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    Thread: Testing Fuel Pump Problems & Solutions thread

    1. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      09-10-2011 07:37 PM #1
      There are 3 pages of posts that come up when you search for "fuel pump" in our forum, so I thought it would be nice to collect the pertinent info and put it in one thread.

      First off, the problem: The motor turns over but doesn't start.

      Questions to help diagnose:

      1) when you open the driver door, do you hear the buzzing noise from under the car? If you hear that, your fuel pump is working. Your problem is not the fuel pump, fuel pump relay, or fuel pump fuse. Stop reading this thread, it does not apply to you.

      If you do not hear the buzzing noise when you open the driver door, the fuel pump is not priming. Continue to step 2.

      2) Does your interior dome light turn on when the door is open? Does the door chime sound when the key is in ignition and the door is opened? If the answer to both of those is "no", then your door latch microswitch is not working correctly. Go search for threads on how to fix that problem.

      If the dome lights turn on with the door open, continue to step 3.

      3) Is fuse #28 blown? That is the fuel pump fuse.
      If it is blown, try replacing it (15A fuse) and see if normal operation resumes. Warning: blowing that fuse is usually indicative of a relay and/or pump going bad! If it blows when you put a new fuse in and turn the ignition on, continue to step 5. If nothing happens when you replace it, go to step 4.

      4) Test the fuse location with a test light or mutimeter to see if there is 12V+ when the key is on. If there is 12V+, go to step 6. If there is not, go to step 5.

      5) Check fuel pump relay. It's the 4th from the left on the bottom row of relays, under the dash. The label next to it says "diesel F". It's relay #409, part # 1J0 906 383 C. Costs about $43 online, and $66 at the dealer.

      I'll let the experts weigh in here on how to "properly" test the relay.
      Here are two possible methods that don't involve using jumpers in the fuse block or trying to wiggle a multimeter in there:
      1) Borrow a 409 relay from anyone else who has a Mk4. Swap it in. If your fuel pump works with their relay in there, you've found the problem. This is by far the easiest way to test. Everyone knows someone else with a Mk4 - doesn't matter what model.
      2) Go to step 6 & test the fuel pump itself, thus determining the relay was faulty.

      6) Test fuel pump & connector. It's located under the right rear passenger seat. Remove the lower cushion, and fold the square flap forward to access the panel. Remove the 3 screws and pry up the cover panel gently. Check to see the main connection is in decent shape. Some of them are defective and come loose. Use a multimeter and see if it's getting voltage at the outer connections on the terminals. If there is no voltage, the relay may be the problem.

      If you have a small battery (RC car battery works nicely) for testing, use the outer connections on the cover to the fuel pump to see if the pump operates when you apply current. Alternately, you can use a square 9V battery with a couple of leads from it. That should give enough current to see if the motor at least turns with current applied. It's a loud little thing, will be very evident whether it works or not.

      If the motor works when you apply current, the relay may be faulty or the connector may be faulty. You'll have to do some more circuit testing to see what the deal is.

      If the motor does not work when you apply current, the motor is toast. Replace it.
      germanautoparts.com has the motor for $201.48 as of this writing.


      More to be added to this posting as the experts weigh in...
      Last edited by g60racer; 09-16-2011 at 12:51 PM.
      Brendan Prout
      04 R32 125k miles
      93 VR6 Corrado 188k miles
      90 G60 Corrado 304k miles - RIP 2/12/11

    2. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      09-10-2011 08:45 PM #2
      DIY Fuel Pump Removal

      Before you start: Rule of thumb here is TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't be in a rush. Everything here is somewhat delicate.

      Continuing on from the post above & assuming you've already removed the back seat cushion and cover panel...

      Location of fuel pump:
      Under right rear seat cushion...


      Unhook cushion and remove



      Pull back square carpet


      Remove screws and cover plate


      Now on to the fuel pump.

      1) Disconnect electrical connector. IT IS BRITTLE! BE GENTLE!! Use a small flathead screwdriver inserted into the connector slot to very gently pry up on the release, and wiggle the connector back and forth until it slides off. Take your time with this.









