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Thread: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

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    Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    Well I took off in my diesel Rabbit the other day, made it a couple of miles down the road and all of a sudden it started to cut out and died. I let off and it would fire back up and run long enough to get back up to speed, then do it over. I pulled off the highway and as I came to a stop on the side of the road it completely died. I sat there and cranked on it for a minute and it fired back up, and ran enough to get home. It acted as if it was running out of fuel, but it was completely full. I'm also not convinced that it's not in the ignition switch/?? somewhere... I'm a pilot not a diesel mechanic... But I also know that these 1.5 diesels are fairly simple... Can anyone help me???

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    Super Moderator briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    Moving to proper forum.

    Well, look for a couple of things.
    I would check the fuel shutoff valve, as that is electrical, then look at the fuel feed line from the Filter to the Injection pump. (should be clear) If when the engine is running that is full of air bubbles, then you have a air leak in the fuel system. A big enough bubble stops fuel flow at the injector and will kill an engine.

    It is not uncommon for air leaks to happen from no where as you have to remember this car is 33 years young. Old hoses leak and are brittle, and as you are driving they can break...
    What do Divorces, Great Coffee and Cars all have in common?
    They all Start with good GROUNDS.
    Replace all of them that you can, 99 percent of flakiness will disappear.


    92, 93 Cabriolet.... 89, and 90 are Deceased.


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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    Yeah its real simple, just don`t get discouraged and send the poor thing to the crusher, lol.

    Some of the things that have happened to me that are similar:
    Air in the fuel lines, if you don`t have a clear line between the pump and the filter, install one - you can use cheap vinyl tubing just for troubleshooting.

    I did have the ignition switch issue and literally rebuilt my entire car before I figured it out. Run a jumper wire to the solenoid on the pump and see if it happens in a similar distance trip, if so the contacts inside the ignition switch are likely failing from time to time, mine failed entirely and would crank and crank with no start.

    I bet its one of these issues, really nothing else to it!

    You`ll get some other better replies from briano, and others. :D

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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    I ordered a new ignition switch today, and I'll install that tomorrow and see if that helps. The previous owner had put in the 5 speed tranny and completely painted the motor/engine compartment and replaced the fuel lines with clear yellow tubing(SWEET LOOKING!!! The engine is really a thing of beauty!!!) That'll help to indentify an air leak. Someone also told me that with the diesel vibration it could possibly loosen the fuel filter and suck air??? I'll let you fellas know if that helps. While I'm at it, is it not recommended to turn the fuel up on these little things? I've heard both ways... Not real sure.

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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    Yeah the filter could loosen up and suck air, there are tools just for loosening these so I assume they can take some torque tightening them on. I moved mine up closer to the washer fluid bottle to make it easier to get to and twist off.

    The fuel screw can be tweaked, some guys removed the metal stop collar but I wouldn`t reccomend that. I dialed mine in just to where the dumped black smoke, then backed it out a little more for good economy.

    You have any all around pics of your car?

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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    I changed the fuel filter today and she fired up, ran out of fuel, I cranked on it for a second then she fired up and purred like a kitten. I was going ot try that just as a precaution before I changed the ignition switch(I ordered one at Napa and they gave me the lock and tumbler assembly, despite me telling them several times that I needed the electrical igition switch!!!). I took her around the block and she ran great! Maybe another test before I start commuting in it again. I will try and get some pictures tomorrow of the engine.
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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    Yeah, after you replace the filter you have to bleed the fuel system... that is open the little bleeder on the top and either use a mighty vac to suck fuel back in to it, or leave it open a tad and Crank the engine... Other wise you get the same symptom that you described.....
    What do Divorces, Great Coffee and Cars all have in common?
    They all Start with good GROUNDS.
    Replace all of them that you can, 99 percent of flakiness will disappear.


    92, 93 Cabriolet.... 89, and 90 are Deceased.


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    Re: Problem with my 79 Rabbit Diesel

    Nice rabbit! I wouldn`t mind seeing some pics of the inside too, i`m locating the stock plastic parts for speaker housings next.

    I had some trouble with the ignition switch also, they kept coming up with the wrong one, etc. Finally I just took one that had only one extra prong on it, it didnt work so I disassembled it and my old switch and replaced the cracked plastic pieces and one of the metal pieces that was worn down. Little bit of a nightmare once that thing comes apart, but it has been doing great since. Before replacing it I just wired the pump to a toggle switch, and the key part of the switch still worked to crank the starter.

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