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    Thread: 2003 Passat dash lit up, smell of smoke...

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    1. Member
      Join Date
      May 8th, 2010
      Location
      L.I. N.Y.
      Posts
      127
      Vehicles
      1988 Jetta 8V, 2003 30V V6 Passat
      10-04-2012 09:31 PM #1
      I own a MkII Jetta, so I'm a member here. A buddy at work has a 2003 Passat VR6 Sedan. He parked the car in the driveway last Friday and when his wife went to go shopping on Saturday, it wouldn't start.

      She says the dash lights lit up, but no crank / no start. He went out and indeed it did not start. He said while looking around he noticed a smell of smoke from around the firewall. His wife insisted they look at new cars, and they ended up buying a new Honda that same day. The plates and registration were transferred to the new Honda.

      He wants the car gone and offered it to me for $1,000.

      Now, I know this is a pretty vague description of the problem, but since he doesn't live very close, I figured I would ask if there is a common problem to these cars? Where should I start looking?

      I'm not an idiot (despite what my previous writings imply) and I worked as an auto mechanic for around 10 years ending in 1994. I know that he maintained the car very well. It has 180K, has had the timing belt done twice, the a/c compressor done twice, and a recent repair or two that I can't remember. I'm just trying to get my head around if I want to get started on another car / project.

      Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

      -Ken
      Quote Originally Posted by Seax_Smith View Post
      you have it backwards.... sounds like you are driving the donor car.

    2. Member scotts13's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 15th, 2007
      Location
      Lehigh County, Pa.
      Posts
      5,609
      Vehicles
      2004 GLS 1.8T
      10-04-2012 10:07 PM #2
      No crank / no start we hear from time to time; accompanying burning smell, no so much. I'd tend to start with the basics: battery voltage, battery connections, fuses (especially #14) cables to ground and to starter.

    3. Member
      Join Date
      Feb 15th, 2001
      Posts
      224
      Vehicles
      01.5 A6 2.7T 6sp sport, 03 Passat wgn 2.8 5sp
      10-04-2012 11:57 PM #3
      Not a VR6 but a regular V6 mounted longwise. Historically they are fairly reliable - only burning smells near firewall normally would be due to oil leaks from head gaskets dripping onto hot exhaust - this would not be a non starting/running issue of course. The battery and ecu are both in firewall area but neither have common issues with burning up. Easily worth $1000 with the current market for used cars

    4. Member
      Join Date
      May 8th, 2010
      Location
      L.I. N.Y.
      Posts
      127
      Vehicles
      1988 Jetta 8V, 2003 30V V6 Passat
      10-05-2012 06:49 AM #4
      thanks for the information.

      I was hoping to hear about a 'common' issue with those cars. It would help me decide whether or not to spend the time to go and look / get involved with this car.

      Thanks again for the suggestions / corrections.

      -Ken
      Quote Originally Posted by Seax_Smith View Post
      you have it backwards.... sounds like you are driving the donor car.

    5. Member
      Join Date
      Sep 19th, 2011
      Location
      charlestown RI
      Posts
      319
      Vehicles
      96 passat vr6, 2000 passat v6
      10-05-2012 10:48 AM #5
      When my starter shorted and died I had most of the same symptoms including the burning smell.

    6. Member
      Join Date
      May 8th, 2010
      Location
      L.I. N.Y.
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      1988 Jetta 8V, 2003 30V V6 Passat
      10-06-2012 08:28 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by bryanvr6 View Post
      When my starter shorted and died I had most of the same symptoms including the burning smell.
      Thanks for the information! That gives me some hope. I'm guessing that the starter / solenoid isn't easy to get to, but I'll certainly see if I have a signal to the solenoid when the key is turned to the 'crank' position.

      -Ken
      Quote Originally Posted by Seax_Smith View Post
      you have it backwards.... sounds like you are driving the donor car.

    7. Member
      Join Date
      May 8th, 2010
      Location
      L.I. N.Y.
      Posts
      127
      Vehicles
      1988 Jetta 8V, 2003 30V V6 Passat
      10-08-2012 11:31 PM #7
      Sure enough, it just needs a starter motor. Boy, that V6 looks to be a tight fit in there! I can't imagine that engine compartment with a W8 in it.

      Now I need to decide if I want another car for $1,000. A starter for around $300. And a few hours swearing about how a starter motor shouldn't be this much work to replace.

      Thanks again for all of your help.
      -Ken
      Quote Originally Posted by Seax_Smith View Post
      you have it backwards.... sounds like you are driving the donor car.

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