My wife and I recently purchased a used 1998 Cabrio.
We have been experiencing strange electrical problems with the car recently, including:
- the "trunk open" light illuminates even though the trunk is securely closed
- the interior lights do not turn on - at all
- the power locks are not working
- the clock re-sets to 12:00 every time the ignition starts
Today I experienced the following: I put the key in the ignition,
turned it, and rather than starting up the alarm started blaring. We
could not get it to shut off - because the power locks aren't working
we couldn't lock and un-lock the doors using the key. Eventually we
were able to disable the alarm by disconnecting the car battery. The
person traveling with us unplugged each fuse and that didn't quiet the
The previous weekend we were using a converter to allow us to power
our laptop computer with the cigarette lighter, which I think may have
caused the minor annoyance problems above. But is the alarm issue
related to this or did something else go wrong? What is the likelihood
that this may happen again without getting the car checked out soon? Is
there anything I can do on my own to troubleshoot or do I just need to
**** it up and take it into the shop?
I am NOT mechanically/electrically inclined, which makes me
nervous/uncertain about "playing around" with electrical components in
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Re: alarm / electrical issues for 1998 Cabrio
Sounds like 2 problems. One a low battery. When you used the laptop you might have drained the battery of the vehicle. The alarm sounds like broken wires in door harnesses between the doors and frame. Remove the rubber seal beween the door and body of the car and look for cracked and broken wires. If they are broken or touching it can cause many wierd problems. Once you locate it which is easy you can show a certified mechanic and he or she can repair or replace the harness.
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Hi. To stop this you need to power up the car and activate the ignition. If the battery voltage gets too low when the alarm is armered then the alarm thinks you have disconnected the battery in a theft attempt and the siren activates. The easiest repair is to repalce the battery or repair any currnet draw issues.
Ok I fixed her light issue after investigating strange noises under the hood. The wiring harness mount holding clip between the frame and radiator fans at the hood latch broke and the wiring was rubbing against the fan, cutting 3 wires and exposing 4 others. electrical taped frays and made jumpers for the cut ones and WHALLAH! All good. The reason it evaded so long is it was about out of plain sight because of the shroud until it broke the main holding clip and dropped the cluster of wires and the big connector down it wasnt loud.
More than likely you have broken wires in the drivers door harness. In the area between the door and the body there is a rubber boot. Pull the boot back and take a look at the wires. You should easily see if any are broken. The best idea is to replace the whole harness, but individual wires can be spliced back together.
To start the car try disarming the alarm using the key in the passenger door or truck lock cylinder.
The Cabrio electric window issues are most often related to a bad Window regulator. My wife owns a 2002 Cabrio, that had a mis-behaving drivers window. After inspecting it, I found one of the cable roller guides was broken, causing the cable to snag when using the window open / close. I had a local garage order the regulator for me, and then I disassembled the drivers door and installed the new regulator (problem is now solved). Additionally, her passenger window stopped working, however, if you listened carefully, you could here a click sound when the button was pushed. I took this door apart as well, removing the regulator, I found it was jammed. Carefully, I removed the cover concealing where the cable rolls up, and was able to free the pressure. Once this was done, the window worked fine.
I had a simular problem with my car nto starting, but the alarm didn't have issues just the headlights and the radio not turning off. I replaced the ignition switch and the problem was fixed for a while until the ignition switch malfunctioned again. The ignition switch is a cheap plastic part that connects the key to the engine, and has a tendency to break. Maybe this will help. Btw, I have a 1998 and mine is not starting well, do you know anything about #3 relays? I think I may need to replace it, so that my car will start and not putter to a stop randomly while driving. The problem only arises when the car is not yet warm. Amy ideas?
bring it to east L.A., someone will test it for free. Kidding. wait till your wife is sleeping and at 3 in the morning try to sneek out of the house.. Ok, seriously. Leave a window open, set your alarm and open the door by reaching in and using the inside handle. Give the alarm time to set.