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    Thread: Car Randomly Dies and Battery Symbol Flashes While Driving......HELP APPRECIATED

    1. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 11:59 AM #1
      Hey all, I recently picked up a 2004 GLI from someone in the San Diego area, and this car has been meticulously maintained, and has 72500 miles as of today. The engine bay is really clean, and I have records for all the services including the last one @70000miles, and the checklist the last mechanics went over, was perfect nothing wrong or in the yellow or red.

      Heres my problem:
      Twice in the past two weeks I have been in 3rd or 4th gear not driving aggressively, relaxed driving and the car will just shut off completely, flashing the battery icon at me. So i stop and start the car back up and there is no problem!
      I recently got the battery checked and there was nothing else wrong. I was just wondering if anyone had any other ideas or thoughts on what could be the problem......or how to best direct the mechanic who last fixed it where to look.

      The car drives perfectly normal otherwise, not a hiccup, and does not show a CEL or any other kind of light. Any help would be appreciated as I am unsure, I thought it might be the alternator but am not positive.

      Anything helps!

      Pics of said carro



    2. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 12:57 PM #2
      really no one can help or offer suggestions?

    3. Member BriceSMASH's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 02:29 PM #3
      I've had a similar problem with my GTI as well except my car shuts off on me when I'm in neutral. No battery light comes on and my car starts up right again as if I turned it off myself. Sadly, I have no idea what's wrong either.

    4. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 02:32 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by BriceSMASH View Post
      I've had a similar problem with my GTI as well except my car shuts off on me when I'm in neutral. No battery light comes on and my car starts up right again as if I turned it off myself. Sadly, I have no idea what's wrong either.
      no one can your the second person to say it has happened one time before, and then never again

      i dont wanna take it to the stealership and get ass rammed by their costs to look for something that is probably easy to fix...or at least i hope

    5. Member woteg's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 04:26 PM #5
      take it to a parts store and get codes pulled and make them test everything else they can test there - alternator etc...
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    6. Member desertdubs_C's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 05:36 PM #6
      Its possible you may have a pinched ignition wire causing an intermitten short making the car shut off as if you turned the key. Also check your charging system. Alt, wire from alt to fuse (top of battery), and for any loose grounds.

      I thought my alt was bad on my GTI when my battery died on me a couple times in the same week. Turned out to be the pos+ wire coming from the alt to the battery fuse box had a break causing my headache.
      GL
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    7. Member RobbieRolex's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 07:58 PM #7
      Sounds like a fuel cut by the ECU, Would put money on that it probably only happens on part throttle, you need to get it scanned for errors otherwise it's a very long guessing game.

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      09-13-2011 08:02 PM #8
      Intermitent errors are stored in the ECU and it doesn't necessary triggers a CEL or MIL, but if you scan the computer you will know where those errors happened and you can start looking there.

      My car once stopped accelerating and engine speed got stuck at 900 or so RPMs but I got different kind of MILs like CEL, ASR, battery, etc.
      It turned out to be the alternator and alternator harness.

    9. Member sabbySC's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 08:19 PM #9
      check all your connections on top of the battery are tight (fuse box on top), also check power and ground wires are tight.

      Get the codes read and postback here, we will be able to help with more info.
      CTS gt3071r and more

    10. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-13-2011 11:22 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by desertdubs_C View Post
      Its possible you may have a pinched ignition wire causing an intermitten short making the car shut off as if you turned the key. Also check your charging system. Alt, wire from alt to fuse (top of battery), and for any loose grounds.

      I thought my alt was bad on my GTI when my battery died on me a couple times in the same week. Turned out to be the pos+ wire coming from the alt to the battery fuse box had a break causing my headache.

      GL
      For sure I will check this out. Thanks a lot



      Quote Originally Posted by RobbieRolex View Post
      Sounds like a fuel cut by the ECU, Would put money on that it probably only happens on part throttle, you need to get it scanned for errors otherwise it's a very long guessing game.
      Yes that's exactly it!!!
      Only on partial throttle.
      Car is new to me so I will get a scanner this weekend or get it scanned. Thanks a lot that sounds the most like it.


      Quote Originally Posted by carfreak01 View Post
      Intermitent errors are stored in the ECU and it doesn't necessary triggers a CEL or MIL, but if you scan the computer you will know where those errors happened and you can start looking there.

