83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

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83AC
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83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by 83AC » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:48 am

Alright - 83 Westy camper edition with fuses to camp components pulled. I do have aux battery on an isolator and currently aux is not installed.

Issue: when the van sits overnight, the next morning it will take two to three turns of the ignition with a fully charged battery to get the engine to turn over. The first turn I usually just hear a click and the fuel pump, same thing usually on the second. Usually with a full battery by the third I get a slow turnover. Once she starts it goes well. Turning on and off throughout the day, even after a few hours, is no issue - starts right up.

With a voltmeter on the battery, at idle and driving after battery is fully charged, we have 14+ volts. When battery is closer to 12.5V at starting, the voltage when running is closer to 13.7 with high output lights and radio on. If I turn on fan blower it drops to closer to 13.5.

When battery sits connected overnight I am measuring about a .06V drop. A full 24+ hours sitting yields about a .2V drop.

I’ve been over all the grounds and cleaned them and added dialectic grease to them (May go over again to double check).

Question: where do I turn next? My thought is that the starter/solenoid may be the culprit. Ways to test this? Ways to correct a faulty starter/solenoid without replacing? Appreciate some guidance because this has been driving me nuts for quite some time. Issue was present PRIOR to aux battery setup installation and did not change at that point.

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

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zabo
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by zabo » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:39 am

I agree sounds like the starter.
But 1st check and clean the ground strap on the transmission and the negative strap from the battery to the body.

you can test the starter by jumping the two terminals with a screw driver. Make sure bus is in neutral.

when you swap it out make sure to replace the starter bushing.
I just did this and used a tap threaded into the bushing then pulled it out.
Block the hole to the bellhousing when installing the new bushing- you dont want to drop it down there.
60 beetle
78 bus

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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:54 pm

83AC wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:48 am

My thought is that the starter/solenoid may be the culprit.
Ways to correct a faulty starter/solenoid without replacing?
Anderson

Hello Anderson,
You can obtain a solenoid and replace only it, but i guarantee you that the brushes and bearings in your starter are likely far through their expected service life.

Bite the bullet, and get a reduction gear starter from GoWesty with their different solenoid set-up. Then you don't have to worry about the "hard start syndrome" for the rest of your days.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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satchmo
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by satchmo » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:28 pm

But wait! How about checking/cleaning the posts/terminals on the starter? And the checking the starter wire for corrosion?

I'd do that first before throwing non-stock parts at the problem.

Satchmo

PS: I'm starting to sound like Colin...
By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by immitation, which is easiest;
and third, by experience, which is bitterest. -Confucius

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asiab3
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by asiab3 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:53 pm

satchmo wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:28 pm
But wait! How about checking/cleaning the posts/terminals on the starter? And the checking the starter wire for corrosion?

I'd do that first before throwing non-stock parts at the problem.
I suggested that on Facebook and promptly had my suggestion shot down by someone with a vendetta against diagnosing. :shaking2:

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
119k miles with me.
296k miles on Earth.

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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:39 pm

asiab3 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:53 pm
satchmo wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:28 pm
But wait! How about checking/cleaning the posts/terminals on the starter? And the checking the starter wire for corrosion?

I'd do that first before throwing non-stock parts at the problem.
I suggested that on Facebook and promptly had my suggestion shot down by someone with a vendetta against diagnosing. :shaking2:

Robbie

Wasn't that fun? And we had an answer waiting that still holds water in the glaring light of the Public Common.
Hey (person). I'll let out a little secret here. EVEN THOUGH I agree with your assessment, there is NO WAY I am not going to make these VW owners take the long road through enhancing the electrical system first. Because (person), ha HA, when they are done, THEY will have an enhanced electrical system and YOU won't, Ha HA HAa. Vanagons especially want good grounds. Hey (person), speaking of "HA HAA", it is 71* here in Pensacola with my enhanced electrical system. How's the weather up there?
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

83AC
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by 83AC » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:14 pm

I have now cleaned and dielectric greased all grounds and made sure I have metal to metal contact. Took the transaxle ground strap off and soaked in vinegar and scrubbed with wire brush until shiny! Battery is getting a full charge now and tomorrow I will check for voltage at the starter when we try a cold start. Guessing she won’t start right away and that starter is getting ample voltage - GW will be the next step for a new starter IF diagnosis indicates the issue to in fact be the starter .... after all of this I may need a new battery too 😠.
Say what you mean; do what you say.
1983 AC Vanagon camper - Penny Lane

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ethana
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by ethana » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:48 pm

I had a similar problem a few years ago with my '77. I took the starter out, disassembled it and found all the grease dried out making everything stiff. I cleaned everything and put grease on the armature bearings and oil on all the other sliding parts. I even opened the solenoid, which had a bit of corrosion on the cup that's attached to the bit that sticks out and actuates the yoke. Cleaned and lightly oiled the cup. My brushes still had lots of length, but I did rub the commutator (the part the brushes run on) with scotchbright to clean off the oxidation and then used a small flat screw driver to clean grooves. Put everything back together with dielectric grease on all the electrical connections and haven't had a problem in four years, even at -20*.

Two notes of caution: don't use strong cleaners on the bearings since they are oil impregnated; if the commutator is badly worn you'll have to pull the brushes back when disassembling or risk damaging the brushes or their holder; a bad/corroded connection between the solenoid and the big wire coming out of the motor can cause the starter to click and not start because only one of the windings in the solenoid is being energized. (The solenoid has two windings, one that grounds through the housing and one that grounds through the motor windings. This so that once the motor is energized the second solenoid winding sees 12v both sides (ie it turns off) and prevents the solenoid from overheating.)

You can test bell housing bushing with a wiggle test. Once you have the armature out of the motor put the end in the bearing and wiggle it back and forth. There shouldn't be more than and 1/8" of play at the far end.
Ethan
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:05 pm

ethana wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:48 pm
I had a similar problem a few years ago with my '77. I took the starter out, disassembled it and found all the grease dried out making everything stiff. I cleaned everything and put grease on the armature bearings and oil on all the other sliding parts. I even opened the solenoid, which had a bit of corrosion on the cup that's attached to the bit that sticks out and actuates the yoke. Cleaned and lightly oiled the cup. My brushes still had lots of length, but I did rub the commutator (the part the brushes run on) with scotchbright to clean off the oxidation and then used a small flat screw driver to clean grooves. Put everything back together with dielectric grease on all the electrical connections and haven't had a problem in four years, even at -20*.

Two notes of caution: don't use strong cleaners on the bearings since they are oil impregnated; if the commutator is badly worn you'll have to pull the brushes back when disassembling or risk damaging the brushes or their holder; a bad/corroded connection between the solenoid and the big wire coming out of the motor can cause the starter to click and not start because only one of the windings in the solenoid is being energized. (The solenoid has two windings, one that grounds through the housing and one that grounds through the motor windings. This so that once the motor is energized the second solenoid winding sees 12v both sides (ie it turns off) and prevents the solenoid from overheating.)

You can test bell housing bushing with a wiggle test. Once you have the armature out of the motor put the end in the bearing and wiggle it back and forth. There shouldn't be more than and 1/8" of play at the far end.
Solid suggestions, with one question.

"oil on the sliding parts, grease on the bearings" I do the opposite for the following maybe not-thought-out reason. I grease sliding parts because of shear which grease claims to be good at, and I oil bearings for film strength between balls and races at high rpm (3,000 rpm motor for 200 rpm flywheel?)
Discuss . . .
Colinb
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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LiveonJG
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by LiveonJG » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:37 pm

How old is your coil?
Keep it acoustic.

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ethana
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by ethana » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:40 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:05 pm

Solid suggestions, with one question.

"oil on the sliding parts, grease on the bearings" I do the opposite for the following maybe not-thought-out reason. I grease sliding parts because of shear which grease claims to be good at, and I oil bearings for film strength between balls and races at high rpm (3,000 rpm motor for 200 rpm flywheel?)
Discuss . . .
Colinb
In general I use grease on parts that I can't access to oil regularly, IF I know that I'm using the right grease. I've found that greases can be very application specific and using the wrong grease is a quick way to wreck things. I guess similar to oil viscosity, but I find it easier to identify oil viscosity than grease properties. For example I do a lot of biking and have experimented with different types of grease and oil in my hubs. A good grease definitely outlasts oil, but a bad grease doesn't last at all. The oils I've tried seem to be pretty similar (chain oil, 15w40 motor oil and ISO 68 hydraulic oil). Greases all over the map: bike specific greases have always been good (duh) to excellent, even white lithium is great, but synthetic multipurpose (Superlube) and open gear grease were terrible. Neither seemed to stick to the bearing surfaces and pitting quickly followed (there was still clean grease inside the hubs just not on the bearings, which I was shocked to see because open gear grease sticks to #$%% everything!). Incidentally I do a lot of winter and wet riding.

Another vote for grease and longevity is that sealed ball bearings come packed with grease and those are good for all sorts of speeds.

Back to starters: Bentley says to use multipurpose grease on the starter bearings. I used Lucas wheel bearing grease. The sliding parts I'm up in the air on grease vs oil. On the one hand I feel the sliding parts in the starter are less prone to damage from lack of lubrication (when the oil finally goes somewhere else) because they don't move much or often and are more prone sticking from dried out grease. Although it did take 20-35 years for my starter to dry out, so that's pretty good. On the other hand sticky parts can be cleaned and put back into service, but worn parts are probably scrap. If I knew I had the right grease I would probably grease the sliding parts.

Another general idea I have is that dried out grease can be reconstituted with new oil as a quick fix. Saves on disassembly and cleaning, although not a good idea if the parts are actually dirty.
Ethan
'77 Westy

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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:27 pm

ethana wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:40 pm
dried out grease can be reconstituted with new oil as a quick fix. Saves on disassembly and cleaning, although not a good idea if the parts are actually dirty.

Ha! Read all the way through.
Colin :blackeye:

https://itinerant-air-cooled.com/viewto ... 22#p220491
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:39 pm

ethana wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:40 pm
The sliding parts I'm up in the air on grease vs oil.
Molybdenum disulfide-fortified grease deposits a dynamic coating of phosphate/sulfide/blahblahblah surface treatment on metal pores and voids and the base does not dry out - ever. If you get the good stuff, you can grease all everything in your VW from one container, which is what I have been doing since 1980. I even use it as a cam break-in lube. It is fine for front wheel bearings (use a little less than the lithiums) and it is an excellent high shear-resistant breaker point grease. I use Valvoline Durablend semi-synthetic or fully synthetic. Perfectly acceptable for CVs and door latch strikers alike.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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ethana
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by ethana » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:15 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:27 pm

Ha! Read all the way through.
Colin :blackeye:

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=13022#p220491
Funny! This actually happened to me too. Spring of 2016 about a year after getting this van and driving it from Ottawa to Nova Scotia knowing the CVs were very worn. On the way back with 500ish miles to go I started hearing a plinking from the rear that sounded like a stones in my hubcaps (great practical joke btw), but the noise didn't go away at speed.

Went to the nearest hardware store and bought what looked to be the most appropriate lubricant in a spray can (Liquid Wrench's chain and cable lube), crawled under the van, cut the clamps off the inner end of the CV boots, forced the little straw in and sprayed a bunch of that lube in there. Worked great to get me home with no noise. I replaced the CVs later that summer and found moderately damaged races and balls. Considering how sloppy the CVs were when I got the van I think the damage was done before I sprayed the oil in there, but at least I avoided catastophic failure.

Q: With good greasing habits how long do think CVs should last? These had 180,000 miles on them with obviously no recent maintenance.
Ethan
'77 Westy

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asiab3
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Re: 83 Vanagon: Hard Start and Dying Battery

Post by asiab3 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:58 pm

ethana wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:15 pm
Q: With good greasing habits how long do think CVs should last?
Forever is not a numerical answer, but it's my answer.

My bus had about that many miles on the original joints when I got it. I ALMOST threw them away, (young and stupid!) but my dad offered to store them for me… Six years later, I got them some new boots, gave them a good cleaning, and packed in some fresh full synthetic grease. They looked brand new underneath all the dirt!

You should be good for a long time, as long as we can find good boots.
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
119k miles with me.
296k miles on Earth.

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