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Hi folks! I'm new to the forum and recently purchased a 2004 Jetta BEW PD with 265K km = 165K miles.
I'm really glad I found this forum as it is an outstanding resource!
As I wasn't sure of the maintenance history of my TDI, so in the last couple of months I changed the timing belt, oil and filter, fuel and air filters, and installed a skid plate.

I'm really enjoying my Jetta and been and have been averaging 39mpg on my 70km round trip to work (city/country driving 60-80km/h).

We recently have had some really cold weather in Ottawa and I've had some difficulty starting my Jetta when it has cold soaked (there are no plugins at work).
When the temperature gets below -12degC = 10degF, the Jetta starts to be difficult to start (I have to crank it for more than 10 seconds).
Yesterday, the temperature did not get above -20degC = -4degF during the day and I had to take a couple of attempts and crank it for almost a minute, until it eventually started (with lots of smoke).

Note: I have been adding "Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement + Cetane Boost Winterizing Anti-Gel" with each tank of fuel.

I was wondering if this difficulty in starting is "normal" for a BEW PD equipped Jetta at temperatures below -12degC / 10degF?
I have had no codes tripped but am wondering if I should replace my glow plugs (could they be worn and not trip codes)?

Thank you,
Sean
 
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Does the glow plug squiggly stay on for like 8 seconds? Try leaving the key on for 20 or so, the plugs continue to warm. Give the battery a nice long trickle charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Does the glow plug squiggly stay on for like 8 seconds? Try leaving the key on for 20 or so, the plugs continue to warm. Give the battery a nice long trickle charge.
The glow plug squiggly stays on for three or four seconds, the first time I try to start it. The second time, the squiggly seems to stay on longer.
I'll try waiting with they key on longer before trying to start, and see if that helps.

I'm wondering if there are other BEW PD owners, who have an easier time starting their cars at very low temperatures (without plug in heaters)?
 

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check your fuse connection on top of the battery (first from the left side big red wire) that wire usually gets burned and corroded due to being lose. It is Alternator wire that charges battery. I had same problem before and my multi gauge thing that shows me 47 sensor readings used to show me 12.5 v with engine running and lights on. So battery was not getting charged good enough. Once I cleaned all the grounds (under the battery tray), ground on the transmission bell housing, starter positive wire, battery terminals, ECM ground under the plastic cover where the wipers motor is, now my reading is 13.8 V with engine running and lights on, heated seats both on 4, heat fans on 3, defroster on etc. Engine cranks faster and starts faster now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
check your fuse connection on top of the battery (first from the left side big red wire) that wire usually gets burned and corroded due to being lose. It is Alternator wire that charges battery. I had same problem before and my multi gauge thing that shows me 47 sensor readings used to show me 12.5 v with engine running and lights on. So battery was not getting charged good enough. Once I cleaned all the grounds (under the battery tray), ground on the transmission bell housing, starter positive wire, battery terminals, ECM ground under the plastic cover where the wipers motor is, now my reading is 13.8 V with engine running and lights on, heated seats both on 4, heat fans on 3, defroster on etc. Engine cranks faster and starts faster now.
almir - Thank you for the advice. I'll do as you suggest.
 

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Those early BEW engines had problems with glow plugs, and there have been several recalls and upgrades made, which complicates matters... I would first check with a VW dealer to see which updates have been done on your car... that also determines which type (and voltage) glow plugs "work" on this particular vehicle... some of the glow plug versions are known to never get warm enough to work well in extreme cold... a "double dose" of glow plug activation may help, but at minus 25... (btw - don't rely on the glow plug indicator for guidance... if you have a voltage meter that plugs into the cigarette lighter, or, failing that, turn on an interior light to see when the G-P controller actually turns off... then turn ignition off and do the routine again... lastly, pull up on the energency brake during G-P and crank time to keep the headlights off and give you a tiny bit more "juice" starting...

Yuri
 
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My 05 Golf is the same way, once the temperatures get close to 10F it gets hard to start. The battery voltage is good and it seems to turn over at a good speed it just doesn't want to start. I have tried cycling the glow 2 or three times before attempting to start it but it doesn't seem to help. I keep it plugged in over night when it gets that cold and if I am away from home I will go out and start it every 3 to 4 hours or so to keep a little heat in it.

I am curious as to what the coldest temperature a BEW should be expected to start with out being plugged in.

I just went out and checked the voltage while it is below 0F

I have a power adapter that has voltage display on it. With the car is off it is 12.3 volts when I turn the key on it only drops to 11.9 volts even while the glow plug light is on. Should I be seeing a bigger voltage drop when the glow plug light is on?
 

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My 05 Golf is the same way, once the temperatures get close to 10F it gets hard to start. The battery voltage is good and it seems to turn over at a good speed it just doesn't want to start. I have tried cycling the glow 2 or three times before attempting to start it but it doesn't seem to help. I keep it plugged in over night when it gets that cold and if I am away from home I will go out and start it every 3 to 4 hours or so to keep a little heat in it.

I am curious as to what the coldest temperature a BEW should be expected to start with out being plugged in.

I just went out and checked the voltage while it is below 0F

I have a power adapter that has voltage display on it. With the car is off it is 12.3 volts when I turn the key on it only drops to 11.9 volts even while the glow plug light is on. Should I be seeing a bigger voltage drop when the glow plug light is on?
Best reading you will get if you measure your battery straight on battery posts, if you measure using some gadgets there will be small voltage drop by the time it gets to where your gadget is connected. I assume it is connected to your obd2 connector. But if you measure from battery posts and see 12.3V your battery is very weak. It must be 12.67 V to be considered 100% charged. Your battery is not holding charge or is not being charged properly by alternator due to bad/dirty connections.


-20 F in Chicago and mine did not start with very good battery and charging system. :( had to take my 2017 Subaru Legacy to work.
 
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The voltage reading was off of a power adapter plugged into the cigarette lighter. I compared that reading to a meter directly on the battery and it was the same as my display. The weather today was a little better and the battery was reading 12.6V. I checked all of the connections at the battery and everything is tight and corrosion free. Still only seeing a few tenths drop in voltage while the glow plug light is on. Should I be seeing more than that? I saw someone from Minnesota say he can start his easily at -15F with just a couple of cycles of the glow plugs. With mine at +10F I can cycle them a bunch of times and still have to really lay into the starter for a long time more than once to get it to start. I've never seen any glow plug faults when I've done VCDS scans in the past.
 
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