The Van from Hell -- the ongoing saga.
Further to my May 12 post. I do have (and consult) my Bentley Bible.
The Patient: My '87 Vanagon auto with 234K klicks unfortunately saw its formative years in Ontario where they use way too much salt in winter. The result is this beast, in spite of a pretty solid body, has more than its share of corrosion and ground problems.
I encountered (see posts above) recurring, inconsistent and very weird problems with dash guages (inconsistent dash lights, wonky to non existent tach, flaky water temp light, buzzing and blinking oil pressure light and non functioning high beam indicator). I thought I had licked all my problems when I went back to basics and removed and cleaned ALL the contacts on the 2 main "star" body ground connectors under the left side dash as well as ALL the female end ground connectors themselves.
The Problem: Everything ran perfectly for 10 days. I thought I was in heaven. Sensing my euphoria, the "Van from Hell" threw me a curve ball. After about 5 - 10 seconds above 2000 ish RPM the oil pressure light (.9 bar sender) and warning buzzer come on. If I drive really carefully and do not take the engine above 2000 ish RPMā€™s I can go for hours without the light/buzzer kicking in.
As a no brainer, easy fix, I just finished changing the .9 bar (grey) high pressure oil sending unit at the back bottom of the engine. The problem did not go away. The brown wire from the high pressure oil sending unit to the snap connector at the left front of the engine appeared to be bad. The connector was BADLY corroded so I bypassed it with a new, good link. Still the problem persists. Fuses are OK. Everything else SEEMS to work ok.
I'm stumped. I thought this Vanagon would be a bit of nostalgia -- taking my wife and I back to our '60s roots and our first VW window van with a giant flower on the front. But NO, we don' t own it -- IT owns us - sort of like a demonic possession from the movies.
If any one can come up with a fix that sticks (short of an exorcism -- cause I think Priests are a bit preoccupied these days) I'm prepared to rename my first born after them.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 08-24-2008 at 02:09 PM.
I beat it!
It is done!
I changed the low pressure oil sensor on my '87 Vanagon and the warning light / buzzer problem is solved. The sensor tested ok but there awas a tiny pice of "scale" that would inconsistently "flip up" and periodically block the opening on the sensor - causing it to sense reduced or no oil pressure. What a freaky thing. As a result the "Van from Hell" is now de-listed as an evil object with a mind of its own. However I will continue to watch it for "quirky" characteristics
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 08-24-2008 at 02:09 PM.
For some reason, the turn signals in my '78 westy now cause fuses 11 & 12 to blow when they turn on. It happened on the way home today, I checked out the fuse box and noticed that two were blown, so I replaced them. I then started up the van and the generator light went out because the fuses were OK; but then in all my excitement, I tested out the signal and BOOM, out they went again. Where would one start to see what's going on. I'm new to vehicle electrics and need some guidance. Could it be as simple as the blinker is shot?
I hated using hand signals on the way home, and most people behind me looked at me like I was from another planet.
Transferred to consolidate same topics.
jaw Junior Member posted October 26, 2002 11:38 PM
I have a 1964 Westy with a hole where I think a "conical light" was located. Any info out there about this early type of interior light?
Boy I really hate electrical problems so hope that this seems familiar to someone. The O2 and the Alt warning lights on my '86 Weekender are flashing in unison some of the time. There does not seem to be a pattern to when they do this. There does not seem to be a problem with the alternator because the battery stays up OK. The lights do not come fully on. Just a dim flash and always together. I could live with it but I am sort of picky about these minor problems and so I need to fix it.
Since two separate circuits are having the same malfunction, look at the points where they become common -- i.e. the instrument panel wiring or circuit board.
You probably have a ground -- all the warning lights work on a ground system -- between the lights and where they separate out to their respective senders. However, check your voltage stablizer first as that part of the dash system works on 9.6v, not 12v.
Transferred to consolidate same topic.
rayona Junior Member posted December 29, 2002 12:55 AM
I'm trying to figure out how the light above the glove box (84 westy) turns on/off. I pulled it out to take a closer look and there appears to be no switch (or place where switch may have been) and nothing I open/close will turn it on.
Is this supposed to be a glove box light which kicks on when the box is opened?
Has my switch broken off?
Probably; the glove-box light switch was a small black slide lever on the left side. There are some models of interior & glove-box lights that switch by rocking the whole lens (used on Porsche; but made by Hella who makes VW's). Unless changed by a previous owner, the slide lever is probably just broken off.
I have a strange situation. It started when my dash lights went out on my 72 westy. A simple bulb replacement and they are working fine again...here's where it gets weird. I go to start the car and she won't start. She turns over fine but just won't fire up. Since she's a daily driver and I was driving her less than 5 minutes before I changed the bulb, I figure I messed something up. Although only a bulb change there is not much room to work under the dash. In my infinate yet blurred wisdom I figure I must have knocked or broken a wire when I reached under. Well, its been four days with the bently and a flash light and all the wires and connectors seem to be in good shape and where they should be. Being that I am a newbie when it comes to auto repair I'm not sure what to do next. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. It's hard to believe that this would have stemmed from a dash bulb change...or just coincidence?
In wiring, "Looking good" doesn't equate to working; start with the basics AND TEST TOOLS (TOOLS forum) to find out why where your power is either not reaching the ignition switch, or is not feeding out and to the required starter and engine functions. Breaking a connection is easy enough, especially on old and brittle wiring. This is no longer an "Interior Lights . . ." topic problem.