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Thread: 1991 Westfalia: Good compression, terrible going up hills. What's up?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Default 1991 Westfalia: Good compression, terrible going up hills. What's up?

    Going up an incline I am lucky to do 40 mph. I've had the compression checked and all is normal there. 140,000 miles on the engine which seems to run strong otherwise. Could there be a tranny problem here instead? I'm all ears. Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Snohomish, WA
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    Default

    OK, lets start with the basics. Automatic or manual? What gear are you in? Does the transmission (automatic) or do you (manual) downshift? How much throttle are you giving it? How much weight is in the vehicle? How steep is the climb?

    The reality is that these vehicles were not endowed with an abundance of horsepower so 'performance' is not a strongpoint. They had around 90hp (depending on model) and that is not a lot. Then we add age and expectation. As we've said, they did not have a lot of hp new and most modern automobiles have increased in performance so comparing it to another vehicle might not be the way to go. Compression is a variable in engine performance but there is so much more. Answer the first questions and we can move on from there.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Thanks for the quick reply. The results of this might be the best Christmas present I get this year! Thank you !My replies to your comments are in ALL CAPS below.

    OK, lets start with the basics. Automatic or manual? AUTOMATIC What gear are you in? Does the transmission (automatic) or do you (manual) downshift? HMMM, GOOD QUESTION.......I CAN'T REPLY PRECISELY. I DO KNOW THAT IF I DOWNSHIFT AS I'M GOING UP THE HILL, THE NEXT GEAR DOWN IS PAINFULLY SLOW.......KIND OF LIKE MY OLD 1970 AIR COOLED WESTPHALIA USED TO BE GOING UP THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS ;-) How much throttle are you giving it? JUST SHORT OF FLOORING IT. How much weight is in the vehicle? NO HEAVY LOAD AT ALL. How steep is the climb? I LIVE IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, THE HILLS ARE NOT ALL THAT STEEP THAT IT STRUGGLES WITH.

    The reality is that these vehicles were not endowed with an abundance of horsepower so 'performance' is not a strongpoint. They had around 90hp (depending on model) and that is not a lot. Then we add age and expectation. As we've said, they did not have a lot of hp new and most modern automobiles have increased in performance so comparing it to another vehicle might not be the way to go. NO, I'M COMPARING IT TO HOW IT USED TO BEHAVE ON HILLS IN ITS YOUNGER DAYS. I DON'T RECALL IT EVER BEING AS POOR AS IT HAS BEEN THESE PAST 4-5 YEARS COMPARED TO WHEN I BOUGHT IT IN THE EARLY 1990'S. THAT'S WHAT MOTIVATES ME TO ASK. IT NEVER USED TO BE THIS BAD. Compression is a variable in engine performance but there is so much more. Answer the first questions and we can move on from there.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
    Posts
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    Default

    do you have a tachometer (engine revolutions)? this would be the easiest way of determining if the transmission is downshifting as the revs would be higher for the same relative road speed. If you do, note what the revs are when you start the climb and see if the engine maintains this speed or if it drops off. If it does drop off does it ever jump up (suggesting a gear shift).

    I'm not that familiar with the automatic but you have 3 speeds and the shifter goes D - 2 - 1. You can manually downshift but moving the shifter from D to 2 so the next thing we need to figure out is if the engine is 'lugging' (running too slow to produce sufficient torque for the current load) and that is the reason for your lack of performance or is it really an engine problem. So, next time you are climbing a hill and you feel the lack of performance, move the shifter from 'D' to '2' and see if the performance improves. Remember, you will have to upshift back to D to stop the engine from over revving when the speed picks up.

    Let us know so that we can move onto the next step.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    3

    Default

    Once again thanks, but now we'll have to wait until springtime for the next step as I store the camper during the winter months here. Will be in contact then.

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