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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old April 15th, 2010, 10:22   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Long Beach, Ca
Fuel Economy: 43 mpg
Default Steering Consol smoking after using cruise control

Hey guys. So I'm pretty new to the TDI scene. I just bought a 96 Passat TDI with 150,000 miles for 2500 bucks. The guy was original owner and has every service record there is for the car for the last 14 years. Great buy on my part so for. Soo anyways...

I was driving on the freeway and decided to try out the cruise control. Used it for about 5 min. Then shut it off. The all of a sudden faint smoke was rising out of the steering column. Kinda freaked me out. But it finally went away. Figured the guy before me never used it since he only drove locally. But still...

So has anyone else had this problem or know what's going on. I'm going to open up the steering column and take a look but just wanted to see what you guys thought. Thanks
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Old April 15th, 2010, 16:30   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Versailles, Kentucky

Take a peek at the contacts on the turn signal stalk. Not unusual for them to heat up and melt.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 16:35   #3
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Massachusetts
TDI(s): JoeJetta89


take compressed air (either a can of keyboard cleaner, OR shop air from a compressor with a blow gun tip) and blow the everliving **** out of the column, in all of the places you can possibly reach - the plastics separate if you're gentle you should be able to get the top off without breaking it,

blow it out, dust collects in there - mine does, same problem, it's just the way the dust ends up in the contacts. my old jetta did it as well.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 09:02   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Tucson, Az
Fuel Economy: A5: 36mpg Avg / A6: 39

Sooo, have you scheduled a timing belt replacement? Probably should do the water pump, too.

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Old April 18th, 2010, 10:55   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Alaska
Fuel Economy: 41 to 54 mpg

Those contacts are tenuous at best. Whenever the connection is weak, there is some heat generated. Hopefully, you just made some dust smoke.

I've had some luck cleaning the contacts with spray cleaner that will not harm the plastic on the steering column. If everything there still works (turn signals, emergency flasher, cruise control), try cleaning before you replace the unit, as replacement involves some tedious disassembly.
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