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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 January 11th, 2003, 10:27   #1
zanzabar
 
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Default Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

Yesterday morning (cold ~ 10 degrees) I started my 2000 Jetta and noticed that the high-beam indcator on the dashboard came on and stayed on whether I had the lights on or not. As it was daytime, and I had to hurry off to work, I didn't notice that I had neither high or low beams or DRLs. I replaced the bulbs about 4 months ago with those lame blue "Xenon" bulbs, and now I'm wondering if they've fried some wires. I checked the headlight fuses (18-21, or something like that), and they were all fine, but it was dark in the parking lot where I was doing it, and I may have missed something.

Any suggestions on what to check/test/replace, or what caused this situation?
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Old January 12th, 2003, 14:32   #2
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

I checked the bulbs and looked for loose wires, and checked all the fuses again and I can't see any problems. Could this be something in the switch? Or maybe it's a relay issue (but which one...173?). I'll see if I can get a multitester and check the voltage to see if the bulbs are getting power, but I'm sure they aren't.
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Old January 12th, 2003, 15:28   #3
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

I noticed this tsb: 9499-01 Headlight Electrical Connection - Repair
Anyone know what this refers to specifically?

[ January 12, 2003, 15:29: Message edited by: zanzabar ]
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Old January 13th, 2003, 15:43   #4
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

Two more things: First, I've had a brake wear indicator light on for a few days now, but I don't see how that's related. It came on about four days before this problem happened.

Second, this morning the lights appeared to work fine, but the airbag light on the dashboard came on, and about ten miles later the lights went back off and the hi-beam indicator stayed on again.

Someone PLEASE figure this out for me...I'm stumped!
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Old January 13th, 2003, 16:18   #5
Moo Car
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

This is the first time Iíve ever heard of this kind of problem. Yes you need to take voltage reading on the headlight plug. Could be some kind of grounding problem so make sure that you also check the negative as well. If you find a loss of + or Ė then youíll have to buy a Bentley service book and trace it back to the problem. If you donít understand basic electricity then find someone who could look at your car. If you were closer, Iíd have a look.
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Old January 13th, 2003, 16:57   #6
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

No relay involved with the high beams.

Power goes from battery/alt. to ignition switch to high beam switch (in turn signal stalk switch assembly) to high beams (via fuses 18 and 19) with a branch to the cluster to light the indicator light (powered from fuse 18 side).

This suggests (1) turn signal switch assembly is defective, or (2) wiring fault in the steering column (possibly affecting air bag wiring, hence that light). When normal lights are off, and the HB light indicator lights, but no HB's, it suggests the switch is letting a little bit of current to go through - enough to light the indicator light but not enough for the HB's to light. Toggle the switch the next time it happens and see if there is any effect.

If the wipers, and other exterior lights, work properly it is not a ground problem, at least not where the common grounding point is involved.

As for wondering if you "fried" any wires, what wattage are the bulbs you put in? If no more than the originals, then I don't think you'd "fry" the wiring.
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Old January 13th, 2003, 16:59   #7
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

Also under the battery I believe that there are several ground wires attached to the frame. If battery acid leaks or spills here it could cause a problem.
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Old January 14th, 2003, 10:34   #8
GoFaster
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

If a headlight bulb loses its ground connection, you can get voltage feedback between the low-beam and high-beam circuits, which can affect the high beam indicator. I have had this happen on another vehicle.

Try pulling the connector off the headlight bulbs on both sides and then operate the headlight switch. If the high beam indicator operates as it should with the bulbs disconnected, the problem is either with one of the bulbs or right at the plug that attaches to the bulbs (plug in one at a time to figure out which one is at fault).
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Old January 14th, 2003, 13:24   #9
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

I had bright light indicator AND worn brake pad indicator come on and it was a loose ground under the battery. It was right after getting my Golf 2000. Don't remember if lights were affected - but think some other controls were flakey also.

ALSO - six months later had a loose ground under the plastic shield under the windshield. That caused sunroof, turnsignal, and some other things to be flakey. So, maybe want to check this also?

[ January 14, 2003, 13:30: Message edited by: DEZLBOY ]
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Old January 14th, 2003, 17:37   #10
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I tried a couple things to no avail. First, I checked the grounds under the battery. There was no leakage from the battery, but the two smaller ground points had some corrosion (blue copper stuff) at the point where the circular connector attaches to the wire. I don't really think it would be enough to cut off the flow of electrons though, but I could be wrong. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Second, I tried disconnecting the headlight clips (wire harnesses) to see if the dashboard operated correctly. The hi-beam indicator does seem to operate correctly. But when the headlights are plugged back in, one at a time the same problems arise. I didn't try taking the actual bulbs out, but I'll keep fooling around with it to see if I can do something.

All these things are with the key in and turned on.

When the key is not in, and the lights are turned on, the hi-beam indicator comes on ONLY when pulling the switch all the way forward (toward the driver) ie when "flashing".

Sounds like I'll need to start looking under the steering column, or should I replace something on the headlight assembly?

[ January 14, 2003, 17:56: Message edited by: zanzabar ]
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Old January 14th, 2003, 18:22   #11
GoFaster
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

You've got a grounding problem with the headlight circuit. With all of the headlights unplugged, measure the resistance between the ground terminal on each headlight conector, and a good chassis ground. This should, ideally, be 0 ohms of resistance. If it is not, you need to find out why. Either there is a corroded connection at the point where the headlights are grounded to the chassis (most likely), or there is a break in the wire from the headlight to that ground location, or there is a loose connection right at one of the headlight connectors.
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Old January 14th, 2003, 19:34   #12
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

GoFaster, you had it right the first time. I pulled out the bulb housings (for the second time), but this time I actually took the bulb out of both of them and lo and behold the passenger bulb housing is fried (noticed the scent of BURNT PLASTIC just before opening it up).

Chalk another one up to checking the easiest things first!

The inside of the connector is toast, and will have to be replaced. I can't imagine why this would happen. The bulb appears to be ok. Now, with no bulb in the passenger side, the drivers side light works fine.

However, I still have the airbag light, and the brake wear indicator. Think these are related somehow? I'm pretty sure I need new pads (will do soon) but the airbag thing is a mystery to me.
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Old January 15th, 2003, 03:00   #13
Andi TDI
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

zanzabar, scan your codes and follow the procedure from here.
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Old January 15th, 2003, 05:48   #14
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

Quote:
Originally posted by zanzabar:
There was no leakage from the battery, but the two smaller ground points had some corrosion (blue copper stuff) at the point where the circular connector attaches to the wire
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Looks like you found the problem - melted housing. But, just a note. In my Golf there was a black circular plastic piece that somehow "helped" hold the wires to ground. Mechanic said these cause all sorts of trouble and threw it away. Not sure if this helps...but...
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Old January 15th, 2003, 07:23   #15
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Default Re: Headlight problem - high beam indicator won\'t go off, no headlights

I was going to scan the airbag controller with Vag-Com, until I was confronted with the warning window. I now need to check the part number on the controller to see it it will cause any problems listed here: http://www.ross-tech.com/vag-com/vw_issues.html

Anyone have experience with Vag-Com crapping out your airbags?

Thanks for the info AndiTDI.

[ January 15, 2003, 11:34: Message edited by: zanzabar ]
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