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2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
01-23-2014, 07:32 PM
Post: #1
2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
I have been having a recurring problem with my 2003 VW Jetta where when the temp drops below 20 degrees the car won't start. The car does not crank over it when this is going on. It is almost as if the starter is dead or the ignition switch is bad... I can hear the fuel pump kicking on when I turn it to the on position. Sometime after switching the ignition off and on many times it will relent and start, other times I need to wait until it gets warmer outside. The problem seems to be getting worse and not better as the frequency to which I can get it started is becoming less and less. Please help!

Does anyone have experience with an ECT sensor going bad? If so will the car crank over when its bad? Wondering if it will prevent the car from turning over at all?




Thought it might be the battery so I replaced that didn't work.
Thought it might be the neutral safety switch so shifted it through the auto trans to try and get it to start that didn't work.
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01-23-2014, 08:24 PM
Post: #2
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
With a helper, check for power at the SMALL terminal of the starter when the key is in the crank position. It should come and go as you work the key. If you have power and it still doesn't crank then replace the starter. IOW, the starter solenoid is bad or the starter itself has a dead spot. A replacement will come as an assembly so you will have both.
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01-23-2014, 09:56 PM
Post: #3
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
(01-23-2014 08:24 PM)Rupe Wrote:  With a helper, check for power at the SMALL terminal of the starter when the key is in the crank position. It should come and go as you work the key. If you have power and it still doesn't crank then replace the starter. IOW, the starter solenoid is bad or the starter itself has a dead spot. A replacement will come as an assembly so you will have both.

Thanks Rupe... I will check the starter as you suggested but I still don't understand why temperature seems to affect whether the starter works or not?

When cold the vehicle will not crank over as if starter has a dead spot as you suggested... BUT the same car will start right up 3 hours later when the temperature has come up without having to play with the starter at all and then will start up time after time all day long until left overnight in the cold...then the problem starts again!

The car did this at times (only in the winter)through the years....turn ignition forward in the cold and nothing, turn ignition off and on a few times and finally it starts(Crazy thinking but...I started to believe a Frankenstein like mechanic must have glow plugs in my car!!)....OK best to stop here!!!
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01-24-2014, 01:26 AM
Post: #4
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
You really didn't give us any details on the car. Is it a diesel? If it is it could very well have glow plugs and they might very well keep the starter from cranking until they are warmed up.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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01-24-2014, 11:06 AM
Post: #5
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
(01-24-2014 01:26 AM)Garner Wrote:  You really didn't give us any details on the car. Is it a diesel? If it is it could very well have glow plugs and they might very well keep the starter from cranking until they are warmed up.

Garner, The car is a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L Gasoline engine
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01-24-2014, 11:39 AM
Post: #6
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
OK, I would have to agree with Rupe then. Cold temperature shrinks different materials at different rates. If the solenoid contacts are near worn out, the cold could be enough to shrink them to where they won’t make contact. The same is true for the ignition switch. So I would follow the procedure that Rupe suggested. If there is power at the small terminal when the ignition is in the “Crank” position I would suspect the starter. If there isn’t power there I would suspect the ignition switch. But; as you mentioned, it could also be the Neutral Safety Switch. It will be a matter of tracing the wires until you find where the power goes missing.

Please keep us posted as to what you find.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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01-24-2014, 12:01 PM
Post: #7
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
Thanks Garner, I was unaware that cold could affect the contacts in the starter or ignition....Going to test the starter and ignition switch today and hopefully put an end to this for good!

Thanks
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01-26-2014, 12:01 PM
Post: #8
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
(01-23-2014 08:24 PM)Rupe Wrote:  With a helper, check for power at the SMALL terminal of the starter when the key is in the crank position. It should come and go as you work the key. If you have power and it still doesn't crank then replace the starter. IOW, the starter solenoid is bad or the starter itself has a dead spot. A replacement will come as an assembly so you will have both.
While the no crank/no start condition was happening I tested the small terminal of the starter this morning and there was no voltage. After turning the ignition switch back and forth it finally did start and at that point I saw voltage spike in the tester.

Does this mean there is a problem with the ignition switch as no voltage is getting to the starter solenoid?? Also can I get an ignition switch cheap to test this??
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01-26-2014, 12:13 PM (This post was last modified: 01-26-2014 12:38 PM by Rupe.)
Post: #9
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
You can do a similar test right at the back side of the ignition switch once you remove the top and bottom covers.

With a test light or meter, find the various wires.... hot all the time, hot in the accessory position (when the radio comes on), hot in the run positon, hot while cranking. The last is usually the smallest wire. Work the key and see if it's intermittent and that will pin down a bad switch. It may be possible to get the switch alone, which will be cheaper and you don't have to fool around with new keys. Just pull the plug and take out the small screws on the back side.
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01-26-2014, 02:45 PM
Post: #10
RE: 2.0L Jetta won't start when cold
(01-26-2014 12:13 PM)Rupe Wrote:  You can do a similar test right at the back side of the ignition switch once you remove the top and bottom covers.

With a test light or meter, find the various wires.... hot all the time, hot in the accessory position (when the radio comes on), hot in the run positon, hot while cranking. The last is usually the smallest wire. Work the key and see if it's intermittent and that will pin down a bad switch. It may be possible to get the switch alone, which will be cheaper and you don't have to fool around with new keys. Just pull the plug and take out the small screws on the back side.

Thanks! I will give this a try and let you know what I find.
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