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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey! Just got onto this forum and was looking for help with my 81 pickup diesel. Just a little back story - I own 4 vintage vws. 1983 vw gti, 1984 vw gti, 1983 vw convertible Karmen edition (all gas) and now I have this 81 pickup diesel. I know very little about Diesel unfortunately.

Saved this truck from a junkyard for $2,500 and the owner got it all up and running for me (rebuilt engine with new timing belt)

Not too long ago I ran out of gas. (yeah very bad for diesels as far as I know) Anyways, I ended up putting more gas in it and was having a problem with shuttering and dying under load. Ended up replacing the fuel filter (filling it with gas to prevent air getting in the lines) then I went on to start it and was still having same problem. So I went on to IP to make sure there was gas in there, which there was…finally I ended up bleeding the lines so I cracked the injector lines and cranked 3 or 4 times and now I know there’s no air in lines. Fuel filter to IP is a clear line and no air bubbles so I’m not sure what else to do.

Thinking I might need to drop the tank due to clogged “screen” from what I hear here on this forum. Btw truck did sit 3-4 years so running out of gas probably wasn’t best for it.

I’m just looking for alittle feedback, maybe some pointers about what I should do and look for because I know everything in engine bay should be fine as far as I know considering rebuilt Motor etc. Maybe need new tank? Fuel pump? Idk. Hoping to hear any feedback soon! I’m 23 and my name is Todd, thanks in advance!
 

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Hey! Just got onto this forum and was looking for help with my 81 pickup diesel. Just a little back story - I own 4 vintage vws. 1983 vw gti, 1984 vw gti, 1983 vw convertible Karmen edition (all gas) and now I have this 81 pickup diesel. I know very little about Diesel unfortunately.

Saved this truck from a junkyard for $2,500 and the owner got it all up and running for me (rebuilt engine with new timing belt)

Not too long ago I ran out of gas. (yeah very bad for diesels as far as I know) Anyways, I ended up putting more gas in it and was having a problem with shuttering and dying under load. Ended up replacing the fuel filter (filling it with gas to prevent air getting in the lines) then I went on to start it and was still having same problem. So I went on to IP to make sure there was gas in there, which there was…finally I ended up bleeding the lines so I cracked the injector lines and cranked 3 or 4 times and now I know there’s no air in lines. Fuel filter to IP is a clear line and no air bubbles so I’m not sure what else to do.

Thinking I might need to drop the tank due to clogged “screen” from what I hear here on this forum. Btw truck did sit 3-4 years so running out of gas probably wasn’t best for it.

I’m just looking for alittle feedback, maybe some pointers about what I should do and look for because I know everything in engine bay should be fine as far as I know considering rebuilt Motor etc. Maybe need new tank? Fuel pump? Idk. Hoping to hear any feedback soon! I’m 23 and my name is Todd, thanks in advance!
I don't know if you have already tried this but the starting point is to crack the hard fuel lines to the injectors loose and crank the motor for a few seconds until air gets out of the lines, make sure you have something to catch the spilled diesel fuel and don't crank on it excessively as its bad for the injectors to crank for extended periods with no fuel. Once you have bled the lines tighten the lines back on the injectors and crank it to see if it fires up and to test if the issue is resolved. Also something that may help is on startup is to pull the cold start lever, just be sure to push the cold start lever back in after running for a min or so. Hope this helps and sorry if it doesn't
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey I really appreciate the reply. I think I’ve already tried this if I’m reading what you’re saying correctly. So, you are talking about the hard metal lines connected to the injectors right? Not the hard lines connected to the injection pump? Thanks again!

EDIT: But, I will try pulling the cold start lever tomorrow and see if that helps. Also, I’m not having trouble starting it, it starts up and runs just fine. It’s when I start driving it down the road around 45mph and let off gas the engine suddenly dies. Otherwise, I can start the truck and it will stay running if I don’t drive it. It’s kinda odd
 

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1. VW convertible isn't a Karmann edition all VW Verts, from early 79 to 93 were all built at the Karmann Coach Works from the ground up. Good site to get to know is Cabby-info.com.

2. Diesels use Diesel and not gas. If the car sat for that long there could have been trash or alge in the tank and running it dry can such stuff into the filter screen.

Try blowing air through the lines from the filter back to the tank. The only thing I will add is that once I had a issue with running or bogging, and it was air in the manifold of the IP. I had to
crack the lines at the IP end, then loosen the Standoffs until they weeps fuel, then re-bleed the lines to the injectors.
Also a Collapsed Muffler can case a bog down on these, so don't discount you can disconnect it, tale it for a spon and see if it doesn't run better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you Briano!
Honestly was hoping you would see this because you’re so knowledges on this stuff. I see you around the forum all the time. Thanks for the reply!
But yes I know diesel takes diesel lol, I don’t know if I misinterpreted something above. But thank you for referencing the convertible and the cabby info site. I know about that site from you actually from previous forums.
I will try all this tomorrow, and keep this discussion updated!
 

