1998 A4 Won't Start

My sister has a 1998 A4 2.8 Quattro (Automatic) - for the past few weeks, the car has not been starting reliably, and is now at the point where it will start only once a day. It has been to two different
shops- an Audi dealership and a small, independent specialist- but no one can determine the source of this problem. Has anyone else had a similar issue? Suggestions?
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Mike, Did it start it's downhill slide gradually, or all of a sudden? Bad tank of gas? Need a new fuel filter? What codes has it thrown? Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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Hi Steve- I sent your response to my sister, and this is what she came back with:
hmmm lets see whats been done so far.... And its been doing this since July- gradually becoming less and less dependent... no codes that I know of, but mike at european auto may test this again.... Stuff done: New fuel filter, spark plugs, ignition switch... Always use 93 octane level gas, so gas should not be a problem. No rhyme or reason to the when and where it'll start. When it does not, its not permanant, but usually lasts about 30-40 min while i keep trying and crying eventually helps too. :-)
Any ideas? Thank you! -Mike
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Mike, Crying helps? wow - maybe the tears are actuating the "Empathy Module"? Hmmm....it sounds like something is overheating. Basically, you need gas and a spark to make it run. My 1987 5ktq has behaved poorly with hot starts, but not to the extent you describe. In the 5ktq case, it has a lot to do with leaking injectors and vapour lock - as the exhaust manifold is under the fuel lines, you can easily heat the fuel in the lines to the point that they will vapour lock. The release of fuel pressure from the system, whether from leaking injectors of from a leaky fuel check valve, may cause difficult starting, especially if the injectors leak and flood the engine. I would attempt to duplicate the failure mode at European Auto (I know, it'll be tough to do because the car will "know" you're there), and then check for fuel and spark. Then troubleshoot from there - check fuel pressures if no fuel (also faulty fuel pump, leaking injectors, even a lack of a signal from the computer to turn the fuel pump on - my 5ktq uses the RPM sensor to make sure the car is running before turning the fuel pump on) The A4 folks will tell you if the failure of the Mass Airflow Sensor or the Oxygen sensor will throw codes - I suspect they would. If there's no spark, I would look to the wires, coils (coilpack failure? they _never_ fail, right???? - wrong) - computer? C'mon Ronny....a little help here..... You might also try the A4 forum at Audiworld if you haven't already. Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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Does it actually turn over? My 98 A4 had something go ary last year that when you turned the key, it was a crapshoot as to whether or not anything would happen. The mechanic fixed it and haven't had a problem since. SOme sensor or something. Sorry - best I can do without digging up records and I'm not near those right now.
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Ed H.

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Ed-
Yes, it turns over, but does not start. My sister talked with the people working on it, and they mentioned something about a sensor sending too much fuel to the engine and flooding it immediately... does that sound familiar at all?
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No, totally different. My car didn't do anything. Not even a "click" when you turned the key. Wait a fwe minutes and try again and it would work. Sorry.
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wrote:

Sounds like the Immobilizer not validating the key. A common fault is the coil in the ignition-cylinder (dont know if its the right word - im not a native englishman. But its the place where you insert the key :o)). Try to clean the keys for "gunk". If that doesnt work, then its off to the dealer, and have them check the coil.
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wrote:

Did you try a diffrent key? I had a key go faulty once, it would just turn over start for a second then stop, it ws the chip in the key that was faulty,
Steve.
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My sister picked the car up from the shop yesterday...
they ended up replacing a sensor that was falsely reporting the engine temperature to be too high, and so far, so good.
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