I have a 1.3 VW Golf running a Pierburg 2e3 carb which has been off the road for at least 7 years. The problem I currently have is that the engine immediately cuts out when the key is in the run position in the ignition. There are no issues starting the car it fires up straight away.

Since owning the car, I've replaced the following with new parts:

  • Battery
  • Spark plugs
  • Ignition switch
  • Starter motor
  • In line fuel filter

I've also stripped the carb (to the best of my ability) and replaced a couple of gaskets and diaphragms.

The engine gets fuel. I've removed the hose to the carb whilst cranking and see a good flow. Checking the spark plugs and they're wet.

I've not changed the ignition (HT) leads, but in my mind if the engine starts then they must be fine. Perhaps that is wrong? Likewise the ignition coil.

The only time I have had the engine running for any length of time was when I sprayed carb cleaner in to the carb. It immediately stalled when I moved the throttle.

One thing to note is that there is, I believe, a factory Quantum alarm installed. I don't have a fob for it, but the light in the cabin has never illuminated so perhaps it might not be armed. I wonder though if this might be acting as an immobiliser too, but I've not been able to find too much information about it online.

I'm hoping for some suggestions on what I can investigate over and above what I've already done.

Thanks Mike

2 Answers 2


Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! I have a 1985 MK1 Golf Cabriolet running a Pierburg 2e2 which I've had a number of issues with so hopefully I can help.

This car runs a mechanical fuel pump so if the engine is turning over, the fuel pump ought to be drawing fuel. The fact that it ran on carb cleaner suggests to me that it isn't getting fuel. It could very well be something like the needle valve is stuck closed, it may have a blocked jet or it may be an issue with the tiny fuel filter which is inserted inside the incoming fuel union on the top of the carburettor. However, one other thing to check is that the rubber "foot" upon which the carburettor is mounted isn't split or damaged.

I have quite a bit of experience with these carburettors, you might want to have a read of some of the excellent resources online. Here is the manual for the 2e2 (largely similar). Here is an excellent, step-by-step trouble shooting guide. Sky Rocket Automotive has some fantastic youtube videos all about the Pierburg carburettor found in these vehicles.

I fully realise that the idea of this site is to bring information here as opposed to linking to it but getting these carburettors to run reliably is quite a massive subject.

Good luck, update your question with any results and stick an answer here if you solve the problem.

  • Thanks for your help @Steve-Matthews. I'm interested in the idea that the needle value is stuck as I think that is probably something I can replace. I'd already checked the filter in the incoming union. My only instinct that it isn't a fuelling issue is that the engine turns over and fires up so quickly, it's only at the run position does the engine cut out.
    – MvR
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 13:04
  • If it starts and runs briefly, try removing the vacuum union that attaches to the TTV (Thermo Time Valve). Either that or disconnect the wiring to the TTV. If this causes the engine to run at a high idle (say circa 3000RPM), then reconnect the vacuum hose. Next step is boiling the waxstat. There is a video on the youtube channel regarding this. If that doesn't allow the car to idle, check that the throttle plate is resting on the 3 point unit and adjust the 13mm idle adjust at the rear of this unit. Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 13:20
  • Crack in plastic in the ignition switch? Been there done that, twice. Hint key ring weight matters.
    – zipzit
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 1:07
  • @zipzit - I've already changed the ignition switch which rules that out.
    – MvR
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 7:30
  • An engine needs three things (plus) to run. Fuel, Air and spark. And there are quite a few paths for fuel to run thru the carburator. My guess is some parts of the carb are fine, while others are clogged with a micro amount of hardened old fuel (e.g. the accelerator 'pump' works fine, but not the venturi, normal flow system.) . Did you remove all the jets and needle valves when you did the rebuild? Note too, on some cars the ignition (spark system) runs differently in start mode, then it does in run mode. Possible to check that out?
    – zipzit
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 11:45

Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions for how to get my golf to run. I took a second look at the Pierburg, removed all the jets and measured the fuel flow and float angle. I found that the one of the pull down units wasn't creating a vacuum and replaced that - Unfortunately it nothing solved my immediate problem.

So I turned my attention back to the alarm system and, without any prior electrical experience, traced the wiring and removed it.

Alarm wiring

I found that it was spliced in to the ignition live feed and some other wires near the fusebox. Luckily, most of the wires were joined using clip connectors and it turned out to be a pretty straight forward job. Removing everything and joining back the ignition feed has solved my problem and the car fired up.

Ignition wiring

Wires behind the fusebox

  • Glad you got it fixed! You'd think they'd make an alarm system a little harder to mess with, but I guess you can't complain, right?
    – Cullub
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 20:59

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