A3/B4 Ignition Switch Replacement Procedures

BKmetz

Administrator, Member #10
Staff member
Joined
Sep 25, 1997
Location
Illinois
TDI
2015 Passat, titanium beige, 6MT
As all the A3/B4 TDIs are up in years now, the ignition switches are wearing out. I'm talking about the electrical switch, not the column-lock key-tumbler assembly.

If you need to replace the key tumbler assembly, you will have to order a new ignition key lock-set from VW. VW will NOT match your original keys. If you want your new ignition key to match your car, you will have to go to a locksmith and have him change the tumblers. This will take a few extra days as the locksmith has to order a new bezel ring. The black metal bezel ring around the key slot is a press fit and has to be destroyed to remove the tumblers.

Usual ignition switch failure symptoms: lights, wipers, HVAC, and engine randomly quitting for no reason. The brass contacts in the switch are wore out and cannot maintain contact. Fix ASAP. It will just get worse and leave you stranded.

Someone was nice enough to do a detailed write up with photos. The procedure is almost exactly the same whether you own an A3 or B4 car. This is a DIY job if you have all the tools. Allow your self an hour if you read through the tutorial first and get familiar with all the steps.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=105906


One caveat with using drop the steering column method: Dropping the steering column is one way, not the only way. MAKE DAMN SURE the column is tightened back up correctly when putting everything back together. One guy had his steering column come loose after.

The preferred VW way is to pull the collar. This is easier if you have a puller and can rig up something behind the collar to help pull it.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=640724


When I changed my switch I cut the collar off as I couldn't find a puller that would work and a new collar is about $10. In my case it was cheaper to buy a collar than a puller. I already have a Dremel Tool.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=677529


I just replaced the ignition switch on my 96 Passat yesterday. I used the gear puller method this time. I have a generic gear puller which by itself will not work. Here is what I did to get the collar off the steering column. For lots of detailed photos, refer to the first link in this post.

The problem: the ignition switch is held to the inside of the aluminum steering lock assembly by a tiny #1 Phillips screw:



To get the lock assembly off you have to remove a collar which has splines and is a press fit onto the steering column. Most guys who use a gear puller have ground down the fingers to grip the spring behind the collar, or use a gear splitter clamped behind the collar. There is a tiny ridge (around ~1/16"?) on the collar. I was able to come up with a cheap solution to use my generic gear puller to grip that ridge.

I went snooping in my local hardware store and found these large clips for around ~$1/each. The outside diameter is 1.25"(~3.25cm).



I snapped 2 clips onto the collar and it was enough for the puller to get a good grip.



I then used a large C-clamp to hold the puller on and slowly pulled the collar off. It was very easy once I got the C-clamp to stay in place.



The collar got some scars when it was all over but it was a lot less work then dropping the steering column or cutting off the collar like I did the first time. I hope this saves some time for the next guy and avoid taking the car to the dealer for what is really an easy job.


:)
 
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Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
Having just done this, there is another way, with no puller required.

Remove the column entirely, and undo that pesky philips screw above with a slightly bent #2 philips screwdriver.

This requires undoing the pinch bolt at the bottom of the column at the u-joint, and the t30 at the top of the column. Take the column out of the car and remove the philips screw which will release the switch.
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
none, 2014 Chevy Volt, 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
Brian! Clever thinking on the 'flange extenders'! I'll have to try that next time.
As it is I've been using the Dremel and cut-off wheel method and have been changing the switch contact sets in 30 minutes total (from stop the engine to re-start).
Your snap ring method is worth pursuing and might get me to under 15 minutes.
 

Matt-98AHU

Loose Nut Behind the Wheel Vendor
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Location
Vallejo, CA
TDI
2014 Passat SE DSG, 2005 Passat wagon, 2004 Touareg V10.
Very clever!

I've come to like the method of removing the entire column myself (as Windex describes). That way I don't worry about pressing the collar back on, which can be tricky to do correctly without forcing the entire column towards the firewall accidentally.

It's slightly tricky to get at the screw holding the switch in place since the column is still with the column lock but very doable.
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
Very clever!

I've come to like the method of removing the entire column myself (as Windex describes). That way I don't worry about pressing the collar back on, which can be tricky to do correctly without forcing the entire column towards the firewall accidentally.

It's slightly tricky to get at the screw holding the switch in place since the column is still with the column lock but very doable.
*Reserved* It's not that hard, if you bend a philips #2 slightly to get at that screw. With a cheap screwdriver and the righ bend, that screw is not very hard to remove and replace. I will grab a pic of the one I modified for this purpose and post once I get home.
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
none, 2014 Chevy Volt, 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
I've come to like the method of removing the entire column myself (as Windex describes). That way I don't worry about pressing the collar back on, which can be tricky...
I put the collar on the shaft finger tight, put the steering wheel on, and use the steering wheel nut to pull the column up while the wheel pushes the collar down.
 

blizzak

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Location
Mississauga, Ontario
TDI
2004 Jetta TDI Sport Edition, Grey with 270,000 KM. 1997 Jetta TDI, 340,000 KM driven by my dad
Seems it's time for me to do this fix, been getting lights and fan intermittent. Car has a mind of it's own flashing people at night...

I kinda wanna get this done quickly, is there any reason to think that the dealer would sell a better switch than aftermarket places? Just gave them a call and it's $45 and I could pick it up tomorrow. Also talking about Canada here so it's not as easy to get parts as down south, but I think I'll send Brian from NS an e-mail.
 

blizzak

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Location
Mississauga, Ontario
TDI
2004 Jetta TDI Sport Edition, Grey with 270,000 KM. 1997 Jetta TDI, 340,000 KM driven by my dad
Brian comes through again, a quality switch at a great price. Since he said he wouldn't use certain switches as they weren't his brand preference, I'll have to assume there are some out there which aren't as good. But I know I'm getting a good part.
 

BKmetz

Administrator, Member #10
Staff member
Joined
Sep 25, 1997
Location
Illinois
TDI
2015 Passat, titanium beige, 6MT
Last time I did this I replaced the turn signal/cruise and wiper stalks while I had everything apart. They were very sloppy. Everything is nice & tight and has a crisp feel now. The stalks are not cheap but it was worth it to me.

I don't know if there is any difference in quality between aftermarket switches and VW switches. I've taken old ignition switches apart. The internals are a bit different between the white nylon switches to the black nylon switches, but I have no idea if one design is better than the other.


:)
 

1985Wolfberg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Location
Hawaii
TDI
1998 Jetta TDI
Just replace the switch mod today. I have to say after reading all the different way to do this I settled on pulling the whole shebang with steering wheel in place. Took 45min. Boy, sticking your head up under the dash with your butt hanging out the door is something. You really don't have to pull the knee panel. Now to fix the cig lighter. Heard the fuse Is up on top of the fuse panel, have to drop that and mod so I can change the fuse without pulling the panel.
 

slam

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Location
San Jose, California
TDI
1996 Passat TDI B4V Wagon
Yeah, I've done this three times now, and I have to say I'm fond of pulling the entire steering column with the steering wheel attached. The last time I did this I screwed up the airbag somehow and now the airbag light is always on.

First time: try to repair the switch.
Second time: replaces the switch.
Third time: 6 months later, replaced the crappy replacement switch, used a different brand.

Sorry, I don't recall the crappy brand I used the first time.
 

Redlabel6

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2009
Location
Chaska, Minnesota
TDI
98 Jetta, 2005 Passat
I had good luck using pair of Vise Grips. Clamp them lightly behind the collar and then pull on the Vise Grips with your puller. I used the steering wheel to push the collar back on.
 

Hilljack

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Location
Wyoming
TDI
96 Passat TDI, 99 Beetle TDI
I used the vise grip method as well. Had to replace my ignition switch last fall when I put the glow plug relay in the wrong spot... thanks haynes manual. wish I would have found this write up before I had to change mine out. Very good write up.
 

slam

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Location
San Jose, California
TDI
1996 Passat TDI B4V Wagon
Next time I'm in here I might try to rewire the wiper lever positions. Am I the only one who is bugged that the lowest lever setting is "intermittent," not "off"? =)

I want it to go off>int>low>high, which only makes sense.
 

edjet

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Location
GA
TDI
2006 Jetta TDi, 2000 Jetta GLS TDi Black
I remove the collar with a power steering pump two jaw puller, and I put a "C" Clamp on the jaws to increase the grip.


I move the jaws to the narrower flats on the block to gain a little better grip.
 
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andras22

Active member
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Location
Vancouver
TDI
96 Passat Wagon
I've done this both ways - I also remove the whole column if I have to change the heater core. Removing the column is easy - that is what I recommend. I don't even remove the steering wheel and the switches from the column!
 

acoustictdi

Active member
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
binghamton ny
TDI
2013 Touareg tdi
Does any one know if a ignition switch can cause a problem with the computer going into limp mode? My 1998 jetta will run perfect if the turbo is woking, until I shut the engine off.Then restart and boost will be gone,2 weeks later it will have boost again,until I shut it off.Does anyone have a idea what might cause this .
 

edjet

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Location
GA
TDI
2006 Jetta TDi, 2000 Jetta GLS TDi Black
any codes

Does any one know if a ignition switch can cause a problem with the computer going into limp mode? My 1998 jetta will run perfect if the turbo is woking, until I shut the engine off.Then restart and boost will be gone,2 weeks later it will have boost again,until I shut it off.Does anyone have a idea what might cause this .
Have you replaced the small hose in the ECU? Usually a code will be set, something in regards to ECU faulty.

