Question about Volkswagen Passat

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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.

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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.
HERE WE GO

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.
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=199398

Posted on May 22, 2009

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