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I. Silva
I. Silva, VW Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 1602
Experience:  auto mechanic
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Volkswagen Cabrio: I have a 1999 VW Cabrio that is burning

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I have a 1999 VW Cabrio that is burning out starters. Replaced the starter 4 times in last 5 months, the last two starters worked for just one day. Started the car 6 times and then nothing the next morning. This happened the last two starters(lasting just one day). I used Bosch starters three times and a different brand this last time. Replaced the starter bushing and the battery is new.

Hello.....welcome and thank you for using Justanswer.

This is not common .

There are a few things that you can check..

1- make sure the battery terminals are clean and tight and ground cable to the engine/transmission and you are getting a good cranking speed.

2- Check if there is power at the small wire/terminal after starting the engine.

3-make sure the teeth at the fly wheel are not chew up.

Let me know.

Also stay with Bosh starters.

Please rate my answer ONLY if I have helped ,ask for additional info if needed.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

where is the ground cable for the engine/transmission located. the teeth on the flywheel looked normal when I changed the starter last time. as far as the smell wire...are you referring to the solenoid? After each new starter, it seems to crank at a normal speed and starts the car fine.


Yes, the small wire from ignition to the solenoid ,if there is power there after engine starts ,this will keep the starter engage.

The ground cable is the black cable from battery to the transmission bolt or top starter bolt ,you can just fallow it from the battery terminal.(if you have a normal cranking speed the cable should be good)

Let me know about the ignition wire.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

there is no power at the small wire as it sits ( I cant start the car since the starter has failed again ). the ground cable appears normal. The body of the starter shows signs of high heat ( the lable stickers on the motor body has come loose and shrunk... this stater has only been in the car for one day before failure ) If the solenoid still had power after starting the car, wouldn't we hear some noise as the engine ran and the stater remained engaged?

Yes, it would make a grinding noise but not that loud.

OK , so the car does not start now,right ?

Have someone helping you holding the ignition key on starting position ,check if there is power at the same small wire going to the starter.

If you have a voltmeter check the voltage at that terminal.

Also ,run a wire from positive side of battery to the starter small plug to see if starter engages all the time.

Let me know.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK.. it will be awhile before I have someone available to turn the key while I check and measure the voltage at the solenoid wire while in the start position. I can run a wire to the starter solenoid to see if it engages while voltage is present. Let me ask you this... what would keep voltage at the solenoid once the key is released from the start position? I realize that if the switch didnt return to the on position, and remained in the start position due to a return spring failure or bad switch. The ignition switch was replaced 2 1/2 years ago for intermittent starting issue, it was showing years of wear and wasn't always making contact while in the start position.

That is what I think is wrong with your vehicle ,the ignition switch.

If the starter engages all the time with a wire right from positive side of the battery ,the problem is going to be the ignition switch.

Let me know what get when using the jumper wire.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No need to run a hot wire... I believe the switch is hanging up. I was at the switch and noticed that once the key is released, it doesn't always return to the on position... hence providing voltage to the solenoid after starting. Once I discovered this issue, I came in and read your reply. So I also feel thats where the issue is. I guess the only redeeming aspect of this is that I found it about three minutes before you did...Tongue Out All good though. While you are here reading... Instead if replacing the switch, couldn't I just provide a 12 volt push button for the solenoid once the key is placed in the run position? I think the kids might get a kick out of a push button start cabrio. What do you think?

Yes ,you can do that replace that switch you need a special puller for the sleeve under the steering wheel ,also have to remove the steering wheel and pull the cylinder lock out as a unit to then replace the is a pain in (.a...)if you don't have that puller.

If you find it out first....maybe....there is no way 2 bosh starters fail ...

Good luck.

Please rate my answer if you think I have help in any way and for my time.

Thank you very much.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I know about the a$$ pain changing out the switch, I did it about 2 1/2 years ago. I wound up using a cutting wheel to get the sleeve off. Thanks for the directions.

What ever it takes got it done ,right ?

So ,listen am I getting a positive rate on this one or you don't believe that I helped you out ?


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