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Author Topic: Hard Starting - '87 Vanagon Westy  (Read 4568 times)

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Red Baron

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Hard Starting - '87 Vanagon Westy
« on: June 26, 2008, 05:06:22 PM »
I haven't run our '87 Westy that much  this spring, other than an overnite to the Easter Campout at Nachaug, a day trip to the Litchfield Bug-In and short trips in our home area here in Windsor Locks, CT. I try to start it at least once a week and even take a short trip to the local Dairy Queen for a Chocolate Malted Milk.

Now, here's what's happened in the last couple of weeks. Turn on ignition, hear fuel pump, turn key to engage starter ( crank, crank, crank ) no engine turn over! Turn off ignition, repeat sequence--nothing. Repeat sequence again, only pumping gas pedal while cranking. There's a weak flutter of ignition and finally she catches and is up and running.

After several go arounds with this situation, I decided she needed some professional help. So, this past Tuesday and going thru the same routine to get her started, I delivered her to my expert VW guy, Andy Duval, in Storrs, CT. (D & D Auto). Andy and his son Jason have serviced this Westy for many years, including some real major work like a tranny replacement, full brake and shocks and the installation of a 2.1L rebuilt engine from Boston Engine. These guys know this Van and their business and their call came this afternoon with what's wrong.

Mark this one down in your problem solving book! The electrical portion of the ignition key switch was in an intermittent failure mode and even though the starter would crank, no current would flow to other circuits, including ignition. So, in goes that component of the ignition key switch (not an easy job on the steering column) and we're on the road again headed for West River Westies V on July 11th.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Red Baron »

MrLiMBO

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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2008, 07:33:10 AM »
Those plastic switches can be a problem.  I didn't think they are that hard to replace, you have to tear down the steering column, but I've done it in less that an hour.   Glad it was something simple.  Sometimes things like that can be a real PIA.  Some relay  isn't working properly or a bad ground can really make things a mess.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by MrLiMBO »
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Red Baron

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Hard Starting - '87 Westy
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2008, 01:52:33 PM »
You're right. This is the second time since we've owned the van that the electrical part of the ignition switch has been replaced. The first time was in August of 2000 when I pulled into a parking lot at a mall in Manchester, CT in the pouring rain, turned off the ignition and the engine kept running! No one can be a happy camper in this situation, when you have to get tools and wrenches from under the rear seat, swivel the passenger seat to access the battery cover, remove it and disconnect the hot cable to kill the engine---all in the pouring rain!

Next, I called my expert VW man, Andy Duval, on what to do next. He's dispatched a tow truck and the Westy was moved to his shop. 2000 invoice shows $40.00 towing charge, $36.65 for p/n 171905865 and 2 hours labor at $110.00 (no sales tax included).

Now compare that with this weeks experience and invoice. One 60 mile RT for the Westy, two 60 mile RTs for our Dodge Caravan (to get me back from delivering the Westy and get there to pick it up), replace same p/n now at $46.78 and 1.5 hours of labor at $119.75 (again no sales tax included). However, the invoice also showed a $5.00 charge for MSS (Misc Shop Supplies, assume T-paper, clean-up soap, wipers etc).

Figure the inflation rate in 8 years on both parts and labor yourself and you wonder what's coming up next.! I did not bother to calculate fuel costs for the 180 miles ($4.45/gal around here now) racked up on both vehicles and let me know where you can get a 5 mile tow or flat-bed job done for 40 bucks. Those guys today won't even look at a tow job unless there's 40 bucks up front!.

Right on man; you've really got to love those VW Buses and Westfalia Campers to keep'em up and running.

See you all at WRW V in two weeks.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Red Baron »

Vanagonjr

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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2008, 01:13:35 PM »
I just replaced mine as preventative maintenance.   Next time I order parts, I get a spare to leave in the van.  On-line I think they are less than $20, but the $47+ is likely what they paid at the dealer.

I was going to write this up for The Transporter, but I did not have a camera available when I took the column apart.  

It's not hard, just have to set the spacer to the correct height when you put things together so the steering wheel does not rub,

Next I was going to do the headlight switch as preventative
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Vanagonjr »
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idiggit

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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2008, 11:08:52 AM »
How hard would it be to replace the swithc yourself?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by idiggit »

Vanagonjr

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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2008, 08:32:45 PM »
I did not find it a real hard job. If you don't have one, get a Bentley manual.   I believe that there is a small write up at vanagain.com.

It you are person who does your own brake jobs, then this should be no problem for you.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Vanagonjr »
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