VW Sharan / Seat Alhambra MK1 2.0S Petrol Year 2000 Plate, NOT STARTING

Bob_UK

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Nov 9, 2020
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Hi Everyone.

Having starting problems with my Seat Alhambra Petrol 2.0s VW ADY Engine. Same engine as used in VW Golfs Mkiii I think and the MK1 Sharan Petrol.

Initially, it would take three attempts before it started. So I suspected the in tank fuel pump was failing due to lack of pressure. When you open the door or turn key to ignition, the fuel pump can be heard priming up, so it is working, but I know the non-return value is known to fail. It is over 20 years old.. So I ordered a new fuel pump. I was still driving the car. Occasionally, the car would cut out and not start. After 20 mins, the car started again. So I still suspected a failing fuel pump.

But now, the car died completely on me and will not start at all. RAC bought me home. So i'm not sure it is the fuel pump anymore.

Checks I have done;

  • No spark from the coil to HT lead. Tried another new coil. No Joy.
  • There is 12V going to the Coil, but it does not spark.
  • I started checking the CRANK Pulse Sensor. As i was taking it out, the insulation on the wires came away and I may have shorted it out. It was still connected to wiring loom. Ordered a new Crank Pulse Sensor. But before I put it in, I checked the three pin connecter for the Crank Pulse Sensor. With the ignition on, I am NOT getting 12V or any voltage from the connector. Should I be ?
  • I tried connecting my ODBII Super Plus VAG Reader into the port, but it does not recognise the ECU any more.
  • Tried another cheap ODBII ELM 327 , which I can see powers up, (LEDS flashing) but will not connect to the ECU. Both these have worked on the car before.
On turning the key or opening the door, I can no longer hear the Fuel Pump priming up.
- I have checked all fuses under the steering column, fuse box, all OK.

AS I can't connect to the ECU, do you think I have blown the ECU ?

I will check the Immobiliser and fuel pump relays next, but I changed them about two years ago, so it can't be them but will check again.?

Any suggestions on how to proceed will be gratefully received.

Thanks

Bob.
 

Crasher

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You need to start with a proper code read such as VCDS. Check the ECU relay (upper row, on the right with 30 on top) and see if it is black made in the far east or light grey made in Germany. A key symptom of the immobiliser playing up is the engine starting and immediately cutting out, the ECU communicates with the diagnostic system through the immobiliser so if these fail, you can't connect to the ECU. Unfortunately replacing the immobiliser is a fraught business and further complicated by the part being obsolete since 2017 so a used unit and matching key chips is the best way.
 

Bob_UK

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Nov 9, 2020
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Thanks for your suggestions..

I had a little time today, so I pulled the fusebox out and located the Relays.

Previously, when I had a no-start situation, I used to blanket change the Relays 100 and 30. I recently changed the relays last year due to a no start and got the car working. The relays tend to last for about 8 years, but it seems relay no 30 was faulty after one year !! The relay has an 86A connection which powers the relay OK, but there is also a connection 86. This one has a diode after the connection, which has blown I think so will not energize the relay. I still had the original 1st Relay, which i put in and hey presto, I am getting 12volts at the camshaft sensor now.

The car is still not starting, but I am now getting a spark at the distributor Cable coming from the coil. Will be checking the fuel supply now.

My problem was I already had a suspicious fuel pressure problem, then it was compounded with no Spark a day after, confusing the issue, and the Crankshaft sensor wire insulation came away in my hand due to old age and shorted out..
So I have a few more checks to do.

I will keep you informed. Thanks Guys..

Bob.
 

Crasher

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If the G28 crank speed sensor has even the slightest problem the engine will not run, you can disconnect the cam position sensor G40 and you will not even notice a difference up until 5400rpm, if the G28 has even the slightest problem the engine will not run.
 

Bob_UK

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Nov 9, 2020
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Latest Update...

So my original symptoms were; No Start on first turning the key, like it used to before. Never used to have a stating problem with the car.. The car did however start after the Third Attempt. So I suspected the fuel pump in the tank. It's 21 Years Old so thought it was on it's way out. So ordered a new Fuel Pump.

In the meantime, I had a look at the Rotor and Distributor Cap. The Cap was all cracked. so needed changing. I changed them both for an Intermotor Rotor and a Bremi Distributor Cap. This did not sort out the "Third attempt" Starting issue.

So I kept driving the car while waiting for the fuel pump to arrive from Germany. To my dismay, the car stuttered to a holt on the dual carriageway a week later. The RAC kindly dragged me home. The RAC Man didn't check the car after I told him I thought it was the fuel pump. We did listen for the pump turning on when opening the door or turning the key to ignition. We heard nothing. So, confident it was the fuel pump, I got a tow home.

So, during my checks, I found no spark at the centre point of the distributor cap. There was no power coming from the coil. I had changed Relay 30 & 100, ECU/Immobiliser and Fuel pump I think, last year, so did not suspect the relays. I thought it might be an issue with Crankshaft sensor (G28) or Camshaft sensor (G40) (The one on the distributor). As I tried to remove the Crankshaft Speed Sensor, the insulation came away in my hand and all three wires were shorting with each other.

