[T3] no start -- but just drove it!

Jim Adney jadney at vwtype3.org
Fri Jan 13 14:11:45 PST 2012

On 13 Jan 2012 at 9:15, Bryon Garvin wrote:

> 71 Fastback/FI/MT
> Drove my son to school today.  Returned to the car and it wouldn't start.
>  It is just below freezing today and the car started fine.  Drove 4 miles
> to the school, dropped him off.  Got back in, turned the key, got both oil
> and generator lights, fuel pump ran and stopped.  Turned the key to start
> position....nothing.  Not a peep.  Tried many times then locked the door
> and walked to work.

If you're parked on a hill, you can turn the ignition on, coast down 
just enough to get a little bit of speed, and then let out the clutch 
in 3rd gear. Learning to bump start an MT car is a skill that's worth 
practicing in advance. If you've got 2-3 people to push, that's often 

It's either the ignition switch or the starter. Since the idiot 
lights come on, however, it's probably not the switch. Nevertheless, 
it remains a possibility. Starters DO tend to fail like this, without 
warning. If the starter is the problem, it probably just needs 

If the weather isn't too awful, try this:

Make SURE the car is NOT in gear!!! Turn the ignition on and crawl 
under the car with a flashlight and a quarter. Crawl under just in 
front of the RR tire. Find the forward end of the starter, where the 
wires all connect. Find the large wire from the battery. If there is 
a plastic cover over it's end, remove the plastic nut and cover so 
you can get at the stud that it connects to.  

Find the small wire that comes from the FRONT of the car. If it's not 
connected to anything, you've found your problem.

You're sure the car is NOT in gear, right?

Use the quarter to short between the large lug/battery wire and the 
small lug that the small wire attaches to. It may be necessary to 
remove the small wire to do this.

Shorting between those 2 points should make the starter run, and it 
might enable you to start the car. If this works, it means the 
starter is not the problem.

If it turns out to be the switch, the small wire from the switch to 
the starter runs alongside the right side of the hump and has (I 
think) a connector in its middle, somewhere near the passenger seat. 
Start by finding where that wire passes alongside the battery and 
work your way forward. If you're lucky, you'll be able to find that 
connector without taking the passenger seat out.

You can do something temporary by making a way to connect the rear 
half of that wire to the battery when you want to run the starter.

Jim Adney, jadney at vwtype3.org
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

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