Stalled (gelled?), towed, now can't start

VATechTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Location
White Rock, BC
TDI
Jetta 2001 Silver (RIP!)
Yesterday was about 0 degrees F in the morning. I had about 3 gal of fuel in the tank. I had added white-bottle Powerservice the night before, and I added enough for a full tank. Started ok, got to work no problem. Temps did not climb above 15F during the day. I filled the tank (topped off, vented) with diesel during the day at work which is about 55 mi from home.

On the way home, made it about 20 miles, then the engine died going uphill without warning. Power started to fade (heard no unusual sounds or noises), then it stalled just as I was getting it off the road. It was 10-15F, and my first thought was maybe it had gelled.

Waited an hour for a tow back to the house. During that time I tried a couple of times to start and it turned over but didn't catch. While waiting I had a good Samaritan watch the fuel window for me while I tried to crank and told him to look for any bubbles moving-- he saw none.

This morning I added some more white-bottle Powerservice to the tank and tried to start it. Battery was totally dead. It had been on it's way out anyway and having a hard time with cold mornings so I went and bought a replacement.

Replaced battery and cleaned the grounds under the battery tray while I was at it.

Engine now turns over normally now but will not fire. I do see a few bubbles moving through the fuel tube when the engine it turned over.

VAG scan returns:


Address 01: Engine Labels: 038-906-012-CP.LBL
Part No: 038 906 012 CP
Component: 1,9l R4 EDC G500SG 2839
Coding: 00002
Shop #: WSC 00066

1 Fault Found:
17656 - Start of Injection Timing Regulation: Control Deviation
P1248 - 35-10 - - - Intermittent
Readiness: 0 0 0 0 0

I drained a tiny bit of water from the fuel filter but not much at all. The belts appear ok, the timing belt is about 5k miles from due for replacement but appears to still be in good shape (teeth not badly rounded or anything). I realize I have no way to tell visually if it's skipped a tooth.

I don't have a helper here to try cracking injector lines to check for fuel being pumped.

I have checked for stuck ASV and it's open.

When cranking the engine, after about 10 sec cranking the oil pressure light flashes and beeps. Don't know if that's normal.

If there's anything else I should try please advise. Thanks very much

Tim
 

M3APX

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Location
Albany, NY
TDI
2001 Beetle
Glad you posted and waiting to hear what the gurus offer.

Minus 8 degrees F yesterday morning. '01 NB started ok. Drove to work, about 16 miles. About 1:00 pm, temp was up to 12 degrees F. Had to drive to a conference. Car started right up, drove about 4miles and the car died on the highway. Had it towed home. I checked tb immediately in the driveway - it is fine. Car has 1/2 tank fuel, with about 15 oz Power Service added at last fill-up.

From what I learned after researching the forum carefully last night, it's either fuel gelling or perhaps ice build-up on the on the sending unit in the fuel tank. But I'm not a tdi guru, so......
 

JASONP

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Location
Guelph
TDI
2015 Golf TDI Comfortline 6spd
Try adding Diesel 911 to the tank or the filter if you have access,I've just started using 8oz to a full tank of Diesel 911 instead of white PS,or you can pour HOT tap water over the fuel filter and see if that works,it did for me 3 times this week
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
Can you get the car into a warm garage?

It's ideal to change the fuel filter in the fall to eliminate the possibility of pooled water icing over.
 

Jeece

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Location
Granby, Qc, Canada
TDI
Jetta 1999.5 TDI
Since car seem to be a 2001, I'm leaning towards the "fuel sender revision C or D" trouble. Get a drill ready. :D

Then again, I'm not a guru, and there may be more obvious stuff to check out before modding the sender unit. Just a suggestion here.
 

M3APX

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Location
Albany, NY
TDI
2001 Beetle
I'm not certain I understand the "drill" fix for the "C or D" sender versions. What exactly needs to be drilled out?

Would probably be easier if I simply pull the sender and see how it's constructed, but if someone could explain what needs to be done before I take things apart and break them....... Ron.
 

JASONP

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Location
Guelph
TDI
2015 Golf TDI Comfortline 6spd
M3APX said:
I'm not certain I understand the "drill" fix for the "C or D" sender versions. What exactly needs to be drilled out?

