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David, VW Master Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 2366
Experience:  VW Master Technician Certified for 9 years, ASE Master Technician Certified
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I have a 97 Jetta Gl 2.0 gas with a starting/running problem.

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I have a 97 Jetta Gl 2.0 gas with a starting/running problem. I have replaced the coil, dist cap and rotor and plug wires - about 20 second after starting, it sputters and chokes itself off. The accelerator has no effect to keep it running. I have read several on-line forums and this seems to be one of those vw demons that is hard to diagnose. I have had it to my local shop and was told that there is nothing unusual about the codes but that the mark3 engine has many sensor/electrical trips that could be causing the problem. The obvious next step sounds like ot might be the fuel delivery system, but am trying to avoid throwing hundreds of dollars at the car just to find out that may nit be the problem.
I am most interested in your professional opinion about what the possible causes for the bad running immediately after starting might be and if these might be something I could diagnose at home without scanner or gauges. Vacuum, Injector, Choke pull-off?? Please help.
Without a presure guage and a scanner you will only be guessing as to what the problem is. More than likely I think you have a fuel pump going bad. Your fuel presure can fluctuate and cause running issues. Again without being able to test fuel presure you are only guessing. It is also possible to have a faulty MAF which will cause a poor running condition until the O2 sensors go active at which time they will adjust fuel trim.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

thank you for your quick peply. Can you please tell me what the MAF is in a little more detail, and if it could be replaced or bypassed/ jumped before replacing the fuel pump.

And if it is not too much to ask, what an appropriate fuel flow rate would be if I can access a fuel pressure gauge and what the accompanying codes might be. Final question; if not the fuel pump, what other possible causes in this type of engine??

Thanks again, Rod

Mass Air Flow meter attached to the Air Box, has a five wire conector attached. below is a picture of a newer one yours is very simular. Fuel flow rate is not what we look at, what we need to know is fuel presure. Should be around 45 to 50 PSI. I will get you exact spects as soon as VWs web site comes back online from maintance.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you David - will look forward to the specs when available. Two final questions, I promise; Is the in-tank fuel pump something a do-it-yourselfer like me should attempt, and given your years of experience, is a car of this age worth putting $500-$1000 into??

I have no emotional attachment to the car but other than this starting running problem it is pretty sound and has new struts and tires.

The fuel pump is fairly easy to replace as VW has an access cover that allows you to remove the pump without removing the tank. On the A3 it is located under the mat behind the rear seat. Lower the rear seat and lift the flow mat you will see a large round cover with three screws. You remove this to access the fuel pump sending unit assembly. I will get back with fuel presure spects as soon as I can
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Great - thank you so much - I will wait for the specs on this open discussion then gladly accept your answers and approve payment and make a stellar recommendation for your insights. I may try to contact you again once I have had a chance to dig in but that's another day.

Thanks again!

OK minimu fuel presure should be 44 psi.


Thank you and let me know if you need any further assistance.

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