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There is a Ghost In The Machine...and Other Electrical Oddities. Help Needed

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  • There is a Ghost In The Machine...and Other Electrical Oddities. Help Needed

    Here is the Reader's Digest version:
    99.5 Jetta; 2.0; auto trans; new alternator Fall 2012; new battery December 2012; on-board voltage gauge consistently reads 14.2-14.3v

    Lately, I have been getting a weird "No Start" condition. I turn the key and poof...nothing. I turn the key a second later and the car starts without a problem. Other times I turn the key...hold it for 2-3 seconds and then it starts. I would say that out of 10 starts, one of the two conditions above occur two...maybe three times.

    Other electrical oddities (I do not know if these are all related or not):
    -When I lock the car using my remote, I hear a muffled alarm horn (almost like it is voltage starved). This too is hit or miss. When I lock the doors a day later, I hear the normal quickie horn beep.

    -Over the past few weeks, the ABS light comes on and then goes off. A scan revealed codes 00668 (Supply Voltage Terminal 30-Signal Outside Tolerance-Intermittent) and 01276 (ABS Hydraulic Pump). I cleared the codes today and will keep an eye on how long it takes them to return.

    -A few days ago (with the ABS light on) I braked on a patch of ice. I could hear the ABS kicking in. The second it did, the radio turned off (aftermarket Kenwood). A second later, the radio powered up.

    -Speaking of the radio cycling on and off...several times over the past week, the radio cycled off and on when I turned on the fog lights. Last night, I drove home with the fogs on and...you guessed it...no problem.

    -Upon opening the driver's door, the interior lights do not come on from time to time. This too is intermittent. An hour ago, they worked fine.

    -When closing the driver's door, all four doors usually lock themselves within 10-15 seconds (I'm guessing here) and the horn sounds . There are instances when this does not happen and the horn does not sound.

    Is an exorcism required here?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  • #2
    The starting issue could be the ignition switch..
    The others could be related to bad ground(s)...anywhere unfortunately. I'd start with anything aftermarket, such as the radio, or anything electrical that had been worked on before.
    It's not yours until you've paid for it with your own blood, sweat, and tears.

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    • #3
      Ignition switch. Ive seen the connector melt into big ball and cause all kinds of weird stuff. The interior lights not coming on sounds like a bad lock box. Good luck.

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      • #4
        X3 on ignition switch but also likely failing l/f door latch and double ck your fuse box on battery box(all connections and 3 30a fuses on it too--likely abs issue)

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        • #5
          Also check the ground under the battery and the alternator charge wire. I had similar issues, ended up being a fried voltage regular in the alternator, so I replaced it again.
          ~Jake

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          • #6
            Are you sure the radio isn't just coincidence? As someone else said, could be just the grounds with the radio.
            88 GLI w/ABA OBD2
            SOLD: 95 GTI 2.0

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            • #7
              Originally posted by import600 View Post
              Are you sure the radio isn't just coincidence? As someone else said, could be just the grounds with the radio.
              If this was in response to my radio thought...not saying it's the actual radio, but I've seen some pretty pathetic shade-tree wiring behind those before. It's just my thought to check anything done by any previous owner, much to be surprised by!!
              It's not yours until you've paid for it with your own blood, sweat, and tears.

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              • #8
                When you touch the gas do your lights get brighter? My mk4 kept doing this and then the radio and autohvac and essentially anything with a computer would shut off to find that the alt was pushing near 18 volts into the car and everything was safety shutting off.
                ~Jake

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by copprfiveo View Post
                  If this was in response to my radio thought...not saying it's the actual radio, but I've seen some pretty pathetic shade-tree wiring behind those before. It's just my thought to check anything done by any previous owner, much to be surprised by!!
                  Sorry for being vague.. But yes.. this is what I thought meant.
                  88 GLI w/ABA OBD2
                  SOLD: 95 GTI 2.0

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                  • #10
                    Jake: Your question about the headlights getting brighter after stepping on the gas. No...not really. Not anything out of the ordinary. It did that last year and I root caused it back to a bad alternator. Once replaced, that issue went away. The battery in the car was 5+ years old and I replaced that late last fall. In addition, I added a voltage gauge (and OP gauge) and it it constantly reads 14.2 - 14.4v. Even with the heaviest loads possible (heated seats, lights, fogs, defroster, HVAC, etc...I never get a reading less than 14v.

                    As for the aftermarket radio, I am pretty confident that the installation was done correctly. I will try to take a peek behind the radio this weekend to double-check.

                    Nick: your comment ("X3 on ignition switch but also likely failing l/f door latch and double ck your fuse box on battery box(all connections and 3 30a fuses on it too--likely abs issue") intrigues me.

                    Is there a correlation between a failing door latch and the "no start on first turn" condition? As for the fuses atop the battery...they are all good and are all 30a.

                    I'm still trying to figure out why...from time to time...the alarm horn sounds so muffled. When this happens, it normally tells me that all the other weird stuff will be coming soon (kinda like having the sniffles before you get the flu).

                    iowaret: please pardon my stupidity, but what is a lock box?

                    Thank you one and all for your input. I really appreciate it.

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                    • #11
                      If ur door doesn't open the fuel pump doesn't prime until you put the key in it. Otherwise it primes when it senses the door open. So you may not have fuel pressure on first start with failing driver door electrics.
                      ~Jake

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                      • #12
                        Hey Jake. That I understand. As I mentioned earlier, there are times when I turn the key and nothing happens...no starter, etc. Two seconds later I turn the key again and the car starts without a problem.

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                        • #13
                          Well you've got a couple issues for sure making it a bit odd to diagnose. As others have said, ignition switch is next step and normally pretty damned cheap. But if you know how to solder you can normally fix the door lock module by following the DIY on vortex.
                          ~Jake

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                          • #14
                            I replaced the ignition switch...that was a piece of cake. I went nearly 2 weeks with having the car start every time. Just the other day, the "turn key...no start...no nothing" condition returned. I have been paying closer attention now as to when this situation occurs. As we all agree, when the drivers door is opened, the fuel pump can be heard. There are times when I open the drivers door and I do not hear that familiar fuel pump whine. It seems that this is the indicator that I will get the "no start" condition (to re-cap..."no-start"=the starter does not engage...nothing...nada...zip).

                            Is it possible that the door lock module is at fault here? My little brain can see this schematic. Good module: door open...tells fuel pump OK to engage...fuel pump does its job...car starts. With a faulty module...door opens...sends no signal to fuel pump...fuel pump remains idle...engine senses no fuel pressure (or something like that)...no start.

                            I am going to go through the Vortex door module fix today to see if that is the issue.

                            Any additional input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all!

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