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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter’s 2003 1.9L TDI automatic New Beetle sat for a couple of weeks here in Florida (winter but maybe only one or two nights below freezing) and now won’t start.
-Glow plug light comes on briefly when turning on.
-Started with starter fluid.
-The fuel filter barely has any fuel in it.
-No fuel comes from tank to the filter when trying to start the engine.
-We went to check the sender unit fuel pump under the back seat (part 1J0919050 I believe) and there’s diesel puddled around the pump under the cover.
-So it seams the seal is no good (also?)

So...

-I don’t want to order a pump then find out that wasn’t the issue.
-Does this sound like we simply need to replace that unit?
-Are there other issues that fit the description?
 

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Others who are tdi specific owners with troubleshooting experience; can hopefully chime in. Meanwhile, this faq on tdiclub; is a good place to start:

 

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There is no pump in the fuel tank for a 03. The device in the tank is a sending unit. (Fuel level only) The seal around the top of the unit may indeed be bad, or it might just need tightening.

This is where a mity vac is incredibly handy. About $40-50 at auto zone and other places. Hook it up to the fuel line coming off the injection pump going to the first injector and drawn fuel up through the filter into the pump and then hook the fuel line back up and give it a whirl.

The no start thread billy linked to is great and a good place to start, whitedog did a great job. Work your way through it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Don’t use starting fluid on a tdi unless you want to put a new engine in the car.
Definitely don’t want to do that. Hopefully we didn’t end it!

I’ll get on the mity vac idea and try with the existing sending unit and seal retightened next.
 

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Sounds to me like you have a leak in the fuel line allowing air to enter the line and all the diesel runs back to the tank. If you have diesel on top of the tank it’s more likely to be a leak from the line and not the big seal.
 

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The more I think about this the more I think it’s the fuel line and not the big seal. Clean everything up, have your daughter crank the car while you watch, see if any fuel comes out. Check for cracks or splits in the fuel line where it connects to the sending unit. If there is a crack or split that would be your problem.
 

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It sounds like the line or the sender is cracked. When you get your mityvac I would remove the lines from the sender and plug them with a foam ear plug or something like that and pull a vacuum from up front to test them.
 
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