Starter solenoid or...

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
No click from starter solenoid. If battery and all wiring is good would this be a failed solenoid?


Some time back I replaced the starter with one that I rebuilt (new brushes and solenoid): I"d recently pulled it from the wife's car- it was in need of a refresh. It would spin the engine really well and all was good except a very fleeting sound of a solenoid that was a bit slow to disengage. I'd lubed things up well, or so I figure I did. This is like the 3rd VW starter I've rebuilt (I've done several others, so not new to this rodeo).


Have all the appropriate lights on the dash. I can hear the fuel solenoid clicking, but nothing else. I even had my hand on the solenoid when the wife turned the key (nothing).



All relevant electrical connections cleaned (even took the opportunity to clean the grounds under the battery tray). Again, it was cranking over effortlessly, nice and fast and then nothing all of a sudden. I was fortunate in that I had some younger couple give me a push (by hand) and get the car fired up to get home: it was almost the first time that any of my TDIs would have been stranded.


I poked around for references to fuses or relays but am coming up short on that: Andybees makes mention of a relay in one of his posts I found but I can't find any such thing. I'm going to go through the fuses, but there's nothing that seems to be associated with the starter that I can see.


IF it's just the solenoid (I'll look to see if the wire self-immolated) is it possible to replace the solenoid in-car (without pulling the starter)? Of course, if there's a problem with the starter itself then replacing the solenoid is likely going to see the solenoid fail again.


If nothing else than the starter then I'll just run out and get a rebuilt one. Doesn't take too long to swap out (though I have zero time right now). Just don't want to commit until I'm sure that it's not some fuse or relay I'm not aware of.



Not a good time for this (like there ever is).
 

mr.loops

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2010
Location
Kelowna
TDI
2002 jetta, 2003 Bora 1.8T
I’d just jump T50 terminal directly to the battery positive cable. If it starts you can rule out the starter/solenoid and you have an issue upstream to the ignition switch

Edit: obviously make sure battery is in proper working order in order to do the above :)

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Last edited:

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
I think I'll just look to test for voltage rather than trying to introduce voltage: but will require assistance from my wife, again. But, yeah, need to rule out this being an issue with the ignition switch (if there's no relays or fuses then this is the only other thing). It would seem odd, however, for the ignition switch to all of a sudden crap out when there's been no sign of any problems: I don't have any junk hanging off the key, just the key itself, so no stress from any of that to factor in.


Which is the least hassle, replacing a starter or ignition switch? Hoping that I don't have to find out how long it takes to do an ignition switch! I can leisurely do a starter in a couple of hours (includes putting all tools away): I remove the battery and battery tray, which is what adds time- I find that it makes starter R&R easier.
 

steve6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2010
Location
Beaverton, ON
TDI
2003 jetta tdi
I’d just jump T50 terminal directly to the battery positive cable. If it starts you can rule out the starter/solenoid and you have an issue upstream to the ignition switch

Edit: obviously make sure battery is in proper working order in order to do the above :)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Also, ebrake + neutral before doing any such thing.

On the mkiv there is no relay between you and the starter, if you are in the start position with the key and the clutch is pushed, you should get 12v to the wire going to the starter.. easiest thing to check, if you have 12v there but not turning over the issue lies at the starter. Tapping the solenoid lightly with a piece of wood(or hammer) may help the car start, if that helps or it has started to work again after the push start, the issue is most likely the solenoid/starter.
 

steve6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2010
Location
Beaverton, ON
TDI
2003 jetta tdi
Which is the least hassle, replacing a starter or ignition switch? Hoping that I don't have to find out how long it takes to do an ignition switch! I can leisurely do a starter in a couple of hours (includes putting all tools away): I remove the battery and battery tray, which is what adds time- I find that it makes starter R&R easier.
Starter for sure! if you remove battery, battery tray you can remove the starter from the top. If you have a replacement ready its easily under an hour job.
 

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
Steve, yeah, that reminded me... the clutch switch. Any chance that this is where the problem lies? Yeah, yeah, TEST (test at solenoid will tell me if it's upstream or not)!


I feel nothing coming in to the solenoid. If it were just stuck I'd likely feel a slight jolt (as it binds). Nothing should be sticking as it's a fresh rebuild. Not ruling it out.



Under an hour. I never have a contiguous block of time. Seems that I'm always interrupted. But, one hour and double that is a safe target: no sooner does one block for just one hour then something goes wrong.
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
Lol sounds like my life.
 

AndyBees

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 27, 2003
Location
Southeast Kentucky
TDI
Silver 2003 Jetta TDI, Silver 2000 Jetta TDI (sold), '84 Vanagon with '02 ALH engine
Andybees makes mention of a relay in one of his posts I found but I can't find any such thing.

Yep! Google got you ......... :D

The Relay I mentioned is one that I installed on my Vanagon with the ALH engine. The ignition wire from the Steering Column to the Starter Solenoid is over 14 feet long................ lots of resistance. Thus, the Solenoid would not operate or when it did, it was a dud! So, installing a Relay near the Starter with hot power right there, the ignition wire operated the Relay and solved my issue.


As for jumping your starter at the Solenoid, make dang sure the transmission is in neutral and the park brake is on.

Yeah, I've disassembled numerous TDI starters .. close to junk in my opinion, especially those with over 400k miles on 'em!:D

All you need to do, is remove the plug/connector from the Solenoid. Then, "prepare" a thirty inch 10 gauge wire and plug it in the place of the starter wire you just unplugged. Now, with tranny in neutral and park brake engaged, touch the other end of the wire to a good Positive spot on the battery. If the Solenoid engages the Starter, well, you've isolated the problem................ if not, well, the Solenoid is bad or the Starter is not grounded (which could be internally......... they do ground thru the brushes)
 

DivineChaos

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
gets cold here
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
Starter for sure! if you remove battery, battery tray you can remove the starter from the top. If you have a replacement ready its easily under an hour job.
had my starter go. the solenoid ob the starter went bad. just clicked. I had to jump the solenoid and put power to the starter once. it worked normal till the next deep freeze. then i couldnt get it to engage the bendix. Took me about 20 min to swap mine. jist had to remove the airbox. can not believe what the suckers cost.
 

steve6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2010
Location
Beaverton, ON
TDI
2003 jetta tdi
had my starter go. the solenoid ob the starter went bad. just clicked. I had to jump the solenoid and put power to the starter once. it worked normal till the next deep freeze. then i couldnt get it to engage the bendix. Took me about 20 min to swap mine. jist had to remove the airbox. can not believe what the suckers cost.
I always rebuilt mine, brush box and solenoid is not expensive and is easy enough to change, broken bolts are the biggest worry.
 

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
Was waiting to test my starter before posting a follow up...


I ended up just hitting power to the trigger on the solenoid. The solenoid seemed to work, but the starter didn't turn/spin. I'd picked up a rebuilt starter just in case, so I went ahead and dropped it in (took an hour). All is working now.


I did a quick bench test on the removed starter and verified that the solenoid appears to be working just as it should. Not sure exact point of failure here. When I have time I'll take it back apart to see.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Sometimes they can clog from clutch dust. Unlike a turbo or IP, these things are rebuildable.
 

UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
Figured I'd post what I finally found was the problem...


The brush box completely exploded. Looked like it was in a blender! I'd post a picture, but it's too much a pain: just use your imagination!


It was covered under my warranty: I didn't charge myself for the repair costs!
 
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