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Old 25th November 2021, 13:36   #1
Ginger Teddy
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Default struggling to start from cold

Hi folks, I have an issue with starting my 1.8T from cold , it takes on average 3 attempts to catch it to get going. ( starts first time when warm ). I looked on here last week and did read about cam sensor, so I replaced this last week before attempting to start and it fired first time so thought problem was solved .But next day it was back to the previous issue and again it will fire first time when warm and is only an issue when cold. I was reading about the orange clip issue although to my knowledge it has not been fitted ,I did purchase one a year or two back so if needed had already got one ready, probably barking up the wrong tree. The battery is fully charged and holds the charge as tested with draper battery analyser and reads all good so if some one has an idea it would be much appreciated, and point me in the right direction , cheers Paul
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Old 25th November 2021, 14:16   #2
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... it takes on average 3 attempts to catch it to get going.
Hello Paul,

When you say "catch it" do you mean that the engine splutters as if it's firing on only one or two cylinders? If so I doubt it's the camshaft sensor. When mine suffered a poor connection recently there was absolutely no sign of life from the engine at all.

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the engine starting normally when warm. Cold starts require perfect engine tune so if there's any defect, however small, that's when it will make itself known.

As you have the orange clip, why not lift the back seat and see if the filter canister can be tightened. It would be unwise to discount it.

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Old 25th November 2021, 19:29   #3
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I had similar problems for a good while, particularly if the car had been standing for a couple of days or more.


Turned out to be a blocked in tank fuel filter. An unusual problem for our cars but not unheard of.
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Old 26th November 2021, 10:59   #4
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Default struggling to start from cold

Hi Simon , I always turn the ignition on so you hear everything connect and all lights that should be on are on before attempting to start engine ( do this on modern cars as well as couple of classics I have ). Yes the engine does splutter as it attempts to fire up as if not running on all cylinders and like I say it will fire up on third attempt but it is still struggling, almost like when some of us remember manual chokes and you had flooded it. I run it with the digital temp display on dash and don`t drive off until temp is up to 33 degrees, so I don`t hurry the old girl. Yes I will check the filter canister as a possibility ( what joy now the weather has changed ) but as it`s colder everything is working harder to get that initial start so things are going to occur that probably wouldn`t had done in the milder weather. Thanks for that Simon, and thanks to mbonwick a blocked in tank fuel filter has been noted as a possibility. These are such lovely older cars I can`t imagine not driving it .
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Old 26th November 2021, 11:23   #5
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Thanks for coming back to us Paul. If you haven't done so already, check the sparking plugs for condition and gap.

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Old 26th November 2021, 12:13   #6
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I run it with the digital temp display on dash and don`t drive off until temp is up to 33 degrees, so I don`t hurry the old girl. .
Slightly off topic, but isn't it better to drive off ASAP so that the engine warms up a bit quicker? I give mine time for the turbo to be nicely lubricated and just drive sensibly.

On my CDTi similar symptoms were the forerunner of an injector failure. I would think it worthwhile to check those and the coil packs.

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Old 26th November 2021, 12:18   #7
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As Simon says i would look at the spark plugs and consider re-gapping down to .7mm - the cold weather maybe causing the plug to struggle at a 1mm gap.
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Old 28th November 2021, 09:05   #8
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Default struggling to start from cold

Hi folks, yes I leave it until temp is at 33 degrees and only takes a couple of minutes really as I have read on here and logic really that it does give the turbo time to be lubed and also if driven straight from cold it held the gear for what seemed a long time before it changed ( probably warming the engine quicker) but I due treat it gently as had some eye watering bills previously ( due to head gasket failure) and on the second time told because it still overheated it was fit for scrap ! It was through the advice of you good folk saying to use speed flush and I fitted a new PRT ,I haven`t had any issues with overheating and that will soon be two years ago. Yes I will check coil packs and plugs and try to eliminate as I go along, thanks Polinsteve and Yorkshire GOC. It needs to warm up a bit because cor blimey it`s a bitterly cold wind out there, cheers Paul
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Old 29th November 2021, 11:16   #9
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Default struggling to start from cold

Hi folks, just a quick question or two to you knowledgeable folk if I may. I have removed the plugs this morning and find they are all covered in oil, I have replaced with another set but it doesn`t start any better. Before I order another coil set in order to eliminate several possibilities ( as been suggested) , I know it`s not a good sign but is it possibly a bleak outlook with it showing this issue ? regards Paul
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Old 29th November 2021, 13:22   #10
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I have removed the plugs this morning and find they are all covered in oil ...
I take it that all four are affected Paul? You're certain that it's oil and they're not wet with fuel?
Anyway, I'd say that you've found the reason for the engine struggling to start. Don't buy any more parts until you've found the cause of the contaminated plugs. If all four are affected I'd suspect the turbo rather than the head gasket.
Perhaps you could check the inlet manifold for oil, what do the 1.8T experts think?

Simon
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