83 air cooled starting issues

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83AC
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83 air cooled starting issues

Post by 83AC » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:51 am

While on our road trip we have been having issues, mainly after the van has sat overnight, with starting. When I turn the key, we can hear the hum of what I assume is the starter motor, but nothing else happens. Often times after the second attempt, sometimes third, it starts and then we are good through the rest of the day. Sometimes however, it doesn't start after many attempts so I get under the van and use a long screwdriver to bridge the poles on the starter, causing the "ca-clunk" and a few sparks, then when I go to start the van it starts right away. I've had a load test done and it came out good. Battery tests at right about 12.5 V after sitting several days and it tests right about 14.1 V with the van running after 30 seconds or so. Yesterday, after sitting overnight since about 5pm, I went to start it around 2pm and it started right away. Ready for your thoughts and suggestions! Oh, we also thought maybe it had to do with us running the fridge on 12V while driving or the fan coming on overnight with the fridge on propane, so we removed the fuse for the fridge. So couldn't be that.
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Amskeptic
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Re: 83 air cooled starting issues

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:16 pm

83AC wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:51 am
While on our road trip we have been having issues, mainly after the van has sat overnight, with starting. When I turn the key, we can hear the hum of what I assume is the starter motor, but nothing else happens. Often times after the second attempt, sometimes third, it starts and then we are good through the rest of the day. Sometimes however, it doesn't start after many attempts so I get under the van and use a long screwdriver to bridge the poles on the starter, causing the "ca-clunk" and a few sparks, then when I go to start the van it starts right away. I've had a load test done and it came out good. Battery tests at right about 12.5 V after sitting several days and it tests right about 14.1 V with the van running after 30 seconds or so. Yesterday, after sitting overnight since about 5pm, I went to start it around 2pm and it started right away. Ready for your thoughts and suggestions! Oh, we also thought maybe it had to do with us running the fridge on 12V while driving or the fan coming on overnight with the fridge on propane, so we removed the fuse for the fridge. So couldn't be that.


Be specific with what you hear. You think you hear the starter motor spinning free of the engine? Or do you hear the fuel pump running during the key-to-start-position?

I think you might be at the beginning stage of the Hot Start Syndrome.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

83AC
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Re: 83 air cooled starting issues

Post by 83AC » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:44 pm

The sound is a low hum, seems to be coming from further back than the fuel pump. The fuel pump makes more of a whine noise. This sound is quiet and a hum. Maybe that helps. I'm not familiar with the hot start syndrome.
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Re: 83 air cooled starting issues

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:18 pm

83AC wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:44 pm
The sound is a low hum, seems to be coming from further back than the fuel pump. The fuel pump makes more of a whine noise. This sound is quiet and a hum. Maybe that helps. I'm not familiar with the hot start syndrome.

Hot start syndrome is a VW that refuses to engage the starter when it is hot. The windings in the starter solenoid lose efficiency over time. So you are are all hot and annoyed with a no-start. Then, when the car cools down, it works properly, like when Mr. AAA arrives. It gets worse over time. The hot-start relay will often help the starter for many years before the solenoid deteriorates further and again refuses to start, all you get is a slight dimming of the idiot lights ( Vanagon's idiot LEDs won't show the current draw ). Go Westy has an article on this and a multi-million dollar replacement starter that promises to never succumb to the hot-start gremlin.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

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sgkent
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Re: 83 air cooled starting issues

Post by sgkent » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:03 am

It is not uncommon for air cooled starters to fail every 60,000 - 80,000 miles when the solenoid hangs. Often the grease in the solenoid hardens, and dust gets into it making it more a waxy gritty paste than a lubricant. When this happens it hangs or doesn't pull in. In my experience cleaning it and greasing it makes it work another 60,000 - 80,000 miles. Improving the voltage with a relay helps it overcome the sticky grease but that fix is often short lived because the grease just gets harder and harder.

There is a less common failure where the bushing in the bell housing wears and lets the armature flop around enough to hit the windings/core and hang. When a starter is hot it expands and this exacerbates the issue. In addition the load placed on the starter switch causes it to heat up and fail.

The general fix for trouble free starting is to pull the starter, clean and grease the solenoid, and replace the starter bushing. That usually will resolve the issue for four to six years if average driving @ 12,000 - 20,000 miles per year.
Thank You -

Merlin The Wrench

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83AC
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Re: 83 air cooled starting issues

Post by 83AC » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:39 pm

sgkent wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:03 am
Often the grease in the solenoid hardens, and dust gets into it making it more a waxy gritty paste than a lubricant. When this happens it hangs or doesn't pull in. In my experience cleaning it and greasing it makes it work another 60,000 - 80,000 miles.

The general fix for trouble free starting is to pull the starter, clean and grease the solenoid, and replace the starter bushing.
Sgkent,
What kind of grease for the solenoid? I've finally gotten around to this and really appreciate your info. I've read that grease can be problematic if too much is used and that graphite powder is preferable? What would be your recommendation?

This issue doesn't happen except for after the van has sat for several hours through most of the day or overnight. If I bridge the poles on the starter, after that it will start right up - guessing because I either got the grease loosened by doing that or got the starter bushing unstuck. Happens in cool or warm weather. Seems like inspecting, cleaning, and re-lubrication will be a smart first move here.

Thanks!
Anderson
Say what you mean; do what you say.
1983 AC Vanagon camper - Penny Lane

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Amskeptic
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Re: 83 air cooled starting issues

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:55 pm

83AC wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:39 pm
sgkent wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:03 am
Often the grease in the solenoid hardens, and dust gets into it making it more a waxy gritty paste than a lubricant.

What kind of grease for the solenoid? graphite powder is preferable?
Anderson

We discussed at our visit that I like Valvoline Durablend Semi-synthetic molybdenum disulfide grease because it does not dry out, it can also do your CVs, wheel bearings, and everything else on the road, it is the only can of grease you need on your road journeys.

You DO NOT want graphite powder in an electrical contact environment!!
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

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