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Old November 22nd, 2008, 06:29   #1
caffeinator
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Unhappy 1996 Passat TDI - alarm goes off - car won't start

Went for a drive yesterday and after I pulled in to park the car, I took the key out of the ignition, opened the drivers side door and the alarm began to go off - horn under windshield wiper, flashing lights, the whole bit. The alarm will go off after about twenty seconds but if I put the key in the ignition or open a door, trunk lid or hood, the alarm goes off again. Of course, the worst part is that the car won't start now.

Additional information - I have never locked the doors in this car.

Any suggestions?
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 07:24   #2
Jetter_Sprinta
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Have you tried locking and unlocking the car from the door handle to reset the alarm?
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 09:02   #3
joetdi
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Check all of the doors where the wiring goes from the body to the doors. Pull the boots back and check for broken wires there. Joe
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 13:53   #4
caffeinator
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Didn't try to reset the alarm with the door handle locks. It's parked an hour away at a buddy's house but I'll be able to try that mid-week.

I did push the inside lock up and down while sitting in it and that didn't help.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 14:18   #5
BKmetz
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Simple test:

Lock & unlock the car from the driver's side door handle. Lock and unlock the car from the passenger side door handle. If the alarm malfunctions while only using the driver's side door handle, you just found the problem. There is a micro-switch built into the door handle that is worn out. The only fix is to replace the door handle.

This is expanding on joetdi's suggestion.

If the alarm malfunctions regardless of which door you use to lock the car, then it gets messy. The wire loom inside the rubber boot that goes into the door from the chassis probably has a bad wire from opening and closing the door all these years. The constant flexing of the wire either cracks the wire, or the insulation rubs away and the wire hits metal and causes a ground. This is common on the B4 Passats due to their age. The fix is to hunt down the wire and splice it at the break. Not fun at all as there is not much room or spare wire to work with. Start withe the driver's door first as it gets the most use.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:45   #6
caffeinator
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Thanks. I'll try it.

Another thing I noticed is that the trip odometer reset itself to 0. Don't know what that means.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 14:16   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caffeinator
Thanks. I'll try it.

Another thing I noticed is that the trip odometer reset itself to 0. Don't know what that means.
When I disconnect my battery, the alarm goes off when I reconnect it. I guess one can prevent this with a key in the ignition, perhaps turned, but it happens.

Since the trip odometer reset itself (how about the clock?)when the alarm goes off, I'm wild-guessing a grounding problem. Check all of the grounds you can find if the test proposed by BKMetz doesn't isolate the problem to the driver's door.
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Old November 29th, 2008, 08:24   #8
caffeinator
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Got over to Richmond Wednesday to pick the car up, opened the door and the alarm went off immediately. Waited for it to stop, put the key in the drivers side door handle, locked and unlocked the door and then reopened it. No alarm and the car started right off.

Thanks for the help, guys.
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