1995 Jetta Crank / no start


by Rusty Flake - Beck Service Center


Complaint: Car will turn over, but wont start.

Verification: Indeed, did crank, would not start. Nothing else noted by technician looking at car.


This Jetta has a 2.0L engine with a little over 90 K miles on it. I did not start out working on this vehicle, so I do not know exactly what all was checked or replaced on it.


I know this car was in the shop for two days before I was asked to do a compression wave form on it to see if it was either in or out of cam timing. It also had an ignition rotor and cap installed prior to determining that there surely has to be a possible timing belt jump concern or something along that line.


The technician that was working on this car is very good at diagnostics normally, and I don’t know what the process was that led to the point of him asking me to do the compression waveform analysis, but even though I’m not what I consider great, I do have some cool equipment and am glad he asked so that I get yet another chance to look at some interesting waveforms and analyze them as to what I believe is the problem.



Pressure transducers are fairly new to me, and I am still in the learning curve, but these things are great. I connected to cylinder 1 since it was already with out the spark plug installed. And I synced off of that cylinder also. This waveform was interesting to me and only took about 30 seconds to capture on this car.



I called the technician working on the car over and told him I know that the ignition firing event is happening at the wrong time which would indicate to me that something in the timing components on this engine wasn’t correct.


At this point he talked to the service writer working with this cars owner to get approval for the inspection of the timing components.


The approval was given, and the car was taken down to our heavy line tech for disassembly and inspection. Once the cover was removed, the tech came and got me since he thought everything was in time or at least really close and wanted a second opinion, along with knowing I wanted to see it anyway.


I thought that the cam sprocket mark and the rotor position in the distributor were both off by a tooth.That however did not make sense when compared to where the firing event was taking place in the compression waveform.


I then suggested that the sprockets be removed to make sure that the dowel and or woodruff key had not broken or elongated the slots they go in. Figures 2 &3 show the main problem with this car.


A new crankshaft sprocket was ordered and installed with a new timing belt, and the car started.


1995 Jetta Crank / no start fig 1

Fig. 1

1995 Jetta Crank / no start fig 2

Fig. 2

1995 Jetta Crank / no start fig 3

Fig. 3

Automotive Test Solutions is a multi-national award winning company for innovative thinking that produces patented tool solutions for the automotive industries. ATS currently holds 22 patents with over 25 patents pending. All of the tools produced at ATS are designed to allow technicians to quickly and accurately diagnose the modern vehicle. ATS tools offer unique solutions to help technicians where it counts, in your service bays. Established in 2001, ATS manufactures; oscilloscopes, ignition analyzers, OBD II scan tools for advance engine diagnostics, misfire detection systems, advanced engine mechanical testing using pressure transducers, pressure transducers, advanced leak detection systems, tailpipe emission gas analyzers, fully articulating borescopes, engine simulators, carbon removal solutions for induction systems, oil and fuel pour-ins to serve the automotive technician.

ATS is proud to be a U.S. based company.

Copyright © 2019 Automotive Test Solutions, Inc.



515 Wyoming Blvd. SE Suite A

Albuquerque, NM 87123


505-265-5077    800-572-6112




Mon-Fri 8AM - 5PM      Sat - Sun Closed

Sign Up for Email Updates

For email marketing you can trust