Ed
 

rdkern

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 21, 2004
Location
Humboldt Co CA
TDI
Passat 1997 silver (sold after 11 years), Jetta 2000 atlantic blue
Does any one know if a ignition switch can cause a problem with the computer going into limp mode? My 1998 jetta will run perfect if the turbo is woking, until I shut the engine off.Then restart and boost will be gone,2 weeks later it will have boost again,until I shut it off.Does anyone have a idea what might cause this .
This doesn't sound like a ignition switch to me. I haven't seen any issue like you describe - turbo working fine for a while, then with key-off and -on, it no longer boosts. Have you had it scanned? That's where I would start.
 

acoustictdi

Active member
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
binghamton ny
TDI
2013 Touareg tdi
boost no boost

I have change every hose including the ecm jumper,smoke tested ok.The car runs perfect when it starts with boost it will run allday,turn it off, then restart, there will be no boost.It might be a week before it comes back.thanks for the input! Man do I like this car when I have boost.:)
 

rdkern

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 21, 2004
Location
Humboldt Co CA
TDI
Passat 1997 silver (sold after 11 years), Jetta 2000 atlantic blue
No boost is either wastegate stuck open, or ecu issue cutting the fuel.

I can't see how the wastegate could be the problem since it's normally closed, and just opens when needed by the ecu. So one would expect it to be stuck closed if stuck at all.

Which brings us to the ecu. You say there is no boost at all when restarted - not even for a first acceleration? Do you have access to VCDS? If so, check for codes, and check the MAF readings.

I don't see how the off/on would affect the boost. I can see an irregular electrical thing (wire held together with the insulation, making contact sometimes and not others) but can't see how that would be triggered with an off/on of the key.

You've never lost boost while driving? It's either there when you start up or it's not?
 

acoustictdi

Active member
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
binghamton ny
TDI
2013 Touareg tdi
Yea that's correct,never lose boost when it starts out that way,but if I start the car and have no boost it will not come back while driving,I never have boost for a short period of time,it's either there and runs great until I shut it off,or won't be there and won't come back for weeks.Check engine light is on the whole time,working or not.The egr has block-off plates installed.Only codes are the N109 fuel shut off valve mechanical malfunction #1237,575 pressure control difference ,#560 egr,1050 glow plug lost23 static,P1550 intake manifold absolute pressure 121.0 kPaA at 2862 rpm/min.These reading were taken with boost not working.Since then i have cleaned intake that was not clogged,smoke tested,cleaned turbo,replaced n75,cleaned all electrical connectors,replaced all vacuum hoses,boost gauge pressure at turbo output when not working is appox.5-7 psi at 3500 rpm.Thanks in advance ps I don't have access to vag-com yet!
 

rdkern

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 21, 2004
Location
Humboldt Co CA
TDI
Passat 1997 silver (sold after 11 years), Jetta 2000 atlantic blue
Do you have access to another MAF? I'm wondering if the connector on the MAF is flaky.
 

acoustictdi

Active member
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
binghamton ny
TDI
2013 Touareg tdi
I don't that would be to easy!I have cleaned the pins in the female side,the first time the turbo boost worked was when I cleaned the connector at the maf,but it didn't last,I tried to take the maf connector apart but was afraid I'd break the plastic housing.Not many 1998 tdi's in this area,thanks for the help!
 

jw5714

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Location
Highland IL
TDI
98 Jetta TDI
I have change every hose including the ecm jumper,smoke tested ok.The car runs perfect when it starts with boost it will run allday,turn it off, then restart, there will be no boost.It might be a week before it comes back.thanks for the input! Man do I like this car when I have boost.:)
Having similiar issues with my 98 jetta. when i first got it, turbo would cut off at highway speeds. I replaced the hoses and it worked better, but still cut off. After months of driving, I discovered the turbo only cuts off after I restart it when the engines warm. Weirdest thing. i drove it for 8 hours straight turbo never failed. But can run to town, turn it off. get back in and goes in limp mode @ highway speed. But mine comes back after the engine cools.

Im on this forum because my headlights/wiper/blower just started cutting out. I'll deal with the turbo this spring, but the headlight thing kinda freaks me out.
 

TDIswanted

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Location
Central Wisconsin
TDI
2002 Jetta 180K, 2003 Golf 335K, 2003 GMC Duramax 240K, 2006 Jetta 218K
VW has a recall on some of these ignition switches, for sure on my 1996 passat. might be worth checking out while your at the dealer anyway to buy a switch, you might get it installed for free.
 

DieselFan1984

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2011
Location
Ohio
TDI
2005 Mk4 Jetta TDI
Okay, I was wondering would it be a simple plug and play deal if you upgraded with the newer style flip keep and remote?
 

Abacus

That helpful B4 guy
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Location
Nobleboro, Maine
TDI
See signature for TDI's
VW has a recall on some of these ignition switches, for sure on my 1996 passat. might be worth checking out while your at the dealer anyway to buy a switch, you might get it installed for free.
Would the recall still be viable 16 years later?
 

chrisvb

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Location
ontario
TDI
1.9 jetta
thanks guys for all the good ideas , i managed to change the switch within an hour due to all your input and ideas.
 
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