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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today the vehicle started and ran for about 1 minute, then the engine died.

No check engine light. I heard a whining coming from the center console or rear seat area.

Vehicle cranks and starts every time, but dies after 5-20 seconds of idling. If I wait one hour, it idles for 20 seconds, then dies. Subsequent crank/start sequences result in 5-10 seconds of running, then dies. The vehicle is 100% factory original, no modifications. Weather was close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit over night. Today it was around 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

It seems like a fuel problem.

I'm thinking water in the fuel system/frozen fuel pump, or failed fuel pump.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
gazaflash, I don't have a VAGCOM. Which unit do you recommend?

If there is no check engine light, could there still be a code related to the problem?

Thanks for commenting.
 

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Had the same problem a few years ago - fuel gelling. Need to use a fuel anti gel. I usually do when it gets below 25F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Treg. Can I dump some anti-gel in the tank to solve it, or does it need to warm up to un-gel what is already in the pump and lines? The weather is not going to warm up in my area any time soon, so I if it can't be solved by a can or two of anti-gel, I am having it towed to the VW dealer.

Another question - when you experienced this, did you hear a whining sound? Seems to me like if the fuel were gelled, the pump would be starved or deadheaded, which could make it whine.
 

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i have a '14 and had a similar issue today. Temps have been around 10 degrees last few days. went out to start the car today and it turned over but was making a strange sound - kind of what you described towards the rear of the car.

When i came back out, car had stopped but ignition was still "on". was getting low battery message. tried to jump the car but wouldn't turn over. a few times it ran for a few seconds but that was it.

had to go out so with ignition still on, i'm sure battery will now be completely dead.
 

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Needs to thaw out and have Power Service white bottle put in tank, If you put some fuel in at the same time it will help distribute the anti gel.

Some fuel stations at the beginning of winter season don't the additives put in properly unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Got the vehicle started last night after being towed to VW for a previously scheduled service appointment. Ran the engine for 45 minutes to be sure things were working. VW had no problems with it today. Weather was down to near zero degrees F last night.

I think it was a minor gel problem. Will top off with known good diesel and a bottle of additive.
 

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Fingers crossed [inside thick mittens] for you tomorrow morning!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Vehicle returned from service, apparently back to normal. I topped off with what I think is good diesel and added a bottle of additive. Cold weather near 0 F in the next few days so we will see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Car is dead again. Started coughing and sputtering after a 10 minute drive and warm temp on the instrument gage and hot air blowing from climate control.

Check engine light is on and glow plug light is flashing. Engine cranks easily and starts most of the time but has a ridiculously rough idle for 10 seconds then dies. A few days ago I topped up with fresh diesel and a bottle of additive. Today I topped up again and added another bottle of additive. Immediately (within 2 minutes) of topping up today the problem started.

It can’t be just one bad injector can it? It feels like fuel isn’t getting to the cylinders. I would have thought a warm engine would avoid this. No?
 

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I had one episode of fuel gelling in my Touareg last year, attributed to spring-blend fuel and a cold snap. I pulled the cover for the fuel filter and replaced about 1/3 of the fuel in there with Power Service 911, which I pre-warmed to about 130 deg F. That did the trick for me.

You still have partially gelled fuel which the fuel pump is struggling to push through the filter and injectors. The car will typically sound like it's running on just a few cylinders. Hopefully it did not starve the HPFP of lubrication.

If I ever have improperly winterized fuel, I try to consume the entire tank before refilling with winterized fuel. I recently emptied the contents of our above ground fuel tank (to turn it over and fill with straight #1) into our van. Even with additive, the van barely runs at -5 deg F when parked outside. Full throttle gets 10 mph and the idle is very rough. It is now parked in our heated garage and makes runs where the fuel system will not be allowed to cold-soak.

I'm guessing that none of the fuel stations in your area are set up for the type of weather that you have. In your shoes I would either:

1.) Park the vehicle and wait until Monday/Tuesday of next week when it will warm up in your area
2.) Get as much fuel as possible out of the tank and replace it with straight #1 Diesel. Most northern cities have a few stations that sell it. At 10 - 15 degrees, I would not feel safe driving without at least 30% #1 in the tank from the weather it looks like your are experiencing.

As a rule of thumb, #2 starts to gel at 20 degrees. #1 lowers the gel point by 3 degrees for every 10% by volume in the blend. Going straight #1 is good down below -50F.

A final note is that there is very little in the way of lubrication of #1 diesel. A few tanks won't hurt, but I run a lubricity formula (and nothing else) to the fuel that goes in my Touareg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
buckwheat:

THANK YOU SO MUCH!! THIS WORKED!!

I did exactly as you suggested and was able to get the vehicle started, and it is now sitting in my garage, idling until I decide to shut it down.

** START OF PROCEDURE **

Tools: torx bit set and 1/4" socket drive. Can't remember the torx size, it's too cold now to check

Materials: roll of paper towels, suction device (squeeze bottle, turkey baster, etc.), bottle of Power Service 911

Steps:

- NOTE: YOU LIKELY WILL GET DIESEL FUEL ON YOUR HANDS AND/OR CLOTHING, DRESS ACCORDINGLY
- purchase 2 bottles of Power Service 911 in the red bottle
- warm additive in boiling water for 10 minutes. Do not do this on the stove. Heat the water, then remove the pot from the stove, then put the bottle of additive in the hot water.
- remove 5 torx screws from fuel filter housing
- pull fuel filter housing cover, and filter, away to give access
- remove 4-8 ounces of diesel from the housing with a suction device (bottle, turkey baster, etc.)
- add Power Service 911 to filter housing, until nearly full. WARNING: OVERFLOW WILL OCCUR UPON REASSEMBLY
- reassembly is the reverse of diassembly

Start engine.
** END OF PROCEDURE **

If the vehicle doesn't start tomorrow, I will wait until it warms up later this week. I'm done wrestling with this.
 
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