Updated: 11-Jul-2023


Everything you should know about VW starters and solenoids*:

The above link includes:

* Diesel starter is shown/used in that link. Diesel starters contain reduction gear sets and are larger and heavier than gasoline starters.

Intermittent Starting

Causes and remedies:

No Start

Common causes:

  • No spark
  • Faulty/wet distributor cap, rotor, and/or spark plug wires
  • Weak coil
  • Faulty ignition switch
  • Defective Hall sender and/or wiring
  • Incorrect ignition timing
  • Broken timing belt
  • Faulty fuel system
  • Engine mechanical failure
  • Faulty hot-start relay, if installed

warning "Engine will not turn over." Turn over, in the car world, means to crank. When describing a no start issue, "will not turn over" is an indication to experts that the engine is not cranking. Because specifics are better, it's wiser to say that "the engine will crank, but not start".

warning Is it a starting issue, or a running issue? If the car starts and runs, albeit poorly, it does not have a starting problem; the car has a running issue. For troubleshooting, visit the engine and/or fuel system pages.

For complete diagnostic procedures for all of the above, please refer to your Bentley Service Manual (or other repair manual).

No Restart When Hot

Is it an automatic? Automatic Cabriolets are notorious for this problem due to the poorly-located starter (next to the exhaust manifold). The best solution for this problem is to install a hot-start relay. Also, be sure that the heat-shield is in place.

Installing a hot-start relay:

Spark Plugs

Spark plug guide:

Bosch is still making decent wires, so they are still recommended. However, NGK is now making a set of plug wires for these cars, which are also recommended (#VWC013, or NGK57283).

Firing order: 1-3-4-2

Distributor Components

Ignition distributor component guide: Distributor Guide Download

Component Part Numbers Years Engines
Distributor Cap 113-905-207C
Bosch 03010
1981 - Oct. 1984 JH, EN
Distributor Cap 027-905-207
Bosch 03212
Nov. 1984 - Sep. 1986 JH
Distributor Cap Bosch 03214 Oct. 1986 - 1989 JH
Distributor Cap 050-905-207
Bosch 03368
1990 - 1993 2H
Rotor Bosch 04038 1981 - 1989 JH, EN
14mm distributor shaft
Rotor Bosch 04170
1990 - 1993 2H
10mm distributor shaft
Distributor 026-905-205L1 up to Oct. 1984 JH
to engine #140000
Distributor 026-905-206B2 Oct. 1984 - Oct. 1987 JH
engine #140000 to 280000
Distributor 026-905-205AH2 Oct. 1987 - Apr. 1993 JH
from engine #280001
Distributor 026-905-2053 VIN:
up to L-12000
Distributor 026-905-205F3 VIN:
L-12001 to M-21000
Distributor 026-905-205K3 VIN:
from M-21001
Hall Sender 035-998-065 1980 - 1983 EJ, EN
Hall Sender 035-998-065A
1984 - 1993 JH, 2H
1 Replacement distributor is 026-905-205L
2 Replacement distributor is 026-905-237X
3 Replacement distributor is 037-905-237X

Ignition Coils

Ignition coils guide:

Ignition Control Unit Pin-outs

Pin K-Jetronic Function Digifant Function Wire Color
1 Terminal 1 on coil Terminal 1 on coil K-Jetronic: Green
Digifant: Red/Black
2 Ground Ground K-Jetronic: Brown
Digifant: Brown/White
3 Terminal 1 on Hall generator
n/a Brown/White
4 Terminal 15 on coil Terminal 15 on coil Black
5 Terminal 3 on Hall generator
n/a Red/Black
6 Terminal 2 on Hall generator Terminal 25 on Digifant ECU K-Jetronic: Green/White
Digifant: Green/Black

Load Reduction Circuit

Also known as the "X" circuit, the load reduction circuit is exactly that: It is the circuit that reduces the load on the ignition system during cranking by cutting power to high-load accessories. These accessories include the headlights, the HVAC system, windshield wipers, and rear window defroster.

More thorough explanation and troubleshooting can be found at this link.


North American Cabriolets were originally equipped with Group 41 lead acid batteries. These are now becoming harder to find in some regions, but there are other options available; refer to the guide below.

Starting battery guide: