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My 1989 vw golf digifant 2 starts and runs very rough. If I…

Customer Question
My 1989 vw golf...

My 1989 vw golf digifant 2 starts and runs very rough. If I press on the gas or manually open the throttle the car instantly cuts and dies.

Mechanic's Assistant: Has the vehicle turned into a gas hog? And how does it start -- same as usual?

Rough start and rough idle. Undrivable due to it cutting out when gas is pressed

Mechanic's Assistant: What is the model of your '89 VW?

Golf gl

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your GL yourself? What have you tried so far?

Yes, I’ve replaced entire distributor, wires, spark plugs, fuel filter, idle control valve, and air filter.

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

I also bought a new ecu and installed it today, but no change at all

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: VW
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Answered in 42 minutes by:
1/4/2018
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 6 months ago
Pete
Pete, Mechanic
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 139
Experience: Ase Master Tech
Verified

Can you check the fuel pressure? It should be 30 to 35 psi. These cars had problems with the fuel pump relays. The relays would develop cracks on the solder joints. They would start and stall. Also check the rubber hose from the intake to air flow meter, they develop cracks that allow air leaks. This gives the ecm a false air flow reading.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
The hose that goes from maf to throttle body?
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 6 months ago

Yes thats the hose Im talking about. Does your car have a maf or an air flow meter with the metal flap inside?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I believe it’s an air flow meter
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 6 months ago

That sounds right. So the first thing is to check the fuel pressure. You have already replaced a lot of parts and I wouldnt want you to replace anything else until the fuel pressure is checked.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Will i still be able to test the pressure with my car barely running? It’ll start but bog out and often dies within the first minute or less after i get it to start
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 6 months ago

Yes, when you install the gauge, once the fuel pump comes on the gauge will show pressure.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
The fuel pressure is at about 35
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
What now?
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 6 months ago

Ok now you know you have enough fuel pressure. The next step is to see if the vane in the air flow meter is moving when the throttle is opened. You will have to lift the air filter housing where the meter is mounted and reach in to see if the vane moves when the throttle is opened with the engine running. The purpose of the vane moving with air flow is to tell the ecu to open the fuel injectors longer to allow more fuel into the engine. One thing i didn't ask is when did the car start giving trouble did it happen all of a sudden or has it been sitting up for a while.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
If the throttle is opened even the slightest the car dies. It was running fine when i bought it but after about 2 weeks of having it I tried to start it when i was out and it instantly died. A few attempts got me home, but after that it won’t go anywhere because it’ll just die on its own or if any attempt to drive is made it also dies
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

When the car dies out, does the fuel pressure drop or stay at 35psi? Do you have a propane torch? You can add a small amount of propane into the engine at the air cleaner. If the car stays running I know it is a fuel related problem and then you can go on to the next step.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The fuel pressure stays the same when the car dies. Where do i put propane In? What will that do?
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Ok if it is holding fuel pressure when it dies, the pump is doing its job. By using propane you are using it to run the engine instead of gas. Disconnect the rubber hose at the throttle body and let the propane flow into the throttle opening as you are cranking. Get someone to help you. As the propane flows and the engine runs, see will it rev up. If so the injectors are not opening or there is blockage at the injectors. If it dosn"t make a difference, take the plugs out and see if they are gas fouled. When you replaced the fuel filter was the gas that came out very dirty? Some guys use starting fluid instead of propane but it is to much of a fire risk.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Letting the propane flow in seemingly did nothing. Was I supposed to make a seal around propane to throttle body? Wouldnt rev up and was just as rough running. Literally if the throttle is barely even opened the car cuts. I had replaced spark plugs so they were brand new but after just checking they’re a bit brown. The gas that came out looked normal.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The gas that came out of the old filter
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Ok that eleminates one more thing. Now I am going to dig up some old spec sheets, at work, and contact you later.

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VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

One thing to try, is to disconnect the air flow meter and see if the car will run. There are ground wires for the ecm on the cyl head. I will find the location so you can check them to make sure that they are corrosion free and tight.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The airflow meter being disconected causes it to die right after it starts instead of it bogging out it will just straight die with the afm unplugged. Did find those locations?
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Here"s what I found. There are grounds at the firewall side of the head near the intake and there might be a ground at the trans bellhousing near the distributor. Next thing to check is the fuse box for water damage. The windshield leaks at the left corner right above the fuse box. Then the #9 relay is called the power supply relay, these go bad and the fuel pump will prime but the contacts in the relay pit and corrode so you won"t have enough current to run the car. The fuel pump relay is # 7 it can also pit and corrode. The best bet is to replace them both,as they might be original. Try this and get back to me.

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VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Ok if this is your set up the fuel pump relay is #2 and the load reduction relay is the same as the power supply relay #8. I"m going to do some more digging at work. I"ll see what I can find.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I have a Bentley manual for my car.
I checked the relays and they were both fine and i can’t seem to see any problems with water damage. Haven’t looked at those grounds on my engine yet but i will and then I’ll get back to you
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Is the fuse box picture that you sent me, the same that iis in your car?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Golf*
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Ok so in this fuse box #1 is the digafant relay. Can you ck to see if the digafant unit is getting 12 volts when the engine is running.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I couldn’t seem to see those grounds you were talking about. Will the car run with the ecm unplugged or is there some other way to test to volts going to it other than the plug terminals?
VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

The car won"t run with the ecm unpluged, you can ck power and ground at the wires in the connector. Just turn on the ignition and use the wiring diagram.I will try to locate the exact position of the ecm grounds.

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VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

Yes, this is a good way of testing all of the circuits going to the ecm.

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VW Mechanic: Pete, Mechanic replied 5 months ago

After reading everything you have done so far, did you ever check the cam timing to see if the timing belt might hve jumped a few teeth?

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