Engine stalls from apparent overheating

Tiny
ADMAN
  • 2004 VOLKSWAGEN GTI
  • 57,000 MILES

The temp gauge is fine, but it conks out from apparently overheating. After you wait a while to let it cool down it will start back up. I have put more coolant in but it didn't take much. It runs ok while at speed but conks out when it is stopped or nearly stopped.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 8:12 PM

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Tiny
MERLIN2021
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  • 17,543 POSTS

Check your idle air control valve, its bolted to the throttle body.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 8:51 PM
Tiny
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Not being a mechanic, I have no idea where the throttle body is. But, why would the problem develop when the engine is overheating if it is related to the idle control? Are you saying that you don't think it is related to overheating? I am relatively certain that it is related to overheating, despite the temp gauge not indicating that. Thank for you response.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 9:07 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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If the gauge isnt showing a problem, why do you think its overheating?

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 10:27 PM
Tiny
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I need to find the owners manual, but I seem to remember the gauge being oil temperature. The problem started several weeks ago when I was sitting in a world-class traffic jam. Stop and go for over four hours. I developed a hunch that it was overheating but would restart when it had time to cool down. During colder weather it has been doing ok. Until the past couple of days when the weather has been much warmer. Today it was in the mid-70's. I hope I am wrong about it being related to overheating, but that has been my thinking. I need to find the owner's manual and confirm what the temp gauge actually is reporting -- oil or water. Thanks for your response, much appreciated.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 11:16 PM
Tiny
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I found the owner's manual. The gauge is the coolant temperature (as you probably knew). And there is an idiot light to indicate overheating as well.

So, you are apparently right. Although, I don't understand why the engine would start back up after it cools down if it is an idle control valve. Although I suppose it might expand and contract due to heat.

Thank you for your help and for not going off on me for being ignorant. ;)

Now I need to figure out how to locate the throttle body and the control valve. Is this something I can repair myself? Is it expensive? I am pretty much wiped out financially and I can't afford to pay a mechanic.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 11:37 PM
Tiny
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I don't understand why the engine restarts after waiting up to 30 minutes. That is why I thought it was overheating. That it needed time to cool down before it would restart.

Please advise. Thanks again.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2012 AT 11:48 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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Ok a stall when coming to a stop is either vacuum or idle air control, but not restarting until it cools off can be the crank position sensor. Is your check engine light on? If yes go to Autozone they will read the codes for free. Post all codes here.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 2:31 AM
Tiny
EXOVCDS
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I would focus on the overheating!

Common issue is a broken water pump or burnt out radiator fans.

With the engine at idle, turn the A/C on and check to see if both radiator fans are running.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 4:29 AM
Tiny
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Check engine light is not on. But, can reading the codes help anyway?

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 5:40 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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Not if your light hasnt come on. Crank sensors can be heat sensitive without setting a code. To check for engine temperature I use an infrared thermometer, and aim it at your thermostat, when the fan starts, take a reading, it should be in the 220 to 224 degree range. And as exovcds said, when the a/c is turned on, the fan should come on with the compressor. Thermometer can be bought at a parts store.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 3:22 PM
Tiny
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I just checked the fans. They are working fine.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 8:54 PM
Tiny
EXOVCDS
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Now that we know there is no overheating issue, you can focus on the stalling problem.

You need to determine what is "missing" when the engine does not start.

- fuel (injector pulse)
- spark (ignition pulse)

As mentioned by Merlin2021, a faulty crankshaft position sensor can cause an engine to stall/not start.

A faulty crank sensor will cause no spark & no Injector pulse.

So when testing for spark & fuel, if you have either spark or fuel, then the crank sensor is probably OK.

Codes might be stored even if the Check Engine Light is not on, so it is always a good idea to see if codes (pending) are stored.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 9:17 PM
Tiny
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Thanks. One thing for certain (virtually). It happens when the car is running hot (apparently not overheating as I originally assumed), and it starts back up only when it has time to cool down. I'll keep plugging away at finding the cause. I''ll get the codes read asap. Thanks again for the help.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 9:41 PM
Tiny
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One more thing I just remembered to mention. I use cruise control religiously. Since this problem started, my cruise control will suddenly go off while I am driving. At first I thought the engine had died, but quickly realized that it is simply the cruise control bombing out. Probably not a coincidence that this issue came up during the "conk out after stopping" issue.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 AT 9:46 PM
Tiny
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I had the codes read at Autozone. No codes.

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Monday, March 5th, 2012 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
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I'm wondering if it is related to the cruise control, which, as I noted, has been cutting off while driving, without warning. I'm going to leave it off and see if I get better luck. Does anyone have an opinion on this? Does it make sense that this might be the culprit?

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 12:09 AM
Tiny
EXOVCDS
  • MEMBER

I do not think that the cruise control would cause such a failure.
Especially since your issue is during stop & go traffic and not
while the Cruise Control is active.

What ever is causing your issue, the ECM is not able to recognize
(hence no codes). Which will make troubleshooting more difficult.

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 12:32 AM
Tiny
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To clarify. The issue is not necessarily during stop and go traffic. It started originally during stop and go traffic, but since then I haven't been in stop and go traffic. Now, the engine will die when I come to a stop at a traffic light, after driving long enough for the engine to warm up. Then it will only start back after sitting for several minutes. The last time it took about 20 minutes before it would start back up.

The issue with the cruise control started just after the initial issue with the engine dying. So it is logical to assume that it is more than a coincidence that the two issues happened simultaneously (virtually).

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate all the help I can get.

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 12:52 AM
Tiny
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. Also to further clarify. It doesn't stop every time I come to a stop. It is totally unpredictable.

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 12:54 AM
Tiny
EXOVCDS
  • MEMBER

Ok, thanks for the clarification. Sorry if I misunderstood your
earlier post(s).

Could be a throttle body issue. Drive by wire, where the throttle
does not open and no longer allows air to enter the engine.

A faulty throttle body will usually set a code, and since you don't
have any codes that could be of help, it might not be a throttle
body issue.

The best time to test / diagnose the vehicle is while it is not
starting. Fuel & ignition can be ruled out quickly at that time.

If your scan tool can communicate with the ECM during the time of
"no-start", then at least you know that the ECM is powered up & working.

Older VW's had ECM relay problems, where the relay would cut out
causing the engine to die. Sometimes the relay would work again
and other times the relay would need to be replaced.

I would have to check a wiring diagram, but I believe your vehicle
does not have an ECM relay. So the above was just an example.

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 AT 1:01 AM

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