Car is old, so I ordered these two sensors. I then checked for power at the CrankShaft sensor plug. There was nothing. So next I pulled the fuse box out, (from under the steering column) and checked relays 30 & 100. Relay 30 had a failed diode. I replaced the Relay. Now I was getting power to the Crankshaft Position sensor (G28). So I taped up the old Crankshaft sensor and plugged it in. Still NO START. I was now getting a spark at the Coil lead, going to the distributor, but on further checking, no spark at any of the spark plugs or leads coming out of the distributor. Very Strange. Its a NEW Cap and Rotor..

The inside of the New Distributor Cap had black burn marks on the inside copper Pins. Anyway, I took it back to GSF and got an exchange rotor and Cap. Changing the Rotor did nothing, but when I changed the Distributor Cap for another new one, the car started again on the third attempt !!!! The Cap had become faulty after 2 weeks !!

So now, the car was again starting on the third attempt, from cold. By this time the Fuel Pump and two Sensors had arrived. I changed the Crankshaft sensor and to my surprise, the "Third Attempt" starting problem went away !! I was Happy !! The sensor had been faulty and not the fuel pump.

I drove the car around locally, then a little further. I noticed the car was stuttering occasionally. So I still suspected the Fuel Pump again. I was gonna send the new pump back, but now because of this stuttering, I decided to change the Fuel Pump.

The car felt a bit better with a bit more power, but this was all short-lived !! The car started to Stutter again. The more I drove it, the worse it got, until finally, the car died outside my house. I used the starter motor and first gear, to drag the car onto my driveway. I checked for a spark at the coil again, there was nothing ... DAM I thought the Relay had failed again. I left the car on the drive. It was 8pm and dark. I wasn't gonna pull out the fuse box again and the relays at that time of night.

Good thing I didn't, because the next morning, the car started first time again.. !!! So now I have a thermal problem. Some component it getting hot and not allowing the coil to generate a spark. For your information, I changed the coil 7 months ago for an ErstKlassig Coil from (German Swedish French) GSF. So surely, that can't have failed already, could it ??!!

So tomorrow, I am gonna change the coil again, and this time I have bought a BREMI coil and will see if that makes a difference.

For your information, I am still NOT able to connect and interrogate the ECU. Both my OBDII devices, which used to connect to the car and worked perfectly, are both not connecting anymore but do work on my Golf, so they are OK.

Anyone suggest any place to look re the OBDII connection problem? RE: The stereo suggestion above, the Car Stereo is still the same original unit from new.

If changing the coil does not solve the problem, I don't know what else to do... All suggestions are welcome..

Crasher, Thanks, you were right about the G28 Crank Position Sensor. When i compared it with the new sensor and an external power supply, I found there was a voltage on the middle signal wire on the old sensor, when i passed a screwdriver in front of the sensor, but on the new sensor, I did not get any voltage from the middle pin, and the old sensor had a bulge on the face, but was allowing the car to start on the third attempt. Changing the sensor, fixed the starting problem.

Now just have to find the Thermal Failing component..

Thank You All..
 

Crasher

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I think you may have introduced a fault, all three brands you mention their have a dire reputation but I expect you fitting a Bremi coil will resolve the problem. On the engines the three main causes of problems are the coil, G28 and ECU relay. Personally I would get a Bosch cap and rotor in there and remember, the G40 sensor in the dizzy has no noticeable affect on running or starting until 5400rpm; you can unplug it and it will still start, all it does is tell the ECU where number 1 cylinder is so it can initiate sequential injection.
 

Bob_UK

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Nov 9, 2020
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7
Crasher, - Thanks for your input. I bought a new Meyle Relay (German Make). Didn't want to mess around with resoldering..

I tried the Diagnostics again, now that the car starts. I was getting it to connect now, But there were no codes stored.

Yesterday, I drove the car locally, getting it to reach temperature. All seemed fine for 20mins, then the stuttering started again.. Occasional stutters at first, then progressively worse. Until finally it would idle ok, but as soon as I rased the RPM, the car started to miss-fire and cut out.

I used electrical cleaner spray on the King Lead (Coil to Distributer Cable) and a bit of sandpaper to clean the copper connections. The car started running OK again for about 2 mins, then the same problem.

I suspect the King Lead at the moment. As I have NEVER changed the HT leads in 21 Years, (still the original leads after 160,000 miles) I think I should change those and see how things go. I have recently read the HT Leads should be changed around 60,000 Miles, so not bad going. Also, when I was pulling lead 4 off the spark plug, the wire came away in my hand, with the other end still on the spark plug !! So the leads have definitely had it and need changing.

I think the King lead is suffering a thermal Breakdown Problem. Well, that's what I am hoping, a simple fix.

I have ordered some quality leads from Germany, as EuroCarparts and GSF, just don't have a proper brand name. The only issue is it takes one week Plus, to get them delivered from Germany..

Fingers crossed.
 
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