Cliff notes: Newb, EPC light comes on killing power / stalling car. Electrical cutting out sometimes as well, related?
I just bought a 2000 Jetta GLS VR6 and this is my first post. It has 130k on it, 5 speed... pretty clean. It had an accident in 2006 according to the CARFAX. The owner I bought it from owned it from 2005 until Sunday. I am leaving behind the e30 / e28 world and am really excited about this car. However, I am experiencing a problem(s).
The story (long):
I bought the car on Sunday. I drove it home the approximately 30 miles problem free. When I got into town I put like 6 gallons of gas in it (10% ethanol whoops).
MondayWent and had new brakes put on it; car was on a lift, not sure if that matters. While it was up, they told me I need new tie rods. I already knew that from driving it.
TuesdayHad new tires put on it in the morning; car was on a lift again. When I drove away the CEL came on. Car was driving fine, didn't feel different, GF said maybe they jostled something while it was in the air, who knows. Drove it back to school that day (170 miles), CEL on the whole way.
When I got into town, I parked on campus and unloaded my stuff. I chilled for a bit and decided to go wash my new car. When I started it up the CEL was off, and I drove to the car wash. It was one of those no-touch automatic ones, you know, where you park and the machine moves all around you. Anyways, I pulled out and parked and wiped it down and vacuumed the interior and stuff. When I started it back up the gas light was on so I went and filled it up at a mobil (ethanol mix?). Then I went and got Chinese. After dinner, I drove around on some back roads for like 20 miles, nothing crazy, just cruising listening to the sweet VR6 sound. I got back on campus and parked it for the night.
After class I was itching to drive my car again. I made up some excuses in my head as to why I had to go to Walmart and walked out to my car. Started right up, no issues, waited for the idle to settle, and pulled off. Drove it the 3 miles to walmart without issues. On my way back I went downtown to grab dinner and it started...
I was going about 30 - 35 in 4th gear and I hear BEEEEEP BEEEEEP BEEEEEP and my EPC light is flashing (or maybe solid) and my car is sputtering. I put in the clutch and gave it a little rev and it seemed to go away. 30 seconds later, I'm at a stop light and the same thing happens except it dies. I start it back up and am a little more aggressive with the gas this time and I pull over. I'm like wtf? So I walked into the bagel shop and had some dinner and thought i'd try it again.
It started right up, I drove it around for like 5 miles or so and I think it happened 2 or 3 times again. Parked it for the night. Visited forums reading about what the EPC light is and what causes it... Read all sorts of causes: MAF, Bad gas, ECU, Cam position sensor, Coil pack... etc.
ThursdayI travel home on Thursday's. I don't have class on Friday's. I was already gassed up from the other day so I left straight from class. Everything was fine until about 25 miles into my trip when it started acting up again... same thing... EPC light flashing, car sputtering, gauges non responsive, etc... It did it like 5 or 6 times in a 15 minute period so I pulled it over and shut it off for like 5 minutes.
That didn't do anything, it started doing it again the rest of the way home (170 miles). Once or twice, I lost ALL power to the car, the lights shut off, no power steering, engine dead. I would just coast, and start it back up again. Except one time it wouldn't start. I sat on the side of the road with the little battery light lit up and nothing else responding when I turned the key. Then I got my lights and gauges back but it wouldn't turn over. Then I got everything back and it started.... I was on my way again... and it was still cutting in and out randomly but it didn't actually die on the side of the road again the rest of the way.
Then something happened that actually caused the EPC issue. I was driving through a section where road work was being done and there was a "BUMP" sign and it was a pretty good bump and it caused my car to act up again, lost all electrical for a second again this time too... So i thought to myself it has to be a ground or the connection at the ECU or something!
So when I got home I popped the hood and was looking at the battery... some corrosion at the terminals, not too bad, the terminals were on nice and tight, but i noticed that the ground wire had electrical tape wrapped around it. Then I noticed that the plastic "sheild" around the battery was very loose and broken, also the coil pack on top of the battery was loose too... It seemed like the whole unit could be moved easily. Also it looked like the "sheild" was the reason why the ground wire was wrapped in electrical tape, it looks as if it has come in contact with it more than once.
So what do you guys think?
I'm taking it into the dealer next week to have them make me a new key, (previous owner only gave me the valet) I'm gonna have them scan the car for faults, and just check it over while it's there.
I'm used to doing my own work (coming from the e30 crowd), so if there are any parts you would recommend replacing in the meantime, or anything i should be looking for, please let me know.
I don't have VAG-COM or even a Bentley for this car yet... that will come though. I've only had it for 4 days. Anyways, thanks for reading my long post, and thanks in advance for any suggestions.