97 Jetta Cluster issues

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Guys-

Can you take a look ay the 2 videos linked below?

http://youtu.be/eD9PemHt_Q4

http://youtu.be/7RpHpwA9f-k

1st is after about a 2 hour soak after getting home from work, 2nd is after a 12 hour soak (from the previous video).

I've cleaned the grounds in the engine compartment (3 wires, solid, no corrosion), and have a good battery. This is a 2 owner car, in-laws from new, then me for the past 5 years. Formerly garage kept in Chicago, been in Austin, TX for the past 5 years.

Trying to figure out why the cluster keeps resetting/losing power. Any ideas would be much appreciated!
 

diesel steve

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Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Location
southfield,MI
TDI
1996 b4v
A member responded to one of my post on a similiar issue and said it was the Caps. his way for saying cappasitors for short and there were I think and easy to change. No one responded with any links and I don't have any luck findind posts or threads on this site. Mine only does it when it is very cold even though I bought a new battery. I just deal with it until it gets warmer.
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
The cluster just got back from Derek in IL. I sent the vids to him also, hoping to hear back from him. I'm hoping that someone here might have some insight...

New symptoms... I drove home from work this afternoon, and the cluster DIDN'T come back to life. Dead tach, no speedometer and no display the whole 10 mile commute. In addition, the temp and gas gauges started out with a little flickering, but about 1/3 of the way home, the started swinging wildly, through the full sweep. Gas gauge eventually pegged high, and then temp gauge started swinging. Now nothing on anything.

Derek suggested the ignition switch, but car starts, runs, and all accessories work as they should. thoughts>

Last, sometimes I hear a really loud CLICK, like a relay closing, behind the dah. Is there any relay that might be causing these issues?

Thanks-\

Kerry
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Just a bump to this thread...

Problem is still not resolved.

Still getting a loss of power with a turn of the key. Still no tach needle on startup, and the displays reset with every ignition/key turn cycle.

Cluster has now been sent to 2 different business'. Both say working when returned. Car starts and runs fine, just cluster problems.

Any insight would be helpful...

I cleaned the 3 ring terminal grounds under the hood. Any others I should do? Location? Any relays I need to check? Any thoughts on the ignition switch? No previous on running problems with this currently... Always just 2 keys on key ring...

Thanks-

Kerry
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
Not sure I can add anything to help you fix your issue, but the only time I had the resetting cluster problem was when my ignition switch was bad. That was on a Mk3 Golf with the 2.0 ABA engine. New switch fixed it right up.

Also, there are a couple grounds under the battery that might need to be looked at too.

The reason I'm suggesting that your switch is bad is because you've sent the cluster out to two places now and both have said that it's fine. That would suggest that the problem is elsewhere.

Steve
 

kzoc

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Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Although it pertains specifically to the b4 chassis your symptoms are similar enough that there may be some help in here:

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=229722

I now see that kzoc has already referenced this thread. I'll go back to sleep now....
I did see this... And while I have a speedo shop in town (Overseas Speedometer), and I used to work for him, I chose to send it out rather than worry about pulling needles, etc...

I sent it to both Derek at Chub's, and Module Master up in ID. got it back from MM yesterday, plugged it in, and still getting the resetting display when the key is cycled.

At this point, I have no way of knowing if the cluster is good, or if I have electrical issues. I don't know if I can test the grounds on the cluster connectors for continuity with the cluster removed, or battery + and switched 12v with the cluster removed...

I was hoping someone could point me to some more grounds to check, or possible a relay that the might be in the cluster circuit...

I'll pick up an ignition switch at the dealer today or tomorrow, and I'll get a 109 relay aftermarket today. Hopefully one or both of those will make a difference in the symptoms.
 

tripl-e

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Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
Basking Ridge, NJ USA
TDI
b4 sporting a new ET 6th gear!
You could always try the base test that I started with; cold soak the car and then locally warm the cluster and note the result. Try to isolate the cause to a smaller area of the vehicle. The behavior of these older, marginal capacitors is well documented and your symptoms appear limited to the cluster itself. Persistence will pay off............. eventually.
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
T-E

It's cold enough (~36 degs), but how would I locally warm portions of the cluster with it installed? I don't currently have the knee bolster out, so I cant get up behind the cluster with anything... And the displays work, they just reset (clock to 12:00, tripmeter to 0 miles) when the key is cycled.

