are there 2 fuel pumps on a 87 cabroilet?

Asked by Aug 10, 2013 at 05:29 PM about the 1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My daughter has a 87  VW Cabroilet and  it won't start. Started cutting out while driving
and now  won't start.   Replaced the  fuel filter so  now I am replacing the  inline  fuel
pump . need to know if  i need  another  pump for intank.

23 Answers


If this a GOLF/RABBIT cabriolet, there is only one fuel pump, situated on the underside of the car towards the rear near the fuel tank. Before replacing though I would check that the fuel pump is getting battery voltage (12Volts) or there abouts when cranking.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Not sure, but if you remove the back seat and you see an access panel with three screws, then yes, you have a fuel pump in the tank also. At least I have one in my '92. Only takes two minutes to remove the back seat.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Yes, the 1987 Cabriolet has a fuel transfer pump located in the fuel tank as well as the electric fuel pump located under the car just forward of the rear right wheel. Removal and replacement of both pumps is well documented in the Bently manual for the car.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

i have an 87 cabby and mine has had a number of fuel issues ive replaced both fuel pumps the fuel accumilatot fuel filter and the distibtor yet i still cant start it the fuses and relays are good i need help

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Do you have spark? If you've replaced both pumps, distributor and the filter, and all fuses and relays are good, then you may have a bad coil. I am assuming that it cranks over but just won't fire?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Reelin68 may be correct. But since you seem to think this is a fuel issue, I have to ask, is fuel getting to the injectors? Might be a clogged/plugged fuel line. If fuel is getting through, then it is probably an electrical fault. Start with the coil in that case.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

could be ignition module

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

i have an 89 cabriolet just chamged both of the fuel pumps and fuel filter ignitio coil as well it will star but once i get down the road and tempratue goes up it it dies i need help please

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

An '89 has a Digifant fuel injection system, different from the CIS system in the pre '88 models. I suggest going to http// and check the forums there. One member (Brian's) Ian a walking expert in Digifant injection like the one in your car.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

i had the same problemb on my 92 replaced distributor and wires and it started i think the hall sensor was bad.


Hey guys. 92 cabriolet. This is a toughy but I think its relevant for this discussion. Ill let the car sit for 2-3 hours, or overnight. Ill fire it up, car runs like a million dollars. Only 108k miles. After about half an hour to an hour, all over a sudden the car will die and once its dead its dead for a few more hours. As im driving and the car dies it feels like im running out of fuel. Its feels lean. However, ill start blowing black smoke telling me its running too fat. If i give the car throttle, it loses all power and dies. Like i said, i let it sit for a few hours and it runs great for a while then dies again. New fuel pump (NOT transfer pump) fuel filter, and battery. No vacuum leaks, i sprayed MAF cleaner,thinking it could be giving me an improper air/fuel mixture, no luck. Replaced fuel pressure regulator, no luck. Not bad gas, and has fuel injector cleaner in the tank. Car is getting spark. Anything guys? It could be alot but i dont understand why it runs like a million friggin dollars after it sits. What part could be intermittent? Please help. On a low budget and doing it all myself. Also, should i unplug the o2 sensor and see how it runs? Heard of a guy doing that. And whats up with the brain boxes in these? Can these get weak and become faulty after the car has been perfect for an hour of driving? Im knees deep in the thing and am dieing for an answer.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Digifant systems like the one in your car have an "Anti Knock Sensor" mounted on the block where CIS cars have the heat sensor. It is a finicky thing and must be torqued to a precise value. I suggest timing the car, and checking the timing when it warms up. Among other things the knock sensor helps regulate the advance in the distributor. Having said that, it also depends on which Digifant is installed in your car. If your car is from California, you have Digifant I. Every where else, is Digifant II. Digifant I being more complex. For more information see Hopefully I have pointed you in the right direction.