      My car once stopped accelerating and engine speed got stuck at 900 or so RPMs but I got different kind of MILs like CEL, ASR, battery, etc.
      It turned out to be the alternator and alternator harness.
      Cool. I thought it was my alternator at first too, so I will get it a scan first, a report back....thanks

    11. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-16-2011 09:51 PM #11
      OK so i got my car scanned and the only code it came up with was for the clutch switch.

      I figured either this one or the brake light switch was out bc my cruise control would not set.

      Could this solve all my problems? and wasnt there a recall on this i can not recall.

      Thanks A lot

    12. Member BassNotes's Avatar
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      09-17-2011 12:03 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by sabbySC View Post
      check all your connections on top of the battery are tight (fuse box on top), also check power and ground wires are tight.
      This.

      Before you start spending money replacing this and that, do this.
      Bob Lee
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    13. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-17-2011 06:00 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by BassNotes View Post
      This.

      Before you start spending money replacing this and that, do this.
      That's the first thing I did. I would not jump to buying parts and throwing money at it lol.

      I'm going to get the clutch switch and replace it and see if that solves it, although the car has been driving perfect recently

    14. 09-18-2011 03:20 AM #14
      I'm pretty sure it would be your brake light switch. Even if you've had the recall done already for the switch. The cruise control not setting is a dead giveaway. Ask your dealer if you have any open recalls.

      I had similar problems and sure enough it was the switch.
      Good luck to you!

    15. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-18-2011 12:30 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by cameronmfjay View Post
      I'm pretty sure it would be your brake light switch. Even if you've had the recall done already for the switch. The cruise control not setting is a dead giveaway. Ask your dealer if you have any open recalls.

      I had similar problems and sure enough it was the switch.
      Good luck to you!
      Yup its the clutch switch not the brake light but they pretty much have the same affect if they go out right??

      Yea I called the dealer by me this weekend to see if it was a recall but the service dept was closed and they couldn't check.

      So I am calling on Monday to check with them and get this fixed, or order the part if it is not a recall.

      Thanks for the help!

      Sent from my car using the alternator and antenna.

    16. Member BassNotes's Avatar
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      09-18-2011 01:47 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by SD1017 View Post
      That's the first thing I did. I would not jump to buying parts and throwing money at it lol.
      A lot of guys "check" the connections but don't actually do anything to check or fix them. If they don't say how they checked them, there's a good chance that they just eyeballed it and didn't dig any further.

      So, make sure you check the connections first. Actually check them.
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    17. Member RedPartyCup801's Avatar
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      09-18-2011 04:05 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by desertdubs_C View Post
      Its possible you may have a pinched ignition wire causing an intermitten short making the car shut off as if you turned the key. Also check your charging system. Alt, wire from alt to fuse (top of battery), and for any loose grounds.

      I thought my alt was bad on my GTI when my battery died on me a couple times in the same week. Turned out to be the pos+ wire coming from the alt to the battery fuse box had a break causing my headache.
      GL
      This...

      Exact same thing was happening to me only wasn't 3rd and 4th gear it was 2nd and 3rd. It was the exact same problem with the wire from the alt to the fuse box. Definitely check into that
      .:R eflex 32

    18. 09-19-2011 07:06 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by SD1017 View Post
      Yup its the clutch switch not the brake light but they pretty much have the same affect if they go out right??

      Oops i didn't even take into account the clutch switch. When i had this problem it was on my 03 Jetta GLS (2.0L with auto tranz).

      But your right, they wont have the exact same effect but pretty dam close.

    19. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-19-2011 11:43 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by cameronmfjay View Post
      Oops i didn't even take into account the clutch switch. When i had this problem it was on my 03 Jetta GLS (2.0L with auto tranz).

      But your right, they wont have the exact same effect but pretty dam close.

      Gracias

      I am calling the dealer at one of my breaks from work today to see if I can get this fixed under recall for free....otherwise ill just buy the part and fix it myself.

