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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 January 18th, 2008, 19:11   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Bowling Green Va.
Fuel Economy: 52,48, 46
Default burning smell in car

Tonight while driving with my wife, she noticed a burning smell(she was driving) I noticed it after awhile. I checked under the hood, nothing leaking. When we got home I checked around the dash. The strongest smell was coming from the steering column. Has anyone had these happen?
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Old January 18th, 2008, 20:48   #2
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Location: Humboldt Co CA
Fuel Economy: A4 = wife drives it, don't know

This is a 96 B4 (per your profile). I'd guess the ignition switch, but how are the turn signals working? Could this be from the light switch? German electrics, in this generation car, are somewhat.... underpowered for what they expect them to do. Get the sniff-meter around these areas, or replace what seems really hot after a trip. Light switch comes out easily, so determining it's heat shouldn't be hard. Which reduces the likely candidate to the ignition switch.

ps, I had to get my wife an A4TDI so I could drive my B4 instead of her VR6 A3. You might start looking for some such if you want your B4 back.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 08:34   #3
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Location: Bowling Green Va.
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The light switch didn't feel warm(I had the light switch go bad in my GM pickup, it would get hot) But I tried it this morning no smell but lights not on. I have 3 B4s and a A3 but can only drive them if I swap my truck(only a few hours) with wife or children.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 10:59   #4
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I had a turn signal stalk in the departed A3 do the same thing. Required replacement.
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Last edited by paramedick; January 19th, 2008 at 18:22.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 14:54   #5
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Default smoke from steering column

dieselherb, about 5 or 6 months ago I ran into the exact same thing on my 96 tdi Passat Wagon. On two different occasions I had small wisp of smoke emanating from the steering column. I asked here on the tdi forum if anyone had a suggestion as to the source. Really didn't get a firm answer. Anyway I removed all the plastic trim on the steering column and cleaned the area really well. The coulmn wasn't that dirty other than a small amount of lint. I even went as far as to pull the air bag and steering wheel. I did not find any wiring that looked liked it had shorted or was burnt. I ran the car for over a month with the trim pieces off the column so that if it started to smoke again I would be able to see where it was coming from. It's never happened again other than the two original instances. I was never able to pin point or diagnose what was the problem. It seemed though when it did do the smoking that the lights and windshield wipers were both on. Sorry I can't clue you in on what it might be, because I never found out what it was myself.

Sincerely, Dweisel
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Old January 20th, 2008, 16:14   #6
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Default Burning smell

My wife has a 98 jetta TDI. Some time ago, my wife called me with a similar problem. She was the only one in the car at the time and said she had a burning smell in the car, but uncertain where it might be coming from.

Once home I found that the blower motor apparently was starting to drag, and the switch in the control module had got so warm that it had actually deformed a part of the swtich control knob. Once the vehicle and the blower motor were turned off, the blower motor would not restart.

I have a new blower motor in now, still looking for a control module.

Good luck!
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Old January 25th, 2008, 07:06   #7
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Location: Greenwich, CT, USA

I know it's not a solution, but my car gives off funny smells too from time to time. It never seems to affect the running and driving of the car. So I excuse it because it's a 10-year-old diesel with 200k+ on it. Kind of like when your dog gets older it occasionally smells funny.
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