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Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter
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BennyPickup
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:46 pm    Post subject: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Hello,

I was driving and started to lose oil pressure/power. My transporter (85 Vanagon/truck) seems to have a slow oil leak and I unfortunately had not checked it for awhile. As I was coming down a hill I shifted into neutral and my engine quit. I managed to coast to a side street..
The alternator is only a month old, I added some oil and got someone to try and jump me but it doesnít seem to have worked. Could this be a bad battery?? He thought it was the starter, but considering it died while driving I donít agree. My thought is the low oil stopped the engine from charging the battery???? And this caused it to die.

Going to buy a new battery and try to install in the morning, but any advice on other solutions would help. Fuel filter is new and I do hear a noise from the fuel pump direction when starting. I have tools and a Gowesty light-up electrical tester, but I have little experience fixing so far.

Thank you!!
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VicVan
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Before you spend some money on a new battery, check if the crankshaft can turn by hand. Make sure gearbox is in neutral.

How was your oil level recently ?
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BennyPickup
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

On the alternator you mean? Because it was able to spin. I felt it go into neutral while coasting down the hill.
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E1
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Did it sputter a short while before stalling?

Did the headlights go dim just before? (if dark out)

How do you know the oil pressure was low, did the light come on? Any scent of burning oil?

Low oil would not affect alternator charging. You might have a local auto parts store test your alternator and battery; the battery should be tested while the engine's off, for a load test (1) and for static charge (2), then again while running to see if voltage is getting through (3).

This tells you:
1). The cold cranking amps, the real test of power beyond voltage
(CCA should be on label or online, should test to 80-100% of that number)
2). The resting charge the battery's holding
(should be 12.7 volts if holding charge, alternator is working well, as is cable)
3). Alternator should be putting out 13.2 to maybe 14 volts
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Last edited by E1 on Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Vic (and I) want to know your engine hasn't seized due to oil starvation. That would be BAD.

If not, your alternator is still suspect...even if the alt itself is good, 30 year old wiring & connectors have a
tendency towards corrosion, resistance & poor operation. Check all that before springing for a new battery...

<shrug>

- Dave
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leecat
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Where are you in B.C., Benny? If you're on south Van island more than happy to try to meet up and give you a hand with some basics, sounds like you could maybe use a little diagnostic help!

Edit - IF you're close, I also have a brand spanking new VW battery you'd be welcome to test try before you bought one.
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BennyPickup
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

I did not have the lights on, I noticed a gradual loss of power and then as I came to the top of a hill I put it in neutral and it quit shortly after shifting it. I might get a cab to an auto store with the alternator and battery in hand considering Iíd have to make my way there anyhow for a replacement.

The oil light came on and the battery did not come on until after it shut off (I think). My oil light comes on occasionally but goes off itself. This happens even when my oil isnít low so I usually donít worry about it so long as I check every week or so. I notice oil after I stopped so I put a small jug in.

Starter doesnít make a noise when I try, but instrument electronics have some power.

I am in the Vancouver area!! Wouldnít expect you to take a ferry but appreciate the offer!!!
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Not even a click from the starter when you turn the key to start? If a click but no crank, it sounds like the engine might be seized. Your description of the oil light coming on sometimes, and the engine being run low in oil, losing power, and then just quitting would all support the engine seizing diagnosis. If there is not even a click from the starter, then it could be the starter itself, a failed ignitions switch/wiring, or a completely dead battery.
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leecat
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Hey Benny, sorry I am not closer to you. What the guys above are asking is if you can turn the large pulley circled in this attached pic. Block the wheels and put the ebrake on (safety first!), put the van in neutral and then you want to put a large socket on a bar in there and try to rotate that pulley - and thus the engine internals - by hand. It should rotate like that with some moderate come-and-go resistance. If it's solidly locked up and you cannot move it at all, that's a sure sign of the more serious engine problems discussed above. If you CAN move it, then you can move on to diagnosing less serious issues. Costs nothing to try it and eliminate the worst of all possibilities. Sorry if that's oversimplified and maybe you know all that already, but if not hope it helps!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:47 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Did you actually test that your "new" alternator was putting out the correct voltage? Just because it is a new rebuild, doesn't mean it will work.

Could easily be bad connections somewhere in the battery cables and tranny ground strap.

You need a multimeter and learn how to use it so you can troubleshoot your problem verses throwing parts at it.
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DirtyBlueVan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:51 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
Not even a click from the starter when you turn the key to start? If a click but no crank, it sounds like the engine might be seized. Your description of the oil light coming on sometimes, and the engine being run low in oil, losing power, and then just quitting would all support the engine seizing diagnosis. If there is not even a click from the starter, then it could be the starter itself, a failed ignitions switch/wiring, or a completely dead battery.


