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Thread: '83 waterbox -replaced ignition coil & spark plug wire set -- still not starting well

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Prince George, B.C. Canada

    Default '83 waterbox -replaced ignition coil & spark plug wire set -- still not starting well

    Hi there,

    My '83 recently started stalling/not starting up. Engine tries to turn over, there is fuel smell so I assume fuel is getting to the engine but doesn't catch.

    I'm not mechanical (yet!) and just moved to the far north in B.C. where Westies are a rarity. My Westie is my only set of wheels & I need it to get me through another couple of months until I can save enough $$ to buy a winter beater and get her off the road for a rest. She got me safely to Mexico & back twice in the last 18 months, so I can't complain about reliability -- but I'm stranded now until I get her back on the road!

    I look it in to a non-VW mechanic who spotted corrosion at the ignition coil & spark plug wires, replaced them and the engine starts intermittently now. Sounds the same as before -- the engine sounds like it's trying hard to turn over, sometimes catches & fires, sometimes not.

    I've been through the forums and seen lots of similar issues with about a million potential reasons for this to happen. I have the Bentley manual, but not a lot of tools and even less knowledge about where to begin. Can anyone help a girl out? Already $640 in the hole for the original diagnosis and ignition coil/starter wire fix & I'd love to know the next logical step to begin troubleshooting this problem.


    B.C. to Mexico & back twice in 2011-12, 350k on original '83 watercooled engine.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    jersey city, nj


    I just had these items [ coil ignition and plugs] replaced to get it to start this spring, not running well I took it on a trip and broke down after driving with the sensation something was blocking fuel flow[ like a rust chip in gas filter] Does your fuel pump hum when you turn on the key? The noise will come from under the sliding door. I am no mechanic but was told that a gasket, because of age and sitting for long periods can dry out and be rendered useless. Try a new fuel pump and change the filter next to it [ downstream for some reason from the pump] that will round out your dropped coin to an even thousand dollars. good luck, this seems to have put that ol vanagon syndrome to rest for me and made her fun to drive again.
    James Conlin 87

  4. #3


    Do you still have a problem with this one?There are many best spark plug wires manuals online that you can find try to search them further. I fixed my with the help of online manuals and with the help of my friend an expert when it comes to car parts. Or i suggest that you go to the nearest auto shop and let them fix it for you i think it will not cost that much


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