If CalAltaDubbers suggestion doesn't pan out, those older Cabriolets were notorious for having severe rust in the gas tanks. The scale would collect on the fuel pump screen and eventually starve the system for fuel. After stopping and letting it sit, the rust would fall off the screen just enough so you could start it, and it would run fine until it plugged up again. Not sure if you inspected the tank when you replaced the fuel pump. Seems if it were a timing issue, it would run poorly all of the time. Not run great then suddenly die out. But it's worth a look. Another possibility may be your ECT sensor. I believe there are two on the older models. There are two different coolant temperature sensors on these cars. They are color coded. The blue coolant temp sensor is for the fuel injection system. The black coolant temp sensor is for the temperature gauge in the dashboard. They are located on a plastic manifold that is mounted to the cylinder head on the front of the engine about the center of left to right. This manifold is what the radiator hoses connect to. You will see two electrical connectors go to this. There are small C shaped clips that hold the sensor into the plastic manifold. To remove the sensor slide the plastic clip out of the side of the manifold, then pull the sensor straight up out of the manifold. There is a rubber o-ring that seals the sensor. Make sure a new o-ring is installed when put in the new sensor. Keep us posted on your findings. My daughter just sold her '92 Cabriolet convertible. She had issues with the second fuel pump mounted under the right rear wheel well. Began to squeal really bad. Bought a new one and same thing. I figured hers had the rust issue which was causing the second pump to work too hard. I had also put in a new fuel pump when she first got the car. It did have a rust issue in the tank. It was her first car, so I didn't bother replacing the tank. Figured she would wreck it soon enough. She ended up totaling her boyfriends car instead! Ah, new drivers............


Oh boy. Thanks for all of this guys. It is a digifant II, not a 1. I dont think its timing. The car wouldn't run like a million bucks then all o a sudden die if it was timing. The temperature gauge on the dash does not work, telling me the black sensor is bad. Can that be an intermittent problem? I have had a 1995 and a 2000 cabrio and had to replace the thermostat flange on both of them, so i am familiar with the module. As for rusty tank, i have the back seat out and cover off the tank. See no rust back here. Lastly how about this knock sensor spoken of? I have not yet dealt with that part. Elaborate?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

so I have 1987 Cabriolet and it having fuel pump problems as I read one say it only has 1 then another said it has one in the fuel tank so is there one


There should be 2. One should be just forward of the right passenger rear wheel and the other is under the rear seat. If you remove the rear seat, you should see a panel with three screws. That's the in tank pump. The one in the pic is the inline pump just forward of the rear passenger wheel.


Yes there are two fuel pumps on an '87. There is a fuel transfer pump located in the fuel tank. It ensures sufficient fuel at the main fuel pump located just forward of the right rear wheel.


I have a new fuel pump inner and outer now the car starts but fouls plugs and spits and sputters tried settineg the timing. So let me list what I have so far distributor new plugs plug wires cap and rotor coil top end rebuilt and number 4 piston thanks to a shop repair that got brass in my motor just can,t get this thing to purr so I can regain my money witj accual use.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Fouled plugs is usually due to a rich fuel mixture. Try a new ECT sensor.

So my 86 Cabriolet needs new fuel lines. Why does replacing them seem so intimidating? Am I replacing them with rubber lines? They are long and curvey and they go through the frame at one point. Any advice?

I need help i have an 1988 vw rabbit after runing i shut it off it dont restart all lights go out intill it cools down also when i use my turn signals my windshield wipers start going please help


@Rebelto911, Sounds like you have a serious wiring issue. I would suspect that the no start issue is not related to the turn signal/wiper issue. The wiring for the wipers and turn signals is in the steering column. So start there. Look for damaged or bare wires that may be touching each other or touching metal surfaces. As for the no start issue. That would probably be an electrical issue too. But I would need to spend time looking it over. Do you have the Bentley manual for the car?


Rebelto911, the no start issue may be nothing more than a weak battery. My daughters Cabby had the same no start issue. Would only start with a jump. After a while, it wouldn't start even if you jumped it. I would take a volt meter and first test the hot side of the alternator and see what you are getting for volts. Should be around 14. Then shut the car off and test the battery. If you are getting less than 12 volts, your no start issue is most likely due to an old weak battery. If I remember correctly, I think your car may have a volt meter gauge for the alternator. If you have noticed that it fluctuates often, you should replace your voltage regulator. It's located on the alternator. I also had to replace that on my daughters Cabby. As for the wiring issue, check out the steering column like Dubber suggested. I know those models have a water issue. Check the rubber grommet that surrounds the base of your radio antennae. If cracked or dry rotted, water will leak from that area and soak the fuse box underneath. You can test for leaks by getting a flashlight and look under the dash while someone hoses down the suspect areas. I had to reseal that area also. Keep us posted....good luck!

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