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Cold start problem - A3 2.0 TDi 170

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by matt_t, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. matt_t
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    matt_t New Member

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    Hi,

    I have a 2.0 TDi 170 that I've had from new (Sep 06), and ever since we've had it there have been problems starting in cold weather. This ranges from a brief bit of roughness, through to total failure to start (crank all you like, it might cough but it never catches).

    TBH it's got beyond a joke - I've had Roadside out to it 4 times, it's currently in the dealer for the 5th time (and this time they've had it 11 weeks so far...).

    Things I've noticed are:

    1. It's worse if the fuel tank is less than half full
    2. It's worse if the car's on a rearward facing slope
    3. Even when it does start "normally", it's not clean for the first few seconds. There's no overfuelling, the revs don't rise over 1000 at all, and it feels like it's running one cylinder short. This is just for a few seconds, but...

    Anyhow, the dealer has escalated it to Audi UK, they've passed it to Germany, and they've got a couple of other cars in to try that are both showing similar symptoms (although those haven't yet gone as far as totally failing to start). Things they've changed on mine that haven't made a blind bit of difference:

    1. Coolant sensor
    2. Engine speed sensor
    3. ECU (yes, changed the whole thing, not just a reprogram)
    4. Injectors

    And a couple of other interesting points I've heard (dunno about reliability, but):

    1. A4 170 used to have similar problems, was fixed in software, but no equivalent fix for the A3
    2. VW have this problem with the Golf 170, possibly more common?

    I'd love to know if I am the only one experiencing this issue, especially given the previous couple of anecdotal points.

    So ... anyone else?

    Thanks,

    Matt.
    #1
  2. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You'd probably be better off going to P-Torque and getting the remapped software for the A3, as by the time Audi have got their fingers out of their @r$e$ and decided what flavour of illness it has this week you'll want to bin it.
    #2
  3. Markm49
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    Markm49 Member

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    yes every now and then I have something similar where it just fails to start - maybe have to turn it over 2 or 3 times before it catches. This is not the norm though as it usually starts first time for the vast majority of the time
    #3
  4. davemk
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    davemk Member

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    Interesting one....mine's similar, although it does start after the 2nd or 3rd cranking. It's only in really cold weather though (glowplugs maybe?).

    Isn't there a secondary fuel pump, which primes the system before starting? Maybe that's where the fault lies, Matt? Or I could be talking complete nonsense!
    #4
  5. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

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    I would be tempted to say that it is some kind of issue with the lift pump in the tank.

    Paul
    #5
  6. chill14
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    chill14 Newbie

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    Your fuel pumps are knackered like mine were as a guess. That is what fixed my 140 diesel in the end.

    See here for my thread posted on a very cold 24th January (2009) when you can see mine got taken away on a trailer for this issue after a 3 previous visits to the dealer.
    http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/showthread.php?t=65788

    As you will see we have had very similar things changed before they physically checked the pumps. My signature shows this as well as thread.

    Mine has had the lift pump, fuel filter and housing, and the tandem pump changed.

    If your dealer doesn't believe you tell them to check with Audi Wolverhampton on 01902 450000, ask for Jon in Service, then and ask him about Mr Aubrey's Audi A3 starting problems from January. He'll remember me as it cost them for a hire car from Audi Assistance, an MOT test as mine couldn't make it to where I'd booked it, and they had to haggle with Audi Warranty as it expired while in the dealership.

    I can safely say though, that since they have changed the pumps that it starts first time everytime, even when we had the snow, ice etc it never missed once.

    At the moment it is parked on a slope, nose up, with 50 miles left on range, and I know that it will start first kick in the morning no questions asked. Before the pumps were changed I couldn't risk anything less than 1/4 tank else i would have been stuck.
    #6
  7. steve184
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    steve184 Active Member

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    Yes i have the slight rough running when first started - worse the colder it is, probably will be fine over the sumer months. Had it in to audi for it they couldn't find a fault and have told me to see how it goes and once it gets worse they will sort it -but at the moment they cant do anything. It only does it the very first time you start after being stood - so you only get one chance a day to 'replicate' it. Even if the engine runs for 2 secs, you stop and start again it starts normally then. My cold starting is also accompanied by an audible 'clunk' or 'bang' as it starts.