      2) Disconnect the two fuel hoses. There is a small flat button on each of them around the bottom trim, opposite side from where the hose necks are. Push in on the button and wiggle it a little, and the hose should slide up off the nipple easily.






      3) Remove the ring securing the top panel of the fuel pump.
      There are a series of small holes in the trim ring that secures the top panel in place. Spray a little bit of penetrating lubricant into each hole and let it sit for a couple of minutes. If you have the special VW tool for removing the fuel pump panel trim ring, use it! Otherwise, you can use a very large flathead screwdriver and a mallet to loosen it.
      TAKE YOUR TIME WITH THIS!
      Make sure the head of whatever screwdriver or chisel you use is worn and has no sharp edges. I use a short pry bar, which is very rounded off. The trim ring needs to come off counter clockwise. Angle the driver against one of the flat ridges and give it a few whacks with the mallet. Then do the same with the one 180* from that ridge. Then pick another pair on a different angle and repeat. Work your way all the way around, loosening each ridge section. You may see the ring move in one section and deform slightly, without other sections moving. IF you see this, move on to another section so you don't break the ring! After you've worked your way all around the trim ring a few times, the whole thing will start to come loose and you'll be able to unthread it. It typically takes about 10 minutes of persistent hammering to get it loose. Again, TAKE YOUR TIME WITH THIS!








      4) Once the ring is removed, you'll be able to pop the panel up and out. Remove the rubber seal that was under the trim ring.





      5) Disconnect the black fuel hose, using same type of button release mechanism as the outer hoses.






      6) Disconnect the black 2-wire electrical connector.




      7) Pull up on the white lever on the right side of the outside of the fuel pump. This is just a long thin white plastic bit with a couple of hooks that let it attach to the outside of the fuel pump. It has a hose attached to the bottom of it. DO NOT disconnect this hose! Just pulling up on the lever should allow the connection to fall free.







      8) Carefully pull the fuel hoses connecting the top panel to the pump assembly up and out, but do not disconnect them. You just want them out of the way so you can pull the pump assembly free.

      9) Gently pull the fuel pump straight up and out. The Fuel Level Sender and float move around and they will require you to maneuver it around a little bit to get it all out free and clear. Have a pan or tub or at least a towel ready to catch fuel that will spill out of the pump as you lift it out.

      10) Have some plastic wrap and a large rubber band handy to seal up the tank while you've got the pump out, especially if it will be a few days before you put in another one. It will keep the vapors in the tank and out of your interior.




      11) Reinstallation is basically the reverse of Disassembly. Some differences:
      - The main pump unit is held in place by spring tension from the top panel. It will take a few tries to get it lined up properly and secure. TAKE YOUR TIME.
      Also - I recommend using some petroleum jelly to lubricate the black rubber seal as you're putting it back on... helps the top slide back into place instead of the seal bunching up.



      Here's what the fuel pump looks like out of the tank:




      Here's what the secondary vacuum pump connection looks like disattached from the main pump.




      Also inside the tank you can see the bottom of the fuel filler pipe (upper left) and secondary pump return hose & electrical connector. It's fine for them to just be swimming in there... just know generally where they are, because they do like do slip out of sight when you're putting it all back together.

      Last edited by g60racer; 09-16-2011 at 05:45 AM.
      Brendan Prout
      04 R32 125k miles
      93 VR6 Corrado 188k miles
      90 G60 Corrado 304k miles - RIP 2/12/11

    3. Member mikey_o's Avatar
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      09-11-2011 03:21 AM #3
      Good info Brendan, thanks for putting this together

      Maybe Ian or someone can add this to the DIY/FAQ sticky...
      2004 R32 Wirbelsturm Rot. Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut. Ich lerne langsam.

    4. Member Brake_Dust's Avatar
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      09-11-2011 11:14 AM #4
      Don't you mean right rear passenger seat?
      -Invisible-

    5. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      09-11-2011 04:22 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Brake_Dust View Post
      Don't you mean right rear passenger seat?

