Question about 1998 Volkswagen Beetle

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Electrical Problem - Ignition Switch?

I have a 98 Volkswagen TDI with an electrical short somewhere. When I place the key in the ignition and turn to the on position before starting, the display for the odometer and the trip odometer go completely blank and all power is lost. The battery is well charged (though will be replaced if I can get the vehicle started to get it to the repair shop). When I tried to jump start the vehicle the car barely turned over however all power is available to the consuming areas. I noticed that when removing the cables from the terminals that the claps were quite hot and where they touched the plastic case of the battery they melted the plastic. Also the power returns to the odometer and trip odometer after about a minute or more. Can you help me find the short. It seems like something with the ignition switch or the starter but I am unsure as to how to go about it. I have checked the fuses.

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  • deejmalloy Jul 02, 2008

    D you were right on. I did manage to find the loose ground from negative on batt to frame. Thanks for your response!



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Hi .
From what you have written it seems like when the glow plugs are activated the voltage drops to zilch.

I would check the battery terminal connections, the earth (ground) connections to the body / engine, and the wiring to the glow plugs. Those glow plugs draw around 60 Amps!

"When I tried to jump start the vehicle the car barely turned over" suggests a defective circuit to the started motor too. All in all I'd check everything above, but especially the earthing, which is a common factor in all of your symptoms. The battery may well be fine.

If these suggestions do help you solve the problem, please give my reply a rating to help others judge my knowledge / guessing skills. If they do not, please add a comment with more details so I can try to help you further. Cheers, D

Posted on Jul 01, 2008

  • Richard Raynor Jul 03, 2008

    Hi deej,

    Glad you're fixed, and thanks very much for the rating!

    Cheers, D.



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