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Hey I really appreciate the reply. I think I’ve already tried this if I’m reading what you’re saying correctly. So, you are talking about the hard metal lines connected to the injectors right? Not the hard lines connected to the injection pump? Thanks again!

EDIT: But, I will try pulling the cold start lever tomorrow and see if that helps. Also, I’m not having trouble starting it, it starts up and runs just fine. It’s when I start driving it down the road around 45mph and let off gas the engine suddenly dies. Otherwise, I can start the truck and it will stay running if I don’t drive it. It’s kinda odd
Ohhh apologies i misunderstood your issue, Yeah i meant the hard lines going to the injectors, Also does it keep accelerating as long as the pedal is pushed or does the truck just not have any power past a certain point? because if it only dies when you let off it may be the injection pump shutting off fuel when no throttle is applied, take that with a grain of salt though because it may be something with the really newer diesels and I'm not too familiar with diesels just know some fundamentals and have a shop manual, i just recently bought my 81 rabbit pickup diesel
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
1. VW convertible isn't a Karmann edition all VW Verts, from early 79 to 93 were all built at the Karmann Coach Works from the ground up. Good site to get to know is Cabby-info.com.

2. Diesels use Diesel and not gas. If the car sat for that long there could have been trash or alge in the tank and running it dry can such stuff into the filter screen.

Try blowing air through the lines from the filter back to the tank. The only thing I will add is that once I had a issue with running or bogging, and it was air in the manifold of the IP. I had to
crack the lines at the IP end, then loosen the Standoffs until they weeps fuel, then re-bleed the lines to the injectors.
Also a Collapsed Muffler can case a bog down on these, so don't discount you can disconnect it, tale it for a spon and see if it doesn't run better.
Hey just wanted to ask one question about the IP. What are the standoffs on that thing? I know the lines you’re talking about, just not the standoffs. Not sure what those are
Thanks!
 

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On the back of the injection pump there is a solid steel manifold that the lines attach to.
What the injector lines attach is a 3-4 in metal standoff from the manifold. These stand offs are what you loosen.
Wheel Motor vehicle Product Toy Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again, after work I’ll be checking it out and see if I can get things running
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ohhh apologies i misunderstood your issue, Yeah i meant the hard lines going to the injectors, Also does it keep accelerating as long as the pedal is pushed or does the truck just not have any power past a certain point? because if it only dies when you let off it may be the injection pump shutting off fuel when no throttle is applied, take that with a grain of salt though because it may be something with the really newer diesels and I'm not too familiar with diesels just know some fundamentals and have a shop manual, i just recently bought my 81 rabbit pickup diesel
Thanks! The truck dies after I let off the gas when I’m going at a decent speed but then starts back up (Hesitantly) takes a few tries but will. So I hope it’s not the injection pump shutting off fuel. Maybe air in lines still. I’ll try and purge the air out of it today for sure and see if I can get it running.
 

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Verify that you have good grounds from the battery-to-frame-to-transmission/engine. A bad ground can cause a slew of funny things to happen, also check the fuel shut off solenoid...they can get gummy and stick open or closed or somewhere inbetween.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Just wanted to update on what’s been going on.

I shot air through the line from the air filter back to the tank. Didn’t seem to be clogged. Then I went ahead and re-bled all the lines from the fuel filter to the injectors. Went to drive it and ran great but I had one of my friends drive it and it ended up dying again.

These were only 5-10 minute drives. Thinking I’ll go ahead and try looking at the fuel stop solenoid and see if it’s gunked up or bad.

Doing that today, I’ll give an update here in a few hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just tried to get the fuel solenoid off and just couldn’t. I need to get some Wd-40 or something in that regard to get that off. Don’t want to strip the nut.

For the hell of it I started it up, didn’t drive it though. But, I started to jiggle the key just to see if the ignition switch was bad and it ended up dying on me so. Think I’m going to order new switch and see what happens and then try the fuel solenoid again.
 

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I had trouble with mine slowly dying after running great for 5-10 minutes. I could see air bubbles in the clear injector feed line so I replaced the rubber lines at the tank and at the pump. When I pulled the fuel lines at the tank I noticed a slow gravity flow on the supply side so I used an old fuel pump to reverse flush the screen and let it run out the return line into a pan. I used a 5 gallon bucket for my feed and kept pumping fresh diesel in the tank until the discharge was clear. Afterwards I filled up with fresh diesel & algaecide and hove not had an issue since. Above mentioned grounds-if your diesel cranks and cranks but no fire, a bad starter or crappy ground wires will usually start cold but not restart after warm. I replace my battery ground and attached it to a transmission bolt near the starter & solved my warm start issue that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey gberge, I finally just got all the parts in today - the fuel solenoid as well as a new Ignition switch. Don’t think it’s the switch but probably good to change it out. Going to try new solenoid today and see what happens.

ill think about trying your method next, only thing is I’m not seeing any air anymore. My screen in the tank could be clogged. If this solenoid doesn’t work I’m thinking I’ll have to drop the tank for sure.

I’ll keep ya posted
 
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