Car won't start, turns over, but refused to fire up.

  • 160,000 MILES

I have a 1995 Volkswagen Golf III Sport. It has the 2.0L ABA "C" Vin Motor. The car was my daily and I'd like to get it back up and running as soon as possible. Gas mileage is killing me driving my other car.

The car will crank over, but it will not start. The day it broke down, I was on my way to work and it started to act like it was running on three cylinders. It was bucking and missing and just had no power at all. I got to the top of a hill and it just shut off and since then I haven't been able to get it running again.

I replaced the ignition coil on the car about a month ago as I wasn't getting any spark. Two weeks ago, I replaced the spark plugs. About six months ago, I replaced the distributor cap and rotor. About 18 months ago the starter went and I also at that time replaced the fuel pump relay with a used relay from a junkyard. The car has had a few times in the past with this problem, all over the last year and a half. I've owned the car now for 3 years and the only thing I had to replace before the starter went was the clutch, flywheel, rear-main seal, and oil pan. Up until the ignition coil, the spark plugs, cap and rotor have been regular maintenance that I've completed almost religiously every 6-8 months depending upon the miles that I put on the car.

Now, since the car has not been running, I did purchase new spark plug wires. I tried them and they didn't get the car started. When cracking the engine over, it has a spot where it seems like it doesn't want to move past. It does go past this point, but it happens at the same time interval whenever the engine is cranking over. The car does back-fire while it is being cranked. Also, every once in a while there is a "gasp" that reminds me of compression being released and you can hear through the exhaust.

Any help is appreciated and any advice is welcome.

Thank you,

List of things replaced and when (most recent):
Spark Plugs (Bosch Platinum Plus, 2 weeks ago)
Ignition Coil (from Autozone, one month ago)
Distributor Cap and Rotor (from Autozone, 6 months ago)
Spark Plug Wires (Bosch from Autozone, last week)
Starter (Autozone, 18 months ago)
Fuel Pump Relay (Junkyard used, 18 months ago)

Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 AT 11:43 PM

2 Replies

  • 296 POSTS

I still think head gasket. Have someone do a leak down test of each cylinder at top dead center

Was this
Thursday, January 19th, 2012 AT 12:01 AM

I know this is an old post, but if someone else is reading this.

Sounds like timing is off. Probably due to a broken crankshaft
sprocket "key".

Over time, the crankshaft sprocket bolt becomes loose and the sprocket
starts to wobble. Causing the key to wear and the sprocket then
shifts off-of TDC position.

Rotate the engine by hand (19mm 12 point socket on crank sprocket
bolt) until the TDC mark on the camshaft sprocket lines up with
the TDC mark on the plastic cover behind the sprocket.

Once the camshaft is aligned, look for the TDC mark on the flywheel.

If the flywheel TDC mark is not visible, then the crank sprocket
key is worn and the sprocket has moved. Resulting incorrect
valve/piston timing.

Was this
Sunday, February 26th, 2012 AT 7:25 PM

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