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    Thread: Foxin Ridiculous

    1. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-07-2012 11:38 PM #1
      Well, I bought a Fox today. It's a '93 bought from the original owner with 170xxx on the clock. It ran great when I test drove it, and it's in GREAT shape. I over paid the guy by $50 by my own decision, and I'm okay with it.

      Until now...

      We were headed from Phoenix to Surprise, which is about a 25 minute trip for us. I thought it would be fun to take the new car on a good trip to see what happens. So we stop at the gas station to fill it up.
      It won't start. I try and try, only to have a relay start making a very strange noise and act erratically. My neighbor drives me to Autozone and I try a new relay. No good. It's not turning over, at all, and it began pissing gas out under the air box.

      I've owned this car for about 8 hours, and I'm already regretting the decision. I can't hear the fuel pump any more, just the relay. I know NOTHING about Digi2, as it's my first. I'm a CIS kinda guy.

      Before I go to the sellers house to have him buy it back, what should I be looking for? ANY tips are greatly appreciated. I really want to keep the car, it even came with the original service manual, service receipts, AND the window sticker.

      Help
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    2. 04-08-2012 12:12 AM #2
      is the seat belt connected?

    3. Member efritsch's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 12:19 AM #3
      So the motor won't even crank now?

      The gas from under the air box sounds like the charcoal canister is being flooded. Which relay is currently going weird? Also, check all your ground wires. I've had funny things happen when one ground on the battery was loose.
      Quote Originally Posted by 90quattrocoupe
      I am old enough that I only have to be nice when I want to.

    4. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 12:20 AM #4
      It has been re-wired so that it doesn't need to be, and I had confirmed that before the test drive. I played with it in, out, clutch in-belt in,clutch in- belt out... I tried every possible combo of anything to try to get it to turn over. Didn't even care if it started towards the end, just wanted it to turn. Could be a starter, but who knows.

      This was NOT bought to be a project, but a "more" reliable (taken with a grain of salt) daily than my 88 Cabby. Also was hoping to restore it to it's original condition.

      Unfortunately tomorrow is a family day for me, so I won't realistically be able to dive into it until next weekend. I will check the charcoal can, and the fuel pump as well. It was actually replaced last year, with a receipt to prove it.
      Last edited by DubsesdA3; 04-08-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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    5. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 12:40 AM #5
      breaking news. I believe the battery is shot. I just tried it, and it clicked. The pump primed, the relay didn't go haywire, and it clicked. I'll have it tested on Monday, and will be crossing my fingers until then.

      I first saw this car 1.5 years ago while I was still cleaning pools. The guy was asking $1750, I never thought about buying it at that price. I got a wild hare up my arse last sunday and decided to go check it out. Still for sale, only asking $1200 this time. So I know for sure that the car was sitting and not being driven as often as it should for quite a while. Besides, batteries only last a short time out here in the desert, so I'm hoping for that.

      I still love the car. The low roof line, the body line, and the rarity of them just got the best of me.
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    6. Member dacolino's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 03:05 AM #6
      Uh-oh...Fuel coming out the airbox? I am going to recommend this...

      1-you say now the battery is dead. If you give the car a jump will it crank or the starter solenoid clicks or does nothing?
      2-If with a jump it clicks, or does nothing...Pull the spark plugs out. BE VERY CAREFUL and try cranking the engine over...I recommend clearing the area as fuel may spray all over the place...If it now cranks over and fuel shoots all over the place out the spark plug holes...you have a bad ecu. Digifant 2 cars usually dump fuel as soon as you turn the key on if the ecu is bad. They generally fail due to bad grounding...so If you find this to be the case I would go make sure you have a EXCELLENT chassis-to-engine ground and chassis-to-battery ground. Both are extremely important for digifant, if you are missing one, you will blow the ecu.
      3-If on step one the car cranks with a jump, does the crank pattern sound normal? If not, maybe you snapped a timing belt? If the crank pattern sounds healthy, Check for spark, and fuel of course. Gotta start with the basics.

