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Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. SOLVED!
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Westy1999
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:25 am    Post subject: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. SOLVED! Reply with quote

UPDATE: With all the talk of checking the distributor wires I did just that and the engine started. Then it died 30 seconds later. So I went back to push in all the wires that ran from the distributor and noticed the white plastic clip on the starting coil was loose. I must have brushed it with my hand when I was pushing in the other wires which is why the van started but only ran for 30 seconds. Anyway...that did the trick! Thanks everybody! (Photo attached)

-------------

I filled up with gas, drove a mile and at a light the engine cut off. Started right up and drove 100 yards and it died again while driving. Won't start. I plugged in a new ignition switch to no avail. Oil is full and the coolant overflow has coolant. Engine temp was fine. Newish spark plugs and just had the cap and rotor done. Bosch fuel pump under a year old. Couldn't jump start.

Engine tries to turnover but won't.

Someone in a thread here suggested checking the relays for the fuel pump. I don't know how to do that. Any advice? Keep in mind I'm no mechanic, to say the least.

Any other ideas? It's Saturday and I'm stuck in Meredith New Hampshire for the weekend, it appears.

Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by Westy1999 on Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:45 am; edited 4 times in total
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vanagonforever
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

When it dies does it feel like you ran out of gas? What happens to the instrument panel lights?

When you try to start it again, does it turn over? Are you hearing the starter working? If not the starter are you hearing any clicking?
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Westy1999
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

vanagonforever wrote:
When it dies does it feel like you ran out of gas? What happens to the instrument panel lights?

When you try to start it again, does it turn over? Are you hearing the starter working? If not the starter are you hearing any clicking?


Tries to turn over but won't.

The engine just died and I filled it with gas.

Instrument panel looks normal but the overheating light blinks rapidly. Did it always do that? I forget.

I can't tell if the starter is working but I assumed that it wouldn't be the starter since I was driving when the engine stalled. I'm afraid to try starting it again for fear of draining the battery.
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vanagonforever
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:41 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

I am not a professional mechanic but I do manage to keep myself off the side of the road most of the time. My first guess would be fuel pump or clogged fuel filter. If you have a friend with you then put your ear next to the fuel pump when you try starting it. It should make noise. If it isn't making any noise then I'd try to remember the last time you replaced the fuel filter.

That's my guess at least.
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AtlasShrugged
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

Tries to turn over but won't

Do you mean the engine spins normally with the starter but will not "catch" and start?

Or..the engine makes an attempt to spin with the starter..but will not spin? Clicks or otherwise will not spin the engine?
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Westy1999
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

AtlasShrugged wrote:
Tries to turn over but won't

Do you mean the engine spins normally with the starter but will not "catch" and start?

Or..the engine makes an attempt to spin with the starter..but will not spin? Clicks or otherwise will not spin the engine?


I'm not sure how to tell the difference. It sounds like it would if the battery had some charge but not enough to start the car. If that helps...
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AtlasShrugged
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:52 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

Westy1999 wrote:
AtlasShrugged wrote:
Tries to turn over but won't

Do you mean the engine spins normally with the starter but will not "catch" and start?

Or..the engine makes an attempt to spin with the starter..but will not spin? Clicks or otherwise will not spin the engine?


I'm not sure how to tell the difference. It sounds like it would if the battery had some charge but not enough to start the car. If that helps...


Okay..that sounds like the starter will not turn the engine over...like a dead battery?

If that is the case..forget about checking fuel pump relays and the like...you have a battery starter problem.

If your Vanagon is an Automatic..the neutral safety switch on the center console..if you move the lever to "N" will it turn the engine over? If so..you need a NSS.



Battery in good condition?

Battery terminals clean?

Ground cable good and a clean connection inside the battery box fitting?

The big ground strap under the bus..between the transmission and chassis..is it in good condition and with clean connections?

Connections on the starter good..the big red cable? The #50 red/black wire connection good and on the starter?


Last edited by AtlasShrugged on Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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joelsolomonson
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:59 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

If you can trouble shoot your battery/starter/alternator connections, I’d start there. Not having a multimeter makes this difficult so it may not be much help while stranded but simply jiggling the wires to see if they are connected could reveal something. I got stranded near home once and after a few attempts at jumping I started tracing wires to where they should be connected to find a dangling wire from the alternator to the battery. Good luck, my friend.
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Tobias Duncan
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

I fear that OP does not have a lot of tools or mechanical savvy.
Is there anyone nearby that can help?
How about the modern version of the vanagon rescue squad app?
The Houston Photographer deal?
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Westy1999
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

AtlasShrugged wrote:
Westy1999 wrote:
AtlasShrugged wrote:
Tries to turn over but won't

Do you mean the engine spins normally with the starter but will not "catch" and start?

Or..the engine makes an attempt to spin with the starter..but will not spin? Clicks or otherwise will not spin the engine?


I'm not sure how to tell the difference. It sounds like it would if the battery had some charge but not enough to start the car. If that helps...


Okay..that sounds like the starter will not turn the engine over...like a dead battery?

If that is the case..forget about checking fuel pump relays and the like...you have a battery starter problem.

If your Vanagon is an Automatic..the neutral safety switch on the center console..if you move the lever to "N" will it turn the engine over? If so..you need a NSS.



Battery in good condition?

Battery terminals clean?

Ground cable good and a clean connection inside the battery box fitting?

The big ground strap under the bus..between the transmission and chassis..is it in good condition and with clean connections?

