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Engine turning over but not igniting

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My Polo is not starting. It turns over fine but is just not igniting, I have a Mk 3 Polo 1.6CL. Any ideas to isolate the cause?


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First you want to find out if its ignition or fuel. I'd take the ht lead that goes between the coil and distributor and unplug it on the distributor end and place the metal piece in the end near something metal, get someone to turn the car over and see if it sparks/arcs. Don't be touching it when doing this either, if it decides to shock you you'll notice.

if you have a spark then take the spark plugs out one by one and do the same with the ends of those. You can use the rocker cover to try to arc them too.

If the spark plugs do spark check you're getting fuel. I'm presuming your engine is multipoint fuel injection here. The way to guarentee if it's getting into the engine is to take the injectors out one at a time and place pointing into a jar, turn the car over and see if it sprays a bit of petrol. Hope i don't need to say don't have any ignition wires or anything unplugged while you have injectors out and turning the car over and just generally use caution.

Report back with the results and with any luck you'll get some more help. Goodluck with it.

Small edit: The spark from the spark plug wants to be a blue colour, if it's yellow that could also mean something for getting a diagnoses.

Edited by joe420

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Would you be kind enough to elaborate how it won't start? I had the same probs for weeks and finally got it going.

- What year is your polo?

- does it crank like normal and when you step on your pedal, it fires up for a second or two then dies out?

- Do you have fuel in the tank?

- When you turn the key ON, do you hear the fuel pump underneath the passenger seat at the back seat running or priming?

- Did you notice your engine light ON before it didn't start (while it was still running)

- do you have spark to your plugs?

I am sure there are a lot more but these could get you started with the isolation.

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Thanks will see if I can chance to try these out in next couple of days.

So far I have noticed that it doesn't fire up at all and yes I have heard something running when I turn the key on.

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Hi, the misfire might be from the Ignition coil ...just I substituted it on my Polo

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