I have a 1984 rabbit GTI and for the past year or so I have replaced the alternator, battery, and starter. For some reson the thing just can't keep a charge. If i jump it I can drive, but once I turn it off that's the end--it wont turn over again without jumping it. I've checked all the connections and everything seems fine. I'm out of ideas. Anyone have any suggestions?
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YOU HAVE TO REMOVE AIR INTAKE DUCT AND RESONATOR TO GET TO THE STARTER TOP BOLTS AND SAFELY RAISE SUPPORT VECHICLE ON JACK STANDS.MAKE SURE VECHICLE ON A LEVEL SOLID GROUND.REMOVE ENGINE LOWER SPLASH SHIELD.AND REMOVE THE STARTER.I STARTER NOT WORKING.CHECK BATTERY VOLTAGE FIRST.SHOULD BE 12.6 VOLTS.IF NOT HAVE BATTERY TESTED.AT ANY AUTO PARTS STORES.IF BATTERY WAS WEAK.HAD TO REPLACED.START THE ENGINE.WITH NEW BATTERY CHECK TO MAKE SURE ALTERNATOR CHARGING BATTERY.VOLTS AT THE BATTERY WITH ENGINE RUNNING SHOULD BE 13.5 TO 14.5 VOLTS.IF NOT ALTERNATOR FAULTY.IF BATTERY AND ALTERNATOR GOOD REMOVE.TAKE STARTER TO AUTO PARTS STORE HAVE THEM CHECK OUT ALTERNATOR.IF ALTERNATOR GOOD.REPLACE BOTH BATTERY CABLES AND CHECK THE STARTER FUSE AND RELAY AND CHECK THE 40 AMP IGNITION SWITCH BATTERY FUSE IN THE FUSE AND RELAY BOX UNDER HOOD IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT.LOOK AT FUSE COVER IT WILL GIVE YOU FUSES AND RELAYS LOCATION. WARNING BEFORE REMOVING NEGATIVE BATTERY CABLE. TURN OFF RADIO TO KEEP FROM LOCKING IT OUT.
You need to pull the starter out and check the drive gear. If the drive gear is no good you will have to replace the starter. Make sure the cogs on the fly wheel are okay. If the fly wheel is damaged you will have to replace the fly wheel.
I've had the exact same problem, it is most likely the starter. Just to be sure I'll tell you what mine did (same model and year) started to act like the battery was going bad, then sometimes would start just fine. But progressively got worse, turning over slower than before until finally it would just click. After pulling the starter I found that the bushing on the armature was missing, this was a 9 month old starter. Replaced with another new and it works just fine.