Connections on the starter good..the big red cable? The #50 red/black wire connection good and on the starter?


Thanks for all that! I'll check all of those when I'm back at the vehicle. But would those issues you mention cause the van to stall while driving?
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AtlasShrugged
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

But would those issues you mention cause the van to stall while driving?

A bad ground ..bad battery or alternator could do it...anything that kept the engine/ignition from getting a good 12 volts to keep it running.
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Tobias Duncan
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

Westy1999 wrote:
AtlasShrugged wrote:
Tries to turn over but won't

Do you mean the engine spins normally with the starter but will not "catch" and start?

Or..the engine makes an attempt to spin with the starter..but will not spin? Clicks or otherwise will not spin the engine?


I'm not sure how to tell the difference. It sounds like it would if the battery had some charge but not enough to start the car. If that helps...



I am still not clear on this detail.
So you turn the key , you hear a very slow turn over instead of the normal ?
Like RRRRRrrrrrr click click click?
Is this what you hear? You keep the key turned but the engine stops trying to spin and you hear silence?
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

Tobias Duncan wrote:
...I am still not clear on this detail...


Me too. There is a world of difference between a cranking problem and a fuel/firing problem.

I suspect it cranks (though possibly slowly) but does not fire. Several possibilities but a fuel filter would be high on my list for several reasons.

I did not see the model year/engine mentioned but the early white plastic filter can clog abruptly as you drive and take you from running to 'no start' in no time. The brief restart (100 yards) and then thoroughly dead also suggest this.

To the OP - did you try to restart several times cranking the engine for a longer than usual spell? If you know where the fuel pump and filter are - is the filter a large metal can rearward from the pump or a white plastic cube between the pump and the tank?
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Turbod16v
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

I'm about an hour out, more or less depending on where you are in Meredith, south in Hopkinton, NH if your still in need of some help.

mite have some relays and a fuel pump laying around. got plenty of tools.

pm me or reply to this. ill check in a bit
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

if your still stuck in Meridith (hey there are many worse places, it's quite nice there). there's an import shop in Holderness that is closed sunday but has vans in the front lot when I pass..
Squam Lakes Automotive Services
https://goo.gl/maps/PG6mmw9pnLp

886 US-3, Holderness, NH 03245
squamlakesauto.com
(603) 968-7001
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

Assuming that it is cranking fast enough to start, I would suspect 1. that you have water in your gas and 2. that one of the new parts you had installed has failed.

You could get a 3' piece of 5/16 fuel hose and attach it to the outlet of the fuel pump and put the other end in a quart size glass jar or even a large metal can. Cycle the ignition switch several times from off to on (you should hear the pump run briefly each time you do this.) and then check your fuel container for any water sitting in the bottom, any is too much. Don't turn the key to the start position, just the "ON" position.

Remove you distributor cap, leaving most of the wires in place and noting where any wires you take off go. Check that the insides of the cap and the rotor look perfect. The cap may be cracked or the center electrode may have failed. For the rotor it may have cracked or the resistance strip may have burnt up. If the distributor was removed when the work was done then try grabbing the rotor and giving it a firm twist, it should have very little movement. If it is not locked in place you have found your problem.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

Until OP can describe the symptoms accurately, a deluge of options will just scare him/her off. It's likely there are multiple things to put right due to deferred maintenance-as we know these cars require a trip under the back deck every other fuel stop or so, to check wear parts and keep things kosher.

I'm hearing low voltage due to dead battery and bad wiring, listening to the tea leaves
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:30 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

So much confusion!

Auto repair terminology

Crank:
The car “cranks” when the starter motor is able to spin the engine, also known as "turns over.” If the car “will not crank” when you turn the ignition key, you hear either a clicking sound, or nothing at all.

Turns Over:
An engine “Turning Over” (Turns Over) and an engine “Cranking” (Cranks) mean the same thing.
The starter is working when you turn the key. By “Working” the starter engages the flywheel and rotates the engine as long as you hold the key in Start position. But until the engine "Catches" or "Starts” it is only “Cranking” or “Turning Over”.
The “Cranking” and the “Turning Over” are terms that describe the mechanical rotation of the engine before it catches or starts.

Catches:
The engine starts while the starter motor is operating.

Fire:
While the starter motor is operating the spark ignites the fuel and the engine “Catches” or “Starts”.

Starts:
While the starter motor is operating, the engine “Fires” or “Catches” and runs on its own.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:43 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

To me the OP has a "Cause and effect" situation.

He purchased fuel,
one mile later the engine died.
Immediately after dying it started but soon died again.
It did not start again.

The driver has been operating the Starter but the engine refuses to start.

Possibly the battery has gone weak from repeated starting attempts.

Most likely he had purchased a tank of bad fuel.

Possibly by coincidence with stopping for fuel the ignition system or fuel pump broke.

The BIG three MUST be present to run a gasoline engine.....
1) Compression
2) Spark
3) Fuel

He is missing one of these three. You can probably rule out compression unless it threw a rod or swallowed a valve, a catastrophic failure.

Spark is easy to check.
Fuel has multiple aspects.
A) Delivered by the fuel pump.
B) maintained at the correct pressure
C) injected into each cylinder by the fuel injection system
D) of a quality that will combust ... @not tainted with water

Dave
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:27 am    Post subject: Re: Stranded! Engine stalled, won't start. Reply with quote

In North America, in a running car, I'll give 1/10,000 odds against bad gas.
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