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    Thread: '84 Gti stalling randomly

    1. 10-30-2009 04:52 PM #1
      Yesterday my GTI started randomly stalling when I was driving at a sustained speed (35mph). It would give no warning and just shut off. It would drive and idle perfect until that happens. Most of the time it would take a couple minutes to be able to start back up and sometimes it would start right away. Once it does it one time, it continues to stall every block or so, but it runs perfect in between. Sometimes it stalls for just a second when it's still in gear driving and will pick back up.
      When I am cranking it over trying to restart it, I don't hear the fuel pump kick on. I can hear relays going under the dash but normally I can hear the whine of the pump. Recently the pump has gotten louder and sometimes the whine from it raises with the rpm's of the engine. I'm not sure if the fluctuating of the volume from it is normal with these engines.
      The situation with the fuel pump whine is making me lean towards thinking it's a fuel pump issue but is there anything else that I should check out first before forking out the money for a new pump. I'm normally good at diagnosing electrical issues but being my first VW, I'm not sure where to start.

    2. Member Mathew...'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 22nd, 2009
      Edmonton, Canada
      2003 Ford Rangero
      11-02-2009 12:05 AM #2
      long shot but check grounds mine did the same

    3. Member
      Join Date
      Nov 17th, 2001
      Northern Wisconsin
      11-02-2009 09:43 AM #3
      You can check out the fuel pump relay (PN 321 906 059F). sometimes they get old and tired and won't hold the circuit. Make a short jumper wire with male spade terminals at each end. Pull the fuel pump relay out of the relay board and jumper the two perpindicular terminals. They are usually marked 30 and 87. Circuit 30 is constantly hot so that will run the fuel pump all of the time. You also bypass the fuel pump safety shut off that shuts down the pump if the engine stops turning. If the fuel pump cuts out with that circuit bridged it is likely the fuel pump itself. However, it could also be the in-tank fuel pick up although the usual symptom of that would be cutting out when cornering. FR

      Modified by Fat Rabbit at 6:50 AM 11-2-2009

    4. 11-02-2009 01:09 PM #4
      I checked and cleaned the grounds in the engine compartment. I replaced the ground battery cable because it looked like it had seen better days
      I tried the jumper wire in place of the FPR on friday trying to leave home from work. The fuel pump kicked on but the car wouldn't start still. I could smell some unburnt fuel while cranking so I don't believe it's a fuel issue. I also had checked the fuel strainer and replaced the fuel filter.
      I'm pretty sure it's a spark issue but can't seem to replicate it idling in my driveway so I'm not sure what to do. It will idle and rev fine but it will stall out as soon as I get about a block from my house.

    5. 11-02-2009 04:32 PM #5
      I just noticed something earlier on the car. The coil has a dent in it from what looks like the manifold hit it a while back. It's a small dent but I'm not sure what coils look like internally to know if it is far enough to cause damage. I also remembered that when I changed plugs the other day, the coil wire where it plugs into the dist. cap wasn't completely connected. I'm guessing either of those could cause enough damage to the coil to fail. It also only stalls under a small load initially, but does it intermittently after that. I'm not sure whether coils will fail completely or still work under circumstances.
      Are coils universal to where I can try another coil off of my other vehicle before I pick up another one? I will for sure replace it but would like to pinpoint the issue before buying more parts. The two coils I have laying around are from an '86 mazda b2000 and a '75 Datsun 620 for reference.

    6. 11-05-2009 09:23 AM #6
      well as for the stalling problem, the coils to distributor wire not being fully connected sound like its exactly what caused this, the movment from your engine and just general forced were probly connecting and dissconnecting it while driving causing your stalling.
      if you havent already make shure all your plugs and everything are nice and tight and go drive the car around, might not have damaged anything at all.
      the coil haveing a small dent in it dosent sound like too much of a problem but hell if the problem persists it possible, usually coils act up under 4 circumstances...
      1-all the time the wont put out spark if its completly fryed
      2-when it gets warm, or if its jarred if you broke a connection somewere side.
      3-when it gets wet, usually happens if the case get a crack or becomes unsealed from the enviroment (you will most likly be able to see sparks if you spray it with water)
      4-loose connections...yea they suck
      and truthfully its risky using ignition components your not shure about.
      If you use the wrong type of coil you risk burning the ECM(probly not worth it)
      hope i helped a lil and good luck man

    7. 12-02-2009 04:32 PM #7
      Thanks for that reply. I hadn't returned to this thread in a while because I found another issue on the motor that needed to be taken care of first. I had noticed a little coolant leak externally on the motor around the head gasket. I replaced the head gasket and noticed 3 of the injector holder/inserts were loose. I replaced those to be sure about them. I also noticed there was corrosion on the connections to the coil so I cleaned those off real good along with all the other ones under the hood.
      I drove the car for the first time last night after the head gasket change and everything seemed perfect. I also drove it this morning to work and everything seemed good again. But when I drove to lunch, the car did the exact same thing as before. I'm starting to believe it's a temperature related issue due to having a really cold night last night and it running fine when it was cold out but when it was warmer during lunch, it had the problem.
      That brings me back to what Thehatta said about the coil possibly not working when hot. I never tried any other coils I had laying around on the car because the primary and secondary resistance were way off from what was recommended in my Haynes book. The resistance on the VW coil was marginal but still within the recommended range. I'm going to pick up a new coil after work to try on it.
      What input does the ECU need to kick on the fuel pump relay? Is it possibly from the coil so that a faulty coil would not be giving it the right signal? The reason I ask is because it's weird that when the car stalls and will not start, the FPR will not kick on when turning it over. When the FPR does kick on, the car starts/trys to. I have tried a jumper wire in place of the FPR and the fuel pump turns on and I can smell unburnt gas when I'm turning it over but it won't start. Is there anything else I should look at in the electrical system that gives a signal from turning over/spark to the FPR?
      Sorry for all the long essays about my problem but I'm trying to go into real good detail to try to figure this out. Thanks.

    8. Junior Member
      Join Date
      Jul 30th, 2007
      El Paso, Tx
      1987 Cabby
      12-03-2009 12:02 AM #8
      my 87 cabriolet had the same problem and it turned out to be a vaccum leak so i replaced all the vaccum lines and messed around some with the air/gas mixture and it fixed my problem...also the mechanic recomended that i put in injector cleaner and high octane gas at least monthly...take a look at that maybe...good luck

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