Some More of Gonk’s Electrical Woes

fyi – Gonk is a 1999 VW Golf (Mark 3, Wolfsburg Edition) with a 2.0L ABA motor)

Long story short:  My car wouldn’t start the other night.  I got error codes P0322 and P1500 from the car’s computer.  After doing some other things, I cleaned out the connectors for the crankshaft position sensor with some quick-dry electrical connector spray, and – Bob’s your uncle – I’m back on the road.

The Lowdown:  I found that when you’re talking about an ABA motor, the P0322 code specifically means there’s a problem with the crankshaft position sensor.  This part has many aliases, including “reference sensor” or “engine speed sensor”.

The P1500 code turned out to be a red herring.  There was literally a fish in my engine.  OK, just kidding.  P1500 means that there’s a problem with the fuel pump or fuel pump relay.  I read on various VW site forums that the P1500 code will show up along with P0322 even if there’s nothing wrong with the fuel pump or relay.

I had also read several posts that led me to believe that the problem was the ignition coil, so I plopped down a C note and got a new one (not OEM, but hey I needed it right away).  That didn’t fix it, but now that Gonk’s running again I can tell the new coil helped a lot.  There was a hairline fracture on the casing of the old coil, and I’m thinking that our region’s lovely humidity creeps in there and messes with the voltage.  Then again, I could be full of it.

One of the problems Gonk has always had is that once it (yes, Gonk is an “it”) warms up to normal operating temperature it starts bogging down.  I think it was going into “limp mode”, as in “you have just enough power to limp to a dealership and get it fixed.”  Now it doesn’t seem to have that problem.  The motor stays snappy even after driving around for a while.  I don’t know if this was due to the bad connection in the crankshaft sensor, or because of the coil.  If you experience this problem, I’d take a look at the sensor first.

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