My 1999 VW beetle has recently given me intermittent, unpredictable trouble when starting. The shop looked at it after I had it towed, and the first time they tried to start it, they had to turn the key and let the starter spin for quite a while, now each time they start it, it starts right up. They put it on the computer and nothing shows up; they are baffled. I had the battery checked out, and it's fully charged. Any suggestions?
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Even though all your other electrical bits are working it could be that your battery doesn't have enough juice to crank the engine. It doesn't take much power to run the radio, lights, etc, but cranking the engine requires the battery to have a very strong charge. If your battery is more than 5 years old, that's very likely the issue. I'd start there. Also, be sure to check the battery terminals and ground for corrosion and clean if necessary. If replacing the battery doesn't solve the problem it could be the starter solenoid or a loose electrical connection somewhere.
If the engine does not reach 300 rpm while cranking..engine will not start.
It needs good battery power to crank these with spare power to run the electronics.
If with good battery if fires and immediately stops, and the little 'yellow car' is illuminated in the cluster.... the immobiliser is active and you need a shop to fix it.
BTW..Stop with the Easy Start fluid already. You'll break a piston ring or worse...such as....the Glow Plugs will cause a back fire and you will likely strip the timing belt...major repairs...like $3500 and up.
It's possible that the wire that connects the starter to the battery has corrosion/battery acid on it and is creating a lot of resistance in the wire. Sometimes you'll have a good connection, sometimes you'll have a bad connection thus creating an intermittent problem. You should check the wire that hooks into the starter, disconnect it, clean it with a small, wire bristle brush, and maybe spray some of that red, battery terminal spray on it, then hook it back up. Make sure you disconnect the battery first. It's pretty hard to get down in there but you can save yourself a ton of money if you do it yourself. You may be able to reach it better from underneath if you drive the car up on some ramps.