I bought the Brown Camper on 12-31-2015 and have only recently gotten it to idle.  Going back to conversations with the previous owner, I remember them mentioning that they had installed an additional battery system.  I needed to check to make sure it was wired into an isolator or similar such system.  Once I removed the drivers seat, I simply lifted the positive side of the battery and went to start the van.  I was quite pleased to find a perfectly Vanagon just purring along in the driveway.  In my previous Westfalia, I was going to install a second battery system, but when I read up on all of it, I was sure it was no easy task.  Now, almost the end of February the van is starting to respond.  

Magically jump 2 months into the future.. and VIOLA!  Still Richarding on the van.  Sunday April 24th 2016..  The difficult part of owning a Vanagon is that when you think you're there, you aren't.  I have been working on my van in order to take an extended trip to Oregon and Washington.  Can't do it in the Camper.  I do not trust my Camper.  After spending $2000 in repairs (which includes 5 hours of trouble shooting) the van starts, idles and drives but now both overheats and causes the oil pressure light to come on.  DMV reamed me for another $1207 in registration fees and made me good until August. Modestly speaking, as of now.. my Camper is a $10,000+ used vehicle.   When I bought the van I started up a diary (A MANLY JOURNAL) for the van to keep track of repairs and gas mileage as well as a place to rant about what is going on with the van.  I keep it in the glove box (never kept gloves in there anyway..) and this afternoon I decided to make entries while parked with the motor running.  I mention this because when I put my hand in the glove box I noticed that there was a little 1"x 2" box with an oil sending unit in it.  Normally it would not be a big deal, but upon close observation (there was oil on it, so it must have been a recent replacement) and consideration, I have concluded that the previous owner must have been on this trail at one time or another.  Having a recently replaced oil sending unit in the glove box is nothing short of startling when you are having issues with the oil pressure.  I recently changed the oil and oil filter.  Mobil One Synthetic, so I don't want to change the oil again,  close to $10 a quart.. anyway, my recent issues concern the OIL PRESSURE BUZZER and the WATER TEMPERATURE.  The Bently refers to changes in the 1986 model using "2" oil sending units.  On-line there are references to 'false' or invalid alarms.  Somehow, running along on East 14th street at 2,000 rpm can give you a false 'low pressure' signal that starts the buzzer.  Possible solutions include the purchase and installation of a new and improved AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION COOLER, and or the special 30mm GOWESTY oil pump (I fail to see how the original oil pump for a 1965 Beetle and a 1986 Vanagon are compatible) as well as flushing out the radiator and possibly replacing it.  If it were running lean, it would run a little hotter.  I am unaware of my mileage as I am still on the 9th attempt of fixing my odometer (I will assume it is about 15 mpg) and still have not driven more than 20 miles at any one time.  So.  The brakes need to be bled, the radiator needs to be flushed and with a bit of luck, the van will run a little cooler.  1986 seems to have been a transition year as well.. in addition to the advent of the DIGIFANT fuel injection system, a 2100cc larger engine and "2" oil sending units, it seems that the low oil pressure buzzer is something that can also give invalid alarms whether you use the MAHL filter or not.  Viscosity could be the issue.  In the back of my little pea-brain I am wondering if the van needs a head gasket.

Thank you VAN CAFE for this contribution.

Vanagon Running Problems

One of the most common themes of our website questions relate to running problems. There is version A - "I live somewhere where they have never seen a Vanagon and although I trust my mechanic, I don't think he knows what he is doing" or version B "I live somewhere where they have never seen a Vanagon and although I think the mechanic knows what he is doing, I don't trust him". Then we are usually asked if we think that the Diagnostic Tool that we rent/sell will help them. Surprisingly, we usually say no as the Diagnostic Tool is intended for specific intermittent symptoms that cannot be duplicated while the vehicle is stationary, but occur randomly while driving. Most running symptoms can be diagnosed by more conventional methods. You do not need to be a professional mechanic, you do not need to have a lot of tools, but you do need to be determined, methodical and armed with a Bentley manual. (Please note that although there are many similarities on the earlier model Vanagons, we are describing procedures for the 86 - 91 models) The 5 most common problems are: 

Poor tune-up condition
Malfunctioning oxygen sensor
Poor oxygen sensor ground
Faulty values from coolant temp sensor
Throttle switch and idle control components

Plan of attack
Inspect tune up parts 

pop the clips loose that hold the distributor cap on and inspect for carbon traces in the underside of the cap and how burnt the end of rotor looks
pull one spark plug out to inspect how old they are
check the plug wires for corrosion or cracks - ohm test the wires, but keep in mind that they will sometimes test correctly but not conduct spark so sometimes just best to replace them if they are old
make sure all of the parts are approved quality Bosch parts. Inspect air and fuel filter. Finally follow the correct procedure described in the Bentley manual for checking the timing to complete covering your bases in the tune-up area.
It's best to eliminate all of these maintenance items as possible causes of the trouble before going after more intriguing culprits. Although we don't, as a rule, subscribe to the school of throwing parts at cars to try to fix them, in some cases a few inexpensive parts can eliminate a couple of other problem areas for minimal expense. With oxygen sensor and coolant temp sensors(see Fuel Injection Category) costing about $100 combined (with Bosch oxygen sensor), if neither have been replaced in recent history, this may be money well spent to eliminate these possibilities. Poor oxygen sensor ground is very common problem. The ground wire travels all the way from the oxygen sensor wire harness to the computer and then back to the engine where it grounds on the left cylinder head next to, or with, the main engine ground strap. This ground wire exits the wiring harness a few inches back from the halls unit plug at the distributor. Snip the end off the ground wire, solder on a new eyelet connector and clean the block where you are attaching it and tighten it well.
Throttle switch and idle control components - The throttle switch must be both in working order and adjusted correctly. With the engine not running and key turned off, you manually operate the throttle arm back at the engine and see if you hear a click just as you move the throttle on and off the idle or relaxed position. If not, then you should attempt to adjust it. The throttle switch must be adjusted correctly so that the idle stabilizer computer (situated behind the passenger side tail light housing) and idle control valve kick into action when you are in idle mode. If the throttle switch is adjusted correctly and the idle either hangs up at high rpms or the vehicle is prone to stalling, then one of those two components is likely at fault. (Please review Bentley manual procedures on testing these two components). While you are here it's also wise to check the throttle body itself. When you grab the shaft you should be able to rotate it but should not witness significant movement if you try to rock it back and forth.

More elusive candidates

Bad air flow meter
Other flaws in wiring harness (other than grounds)
Fuel pressure regulator
Plugged catalytic converter
Intake Leaks
Faulty ECU

Air flow meter - Bentley manual will describe method to test air flow meter. Use volt/ohm meter connected as described across two of the connectors and manually move the wiper under the plastic cap to see if you have a continuous, as opposed to erratic, progression of values on the ohmmeter. This will diagnose a bad air flow meter 90% of the time but keep in mind that on occasion we have had ones that test correctly but fail in a different manner. You can also check the air flow meter flap for free play, as slop or weak spring tension can also be an indication of a worn out unit.
Wiring harness - Look for cracks in the insulation on wires - disconnect connections and inspect for damaged or corroded connectors. Careful with this next suggestion - while the vehicle is running massage and move wiring harnesses around to see if the running condition will improve or worsen. DO NOT do this with the spark plug wires or the coil wire but do it with the various branches of the engine wire harness. Pay particular attention to a wire that comes off the back of the alternator, goes back to the firewall and then turns left and goes over to a wire distribution box. Sometimes the wire starts to break at the connector that comes off of the alternator and while still attached it is not making a connection.
Fuel pressure regulator - Very uncommon but we have run into this one a couple of times. A blown fuel pressure regulator will result in the fuel pressure jumping from in the 40 lbs of pressure range to 100+ lbs of pressure. Van will run extremely rich. Tested with a fuel pressure gauge connected off the fuel line T near the oil breather tower.
Plugged catalytic converter - Engine sounds constipated - won't rev up correctly and has a whooshing sound as the exhaust is trying to escape through any means possible. Keep in mind that although catalytic converters can fail and plug up on their own, this often occurs because of another malfunction that causes the catalytic converter to overheat or break up. Always best to have emissions analyzed after a catalytic converter has broken up to confirm that various emission readings are in their correct range.
Intake leaks - visual check of all vacuum lines in engine compartment, tighten intake manifold bolts, tighten clamps at intake boots and inspect and wiggle injectors to determine if the fuel injector seals have deteriorated. Again be careful, but cautiously spray limited amount of brake clean or chem tool at these connections while the vehicle is running to see if it changes dramatically indicating a leak. Have fire extinguisher nearby and again be very careful and be very conservative in your spraying. A loose spark can ignite it before it evaporates if you apply too much.
Faulty ECU - fortunately when an ECU fails is usually fails all the way and the van does not start and run. There is too much going on in the ECU to be able to test all of the functions of the ECU so it almost becomes a process of elimination when everything else checks out correctly that the ECU is the next most likely prospect. We really don't have a suggestion other than plugging in a known good unit to test the theory, but we know that is challenging if you don't have access to spare test parts or other Vanagons.