      Yes! Thanks for pointing that out! Will edit.
      Brendan Prout
      04 R32 125k miles
      93 VR6 Corrado 188k miles
      90 G60 Corrado 304k miles - RIP 2/12/11

    6. 09-11-2011 04:47 PM #6
      Depends which country
      MK4 R36 x Precision 6776 Turbo = Large Grin

    7. Member VeeRsixx's Avatar
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      09-11-2011 08:36 PM #7
      Excellent info ! Pics will help even more. It's good to have this information available before a problem happens.
      past dubs: (all black) - 1984 GTI - 1992 GTI 16v - 2001 GTI VR6

    8. Member Brake_Dust's Avatar
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      09-12-2011 12:11 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by g60racer View Post
      Yes! Thanks for pointing that out! Will edit.


      Thanks for making this thread
      This will help a lot of people out
      -Invisible-

    9. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 02:19 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by VeeRsixx View Post
      Excellent info ! Pics will help even more. It's good to have this information available before a problem happens.
      Will be taking pix and adding them shortly. Had to deal with getting my Corrado roadworthy today, will focus on the R32 on Wednesday when I have another block of time for it.
      Brendan Prout
      04 R32 125k miles
      93 VR6 Corrado 188k miles
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    10. 09-13-2011 02:27 AM #10
      Dayum. I call for FAQ sticky immediately!

    11. Member Daemon42's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 02:47 AM #11
      Report the thread to a moderator and ask em to add it to the FAQ/DIY thread.
      That's how it's done.

      ian

    12. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      09-16-2011 05:45 AM #12
      Pix added!
      Brendan Prout
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    13. Member huichox4's Avatar
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      09-16-2011 04:48 PM #13
      awesome thread, just made my day !!!!! I thought my pump was bad because my fuse was intact and the door switch was good too, checked voltage at the fuse and the pump and there it was the problem...... 1.72v were it should have been 12+v took the relay out , banged it on my hand and reinstall then try to start and it purrrrrssss again !!!

      nothing beats a repair when it is free...... although I will get a new relay as a spare just in case

    14. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      09-18-2011 12:50 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by huichox4 View Post
      took the relay out , banged it on my hand and reinstall then try to start and it purrrrrssss again !!!

      nothing beats a repair when it is free...... although I will get a new relay as a spare just in case
      That is awesome. Now I'm tempted to go bang on my original relay and see if that jolts it back into working.
      Will know exactly what to raid Mk4's for at the junkyard now, though!
      Brendan Prout
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      11-26-2011 08:29 PM #15
      Could the micro switch really be a problem? I'm pretty sure mine has been broken since before I got the car(3 months). Today my car wouldn't start, pretty sure the pump failed, but could that switch have such a great affect?

    16. Member Daemon42's Avatar
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      11-26-2011 08:56 PM #16
      The microswitch only affects the priming action when you open the door. It won't prevent the
      pump from running when the engine is starting or running. Failure to prime can result
      in a delayed start, but that's it. Check the pump fuse and relay first before you
      go digging for the pump itself.

      ian

    17. Banned ThatVdub's Avatar
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      11-26-2011 09:07 PM #17
      banging/tapping a relay (on or off) and working after is 'usually' a very temp fix.

    18. Junior Member SchnellerR32's Avatar
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      02-26-2012 02:36 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by g60racer View Post

      4) Test the fuse location with a test light or mutimeter to see if there is 12V+ when the key is on. If there is 12V+, go to step 6. If there is not, go to step 5.

      5) Check fuel pump relay. It's the 4th from the left on the bottom row of relays, under the dash. The label next to it says "diesel F". It's relay #409, part # 1J0 906 383 C. Costs about $43 online, and $66 at the dealer.

      ..

      I'd like to confirm point#4 please.... My vehicle is currently not starting. Isn't it true that Fuse #28 will only light up (test light) with 12 volts at "prime" stage, OR only when the car is actually running?? With the key only in the "on" position (car not running), it should not have any power to it.