    Let me know if you get it sorted though!
    #7
  8. jmckg
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    jmckg New Member

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    My story from 'down-under' is very similar to Matt's and Dave's - my A3 TDI has been towed to the dealer three times and after a software upgrade and two new fuel pumps the cold start problem persists. The only good news is that it's still under warranty. The dealer has been helpful, but may be able to learn something from these other sagas.
    John
    #8
  9. tdisportuk
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    tdisportuk Member

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    my guess would be a fuel pump issue too...
    #9
  10. stubaloo
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    stubaloo New Member

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    ​j
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  11. stubaloo
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    stubaloo New Member

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    JUST HAD TO START THIS POST UP AGAIN AND I AM SUFFERING THE SAME PROBLEM .ANY HELP BE GREAT
    #11
  12. Justin c
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    Justin c New Member

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    This cold start problem started about the Same time the fuel injectors failed on me. Those bastards failed when I was doing 75 mph in the fast lane of the M4, shut down the engine, had the wife and kids in the car at the time. To say i was pissed is an understatement. When it happened they only replaced the faulty injector. Guess what it happened again. This time they replaced all of them.
    As for the cold start problem they had the car for a month and here is a list of the things they changed.
    Fuel injector seals
    Tandem pump
    Fuel filter
    Lift pump
    Battery
    The engine has Been pressure tested fuel system has been pressure tested. The mechanic replaced and checked all of these things on the advice of Audi uk who haven,t a ****ing clue.
    I bought an Audi so it started on the turn of a key not chug into life when it felt like it.

    Has anybody been able to fix this problem?

    The Audi mechanic believes the only thing to replace now is the head!
    #12
  13. edkershaw
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    edkershaw New Member

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    Has anyone got any further with this? Mine's doing exactly the same. Had the injectors replaced on the recall. Now they've fitted a new crank sensor which has made a marginal difference, but it still needs cranking and splutters into life on cold mornings. (they had to remove the g/box to fit the crank sensor, which was quite expensive).
    Any information or advice gratefully received.
    Oh, it's a A3 170 sport 2007.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
    #13
  14. jonnysimm
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    jonnysimm jonnysimm

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    Mine is a 140 tdi and it does the same :(
    #14
  15. niallraff
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    niallraff MW 3

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    Have this exact same problem with mine, looking towards the fuel line as it only happenes when the car has been sitting for over 5 or 6 hours. seems as if the fuel has run back into the tank , I hold the trottle in on startup it goes fine after that.

    2006 a3 170 tdi s line tronic also rermapped
    #15
  16. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    Personally I think it's a coldstart map / glowplug / ambient temperature issue. Mine starts perfect at 6degrees+ plus but it's only when it's colder that it can be reluctant to start. If it were a fuelling issue then IMO it would affect all "cold" starts even in the summer etc.

    I looked at extending the glowplug length but think it's something else that is now locked on VAGCOM. It seems to be a popular mod for the old VAG TDs searching the net.
    #16
  17. Bennie1964
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    Bennie1964 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I have had the same problem with my 07 170 TDI. To date it has had the following:

    Lift Pump
    4 Injectors
    Tendem Pump
    4 Glow Plugs

    Luckily its still under warranty.... They initially found a problem with the Unit Injectors (which had only been replaced on recall about 3 months prior) and have since replaced all 4 of them again.

    They then replaced the lift pump as a precaution and then found that the tandem pump was not holding the fuel pressure when the vehicle had been stood (apparently there is a one way valve in there which stops fuel leaking back into the tank). This has been replaced along with the glow plugs but still the bloody thing is reluctant to start in cold weather.

    I am scratching my head now and i think the master tech and Audi UK are... as after this initial starting it runs and drives perfectly.

    Once the its started initially, i can switch it off and then start it straight away again with no problems at all.... its just the initial starting. It has never failed to start but has come close to it....

    Anyone found a fix which i can perhaps suggest to Audi for them to try.
    #17
    M88UES likes this.
  18. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    Mine started perfectly this morning in 0degrees. Try turning ignition on then as soon as the coil plug light goes out turn the ignition off and back on again, turn it off when the light goes out again and repeat about 3 or 4 times then try starting it.
    #18
  19. dantdi
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    dantdi ...

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    Im sure i saw somethink on here ages ago about starting problems. They sored it by a new starter motor?
    May have been starting then hot tho. Cant remember or find it.
    #19
  20. Bennie1964
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    Bennie1964 New Member

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    Yeah, i read the starter motor problem thing... that was on the 140bhp and the problem was starting when the engine was warm/running temp.

    I have tried the glow plug trick before and it did make a slight difference.

    I can't believe that Audi haven't recognised this and fixed it. I have the option of an alternative vehicle as I've only has this for 5 months and i reported the fault in the first 30 days, so i can exchange it with the 30day policy as they haven't successfully fixed it.

