Intermittend Starter issues Polo Vivo 1.4

Vancarin

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Aug 7, 2017
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Hi all,

So I have been having Intermittent staring issues with my Polo Vivo 1.4 2014 Model.

Some days, sometimes weeks apart, when I turn the key, I'll just just hear one click and no engine. Lights, dashboard, radio and even aircon goes on but no engine. I thought it was the immobilizer, and disconnected the battery and then, viola, its starts! ( I later found out that the car has no immobilizer). This happens again and again and I every time when I disconnect cables from the battery and reconnect (and sometimes I have to do it repeatedly before it starts) I started to see it was some sort of connection issue with the battery.

I have checked the battery, and took the car in to Volkwagen Garage and they replaced the battery terminals. The car then started fine.

Then two months later I had the same problem, and also when I wiggle the terminals the car starts. Once also some guys helped me push-start the car.

So I take the car in to another workshop, and they replace the Starter (R3500!). They swear its the problem, and I ask for the broken starter back as well. So far the car starts fine. I take the starter to an engineer to be fixed (so that I can have a backup). Now the engineer says there is nothing wrong with the part?

Could it be that the starter was giving intermittent issues and that the engineer can't detect the issue? Or were these people taking me for a ride? Should I be looking at something else that could be wrong with the car?

Carin
 

TheChamp

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That is the problem with an intermittent issue, very hard to pin down, how is your car behaving so far? because if the starter is fine you will soon find out.
 

Vancarin

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It has been fine since they have replaced the starter. But how likely is it for a starter to give an intermittent problem? And of course it will look like there is nothing wrong with the old starter since it started 95% of the time?

But guess I won't know for sure unless it fails to start again. :crying:
 

TheChamp

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I think there was probably some wiring issues, the part where you disconnect the battery points to that, hopefully it was fixed along with the installation of the new starter, you also got your old starter which seems to be in perfect form, all in all it points back to the incompetence of mechanics and workshops.
 

Magnum

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Same problem with my car. Found voltage drop on solenoid power wire. Good luck. This is a PITA to solve.
 

TheChamp

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Faulty starter relay perhaps?

Maybe, but isn't the click coming from the solenoid? meaning the is current flow through the relay I guess, but it still depends what kind of click it is.
 

PhireSide

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True that. Perhaps it's a break in the contact ring on the starter motor and every so often it stops spinning on that break which makes it unable to start again? Always a mission to diagnose these intermittent issues. Good luck OP!
 

Magnum

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Maybe, but isn't the click coming from the solenoid? meaning the is current flow through the relay I guess, but it still depends what kind of click it is.

The two worst and frighting sounds in the word. A click when you expect a Bang, And a Bang when you expect a Click...
 

Spliffcat

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The next time it does not start take a hammer and belt/bang the starter motor if it starts then you have a found the problem.
 

infscrtyrisk

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The next time it does not start take a hammer and belt/bang the starter motor if it starts then you have a found the problem.

LOL. That's a fairly old-school way, with a reasonable chance of success. Although some may consider it violent, I'm sure that Jeremy Clarkson would agree. Use a suitably sized instrument (or brick) to bang it, and a cold chisel or similar instrument to transfer the bang to the solenoid. If it starts, then it could be a sticky solenoid / bendix.
But as stated before, being an intermittent problem it is tricky because you don't know for sure when you have fixed it. And if you bang it hard enough, you could crack the casing of the solenoid...
 
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Vancarin

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Maybe, but isn't the click coming from the solenoid? meaning the is current flow through the relay I guess, but it still depends what kind of click it is.

Yeah the click was coming from the solenoid. On the Volkswagen forums someone said it could also be the ignition switch.

Also gave me some pointers on how to diagnose when it happens again:

https://www.vwclub.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?f=94&t=205850

I'll give an update in a few months, just to help all of the other people struggling with same issues.

thanks for all of the replies!!
 

infscrtyrisk

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Yeah the click was coming from the solenoid. On the Volkswagen forums someone said it could also be the ignition switch.

Also gave me some pointers on how to diagnose when it happens again:

https://www.vwclub.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?f=94&t=205850

I'll give an update in a few months, just to help all of the other people struggling with same issues.

thanks for all of the replies!!

Yo boet, thanks for the response, looking forward to your verdict!
 

Vancarin

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Two months later it is doing the same, and I have already replaced the starter motor. Now it doesn't want to start at all.

When I turn the key the dashboard and radio and aircon goes on, but there is one click and no engine.
 

Vancarin

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I was wondering, it is a second hand car, could it be that they had a tracking device that could be causing this? Do tracking devices cause the car to fail to start or does it start and then die?
 

airborne

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Have you had the battery tested, a vehicle I had used to do that, turns out there was an internal crack in the battery and sometimes it would open enough that the battery would be as if it was near dead.

You could also try charging it up, may just be something that drained it overnight etc.
 

Vancarin

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I have replaced the battery, also after connecting and reconnecting both negative and positive terminals, the car started.
 

airborne

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I have replaced the battery, also after connecting and reconnecting both negative and positive terminals, the car started.
You replaced the battery recently or today after I mentioned it or just reconnected the cables today?
 

Vancarin

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Replaced the battery 2 months ago.

Today when trying to get the car to start I disconnected and reconnected the terminals several times before it eventually started. It works, but I have no idea why. Maybe has something to do with wiring from battery to the starter? I asked the mechanics to please check them, but they said they were fine and replaced the starter motor...
 
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