[T3] Hard Starting

J. Jonik j_jonik at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 1 14:50:14 PST 2017

Cranking has lasted about 5 seconds, then another five, then it started, again...twice with backfires and exhaust smoke.  Lately, it took cranking about 7 or so seconds (a long time), maybe two or three attempts, to get started.   One time, after a very cold night, cranking weakened the battery...quickly...to the point of needing a jump from a neighbor's borrowed jump-starter.
But...Update:    Fiddled with the car yesterday.  Pushed fuel pump plug in and out.  Same with grounds and connections under back seat...Volt Reg, relay, etc, incl. re-tightened screws,  and then every connection in engine compartment also in and out. One of the triple ground cluster on top of engine had wire pull out of connector.  Voila!  Replaced connector. Then re-set points (they were a tad close), gentle clean of contacts, and re-set timing.
Car started right up, no hesitation or effort at all.  Later than night...started right up again, as it did today. 

Over history, I've found that checking and freshening up connections solves more problems than can be counted.  Usually, however, there's no way to know which connection was the culprit...unless a broken or loose wire is found.  Don't know if that one loose (but not disconnected) ground wire was the problem.

As for the fuel system...I always turn the key about 2 or 3 times before trying to start, especially when car's been sitting a while.    Often, a squeal comes from somewhere (the pump?) that weakens and then goes away when fuel lines are all primed, apparently.  Then I start the car.  Is this a normal T-3 F I syndrome?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Message: 1
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:30:06 -0600
From: "Jim Adney" <jadney at vwtype3.org>
To: type3 at vwtype3.org
Subject: Re: [T3] Hard Starting
Message-ID: <58B6160E.31304.236BB0 at jadney.vwtype3.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

On 28 Feb 2017 at 19:16, J. Jonik wrote:

> T-3, 1971, FI, Std.??? ---Battery is certifiably ok, as are connections, but it still takes some cranking, maybe two or three attempts, to start the car, even in mild weather.? Sometimes it starts right up, no problem.
> Twice it happened, after cranking, that when it started, there was a backfire...once a cloud of exhaust with the backfire. ?? And there is a slight whiff of gas, though no drips apparent anywhere.
> Where to start looking for the problem?? What are prime suspects?

The most common problem is air in the fuel lines and the solution for 
this problem is one of my primer switches. A switch allows you to run 
the pump for a few seconds to clear any air out of the line, before 
you run the starter and start to draw heavy current from the battery.

I have 2 switch kits. The $10 one just has a cheap pushbutton switch, 
with wiring, mounting bracket, and instructions. The $30 one has a 
heavy duty 3-way switch that give you 3 options: Prime/Normal/Off.

Both mount out of sight under the dash. Both prices include shipping.

There's no way of telling whether this is your problem, but it's a 
very common problem, and I have them on all my FI Type 3s, because 
they save a lot of wear and tear on the starter and battery: Just 
prime the system for a few seconds and then start the engine. If it 
doesn't solve your problem, then that eliminates one possible 

It's not clear to me how long you have to crank before the engine 
starts. Is this 5 seconds or 40 sconds?
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