      My pump primes just fine at door open. I only have 12v at fuse 28 when priming. I've replaced and tested relay 409, all is working fine. I've jumped (wire lead) at fuse replay block to test fuel pump constant on, and it's flows just fine. I've also removed inlet to fuel rail, placed hose in a cup, and opened the car door to observe a nice healthy stream flowing. Someone mentioned a secondary primer pump on this forum? Is there such a secondary pump on our cars? Or only the one main in-tank unit reference above?

      Thanks
      Reflex MKIV R32 - VF Stage 2

    19. 03-19-2012 01:23 PM #19
      I have a few notes on reassembly:

      Make sure the arrows on the pump and the tank line up. I didn't see the arrows when I disassembled things because they were covered with dirt.

      Make sure the seal fits down in the tank lip - it wants to get pinched between the lip and the pump.

      Once the new pump has pressurized the lines they will spray quite a bit of gas all over when you disconnect them. I had to do this and gas went all over. wrapping the end of the lines with a cloth when you disconnect them will at least prevent too much spray.

      be careful when re-installing the ring - it can be over-tightend and stripped.

      Thanks for the excellent write up and pictures - it made the job so much easier than it would have been.

    20. Member BOUDAH's Avatar
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      03-19-2012 02:11 PM #20
      Now that i think about it, my car doesnt make it past # 2....thankyou for posting this. Also for Mooney for suggesting this a while ago, lol..

    21. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      03-19-2012 03:07 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by SchnellerR32 View Post
      I'd like to confirm point#4 please.... My vehicle is currently not starting. Isn't it true that Fuse #28 will only light up (test light) with 12 volts at "prime" stage, OR only when the car is actually running?? With the key only in the "on" position (car not running), it should not have any power to it.

      My pump primes just fine at door open. I only have 12v at fuse 28 when priming. I've replaced and tested relay 409, all is working fine. I've jumped (wire lead) at fuse replay block to test fuel pump constant on, and it's flows just fine. I've also removed inlet to fuel rail, placed hose in a cup, and opened the car door to observe a nice healthy stream flowing. Someone mentioned a secondary primer pump on this forum? Is there such a secondary pump on our cars? Or only the one main in-tank unit reference above?

      Thanks
      Just one pump, no secondary primer pump.

      Fuse 28 should see power continuously when the pump is running, according to the wiring diagram, but I'll have to hit it with a multimeter to answer you for sure.

      One thing I've noticed with worn fuel pumps is they will still physically operate, but they won't put out the 70psi they're supposed to put out, or their flowrate decreases. (I forget how many liters per hour this one is supposed to push through, but measuring flowrate with a graduated cylinder is the one way to be sure about that.)

      In the case of my R32's pump, the flowrate and pressure were significantly decreased, and the load on the circuit was increased. Lots of resistance, overloaded the relay.
      Brendan Prout
      04 R32 125k miles
      93 VR6 Corrado 188k miles
      90 G60 Corrado 304k miles - RIP 2/12/11

    22. Member g60racer's Avatar
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      03-19-2012 03:10 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by corduroy_sfo View Post
      I have a few notes on reassembly:

      Make sure the arrows on the pump and the tank line up. I didn't see the arrows when I disassembled things because they were covered with dirt.

      YES!! Thanks for pointing that out!


      Make sure the seal fits down in the tank lip - it wants to get pinched between the lip and the pump.
      Use some petroleum jelly to help it sit properly, and fit into place without getting pinched.
      Yup.
      Brendan Prout
      04 R32 125k miles
      93 VR6 Corrado 188k miles
      90 G60 Corrado 304k miles - RIP 2/12/11

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      05-30-2012 02:32 AM #23
      Thanks for the DIY! Helped me a lot. Changed fuel pump today, still working but after 8 years, preventive maintenance.

    24. 10-22-2012 11:45 PM #24
      Here's the best price I could find... http://www.ebay.com/itm/290406528501...84.m1497.l2649

    25. Member VincewagenR32's Avatar
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      10-23-2012 06:28 PM #25
      Quick question regarding the pump primering.

