Question about Volkswagen Passat

1 Answer

My 2004 diesal tdi passat is giving trouble starting I turn the key and wait for the lights to go out and she won't start I turn it off and repeat this 3/4 times, I wait for what sounds like the car booting up and then she starts the lights that come on are the glow plugs, TCS, and ABS.

Posted by on


1 Answer

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert that has over 500 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 20 times.

  • Expert
  • 199 Answers

Electric pump filter systems are a pain. Just use two 55 gallon drumsto filter your oil with hand crank pumps. The first drum has a 10-20micron filter bag. Then hand crack the filtered oil into the seconddrum which has a “5 micron” bag. But make sure your install has an onboard filter/water separator.

So, your car will not start. This is probably thesecond most common problem discussed on TDI club, second only to glowplug problems. I will try to outline some of the problems that peoplehave had, provide links to what has been done and add some pictures andlinks to guide you along to get your car started.

"Legal" stuff:

  • This is by no means a comprehensive list of problems, just some of the most common.
  • Usecommon sense when doing any testing and be sure that you won't get runover if the car suddenly and unexpectedly springs to life.
  • Idon't want to confuse anyone if a fuse, switch or relay is in adifferent position on different models or model years, so the locationmay vary from what I give. Hopefully people will be able to adddifferent information as it becomes needed.
  • Everything here assumes that the engine started fine and ran fine earlier, but now it suddenly won't start.
  • This does not include "hard starting" which is detailed elsewhere.
  • <2003means "2003 and earlier", >2004 means "2004 and later". I don't haveany information on the Common rail engines of >2009 yet since theyare new and haven't had any problems.
  • I have not looked intostuff specific to the A3 cars. Some of this stuff is basic stuff thatapplies to all cars, but I have nothing specific to the A3s yet.

If you have a "No Start Condition" (NSC) you need to differentiate between some different fault situations.
  1. Youwere driving along in your car and the engine died and won't start, orit just won't start, but may start after sitting for awhile.
  2. Youwere driving along in your >2004 car and the engine died or you justchanged the fuel filter and won't restart or restarts and runs poorly.
  3. Youturn the key to start and nothing happens. You don't get any lights,beeps, buzzing, clicking or noises from the engine compartment.
  4. Youturn the key to start and you get some of the lights, beeps buzzing orwhatever, but no noises coming from the engine compartment.
  5. You turn the key to start and you get the lights, etc AND the engine turns over at normal speed but it does not fire.
  6. The engine turns slowly and doesn't start.
  7. Youturn the key to start and you get the lights, the engine turns over andFIRES! then it dies after running for about two seconds.
  8. You just replaced the timing belt and now it won't start.
  9. You just had something in the fuel system open or ran out of fuel and now it won't start.
  10. You have a DSG transmission, and when it's really cold out, the car won't start.
  11. You have a >2004 and nothing else here fits but it could be fuel related.
  12. Here are some miscellaneous links to some oddball no starts that don't quite fit.
A few last general notes:

The Intermittent Problem: It may be any one of the above, but it onlydoes it intermittently. For this, you still need to look at theappropriate fault situation. The good part is that this will mostlikely be an electrical problem. The bad news is that problem is"somewhere" on the car and will require some detective work to find thesource.

The Mixed Bag: Maybe you find that you have a little bit of this andlittle bit of that: If that is the case, do the troubleshooting forboth.

Don’t crank the engine over for more than 30 seconds at a time, thenallow at least two minutes of cool down before you crank again. This isto protect the starter from overheating, exacerbating your situationsuch as in this post

If you have any tuning boxes on your car, remove them and see what happens. Your box may be causing a problem.

Glow plugs only help the engine start, they are not required until thetemperature gets very cold. (Very cold is described as when you breathand your nose hairs freeze)

Finally, if you are having electrical problems check the fuses firstthen check the grounds on the car. Even if things don't seem related,make sure all of the fuses are good.

A few definitions as they relate to starting the car.
  • Key On: This is the position of the key when the engine is running.
  • Start position: This is with the key turned to where the engine should be starting.
  • Cranking(or turning over): This is when the engine is rotating. Look at thealternator belt to see if the engine is cranking if you are unsure.
  • Start(ing) or fire(ing): This is when there is combustion and the engine is trying to run or is actually running.
  • ECU: Engine Control Unit; the computer that controls the engine.
(Iput those in not to poke fun at people, but because some people justdon’t know cars that well and they may be getting false informationfrom people. This way, I hope that we will all be on the same page whenwe describe what is happening when we are having troubles.)

I'm going to put each of these in a different post, so if people haveadditional information, quote the pertinent post and I'll try to addyour information in that post, or at least link it there.

The basics.

