1990 running problems. Any tips?

Asked by Aug 18, 2013 at 05:07 PM about the 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon GL Camper Passenger Van

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 1990 2.1L  has had some bad running issues after it first started while driving on the highway. I bought the van last year and there was not a really good history of it so I recently decided to replace most parts based on some online readings like this site. So far I have replaced: airflow meter, o2 sensor, catalytic converter, fuel pump and filter, ignition plugs and wires, temp 2 sender, fuel injectors but so far no luck and improvement at all. Some black smoke and wet particles are often coming out of the exhaust. I would be surprised that the timing would be the issue but I will have to have that checked just to make sure. Checked grounds. I'm waiting for a hall sender and a ECU hoping that i can narrow down the possible causes. I know there is no magical answer but maybe someone solved this problem and I can at least give it a try.

3 Answers


Black smoke is an overly rich air/ fuel mixture (too much gas). Check the fuel pressure regulator and fuel pump pressure and volume. HTH. -Jim

Thanks Jim. I replaced the fuel filter and pump as well as the fuel pressure regulator and the fuel injectors. I can't really drive the van has hesitation and bucking. Sometime it will drive few km when I drive it for trouble shooting purposes but the loss of power is almost immediate. I'm thinking the ECU may be faulty but if not I'm not to sure how to go about it. I'm 10 hours away from a VW mechanic! I should get the ECU this week so I'll let you know if there is any improvement.


You're welcome. I hope the new ECU solves the problem. Keep me posted. Good luck. -Jim

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