped off. I'm wondering what could have been ruined by my overheating? Would that kill the fuel pump or filter? Or is the loss of power just a dreaded loss of engine compression? Didi the seals melt? Am I stranded in Ukiah? Will my son and l I have to stay here and part out my beautiful van to pay for a way home? If so how do I know what to charge? Help and thanks!
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Mellow Yellow 74
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:16 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

So many questions, so little hope for anyone to answer them based on the limited information you provided.

Most people probably wouldn't have restarted it, allowed it to idle and attempted to drive it after hearing an explosion and seeing a damaged coolant hose.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

A thirty plus year old car that needs work isn't going to get you very much, especially if you want to make a quick sale. Since you probably want to get home very quickly, then just rent a U-haul truck and car trailer and tow her home.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:17 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

If the hose burst suddenly and you lost the coolant and stopped right away chances are you did not seize the engine by overheating. That it starts and idles proves it. So relax a little.
You checked your oil and there is no water in it, right?

So in the blissful moments leading up to this disaster what was the temperature gauge doing? was it normal?
How fast were you going and how quickly did you shut it down?

Does this mechanic have WBX experience? If he does not know how to bleed the air out do a search here on how to. Do a search anyway so you know.
You can get virtually any part in stock from gowesty.com of van-cafe.com overnight since local auto parts stores usually do not have parts you need. Take advantage of local autparts stores if they can get the part overnight without you paying shipping charges.

Replace your hose obviously and the belt.
While the belt is off does the water pump spin freely?
This time making sure they are not going to touch! Refill it and bleed the air start it paying close attention to the temp gauge so if it starts to over heat you can shut it down.
How does it sound? Normal? Does it go above idle?
If it sounds normal-test drive it around the block if it will get up to speed.
Within the first 1/2 hour of getting up to temperature stop and check for leaks with engine running. keep your long hair away from the rotating belts!
If okay spend a day in that town driving it carefully since you have a mechanic in that town. At the end of the day or after it proves itself at side street speeds try a faster drive and see how it does. if it goes okay get back to driving, but carry coolant with you for the engine if you need it.
check the distances to major towns along the way. Most towns have a Uhaul to rent truck and trailor.
If you do not have a AAA Club premier membership consider buying it if finances have room for it. You can get one 200 mile tow with it.(or a few lesser miles tows.) Use your insurance first for a tow off the highway saving the AAA for a long distance tow. This can get you to town with a Uhaul if you need it.

How old is your oil? Consider changing it if it has been in there a while and you did overheat the engine, never hurts to change it.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:54 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
...Replace your hose obviously and the belt.
While the belt is off does the water pump spin freely?
This time making sure they are not going to touch!...


That pretty much sums it up. I have also had a belt that was touching a coolant hose under some circumstances. I could not see how it could happen, there was a big gap between the two of them - nevertheless there was a belt (AC compressor belt) mark on the bottom of the hose.

Just to be safe I added a second layer of sacrificial belt zip tied at the point of prior contact.

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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

You're worried about getting ripped off ????

Well son, at this point you have a couple of options;

Hitch hike to your destination, dump the messed up van & buy another vehicle, or let the guy repair it--if it can be fixed.

You should have checked out the belt tension, & checked out how they were following the pulleys way prior to taking off with the van.
Sounds to me like you didn't finish the job, and this malfunction is all on you.

Pay the man and get back on the road.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:

Just to be safe I added a second layer of sacrificial belt zip tied at the point of prior contact.

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that's a good thing to do. you should always have some Zip-Ty's in the car.
Take a good section of the old hose -cut it off and cut it along the length on one side and then place it over your new hose. Then just zip-ty it in place.