Would probably be easier if I simply pull the sender and see how it's constructed, but if someone could explain what needs to be done before I take things apart and break them....... Ron.
Here you go Ron,lot of other info here as well
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=647602
 

eb2143

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Location
Rhode Island
TDI
None
If the fuel is gelled or the pickup iced and it hasn't warmed up in your parts, you usually need to do more than you have done so far to get it to start.
First, the white bottle is not formulated to help ungel gelled fuel. You need to add Diesel 911 to the tank for that. However, if fuel has gelled, it is more likely it did it in the lines between the tank and the filter. Because of this, read the following post (last paragraph especially) for a great method of fixing this problem: http://forums.tdiclub.com/showpost.php?p=2383659&postcount=11

The key to fixing a gelling problem in the lines quickly is to have access to compressed air and a vacuum pump to prime the lines. You need to go under the rear seat cushion and find the tank cover to access the other end of the line you will blow out.
You don't need a helper to crack the fuel lines. Just crack one or two of the nuts half a turn, wrap them in a rag and crank for 5-10 seconds. If you start to hear it catch, stop cranking and tighten them up. If it doesn't begin to start, check to see if your rags have diesel fuel on them.

If you don't have access to the correct tools, you could try other techniques already mentioned, like pouring hot water over your lines or using a hairdryer on the fuel lines (passenger side, blue and ?black lines, really easy to spot).

PS EDIT: oil light normal after extended cranking.
 
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JASONP

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Location
Guelph
TDI
2015 Golf TDI Comfortline 6spd
M3APX said:
Jason - thank you - it looks pretty straightforward. Ron.
Not sure what car this was for but Beetle,Golf and Jetta are built on the A4 platform and use alot of the same parts.
 

carnotgas

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2005
Location
New York
TDI
2015 Jetta
Change the fuel filter

Most likely it's not gellin but a tiny bit of water in the fuel filter. Install a new filter and either fill the filter with fuel or use a mighty vac to prime the filter. Than open the injector fitings and crank the engine until fuel comes out. Tighten the lines and start the engine.
 

cp

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2001
Location
usa
TDI
2006 TDI Beetle
VATechTDI said:
last changed the fuel filter less than 20k miles ago.
Isn't 20K about when the fuel filter should be changed?
 

eb2143

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Location
Rhode Island
TDI
None
If you do find the pickup has icy gunk in it or that the filter is iced up, still do your starter and battery a favor and prime the lines with fuel.

10 minutes:
1. Using a vacuum pump (pela oil extractor works fine if you have one, mityvac is easiest), pull fuel from the tank through the filter via the filter outlet.
2. Apply vacuum to the fuel return hose from the pump (the line that is the inlet to the thermostatic tee on the filter). This takes quite a bit of vacuum, but you should see fuel eventually.
AND/OR
Crack nuts on injectors and crank away.

In my experience, once you do this it starts immediately because the air has been purged. Wasn't even necessary for me to crack the nuts.

_I used to be skeptical of spending money on all these little TDI-must tools the guru mechanics around here use, but now that I have them, it makes everything your car throws at you so much easier to troubleshoot. So, buy a mityvac if you don't already have one. I'm guessing you don't.
 

VATechTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Location
White Rock, BC
TDI
Jetta 2001 Silver (RIP!)
What a difference a day makes! Was heading out this morning to seek some 9-1-1 and a new fuel filter but decided to try and start the car first just-in-case. Started right up! What a relief-- tomorrow would have been an extremely bad day to not have a car.

Thanks for your help, all!
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
VATechTDI said:
What a difference a day makes! Was heading out this morning to seek some 9-1-1 and a new fuel filter but decided to try and start the car first just-in-case. Started right up! What a relief-- tomorrow would have been an extremely bad day to not have a car.

