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
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
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.
See Comments on this entry (F.W.I.W.)
Free in the Android Market, the Vanagon Rescue Squad app for Android
phones. Scan the QR or search the
Market for Vanagon.
NEW! Now on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.