Eurovan 2002 Won't start - Turn the key, it cranks but then cuts off.


Asked by Jan 31, 2012 at 11:38 PM about the 2002 Volkswagen EuroVan 3 Dr GLS Passenger Van

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Is this an immobilizer issue? If you click the remote key lock and unlock a few times it will start. It happens usually when cold, but also has happened on a trip to a store. Perhaps not getting the key message correctly each time? Sometimes if you stomp on the accelerator as your crank will get it going. Throttle body? The speedometer stopped working this summer intermittently, but has since worked fine. I guess the immobilizer is in the instrument panel. I can't rely on it, sometimes I can get it started after a few tries or after letting it sit an hour or so. But other times its down for a week or more. Dealer can't replicate the problem, of course. It starts fine for them. My mechanic thinks its the immobilizer or the throttle body, really a dealer issue I guess. What's the deal?

12 Answers


Do you have any ideas on this yet? I have a 2003 with the same problem. Very intermittent, not sure what actually gets it to start. We've replaced the immobilizer module, the computer, cleaned throttle body, replaced induction ring around key... still the same.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Its still at the dealer trying to replicate the problem. This time it did have a check engine light, so we'll see what that says. When you replace the immobilizer don't you have to replace the entire instrument panel? I bought it used and the car only came with one key, so I purchased another keyless remote and a regular key from the dealer-who programmed them all. Are all your keys origiinal? Also my rear hatch doesn't respond to the keyless remote, you have to lock or unlock it manually. I guess it could be the lock actuator. Also, the rear window washer never worked. Any of these possibly related electrical issues with yours?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

The immobilizer in the newer eurovans is separate from the instrument cluster. We are still debugging mine as well. It is intermittent and hard to reproduce. Today we unplugged the ABS module and at first that seemed to cause it to start. But later it failed with that unplugged. Then we unplugged the whol instrument cluster, and sometimes it starts, and sometimes not, again. So now it seems like it must be a physical connection somewhere, some kind of wiring intermittent problem. This is really hard to figure out. I'll post if I get more info - you do the same please.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Very good info. The dealer said yesterday that my battery needs to be replaced. It may have a bad connection inside that is breaking the signal. They read the check engine codes and got immobilizer and battery dead I did kill the 6-year old battery trying to start it but recharged it with my Battery Tender Junior. I asked the service rep if its the battery, why does it turn over, run for about two seconds and then die-isn't the engine runnning beyond the battery at that point? He said well it's not getting the full signal or something. I guess its time for a battery anyway. Very interesting that the immobilizer can be separated from the instrument cluster. Dealer says it's one package. Also, to replace the battery, $200, the dealer has to reprogram everything. I never heard of that before. Still thinking what to do next. Thanks for the info, its very helpful, but depressing.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Unbelievably... after replacing the key-sensor loop, the ignition switch, the immobilizer module, AND the whole computer...and still no luck... we replaced the battery, which otherwise seemed fine, and the problem is solved... Three months later. THE BATTERY!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

the only problem you have is the computer lost voltage and has to reset...just disconnect the battery afetre its charged for 5 min...reconnect and the computer systems resets... really , usually thats all it takes..

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Try using your factory given key. I had this problem today and had been using the key copy that was given to me when I bought the car a month ago. (the guy that I bought the car from gave me two copies and two factory keys). I tried the suggestion above about disconnecting and reconnecting the battery, but it didn't work. The car had been giving me trouble since I bought it and haven't actually used it much. In fact, I hadn't used it this past week and a half and today noticed that I have a factory key that has the remote entry feature. I tried it, but when I opened the car door, the alarm went off for the several times I tried it. (the previous owner had installed an after market alarm system). I was going to take my car to the shop to take care of its latest problem (the reason why I didn't want to drive it the past week and a half) but couldn't because of this new problem. I shared this with my husband, thinking that maybe the car has a feature that disables the driver from stealing the car. I don't know if it could be a combination of both, but in any case, the factory keys worked for me.


Cathy-Anne: I found that there are all kinds of ways to get the vehicle to start such as switching keys, locking and unlocking the doors with the remote, stomping on the accelerator, unhooking the battery for 12 hours or so, and/or charging the battery; but the final solution for my experience and all that I've talked with or that have responded here; has been to put in a new battery in the vehicle. Even though the battery appears ok, it's old and the immobilizer is very sensitive to not having the full volt/amps feeding it. I still have the speedometer not workiing--very infrequently, so the instrument panel probably needs to be replaced too, but that is so costly I'm not doing it until it is absolutely needed. Regards.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

My 2003 Eurovan had all the symptoms and failures mentioned by others. Numerous trips to the dealership made no difference. They reprogrammed my keys replaced the immobilizer sensor, etc. I suggested that they make a new key, a valet key. While I don't have the remote lock and unlock features, my two valet keys have worked every time. No other changes were made to the electronics.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

immobilizer.... where is this thing, does anyone have a direct link where I can look at schematics, the Bentley one is useless, it show this part but doesn't show where it is hidden...Same problem I have a 2003 VW Euro won't start, new battery here, tried everything please help,

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I've been starting my 2002 eurovan each morning to see if I still have a problem with 2 second run then stop running. First two mornings ok(kept on running) then this morning back to the problem(start then stop running). The battery was low from cranking so I fully charged the battery, hit lock and unlock a few times on the remote and it started up and stayed running. Maybe when a battery is getting old and loosing charge the problem shows up. My battery is almost 5 yrs old.

2003 EuroVan - Read all these, replaced the battery, worked great for one full day and now is completely dead - no response to anything. Would appreciate any help.

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