just bought a 85 water cooled fuel injected seems that it has all the problems mentioned , has anyone found out how to fix these beasts, thanks jaxco

Asked by May 18, 2010 at 07:37 PM about the 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

wont run consistently,, constanly quiet or loses power , rough idle, bad milage, have replaced fuel pump 5 times, will then run about 200 miles, replaced computer, no one seems to know about this beast, the mechanics just replace what i did, and for a few days it will run,, need a repair manual for a water cooled, anyone have one for sale, i cant keep taking it in, to have it run good for a few days, please anyone .advice please,,thanks jaxco

10 Answers


Compression test? Leak down test? Clean grounds? Clean power wire above the starter? Vacuum leaks? Start with that. If you don't know for sure that its been done assume that it hasn't. These are old vehicles, so they will have those problems and no amount of throwing parts at it will fix it. If you have had to replace the fuel pump that much it obviously has a crappy signal going to it. When you have a bad ground (or dirty power wire) it can cause the fuel pump relay to turn off and on repeatedly and that can cause the fuel pump to have a short life. Or you could have a lot of sediment in the tank. A manual is easy to find on ebay or any of the vanagon parts suppliers. May I suggest google?

2 people found this helpful.

thanks for your qiuck reply, i will try all that,,when i find a book, they all seem to be for air cooled, it is imprtant i think to figure this out because the auto shops seem to think that if it starts and makes it out of there drive they have accomplish something, but i would be afriad to take the kids anywhere. thanks agian jaxco


http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=968102 http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=262969 try those. Usually on these vans its something simple that was overlooked. Whatever you find, let us know so others can benefit from your experience. I am a german only mechanic, so I can help if ya find something.

3 people found this helpful.

these are really prone to vacuum leaks,the intake manifold uses rubber sleeves that will dry rot and suck air leaning the mixture out,the flapper for the fuel injectors is also prone to failures,if the engine developes lean pop backs it can kill the air controller for the injectors,this is the unit that is in the big air hose from the air filter to the throttle housing,be certain that all grounds are clean and tight,there are several ground clusters in the engine compartment on those vehicles,be sure of the cleanliness

3 people found this helpful.

We have 2 1985 Vanagon Westfalias. The first one had a vaccum leak that caused poor idle and cutting off at stops. The problem was a broken tee in a vacuum line that was hidden under the air intake. The second Westie we bought had poor power, poor fuel economy and would cut off at stops. The problem with this one was ignition timing. The ignition timing was set at 5 deg after top dead center instead of 5 deg. before top dead center

4 people found this helpful.

Another thing I should point out is where the idle adjustment is. It took awhile before I realized where it is. It is NOT the adjustment screw on the throttle, as I remember this screw is to adjust the idle-full throttle switch. The large, about 3/4 in. diameter screw in the side of the air intake below and to the back from the throttle. Run it in with a flat screwdriver to reduce idle and out for faster.


Look I had the same problem. It is a combination of bad catalytic converter intermittently clogging the exhaust causing loss of power and overheating, and bad air control valve causing the ECU to malfunction causing erratic engine timing.

2 people found this helpful.

change the fuel filter.....use only german.


check the MAF mass air flow box rt side next to air filter... pop the glued top off... over time the 2 wire spring loops inside tends to split apart gently push them back together with a knife tip just touching the magnetic strip .....I put a capacitor connecting the 2 and 4 terminal so the ECU wont shut down if the air flap sticks......purrs like a kitten.

1 people found this helpful.

hay my 83 WB has power , but stalls out at warm up after run awhile its ok

1 people found this helpful.

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