Hopefully some of these hints will help you with your troubleshooting endeavors. Also you may find helpful both the system overview and the component orientation for the vehicle's fuel and ignition systems found with the description of our Diagnostic Tool. Whether you follow our suggestions or not, we would advise mapping out a strategy. It is less overwhelming if you list out the possibilities and devise an organized approach, and then, with a little luck, even a cunning non-mechanic can claim victory in the battle of man v. machine.

So far.. I have had the '86 Camper since the first of the year, replaced almost everything.. the IDLE CONTROL VALVE, THE AFM, THE IDLE COMPUTER, THE MAIN COMPUTER, THE THROTLE BODY and am nowhere near being able to test it for SMOG.  I am now going over stories on the WEB sorting probabilities with repair attempts.  The Son-in-law, a self professed AIRCRAFT MECHANIC apparently did not properly wire the loom from the distributor as it appears the crank is 180 degrees from factory settings. 1-4-3-2 firing order, looking into the engine compartment, #1 cylinder is on the right towards the back seat..

Thanks to Van-Again for this posting by Ken Wilford

Idle Switch Adjustment for 85-92 Vanagon.

Fuel system by Ken Wilford

FEBRUARY 3, 2015

Proper Idle Switch Adjustment

Many folks call me with the complaint that their Vanagon is not idling properly. Either they are idling too high or too low (stalling) or the idle isn’t steady. There can be several factors that contribute to this problem however most of the time the culprit is an out of adjustment idle switch on the throttle body. This switch is located below the throttle body on 85-92 Vanagons and most folks don’t even know that it exists. However if the computer is looking for a signal from it and is not seeing it, then it thinks it that the van is still driving down the road and not sitting at the light. I am going to give instructions for inspecting and adjusting this switch for 85-92 Vanagons.

Go to the rear of the van with the engine not running. Remove the engine lid and set it aside. At around the middle of the engine compartment you will see the throttle body attached to the metal air distributor for the intake. Use your fingers to move the throttle arm on the top of the throttle body from where it is at rest (idle position) to the full throttle position (as far as you can move it). Right when you are getting to the full throttle position you should hear a small “click” noise. Now slowly move the throttle arm back to idle position. Right before you get to this position you should hear the same small click. If you don’t hear it then the switch is out of adjustment. If you hear it then test the switch for continuity with a multimeter. It should have zero resistance at idle and full throttle position. If it doesn’t then you need a new one.

If you need to adjust the switch, the correct, Bentley way to do this is from above with a small allen tool. If you look straight down at the throttle body from above you will see a small metal plate with two allow screws in it. One of them is in a slot and the other is to the left of the slot. You want to use your allen tool to unlock the screw that is in the slot. Not use the same allen tool to turn the other screw to the left. You will see that as you turn it just slightly one way to the other the screw that is in the slot will move to the right or to the left. Usually, if your switch is out of adjustment, and you turn the screw so that the one in the slot moves to the left a bit, you will get to a point where you will hear a small clicking noise. Move it back and forth a few times until you get a consistent point where you can hear the clicking and then lock the screw that is in the slot at that point. Now move the throttle again several times from full throttle back to idle by hand. You should hear the click when at the idle position now. If not loosen the screw in the slot again and move it just a little more to the left and try again. What you are looking for is for the switch to click right at the idle position. You don’t want to adjust it too much so that it clicks before idle because then you will have a hesitation when taking off. This is the way to do it if everything is still in good condition.

However in the real world, many times you deal with the problem of someone messing with this switch before you, stripping out the allen head screws so that they are frozen and you can’t adjust them. Or they are just so corroded that they are melted and there is nothing for the tool to grab on to. If this is the case then you have to go to Plan B.