Thanks for your help, all!
And had your drive home on Friday been less than 20 miles you'd not have known you have a problem. So today the car started, that means the problem is solved?
Now how long will you wait to change the fuel filter? CHANGE it.
Winter fuel is cold it's thicker, it doesn't flow as freely though a well used filter. When the thermal valve is diverting only a trickle of cold fuel comes in from the tank, most of the fuel is partly warmed by the return being recirculated through the filter. This slightly warmed return fuel does not get to the tank to provide any heat back there because it remains in the filter.
Drive long enough and the filter finally warms enough to instantly change the thermal valve to return to tank.
Now all the fuel that goes into the filter is coming from the cold fuel tank. All that cold fuel can easily be blocked at the media. The return hose is still warm so the valve doesn't change back until after you've starved the engine because the cold fuel can't get through the filter fast enough.
You made it to work before the valve changed and required all the fuel to come from the tank. The compromised filter was able to deal with warm recirculated fuel and just the trickle of cold make-up from the tank. On the trip home it was just warm enough to allow the valve to snap change to a full return. This means a full supply from the tank with no more recirculation. This cold fuel and a restricted, used filter caused your problem.
 
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whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Lug_Nut said:
And had your drive home on Friday been less than 20 miles you'd not have known you have a problem. So today the car started, that means the problem is solved?
Now how long will you wait to change the fuel filter? CHANGE it.
Winter fuel is cold it's thicker, it doesn't flow as freely though a well used filter. When the thermal valve is diverting only a trickle of cold fuel comes in from the tank, most of the fuel is partly warmed by the return being recirculated through the filter. This slightly warmed return fuel does not get to the tank to provide any heat back there because it remains in the filter.
Drive long enough and the filter finally warms enough to instantly change the thermal valve to return to tank.
Now all the fuel that goes into the filter is coming from the cold fuel tank. All that cold fuel can easily be blocked at the media. The return hose is still warm so the valve doesn't change back until after you've starved the engine because the cold fuel can't get through the filter fast enough.
That is a good explaination of why it takes awhile for the gelled fuel to shut down the engine. It makes sense in my brain anyway.
 

sootwagen

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2003
Location
Pennsylvania
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon, 5 Speed, Indigo Blue, 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD
Lug_Nut said:
And had your drive home on Friday been less than 20 miles you'd not have known you have a problem. So today the car started, that means the problem is solved?
Now how long will you wait to change the fuel filter? CHANGE it.
Winter fuel is cold it's thicker, it doesn't flow as freely though a well used filter. When the thermal valve is diverting only a trickle of cold fuel comes in from the tank, most of the fuel is partly warmed by the return being recirculated through the filter. This slightly warmed return fuel does not get to the tank to provide any heat back there because it remains in the filter.
Drive long enough and the filter finally warms enough to instantly change the thermal valve to return to tank.
Now all the fuel that goes into the filter is coming from the cold fuel tank. All that cold fuel can easily be blocked at the media. The return hose is still warm so the valve doesn't change back until after you've starved the engine because the cold fuel can't get through the filter fast enough.
You made it to work before the valve changed and required all the fuel to come from the tank. The compromised filter was able to deal with warm recirculated fuel and just the trickle of cold make-up from the tank. On the trip home it was just warm enough to allow the valve to snap change to a full return. This means a full supply from the tank with no more recirculation. This cold fuel and a restricted, used filter caused your problem.
This is why I like to change my fuel filter in the fall, right before the weather gets really cold. It's just one less thing to worry about in the winter.
 

diy_fool

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Location
Huntington, NY
TDI
'00 NB
My car suffered a gelling issue last week in 15 degree weather (apparently a victim of not enough antigel in B80) - it started and drove fine for 7 miles. A half mile to go to work and it hesitated a bit from fuel starvation but it finished the trip without further symptoms. By the way, the fuel filter was changed a month ago due to stalling on the road.

An hour later the car wouldn't start even though the temperature was warming up. I cranked it quite a bit over the day in a failed attempt to prime the filter. Came back later with some tools for a deeper look.

The mighty-vac drew up fuel rather quickly, seemed like the filter was full. It turns out the injector lines had air which after bleeding and a jump allowed the car to start and run fine.

Now I don't think the car should ever get airlocked from gelled fuel so I took a look at the filter return T o-rings. They were hard from age and slipped in and out of the filter without resistance. Put new ones on and they now have some small friction going into the filter which should seal it.

Moral of the story is not all filters come with new o-rings. Buy the ones that do like Mann and use them. Blue on top, black on bottom.
 
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