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Thread: New Here - 96 Jetta 2.0l No Spark issue

  1. #1

    Default New Here - 96 Jetta 2.0l No Spark issue

    Howdy guys,

    I posted this on the VW Vortex, but thought I would find a dedicated Jetta forum as you guys really know the in's and outs on these Jettas.

    A little history: I've been a VW nut for over 30 years, starting when I was very little. I've had a wide range of different VW's, mostly air cooled. I've had at least 10 Rabbits too. Now I just got this car.

    It's a 1996 Jetta GL 2.0l Automatic. I bought the car as a non runner, and traded a 42" Plasma TV for it.

    The PO owner told me she was in a car wash and the car just died... Wouldn't restart.

    So, with that said, I'm going to copy / paste my thread from the vortex here, and see if you can make any sense out of it.....

    Pasted from The Vortex: (Replies to thread will be in bold)

    My 1996 VW Jetta GL 2.0l automatic will not start. I have replaced the coil, Distributer, Crank position sensor. I have tested all the wires back to the ECU for failure. All check out.I am only getting 1.5v at the crank position sensor. I can not tell if it's sending signal from the trigger wire. The tach moves up a bit when turning it over.
    I have a second ECU that came with the car (Bought it non running) The other ECU doesn't power up the solenoid at the throttle body, nor does it make the RPM gauge move up when cranking over.
    The Check engine light comes on on both when you turn the key on.
    Now, what voltage am I supposed to get at the Crank Position sensor? Shouldn't it be 12v and the trigger be 5v? I know you need an LED test light, logic probe or oscilloscope to see the sine wave.
    My feeling is that the ECU is not providing the proper voltage to the CPS, thus not allowing the car to start. Everything is new.
    What are your thoughts?

    Get code reader and read codes.

    I searched the forum and didn't find.... Can you pull the codes any other way then buying a tool? If not, I'll have to beak down and buy one.

    So the car cranks but doesn't start.
    Do you have fuel? (need to measure fuel pressure)
    Do you have spark? (need to hold a spark plug w/wire attached to a ground and crank)
    Do you have air? (need to do a compression test)
    Do you have all of those at the correct time? (check timing marks)

    Getting codes might move things along but you might check the above first.

    Sorry, forgot to list that stuff...No, I do not have spark
    Yes, I do have proper fuel pressure
    Yes I have proper compression
    I'll double check the timing.
    Besides a possible partially dead ECU, I guess the timing being off would cause the crank position sensor and pulse generator in the distributor not to mesh, thus causing a no start situation from the ECU.
    I'll check the timing today and report back.
    This is a great little car I traded a 42" Sony plasma TV for...hehehe
    Pics for clix.

    Okay, sorry for the delay.I replaced the timing belt and re-indexed the timing... Was 3 teeth off. Did not smack any valves thankfully.
    Still didn't start.
    So, I spent another $75 bucks on a good tested ECU.
    Still won't start.
    So, here's the question, I seem to have proper voltage to the Coil, But the crank position sensor only has 1.5v to pins 1 and 3. Shouldn't it be 5v? I'm getting my Bentley this Friday, should help alot. But if anyone has a recommendation that would be great.
    So to summarize:
    Replaced parts...
    Crank Position Sensor
    Timing belt and set timing

    I don't know what else it could be? Like I said earlier, I checked every wire back to the ECU, they seemed fine with an ohm meter. But maybe I was reading it wrong.

    And that's where I stand at this point.

    Any help would be great!!


    Doug in Oregon

  2. #2

    Default Re: New Here - 96 Jetta 2.0l No Spark issue

    Here's a more refined Version.....

    The PO told me they were in a car wash and the car just died. Would not restart. (Crank over no fire)

    So, first thought was the coil pack had a crack and shorted from the water.

    I replaced the coil pack to no avail. So I started doing a little digging. The Tach would not move up when cranking, so I thought either ECU or Hal Sender (or cam position sensor) in the distributor was bad.
    I replaced the distributor, still no spark. (As a reminder, the car has no spark from the get go)

    So I followed the logical path. The Crank position sensor.

    I replaced it.

    Still no spark, but now the tach moves up when cranking over. Sweet.

    So what else causes the computer to throw a "No Start" issue? Timing, right? That was my very next step.

    The timing was off by 2-3 teeth, not enough to smack a valve, but close... That's gotta be it!!...... Not. I re-indexed the timing to the correct positions... Still no spark.

    So, last ditch thing...and the last of my non expendable cash went into buying a tested good used ECU.


    Still no spark.

    So Here's a summary of everything I've done, and tested.

    Crank position sensor
    Timing Belt

    Checked and tested:
    All wires from coil, distributor (Pulse Generator) and crank position sensor to the ECU plug harness.
    All grounds, including the coil ground.
    All fuses
    Verified proper fuel pressure at fuel rail.
    Verified proper compression
    Replaced ALL vacuum lines
    Verified continuity on all spark plug and coil wires
    Checked all connections for corrosion
    Made sure I had voltage at the coil when cranking over the car (bad ignition switch check)
    Checked cap and rotor, even tested continuity of rotor connections
    Checked for spark by pulling a plug and grounding, also by pulling coil wire and holding it away from ground.

    Voltages I found:

    Pin 1 and 3 of the Hal Sender (Distributor) = 12v+
    Pin 1 and 3 of the crank position sensor = 1.5v (Shouldn't that be around 5v??)
    Pin 1 and 3 of the coil = 12v+

    Things I have not checked:

    Engine codes (do not have a code reader yet)
    Any relays that might be in the ignition circuit
    Pulse generation from the Crank Position Sensor and Hal Sender. (I need to make a tester, or Can I use a Logic Probe??)
    Pulse from the ECU to the coil

    If anyone has information on the Pulse Detection, and the correct voltages, please chime in. My Bentley will be here Friday.

    So, as a reminder, I got this car for my wife, and she now wants to set it on fire.... LOL!! "That'll get the spark to it!!"

    I just had a crazy thought.... Correct me if my thinking is way off base.

    Does the factory alarm system have an immobilizer? And if so, does it immobilize just the starter? Or does it also turn off the pulse to the coil?

    The battery was almost flat when I got the car. Before replacing anything, I tried turning it over. It turned over then went dead and the alarm went off.

    Thank you so much, and sorry for the long post. But I like giving all the information I can.

    Doug in Oregon.

  3. #3

    Default Re: New Here - 96 Jetta 2.0l No Spark issue

    Well, I went ahead and built the LED test light and tested the coil harness...... (The poor mans VAG tool)

    With the LED connected to +12 and (-) to pin 2 of the connector this is what I get....

    Key off = nothing
    Key on to run = Light flash
    Key to start (Engine turning over) = Steady light.

    According to everything I read, and some pages I found from a Russian site with repair pages... Yeah, Scanned bentley and vag pages.... The light should flicker. It does not.

    Now I'm on a trail to find out why. I love this stuff.

    Any tips guys?

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