Plan B involves removing the intake boot and the two phillips head screws that hold the throttle body to the intake. Flip the throttle body upside down. Now you should see a black plastic cover that goes over the switch. Pull it off and set it aside. You will see the metal arm of the switch that rides up against the plastic cam that actuates the switch. The end of the arm is in the shape of a “U”. Use a pair of needle nose pliers and tweak the very end of the arm. You want to bend the part of the “U” that touches against the cam so that the “U” is just a little bit wider than it was (not a bunch, just a tweak). Now flip the switch over and try the test again. Tweak the “U” until the switch works properly at idle position. Now put everything back together and start the van. It should idle properly at around 950 rpms.

If you try to adjust your switch and it doesn’t click at all no matter what you do to it, most likely your switch itself is bad and needs to be replaced. You can also check it with an ohm meter to see if it is actually working electrically. You want to see “open” or infinite resistance when the switch is off idle and “closed” or very low resistance when the switch clicks at idle position and at full throttle position. To know what I am talking about, set your meter to ohms and just hold the two test leads apart. That is “open” so what ever your meter is reading at that point is what it should read at when the circuit is open. Now touch the two leads together. The meter may read zero or a very low resistance depending on how sensitive your meter is. That reading is what you should be looking for when the switch is closed or a very low ohm reading just above that. If it is reading hundreds or or thousands of ohms then the switch is bad. Do the readings a few times until you get some consistent readings.

Some folks try to work around idle control problems by raising the rpm or unplugging the idle stabilizer valve on the center of the engine. If you notice this valve unplugged, plug it back in. If the RPMS are still too high you might want to check your timing with a timing light. If the timing is on the money (7 degrees BTDC) then adjust your rpms down by turning the idle air screw (large slotted screw on the top of the throttle body) in a little. Count your turns so that you can put the screw back to where you had it originally if you find your real problem isn’t this screw.

If you are still having a problem with your idle after doing all of this then either your idle air stabilizer valve or the idle control unit is faulty. I would try cleaning the valve with carb cleaner and see if this helps. If not then swapping in a known good idle air valve or ISCU would be a great way to troubleshoot this problem. If known good ones aren’t available to borrow then you just need to flip a coin and decide which of these two expensive parts you want to try to replace first. Smell your ISCU (located behind the tail light on the passenger side on the 86-92 Vanagon). If it smells burnt then it probably is and needs to be replaced. I know they are expensive but having a properly functioning idle control circuit is important to keep your van running well, cut down on fuel usage, and keep the van from stalling when using the A/C or turning.

Idle Air Stabilizer Valve-
Idle Stabilizer Control Unit-
Throttle Position Switch

Mortality:  When he comes, and he will.. There will be no advance notice, no opportunity to say those things without consequence.  That is how the light goes out.  Suddenly ~ good name for a book.  With this in mind, it seems small to hold anyone to expectation.  Could be anytime now.  My recent epiphany of how little difference I have made on the rest causes me to consider that there is a story on and of every single thing; How a plastic bottle came to be and more importantly, why would I make myself more important in the process of time?  Pyramids will eventually go to dust, but what happens to an electronic signal?  My Web Page?

This posting by 10centlife was found on the SAMBA page, the contributor runs a VANAGON PERFORMANCE SHOP in New Mexico.

The issue is black smoke at idle on the '86 Vanagon..  for me, this is just about the last issue before going to get it smogged.  Today is EASTER SUNDAY 2016 and my Westfalia Camper is still not quite right.  It idles okay when first started and as it warms up, the rpm raise slightly and there is a little black smoke coming from the tailpipe.  When I drive it, it responds well until it starts to warm up and then at idle it gives a little pop pop to the usual purr at idle.  Yes, I know that I am anal about these things, but it needs to be right.  I was telling my Mom this morning about the guy (the Mechanic on East 14th Street) that I brought my van to for an $80 front brake job that turned into a $480 wheel bearing job.. my analogy compared a concerned parent taking their child to the Doctors office and injuring inadvertently the child with an incorrect diagnosis.  Well.. the fact that he lost my extra ECU, failed to fix the original problem and further exacerbating the issue by damaging the HALL SENSOR by impinging the green wire while trying to repair the broken plastic on the sensor.  Did I mention that when I got the van back (running worse than before) I ended up starting all over again.. up to replacing the sensor?  Did I mention that he used 18" huge Channel Lock Pliers to set the idle, by adjusting the FACTORY SET adjustment screw, thereby crushing one end of the screw rather than use the 3mm Allen Wrench to adjust it?  I am into this guy for a few hundred dollars in lost and damaged equipment let alone that nearly 90 days after the purchase.. it still is not right?  Yeah, I am anal.