Another thing for the future, while you are driving if your RED alternator light should come on the dash. Stop immediately. The reason being is that the alternator belt is also driving your water pump. If that belt fails you just lost your cooling. If you drive and think about it wondering if you should be driving you probably damaged the engine. Don't second guess it-just shut down. Go back and check that the problem is not a bad fan belt. If the belt is okay your battery will get you a good ways during the daytime. At night your lights are draining the battery. Remember this!
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

coolant may have sprayed on tbe dizzie getting it wet i side, that might cause a drivability problem. hopefully that is all that is wrong.

to test for damage to motor mechanicals, run a leak down test and if she can be warmed up, an oil pressure test, if you fail either, you probably are looking at a rebuild. if both tests are passed, the enigne is likely in ok shape and the problem may have to do with electrical stuff getting wet.

also take off the dizzie cap and inspect for moisture and also check condition of cap and rotor.

also after leak down and oil pressure test is done and passed, have the cooling system pressure tested.

good luck, may the fix be easy and inexpensive.


ps

also it is not clear to me how far you drove after holing the hose, how far did you go after loss of coolant?

finally get a working temp gage, they even have an over heat lamp that will light up on the dash. this can save fiture grief.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Forgot about the temp sensor.
Now while you have no coolant in the engine would be a good time to change the temp sensors. No coolant will leak out at least!

Somebody can double check this thought, but would a temp sensor from the VW Rabbit/Jetta or Passat work? They should be easy to get from local auto parts store if it is a temp sensor gone bad and not a wiring problem.
if it is a wiring problem I would buy a temp gauge from the local auto parts store or overnight one from Van-Cafe.com and install this.
Driving without a temp gauge is just not a good idea at all with these engines.


http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_473_146/coolant-temperature-gauge-sender.html
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Rebelmama
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your well considered responses!

Yes the reason I don't have a temp gauge is an electrical issue (no gas gauge either) so I will definitely install an after market temp gauge immediately!

Good news: the main reservoir was still full so the van never ran out of coolant! No evidence of overheating, nothing obviously melted.

I only limped a short distance to get off the main highway after I lost power. The symptoms were similar to a clogged fuel filter, no grinding or smoke, so I wasn't initially thinking the engine would seize.

Luckily, I was carrying the right size of hose with me and the blow out section was easily replaced.

I forgot to mention my van had been making an intermittent white noise kind of sound ever since I first acquired it. I though it might be the fuel pump engaging.

The mechanic here in Ukiah doesn't think my problem is the fuel pump or a clogged filter. He didn't check under the distributor cap and dismissed my suggestion that cooolant may have sprayed there.

He wants to replace the Hall Sender. I was talking to my shop in Olympia and they also mentioned an air mass meter as a possibility. Is Hall sender something I can install myself? Air mass meter? Any special tools for either of those?

Uhaul wants $1200 to rent me the equipment to tow it home. I guess I'll need to repair it here in Ukiah if I want any money left over for parts.

Thanks again!
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Last edited by Rebelmama on Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

The hall sensor is in the disributor body and has a wire feeding it. This connection plug is a known weak link for it iften cracks causing poor electrical connections.

The Air flow meter is fastened to the air filter assembly. A low failure point that most often causes intermittant running issues when worn.

If you pierced a hose, lost some coolant and the engine now lacks power, seek out those areas around the leak that got wet. That's most likely where your problem lies.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
The hall sensor is in the disributor body and has a wire feeding it. This connection plug is a known weak link for it iften cracks causing poor electrical connections. ...


x2 The three wires going into the distributor connection corrode, get weak and break. BTDT

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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

This power loss occurred after the coolant hose burst presumably spraying nice hot coolant.
So...
- which side of the hose burst? Top, side or bottom? That would dictate the direction of the spray and what got wet. If it touched the belt that would be on the bottom side? Plus the belt would help spray the coolant.
- the engine was hot at operating temp and so was the coolant.
So...it is now so many hours later and it dried fairly quick with a hot engine and by now it is all dry anyway. A bit sticky perhaps from the coolant.

