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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Question: Car does not start after replacement of Starter and Alternator

 

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Wyrmshadow, 2.0L 4 Cylinder, Fort Worth, TX, June 11, 2009, 20:52
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In the past month I have spent more than 2k fixing my car. Each time I bring it in there is a new problem. 2 weeks ago I replaced a starter and 1 week ago I replaced the alternator. Even then the car gave a weak start. Tonite it refused to do anything. All the lights inside work, I can lower and raise windows fine. Battery tester says the battery is good and fuses are all fine. There is a quiet but high pitched whine coming from the engine when the key is turned but no other noise. Headlights go out when I turn the key but there is no other activity. Unable to jump start.
I really like this car but on the rare occasions when it breaks down, it costs a lot. I have only 2 payments left and fixing it is making me go broke.

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    patrick mannion from Greg Solow's Engine Room, June 11, 2009, 22:12
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     Master

    I am sorry to hear you have had problems. I am curious why the alternator and starter went out only one week apart from each other. Were things properly checked? You said the battery was tested ,was it checked with a high rate discharge tester and under load proved OK. I would start by doing voltage drop tests on the power and ground cables from the battery. You need a voltmeter and I found a "voltage drop test" video on Youtube that was actually quite good. Ensure your battery connections are clean and tight. With your jumper cables go from battery ground straight to the engine block, if the car now starts you have a bad ground cable.
    I would ensure that the re-manufactured starter and alternator are from a rebuilder with a good reputation, lots of poor quality re-manufactured stuff out there. When you turn the ignition key "on" does the alternator/battery light come on?

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    Wyrmshadow, June 11, 2009, 23:59
     Rookie

    Autotechpat:
    Since I don't know much about cars I will asnwer back as best as I can. The place I have been taking it is a local Pep Boys. But after this most recent batch of problems I don't want to take it back to them because they kept finding 'new' problems in old places where they used to fix things.
    A month ago I went in for new tires and a vibration problem, they did the tires and said my front left support bar was messed up and had to be replaced, also a problem with my rear axel that they couldn't fix. So I took it to the dealership, they said the tire was defective, nothing wrong with the car's axel. Back and forth, back and forth. A week after I left the dealership my Starter started slipping. It was still under warranty from the same PepBoys. As soon as they replaced it, the ignition sounded weak. Not like it wasn't getting enough gas but it just felt like a power problem.

    So I took it to a family friend that has a Saab repair place. Unfortunately they were out of town until next week, so someone else took a look with a battery tester. He said there was plenty of power coming from the battery but as soon as I put a load on it like turing onthe lights/radio/AC, he said there was a huge drop on his meter. He suggested that it could be my alternator.
    So I bought a remanufactured one and had a friend replace it. But there was zero change in how my car sounded when I turned the ignition, still a struggle. But there were no problems as I was driving.

    Then last night things seemed to be going okay, parked my car.. came back to it, turned the key and nothing happened. The battery light did come one, but where was just no noise from the engine. Nothing clicking or knocking. My brother came by later with a handheld battery tester but only checked the batteries' contacts.. then he checked the fuses. I can't tell you what kind of tester it was or what the meter said, I don't have it with me. He thought giving it a jump would be pointless. So we left it at my work as it was already 10pm and nothing more could be done.
    I'm going broke trying to fix this thing. VW's are good cars, but when they do eventually break down it's expensive to fix.

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    patrick mannion, June 15, 2009, 21:11
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    How frustrating dealing with these problems. I hate to put down any repair shop or just post negative things about repair shops. With many franchise repair shops the quality of people working in each place and running each place vary widely. Most of the name recognized nationwide franchise repair places in my town are just awful, using poor quality parts, not very experienced technicians and pay their people based on commission on parts sold. That being said I know several national franchises in local towns that have honest great people working for them that are very competent.
    Are there any independent VW specialty repair shops in your area? You need to get someone maintaining your car that has VW experience and knows the ins and outs of your car.
    I work as a technician to keep up to date with all the modern automotive technology and enjoy consulting for Repairpal. I teach an automotive class in an adult education program and really enjoy that. It is great to be able to help people learn the basics, making them more informed when it comes to making decisions about maintenance of their car. Check the adult education programs in your area and see if there is any classes in your area.

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    Wyrmshadow, June 15, 2009, 23:54
     Rookie

    okay, I got it fixed last weekend. Turns out I was given a faulty Starter when I got it replaced 2 weeks ago. Another family friend who own a Saab/Volvo repair garage took a look at it. Tested all the parts and determined that the replacement starter wasn't working. So I had to buy a new one at a different parts shop, and he replaced it free of charge. Very nice of him.
    Now I need to get ahold of the corporate franchise to complain about being charged $200 for the labor for putting in a faulty part. It looks old and worn out enough to have been my old one.
    BTW, thank you both for your attention to my problem. I was in error thinking that I was given a good starter so the problem could not have been with that.

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  • Answer #2

    Visitor, September 07, 2010, 15:10

    check the timing belt? if it's busted around $450 to fix and most likley you have value issues, which will be another $2,500

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