1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet



January, 6, 2010 AT 8:29 PM

Engine Mechanical problem
1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 98000 miles

The car runs very well after it is started. It acts like the battery is dead or the starter is dying. It struggles to turn over when cold. I tested the battery (650 cca OK), and replaced the starter. Still the same problem. I did replace the timing belt previously so I reset the timing positions to top center, the distributor cap to #1, etc. Distributor cap, rotor, spark plugs and wires all new. When it's warm (inside my garage), it turns over great. Any ideas?


3 Answers


Service Writer

January, 7, 2010 AT 5:14 AM

If you have a charger, put it on high and crank it to see if it makes any difference.

Connections MUST be clean including grounds.

What weight oil are you using?

Might want to go one step thinner. Thicker oil in cold weather can have an impact on cranking for some cars.



January, 7, 2010 AT 7:48 AM

I did put a charger to it overnight, then cranked it up when it was time to start. Still had the same problem. I use 10w30 in her car. Also, once it decides to turn over more than once, it seems to start fairly quickly. Someone said something about the ignition timing.I set the timing using a light already. Is there something more?


Service Writer

January, 7, 2010 AT 8:27 AM

Timing has to do with running, not cranking.
If this is a slow crank, it is either a mechanical problem such as binding, too heavy of an oil for the conditions, or lack of electrical power for the starter to spin adequetly.

I would change the oil first.

This is the spec for your car: Below 14 F (-10 C), 1990-91 5W-20, 5W-30

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