[urq] No stater motor functioning... need help!

Ben Swann benswann at verizon.net
Fri Jul 25 13:34:24 PDT 2008

I've seen a lot of "new" wiring - but it almost always needs to be yanked and redone
because it wasn't done right in the first place.  Seems to be the case in almost every
car I have sorted out.


From: Justin Rettaliata [mailto:jretal at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 3:37 PM
To: Ben Swann
Cc: Mark R; urq at audifans.com; quattro at audifans.com
Subject: Re: [urq] No stater motor functioning... need help!

thanks for the reply everyone!  My dad did a bit more poking around... the issue seems
to be with a splice that the PO had done when installing a 2nd backup start button.  My
dad did some poking around last night and found that he didn't get power at on emoment,
and then when he wiggled the wires around he suddenly had power again!  So w/ the
starter out of the car, he can get it to turn over.  He's going to clean out the splice
and redo it.  Hopefully that will solve the issue!

it seems that some new wires have already been run to this area, but I'm not 100% sure
as I haven't started really poking around.  I have plans to install a jumper block in
the engine bay much like I did on my turbo'd 4000.  Makes life so much easier to have a
central post like that.  This car is destined for a 20vt swap, so we will be redoing a
LOT of wiring down the road.  That work involves swapping out the under dash fuse box
for the one in the engine bay like the newer Urs and the 4000s.

thanks again for the help everyone!  appreciate it!


On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 6:57 PM, Ben Swann <benswann at verizon.net> wrote:

Agreed - I don't recall what guage I installed ( think it was 4), but put as big as you
can run through the firewall.  OK - no need for 0 guage, but 2 or 4 would be good.  OE
wiring was still good, and I added extra ground point from battery to underseat as well
as takeoff from the chassis  to various points around the engine.  In theory, the steel
chassis is a giant ground wire and no need to run a large ground - but you do need to
get from the neg. battery post to the steel chassis and I've noticed these tend to
become failure points.  Also the ground to the engine is very minimal - even on the
200/5000 cars they only had one small ground wire bolted to the aluminum mount - fine
when new, but the mismatch of metal over time resulted in almost non-existant grounding.
I usually add at least one more ground from the opposite side of the engine bay/chassis
to the block and two or three doesn't hurt - add one to the head if you like as the
conductor from head to block is headbolts as far as I can tell.


From: Mark R [mailto:speedracer.mark at gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:26 PM
To: Ben Swann
Cc: Justin Rettaliata; urq at audifans.com; quattro at audifans.com
Subject: Re: [urq] No stater motor functioning... need help!

Especially with the older VAG cars (pre-early-1990s-ish), the primary wiring was pretty
poor.  By primary wiring, I mean the battery to starter to alternator and major grounds.
One of my first suggested upgrades is to replace or parallel the existing primary
wiring.  The wire used was fairly poor quality and over time, moisture wicks into the
sheath and corrodes it internally.  I've cut battery to starter wires apart only to find
severe corrosion well into the sheath.  Every try flexing the old VAG wiring?  It's
SUPER stiff and far from a modern ropelay construction.  I'd suggest that 6ga. is
minimal when new (especially considering it's construction) and I usually replace with 2
ga.  (sometimes 4).
VW recalled several years of 16V powered cars to replace the wiring from the battery to
starter (maybe to alternator, too).
Good luck,
Mark Rosenkrantz

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 4:20 PM, Ben Swann <benswann at verizon.net> wrote:


I was contiually having issues with poor starting current on my '83.  If you look at the
wiring layout, you'll find that there is but a single positive wire aroung 6 guage that
is really inadequate for the job.  Over time, any degrading of connections - pos. or
ground or "weak" battery will result in slow/no truing over.  This will hasten the
demise of the starter, too.

I ran a dedicated positive 6 guage wire from battery positive directly to the starter
post.  Routed across under seat and up passenger side and through firewall.  Area near
exhaust manifold/turbo area was given extra protection.  Actually the rout taken goes to
a jumper post I installed on the firewall near location of where the battery would be on
4000 quattro and then branch positive underhood electricals from there, but I disgress.
The wire back to the battery may even be a #4, but with at least two (2) #6 wires going
to starter and then to alternator, there is plenty of copper to run starter current

Of course, having a new fresh battery helps, and I have had a few older batteries that
were fine in other cars would not cut it in the UrQ.
You have some work cut out for you, but really this is the way it should have been done
at the factory.  If you install the jumper post, you will find it easier to
charge/jumpstart the car as well as run new electricals, such as the EFI system you may
eventually install.



[Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 16:57:46 -0400
From: "Justin Rettaliata" <jretal at gmail.com>
Subject: [urq] No stater motor functioning... need help!
To: urq at audifans.com
       <dfc6dd30807231357x10dca2c3rcf9a94caf28f4824 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Ok ladies and gents here's the issue.

Our '83 UrQ was running fine and dandy after we bought it, and 2 days later the starter
motor wouldn't kick over.

Everything else fires up when I turn the key, but when I go to start the car the lights
dim a little bit (like there's a load on the system) and nothing happens. No clicks no
nothing. The PO had installed a 2nd starter button to bypass the ignition switch as well
since he was having issues w/ the ignition switches failing, but unfortunately pushing
this button results with the same non-start issue and the same dimming of lights as if
there's a load on teh system.

My dad pulled the starter motor last night and tested it and it worked fine.
I had tested power to the starter and grounding and it was fine. I also tested to see if
it got 12v to the trigger wire and (iirc) it was getting 9-10v. My dad is going to
reconfirm these #s tonight. That seemed too low to me personally, but I'm not sure what
to think at the moment.

Also, all grounds to the battery have been cleaned.

Question I have is... where else should I be looking for an issue?

Are there relays I should be looking for/finding to test if they're working?
Need the car to be operational for another 6-8 months as we're not ready to start
tearing it down yet. Also my mom wants it out of the garage as she doesn't like it that
her car is now sitting outside :-P

Any advice is MUCH appreciated!!!
quattro mailing list
quattro at audifans.com
Watch this space for ads :)

More information about the urq mailing list