BTW, I'm a bit jealous of the E34T clone. did you see the 540iT on BaT for auction? $17k!
 

vanbcguy

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Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC
TDI
'93 Passat - AHU mTDI with GTB1756VK
Can you grab another cluster from a scrapyard? I know there are a couple AHU cars at my local wrecker...

Would be good for testing purposes...
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
vanbcguy- I would love to have a spare AHU cluster. I know you weren't offering, but I could pay you for it if you found some spare time to pull it. I haven't seen a TDI in the yards here in years.

Update on issue...

I had time to get some parts yesterday. A spare 109, and a new ignition switch. Relay went in easily, but no improvement on the issue. I took the column surround off, and managed to work the connector off the ignition switch. I then plugged in a brand new VW switch, turned it with a flat head screwdriver, and issue still persists. Cycle the ignition switch, and the odo/clock displays take about 2-4 secs to die out (and reset). Car starts and runs fine, but I haven't let it run long enough to see if the temp gauge works. I can post a video if anyone thinks they want to see it.

I don't think I can selectively warm the cluster, so I will check with Module Masters, and probably get the car to a shop in the next few weeks, unless anyone can suggest something else to check...
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
You can substitute any Mk3 cluster as long as it's 96(ish) and up to see if the issue persists, preferably a 2.0 gas cluster. The CEL on the gas cluster becomes the GP light for diesel but everything else should work the same.

Steve
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
You can substitute any Mk3 cluster as long as it's 96(ish) and up to see if the issue persists, preferably a 2.0 gas cluster. The CEL on the gas cluster becomes the GP light for diesel but everything else should work the same.

Steve
^^^
This I did not know. Thanks, Steve!

A Mk3 cluster is definitely do-able, as I have an LKQ about 3 minutes from the house.

Of course, to top it off, the column surround broke, and it appears as though it's NLA/obsolete.
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
^^^
This I did not know. Thanks, Steve!

A Mk3 cluster is definitely do-able, as I have an LKQ about 3 minutes from the house.

Of course, to top it off, the column surround broke, and it appears as though it's NLA/obsolete.
Good luck finding a good column surround (clamshell) they are 1. NLA and 2. all the used one are broken or get broken at the JY by people who prefer to rip them out trying to get something. Also, the screws don't like to come out without breaking either...they're very weak.

I have a good column surround but earlier this year figured out it was for a Golf w/o tilt, and all Jetta had tilt column.

Steve
 

vanbcguy

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Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC
TDI
'93 Passat - AHU mTDI with GTB1756VK
I need to see what the yard wants for clusters and things. There's a couple AAZ cars out there too and those clusters are RARE so I was kind of thinking of yanking one anyhow. If their prices are reasonable and I'm out there I'll yank what I find, probably a few people on here that would be interested.
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Quick update...

I managed to get to the PnP this weekend before the rains came. Found a nice, White/silver faced cluster out of a 96 Jetta. Plugged it in, and the car fired up just fine, all gauges and displays working as they should. BTW, it has 186k miles on it. Just a few warning lights on, as I was told they would be.

Of course, I then had to try my repaired cluster. An of course, it worked as it should. No resetting of displays or no tach needle. Very frustrating.

Since it had warmed up since I had gotten my repaired cluster back, I thought that the issue might be temp related on the cluster side. Took them both and stuck them in the deep freezer overnight.

Next day, I took the used cluster out of the freezer, and had it in place and powered up in less than 2 minutes. Works fine. I then retrieved and plugged in the repaired cluster (less than 3 minutes freezer to car). Works just fine. Key on, get a gas gauge after about 3-5 secs., and tach gauge immediately upon startup. and no resetting of the clock. Now I'm super frustrated.