Eventually (depending on things go with this.. ) I hope to gather sufficient knowledge about the T3 waterboxers to be of assistance to those individuals in the PORTLAND/SEATTLE area to open a vvvvvery small shop on Hwy 30 at Loggie Trail Road to work on T3's.  I responded to a guy on CL who was selling a 1986 Vanagon with z-seats in good running condition for $2500.. turns out that it was an '85, and I don't really want to go back to the DIGIJET system or a smaller engine.  I sort of like the BOSTIG with the indestructible VW Automatic.. and considered a business of just doing these conversions.. but the MPG gain in using a 1.8  in-line 4 cyl. Jetta engine is also a consideration to keep it all VW.  Anyway, about that CL posting.. I let the guy know that he was probably posting for an '85 rather than an '86.  He emailed me back to thank me and referred to me as part of the Volkswagen community.  I was touched.  Normally, I tend to be an imposing angry old man with a potty mouth.. but somehow, being included with tie-dyed long hair music playing ne're-do-wells was both refreshing and strangely liberating.. like going off grid.  Being part of a larger community of independent free thinkers based on a 30 year old German vehicle designed for the unwashed masses.. dude!  I am one of the VOLKS and I didn't even know it.

Posting on Samba 

Joined: May 02, 2006
Posts: 9037
Location: Vanistan, Abiquiu, NM, USA
[tencentlife is offline]  

[Post] Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: [Reply with quote]
Sounds like a classic ground fault in the O2 sensor signal circuit. I'm just going to copy the procedure here from another thread, to save you having to hunt around. With an ohmmeter this is pretty easy to check, and usually easy to repair unless the fault is in some buried location: 

Check it exactly like this: 

Disconnect the single-wire signal lead of the O2 sensor from the green coax. You will find the connection hanging between the left cylinder head and the left wall of the engine bay. 

(If your van has a three-wire heated sensor, you can leave the two-pin heater plug for the sensor connected; it has nothing to do with the signal circuit). 

Leave the disconnected end of the green coax hanging free. Make sure it won't touch ground inadvertently. 

Ignition off! Disconnect the multi-pin connector from the ECU. 

Put VOM in ohms mode, lowest-range if not auto-ranging. 

Connect one VOM probe to the free end of the coax center wire. 

Touch the other probe to ground. You should only ever see infinite ohms (open circuit). This verifies that the signal wire is not inadvertently shorting to ground. With the probe still attached, move the coax wire around a bit and watch that there is never any continuity to ground. 

Leave the probe connected at the signal wire of the coax. Now touch the other probe to the O2 signal pin at the ECU harness plug. You should see zero ohms. This confirms that you have a continuous signal circuit. 

Pull the small rubber boot back from the double-male connector that should be on the free end of the coax. Now take the first probe from the signal wire at the end of the coax, and touch it instead to the coax sheathing braid. Touch the other probe to ground. You should see zero ohms. This confirms that the noise-suppressing sheathing is properly grounded (it is grounded up near to the ECU harness connector). 

That is the complete, isolated test of the signal circuit and noise-suppression. 

Don't concern yourself with checking the resistance of the O2 sensor to ground (irrelevant), the resistance of the O2 signal circuit thru the ECU (also irrelevant). Confine your tests to the signal coax in isolation. 

The area to inspect very closely is the free end of the coax. Many times the ground fault is due to the fine wires of the sheathing braid fraying and coming into contact with the signal core wire or connector. Trim back the sheathing and make sure not a single braid wire can reach any part of the center wire. 

If the fault isn't there, sometimes the coax has been mashed or pinched somewhere, causing internal damage where the braid is forced thru the center wire's insulation. You should do a careful visual check of the whole coax run looking for damage. 