    7. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 12:06 PM #7
      Just tried turning it over once. With the new relay, fuel is NOT coming out all over. The old relay was running on it's own as soon as I plugged it back in. The fans and every other accessory works fine.

      I tried to jump it just now with the same results. Everything works fine, but no crank, can't hear the fuel pump, and the relay sounds as if it's whining really erratically.

      This is seriously pissing me off because it ran great on my 10 minute drive home down the highway, and now this.
      Stay tuned...
      Last edited by DubsesdA3; 04-08-2012 at 12:30 PM.
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      04-08-2012 04:41 PM #8
      Again, which relay are we talking about here? I think we're all assuming the fuel pump relay right now.

      There shouldn't be a way for Digifant EFI to piss fuel into your air box, so suspecting the charcoal canister is reasonable. Check the hoses to it, although with the majority of Foxes I've seen, the hose connecting the line from the tank to the canister is usually rotted away anyway.

      So the starter is not turning at all. As a diagnositc test, you can try jumping the starter itself with a screwdriver or similar.

      You've got a relay making some sort of abnormal buzzing, so it's reasonable to diagnose that first. Which relay are we talking about? You said you got another relay to test with. The proper part number?

      Are your main grounds all good? Battery ground goes to the tray (chassis) and then to the transmission/block mating area.
      I really suck at smog.

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      04-08-2012 05:14 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by dacolino View Post
      U If not, maybe you snapped a timing belt?
      I would check this first since it's easy; just to rule it out.

    10. Member dacolino's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 10:14 PM #10
      Your diagnosis is all over the place heh. Sit back and clear your head and start fresh.

      From what you say, the car seems to have power with the key on engine off. When you go to try and start it, the starter refuses to run and you hear a weird noise from some relay?

      1. With a volt meter what is the voltage reading across the battery pos and neg terminals? When you attempt to crank the car what is the reading?
      2. Being you are trying to start the car and the starter seemingly does not turn over...with a test light or volt meter check for voltage at the starter/solenoid. If you have voltage there with the key on engine cranking position well then maybe you have a bad starter/solenoid? If you don't have power there, well then you have a wiring problem or faulty relay somewhere in line before the starter.

      I stress going through and making sure you have strong grounds...if you don't the Digi2 ecu will fail. Ive seen it happen, CIS-E or lambda cars will have quirky issues with a inadequate ground but I have yet to see that ruin an ecu, digi2 if you have a inadequate ground the ecu goes bonkers and internally fries.

    11. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-09-2012 09:13 AM #11
      The relay P/N is 191 906 383. From what I have found it is the fuel pump relay. This is the one that's whining in the fuse panel. As stated earlier, I can't hear the fuel pump.

      Is there anything outside of the ECU that would cause this, or am I f'd?

      Thanks for all the help so far. I've made a list of all things to check per this thread, so once I get some time after work during the week I be going through it.
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      04-09-2012 01:32 PM #12
      Sounds like there's an extreme load on that circuit. Could be due to a failing/failed pump(s). Check the connections to the pumps. Unplug the main undercar pump and see if the relay still buzzes. Could be a clogged fuel filter.

      However, a problem with the fuel pump circuit won't cause a no-crank situation. So to reiterate, you've checked battery voltage while attempting to crank?


      Figure out why the starter won't turn over first and go from there. That's your biggest problem. Have you checked your main grounds yet?
      I really suck at smog.

    13. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-09-2012 02:57 PM #13
      Added to my list of things to check. Thanks.

      I havn't had any time to check anything yet being that it was Easter yesterday and I go out Monday nights. Tomorrow will be the first run of tests.
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    14. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-10-2012 10:43 AM #14
      my friend had a thought last night. What are the chances it could simply be a bad ignition switch?
      That could explain why everything works alright EXCEPT what would make the pump/starter work?
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    15. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-10-2012 10:03 PM #15
      Grounds are solid. I'll replace the lines anyway this weekend, but I don't see a thing wrong with them.

