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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 August 22nd, 2008, 07:01   #1
naba
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Default Brake Switch Failure Rate

I traveled from Houston, TX to Warren, OH to attend a funeral. An hour before I was at my destination I got the flashing glow plug indicator that the brake switch failure.

This will probably be the 3rd brake switch that I have replaced. In my normal driving day I go through alot of stop and go traffic. I was wondering if maybe my driving pattern is causing the failures.

How many brake switches have you replaced?
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 03:46   #2
2004STARWARSTDI
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Post Glow plug light

How do you know it is the brake light switch? Are the brake lights out? Flashing glow plug light can mean other things. Did you get the Cel code read?
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Old August 31st, 2008, 14:49   #3
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__. Brake light switches on these cars are *cr@p*! There have been multiple recalls. Check with a stealer to see if you're in the recall VIN range. If not, be sure you get the latest switch ... they keep "improving" them.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 05:58   #4
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Quote:
How do you know it is the brake light switch? Are the brake lights out? Flashing glow plug light can mean other things. Did you get the Cel code read?
At the time I forgot my VAGCOM cable at home. I just replace the brake switch. When I got home I ran the autoscan and cleared the error that was given. No more blinking glow plug.

Quote:
Brake light switches on these cars are *cr@p*! There have been multiple recalls. Check with a stealer to see if you're in the recall VIN range. If not, be sure you get the latest switch ... they keep "improving" them.
I did not bother with the recall. The switch I bought was about $4 I think. I made sure it was the lastest and greatest. I bought an extra one since they were so cheap.
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Old September 4th, 2008, 05:52   #5
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Convert the rear lights to LEDs and you may never have the brake light switch fail again!!! The failure that I've seen involves the interruption of the current to the brake lights causing a small arc on the switch contacts, which will eventually lead to failure in any switch or relay. If you have the 5 brake light mod, it might even happen sooner, due to the increase in current. I've only changed the switch out 1 time, then did the LED conversion, and never had to touch it. Now that I've said that, it'll probably go this afternoon.

-Rich
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Old September 4th, 2008, 06:06   #6
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Quote:
Now that I've said that, it'll probably go this afternoon.
HAHAHA That usually how it happens. A few weeks before the brake switch failure I replaced the coolant sensor on my car. I was telling myself I finally fixed all of my issues. I was feeling good then the brake switch failure happens.

I have been thinking about changing out my tail light to the LEDs. I might do that as a Christmas present to myself later this year.

Question, If one of the LED lights go out are the easy to replace? Do you have to special order the lights?
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Old September 6th, 2008, 08:50   #7
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I have ordered the LEDs from a company called Stylin' Concepts in the past, (they are online), and specifically ordered the direct replacement HB (hyper-bright) 1156's that are manufactured by a company called Jam-Straight. I've done all of the lights back there except the license plate lights, and you will need 4 "ballasts" to do the whole conversion (1 or 2 for the brake lights to keep the glow plug light from flashing at you all the time, and 2 for the directionals so that they don't blink at rediculously high speed. They are very easy to install, and I haven't had to replace one yet. I believe that there is a way to get around the ballast for the brake lights, but I haven't toyed around enough to do it yet. I never got around to playing with it once the install was complete 4 years ago, but I keep meaning to try a few things. I'll let you know if I get to it.

PS: Use red LEDs all around, even in the directional position... The yellow HBs get drowned out in bright sunlight, but the reds seem to show up OK.

-Rich
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Old September 9th, 2008, 10:50   #8
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I have a 2000 TDI. Sometimes the brake lights go out, then the GP light starts flashing. I'm guessing this is a clear case of brake light switch failure. But I just wanted to make sure before I go digging around.

The switch is located somewhere on the top of the pedal, under the dash? Thanks for any info on changing it if it's tricky in any way.
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Old September 9th, 2008, 11:21   #9
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If you buy a brake switch from the dealer it should come with directions on how to replace it. If you do not get the directions, post here again and I will see if I can scan the directions in for you.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 05:16   #10
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Duke:

Yep- you've got the symptoms of a bad brake light switch. To access it easily, you will have to pull off 5 panels:

1) Lower dash kick panel (horizontal panel above your feet.
2) Left and right dash panels under steering column- remove the left one first, and the panel that covers the fuse box will come out with it. Then you can get to the screws for the right panel.
3) The heavy metal dash reinforcement panel.

Once those are out of the way, just follow the instructions for the install. Piece of cake.

BTW- if you are small-bodied, you may fit under the dash and just removing the one panel might be enough. I unfortunately have been given the body and grace of a mad bear, so I had to make as much room as possible.

-Rich
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Old September 10th, 2008, 10:28   #11
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I have changed all rear light bulbs with new ones, I replaced the brake light switch twice and last one with the latest upgraded one (green) and I am still getting a flashing glow plug light, any suggestions.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 11:05   #12
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The glowplug will flash until you get the cel cleared on your car. You need to get with someone who has VAGCOM.

There is a VAGCOM Owners link on this site. I tried going to the link but I was unable to get to it.

http://tdiclub.com/links/

If the link still does not work I would go to the Regional Thread and post in your region for someone to that has VAGCOM.
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Last edited by naba; September 10th, 2008 at 11:09.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 13:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naba
The glowplug will flash until you get the cel cleared on your car. You need to get with someone who has VAGCOM.

There is a VAGCOM Owners link on this site. I tried going to the link but I was unable to get to it.

http://tdiclub.com/links/

If the link still does not work I would go to the Regional Thread and post in your region for someone to that has VAGCOM.

I have Vag.com and I have cleared the fault code about 15 times and it still comes back.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 06:15   #14
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What fault code are you getting? Is it the only fault that you are getting? Is it the same fault each time?
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Old September 11th, 2008, 17:20   #15
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I've had the flashing glowplug light for the first time twice this Summer. First time it began after I installed an upgraded ECU (along with a CEL). They lit up a few seconds after starting the car until I turned it off. It lasted for a week then disappeared suddenly, without a VagCom intervention. It was after I learned about the brake light switch.

Then a few weeks ago, the flashing glow plug light came back to taunt me. I then knew what it could mean, and I realized the brake lights weren't working. The trouble lasted for 2 days. It's working fine since then.

I know the BLS recall hasn't been done, I'll get an appointment at the dealer soon.
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