Now, there's also a quicky functional test for grounding of the O2 signal circuit with the engine running and warmed up, everything connected as normal including the O2 sensor (this test also works with the o2 sensor disconnected). Under those conditions, you take a jumper from ground and connect it to the O2 signal connection (or simply ground the free end of the coax signal wire with the sensor disconnected). Whenever you ground the signal wire, the engine should noticeably alter speed and run stink-rich. If there is no change, then there is already shorting to ground somewhere of the O2 signal. If it does change to a very rich idle, and back to normal when you unground, then functionally all is fine with the signal circuit. This does not confirm anything about the quality of the O2 sensor output, only that the signal will reaching the ECU cleanly. 

Don't be tempted, by the way, to ground the free end of the coax's sheathing braid. It is grounded up near the ECU, and to cancel noise a sheath like that can only be grounded in one location. 

Please see my performance waterboxers and wbx accessories at www.vanistan.com 

Just as I was getting ahead in the Westy battle and my Mom had an episode (aka~heart attack) and I had to leave in a hurry.  4 months later and she is on the mend.. now taking long walks in her stroller.  Gotta say, she scarred the hell out of me. 

When I heard from my brother, I jumped into GOLDIE (what the hell.. I guess I just named my friggin van) with Rocky in the back and took off for Oregon from the Bay Area. I must say that this was the first assessment of the GOWESTY 2200/2300 engine.  I am a fan.  There was a lot of consideration over the merits of the conventional water-boxer and the SUBARU/TDI/BOSTIG conversions, and it does make good sense to continue along the lines of the original engineers.  After all, 88 square feet of shoe box traveling at 75mph is quite a sight to behold!  

Waterboxer Vanagon

by Ken Wilford
AUGUST 5, 2014

[vanagon ignition wire routing]

So you were really careful when you pulled your plug wires off, and you still managed to get the order wrong. Or you got a basket case Vanagon and never had the plug wires installed until now. How you can start over and get the wiring order correct for your Waterboxer Vanagon? By using the picture above.

If you remove the distributor cap you should be able to see or at least feel a notch in the body of the distributor. It is on the lip of the distributor where a plastic dust shield sits. It is a small line in the edge of the distributor body. I mention This because occasionally some one will install the distributor drive gear wrong and then my picture won’t work. If this drawing isn’t what you are seeing on your van then check for that notch and do the wire order from that point. The firing order is 1-4-3-2 in a clockwise rotation starting at the notch on the distributor body. The picture above should help you.

If everything is stock then all you need is the picture above and you are back in business.

Let me know if this helps you.Tags: distributor, Ignition


Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:29 am
It is actually obscure and little known, but the Digifant I needs to be reset after maintenance. Codes are generated on the 922-D version of the ECU. 

"When resetting the ECU, the engine must be at normal operating temperature, all electrical accessories must be Off, the idle stabilization system must be okay, and the exhaust system must be leak-free. 

With the engine off, disconnect the crankcase ventilation hose from the emission control valve atop the valve cover, then plug the hose. Start the engine and let it idle. Disconnect the blue coolant temperature sensor harness connector. 
Let the engine idle for one minute, then reconnect the harness connector. CAUTION: DO NOT reconnect the coolant temperature sensor harness connects, while the radiator cooling fan is running. 
Turn the engine off and reconnect the crankcase ventilation hose. Erase the OBD fault memory. 
NOTE: Disconnecting the coolant temperature sensor with the engine running generates fault code 2312."

danno Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:29 am
well if it thats the case i am just going to drive it for a while to see if it sorts itself out. 

Thanks Dan

brackish Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:43 pm
Fascinating Dogpilot. One question about the procedure - "erase OBD fault memory" - Is this something that happens as a result of the process or something that one has to do? If it is a a step in the process, how does one do this? 


Dogpilot Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:11 pm
Only the California late model Vanagons had the check engine light and the necessary switch to reset the codes. If you go to my public disk and download Digifant Test Tool.PDF you can add your own to any 86-91 Digifant with a 922-D equipped Digifant. 



Turn the ignition ON. Connect the black end of the jumper cable to the black diagnostic connector in center console under shift boot. Connect the white end of the jumper to the white diagnostic connector. 
After five seconds the OBD CHECK light should begin to flash. Remove the jumper, but do not turn off the ignition. Record the flashes. 
When code 4444 or 0000 appears, then either turn off the ignition or reinstall the jumper to end code readout. 
Possible wiring faults should be checked and corrected before replacing a suspected component. Once the fault is corrected, the permanent fault memory should be erased as described below. 