I would start with a very basic thing and find the electrical grounds in that area.
- on the engine top left side under the air intake pipes about a 40 angle from the distributor or draw a imaginary line from the distributor to the fuel injectors and you will find a bolt screwed into the engine with some brown wires going to it.
Brown is the color of the negative wires, i.e. ground wires.
There is also another bolt below the ignition coil screwed into the sheetmetal on the side of the engine compartment with a lot of brown wires.
Unscrew these and clean the terminals with a bit of sandpaper or if you didn't have that scrap them clean with the flat blade of a screwdriver. Clean the bolt too and the spot it screws into.
Both of these could have been sprayed by coolant and who knows, it might have been enough to do something like create a poor connection.
These grounds are important to the Digifant Fuel Injection so they need to be clean.
-While your over there under the ignition coil you could clean the terminals on the ignition coil itself, since your cleaning might as well get everything! At least you know these items are checked off the list of possible causes.
_ Then take a look at the AFM on the air filter housing. There is an electrical connector on the top. Just unplug it and put it back on a few times. This has a chance of cleaning any tarnish on the terminals inside the connector itself.

Try driving it and see if anything changed.

Then take a look at the Hall sensor, but be careful with it as it is old and brittle. People usually break it when pushing the connector back onto it.
if you see any breaks or open wires this could be your problem or part of it.

The distributor cap and ignition wires are pretty well sealed so that is kinda a remote possibility. However you take the distributor cap off to check it is clean inside on the 4 brass terminals. Again the flat blade of the screw driver can scrap them clean. Look at the end of the rotor make sure that is clean too. Really don't think the distributor cap is the reason you can't get above idle. that Hall sensor could do it though.

With the engine warmed up and gearbox in neutral can you rev the engine above idle?
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Rebelmama
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Fantastic advice! I will do all of this tomorrow! The ignition control module will also be here tomorrow.


Yes, bottom of hose and side toward the belt blew out.

Engine can rev above idle but not consistently. When under load after a few blocks it loses power again and stalls out.


Do you think I should replace the fuel filter too, or not?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Did you spray the engine down with a hose? Maybe you knocked something loose when you did so?
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Rebelmama
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

No... I never sprayed the engine with a hose on purpose... the return hose on the secondary coolant reservoir was damaged by the alternator belt and may have sprayed coolant onto the engine.

I've read where you can test the ignition control module to see if its bad... but the mechanic where my van is parked is just guessing - and has me ordering the part without even doing a voltmeter test. Isn't that strange? Does a misfiring engine (symptom of ICM failure) act like a clogged fuel filter?

Thank you so much!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Did or have you performed a general tune up on the van since you've owned it ?

You're asking about individual parts as though they haven't been touched.

The lack of maintenance could very well be your demon here.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Rebelmama wrote:
No... I never sprayed the engine with a hose on purpose... the return hose on the secondary coolant reservoir was damaged by the alternator belt and may have sprayed coolant onto the engine.

I've read where you can test the ignition control module to see if its bad... but the mechanic where my van is parked is just guessing - and has me ordering the part without even doing a voltmeter test. Isn't that strange? Does a misfiring engine (symptom of ICM failure) act like a clogged fuel filter?

Thank you so much!


If you haven't sprayed it down then maybe you should to get antifreeze out of all those places you don't want it to be. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Spraying it off is a good idea! I was also told to scrape all of the connections with sandpaper or a screwdriver.

As for a general tune up, the last owner told me he replaced the spark plugs, but not sure when. I replaced the air filter and oil filter. As I said above, I replaced the thermostat, water pump, and belts. I also replaced the oil pressure switch (which stopped the massive oil leak). I did the front brakes and bearings but still need to do rear brakes. I've had the van about 6 months, and everything else seemed to be great with it except some electrical issues in the dash.

Should I get an after market oil temp gauge or a water temp gauge?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Overheat and power loss Reply with quote

Rebelmama wrote:
...Should I get an after market oil temp gauge or a water temp gauge?


Both are useful but in my opinion a water temp gauge is a better early warning of big trouble. But rather than dealing with a replacement and it sender, etc, - it may be simpler to just get the stock gauge working.
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