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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I have an H reg (1990-91) VW Polo and the problem itís given me to solve this month is getting it to start. Itís an intermittent problem; sometimes it starts instantly and runs as expected and other times it takes over a minute of ignition.

The starter motor turns the engine over but there is no ignition in the cylinders. Gradually, one by one, the four cylinders start firing, but when all are working I need to keep my foot on the accelerator to prevent it cutting out. The engine eventually runs normally after a few minutes, with no further problems.

There appears to be no connection to fuel quantity, engine temperature or length of time the engine has been off.

Any suggestions much appreciated. Many thanks,

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I checked this morning and they looked OK, although I'm not too sure what I should be looking out for. Can't see any cracks and there's no moisture in there. Cleaned the contacts and reattached it, but problem persists.

Haven't got it to start at all today and the battery is on charge (normally the engine will start before the battery power starts dropping, but its being really stubborn at the moment!).
 

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Had the exact same problem on my first car (a 1991 Polo C) did all the 'usual' checks & ended up replacing the HT leads. Ran like a charm! Give that ago.

:hanglose
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ah, good idea! Would never have thought of that one. The problem has been getting more frequent in recent weeks which might be related to damp/wet weather affecting the leads. I'll give them a clean tonight and see how it goes.
 

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I cleaned mine, & there was a short term improvement but what actually happens is the insides of the leads break up & you get a poor connection. I'd replace them as they arn't expensive. See how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Many thanks mattp and eightyeightmph for your suggestions. I have a happy car again! Both of your suggestions solved the problem.

I had a closer look at the rotating arm in the distributor and it was a bit of a mess, with corrosion and blackened metal on the end that touches the four pickups. Replaced that with a new one and now the engine runs smoother.

Also gave the lead from the coil to the distributor a clean, and also the top of the coil unit. This was enough to get it to start. Had a good listen to the engine while it was running and could hear a rapid, random clicking (that sounded like sparks) coming from the coil unit. Sure enough, it was arcing from inside the rubber insulation of the plug onto the coil top. Gave it all a second, PROPER clean and no problems at all. Will take your advice and get a new set of leads as well.

It now runs like a warm engine when it is cold, and better than at any time in the past two years! Thanks again for your help. All the best,

Rick
 
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