Make sure the ignition is OFF. Connect the jumper cable as described in RETRIEVING CODES. Turn the ignition ON. 
After 5 seconds remove the jumper cable. The OBD light should flash 4444. Turn the ignition Off or reinstall the jumper cable to end the procedure.



​special Vanagon  accomodations ~ tours by request

The continuing Saga of my 1986 Wolfsburg Edition Westfalia Weekender Camper

Thank you Mr. Austin for this contribution..
the Ultimate Fix

From:  Ron Austin
Symptom(s):  rough idle, surging, timing, charging problems and slow cranking

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 22:43:47 -0700
From: Alpha Auto Sales 
Subject: Ultimate Fix #1

Since 1969 there is only one repair process I have implemented that got phone calls of thanks from multiple customers, some were so pleased with the results they told their Wasserboxer owning friends who called for appointments and repeated the compliment cycle.

It started on a Syncro, I think it was a 1986 model, belonging to the
good Dr.*****. His Syncro suffered from an idle problem of one sort or
another, I forget the details, it doesn't matter since this process fixes
several idle problems, mixture problems and cranking problems too. Works on other vehicles too, but not as dramatically as on Wasserboxers, thanks to VW's pre Ben Franklin Electrical Engineering Schools.  Anyway, the Dr's idle stabilizer valve, properly called an I.S.C., or Idle Speed Controller by the rest of the industry, would not respond
properly to bypass screw adjustments, no amount of fiddling would bring the closed loop control current to the specified 430 ma fluctuating, in fact, in open loop, it ran around 480 ma. I found a ground wire eyelet for the circuit on the forward engine compartment wall, cut the eyelet off, SOLDERED a new eyelet, CLEANED the attachment point to BRIGHT METAL and reassembled with a NEW SCREW and WASHER. Open loop control current dropped to 475 ma, an
improvement, but not enough.

One by one I repeated the process on all the ground connectors for the
EFI control unit circuitry. While repairing the connector clusters under the coil and on the left cylinder head, I added a 10 gauge ground strap parallel to the factory web strap and another from the under coil cluster to the left upper bell housing bolt. I also REPLACED the battery ground cable.  End result was an open loop control current of 430 ma, exactly as specified. Oh yeah, on the late models there is another connector hiding under the back seat near the control unit, sometimes blocked by Westfalia cabinetry, don't forget it.

You want to test and see if this process is needed?? Sure thing!! Take
your DVOM, set to a range of no more than two, maybe four volts, connect it between the battery negative post and an alternator or engine block ground, pull the double green wire connector from the coil to disable spark and have a friend crank the engine while you watch the meter. Anything over 0.5 volts is totally unacceptable, I've never seen a reading below 0.17 volts on a perfect system so don't panic when you can't get to zero, it just can't be done, at least not until Bosch, the true King of Darkness (Lucas is only the Prince) implements super cooled superconductors for automotive use (not in our lifetimes!!).

Another note on idle problems; thoroughly test the idle switch(es),
procedure should be in your Bentley book. Some can be adjusted to work ok, others need new parts.

NOW LISTEN UP!! NO more complaints about idle problems until after
you've followed ALL these instructions first!! Let me summarize. CUT the connectors. SOLDER on NEW eyelets, crimp them first. Preferable to cluster as many wires together, i.e. the cylinder head cluster I think contains seven wires. A little care and patience can stuff them all in three yellow eyelets, TAKE THE YELLOW INSULATION OFF BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO SOLDER!! ALL CONNECTORS WILL BE REATTACHED TO BRIGHT METAL!! Too lazy to do them all??
Wrongo, bucko, get on with it and do all of 'em at once, you'll be glad you did.

Fixes idle, timing, charging and slow cranking problems. You think you
need a new battery 'cause your brick cranks slow? Maybe you do, but you'd be foolhardy to not fix your grounds first.

What's that you say? Your A/C compressor is in the way?? Too bad, you bought it, now deal with it, move that dead weight out of the way and get on with changing all those eyelets. You know you're overdue for belts anyway.

STAR DATE   :  AUGUST 11th 2016