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Old January 23rd, 2013, 16:23   #1
Walley
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Northeast Ohio
Fuel Economy: Good enough
Default hard start/no start. air in fuel lines. whereto look next?

I am pulling my hair out and am hoping one of you smart folks can tell me where to look next. I had been having some hard start/no start issues in my 03 Wagon, but only in the cold weather. Here is the whole sequence of repairs and issues in the hopes that one you can help me connect the dots.

-Leaky IP in Sept 2012. I replaced the seals and did hammer mod with my friends Vag-Com to set the quantity at about 3.8 (background info).
-October 2012, CEL and P0128. I replaced the CTS with one from Advance Auto.
-November-December 2012, Intermittent CEL and P0128. Hard starting after cold (30F) nights. Replaced the CTS with one from the dealer and also replaced the thermostat. Checked glow plugs with a multi-meter and removed them to check them using a battery. All were fine. Harness was fine also.
-early January 2013. Still hard starting when cold. Noticed air in fuel line from my filter to the IP. Got a new fuel filter, good o-rings, and a new t-valve from the dealer and replaced all the old stuff. Also replaced the original line clamps with some worm gear clamps.
-Monday. Temperatures below 15F. Hard starting in the cold and hard starting after partial warm-up. Still a lot of and bubbles and air in the fuel line going to the IP.
-Today. Hooked up a bottle with fuel to the IP similar to a diesel purge and ran the car till only a few tiny bubbles remained. I assume this will tell me if the air is getting in on the IP side of my filter. (I don't think this is the problem, but I thought I should check).

If my air leak isn't at the IP, then where should I look next?
Could there be something else that I am missing?

Thanks in advance.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 16:57   #2
csstevej
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Id still Check the Mickey mouse fitting on the fuel filter, common area for air intrusion. Cover the area with Vaseline and see if air stops.
When you did the IP, did you do it on the car or did you remove it?
Just for peace of mind check your staic and dynamic timing, might be off ( retarded ).
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Last edited by csstevej; January 23rd, 2013 at 17:00.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 17:21   #3
Walley
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Location: Northeast Ohio
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I greased up the o-rings before putting in the NEW t-valve, but I guess I could slather more on there and see what happens. Anything between the tank and filter that would cause the car to suck air when cold?

The IP stayed on the car when I replaced the seal for the quantity adjuster, the seal for the cap over the fuel temp sensor, and the large o-ring on the side. No visible leaks now. I am going to go back out and check tonight (still have the bottle hooked up), if no hard start or air bubbles then I assume everything is fine on that end.

I'll need to drive over and see my buddy with VAG-COM to check the timing.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 17:26   #4
csstevej
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Can't think of anything between filter and tank that would cause air intrusion other than the fuel sending unit.
Out of courisity , how much fuel is in your tank?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 18:18   #5
Walley
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Location: Northeast Ohio
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About a half tank right now.

Just wondering how/why would the sending unit would cause air intrusion when cold? I have heard they have a one way valve that can go bad, or get clogged. But the car will hard start even after a partial warm-up (5-10 minutes of city driving) then sitting for 5 minutes. I was thinking of replacing it a couple of weeks back, but am reluctant.

Update. The car sat in an unheated garage at 15F for 3hours (American hours). Started just fine with the bottle set-up.

Last edited by Walley; January 23rd, 2013 at 18:45. Reason: updated information
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 18:42   #6
csstevej
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I definitely would check the timing. Are you getting a large bubble of air or just streams of small bubbles?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 19:33   #7
Walley
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Its pretty much a constant stream of lentil-sized bubbles. I'll add that I greased up the t-valve after reconnecting the lines to the filter, then drove around for 15min (five on the highway) and still had a lot of bubbles. I'll check again for a hard start in the morning and call my friend with VAG-COM to check my timing.

Last edited by Walley; January 23rd, 2013 at 19:34. Reason: a lot not "alot"
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 20:07   #8
terrydtdi
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Are your fuel lines showing some dry rot? Are you running any bio?
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Old January 24th, 2013, 06:28   #9
Walley
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The "rubber" lines running from the filter back to the firewall (where they connect to the hard plastic lines) look old, but not rotten. I was considering changing these out next.

In the past I ran bio 90% of the time. I usually ran B90 in the summer and anywhere from B10 to B50 in the winter. I moved away from my bio source 2-years ago and have been running on dino-d (with Power Service) about 90% of the time ever since. Hence the reason for the leaky IP seals that I fixed back in September. You just reminded me that I did run a single tank of B80 back in October. I guess there is a chance that it could have picked up a diesel booger and clogged my sending unit, but my vac pressure looks good and the problem is air...not a lack of fuel.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 10:25   #10
Walley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csstevej View Post
I definitely would check the timing. Are you getting a large bubble of air or just streams of small bubbles?

Been thinking about this at work today so I'll respond to my own thread.

Here is a newb question.....if the car starts fine in the cold when I have a Gatorade bottle of fuel connected directly to the IP, then how would my issues be related to timing?
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Old January 24th, 2013, 12:29   #11
alphaseinor
 
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how about that piston coming out of the fuel valve on the IP?
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Old January 24th, 2013, 12:31   #12
lizbiz
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Fuel Economy: 48-52 MPG
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I know this probably isn't the place to do this, but I always have trouble find the button that says post a new thread or post. right now all I can find anywhere is post reply. can anyone tell me how to start to get to a new post when I first log in
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Old January 24th, 2013, 13:28   #13
Walley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizbiz View Post
I know this probably isn't the place to do this, but I always have trouble find the button that says post a new thread or post. right now all I can find anywhere is post reply. can anyone tell me how to start to get to a new post when I first log in
I think you go back to the main page for the "discussion area" where you want to post. Look in the almost upper right corner under the page number and click on the drop down menu for "thread tools". I had a tough time finding it also. probably placed there so newbs like me would read a bunch of posts to find our answer before posting too many redundant questions.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 13:29   #14
Walley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaseinor View Post
how about that piston coming out of the fuel valve on the IP?
Please explain.

Could this happen without first tampering with the IP?
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Old January 24th, 2013, 16:28   #15
sisyphus
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Timing. Check your timing. My car wouldn't start/hard start in the low 20's. Advanced timing with board member Abacus to 65/100, started the other day at like -8, ran like a champ.
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