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I'm new to these forum deals so please bear with me here.

I drive a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta GL with 210,XXX miles. Friday, my car was acting really strange. After studdering, and hesitating when i press the acceleration pedal, my car shut off completely. I managed to limp into a parking lot, where i tried to turn over the car again. The engine would turn over after an extended period of time, but it would struggle like my battery was almost dead. I also noticed a crazy backfire sound I had heard when the car was trying to start. In addition, it smelled like fuel like crazy after trying to start it for awhile. When the car managed to start, it would die as soon as i gave it more gas. I had it towed to a garage where it sits now.

Any possible ideas? Is it my spark plugs and wires? They've never been changed while i owned the car (70,000) Miles. If i can do it myself, it would save me like 400 bucks.

PLEASE HELP!! Sorry if the message is long. Email me if ya could, idk how you do that on here but you can figure it out.

[email protected]
 

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It's a long shot without scanning for codes, but it sounds like a clogged cat is a possibility. If the cat is clogged, your engine will just pressurize itself when accelerating and even starting. You can confirm this by having someone do a backpressure test, in addition to a vacuum test. Vacuum of a normal engine should be no less than 18in/hg at idle. Then, if you can, slowly rev the engine at idle. Vacuum should increase. If it decreases, you have a clogged cat.
 
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