Looks like this issue is temp related on the car side, and it's getting warm enough here in Austin to not have the issue reoccur. I'm going to button up the cluster/dash, and start driving it and see what happens.

Thanks for all the ideas, and I hope that I don't have to tear out this cluster for a long while!!!
 

914fan

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2003
Location
Huntington Beach, CA
TDI
1997, Jetta, Green
There is a thick Brown ground wire that plugs into the circle connector near the hood release. That ground cause my Speedo to jump from time to time. You could have a loose ground at the cluster and with luck it's happy now
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Just an update on this issue...

since getting warmer (on the way to HOT), the cluster has been mostly OK. Working correctly 95% of the time.

I do think this is a ground issue, as the only time the cluster has reset was after I let the car sit for 5-6 days. Temps have been in the 60's-80's for the past month, and only after letting the car sit for 5-6 days has this happened.

I will try to track down the "brown wire/circle connector" when I have time.

On another note, does anyone have a link to the motor mount thread where they were discussing all the different options? I've gone back 45 days on the Mk3 forum and couldn't find it. Maybe my forum search skills are lacking...
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
Just an update on this issue...

since getting warmer (on the way to HOT), the cluster has been mostly OK. Working correctly 95% of the time.

I do think this is a ground issue, as the only time the cluster has reset was after I let the car sit for 5-6 days. Temps have been in the 60's-80's for the past month, and only after letting the car sit for 5-6 days has this happened.

I will try to track down the "brown wire/circle connector" when I have time.

On another note, does anyone have a link to the motor mount thread where they were discussing all the different options? I've gone back 45 days on the Mk3 forum and couldn't find it. Maybe my forum search skills are lacking...
I'll see if I can find the motor mount thread, I posted in it so it'll be somewhere in my history.

Here's a pic from the recent 'P1550' thread that shows you where the ground wire connects. See that crusty nut just below the connector end? That's the critical ground from the cluster to the engine. The situation is complicated because the ground is bolted to a bracket that's bolted to the coolant flange on the side of the cylinder head. It means there are multiple places where corrosion can affect the grounding. Without that ground you will get minimal activity at the cluster. On the B4 without that ground you will get maybe two warning lights and no lcd displays.



Steve
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Steve-

I cleaned those 3 ring terminals (under the 10mm nut) in the engine compartment. All look good now, including the crimping on the terminals. NO broken or corroded wires.

I guess when the previous poster said "hood release" I was thinking of a connector inside the car. Probably wrong...
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
Steve-

I cleaned those 3 ring terminals (under the 10mm nut) in the engine compartment. All look good now, including the crimping on the terminals. NO broken or corroded wires.

I guess when the previous poster said "hood release" I was thinking of a connector inside the car. Probably wrong...
There's a ground out there IIRC but that's for the headlight harness on the mk3. I don't remember if that connects at the upper radiator support or whether it travels back to the fuse box.

There are also grounds under the battery that should be checked and cleaned too.

Steve
 

00013cave

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Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Location
island state of Montreal
TDI
1998 jetta TDI, 1997 GLX TDI
we used to repair all mk3 clusters by taking them apart and looking for broken/poor solders points. Then took a small torch and passing heat over the suspect bad solders. Worked 90 % of the time. Not sure if this is your problem,although I have a similar problem when it gets down past -20 C. But I need a new battery for next winter and never have the problem when the block heater is plugged. It's definitely a voltage drop somewhere, but think of all the vibrations the clusters get for all those years of diesel shaking
 

kzoc

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Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
cave-

The cluster has been to 2 shops: Derek in IL, and ModuleMasters in ID. Both worked on it, and gave it a clean bill of health. MM says they touched up all the cold solder joints, and Derek says he replaced 2 of the stepper motors for the gauges. Like I said, it's been working fine with a brand new VW battery with the exception of a reset after not running for 4-6 days.

I guess I'll just have to calculate mileage from the total, not the trip odo...

K
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Resolved.

After parking the car for 18-24 months, and some personal issues, Ihad a chance to get to OH for some family business. I decided to take the tdi an additional 400 miles up to Ivan up at Pine Hollow Auto Diagnostics.

