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Volkswagen Fox: 1987-1993 1993 VW Fox - Won't start


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Last Post: May 9, 2015 11:31 AM Last Post By: TomB
albacoffie

Posts: 5
Registered: 05/01/15
1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 6:15 PM
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I have a 1993 VW Fox. I had the starter replaced in February of this year. I drove her 12 hours to Oklahoma and back last week. I went to work Monday night and when I got off Tuesday morning she wouldn't start. Tried jumping it with a jump pack, but nothing. So, I walked home. My brother came into town and was able to jump it from his van after turning everything (radio, ac, lights...) off, unpluging the radiator fan (I found out later when driving it home and it started overheating...he forgot to plug it back in!!) and hitting the starter. Drove to the store and it started fine upon leaving. However, when I went to go to work that night it wouldn't start again. I'm sure I could pop the clutch (I live on a hill, so that's not a problem), but there are no hills I can park on near work.
My brother came and looked at it yesterday and decided there must be a short somewhere. When you try to start her, the fuel pump kicks on and the dash lights come on, but nothing else happens. Brother got frustrated and called it quits.
Had a friend come look at it today and he's decided that the red wire that connects to the starter isn't getting any power.
Any ideas?
Thanks in advance!! :)
FKH161

Posts: 7,661
Registered: 12/29/05
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 8:24 PM   in response to: albacoffie in response to: albacoffie
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Ignition switch is a common issue... while you are holding the key in the "crank" position, lever the key up, down, left & right. Sometimes that can get a bad ignition switch to make contact again.
albacoffie

Posts: 5
Registered: 05/01/15
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 9:26 PM   in response to: FKH161 in response to: FKH161
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Just tried it. Nothing. :/
FKH161

Posts: 7,661
Registered: 12/29/05
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 9:41 PM   in response to: albacoffie in response to: albacoffie
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Remove the trim around the ignition switch... check for power into and out of the ignition switch. Bridge the thick red wires to trigger the starter.
FKH161

Posts: 7,661
Registered: 12/29/05
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 9:46 PM   in response to: FKH161 in response to: FKH161
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Does the vehicle have a seat belt lockout relay? Some won't crank unless the seat belt is latched.
albacoffie

Posts: 5
Registered: 05/01/15
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 10:26 PM   in response to: FKH161 in response to: FKH161
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yup. Made sure that the belt was latched. One of the first things I checked. :/
albacoffie

Posts: 5
Registered: 05/01/15
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 1, 2015 10:27 PM   in response to: FKH161 in response to: FKH161
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I'll try this in the am. I have to get ready for work.
albacoffie

Posts: 5
Registered: 05/01/15
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 8, 2015 1:18 AM   in response to: albacoffie in response to: albacoffie
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Today 12:13 AM Edit / Delete #7


Ok. Well we finally figured out that it was the starter. Went out to the farm and pulled the starter from my brother's old Fox and put it it. It's been driving great since then. However, when I went to go to work tonight it was doing the same thing again!!! AGH!!!! I'm pretty sure something is causing a short which is frying the starter. How do I figure out where the short is?

FKH161

Posts: 7,661
Registered: 12/29/05
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 8, 2015 10:09 AM   in response to: albacoffie in response to: albacoffie
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You can't really short-out the starter... what can burn them out is if the solenoid sticks, causing the starter to run even once the engine is running.

The solenoid windings are grounded, so then the ignition switch sends power to the solenoid, the starter is activated... if there were a "short" then the voltage from the ignition switch would go straight to ground which would blow a fuse or melt the wiring from the solenoid to the ignition switch.

You need to check how much power is actually getting to the solenoid when the key is turned. It's also a good idea to test between the solenoid & the battery + post when cranking / when the key is turned. This will show / indicate if there is a voltage drop (bad connection). The same needs to be done on the big starter wire to the battery + post.

Any voltage drop over 0.5Vdc can affect the starter operation... to check the ground side, attach your meter to the starter body and the other lead to battery negative post (again, each time you test, the ignition switch needs to be activated (even if it does not turn).

If nothing happens when you turn the key, use a jumper wire, get under the car (MAKE SURE THAT THE CAR IS IN NEUTRAL) and jump power from the big battery cable on the solenoid to the little wire (ignition switch) connector. If the starter works every time using a jumper wire, then the problem is with the feed to the solenoid (Ignition switch, bad connection somewhere etc.)
TomB

Posts: 1,416
Registered: 08/06/02
Re: 1993 VW Fox - Won't start
Posted: May 9, 2015 11:31 AM   in response to: albacoffie in response to: albacoffie
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Whenever I hear of intermittent no-crank issues on VWs, I suspect the ignition switch, as it tends to arc internally, burn contacts, and only work sometimes. This is the electrical portion that fits on the back of the ignition lock, and is widely available under $25. Might be worth a try.

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