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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD)

VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old October 10th, 2002, 12:29   #1
Richard Berg
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
TDI(s): B4V
Default Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

If you're following my life story, it picks up somewhere around here -- after grabbing lunch on my way from the SCOTUS to SpeedTuning, turning the key to 'start' did something quite bad. My memory of the split second isn't great since I wasn't really paying attention, but all the electricals I'd "fixed" fritzed out...and the car didn't start. Luckily with manuals all you really need is a slight downgrade to pop the clutch, but needless to say this was kinda distressing.

At Oli's, we poked around a bit to see if there'd be a quick fix. The same fuse (#21, listed as controlling the cig lighter / interior lights / control panel / etc.) was blown, unsurprisingly, but we couldn't deduce what was up with the starter. A multimeter shows it getting current, which then spikes repeatedly when I try to start -- meanwhile it makes a loud clicking noise, sounding to my inexperienced ear like it's stuck on something.

I know the problems are related, however: even with another fuse swapped into #21, the tripmeter & clock reset when I try to run the starter. Guess I just have to determine what it all means...an internal short in the starter?

I'll drop by the shop that replaced the fuse the first time and see if they can have a closer look this afternoon, but if it's something easily fixable I may as well save it for the upcoming cleaning project that I apparently need...

[ October 10, 2002, 11:33: Message edited by: Richard Berg ]
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Old October 11th, 2002, 00:03   #2
Richard Berg
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

What the...? Now it starts again. I don't trust it though, will be taking it in to be looked at.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 00:38   #3
DPM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Newtownards, N. Ireland
Fuel Economy: 38.5- 47 Forester, Citroen 55- 63
Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

Either the starter's breaking down when hot, or your battery is dying...
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Old November 29th, 2002, 10:21   #4
Richard Berg
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

Bumping this because it happened again: blown #21 and inability to start. Grrr.

WRT the latter problem, I'm pretty sure it's just a charge thing -- this time, the first failed attempt turned the engine over a few times, soon revealing that the starter-clicking from before is just a final stage in the discharge of the battery. Moreover, all was well once again after replacing the fuse, push-starting, and letting the alternator do its thing for a few hours.

It seems, then, that whatever is causing the fuse to blow is simply draining the battery along with it. (I had a similar problem in my old Jimmy, actually -- after it was in an accident, the shop replaced the alarm system with a faulty one that left me stranded in need of a jump several times (thanks Jake) until a low-current short was discovered.) The only correlation I can think of between the 3 times it's blown is that I've had something plugged into the cig lighter each time...even if that's a smoking gun, it doesn't explain why it didn't drain the battery the first time, unless it was simply my good karma keeping me from being stranded halfway between St. Louis and Boston!
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Old November 29th, 2002, 16:05   #5
concours
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

FWIW, I was using an Igloo 12v cooler/warmer to bring meat home from the butcher shop in July and blew the fuse. The cigarette lighter plug on the Igloo has a metal nose about 3/8" in diameter, ANY misalignment caused a short/blown fuse. I havn't seen any others like that though. Good luck. [img]images/icons/cool.gif[/img]
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Old December 18th, 2002, 03:39   #6
Richard Berg
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

Whoop de doo, happened again yesterday.

This episode did have some unique things I may as well record. Whatever started draining the battery managed to do it while the car was on: I left it (after warming it up very well, ~30 miles of driving) for about 10 minutes while inside a store, and as I walked back it began idling very rough. Sounded like being underfueled (I've run out before so I recognize the sound) -- perhaps the fuel pump or ECU not getting enough current? I didn't know it was an electrical thing at first so when I got inside I shut it off, only then noticing that the interior lights/dash/etc. were dim and fading. Fuse #21 actually didn't blow this time, though.

After a jumpstart, I drove about 50 extra highway miles to try to ensure I'd have charge the next day. During the drive most electrical devices like the blower got noticeably stronger, but I was never able to turn on the stereo. Come this morning, it's absolutely stone-dead, and the roadside towing policy I added to my insurance a couple months ago suddenly paid for itself.

The shop didn't get to it last time (left it there 2+ days, then needed the car), but this time it's fix it or else -- I've got 7000 miles of road tripping to do, supposedly starting this weekend.

While I'm waiting, the guessing game is addicting...alternator? battery? short circuit somewhere? Obviously I'd prefer it be something simple (read: cheap), but then again if it's just a dying battery I'm going to look like quite the fool for going through all this.
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Old December 18th, 2002, 08:40   #7
Richard Berg
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

Answer: alternator. And of course, being a Passat with most of the power options, it needs the 180A model. Any way I look at it that's $500 + a couple hours' labor [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

[ December 18, 2002, 07:43: Message edited by: Richard Berg ]
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Old December 18th, 2002, 11:20   #8
weedeater
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

are you aware of the recall on Passats for their ignition switch problems?
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Old December 18th, 2002, 12:47   #9
ecd1vw
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

Has anyone received the Official Ignition Switch Recall notice in the mail?

It would be great for others who don't receive a copy of those that do.

Thanks.
/erik
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Old December 18th, 2002, 17:29   #10
Mark of Diesel
Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

I think the gentleman that I bought my new (to me) '96 Passat from just got the offical recall notice in the mail. I will ask and try to get more details and maybe a fax or scan of the actual letter.
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Old December 18th, 2002, 18:49   #11
Richard Berg
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

I will ask them if they know of the recall when I pick up the car tomorrow.

This shop specializes in electronics; I'm 99% sure that if they deem it necessary to scrap a $500 part, it's the immediate cause of the symptoms. Nevertheless, putting my limited EE education to work, I think for the alternator to cause a drain on the battery with the engine off/idling all it would take is a few busted diodes inside. Could a bad ignition switch cause that kind of damage?
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Old December 19th, 2002, 11:27   #12
ecd1vw
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Default Re: Uh oh -- electricals out again, and took the starter with it

Call VWoA 1-800-822-8987
--------------------------
I just called VWoA and presented my 'case' of the intermittent starting and electrical fauilures and emphasized that this a Safety concern and liability issue.

I told 'Aaron' at VWoA that there was a NHTSA Recall on the 'ignition switch' problem -- but of course they don't have any idea what I am talking about.

It is soooo frustrating.

Has anyone received their Recall Letter in the mail for the '96 Passat Ignition Switch failure??? Please share.

Thanks.
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