Highbeams turn off but low beams don't come on: bad switch or something worse?

werdna

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
An obscure corner of northeastern Massachusetts, U
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
Hi, all, and my apologies for in advance for asking a question I could answer at least half of with a few minutes and my (far, far away) Bentley manual.

Anyway, after toggling the high-beams on and off a lot for the past few days (moose-dodging at 2am in the wilds of New Brunswick), the low beams have started to not come on when the high beams come off! This can be very, very exciting in the right circumstances, but I can not recommend it for fun. Turning the main (stock) headlight switch off gets my low-beams back as DRLs, and switching the high beams on and off a few times gets me my low beams back (eventually), though it confuses the hell out of any other drivers in range.

My fuzzy recollection is that voltage for the headlights goes from the ignition to the high/low switch to the headlight switch to the headlights, which suggests that my high/low switch has almost certainly crapped out, and that whole switch cluster is probably sold as a unit for more than my car is worth.

Sound right? Where does everyone go for dealer-type parts? (Is there a better mail-order option than to belly up to the local dealer parts counter?) I've been getting maintenance stuff from the fine people at tdiparts.com to date, but they don't have everything. (On the other hand, given the expected price, maybe I should head for the junkyard instead.)

Thanks for any clues/advice/recommendations! (If anyone has a spare switch cluster (2003 Jetta GL wagon, but I think it's generic A4), feel free to write, too!)
 

NB_TDi

Vendor
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Location
NB, Canada █♣█
TDI
2014 Jetta SE
Gotta love the Moose dodgin' here in NB eh?

You can replace the stalks in a whole unit. I helped a friend put one in his non TDI 2002 Golf last year. I think he spent $50 at the junkyard for it.

I stole this image from Google:


You can see it's just a whole unit. Gotta remove the steering wheel!
 

MOGolf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 27, 2001
Location
underneath something
TDI
2001 Golf GLS TDI Reflex silver, rough road suspension and steel skid plate, 2004 Passat Variant, Candy White, rough road suspension and geared balanced shaft module, and much, much more. 2016 LR RR HSE TD6, 2019 Jaguar I-PACE
That picture shows both stalk switch assemblies. It comes apart into a left and right half.

There are different stalks/switches for with and without cruise control.

Assuming cruise control but not multifunction steering wheel the part is 1J0 953 513 01C
If cruise control, but you do have a multifunction steering wheel the part is 8L0 953 513 S 01C.

You can mail order via www.worldimpex.com or www.1stvwparts.com or other fine places.

To replace, you'll need to remove the airbag, steering column trim, steering wheel (make sure you mark its installed orientation first!), then remove the assembly pictured (requires 4mm hex bit/key). The two halves slide apart.
 
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werdna

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
An obscure corner of northeastern Massachusetts, U
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
Most excellent; thank you both! Cost for the brand new part isn't even as bad as I had feared, but a bunch of writeups here suggest that just taking it apart for cleaning and lubrication may do the trick.

For reference (if somebody else digs this up and has the same problem): this is the best thread I found for getting the relevant bits of the steering column apart, and has some good advice on how to both clean and lube for long-term functionaltiy:
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=167831

Very pic-heavy thread showing exactly how it all comes apart (this one includes the airbag):
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=151557

MOGolf: thanks for the part numbers and references; that makes it easy.

NB_TDi: At least the NB moose aren't as suicidal as the newfie moose population! I wasn't intending to be up there for a leaf-peeping trip, but it turned out to be a stunningly gorgeous time to be driving around the province. I saw one TDi the entire time, though. (...but three lined up at the one working diesel pump at the Irving just on the US side of the border!)
 

PDJetta

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 6, 2003
Location
Northern Virginia
TDI
'04 Jetta GLS TDI Pumpe Duce Platinum Grey w/ Leather
I've gotta ask this: Did you verify that both low beam filaments are not burned out? Both should (theroetically) fail within a very short time of each other (perhaps within a few hours of total use), since, if original to the car, were installed at the same time and have the same use. The manufacturing tolerances are fairly tight.

--Nate
 

werdna

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
An obscure corner of northeastern Massachusetts, U
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
PDJetta said:
I've gotta ask this: Did you verify that both low beam filaments are not burned out?
Yup, definitely just the switch (as per the most recent poster), and after a bit more investigation (but short of actual disassembly), it looks like the previous owner spent his spare time packing the steering column with lint on a regular basis. I'll add some pics to this when I get it apart, since I don't see anyone else here going after the high-beam switch in particular. (Seems like everyone else loses turn signals or the cruise control.)
 

Fitzy

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Location
Eastern Idaho
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon TDI
Follow up to highbeam issue

Hi Werdna,
I'm having the same problem. When I turn off the highs the lows shut off. Now my lows don't work at all. I'm ready to try the fix suggested in your post, but was just looking for follow up info on how it went for you. Also, pics of what contacts to clean would be really helpful as like you said, most of the posts are focused on turn signals.

Thanks for keeping me out of the dark and shedding some "light" on my situation!
 

bbarbulo

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2003
Location
Windsor, ON, Canada
if it would help you guys, i have a spare stalk available. i have both sides but can separate them. pics are in the for sale forum...

these switches fail quite a bit.
 

TDI2Fan

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
TDI
2000/2001/2002/2004/2009 Jetta GLS Auto/Auto/5M/5M/DSG 2010 A3/DSG
Just replaced the Signal Switch. P/N - 1JO 953 513 01C That is the letter "O" and not a zero "0".

The air bag release is a pain. For me, the releases were hidden by the steering wheel. I had to go at an extreme angle to get the latch then pull down on the whole screw driver and not "pry" like others have stated.
 
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