[tcb] Re: A very goofy gremlin

  • From: Lee <robilee1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "tcb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <tcb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2011 08:07:12 -0600

By the way that was supposed to say I'm NOT the world's best mechanic. Freudian 
slip, I guess or wishful thinking...

Sent from my PDP-8

On Dec 18, 2011, at 7:04 AM, julie.hey.ho.lets.go@xxxxxxxxx wrote:

> Thanks Lee,
> At least you don't think I am crazy.
> On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 6:39 AM, Lee <robilee1@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Julie,
> I also have a 71 and every time I have one of those oddball electrical issues 
> it turns out to be a cruddy or loose connection somewhere, so I think you are 
> on the right track with that. It is most often a bad ground connection. The 
> reason that the horn is probably fixing the problem is that cruddy and loose 
> connections get resistive. Chances are that when you toot the horn the 
> current flow from that is enough to temporarily break down that resistance so 
> the circuit works again.
> I'm the world best mechanic, but I do know a bit about the electrical side of 
> the world having spent quite a few years working in that field. Bad grounds 
> sometime produce very very weird symptoms. We once had a customer whose 
> computer crashed every time someone flushed the toilet and it turned out that 
> a recent plumbing repair had resulted in a short section of his iron sewer 
> line being replaced with PVC. Since his computer was grounded to that iron 
> pipe that was no longer actually grounded (PVC doesn't conduct electricity) 
> whenever a toilet was flushed the rushing water through the line would 
> temporarily bridge that PVC gap and the change in grounding crashed his 
> system. By comparison Donner's symptoms seem pretty straight forward! Also, 
> you mentioned not getting spark. That would have noting to do with a fuel 
> problem.
> I don't normally participate in these discussions, but thought maybe on this 
> occasion I might be able to add something. Good luck. Finding a faulty ground 
> can be extremely difficult.
> Regards,
> Lee
> Sent from my PDP-8
> On Dec 18, 2011, at 6:05 AM, julie.hey.ho.lets.go@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> Twice when I couldn't start him I undid the fuel line from the carb and fuel 
>> flowed through when trying to start him.  He does not have a fuel problem.  
>> And just to explain how I came about knowing that the horn is capable of 
>> helping when I have starting problems, the first time that I couldn't start 
>> him I checked for loose wires and anything else that could be the culprit.  
>> I would fiddle around try to start him and he would turn over but not fire.  
>> I tried the lights and the wipers and the horn just to see if the battery 
>> was giving enough power or if they were wimpier than they should be.  They 
>> were fine.  Right after trying the horn I tried starting him and he fired 
>> right up.  My mom was there with me and we laughed and laughed because it 
>> seemed as if the horn had something to do with it but at that time I did 
>> believe that it was a coincidence.  When this gremlin appeared after that I 
>> would try all of the other things I could think of, like loose wires and 
>> checking the fuel flow... and then I said to myself, what the heck, try the 
>> horn and bingo!  After tooting the horn he would start.  I was still 
>> skeptical but I would thank my lucky stars and now that this has happened so 
>> many times I know for a fact that somehow the horn works like a 
>> defibrillator.  
>> On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 10:35 PM, J Duncan <whocanduncan1@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Have you tried to override the horn's switch?
>> Still be it's fuel, or lack thereof.
>> On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:41 PM, <julie.hey.ho.lets.go@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Donner embodies the Christmas spirit (even though he was not named after a 
>> reindeer but after the folks that resorted to cannibalism).  He doesn't have 
>> any Christmas lights.  
>> On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:27 PM, atxan <atx_bus@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Is this happening with or with out your Christmas lights being plugged in?
>> Jeff
>> Sent via iPhone
>> On Dec 17, 2011, at 8:58 PM, julie.hey.ho.lets.go@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
>>> The horn is NOT a coincidence!  And the fuel filter has been changed 
>>> recently, the problem was before and after that.  I have checked the fuel 
>>> pump in the past too.  
>>> On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 8:54 PM, Duncan <whocanduncan1@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> My bet is tyhe horn is a coincidence.
>>> Replace the fuel filter.
>>> From: julie.hey.ho.lets.go@xxxxxxxxx
>>> Sender: tcb-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2011 20:20:21 -0600
>>> To: <tcb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> ReplyTo: tcb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Subject: [tcb] A very goofy gremlin
>>> I enjoy gremlins.  They challenge me.  But I have one that I can't beat in 
>>> my '71.  And I thought I had.  He is chuckling loudly right now.
>>> I have electronic ignition and this one has been in this Bus for 95,000 
>>> miles.  And the horn is no longer the button in the steering wheel, it is a 
>>> button off to the side and it has been this way for years.  Otherwise this 
>>> is a stock Bus, 1600 dual port, nothing unusual.  
>>> Sometimes he won't start.  But I discovered that if I toot his horn then he 
>>> will start right up, or he will stall and not start until the horn is 
>>> tooted.  This has been happening very intermittently since June.  It always 
>>> happens on the way home, never first drive of the day, always after 5 
>>> o'clock (this may or may not be a clue).  He never does this when there is 
>>> a mechanic or a VW friend that has knowledge greater than mine is around.  
>>> I did bring him to my mechanic a couple of months ago and he cleaned up all 
>>> of the corroded wiring that was hiding behind the dash.  It was really 
>>> green and crumbly and nasty back there.  We thought that would have done 
>>> away with the gremlin.  
>>> I was just a my mechanic's Tuesday morning and we were addressing another 
>>> problem.  Donner drove the 70 miles there perfectly.  On the way to work 
>>> after the mechanic at one point on the highway it was like we were cruising 
>>> along at a sprint and then suddenly there was a significant lose of power, 
>>> I drifted into the gas station because I needed gas anyways so once he was 
>>> filled up, he started up and made it to work like nothing happened.  After 
>>> work he drove 40 miles with no problems.  And then at midnight when I was 
>>> heading home he stalled in the first 1/4 mile.  Started only after tooting 
>>> the horn.  On the highway there were times when I would have sudden 
>>> stepping down loses of power, like I was an Olympic sprinter, then a high 
>>> school middle distance runner, then an out of shape jogger and then stall. 
>>> I have never run out of gas but I assume you would just feel a vehicle slow 
>>> smoothly as the gas runs out?  It wasn't like that.  And then honk the horn 
>>> and I would be able to start up again.  One time as I was going through 
>>> these sudden loses of power I honked the horn and it was like a rocket 
>>> booster, he went back to normal for a little while.  So today I was just 
>>> going down the road a bit so I thought I would see how Donner behaves.  I 
>>> figured if worse came to worse I can just keep doing my honking trick and 
>>> make it home, this trick has consistently worked.  But no.  When I was 
>>> going to head home, he wouldn't start.  I honked and honked and honked.  
>>> Nothing.  My mechanic had me put the key in the on position and un-connect 
>>> the solenoid on the carb and it clicked so I was getting power there.  And 
>>> then he had me un-plug the wire that goes to the middle of the distributor 
>>> cap and my mom would have the engine turn over while I held the wire near 
>>> metal and no spark, none at all.  So I could not do the pop the clutch 
>>> trick to get started.  My mechanic figured it must be the electronic 
>>> ignition.  So I called AAA.  While waiting the hour for the tow truck I 
>>> fiddled more and more and tooted the horn and tried and tried to get him 
>>> started.  Towed him home.  As soon as the tow truck left the driveway I 
>>> turned Donner's key, wouldn't start, wouldn't start, wouldn't start.  Toot 
>>> the horn and he starts right up.
>>> My mechanic says that electronic ignition problems aren't intermittent.  It 
>>> either works or it doesn't.  
>>> I will try to make the 70 mile journey to my mechanic next week but I was 
>>> wondering if you guys have any ideas on how to slay this gremlin or at 
>>> least chase him a few states away.  The electronic ignition?  The ignition 
>>> switch (this one is about 2 years old)?  Constantly beep the horn until 
>>> someone shoots me?  Any other ideas?  

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