      When u first open the door the pump primes correct? Does this also mean that if i open the door and not start the car but let it sit, set alarm and then unlock, open door again, will the pump primer again? Mine sounded like it primed once when i was checking it but then i let the car sit and didnt start it for about an hour then went back to get in the car, the prime didnt happen. I started the car and the first turn over it wouldnt start. 2nd time it did. Im suspecting the relay but want to be sure of it before hand.
      "A genius is not measured by what he knows, but with what he can figure out with what he already knows."
      Quote Originally Posted by power_mind View Post
      Also, remember that you can throw the whole parts bin at the car, you can even pick and choose, but the best modification is to tighten the loose nut behind the wheel.
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    26. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      12-27-2012 01:54 PM #26
      I just replaced my fuel pump with these directions (thanks for the great write-up g60racer!), but now my fuel gauges aren't registering (needle sits in the red, as if the car is off and the "miles remaining until refill" in the MFA just shows "----"), despite filling up the tank. Everything else runs fine. I did a search and only found one other person to have had this issue.

      Does the ECU need to be reset? I don't think anything could be plugged in wrong... Disassembly and installation was a lot easier than I thought it'd be. Everything is plugged in... Faulty Fuel Sender Unit?
      Last edited by SpclAgentD; 12-27-2012 at 02:28 PM.
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    27. Member VincewagenR32's Avatar
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      12-27-2012 04:17 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by SpclAgentD View Post
      I just replaced my fuel pump with these directions (thanks for the great write-up g60racer!), but now my fuel gauges aren't registering (needle sits in the red, as if the car is off and the "miles remaining until refill" in the MFA just shows "----"), despite filling up the tank. Everything else runs fine. I did a search and only found one other person to have had this issue.

      Does the ECU need to be reset? I don't think anything could be plugged in wrong... Disassembly and installation was a lot easier than I thought it'd be. Everything is plugged in... Faulty Fuel Sender Unit?
      Did u replace the whole assembly or just the pump????

      The assembly is only like 40 more and comes with everything including pump and sender. If u didnt then u might want to check your install again with the sender. It is either no good, not hooked up or its is just hooked up wrong.
      "A genius is not measured by what he knows, but with what he can figure out with what he already knows."
      Quote Originally Posted by power_mind View Post
      Also, remember that you can throw the whole parts bin at the car, you can even pick and choose, but the best modification is to tighten the loose nut behind the wheel.
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    28. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      12-27-2012 04:23 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by VincewagenR32 View Post
      Did u replace the whole assembly or just the pump????

      The assembly is only like 40 more and comes with everything including pump and sender. If u didnt then u might want to check your install again with the sender. It is either no good, not hooked up or its is just hooked up wrong.
      I replaced the entire assembly (main fuel pump and fuel sender). I've been checking around. Connections could be bad, but I gotta play around with it to see. I'll post up my findings.
      FS: One 225-40/18 Nexxen N3000 Tire | Netgear Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Modem/Router (DGND3300v2) | MkII Jetta 16v OEM Taillights | MkII ABD Racing CIS-E Intake Pipe (Not CAI)

    29. Member bolide's Avatar
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      12-28-2012 01:58 AM #29
      I just went through this, in my R. Some how the wires pin that connects to the sender circuit board got deformed and wasn't making solid contact with the board. The symptom was "--- "on the miles to empty mfd, and the fuel gauge was at "E". What sucked was this would come and go. It worked when it felt like it and was completely random.
      The wiring diagram shows that the 2 center pins on the main fuel pump connector are for the gauge and that the two gauge senders are wired in series. A quick check with a multi-meter across the two center pins gave me an open circuit reading. I pulled the sender under the drivers side cover first to check for the open circuit (Its easier to get out), put my meter directly across the two connectors on the "sweep" board. Resistance changed as I moved the float up and down, so not it.
      Next I pulled the pump and its sender and it was fairly obvious that I had snagged a wire during the pump install and bent the pin that connects to the board on the pump housing. I straightened the pin, and all is well.

      Good luck!

