1996 Volkswagen Jetta- Out of gas?


Old 06-19-03, 08:28 AM
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Unhappy 1996 Volkswagen Jetta- Out of gas?

I have a 1996 Volkswagen Jetta. It's an automatic that was running fine until yesterday. I ran out of gas. Someone told me I could add a bottle of fuel treatment to the tank and drive to a gas station (only 2 miles away) So I tried it. It didn't work. Then I added a half a tank of gas, still won't start. All fluids are good. Oil is clean, brand new battery (it's getting juice) Any idea what the problem might be. It sounds like it wants to start, it is so close but nothing. I have never had any other problems with it. Any help would be much apprecaited. Thanks.
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Old 06-19-03, 08:45 AM
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Yup, you wiped out the fuel pump more than likely .

Running out of gas is BAD business on a car like this with an in-tank fuel pump. By running out/low on gas:

1) You starve the pump for fuel which provides:

a) Cooling for the pump
b) Suspension of dirt
c) Lubrication for the pump.

Make it a habit to run no lower than a 1/4 tank or so before filling up.
Old 06-19-03, 09:09 AM
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Thank you for the quick response. I will try that and let you know how it turns it out.
Old 06-19-03, 09:21 AM
darrell McCoy
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running the fuel treatment with practically no gas didnt help matters either. Sure sounds like fuel pump time. Shouldnt run tank no less than 1/4 full. Sounds like you are one of those 2$ at a time gas purchasers.
Old 06-19-03, 09:31 PM
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running on fuel treatment is a BAD idea, most of them are supposed to be mixed with a full tank because they can be very corrosive to rubber parts and/or wiring insulation when undiluted
second, running out of fuel will cause every last bit of dirt and rust in the tank to get sucked up into the pump--which is never good
third, and don't quote me, but i seem to remember hearing somewhere that vw's have two fuel pumps, one in tank and a second inline. if your intank pump was always bad and you were running on the external, you might have never known it. i know for a fact an electrical fuel pump will NOT draw a vacuum to prime itself, so you might have only lost the prime of the external pump. if it were me, i'd take a rubber mallet (or a boot) and gently tap (bang)on the center of the gas tank WHILE someone else is cranking the engine, this gets 75% of the pumps running enough to get them into the shop where i promptly replace them as this is a temporary repair! if that didn't fix it, i'd unhook the fuel line at the rail, hook up a handheld vacuum pump and draw a vacuum until fuel comes out, reassemble everything and start it up(it worked for me once on a different kind of car with only an external pump). if you incapable of locating the fuel rail, do not attempt this! fires happen quick!
even if this does fix it, you will still need a new 'intank' pump. for everyone on the message board who reads this, fuel cools the pump a great deal, but fuel has zero lubricating properties(for the pump). don't believe me? ever seen an old carbed car with a stuck closed choke, leading to diluted oil, and a very soon worn out engine, like a huge cylinder ridge and spun bearings. a cup of gas will immediately dilute 5 quarts of oil to the point of being useless for the engine, i've had cars that wouldn't start (like no spark) and changing the oil after the repair makes it start(by sealing the rings again) cylinders were washed down with fuel(no compression). joe f, i'm not trying to start a war here, just pointing something out to ya, notice i didn't even chime in on the 'abs' fight, i'm on your side on that one
Old 06-20-03, 03:18 AM
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No argument. But in this case the fuel "lubricates". Albeit, fuel is not a good lubricant, but there are some lubricating qualities the fuel does for the pump .

As we are all saying, it is bad business to run out of fuel on a fuel injected car (or really any car).
Old 06-21-03, 07:21 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Posts: 171
Originally posted by mike in nj
running on fuel treatment is a BAD idea, most of them are supposed to be mixed with a full tank because they can be very corrosive to rubber parts and/or wiring insulation when undiluted
I agree with Mike, I don't put anything in my gas tank except
gas. "Gas treatments" and dry gas are a waste of time on a
car that's properly maintained. According to Buick, my 3.8
shouldn't be run on "Gasahol" or other gas containing alcohol
derivitives. I'm guessing for the very reason that the alcohol
would attack the rubber parts in the system and in the
fuel injectors. After moving to Indiana I ran two tanks of the stuff in my car before I noticed the label on the bottom of the pump where we got our gas. Now I use another brand and use Premium when I can. Most people probably don't realize a lot of gas companies mix their gas with alcohol derivatives.


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