|T3 Common problems|
The VW T3 - Type25 has loads of common problems, this web page should hopefully point a few out to you so when you hear that noise then you have an idea what to change! This page is similar to the buyers guide, but tailored around actual faults rather than what to check when buying.
Puddles of water in footwells. Dead easy this one, your windscreen frame is rotten at the bottom corners. Water collects behind the rubber and just sits there, it has no way out. This results in the lower corners of the windscreen frame just rot out. Solution - remove windscreen, weld up holes, fill, paint and refit screen, probably best left to a bodyshop.
Front anti roll bar links. Funny clunking from front suspension? could be the front anti roll bar link rod has broken, there are 2 styles, the earlier system has a cast rod which is cranked in shape, the threaded part breaks away from the bottom leaving the offending part flailing round and banging on the bottom arm. The later one is straight in shape and seems a lot stronger although the early and late rods are not interchangeable. Early rods are getting quite hard to find in good condition, expect to pay a premium.
Front upper wishbone bushes. Funny squeaking over bumps, sounds like you've got a sparrows nest under the wheel arch? then your front upper wishbone bushes are worn.
Petrol fuel filter. Often overlooked on the service, or simply replaced with one of an insufficient size. Symptoms include cutting out under load as the pump struggles to draw enough fuel to supply the engine. Remedy - replace with a new filter of sufficient size (coopers Z29 or equivalent are OK) Also if fuel tank is rotten then they quickly get bunged up with debris from the tank.
Leaking fuel tank. Bad design, water and dirt collect on top of the tank and rot it through, fill up over 1/2 tank and fuel pours out. 3 styles of tank, early with large bore filler neck entry, late with smaller filler neck entry and injection with small filler neck entry and a "swirl pot" to cool returned fuel. If you have a leaky early tank then you may struggle as early tanks are no longer available, the fitting of a late tank and a whole new filler neck assembly is the answer.
Poor hand brake, when footbrake is good. Your footbrake is good, the adjustment of your brake shoes and handbrake cable is correct but your handbrake still has excess travel. Worn adjuster bars. If you remove the brake drum there is a bar going between the brake shoes at the top, this has a notched wheel on it, this is turned to move the shoes out to meet the drum. If they are adjusted correctly then all should be well but the handbrake lever end of the adjuster bar wears leaving the handbrake lever having to travel a excessive distance for it to meet the adjuster bar and operate the handbrake. Does that make sense? it does to me.. The solution is to either fit new adjuster bar or file the end of the adjuster bar at the handbrake lever end to reduce the travel. This is only a temporary fix as once filed then they just wear again.
Overheating. (2.0l air-cooled) Looses power, smokes, engine feels "tight" - faulty thermostat system, either the thermostat has expired,the cable has snapped or the ducting fins are jammed, the system should fail safe with a spring keeping the flaps open, but springs break. Get it checked. Also make sure the rubber engine bay seal is in good order.
Poor performance, (1.6l CT air-cooled) Factory fault, that engine should never have been put in the van, it's rubbish. Remedy, Throw the engine away and buy a 2.0l air-cooled CU engine, remember to also change gearbox or you'll destroy the 2.0l as well!
fuel economy, rough running (2.0l air-cooled CU engine) Van runs
like a sick pig, unable to set carburetor up properly. Worn throttle
shafts on carburetor, these draw air in as per rest of old Solex carbs.
Chugging from cold, Choke pull down unit. DG engine, 1.9l waterboxer with pierburg 2E3 carburetor. The choke pull down unit lessens the amount of choke when the engine is revved, if it goes faulty then you are left with an engine that chugs from cold, you sometimes have to rev it really hard to clear it. Sometimes the engine will cut out as its getting too much choke and the engine is getting over fueled. Remedy is to replace the faulty choke pull down unit which can be identified by removing the air filter trunking from the carburetor, the choke pull down unit is the black plastic disc shaped object which is held in place by a small rawl pin, it has a vacuum pipe going to it.
Diesel engine. Upon removal of expansion tank cap you find oil in the coolant, first thoughts are generally to suspect a head gasket problem but usually the cause is the oil cooler that is fitted between the oil filter and the oil filter head. The oil cooler is a small heat exchanger, and they corrode inside letting the higher pressure oil leak into the coolant. The remedy is to fit a new oil cooler and completely flush out the cooling system.
Oil buzzer, coming on when everything seems to be in order, It's that flipping DOP system again, or Dynamic Oil Pressure monitoring system as VW call it. What's meant to happen is that when the engine speed is over 2000 RPM and the oil pressure drops below .5 bar (7psi in old money) the oil light is meant to flash and a really annoying buzzer is meant to come on. What actually happens is you'll be tootling along minding your own business and you'll get scared to death by this nasty buzzer when there's actually nothing wrong. Well there could be, best get your oil pressure checked (2bar at 2000RPM, except 1.6l TD 1bar at 2000RPM) if that checks out then replace BOTH oil pressure senders, if its still at it then its a dash fault, not surprising as the printed circuit board to the rear of the instrument binnacle is notorious for going open circuit and for poor connections onto the vehicles wiring loom
Instruments not working correctly. Fuel gauge works, then it doesn't, warning lights work then they don't, chances are the wiring plug to the rear of the instrument cluster is all furry, remove instruments, clean contacts and retry, if still no joy then check the circuit board for breaks, or just fit another. Remember to record the mileage of the old and new speedo's.
Fuel gauge inaccuracy, okay, scenario! full tank and the needle will sit at the top of the gauge, for ages, then it will drop quickly to 1/2 a tank, where it will sit for another age when it will suddenly drop again. It's good practice to fill up when the gauge dips to 1/4. They also tend to lie and run out when not at the bottom of the red, be warned! Sender unit is in the front left of the tank so down hills and right hand corners give you more fuel indicated on the gauge, up hill and left hand bends give you less!
Fuel gauge and temperature gauge inoperative. Faulty voltage regulator to the rear of the instrument cluster. Easy to replace once the cluster is removed. There is a small transistor that is mounted on the PCB to the rear of the cluster, the transistor can be identified as a small black block with 3 wires coming from it, its secured by a screw going through a metal tab mounted to it. Remove mounting screw, replace transistor and rebuild. Transistors can be purchased from your local electronic store for around 5 GBP2004. VW charge around 20 gbp2004.
More to be added when time permits.
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