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2005 Volkswagen Golf TDI Questions

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This happens each time I try to start. The engine turns over normally and battery is good. This problem has been with the the car since I bought it about 5 years ago. It just seems to have to crank several times before it starts (hold the key in start position for approx 5 to 7 seconds). When you turn the car off after a journey and then start it straight away again, the same problem persists. After it starts the car runs fine with plenty of power and no other problems. Timing belt was replaced which had no effect on the problem
Not my car but my boss who insists he does it to save money by not engaging the gear system. This is the second steering column in one year. In my opinion it is a false economy but I am far removed from a mechanic
I couldn't shift into the gears anymore on a drive down the coast a few weeks back, but after a while everything was fine. When I brought it to the shop (it's a reputable place) they said it costs $5500 to replace the transmission and the clutch as well as the tire rods on the drivers side. Another shop estimated the same amount though they haven't taken a look at the car. We paid $8000 for it last April, and have been really happy with it though the interior is pretty shotty. The main question is - is it worth it to repair and keep it or is this the start of the end?
After cleaning out a blocked spray nossel, the wipers and not operating. The motor is working. Any ideas? This is a european model 2005 vw Golf TDI 2.0
Were is the # 1 cylinder on a 05 vw golf tdi passenger side or drivers side.
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