First, here is a post with much of the basics of the diesel engine.

For the TDI to start, electrical power needs to flow from the batterythrough fuses and relays to the key switch and ECU. From the keyswitch, power needs to flow through more fuses and relays to the startsolenoid on the starter and from the ECU power needs to flow to theinjection pump.

For the TDI engine to run, it needs three things: Sufficient air, sufficient fuel injected at the
correct time and sufficient heat generated by compressing the air.

HERE IS A LINKto the TDI FAQs about no starting. Much of it is the same as what isfound here but here you have pictures with circles and arrows and aparagraph explaining what each one is about.

HERE IS A LINK to the basic starting system for >2000 J/G/B. HERE is the list with reference numbers for what stuff is and where most of it's located. Stay tuned for updates.

Thanks to Fred
Without Fred and this forum none of thisinformation sharing would be possible. If this thread was helpful andyou saved mega bucks fixing or diagnosing the problem yourself, pleaseconsider a donation (see paypal button on home page) to ensure thatthis site remains available in the future.

Thanks to all of TDI Club
Without the members of TDI this thread would not exist. The only thingI have done here is assemble the collective information of others. Theyare the heros for putting the information out there for everyone. __________________
How to troubleshoot a car that won't start.
Troubleshooting low power and limp mode by Canadian Grizzly.

Posted on May 22, 2009


1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

A 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
The service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.
Good luck!

Posted on Jan 02, 2017


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

2 Answers

1996 VW Passat TDI Won't Start Dash Noise

sounds like fuse issues to me. refer to your manual or get a friend to check the fuses in veichle to make sure that there is no issue with any of them.

Aug 02, 2008 | 1996 Volkswagen Passat

1 Answer

Trouble starting. when hit the accelerator is seems to barley start and an EPC light appears. I shut car off , start it back up and light is off. No trouble codes

i have a 2002 passat TDI and won`t start, i have changed the fuel filter and nothing, all the light is on , no error , the problem is in the last few weeks i have used some **** diesel ``green diesel`` exactly,what i heard it is not recommanded,any suggestion pls?

Jul 30, 2012 | 2002 Volkswagen Passat

1 Answer

2004 Passat TDI won't start

using the key,lock car/hold key over for 30 secs,then press/hold unlock button for 30 secs,that resets the alarm/immobiliser.OR does the pre heater coil light up orange then go out so that you can start car,or are you trying to start the car too soon or waiting too long after the light goes out.also try spare key,sometimes key looses the pre heater is operated by opening the drivers door any delay...
have you tried wynns/redexe diesel treatment,could be dirty injectors.....
after trying all the above and you have no joy, come back to me, ta!

Apr 18, 2010 | 2004 Volkswagen Passat

1 Answer

2004 vw Passat TDI 130bhp not starting after >8hrs

simplest answer first,and this does not apply to a hot engine,The engine heaters work from a time switch on the door(would you believe)and the routine is, open door,climb in,put on belt,put key in ignition and turn on when orange light goes out.this allows the cold start heaters time to work(about 20 secs).sounds a pain but the number of times this has been all it is,when you put key in ignition, the fuel pump charges the system.hence the squirt noise,also the car has to reccognise the key(immobiliser system)also try using wynns/redexe to clean injectors...

Mar 11, 2010 | 2004 Volkswagen Passat

2 Answers

VW Passat TDI turns but won't start.

99 vw passat 1.9tdi was driving sound but just died just turns but wont fire up

Apr 18, 2009 | Volkswagen Passat Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

ABS & EPS lights came on -waiting at Trafic Lights engine cut out

you need to get the car plugged into diagnostic equipment,it could be anything if you live in kent i could it for you

Feb 06, 2009 | 2004 Volkswagen Passat

2 Answers

Golf mk5 tdi sometimes wont start.

You didn't say how you got round this problem when it happened - did you keep on trying or go away and come back later? I'm thinking you may have an immobiliser issue with the ignition key not being read correctly by the detector coil in the steering column. Did you use the same key on both occasions, and did you open the car remotely or manually?

Jun 28, 2008 | 2004 Volkswagen Golf

1 Answer

Vw passat 2001 1.9 tdi

electrical part on back of keyswitch gives same trouble on all volkswagens it is very cheap to purchase from main dealer any mechanic can fit it

Jun 26, 2008 | 2002 Volkswagen Passat

Not finding what you are looking for?
Cars & Trucks Logo

Related Topics:

75 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Volkswagen Experts

Colin Stickland
Colin Stickland

Level 3 Expert

22326 Answers


Level 3 Expert

78238 Answers

Jeffrey Turcotte
Jeffrey Turcotte

Level 3 Expert

8836 Answers

Are you a Volkswagen Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides