[tcb] Re: A very goofy gremlin

  • From: julie.hey.ho.lets.go@xxxxxxxxx
  • To: tcb@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2011 07:04:00 -0600

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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