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VWDoc, Independent VW Shop owner
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1998 VW JETTA: RUNNING FINE..TUNE UP..CAR WASH NOW IT WONT EVEN TRY

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I HAVE A 1998 VW JETTA THE CAR WILL NOT START IT WAS RUNNING FINE I JUST HAD A TUNE UP THE CAR WAS HAVING PROBLEMS STARTING WHEN IT WAS DAMP OUT SIDE OR RAINING OR IF I WENT THOUGH A CAR WASH NOW IT WONT EVEN TRY TO START I BELEIVE THE STARTER IS NO GOOD BUT I DONT WANT TO REPLACE THE STARTER IN FIND OUT ITS NOT THE STARTER THERE HAS TO BE A HISTORY OF WHY THIS CAR HAS PROBLEMS STARTING WHEN IT IS RAINING OR DAMP OUTSIDE

You've got yourself a textbook case of a cracked/faulty coil. Very very common on the 93-99 2.0 Jetta/Golfs. The body of the coil develops cracks, which allows spark to excape to ground, rather than to the distributor. The coil is bolted to the firewall with 2 torx screws, and 10mm nuts on the back side. Whatever you do, do not purchase an off-brand aftermarket coil. I know they're a lot cheaper than the original equipment, but failure rates on the aftermarket versions are very high in my experience. So, the factory part number is XXXXX 905 104, and retails for $138 at the dealer.

 

This one works well: http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/6N0_905_104/ES975/

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

i should still get something from the starter like the car trying to start now when i turn the key i here nothing before it would sound like it was trying to start now i get nothing

Well, your original question was related to starting problems when wet, which indicates a cracked coil. However, what you're saying is that the engine is not spinning over when you turn the key to the start position? Are you sure your battery is completely charged, and has at least 500-600 cranking amps available? You'll need an amp-clamp for this, but if the battery is in good working order, how many amps is the starter drawing when you try to crank the engine? If more than 250 amps, then it's possible you have a bad starter. Still, we need to start with the basics, and make sure the battery has enough capacity to start the car.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
IT IS A BRAND NEW BATTERY

I hope you understand that I can only answer a question to the best of my ability when I have all of the pertinent information beforehand. I didn't see you mention the new battery previously.

 

So let me try to get some clarification. Please answer the following questions:

  • when you turn the key to the start position, what happens? No click, no engine turnover?
  • Are you sure all of your starting attempts have not weakened your new battery to the point where it needs to be charged again?
  • Do you have a multimeter or test light available so that we can go through a few troubleshooting steps?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

nothing happens as if i did not turn the key at all, i have given the car a jump and still nothing happens. About 1 1/2 years ago i had the problem with the dampness in rain my mech. replaced the coil the car was running fine for about a year then when it started raining and getting damp outside the car would start but it would not turn over right away i had to turn the key about 3 to 4 times than it would start some times i would have to wait a day or to when it was dry to start again but i would always hear the starter click the last time it rained i drove the car to work when i came out to start the car it tried to start i heard the starter trying to start but after three or four times trying to turn it over the starter did nothing so i waited for a nice dry sunny day to see if it would start it does nothing as if i am not turning the key at all i think maybe the coil that was replaced was one of the ones you were talking about after market coils thats why the problem came back but i think the starter /starter relay/ or something else this time

Excellent information. There are two possibilities here. Yes, there is a slight possiblity that it's the starter itself. Easy enough to test if there are two people available, using a test light. There is a small, single-wire connection to the starter. This can be checked with a test light while another person turns the key. If the light doesn't light up, then we know it's not the fault of the starter. This brings us to our next, and most likely culprit. The electrical part of the ignition switch. It's plastic and has a tendency to slowly fail over time. This can be tested in the car, much the same way we test the starter signal. If it's the switch itself, it's about a 2.5 hour replacement and the switch itself is $52
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
do you think i should replace the coil as well because the problem with the rain and dampness again
Well, if the coil that was replaced was not an OEM (dealer) coil or a Beru-branded coil, then yes. I stopped using anything other than those two years ago. I was seeing very close to a 50% failure rate on the Karlyn and other aftermarket coils.
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