Question about 1999 Volkswagen Jetta

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1999 Mk III Jetta, will not start. Will not turn. I drove everyday for months, then parked as always, and would not start in the morning. Had the battery tested and it is good, bypassed the clutch switch, ''jumped'' the starter solenoid with no results (and not a single spark), checked battery and starter cables. Dome/interior lights do not dim when trying to start (I was told they would if the starter was bad), and radio/windows/lights all work. The only noise is a single click from the relays above the fuses under dash when I try to start, but cannot determine if there is a starter relay for a 2.0L ABA Jetta. Is there a starter relay? If not, what is wrong with this thing?

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  • spadpin Jul 31, 2010

    99 Mk III jetta starter solenoid: should the solenoid step the voltage down from 12.5v to less than .5v? The voltage coming out (going into start motor) is only .5v. The starter won't turn (or make a sound), battery has been tested at a shop and is not the problem (additionally: battery is 7 months old and I cannot jumpstart the engine either). I've also bypassed the clutch switch. Grounds are good, connections/cables too. I'm leaning towards a starter, but want to make sure before I drop $100 on something I cannot return. Any ideas on how to verify?

  • spadpin Aug 01, 2010

    I have a week to wait for parts, but I think we have this one figured out. Thanks for the help.

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It sounds like the starter is locked up in the fly wheel. Try hitting the starter with a hammer to see if it will disengage. You'll need to give it a fairly sharp hit but you shouldn't need to beat on it. If it's locked up once it disengages you should be able to start your car. Unfortunately if this is the case you will most likely have to replace the starter sooner rather than later. You may also find that the ring gear (gear around the flywheel) is worn or damaged and may also need to be repaired or replaced.

Posted on Jul 31, 2010

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First, How old is the battery and how was it tested? Your vehicle does not have a starter relay, the click you hear is a relay on another circuit, besides if a relay clicks, they are most likely good. Have you tried jump starting the battery with another car? if so, what was the results. I realize you say the battery is good, but I still suspect this is the cause.
You may have enough voltage and ampheres to power lights, and other components, but at the same time, you may not have enough amps to engage the starter. The starter needs full battery ampheres to function. I have had customers with tested batteries as good, only to find out the battery had a shorted internal cell causing the no start issue. Please let me know and we can continue with this issue,thanks.

Posted on Jul 30, 2010

  • spadpin Jul 31, 2010

    As far as checking the battery, I first tried to jump it using a battery charger, then another car with no change. I took my Fluke to it and found battery voltage was over 12 volts (which only indicated that it was fully charged, but could potentially lack the amperage to turn the starter). So I removed the batter and took it to [national automotive chain] and they tested the battery: it is good. The manufacture date of the battery is 12/09. I wish it was the battery at this point, but I'm afraid it has been ruled out.

    The clutch switch is a vacuum switch with a piston. Depressing the clutch "opens" the switch and allows suction while "closes" when you let go of the clutch. To bypass the switch I just disconnected the vacuum hose from the switch.

    The starter and solenoid are a single assembly. Cable from batter connects to one post, and a second post with wire going from solenoid to starter motor. With the ignition in "On" position, I jumped the two posts, bypassing the solenoid. Nothing. No sparks, no noise. It almost sounds like there would be a bad ground or something right there, but I cannot find anything that looks wrong. Would the ground be the starter motor case?




  • spadpin Jul 31, 2010

    So by mentioning the ground on the starter, I ran outside to check it. I have continuity between the second post (between solenoid and starter motor) and the engine block. This thing has baffled me. By bypassing the solenoid, I'm going straight from the battery to the starter motor. In doing so, shouldn't I be bypassing anything else that could be wrong? The [national automotive chain] I visited said that the starter assembly on a Mk III Jetta can only be tested on the car, and they don't have the equipment to do so; otherwise I would take the starter off and have them test it. I can buy a starter for $100, but I can't return it if it's not the problem.

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