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What could keep a 1984 VW Vanagon (Water cooled 1.9l gas) from starting? Crank, no start

I just bought this van. It was owned by an old man and has been sitting a while. It has a momentary starter button hooked up. The fuel pump is pumping gas during cranking. I removed fuel injectors from engine to view and they do not open during cranking. Engine compression is good. I removed a spark plug to test spark by grounding it out, there is orange spark. Ignition coil tested at 1.5ohm and 3.3kohm. What is strange is that it wont fire at all, even on starter fluid.

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The computer fires the injectors and the spark plugs. does the check engine lite illuminate and go thru boot up with ignition key in on position.

Posted on Mar 30, 2015

  • jeeptang Mar 30, 2015

    It does light up when the key comes on. It is cranking slowly, is there a minimum rpm the starter must turn it over before it will try to fire? s

  • jeeptang Mar 30, 2015

    Will the throttle position sensor keep it from firing? I know most vehicles it matters but this is only an idle/wide open sensor so it may not? This is pretty vw specific.



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99 ford windstar will crank but wont start after over heating?

While overheating may be the issue, does the exhaust emit a steam-like cloud or sweet smell? There is a part which cuts off power to the fuel pump. This part is called an Inertia sensor. If a door or the hood is slammed, it can activate.

It is usually behind a front floor kickpanel and has a reset button on it. Read the Web for articles showing photos.

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I bought a van that hasn't been driven in a year or so. it ran fine but died out suddenly. Has gas in it. It will turn over but won't crank.

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I have a 1987 vanagon fuel injected gas engine that starts fine, but after 2 minutes it seems to starve for fuel.You can turn the key off and it restarts fine ,but dies again in 2 minutes

A common problem can be the wires to the O2 sensor, and check the connections to the Air Flow Meter. Vanagons are also prone to something called Vanagon Syndrom, which is realted to faulty ground connections. So, check ALL the chassy grounds, by the starter, transmission, battery etc. Disconnect, wire-brush apply di-electric grease and reconnect. Lastly, many of the sensors which feed signals to the ECU could have bad connections, or wires which have breaks or cracks that could lead to corrosion inside the wire increasing resistance. Oh, one more thought, the vaccum lines on Vanagon are covered with cloth and if you pull them off, you can sometimes see cracks in the rubber. The vaccum leaks can also contribute to the problem. Now I would be remiss to not warn you about changing the fuel lines on your nearly 25 year old van. The rubber on these lines have been known to breakdown and leak, leading to engine fires. There is a great web-site called that has all sorts of great informaion on these wonderful vans. I've owned my 84 Vanagon Westy for 23 years. Hope you find this helpful!

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Running rich after warm up.

These vans are now very old, and the gas lines need to be replaced!!! I can't warn you enough, if you smell gas, change the lines. There have been many vanagon fires due to fuel line failure. Replacment kits can be found on-line, it isn't hard to do. The other issues can be related to the fuel tank itself, the seals on top go bad and need to be replace. You know if you have this problem when you fill it to the top and gas leaks.

But, if you haven't changed your fuel lines... do it right away.

Also, go to and look up fuel line and fire... you will see lots of posts!

I've owned my 84 Westy since 87 and changed the lines 5 years ago, many were cracked and leaking. I count my blessings that I didn't have a fire.

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Look for a vaccum leak, the many vaccum hoses on a Vanagon motor are mostly covered with cloth, if you pull off the hose and look at the end, you may find a crack in the rubber. This leads to air leaks and can cause the timing not to advance properly when you give it gas.

You should also check for fuel leaks, as the old rubber fuel lines can fail and lead to an engine fire. Very common, and if your fuel lines have not be replaced, do it now!

Lots of good information of web-site.

Also, be sure to check to see that your air filter is clean and all the connections around the filter and to your Air Flow Meter are secure. Both electrical and air.

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