$100 car(84 VW GTi)-good buy?,Fuel pump problem?


Old 10-26-06, 06:09 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: MARYLAND
Posts: 167
$100 car(84 VW GTi)-good buy?,Fuel pump problem?

Please help. A friend has a 1984 VW GTI, 4 Cyl, 2liter (?), 5 speed, looks are poor, but I don’t care – all I want is cheap transportation. I have the opportunity to buy it really cheap ($100) instead of him sending it to the junk yard. His only problem with the car is that the fuel will cut off on him. - It will run fine, great acceleration, no burning oil, no leaks, tight suspention, however, he will then park it and when the tries to start it up the next time it won’t start. It will crank fine. While running it runs great and will not cut off, but once off, it won’t start. Twice it came back to life a few days later by itself, but another time a mechanic replaced the fuel pump relay, but the problem returned in a few days. This is an intermittent problem – it may start or it may not start. But if it doesn’t, it may not start for days.

Has anyone heard of similar problems with these vehicles? Is there anyway to just run a line to the fuel pump? Does this sound like the fuel pump?
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Old 10-26-06, 08:45 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Iowa!!!!!
Posts: 3,673
It could be the fuel system as well as some other things. When the car is in no start/no run mode, I would go to the relay and check the power to it with the switch on. You should have power on both sides of the relay. If that power is ok the fuel pump could be suspect. You would need to disconnect a fuel line at the engine and see if you have fuel flowing with the switch on. If you do the fuel pump is likely OK and doing its job. If not, the fuel pump or filter, or an obstruction in the tank would be a possibility.

Having checked the fuel out and corrected as necessary you should check for spark at a plug while cranking the engine. Ground a plug with the plug wire attached and have someone crank the engine. Check for spark at the plug. This, also should be done when its acting up.

If you're good with the spark and the fuel delivery is OK that leaves your carburetor/fuel injection system. Which does that engine have?

A direct line to the fuel pump isn't usually a good idea for safety reasons. Also it would have be switched through the ignition or manually. I would try to get it to work as it was originally intended.

The car, as parts, is likely worth more than a $100, but it may take a lot more than that to turn it into reliable transportation. Also parts to keep it going may become an issue, considering its age.

Hope this helps,

Old 10-26-06, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 238
buy the car

get the vw manual too.

you could drive this car forever

I seem to remember that vw's of the era had two pumps. one in the tank and one ouside so check both. don't know if it is two relays.

verify you have spark and no gas as suggested
Old 10-26-06, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Posts: 923
If you can put up with its problems - fine. But there is an old saying... "There's nothing more expensive than a cheap car!"

BTW, I had the exact same problem with my 85 Omni way back when. It would start fine when warm, but it wouldn't start when cold. I looked down the carburator and found nothing was squirting (priming the carburator) when working the throttle. My fix was to keep a small car of gas in the car to prime the carburator until I could rebuild it.
Old 10-26-06, 11:53 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: MARYLAND
Posts: 167
Thanks for your advice. I guess I will pass on the car. I hate seeing a cheap car go, but unless it was something simple, I have neither the time or money to invest in a major project.

Old 10-26-06, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Quincy, MA
Posts: 131
Keep lookin'

Keep trying the classifieds and find an '86-88 Taurus/Sable for low bucks. They are everywhere. Who said Ford can't make 'em right when they have to.
Those cars saved Henty's bacon, but I don't think it's gonna happen again....
Local L/M dealer folded up last week - inventoried up-to-here
with great big fat cars.

I'd also check the bulletin boards at your local assisted living
Old 10-27-06, 04:21 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,517
Ouch! Not sure I would hazard a guess on the reliablilty of a late '80's Taurus/Sable, but I can tell you the ones built in the 90's were crap the day they left the factory: trannies and head gaskets for starters, but the list of prematurely failing parts is a long one. One of the best eras/cars for the automotive repair industry.

Are there late 80's cars still on the road up there that haven't rusted down to the tires??? Can always tell the northern cars by looking underneath even if the license tag says "Florida".

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