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1.9 tdi afn hard starting (fixed maybe?)

Discussion in 'A4/S4 forum(B5 Chassis)' started by fARQUARE, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    Today my car became a pita after running sweet for the last year. Car always used to start as soon as the key was turned, now its taking at least 10 secs of charging before it chunters into life....

    Car:
    1.9 tdi audi a4 avant estate
    218k miles on the clock

    Symptoms other than mentioned above - none. Car runs sweet when going with mpg, sounds and temps all normal.

    Temps are hovering around 0 today so my money is on a glow plug related issue. Going to look in the morning and see what i can see. Would an engine that is up to temp restart as soon as it was switched off because of residual heat in the cylinders? Mine doesn't, it seems starting it hard regardless.

    Any tips on what to look for with the glow plug system - any fuses, relays or sensors that i should check? I'll plug into vcds first thing and see if i get any clues there first.

    If it does turn out to be glow plugs i'd be tempted to go to halfords as they are open on sundays. Has anyone got experience of halfords glow plugs?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
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  3. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    i would say it's timing related as a retarded/advanced pump will only show in very cold weather. If the engine has good compression then it will start even in colder weather. Did you change the fuel filter re3cently or disturbed the fuel system in any way ? If you have vcds you could check the timing in basic settings block 0 with the tdi timing plugin. Glow plugs can be at fault but a healthy VE engine will start without glow plugs even in colder weather- will splutter and smoke for a while but it should still start. I would check the woddruff key on the end of the crank, it has a habbit of breaking which trows the timing all over the place and it will lead to bent valves if left unchecked ! If the timing is fine then i would change the glowplugs- use plenty penetrating fluid and make sure the engine is warm when on removal so you don't snap any ! Also a duff coolant temp. sensor can throw the timing out of the window, is your glow plug light stays on for longer than 10 sec ?
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  4. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    Nothing has been changed on the engine timing wise so the only thing that would throw the timing out would be if the woodruf key has snapped or if the belt has somehow jumped a tooth if I understand correctly.....

    Tried to run vcds last night but my laptop is so rubbish it's somehow lost all it's port settings.

    Hopefully will get vcds sorted then check all timing and electrical systems today
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  5. ScottD3
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    ScottD3 I want your faulty electronics Supporter

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    Good luck.
    Having the same engine thats fast approaching that mileage, I'd be interested in the fix.

    Just in case. :D

    When was the glow plugs changed last?
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  6. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    right, some progress. Managed to get VCDS running and scanned the engine for faults, all that came back was glow plug relay - open or short to ground (didnt copy the code as i'm an idiot). I cleared the code and the hard start was still there but it fired up within 5 secs, the engine did feel a bit lumpy around 1500 rpm though.

    Next i decided to hit the glow plugs with some wd40 in preperation for taking them out. I started from the front, removed plug - liberal spray of wd40 replace plug. The next 3 plugs were snapped around the electrode! Looks like the plastic has become brittle with age, i sprayed them with wd40 and put them back as well fitting as they could be. To my surprise the engine fired up on the first crank and the next 3 times it did the same.

    I will need to get fuel today so will fill the tank, then drain the water off the fuel filter cause i dont think ive ever done that. Hopefully that was an easy fix for me, but i've now got a niggling doubt about this woodruff key. Can anyone telll me if you can check the tdi timing graph with vcds light as thats the only one i have.

    For reference the glow plugs have not been changed in the 50k miles i've owned the car.
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  7. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    left the car for a few hours before going out and cracking open the drain tap on the fuel filter. Car started on the button again - so hopefully that was a quick fix.
    i will see how it goes this week.
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  8. a3tdi2001
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    a3tdi2001 Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    If you're going to get a new set of glowplugs then you can save on the dealer's prices by buying Beru ones as they make them for Audi, or at least do for the ASV TDI. GSF do them for a really good price on ebay.
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  9. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 29, 2012]
    not sure if i need them as the problem seems to harness related, a quick look on vagcat doesnt seem to show the harness avaiable seperately. Does anyone know if you can but this on its ownb
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  10. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 30, 2012]
    car started and run fine today whith no falut codes thrown over 120 miles. got a set of glow plugs today from halfords for £40 and fitted tonight. The harness is available for £800 plus vat from audi which i think i'll give a miss to.

    I will try to get one of the updated ones off ebay cause the connections are rubbish and there is no way to keep the connectors on the plugs.

    Ordered a relay 109 too so i'll try to replace that when it comes tomorrow.
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  11. Alsie
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    Alsie Member

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    [Jan 30, 2012]
    £800???? Im breaking a 1998 1.9TDi avant soon, you will be more than welcome to the harness
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  12. ScottD3
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    ScottD3 I want your faulty electronics Supporter

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    [Jan 30, 2012]
    Load cover?!?!?!?!?
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  13. Alsie
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    Alsie Member

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    [Jan 30, 2012]
    yes it has a load cover not the best condition though, needs cleaning
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  14. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Jan 31, 2012]
    will take the rear wiper motor if its working....


    right - been thinking a bit more about the harness. The loom audi sell is the full engine loom which is obviously out of the question. I basically have 2 choices - i can either but a 2 cable loom from ebay which i will nbeed to splice into my existing harness:
    Glow plug wiring loom VW Audi Skoda Seat 1.9 various 028971766 New genuine part | eBay

    or i could save some loot and adapt the harness i have currently....

    The top of the glow plug is threaded so im thinking about cutting off the existing connectors, soldering and shrink wrapping on a few cm's of suitable wire with a ring connection and bolting it to the top of the glow plug. Other than being slower to remove the glow plug connections from the plugs can you see why there would any issue with this working?

    Even with the sub zero temps the car has started instantly for the last 2 days, so it looks like it was a combination of old plugs and dodgy connections causing the issues.
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  15. Alsie
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    Alsie Member

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    [Jan 31, 2012]
    It wasa bit stop start lol... Seriously though the harness is foc if you need it
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  16. fARQUARE
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    [Feb 1, 2012]
    A bit more thought before I go cutting the loom, would the wires that connect to the glow plugs have 1 strand or 2 strands I.e. I would not be able to connect a ring connector to it. ~ does anyone know?
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  17. TeKnodriver
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    TeKnodriver Biodiesel Purrrr

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    [Feb 2, 2012]
    AFAIK is just the positive in the plug and earthed to the engine block -
    checked mine th other day with multimeter and was getting just under 12v at the plugs [unplug temp sender to get more GP time]

    one of my plastic sockets is broken in two like yours but still connects fine

    got myself a set of new Beru GPs to fit later... wish me luck!
    P)
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  18. fARQUARE
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    fARQUARE Member

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    [Feb 2, 2012]
    Good luck with the gp change.

    Car has been starting instantly this week even with the -5 temps weve been seeing so I guess my old gp's were probably past it anyway.
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  19. Nessy
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    Nessy VW + Audi mad

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    [Feb 4, 2012]
    I replaced my glowplugs about a month ago as I'd realised that in the 90k miles I've had the car for I'd never even checked them!
    The car hadn't become difficult to start or anything.
    I too bought the Beru plugs via GSF off Ebay and apart from squirting some penetrant around the plug holes a few days before doing the job it was straightforward.
    All the plugs came easily and the whole job only took 20 mins to do (I did have to buy a thinwalled extra-long reach socket though), so don't let all the horror stories about glowplug removal on the internet put you off!
    Oh, and in the recent sub-zero temps it's started easier and more smoothly than it ever has.
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