This.
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BennyPickup
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:20 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Thanks for all the suggestions. Will try a few of them. Fingers crosssed I can turn the crank. Wonít be fun if itís seized.. it had signs of lifter issues in the past... If it does spin Iíll check the alternator, however a jump couldíve worked.
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Paulbeard
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:29 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

BennyPickup wrote:

The alternator is only a month old, I added some oil and got someone to try and jump me but it doesnít seem to have worked. Could this be a bad battery?? He thought it was the starter, but considering it died while driving I donít agree. My thought is the low oil stopped the engine from charging the battery???? And this caused it to die.


So you did get a jump from someone after it died? Not clear on thatÖif you did, what were the results?
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

BennyPickup wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. Will try a few of them. Fingers crosssed I can turn the crank. Wonít be fun if itís seized.. it had signs of lifter issues in the past... If it does spin Iíll check the alternator, however a jump couldíve worked.


It would help us help you if you made a special note of each of the questions that are asked in each of the posts and actually answer them. Most of the questions asked are not rhetorical but rather an attempt to zero in on the actual issue and avoid wasting both your time and the time of the people trying to help.

When you turn the key to the start position, what do you hear? Do you hear absolutely nothing or do you hear a click from the back of the van?
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

BennyPickup wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. Will try a few of them. Fingers crosssed I can turn the crank. Wonít be fun if itís seized.. it had signs of lifter issues in the past... If it does spin Iíll check the alternator, however a jump couldíve worked.

Benny, I don't think I'm alone in having more questions than answers that might help.

Lifter noise is normal and stopped by Lucas Oil Conditioner or Marvel Mystery oil, if that's what you mean.

I'm not sure if the jump attempt meant it didn't start, or didn't turn over the engine at all. If the starter clicks but nothing else, it could be a lot of things including engine seize. If the starter makes no noise at all, that could be good news. It sounds like you heard the fuel pump, deepening my wonderment.

Still unclear how you know it lost oil pressure, especially since it sounds like the sender may or may not be bad.

A spinning alternator sounds like the engine is also spinning with it.

No harm intended, we just want to help and it's okay to not know the terms. Just need some clarifying, Welcome, and Good Luck!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:27 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

E1 wrote:


I'm not sure if the jump attempt meant it didn't start, or didn't turn over the engine at all. If the starter clicks but nothing else, it could be a lot of things including engine seize. If the starter makes no noise at all, that could be good news. It sounds like you heard the fuel pump, deepening my wonderment.

Still unclear how you know it lost oil pressure, especially since it sounds like the sender may or may not be bad.



re-reading the thread, my gloss is that OP has been steering a little too close to the wind, with repeated oil pressure warnings and a known leak. I wonder if a drip while parked isn't something more under pressure. The fuel pump comes on, per OP, and a check of battery strength is easily performed by turning on the headlights to see how bright they are. We don't know when OP last changed the oil as a baseline.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

BennyPickup wrote:
My thought is the low oil stopped the engine from charging the battery????


Um no.
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BennyPickup
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Sorry, I donít use forums often; not the best at the etiquette.

A guy with a truck pulled over to help try and boost my truck. It did not turn over, just a single Ďclickí when attempting. Not specifically heard coming from the back.

Not wrong, Iíve had an apparent slow leak that every now and then needs oil. I think I drove more than usual speeding the leak and keeping me too busy to remember to top it off. Thatís why I do think seizing is on the table. Oil pressure I have figured out as it occasionally loses some power to which my mechanic thought was low oil pressure (or the lifters not lifting?).

I will try the headlamps and cranking it when I get back to it (where it lies on a Vancouver side street). If it does spin Iíll try getting a second person to jump it just in case (and will test the battery for replacement if it is no good).

Thank you for all the help, apologies for the poor descriptions
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Not encouraging but we're reckless optimists on hereÖmaybe see if you can beg/borrow a jumppack (one of those emergency jumpstart kits) if you can't rely on a passerby for a jump. I'm thinking a tow is in the offing, though. Sounds like your tests are headlights (to rule out the battery) and turning the crankshaft. I'd bring some oil as well, in case it turns and you can get it started.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Engine quit while driving .. 85 Transporter Reply with quote

Paulbeard wrote:
Not encouraging but we're reckless optimists on hereÖmaybe see if you can beg/borrow a jumppack (one of those emergency jumpstart kits) if you can't rely on a passerby for a jump. I'm thinking a tow is in the offing, though. Sounds like your tests are headlights (to rule out the battery) and turning the crankshaft. I'd bring some oil as well, in case it turns and you can get it started.


If he had an engine shutting down due to lack of oil and seizing, trying to add oil and run it may very well lead to it blowing up.
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