1992 VW Passat won't start

Asked by Sep 17, 2015 at 02:22 PM about the 1992 Volkswagen Passat 4 Dr GL Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My son's 1992 VW Passat died about 200 feet from our house. There were no
problems before it died. Now it turns over but won't start. The mechanic thinks
it's a bad fuel distributor, but isn't sure. He can't find one to try. Any ideas?

16 Answers

19,550

Check fuel pump fuse and other main fuses that may cause the vehicle not to start.

10,205

good question is it carburated or is it auto fuel injection? auto fuel injection systems sit onto of the air filter box. If the car has not had seals done recently for this part they may have broken down and caused an air gap. also the hub always needs to be primed if its been sitting for a while. rebuild or a new one ($500 new) is ussaly the fix. i had a audi 5000 with the auto fuel injection and it was a complete nightmare when the hub dried out it took me 2 weeks to get it running again because the stupid piston would not prime right. It primes the piston with fuel so any air in there dries it out.

275

VW notorious for bad ignition coils.

So now I've had two different mechanics, two different fuel distributors and about 3 months without the car. It starts now but will not run for long. Both mechanics have given up. The latest said there must be a "ghost in the electrical system". When I pay up he will give me an itemized list of everything they tried. It's a shame because it is a nice car. It only has about 75,000 miles on it. They tell me the engine is perfect. The body is great. The interior is great. But I really don't need a lawn ornament that size. Thanks for your help. Let me know if you have any other ideas.

275

Given up ? He got it started.. but how? The engine needs fuel and spark to start. Assuming there's fuel then check for spark. Crank engine with one plug wire out and a quarter inch from ground, watch if any spark while cranking for about 3 seconds. VW coils are notorious for bad ignition coils as said earlier. There might a bad igniitor. This energizes the coils to produce spark. The cam or crank sensors which triggers the igniitor may be bad. All these parts are part of the ignition system. You must have spark and fuel. Air must also pass to the air filter for proper fuel to air mixture. Make sure no air passage ways are clogged.

275

"It starts now but will not run for long" How long? Until fully warmed up ? It may be possible that a component may be heat sensitive. Maybe the coil acts up when hot until it cools down indicating a faulty coil for example.

10,205

Would be good to see what size engine you have. if you can take a picture of under your hood so we can visually see whats under there. Knowing the parts usually helps a bit. Also what size is your engine a 1.8L or a 2.0L. Never give up the battle for an old car. Some times the simplist thing can be the issue. My old audi 5000 had this thin little seal that sits between the air box and the fuel distributor if it was not there the car refused to start. If the distributor is not centered right it would not start, if the piston in the distributor was not primed properly it would not start. In short im saying the fuel distributor is a really crappy piece of tech and should be fired out a cannon. 2 weeks i went with out a car cause i could no longer find a the seal i required. In the end i took a rubber ring sliced it to size and presto it worked.

10,205

oh and if im correct the heat sensor in all the vw's and audis if it starts to fail it makes the car stop running. check the wiring to it for cracks or frays. i would replace it its an inexpensive part and it usually looks good but really it never is. provided is a picture that should point out that location of the sensor. and if you can please provide the list of things already replaced.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The first mechanic said everything he checked pointed to a bad fuel distributor. Those are outrageously expensive but he found one and replaced it. That didn't fix it and didn't know if it was worth the money to put any more time and money into it. A second mechanic, who specializes in VW's was suggested, so I took it to him. He had spark, and fixed some part in the fuel system and had fuel, but it just wouldn't run. Again, he will give me a full list of all he tried when I get in to pay for his work. Everything he tried also pointed to the fuel distributor and it didn't make much sense to buy a new one ($500-$1400) - the first mechanic threw away the original one. I found a fuel distributor on a junked car and he tried that. It started, and he said it ran fine for about 20 minutes. Then died. Now it will start, but won't continue to run. It's a 2.0L.

Worked performed - CHECKED NO STARTFOUND BAD FUEL PUMPIN TANKREPLACED IN TANK FUEL PUMP HAD TO MAKE NEW HOSE CONNECTOR ADDED 10 GALLONS FUEL VEHICLE STARTS AND RUNS. WILL NOT REV UP AND DIES WHEN HOT. CHECKED TIMING BELT TIMING OK. O2 SENSOR OK. REMOVED FUEL INJECTOR AND TESTED ALL OK. INSTALLED NEW COLANT TEMP SENSOR FOR COMPUTER, FUEL FILTER AND DIST ROTOR. ADJUST FUEL MIXTURE, TIMING AND IDLE. NO HELP. INSTALLED CUSTOMERS COMPLETE FUEL DISTRIBUTOR ASSEMBLY. VEHICLE SEEMS OK. He said he drove it around the block twice and then let it sit and idle for 5 minutes. it died and will not run.

10,205

well sounds like it is infact all pointing to the fuel distributor. The first mechanic really should have not thrown away your old one. as i have said before the fuel distributors are all very finiky and require exact positioning to work right and the proper seals. but with all thats been replaced would indicate some other source causing an issue. so to get a better back story into the car what was the car doing before all this happened? did it sputtor alot at idle ever die out while driving?

10,205

I recently jsut created a thread at vwVortex.com about your car keep an eye on it and register with the website. If people are paying attention they should be of bigger help then here. ill keep looking for answers and will update accordingly http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7461242-1992-Passat-2-0l-gl-Starting-Running-issues&p=90877722#post90877722

This is wierd, but yesterday I started the passat and reved the engine for awhile. Everything seemed fine so I took it for a drive. It ran like a champ for over an hour. I put some gas in it. It started right up again so I drove it some more. No problems at all. Today I started it and let it run for awhile, drove it around for a few minutes. It was running a little rough so I parked and opened the hood. It idled for a few minutes and then died. It would not start again. I came back a couple of hours later and it started but ran rough. I had to pump the gas to keep it runing. It finally died again and wouldn't start. Any ideas now?

10,205

check the fuel pump and fuel filter. Im guessing you must have some sedament in the tank and it likely got stired up when you filled the car and started to plug the filters after driving it. You can check out the fuel tank by going threw the fuel door in the trunk located usually behind the passenger side back seat and under the carpet. would be worth a look to see if there is in fact any crude hanging around your tank. Oh and before doing that i would check the sound of the fuel pump. Open the seat and turn the key to power on and listen for any poor sounds it should sound like a steady hum for a few seconds before turning off. any time after the during operation it should sound smooth and constant

Thanks for you answer. The fuel pump is new and it seems to working - when I turn the key on I can hear it hum for a second or two. Can you tell me where to find the camshaft position sensor? Replacing that was suggested.

10,205

cam sensor is usually located at the back or front of the head should be capped over the cam shaft i would believe if it has it. crank sensor is below that oppiste side of the belts if I'm not mistaken. tho i think i would be leaning more towards tank vent issues or possibly emission issues from the tank if it only acts up after filling it up. with most cars that start roughly or poorly after a fill up it usually indicates that there is a air leak equivalent to leaving your gas cap off. i also just thought of something else do you fill till it clicks or do you keep going to top it up completely and round off? from what i can see is if you do put more gas in after it clicks off you risk flooding the purge valves or evap lines which is essence floods your car out till the gas and vaporize from the system.

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