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With the aim of getting a sticky sorted for all the people having cold start problems now it is getting colder I am attempting to sort out a complete guide of potential cold start problems. so here is what I can think of to-date:


The VW T4 Transporter cold start guide
Vag Com
This is a lead that plugs into the ECU and can potentially good info for fault finding. A £7 lead usually gets you a free shareware version on ebay that does everything you need it to do - fault codes, timing , testing dash etc
Starter Motor / Battery
If it’s not turning over ... check the battery is charged. If it is then you could have a potentially dead or sticky starter motor. Some tricks to get this going include gently hitting it with a hammer whilst turning the key and rocking the whole vehicle backwards & forwards whilst in gear to get the thing unstuck.

Glow Plug Relay
Located by all the main fuses under the dash. It on the bottom right of the relay board position 12 ... it will be numbered 102,103 or 104. Give the relay a firm push on the top with your thumb as the contact inside gets a bit tired and needs adjusting. You should feel/hear it click when you turn the ignition key to warm the glow plugs.

Glow plug fuse
Check the glow plug fuse (one of the 50A ones under a black lid under the bonnet) is not burnt out. It should be found over by the water washer filler and a black box screwed onto the chassis. A photo of the location of the fuse can be found here: http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/album.php...pictureid=5735

Glow plugs
Often the obvious culprit to not starting on a cold morning. Having had both a 1.9TD and 2.4D I can categorically state the 1.9TD plugs were easy and the 2.4D plugs a nightmare! The plug behind the fuel pump needs an army of fictional little men with spanners to move and i've even heard of some people take the fuel pump off to get it done! If you are going to try you NEED a long reach 8mm & 12mm spanner like this off eBay #280389683871. The best tip I can offer is to take the belt cover of on the right hand side (next to the battery) as this will allow access to Plug 5.
If you have a 1.9TD there is a very good photo guide to changing 1.9TD Glow plugs HERE. And if you have a 2.4D try clicking here.
You can also increase the glow plug pre heat timing with a ‘Vag Com’ as this sometimes cures the fault.

Cold start lever
Check the Cold Start lever cable looks intact and OK. This is located to the right and under the steering wheel in the cab.

Change Air Filter
Poor air = no ignition

Change Fuel Filter
Dirty fuel = no ignition. A good how to can be found here.

Ignition Switch
Air entering fuel (fuel pump)
The ‘throttle spindle seal’ in the diesel pump is a known problem. If you are competent with a set of spanners it’s easy enough. There are plenty of 'how to's' on the internet if you have never done it before. 'Fiddly-est' bit is hooking spring back up inside all cack handed. ETKA picture of parts needed here: http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i126/s333pug/vwt4dieselpump.jpg
Alternately a pro diesel shop should charge an hour’s labour if they drop front panel/radiator to do it.
The throttle spindle seal always seem to leak when they have been touched, sometimes they seal back up themselves but it’s only a matter of time before you will need to change the spindle o ring. It’s about £13 for a repair kit.
Coolant Temperature Sender
Apparently known to sometime be an issue.
Worn injectors
Are you getting white smoke once hot under low rev conditions around town? If NOT your injectors should be OK.

Misc
-When you try to start the van, it turns over OK and after a while smoke starts to come out of the exhaust - which I'm lead to believe means the fuel cut-off relay and fuel pump are OK.
-You could try a can of cold start and then spray a small amount in to the intake to get your van started.
-Try switching ignition on and off couple of times, could be faulty glow plugs
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I had hoped to edit the above thread - has editing been disabled?
 

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Nice one mate, there have been so many starting problem threads this week I'm glad somebody took the initiative. Respect! :ILU:

Robbie
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I just wish I could find a way to edit the original thread now as I gain more info ...

Also please free to add corrections all A:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is no one willing to contribute? It should save time replying to the same old threads and produce a one stop place to refer people to. T:

Also ... is editing the main thread ever going to be possible?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As far as I know you need to be a registered (paid) member to edit your threads :*
Ah I thought the paid member thing was going to be scrapped?
 

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been having problems when first starting my '95 t4. engine turns over but doesn't start. get a fair amount of white smoke too, which i'm led to believe may be unburnt diesel. its ok once its warmed up. called the RAC out as I was stuck, they said most likely glow plugs as wouldnt start off a jump either, could bump it though. i've had the glow plugs changed. No change, still wouldn't start. Have just replaced the fuel filter, probably should have tried this first costwise, on the advice of my garage. Havn't tried starting van from cold yet, so fingers crossed it'll be ok.

The issue started after I had my leisure battery wired up via split charge relay.
Does anyone know whether the leisure battery/split charge setup could cause problems with starting? Like I say wouldnt start off a jump with the RAC and the chap was confident it wasn't the battery.

My garage said it may be the fuel injectors?

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What happens when you disconnect the split charge? the same thing? If it was working before i'd rule that out first.
 

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Cold starting was a nightmare when parked nose uphill, point nose downhill overnight - cold start first time - wtf :*. I definitely advocate speaking to a diesel engine specialist...T:.