    30. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      12-28-2012 05:39 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by bolide View Post
      Next I pulled the pump and its sender and it was fairly obvious that I had snagged a wire during the pump install and bent the pin that connects to the board on the pump housing. I straightened the pin, and all is well.

      Good luck!
      Thanks Bolide! I haven't gone back in since install, but I'm thinking (and hoping) something like this happened. During the install, the main pump didn't want to stay upright, probably because the resevoir was empty and wanted to float. Maybe I bent something when I was fighting with it.

      I'm going to try it out this weekend. By the way, my CEL kicked on. I haven't plugged in a reader, but I'm sure it's related.
      FS: One 225-40/18 Nexxen N3000 Tire | Netgear Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Modem/Router (DGND3300v2) | MkII Jetta 16v OEM Taillights | MkII ABD Racing CIS-E Intake Pipe (Not CAI)

    31. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      12-31-2012 03:08 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by SpclAgentD View Post
      Thanks Bolide! I haven't gone back in since install, but I'm thinking (and hoping) something like this happened. During the install, the main pump didn't want to stay upright, probably because the resevoir was empty and wanted to float. Maybe I bent something when I was fighting with it.

      I'm going to try it out this weekend. By the way, my CEL kicked on. I haven't plugged in a reader, but I'm sure it's related.
      So I disconnected everything again last night and it turned out to be a loose pin on the main pump. I pushed it in and it snapped back in place. I used a multimeter to check resistance on the sweeping board of the sender (like Bolide did) and resistance changed as I moved the floater up and down. Everything else works great, but I ran into an issue with the main connector to the top of the pump

      Just an FYI for the next person running into a similar issue.
      FS: One 225-40/18 Nexxen N3000 Tire | Netgear Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Modem/Router (DGND3300v2) | MkII Jetta 16v OEM Taillights | MkII ABD Racing CIS-E Intake Pipe (Not CAI)

    32. Member waabaah's Avatar
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      12-31-2012 03:49 PM #32
      Nice read. Thanks.

      Question... Do you know what wire is power for the pump at the pump? My motor is apart, battery fosconnected of course, I have no diagram and I'm installing an inline pump.

      Thanks

    33. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      12-31-2012 05:40 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by waabaah View Post
      Nice read. Thanks.

      Question... Do you know what wire is power for the pump at the pump? My motor is apart, battery fosconnected of course, I have no diagram and I'm installing an inline pump.

      Thanks
      This is what I found from a quick search (you can refer to the pics from OP): http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...el+pump+wiring

      You can test it with a multimeter to see if it's getting voltage
      FS: One 225-40/18 Nexxen N3000 Tire | Netgear Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Modem/Router (DGND3300v2) | MkII Jetta 16v OEM Taillights | MkII ABD Racing CIS-E Intake Pipe (Not CAI)

    34. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      01-03-2013 01:34 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by SpclAgentD View Post
      So I disconnected everything again last night and it turned out to be a loose pin on the main pump. I pushed it in and it snapped back in place. I used a multimeter to check resistance on the sweeping board of the sender (like Bolide did) and resistance changed as I moved the floater up and down. Everything else works great, but I ran into an issue with the main connector to the top of the pump

      Just an FYI for the next person running into a similar issue.
      Update: After the last fix, the gas gauge works, but now reads incorrectly. I thought I lost quite a bit of gas during the repair, but I filled up this morning because my gauge has been floating between 1/4 tank and E, which is odd because I had only driven ~120 miles since I filled up. I put in 6 gallons until the gas started pouring out . The gauge still shows E.

      I didn't think anything was wrong with the fuel sender since it's brand spanking new (VDO), but I may try changing it out to see what happens. Search showed that this was a fairly common issue with people changing out their fuel sender several times in a few years.

      Also, one post mentioned specific years having the resistance reversed on the contacts, so when the tank is full, the gauge will read empty and vice-versa. Gonna play around with it to see what the is going on...
      FS: One 225-40/18 Nexxen N3000 Tire | Netgear Rangemax Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Modem/Router (DGND3300v2) | MkII Jetta 16v OEM Taillights | MkII ABD Racing CIS-E Intake Pipe (Not CAI)

    35. Member SpclAgentD's Avatar
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      01-03-2013 04:52 PM #35
      Update 2: Did some more research on the fuel sender (as opposed to the fuel pump) and found another post that can help HERE. I think this is the solution to the wacky fuel gauge readings after the fuel sender is replaced.