      The fuel certainly wasn't leaking from the charcoal canister, on the complete opposite side of the engine.

      The pump connections are good, no issues there. I received two new in-engine fuel hoses with the car and replaced them. The return line was original and dry cracked.

      The relay continued to buzz even after I unplugged the under car pump. I did happen to notice that the accumulator (if it's anything like my Cabby) is leaking at the line. I'll get on that this weekend as well.

      The timing belt is in good condition. The car had the head completely gone through about 8k miles back.

      The battery seems strong, the fans come on as soon as I put the key to "start" position, which I don't believe happened when I test drove it, but I could be wrong. I don't have a voltmeter yet, picking one up Saturday.

      I can only think of the ignition switch or the ECU, but everything seems to operate fine, except for the fuel pump and starter. When the ECU went out on my old MK3, it killed everything except the radio and lights. I'm definitely getting gas to the engine but how much is a different problem to figure out.

      Thanks much for all the tips and help, and I'll hopefully have her clean and running this weekend.
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      04-10-2012 10:43 PM #16
      I know on A2's you can get easy access to the ignition switch plug by removing the cover underneath the steering wheel. Maybe it's the same for the Fox. If so, you could pull the plug and try jumping the pins to see if the starter cranks.

      Is the starter clicking at all when you turn to the start position?
      I really suck at smog.

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      04-11-2012 12:27 AM #17
      Start with the simple things dude, you seem to be way over thinking all of this.


      If you give direct power to the starter does it turn on?

      If you give direct power to the fuel pump does it come on?

      With the key on and a push start does it run?

      Start to rule things out, it is going to be something very simple and silly.

    18. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-11-2012 01:06 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by ziddey View Post
      I know on A2's you can get easy access to the ignition switch plug by removing the cover underneath the steering wheel. Maybe it's the same for the Fox. If so, you could pull the plug and try jumping the pins to see if the starter cranks.

      Is the starter clicking at all when you turn to the start position?
      I haven't checked that yet, same with the Cabby. Good thinking...

      Quote Originally Posted by themagellan View Post
      Start with the simple things dude, you seem to be way over thinking all of this.


      If you give direct power to the starter does it turn on?

      If you give direct power to the fuel pump does it come on?

      With the key on and a push start does it run?

      Start to rule things out, it is going to be something very simple and silly.
      Will do the in-depth things like that on Saturday.:thumb up:
      It's hard for me to convince my gf to push the car while I try to pop the clutch. She probably couldn't spell clutch let alone release one...
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    19. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 10:54 AM #19
      I pulled the ECU yesterday. Everything inside .looks. okay, but it has a faint hint of black powder. I'm going to the junkyard on Saturday where the last time I was there they had a 92 Fox.
      Anyone need anything, if it's still there?
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    20. Member efritsch's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 10:44 PM #20
      Hold it. I think you're going about this all wrong.

      The ECU doesn't control the fuel pump or the starter in these cars.
      Double and triple check all your grounds. It is amazing what what one bad ground will screw up.

      And then, Let's start like this:

      First thing. The motor doesn't turn over. You could have all the fuel on the planet and run your spark plugs off lightning bolts, but with out the motor turning over, you've squat.

      Here's what I'd do (I'm a licensed tech):
      Yank the offending relay.
      Turn the key to the 'on' position.
      Slide yourself under the nose on the passenger side and jump the starter terminals. You want to jump the small terminal (trigger wire) and the top main one from the battery. Make sure your appendages are clear of rotating parts in case it turns over.

      If it turns over, YAY! You likely need an ignition switch.
      If it doesn't, figure out why. Make sure the motor turns to begin with. Socket and rachet on the crank. Yank the starter and diagnose. In the end, get the motor to turn over.

      An ignition switch could explain the rest too, but lets go step by step.
      Basically none of the accessories should run in the start position. The fans, radio, etc, should turn off when you go to start it and then come back on when you let go of the key.
      Quote Originally Posted by 90quattrocoupe
      I am old enough that I only have to be nice when I want to.