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      09-19-2011 01:48 PM #20
      correct, if the clutch pedal switch is activated your cruise will cut off. If that switch is permanently activated then your cruise won't set since it looks like you have the clutch pedal pressed. The clutch pedal switch isn't covered. Still a good idea to have the brake switch updated if it hasn't been. These will not cause the car to die while driving however. I'd suspect fuel or crank sensor being more likely to cause the car to cut off while driving off idle. Did the car just cut off or did it sputter a little before dying?
      you said that the battery light flashed, did it blink constantly or just come on when the engine shut off?
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    21. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-19-2011 02:10 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Jayj View Post
      correct, if the clutch pedal switch is activated your cruise will cut off. If that switch is permanently activated then your cruise won't set since it looks like you have the clutch pedal pressed. The clutch pedal switch isn't covered. Still a good idea to have the brake switch updated if it hasn't been. These will not cause the car to die while driving however. I'd suspect fuel or crank sensor being more likely to cause the car to cut off while driving off idle. Did the car just cut off or did it sputter a little before dying?
      you said that the battery light flashed, did it blink constantly or just come on when the engine shut off?
      It happened so fast the two times that it did that I did not even notice any sputtering.

      The battery light just came on did not really flash when the engine shut off, and it disappeared when i turned the car back on. (but i can not be sure as to whether the battery light flashed or was constant, this has only happened twice...about 2-3 weeks ago)

      I also just did a throttle adaptation on my car over the weekend, and my throttle response and overall feel of the throttle is a lot better. Someone was having the same problem and they did this and have not had a problem since. I am keeping my fingers crossed hoping that this fixed whatever problem I had.

      for the help

    22. Member ~Enigma~'s Avatar
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      09-19-2011 02:46 PM #22
      well keep in mind that the battery light coming on means its an electrical or charge issue... IF the issues comes back I would look at the ignition switch... in any newer car when these go bad a lot of weird hard to explain sheit happens... good luck man
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    23. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-19-2011 02:51 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by ~Enigma~ View Post
      well keep in mind that the battery light coming on means its an electrical or charge issue... IF the issues comes back I would look at the ignition switch... in any newer car when these go bad a lot of weird hard to explain sheit happens... good luck man

      i will keep that in mind

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      09-20-2011 03:56 PM #24
      if the car dies with key on then the battery light is operating as designed since the alt is no longer charging since it stopped spinning. so you might as well take that out of the equation.
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    25. 09-21-2011 02:08 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Jayj View Post
      These will not cause the car to die while driving however.
      Im pretty sure that if the brake and gas pedals are both being pressed for an extended period of time (say 20 seconds or so) it activates this sort of "failsafe" where the ecu will shut everything down. (If brake light switch is indeed faulty then it wouldnt be uncommon for the ecu to be seeing it as on while your driving around town. Therefore it activates the failsafe and shuts everything off). Im not sure if the same applies to the clutch as well.

      I drove around for only god knows hows long with a faulty switch..

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      09-21-2011 08:52 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by cameronmfjay View Post
      Im pretty sure that if the brake and gas pedals are both being pressed for an extended period of time (say 20 seconds or so) it activates this sort of "failsafe" where the ecu will shut everything down. (If brake light switch is indeed faulty then it wouldnt be uncommon for the ecu to be seeing it as on while your driving around town. Therefore it activates the failsafe and shuts everything off). Im not sure if the same applies to the clutch as well.

      I drove around for only god knows hows long with a faulty switch..
      the fail safe you are referring to will close the throttle, making the pedal input unresponsive, not cause the car to shut off. Apples and oranges. You can rev your engine with the clutch pedal applied so it would be senseless to follow the same rules as the brake light switch. Throttle input and brake input are treated in this manner as a safety measure on drive by wire cars to prevent deaths, brake input will always take priority over throttle.
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    27. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-21-2011 12:09 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by Jayj View Post
      if the car dies with key on then the battery light is operating as designed since the alt is no longer charging since it stopped spinning. so you might as well take that out of the equation.
      can you rephrase this a little better. So you think its my alternator??? or there is no way it is that?

      take the alternator out of the equation, if its not spinning?


      Quote Originally Posted by Jayj View Post
      the fail safe you are referring to will close the throttle, making the pedal input unresponsive, not cause the car to shut off. Apples and oranges. You can rev your engine with the clutch pedal applied so it would be senseless to follow the same rules as the brake light switch. Throttle input and brake input are treated in this manner as a safety measure on drive by wire cars to prevent deaths, brake input will always take priority over throttle.
      could it close the fuel supply to the engine thus making it cut off the engine from lack of fuel?

      bc i still have yet to have this problem again but am keeping a list of everyones suggestions and going over them when i have time away from work

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      09-21-2011 05:06 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by SD1017 View Post
      can you rephrase this a little better. So you think its my alternator??? or there is no way it is that?

      take the alternator out of the equation, if its not spinning?