After arriving and showing the problem, I grabbed lunch in State College. 3 hours later, I arrived back to his shop to a fixed Jetta!!! He also took some time to repair a pinched ground wire for the front left lights (my fault from a rad replacement)

Turns out I nor the shops I took it to have access too good wiring diagrams. The issue was a bad ground. This particular ground goes THROUGH the fuse box. But not to the ring terminals under the battery, but to the ring terminals on the top of the engine (G132). Once a new terminal was fitted, the cluster works flawlessly. I have have a full instrument cluster, and the cruise control is also fixed.

Promptly drove the 400 miles back to Dayton, but had to leave the car due to a family emergency. Will pick itup next week and make the trek back to Austin.

Just a quick shout out to Ivan in State College... He wasn't afraid of the car, did some extra work, and reasonable. He has quite a successful YouTube channel, but didn't post my issue.

In any event, I'm glad the car was fixed after much money being spent over the past 7-8 years!
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
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97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Here is the video of the diagnosis and the fix:

Car is still in the Dayton OH area, and I'll be picking it up Monday for the drive home to ATX.
 

codeblue

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Aug 5, 2003
Location
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
TDI
98 Vento GLX TDI
That was actually quite fun to watch. That guy knows what he's doing

It also explains why I haven't run into these issues yet. I clean that ground probably once a year due to the corrosion it gets on it from salty winters.
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
Turns out I nor the shops I took it to have access too good wiring diagrams. The issue was a bad ground. This particular ground goes THROUGH the fuse box. But not to the ring terminals under the battery, but to the ring terminals on the top of the engine (G132). Once a new terminal was fitted, the cluster works flawlessly. I have have a full instrument cluster, and the cruise control is also fixed.
This is a very common problem, one we've repeatedly warned about many times in the forum.

Steve
 

ToddA1

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Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Location
NJ 08002
TDI
'96 B4V, '97 B4 (sold), '97 Jetta (scrapped)
I watched a few of his videos, last week… stumbled on that video, last night. You do realize Steve mentioned that ground, in post #19?

B4 clusters also ground there. An issue with this ground is the entire bracket can corrode, so it’s not just the stud that needs to be cleaned. To do it right, the bracket needs to come off and have the mount points to the head cleaned. If I’m feeling lazy, I just run an auxiliary ground wire from the battery to the stud. A lot easier than pulling that bracket.

-Todd
 

kzoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Location
Austin
TDI
97 A3 Jetta 1.9 TDI, and 6 Volvo's!
Just a quick rundown...

Derek at Chubbs: $???
Mark at Module Masters in ID: $???
3-4 junkyard clusters, both gas and TDI: $200?
Brink Motorsports here in Austin: $300
MotorMania here in Austin: $???
Endless hours trying things from this and other forums

To be clear, I did clean that ground. When Ivan handed me back the ring terminal, it was polished as I had left it several years before.

And I think the pinched ground for the left headlight was my fault. I had the front bumper off to replace the radiator and do some A/C work and it probably got pinched during reassembly.

All in all, a worthwhile trip
This is a very common problem, one we've repeatedly warned about many times in the forum.

Steve
Steve- as I said, I cleaned the ground. I’ll take a pic when I get back to the car, but it’s slightly polished from the cleaning I gave it a few years ago.
As Ivan demonstrated, it took a bit of force to separate the ring terminal from the wire. But the underlying factor was the crimp wouldn’t handle the load. I didn’t know enough to test both sides of the connection (terminal side and the wire side). I was also handicapped by not having the complete wiring diagrams. Let alone the knowledge to trace each point back to determine whether it’s a ground, power, or sensor/something else.
In the end, I’m glad to have the car back in a condition where I can use it. It still runs great with only 200k miles on it. And I plan to put some more on her in rotation with my 09 JSW TDI 6spd.
I’ll start from Yellow Springs, OH on Tuesday, and hopefully be home Wednesday night. Hopefully things will go well and I won’t have to make an emergency acquaintance with Oilhammer in STL!😂
 
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