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Mike, VW Mechanic
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 39198
Experience:  34 Years of working on vehicle repair & Diagnostics ! ;)
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My 1985 vanagon wont start. The battery has plenty

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My 1985 vanagon won''t start. The battery has plenty of juice and I think the ignition switch is ok. I figure it might be the starter, but I can''t locate it. Help!!

Hi & Welcome to!

I feel you are probably right -- its difficult to describe on here where the starter is - but if you look around the engine it will be located on the engine block - bolted to the gearbox housing - somwhere around the gearbox bellhousing face --The starter will have a thick cable and at least one smaller wire going to the back end of it - or onto a smaller cylidrical part/solonoid mounted on the starter -- like piggy back style --

Im not really sure if from what you say, you know what a starter motor looks like - so thats why Im trying to be 'descriptive' - Im not trying to insult you in any way :)

I Sincerley hope I have helped you -- Please ask if you need further help -

Kind Rgds, MIKE

PS~Please hit ACCEPT if you are happy with my answer/advice given~ Thank You ;)

Any & All Bonuses Are Gratefully Received ~ Thank you again.

{ FEEDBACK is Always Appreciated }

Mike and other VW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I found it but can't get to it. So I guess I'll call my mechanic. This is going to be pricey isn't it?

;)) Could be my friend - but I dont know where you live - and that does make a difference.. to price I mean..

I'm glad you were able to decipher my description as to locating it anyway..

The other thing you could do is this - now youve found it -- switch ign on... make sure handbrake is on and gears in neutral --- run a heavy duty wire - like a jumper cable size down from the pos on the battery - and short out the large terminal ( where the cable from the battery is on the starter -) with the small wire ( this is your starter trigger wire ) and if it then turns - you know you have a wiring problem somewhere -- check ALL the earth connections you can see -- if it doesn't then its likely the starter at fault...

But before you do any of this ( thinking about it ) check - the tightness of the wires on the battery -- then follow the wires to where they go - and check they are tight at the ends -- then locate the earth cable/wire - that joins the engine to the body -- check that that is in order --

If all thats ok -- check that small wires - mentioned above -- on the starter , check the connection is good -- make sure it is -- if not, do it, and try again starting ..

If all this is ok -- have someone turn the key to the starting position - while you go to the starter - armed with a good hammer - or solid bar (piece of steel ) and thump the starter two or three (or four!) times - while the key is in the start position -- if it starts now - then its a case of a stuck - and possibly failing starter motor......

I hope this extra Little bit of stuff helps you --- certainly worth a try --- thats what your mechanic will do - so you could save yourself some money!!

Al the best --

Rgds, MIKE ----------- Let me know how you go.. and thank you for the accept...

PS.... if you have a minute - would you do some feedback for me -- and I'll reciprocate - THANK YOU again, MIKE