    21. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-13-2012 09:01 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by efritsch View Post
      Hold it. I think you're going about this all wrong.

      The ECU doesn't control the fuel pump or the starter in these cars.
      Double and triple check all your grounds. It is amazing what what one bad ground will screw up.

      And then, Let's start like this:

      First thing. The motor doesn't turn over. You could have all the fuel on the planet and run your spark plugs off lightning bolts, but with out the motor turning over, you've squat.

      Here's what I'd do (I'm a licensed tech):
      Yank the offending relay.
      Turn the key to the 'on' position.
      Slide yourself under the nose on the passenger side and jump the starter terminals. You want to jump the small terminal (trigger wire) and the top main one from the battery. Make sure your appendages are clear of rotating parts in case it turns over.

      If it turns over, YAY! You likely need an ignition switch.
      If it doesn't, figure out why. Make sure the motor turns to begin with. Socket and rachet on the crank. Yank the starter and diagnose. In the end, get the motor to turn over.

      An ignition switch could explain the rest too, but lets go step by step.
      Basically none of the accessories should run in the start position. The fans, radio, etc, should turn off when you go to start it and then come back on when you let go of the key.
      I'll give this a shot tonight. Thanks
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    22. 04-13-2012 10:25 AM #22
      efritsch gave some good advice.
      I have had a couple different start issues on my '88.
      One, the ignition switch was worn out and didn't turn far enough to actually send voltage to the starter. I ended up removing it and using a screwdriver for a couple of days until I replaced it.
      Two, there is a small copper bushing on the end of the starter shaft. This gets worn and the starter will clamp to the side of the case rather than spin.
      The different indications were
      Situation One. No attempt to turn the motor when you turned the key.
      Situation Two. Starter would attempt to turn. You could hear a loud "thump/thunk" sound, but no turn on the engine. The battery wires would get extremely hot. I suspected bad ground, or corroded wires so I replaced them with new. No change. I pulled the starter - it is only three bolts and a couple of wires, make sure you disconnect the battery. :-/ I found the bushing was not worn, it was completely gone. NAPA had them for 99 cents. fixed the problem and has been going great for over a year now.

      Good Luck,
      AK Chappy

    23. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-13-2012 11:10 AM #23
      I'd just like to say that even though this is supposed to be a good replacement daily for my Cabby, I'm going to take a lot of pride in this car. I'm not letting this eat away at me as much as some of you seem to think. I'd like it fixed and fixed correctly. I'm going to take my time and not worry about having it driveable tomorrow, although that'd be nice.
      That being said, having only been here for a week, I can honestly say this forum is the best on the Vortex. It seems you all care about all the Fox's in the world and not just your own. A great helpful bunch you are.
      Thanks again! Now lets get this thing running!
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    24. Member 1993vw fox's Avatar
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      04-13-2012 12:48 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by DubsesdA3 View Post
      I'd just like to say that even though this is supposed to be a good replacement daily for my Cabby, I'm going to take a lot of pride in this car. I'm not letting this eat away at me as much as some of you seem to think. I'd like it fixed and fixed correctly. I'm going to take my time and not worry about having it driveable tomorrow, although that'd be nice.
      That being said, having only been here for a week, I can honestly say this forum is the best on the Vortex. It seems you all care about all the Fox's in the world and not just your own. A great helpful bunch you are.
      Thanks again! Now lets get this thing running!
      I will agree with this. All the people that helped me in the past year on this fourm are great.
      Thanks.
      Marcus V.
      vwfox1993@yahoo.com

    25. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-14-2012 03:45 PM #25
      Went to the junkyard this morning. There was an '89 Fox pretty much complete, in surprisingly good condition. I snagged a windshield washer bottle out of it to replace my busted one. I found a '90 Golf and snagged an ECU out of it. At 25% off everything, I walked out having only paid $35. Not too bad.

      Heres a few pics of the Fox. I'll have my friend take more when it's running and waxed up.





