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Thread: VW Bus Electrical System's with Generators problems etc.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default VW Bus Electrical System's with Generators problems etc.

    The VW's I have owned have all had Generators and most of them have had intermittent starting problems. Our 1971 Camper is no exception it's starting problem has hanunted me since we bought it over 10 years ago. The symptom is that after a long drive and setting overnight or just until good and cool sometimes the starter won't engage. Jumping usually doesn't help but sometimes it does. Charging with the trickle charger a few hours always works. Pushing the Bus always works. Climbing underneath with a open end wrench to jump start it at the starter works sometimes but not if the battery is a little low from camping.
    I have traced down the wiring and checked for voltage loss and find that only about 10 volts is all that I get at the starter on the solinoid wire. About 1 volt is lost at the Ignition switch and the other volt is lost in the wiring. I have tested several starters and find most will not operate below 10 volts. I think my starter's solinoid is the main problem but don't know where to get a good one as several rebuilt starters have proved to be worse than the original starter. One thing I have been thinking is that is the battery a Napa Auto Parts Special may not be designed for the Volkswagern Electrical System. I measure the Charge voltage on the battery at 14.4 volts and when I check it on new Japanese cars It's like 16 volts. Could it be that the battery that I am using is designed for a newer electrical system that charges at higher voltages and this is part of why trickle charging always helps it start? I am thinking the trickle charger is able to give the battery a higher topped off charge.
    This problem shows up every few years when we go will camping or are on a trip. I have changed the Battery cables and reworked the ground cables, Installed brushes in the generator, Cleaned the Commutator with one of those white stones, Installed a solid state voltage Reg. Tried different Starters, Had the original starter rebuilt, Installed a Relay at the Starter then removed it as it did not help it actually seemed to make the problem worse.
    Any Comment welcome. Thanks Dan

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  3. #2

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    i'm sure you did this,but are all the grounds clean and tight.i wish i could remmber how my 68 camper was.with the voltmeter on the battery.turn over to see how much voltage drop there is.if more than 2 volts have the battery checked.have it checked for cranking amps.it's a better test than a load test.many times i've had batteries pass a load test,but they didn't have enough cranking amps to turn the car over.the generator is putting out 14+ volts that should be enough to keep battery charged.should have grounds to the motor and body.i found this it may help. http://www.vw-resource.com/starter.html
    Last edited by rcook52459; 02-08-2012 at 09:38 PM.
    85 westy auto with tiico conversion

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Thumbs down 1971 VW Bus Starting intermittent Starting problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by rcook52459 View Post
    i'm sure you did this,but are all the grounds clean and tight.i wish i could remmber how my 68 camper was.with the voltmeter on the battery.turn over to see how much voltage drop there is.if more than 2 volts have the battery checked.have it checked for cranking amps.it's a better test than a load test.many times i've had batteries pass a load test,but they didn't have enough cranking amps to turn the car over.the generator is putting out 14+ volts that should be enough to keep battery charged.should have grounds to the motor and body.i found this it may help. http://www.vw-resource.com/starter.html
    Thanks for the reply, After the bus failed to start last summer while camping on a road trip we turned around and came home where I put an extra ground between the body and transaxle. The problem keeps coming back when the battery has not been charged by the trickle charger for 3 weeks or more. Something you said has me thinking though. I think I will check out the ground between the generator and battery, also I have been putting it off but a new battery is in order as the one in it is 6 years old. I think I will go to my local VW shop in Coos Bay and get a Continental Battery and new cables. Last time I put in a new battery and cleaned oiled the cables the problem went away for a while but it always comes back sooner or later.

  5. #4

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    i'm in portland and i was just in north bend a month ago.wetwesties last weekend had a meeting in nehalem bay state park and maybe 60 vans showed up.anywayif your going to get a battery get one with the most cranking amps as you can.don't necessarlly need a continental battery.my dad drove tanker haul some chemical to LA to a battery factory.they made batteries for sears,interstate,champion etc. businesses by enough they just put there marking on them if they want in green cases they(interstate)they make them.worked at cadiallac dealership here for 35 years and did roadside and replaced alot of batteries.
    85 westy auto with tiico conversion

  6. #5

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    just a thought are your ground cables insulated?if they are maybe there's some corrision inside the insulation you can't see.
    85 westy auto with tiico conversion

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