    I love the car tho n don't want another one! i just want them to fix it!!!
    #20
  21. M88UES
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    M88UES Theres Never Enough Power

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    Hi im new had my car a few months now , 07 2.0 TDi S line 170. and mine is still under warranty and my case is exactly the same as yours. When my car has been left over night or after 5-6 hours the initial start it really rough or just fires up. it always has 1st time but its not convincing. but again once its been running it fires up like a normal car would straight away. if anyone has any ideas in how this happens or any ideas in how to resolve it then i would really appreciate it.

    -M88UES-
    #21
  22. Bennie1964
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    Bennie1964 New Member

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    I got a replacement car now, but I was informed that the fault was due to a compression loss... (sounds expensive to me!)
    #22
  23. milli
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    milli Member

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    i went to audi yesterday to look at a tdi 170bhp, and it took 4 attempts to start the car up? is this a common problem in the cold?
    #23
  24. Biggie A3
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    Biggie A3 New Member

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    I have had the same problem on my 140 2.0 TDI sport since i bought from Audi. They investigated and said nothing was wrong. It did it again this weekend.. I was parked on a light upward incline and in the red on fuel...! I tried to jump start and charge battery, but to no avail... then this morning when it had warmed up, i turned over again and after a few coughs and splutters it started..! I have also noticed that during normal running, when ticking over at traffic lights etc.. that it 'hunts' and sounds like it's missing... so i suspect a fuel pump problem too... I would have expected more from Audi than to have what seems like a common fault, not to be recalled.. I am sure they must be aware of it by now. I have been constantly disappointed by the service and general attitude of Audi dealers, who would rather offer you a cup of coffee and try to sell you a new car than actually help you out.. Valued customer...? Pah..!
    #24
  25. Biggie A3
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    Biggie A3 New Member

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    Milli, Seems to be that if that car has the problem, then it will stay with the car.. If you have your heart set on it, then make sure they make a note of the problem, outside of the Warantee, so that it can be repaired/investigated F.O.C. at whatever time it next happens.. As has been noted.. you can get around it by making sure the tank is full and it is not parked with the front higher than the back..! But you don't buy a £20k+ car for that kind of response eh?! Alternatively buy a Mazda 3.. ;-)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    #25
  26. Bennie1964
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    Bennie1964 New Member

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    There is definitely an issue with the TDI 170 Unit Injector Engine... I thinks both Audi and the Dealers know what it is too but there not admitting anything......

    I got a TDI CR now.... Totally different experience.... 100% better and most of all, it starts from cold!
    #26
  27. cloughy
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    cloughy Member

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    my 170 pd had a really rough start (as though the engine was trying to get out of its mounts) on cold start up

    Audi had put in the wrong oil (quantum synta) under their £149 affordable servicing

    Ever since they rectified their mistake and put in longlife 3 oil the start up is first time and very smooth, couldn't believe the right oil could make such a difference
    #27
  28. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    Glad it sorted yours out but I honestly can't see how it could affect starting, the reason the specific oil is specified is for something to do with dealing with ash content.
    #28
  29. Whity1984
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    Whity1984 New Member

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    I know this seems to be a recurring trend, but did anyone manage to finally sort this problem out? Mines a 2007 170bhp TDI A3 and has been a slight slow starter since i got it at cold starts. Its fine in the summer but this winter its got alot worse and needs a few turn overs before it fires into life. I got a glow plug error in cylindar 2 when i looked at it on vag com. It out of warrenty now and the audi garage near me i really dont want to deal with as there rediculasly ****! Any help and advice welcome.

    Thanks
    #29
  30. jmckg
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    jmckg New Member

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    The dealer (having previously replaced two fuel pumps with no result) removed the fuel injectors in my A3 TDI and had them 'serviced' but the starting problem persisted. So the dealer replaced the fuel injectors and the car now starts as it should.
    #30
  31. bennyball
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    bennyball New Member

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    my car has suffered from the same issues starting since the injector recall. It only happens when it is sat for 6-7 hours+. My car has been back to the dealer twice, the last time they checked the fuel delivery flow which was fine, they have taken the injectors out and replaced the sealing rings, but no joy. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated
    #31
  32. IPA
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    IPA New Member

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    Hi guys,

    I'm new to this forum and have an A3 2.0 Tdi that takes a while to start from cold but once starts it runs fine Until it's been left for a few hours. If I ignore it - as it's out of warrantee and I haven't got buckets of money to throw at it - and just put up with the inconvenience of it taking a while to start in the mornings can anyone tell me what will probably happen. ie, will it stay the same, get worse or could break down all together one day?

    Thanks
    #32

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