Question about 1986 Volkswagen Cabriolet

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Car runs for 15 minutes then quit, Starts again in 2 hours

I have a 1986 Vw Cabriolet. The car will start with no problems - after about 15 minutes of driving the RPMs will bounce, the runs rough 20 seconds and then quits. Will crank but not start. If I wait an hour the car will start at first, but the RPMS start to bounce (Between 0 and 2000) and then promptly quit. If I wait two hours the car will start again and run for 15 minutes. The problems repeat. When the car quits running it does NOT act like it running out of gas (there is not the characteristic out of gass stutter)

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  • hellmundm Dec 12, 2009

    I do notice that the OXS light is very faintly lit when the car runs. I actually had the fuel system checked it the mechanic said the pressures were all good - I was going to disconnect the fuel filter after such it quit again and check to see if fuel was present (not sure if this is a legit test or not)

  • hellmundm Dec 12, 2009

    I did have the fuel system tested (he had the system on the gauges and said the pressures were fine -- he did notice that the distributor cap had some carbon and replaced that -- the car ran fine all the way home (about 20 miles) but now it seems the same problem has crept up again. As I said in my add on message -- when the car does run I do notice that the OXS light is very, very faintly on when the car runs. This might be nothing but I though I would add that.

  • hellmundm Dec 13, 2009

    Well inspite of how good my mechanic is, he may have missed something -- I sprayed throttle cleaner and the car started - so it has to be a fuel delivery problem. It seems that if I leave the car idling it will idle forever -- as soom as I take it on the road 5 minutes later it quits. Does load affect the fuel delivery?

    I do have a Bentley Service manual for the vehicle. What does the transfer pump do as opposed to the fuel pump?

    Thanks for all your help



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Without testing anything like fuel pressure and ingnition voltages. No way to tell whats going on

It could be a fuel issue . I have seen this many times. The fact that it will not start. Tells me that its most likely a fuel issue.
Get some brake cleaner and spray some in the throttle when it doent start. If it starts and continues to stay running while spraying then you will know its a pump issue.. If no change then you will know its a electrical issue.
This is the first thing you need to do before we move on because everything else will require test equipment and wiring diagrams

You could go to the link below and buy a 12 dollar subscription and diagnose this yourself. You will have all the info a professional has and the location for all the components.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009

  • Ernset ( Skip ) Bouvette

    the ox light is just a service light. It comes on every 80,000 miles or so. It can be shut off by clearing it. The fact you say the lite does change densitiy tells me either it does this when the idle is low or the grounds are dirty and need to be cleaned. Dirty grounds and a defective ground cable can cause all sorts of problems

    Now since you said a mechanic has looked at it and didnt see anything wrong I would suggest going back since he did not fix it. All I can do is suggest replacing parts if I dont have the car to diagnose it' It could get real expensive this route.

    Since the ox light is on you should replace the no matter what.


  • Ernset ( Skip ) Bouvette

    yes, it seems you have very little fuel pressure. or or could have good pressure but low volume of fuel. You may be betting air also from the pump. It happens



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