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Volkswagen Rabbit, Jetta, Scirocco, Convertible: 1975-1984 (A1) 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately


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Last Post: Jan 30, 2014 9:05 PM Last Post By: tcovenant2000
bunnylebowski

Posts: 11
Registered: 06/21/13
83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Jun 21, 2013 2:57 AM
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5 spd tranny, 1.8l..she'll turn over , but then dies right away. there is gas in the tank (& it's good) , starter works, obviously. battery fully charged. also, the morning it started not running, when I was letting it warm up, my voltmeter went way up past 16v, engine idled down, & the timing belt started squeeling like crazy. it stopped after a bit & I started driving. a few miles into my drive it did the power serge thing & started squealing when I I shifted gears & let out the clutch...not sure what is going on. any help would be rad! thanks.
Giff

Posts: 4
Registered: 06/04/13
Re: 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Jun 21, 2013 11:44 AM   in response to: bunnylebowski in response to: bunnylebowski
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Hello
Make sure that it indeed is the timing belt squealing
And not the v belt turning the alternator
It sounds like the alternator could need a rebuild or replaced
Start there and see what you find
Good luck
bunnylebowski

Posts: 11
Registered: 06/21/13
Re: 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Aug 12, 2013 5:57 PM   in response to: bunnylebowski in response to: bunnylebowski
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ok, so I put in a new alternator, but now I cant even get it to turn over! she cranks, but won't turn over. could my timing be off? I don't know. battery is good & charged, & there is gas in the tank. I know it has to be something fairly simple, but I just can't figure out what!!! thanks
tcovenant2000

Posts: 1,775
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Aug 12, 2013 10:35 PM   in response to: bunnylebowski in response to: bunnylebowski
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Crank but no start:

1. Check for spark. Make sure you have consistent, blue spark.
2. Check for fuel. Try squirting some starting fluid into the intake manifold.
3. Compression isn't likely to be lost suddenly...but don't hurt to check.
4. Static timing. If the timing belt hopped a tooth that could do it. Cabby-info.com or Bentley or Haynes have info on checking static timing. Line up the crank using the view-hole in the trans housing. Next pull upper timing cover and check the dimple on the cam. Next pull the cap and verify that the rotor is pointing just CW of the hash mark on the distributor. If these three aren't lined up, you'll be looking at a new belt and tensioner.

Thomas
bunnylebowski

Posts: 11
Registered: 06/21/13
Re: 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Jan 30, 2014 3:45 PM   in response to: bunnylebowski in response to: bunnylebowski
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ok...so, crank, cam & rotor are all lined up & pointing where they should be. I checked all rubber & hose for any rips or tears & I'm good there. injectors are spraying good, cold start isn't leaking. it'll start up & run for around 3 seconds but it revs way up in those three seconds & then she just dies.
bunnylebowski

Posts: 11
Registered: 06/21/13
Re: 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Jan 30, 2014 3:46 PM   in response to: bunnylebowski in response to: bunnylebowski
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ps...I also have good spark, & both belts look to be in good condition. no missing teeth or cracks or anything.

Edited by: bunnylebowski on Jan 30, 2014 3:46 PM
tcovenant2000

Posts: 1,775
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: 83 rabbit gti starts but dies immediately
Posted: Jan 30, 2014 9:05 PM   in response to: bunnylebowski in response to: bunnylebowski
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Sounds very much like you've got fuel issues. I say that because it does start and run for about 3 seconds which, in moderately cold weather, is about how long the cold start valve stays open when cranking. It's operated from the thermo-time switch and has no other input. It's completely stupid. If the engine is hot the valve doesn't operate (actually, it might, depending on which version you have in your GTI, as they do have a "hot start relay in later models that will pulse the cold start valve to help with hot starting).
But as soon as the cold start valve stops operating and the fuel is used up, it dies again. Sounds like maybe the control rod in the disty is bad, or you've got another problem that is causing a loss of fuel pressure after a few seconds. How old is the fuel filter? If it's crusty in side and only dribbling fuel, the pre-start pressurization of the system, caused by the fuel pump relay, could be giving you enough pressure to start, but then the filter is starving you.
It's fine to say that the injectors are spraying, but you need more than just that. You need to know that they are providing enough fuel to actually run the engine.
Another easy check to make is to put a vacuum gauge on the intake manifold and see if you're getting 18-21" of mercury when the car is idling for the three seconds.
I would be checking cold and warm control pressures as well as system pressure on the fuel disty.

Thomas

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