Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2003 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan - Would not turn over - dies

I’ll start from the beginning. About a year ago after work I went to start my car and it wouldn’t turn over, just crank and crank and crank. Still 1/4 fuel so that wasn’t the problem. Had it towed to a shop and they replaced the fuel pump. Seemed to work fine after that, HOWEVER I don’t think that was the issue.

My drive from home to work has me driving at 60 mph most of the way then 75-80 for the last 10 miles. With a full tank, I have no problem. With 1/4 tank at 60, I have no problems, but after I take a long right hand circle on ramp to get on the highway, about 3 miles after doing 75 mph, the car cuts out… just dies. I put in the clutch, let it coast for a bit, then pop the clutch and it comes back on and I can get to the gas station.

I have noticed that when the tank gets lower it does get harder to start, it will crank a few times before actually firing up. I thought it might be a clogged fuel cap and I was getting vapor lock but I replaced that and it didn’t fix it. Does anyone have any idea what the problem actually is? Fuel issue SOMEwhere, but where? I’ve heard stories about people spending thousands on new lines and pumps and that still didn’t fix it. Any help would be appreciated. THANK YOU!

Cranking the engine means the car IS “turning over.” What you meant to say is it wouldn’t start.

Clearly the fuel pump WAS the issue unless they did some work you were not charged for not told was done.

That said, the description of your problems points directly to a fuel pump whose pick-up tube is not as low in the tank as it should be. It may have fallen off or was mis-positioned during installation. The pump needs to come back out, the pickup re-positioned and the pump reinstalled. It may even require a new pump assembly - one that is genuine VW and not a generic replacement as that could be the problem itself. Aftermarket parts are not always exactly the same as factory parts.

Since it is a year since the pump was replaced, I think it is unlikely the original shop will cover the fix so the repair is on you.

An alternate solution is to never let the tank go below 1/4 tank.