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A3 1.8T won't start in the mornings - Please Help!

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by A3Tomlin, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. A3Tomlin
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    A3Tomlin Drive it like you stole it

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    [Feb 1, 2010]
    Hi Guys,

    Knew about this problem since the first day I bought it but figured it was the battery since it had been parked for over a week in the sub-zero temperatures around here. Problem is, in the mornings, it literally doesn't even tick over. I put the key in, all the lights come on, radio, fans etc and when I turn the key, nothing happens. The lights don't dim, the engine doesn't even try to turn over, there's no relay sounds or straining starter motor.

    However, later in the day, I'll try it again and it'll start first flick with absolutely no problems for the rest of the day. So I ran a diagnostic last night and it threw up a Low Battery Voltage code but after we cleared it, it was showing about 12.5V (after a 5 minute drive). Anyway, this morning again it doesn't start, so I try jumping it from my Mrs' Pug 306 1.9TDi with some puny cables and it didn't make any difference at all, still not even attempting to turn over.

    Could this be due to the shitty Pug and shittier cables or has anyone else got any suggestions? I want to take it in for a full service tomorrow (cos the dash says it needs one) but I can't guarentee it's even going to start tomorrow to get it there.

    Would massively appreciate any input on this at all because I'm all out of ideas and don't want this problem to taint my otherwise awesome new car :'(

    Cheers all,

    Andy
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  3. A3Monster
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    A3Monster Faster pussy cat!

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    [Feb 1, 2010]
    Hello Mate,

    Well, not sure I have an actual solution yet but you might be interested to hear that my old girl has had similar symptoms.

    Just the last few months, intermittently she stutters and tries to cut out at about 200rpm when starting up. The only way to cure it seemed to be to switch off and restart which seemed to clear it.

    In November I tried to start it and the engine started and then just cut out (just like an immobilisor problem) after the third try it started fine. Last week the cow refused to start so booked it into my garage, took her down there after puffing out blue smoke when I got it to start (flooded I think).

    Then, hey presto, my garage couldn't find anything wrong! They reset the sensors which seemed to help (they've done this before on A3s apparently to cure this). Its been fine since but I am still dubious that I have a fuel relay problem or something that is intermittent.

    The link with your story is that all this got worse for me after I had to ditch it in the snow and walk home at the start of January; leaving it at -5c for about 4 days. Started first time when I picked it up though!

    Also, I've had this stuttering problem only on cold mornings.

    Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it!
    #2
  4. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    [Feb 1, 2010]
    12.5 volts charge in the battery with the engine running is pretty rubbish to be honest mate... You should be after 13.5+ really. Anyway, get a multimeter and check the voltage across the terminals. I suspect that your alternator is shafted mate to be honest.

    If you aren't putting much charge into the battery, then it will ultimately drain, especially if you are jump starting, as it just uses the other car's battery to start. By the sounds of it, it's just about producing enough voltage to run.

    Small jump cables won't help her start, as the 1.8T takes a surprisingly large charge to start!!

    Check battery voltage across the terminals and go from there.
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  5. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Feb 1, 2010]
    I'd start with the battery as well, doesn't take much of a temp drop to kill a battery that's on its last legs. The voltage across the terminals won't tell you much about the state of the battery, I can get 12v on 8 x AA Duracells but they ain't gonna start my car. Skinny jump leads are worse than useless, especially if a cell is down on yours. You'd need to leave it jumped for 10 minutes or so before trying to start. Normally it would be the starter motor solenoid sticking but can't see why this would disappear when the weather is warmer.
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  6. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    [Feb 1, 2010]
    AndyMac is right, easy test. But, rather than spend £75 on a new battery, pop to your local Halfords/Motor Factors and they can test it for you in about 2 mins... Normally for free.

    And free is good.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
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  7. bobby_southward
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    bobby_southward Member

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    [Feb 1, 2010]
    I'd go with the battery too mate, i had a very similar problem on my bmw, would start fine on warm mornings but wouldnt even try on a cold morning, not even after a long run (used to do plymouth to darlington most weekends) after a cold night it wouldn't even try to turn over, but started great using a booster pack, new battery cured it. got mine mail order and saved a few quid.
    #6
  8. A3Tomlin
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    A3Tomlin Drive it like you stole it

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    [Feb 2, 2010]
    Thanks for the advice guys! I've had here put in last night for the two year service she badly needed and told them to check the battery at night and first thing in the morning. Hopefully a new battery will be all it takes! Getting the cambelt done at the same time so this isn't going to be a cheap one... :p
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  9. A3Tomlin
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    A3Tomlin Drive it like you stole it

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    [Feb 2, 2010]
    Just got it back from the garage, didn't have time to get the cambelt done in the end, but they said it wasn't due til 114k miles anyway!?!? Surely that's wrong?

    Anyway, they seemed to think it was a loose connection in the ignition barrel, which ballsed up the immobiliser ring? It seems fine now but have yet to try it on another cold morning...

    Also, worryingly, they say that I have a reasonable air leak in the turbo system which I should get fixed as it's dropping power as it is. I wouldn't know since it's my first 1.8T but it feels pokey enough at the moment! Would this be a big problem to fix or is it something I could knock out myself with a Haynes manual and basic tools?
    #8
  10. Bignick
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    Bignick Member

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    [Feb 2, 2010]
    Mine was doing that and it turned out to be the temp sensor and the speed sensor.
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