      I would start treating this as 2 separate issues. Vehicle's battery light comes on intermittently while driving. Vehicle dies (engine shuts off) while driving off idle. I think those descriptions seem accurate as I re-read the thread correct?

      the intermittent battery light could be failing alternator if the above statement is correct but it seems, by your description that its incredibly sporadic and may not show any signs otherwise. A popular failure point is in the battery fuse box. Resistance builds up between the alternator B+ wire and the flat fuse causing heat buildup which will melt the fuse box.

      I said take it out of the equation because I confused your problem with some of the other posters suggestions. I thought you said the battery light only came on when the engine shut off. My mistake, since that would otherwise be expected.




      could it close the fuel supply to the engine thus making it cut off the engine from lack of fuel?

      bc i still have yet to have this problem again but am keeping a list of everyones suggestions and going over them when i have time away from work

      If the throttle is commanded closed by either your foot (driver input) or the ecm closes it due to brake switch input, the fuel will go back to idle values since throttle input and injector pulse mimic eachother *for the most part. If fuel supply/volume is low then the vehicle could potentially shut off as it returns to idle.

      You may not know the answer to both of these concerns until they become more easily duplicative.
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      09-21-2011 05:10 PM #29
      sorry, posting on my touchpad and it's next to impossible to highlight my passages to bold them since I forgot to do it lol. HP won this round.
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    30. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-22-2011 11:48 AM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Jayj View Post
      If the throttle is commanded closed by either your foot (driver input) or the ecm closes it due to brake switch input, the fuel will go back to idle values since throttle input and injector pulse mimic eachother *for the most part. If fuel supply/volume is low then the vehicle could potentially shut off as it returns to idle.

      You may not know the answer to both of these concerns until they become more easily duplicative.
      alright thats a lot clearer. thank you

      So i will just wait to see if this problem happens again and try and listen and feel when it happens.


      Quote Originally Posted by Jayj View Post
      sorry, posting on my touchpad and it's next to impossible to highlight my passages to bold them since I forgot to do it lol. HP won this round.
      haha its all gravy

    31. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-27-2011 12:06 PM #31
      Alright so it happened again. I was sitting an In N Out drive thru waiting for my food.

      I had the car in neutral and just had the foot on the brake. I look down at my cluster and the battery light is on. My radio is still working and the car is off. I did not feel it shut off at all and the only reason i knew was because of the light.

      Then the car started back up and drove perfect.

      Also, when i was on the freeway in 6th going like 80 i did not get any warning lights but it felt like the car lost power. It was unresponsive so i coasted waited a minute and put it into 5th gear with no problem and kept going. Could this be related at all?

      I am also going to go over all my connections really well, and the alternator wires, etc and maybe see about getting my ignition switch replaced as someone suggested earlier.

      Any other suggestions?

    32. Member BassNotes's Avatar
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      09-27-2011 12:47 PM #32
      Intermittent ignition switch failures are pretty common in Mk4s, and it's a plausible cause of the symptoms you describe.
      Bob Lee
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    33. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      09-27-2011 12:51 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by BassNotes View Post
      Intermittent ignition switch failures are pretty common in Mk4s, and it's a plausible cause of the symptoms you describe.
      is there a way to check my ignition or just have to replace it?

      edit: would the ignition switch show a code when its scanned?
      Last edited by SD1017; 09-27-2011 at 01:31 PM.

    34. Member SD1017's Avatar
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      10-04-2011 11:50 AM #34
      alright. So I have found one spot on the freeway that this happens nearly every time.

      I am in 6th gear going about 80mph on a slight incline and then it levels out over a short bridge and goes to a slight decline. The degree on the hill is like nothing. For anyone who lives in san diego its 5 north right after people merge onto the 8 East

      Nearly every time when I start to head down the decline I lose all throttle. The car does not put gas into the engine and i will coast for 2-10 seconds. I then take it out of gear and put it into fifth and it pops in fine and engages the throttle again

      Id like to hear if this could pinpoint me in one direction with a car or still just vague sensors, battery, alternator, or whatever ideas I have heard

      I am getting the car scanned after work again today, and will possibly change my ignition switch if I have to.

      Thanks In Advance

    35. Member BassNotes's Avatar
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      10-04-2011 02:03 PM #35
      A scan will not specifically tell you if the ignition switch is bad. But the ignition must be turned on for the ECU to communicate, so if the switch is faulty you might have trouble scanning. But since your problem is intermittent, you might have a really hard time duplicating it.
      Bob Lee
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