      Going to try this with a VAG-COM, as soon as I can find one..

      Here is the post from VgRt6:

      Today I discovered that you can use a VAG-COM to adjust the displayed fuel level on the gauge in the instrument cluster. Last year I replaced the fuel level sender on my fuel pump and ever since the indicated fuel level has been off. Specifically, when the fuel tank was filled up completely (pump auto shut-off), the gauge wouldn't indicate a full tank. Instead, the level was just below the full mark, which has been really annoying after spending $70 on a new fuel level sender (which commonly go bad on high-mileage MKIV cars) and spending the time removing the fuel pump from the tank to access the sender.
      Well, it turns out that every level sender is a little different and the gauge in the instrument cluster needs to be calibrated to the output from the new sender. Also, an error can develop in the instrument cluster even without a change in the fuel sender and this error can cause the fuel gauge to display the incorrect fuel level. Here's what you can do to fix the problem.


      STEP 1 - CHECK THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER FOR ANY INTERNAL ERRORS


      1. Turn the car ignition on, but do not start it. Using the VAG-COM, go into the Instrument Cluster control module (-17-) and select OUTPUT TESTS (-03-).

      2. Click on the START/NEXT button to initiate a sequence of tests. The first of these tests the sweep and calibration of the analog gauges. The needles for all four gauges (tach, speedo, coolant temp, fuel level) will drop to 0, sweep slowly all the way to their maximum, and then drop down to a calibration position. These positions are:

      Tach - 3000 RPMs
      Speedo - 62 MPH (100 KPH)
      Coolant Temp - 190°F (90°C)
      Fuel Level - 1/2 tank

      The Bentley CD indicates that if any of these settings in incorrect, then there is an unrepairable error in the instrument cluster and it should be replaced. All of mine are good, except for the fuel level, which displays just under 1/2 tank. This is obviously part of the reason for my incorrect fuel reading, but I'm not going to pay for another cluster just to fix it. Instead, you can use the VAG-COM to fudge the displayed level.

      3. Click the START/NEXT button to cycle through all of the remaining output tests. These tests will check the various warning lights, chimes and LCD displays in the cluster.

      4. Keep clicking the START/NEXT button until END comes up, click it once more and then click EXIT to go back to the main menu for the Instrument Cluster control module.


      STEP 2 - ADJUSTING THE DISPLAYED FUEL LEVEL

      These steps are based on those given in the Bentley CD and are intended to be used after the fuel level sender has been replaced. The proper way to calibrate the fuel gauge to the new sender is to drain the fuel tank, add 7 liters (1.85 gal) of gas, which is the exact amount in the "reserve" tank, and then adjust the fuel gauge needle so that it coincides with the red "reserve" line on the fuel gauge. I wasn't about to go through this, so I filled up my tank and adjusted the needle so that it read full (or as close as I could get it). The VAG-COM allows you to adjust the position of the needle an amount equal to 2 liters of fuel in either direction (+/-) of it's normal factory setting. To do this, do the following:

      1. Select ADAPTATION (-10-) on the main screen of the Instrument Cluster control module.

      2. In the CHANNEL box, enter 30 and then click on READ. This will display the stored value for the fuel gauge calibration and normally should be 128. You may enter a value from 120 to 136. Each number corresponds to a 1 ohm adjustment of the fuel level sender output and corresponds to 1/4 of a liter. You can use the UP and DOWN buttons to adjust the number while you watch the gauge needle move. If you're doing it the proper way, then adjust the needle until it lines up perfectly with the red mark on the gauge. If you're doing it a different way, like I did, then adjust the needle until it sits where you want it to.

      3. Click on SAVE. The new setting is now being used.

      That's about it. If you mess something up and want to go back to the original setting, it's 128.
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