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      04-15-2012 02:38 PM #26
      Nice couple of vehicles, looks like a great Fox, looking forward to seeing pictures after a bath

      Hope you get the issue fixed soon and can get on the road without other issues. That trailer hitch would be handy, I haven't seen many foxes with one in north america.

    27. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-15-2012 05:28 PM #27
      Thanks! I was going to get rid of it, but I may be inheriting my grandpa's 12ft O'Day Sailboat. I'll need to figure out a more sturdy hitch, and whether or not it can handle a towing a boat.
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    28. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 09:01 PM #28
      Alrighty. I snagged that ECM last weekend. I replaced all the grounds and got new battery terminals. The car finally turns over and has fuel without the relay going all cattywhompus, so I'm happy about that. It even works with the original ECM.

      Now, I have no spark. I'm wondering if it's possible that the new ground strap from the battery to the transmission is grounding the coil out, since it is touching it in one spot. The last thing I want to do is undo the trans bolt again. That thing was a b*tch. If that's a great possibility then I'm okay with redoing it. It's my bad for not paying attention to what it was touching before tightening it down.

      Pics of said ground strap:





      Thanks again everyone
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    29. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 09:29 PM #29
      It started! But, it ran rough, and the oil light was flashing the entire time. It was also running very rich, white smoke everywhere. I think I need to replace the battery, move that ground, and try to switch back to the stock ECM. I'm motivated, AGAIN.
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      04-25-2012 09:56 PM #30
      See if it starts again. If it only starts occasionally, then your next move should be to push start it. You can do it yourself, I did for over a month. leave the key on, push it, pop the clutch, if it starts right up but runs like crap i would say the ignition switch is bad.
      "Like" my VW Fox Race team on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/farfrumwinnin

    31. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 09:59 PM #31
      I tried it again, and I drained the battery down. The battery is at least 3 years old, and having only been started once a month for AT LEAST 2 YEARS, mixed with sitting in the Arizona climate, I'm sure it needs to be replaced.
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    32. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      05-13-2012 11:18 AM #32
      I had a friend come over yesterday to help me with some things on the Fox. I'm down for the count for a while since falling down a flight of stairs last weekend.

      We were able to get it started, and started consistently. Then I noticed while checking the oil that the level was halfway up the dipstick. He removed the drain plug and we discovered the pan was full of oil AND GAS. How in the world did so much fuel get in there? I can only think that while trying to get it started earlier, and flooding the engine near death, that it sneaked past the rings.
      Any input is appreciated. I can tell you that my compression is good.
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      05-13-2012 09:05 PM #33
      Sounds like your ECU might be toast, causing the injectors to dump.
      I really suck at smog.

    34. Member DubsesdA3's Avatar
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      06-03-2012 05:12 PM #34
      Fixed it, again. The fuel was in the oil pan due to it being flooded out when the original issue came on.
      I found a busted fuel line that caused me to lose 3/4 tank of gas on the way home from work one day. Fixed it.

      I got a bunch of little parts from my GF for my birthday. Got a new oil dipstick holder, hood prop clip, rubber valve cover gasket, and a Bentley manual.

      Hit up the junkyard yesterday to find a complete '93 Fox Wolfy, like mine, only blue in color. I pulled the rear bumper to replace the one with the trailer hitch. I only need to paint it white.
      Also got a shift knob that's cleaner than the one I had. Picked up a steering column surround, and arm rests. It's finally coming all the way back together, and i can't wait to get it registered and clean.

      I did just order $200 worth of parts from GAP, to replace all of the cooling system, oiling system, and a couple parts for the fuel system. should be back to looking and performing like it's right off the showroom floor in no time now.
      • FS: 2 Early Westy Grills for MK1

      DIYAUTOFTW

    35. Member efritsch's Avatar
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      1992 Passat Syncro Wagon, 1987 Fox Wagon (Project)
      06-03-2012 08:08 PM #35
      Good to hear it's running again.

      So did you define exactly what caused the issue in the end?
      Quote Originally Posted by 90quattrocoupe
      I am old enough that I only have to be nice when I want to.

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