Diagnosed over the phone - one genuine fuel filter from VW (ouch) no more starting problems. A:
 

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Been having starting probs, and slowly working my way through everything else before changing heater plugs. Polishing the contacts on the glow plug relay has made a slight difference. I've searched for the glow plug fuse with no luck, and when I click on the link in this excellent guide, it comes up as error 404!!, so I'm still none the wiser. It's a 94 1.9 non turbo.
 

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Well done on trying to help out others . You are to be commended for it ..!! Trouble is , there are sooo many on here who have done mods of some sort , which compound issues , or who have bought modded vehicles ..!! Luckily , mine is standard . I would hate to get to the cause of an electrical issue on a vehicle with added ECU,s , etc ....!! Fuel , Air , Ignition ---Bang ..!! Is all I want ..!!
 

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The little "exciter" wire at the solenoid needs to be checked for cleaanliness and snug fitting, if the starter doesn't engage.

(Just my humble opinion).
 

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also check fuel lines mine has air in and is a bitch to start when cold when its up to running temp starts on the button the lower the fuel gets the worse it gets to start,
cracked fuel sender unit £85 from vw
 

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Hi, just a late addition to the general T4 won't start theme.
My 2.4 diesel was addicted to easy start, changing glow plugs/filters didn't make any difference. Thought it might be the battery as these don't seem to last very long with this engine (about 12 months), but new one made no difference. Finally starter started to miss to point where van wouldn't start so had to put a new one in. What a difference - the van starts - totally transformed.

It looks like the starter was knackered, but because it still turns and sounds like its doing what it should I didn't consider it as a problem. I think this was probably the case with my last van which was retired for similar starting problems.

The old starter for good measure wrecked the teeth it engages to through being used and abused to try to start the engine, so while van now starts it occassionally misses as the starter doesn't engage cleanly. Lesson is, if the van won't start without easy start, check or change the starter.
 

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OK, are you sitting comfortably, as here is my non starting tale of whoe...

T4 2.4 diesel (N '97) 90k miles. Sat a while on trickle charger while I completed camper conversion.

The van usually needed several turns over before starting, and very (very) smokey when it did start, then ran lumpy - but always started.

Then one day it wouldn't start, and I flattened battery trying. Recharged battery, added 5l of diesel - bingo! Must be out of fuel, methinks, so topped up etc, and did lots of weekends away - fuel gauge intermittent though (full to empty, then back etc). Must have been empty??? Nope.

Few weeks later, after loading all the bikes etc in van for sponsored bike ride, would not start. Neighbour came round, opened injector nuts, diesel came out, then van started. So it must be the fuel problem, causing an airlock??? Nope.

More weeks later... Van needed MOT, so drove to local garage. Next day, would not start for the mechanic - he got soaked to the skin trying to start, so not a happy bunny. Especially when alarm went off at 3 am (low car battery?), and had to get up in rain/dark to cut the horn wires on the immobiliser. Engine turning, but not firing. He said dodgy aftermarket immobiliser, causing fuel flow problem?? Nope.

Next day called out AA to move from garage - he changed key battery in immobiliser key fob, started van, returned to home. T:

Ordered new high power car battery, and next weekend started no problem, took it to (another) garage, where it passed MOT, with no work required (A:). So it must have been the immobiliser, and knackered battery causing the problem??? Nope.

More trips around Scotland, starting and running no problem, then...

Loaded up van with stuff in preparation to move house, and crank, crank, crank, but no start even with new batteries. Neighbour came back, tried to bleed injectors, checked the fuel filter - all bone dry, so no diesel. Dipped tank - half full. WTF???

Figured the air leak coming from the old diesel return pipes, so replaced them. Also, added a one-way manual pump to fuel filter, so I could prime the system. Fuel now in engine, but crank, crank, crank - no start!!

I swore a bit, then suddenly - Eureka moment... Got the other key from the house, and started at first turn! Tried other (spare) key, turn over but not start!! The problem was one of the keys - YUP!

So, long story, but the original, worn key starts the motor first turn, but the spare, newer key turned over and over, but doesn't fire!!! :*

I took both keys to a local key shop to check, and both are coded with correct VW code, so not this.

I have also bought a new ignition switch, but now the van is running I will move house, then replace the switch and see if both keys then work.

So, boys and girls - check out your keys (or maybe ignition switch, as suggested here in other threads!).

:D
 

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I'm still having problems after changing, Relay, Sensor and all 5 Glow Plugs, (One's in were brand new! So, now I have a Spare set!)
On my 98 2. TDi.
Turn Ignition Key and Glow Plug Light Comes on, but immediately goes off again! Not even a Second!
Changed everything I can, checked fuse, all brand new parts, Bosch Plugs.

Has any body idea's PLEASE<<<<< Winters Coming:(
 

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The glow plug light doesn't stay on long in this temperature. As it gets colder it will stay on a little longer.

Will it start at all? If not check fuel filter. Have you had the Cam belt changed in past 12 months?
Have you checked the 109 relay?
 

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Changed everything, Relay, Plugs, Sensor.
My mate has same van only newer, his light stays on for 10 seconds now!
My Glow Plug Relay is 103, what does 109 do?
 
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