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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    237
    Car
    1989 VW Cabriolet

    Default 89 Cabriolet starting issue

    OK, I'll preface this with the fact that I've done little to no troubleshooting on this. Just started tonight.

    I haven't driven the car for a bit, but was going to use it tomorrow to drive some friends away after their wedding. Got in it, new battery fully charged and turn the key and nothing happens. No starter click, doesn't turn over. Just nothing. If you hold the key for a few seconds a relay under the dash starts clicking and something under the hood starts clicking slowly. Maybe every second or so. I can't isolate where it's coming from, somewhere near the rain tray I suspect. Just a shot in the dark here if someone knows what this is and maybe I can get it going for tomorrow.

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nowthen
    Posts
    1,333
    Car
    '88 GTI, '12 Silverado

    Default

    Pound the piss out of the starter solenoid with a hammer and a 1/2" extension while someone turns the key to start. My money is on that starter being locked up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    237
    Car
    1989 VW Cabriolet

    Default

    No dice. I'll have to get the voltmeter out and make sure the starter is getting power. Thanks for the suggestion anyways!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    rosemount
    Posts
    1,922
    Car
    b6 a4/g-whips/red truck

    Default

    can you jump the starter with a screwdriver to get it to spin?

    I had the fuseable link die to the starter on my mk2 once that would work occasionally if you wiggle the power cable. unwrapped tape and s, to find it mostly separated.
    Team B0N4R

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nowthen
    Posts
    1,333
    Car
    '88 GTI, '12 Silverado

    Default

    +1 for fuseable links. Is it a Digi car? I was running through computers on my Digi II car, it would just stop starting one day and I replaced the ECU and it would run for a month or so and take it out again. Found 2 or 3 fuseable links just rotted away up by the battery. Replaced those and it never ate another ECU and multiple things that didn't work before started working! Was pretty bummed I didn't start with the basics and wasted a lot of time and money. Like Michael Scott said, K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Stupid.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    237
    Car
    1989 VW Cabriolet

    Default

    I looked at jumping the starter, but that's a thing I have never actually done and I don't really know what to do and didn't bother looking it up.

    Nope, not a Digi car. i have been pretty lucky with it. Never really had any issues with in the years that I have had it, so I haven't dug into anything on it.

    I have never even heard of a fusible link... *opens a new tab*

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nowthen
    Posts
    1,333
    Car
    '88 GTI, '12 Silverado

    Default

    Jumping the starter is as simple as taking a screwdriver and touching it on the main power (big 4ga cable from battery) to the solenoid signal wire (spade connector, single 16ga wire) and see if it spins.

    Fuseable links are basically sections of wire made with a special casing that is supposed to brake the circuit open if overloaded/hot/just plain ol-shitty. They work like fuses but are usually rated for higher current, and are grouped by size rather than amp rating. They work great but the biggest downside is being subjected to corrosion easily. These CAN be replaced with regular fused in-line breakers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    237
    Car
    1989 VW Cabriolet

    Default

    That's what I figured, just wasn't sure. I know exactly what you're talking about so I'll give that a try to. I had to replace the starter when I bought it, but that was like 7-8 years ago.

    Is there some kind of diagram for where these are located?

    I've been doing electrical work for almost twenty years, so contrary to how this thread looks, I do have some idea what I'm talking about. Just never had to dig into an old VW before.

    Thanks for the help!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nowthen
    Posts
    1,333
    Car
    '88 GTI, '12 Silverado

    Default

    Electrical diagrams only show size ratings and where they "should" be. Start pulling the loom and tape off your wires starting from the battery positive and trace it back. You should find them within 13" of the battery or so.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    237
    Car
    1989 VW Cabriolet

    Default

    OK, getting power to the solenoid wire. Hit it with hammer while cranking and no change. Pulled the starter off and tried it and it won't spin. Starter is the problem, thanks for the help everyone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Nowthen
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    1,333
    Car
    '88 GTI, '12 Silverado

    Default

    Glad to hear you found the problem.

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