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all dummy lights turn on and some kind of motor noise

1535 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  nighttrain1974
I was driving my 2001 New Beetle 1.8 turbo home last night and about 1 minute down the road all the dummy lights came on and intermittently went off. There was also a low noise (sounded like a small motor like when you use the windshield wiper sprayer) that would last maybe 15-30 seconds then stop, then start again a couple minutes later. The dummy lights would go on and off as well, like one light then two then none, so on and so forth.

A little background, I had the alternator replaced one year ago by an import shop, then about 6 months ago i had the thermostat and thermostat housing replaced by a little mom and pop shop. they didnt specialize in imports, but swore to me they could do it no problem. I picked the car up, left the shop and parked at the store, when i tried to start the car again it was dead. they came out to where I was and said they forgot to plug the alternator back in because they had to unplug it to get to the thermostat. ever since then the battery light would randomly come on then off. they said it was nothing they did (of course). a couple months ago the clutch went out in my car and the battery boiled over and popped the negative cable out of the battery. I decided to take it to this guy who only works on Volkswagens, he had about 300 of them parked outside his shop, he is a true enthusiast. $1800 later i had a new battery and a new clutch and wheel bearing. the car ran fine when i got it back, good as new, but the battery light would still intermittently go on and off. he said that the plug on my alternator was broken, he said it looked like it had been forced off and now it is loose. he also said they put the wrong alternator in and that i will probably need a new one. could a bad alternator be what is making all my lights go on and off and make that weird noise?
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so heres the update....i took it out right after i typed this and the abs light, brake light and the little triangle light with the circular arrow all came on. the car started making the noise again, then the odometer stopped working, then the car just completely died in the middle of the intersection. had it towed to my vw guy....we shall see what happens now.
I'm no mechanic, but I hope it's not to much of a problem! :eek:
yeah, a bad alternator can wreak havok in the dash lights. there are a lot of parts that are sensitive to voltage levels.
Have your VW guy check the VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor) and the Crankshaft position sensor. They can also cause problems with the display, speedo and gas gauge.

What were the codes thrown?
That alternator is causing havoc round your engine bay.

If it's not charging right or providing the right ampage then eventually your car will show symptoms of this as you've seen. It won't be charging the battery properly and then once the juice runs out in that you're stuffed.
You car should happily run on the alternator alone, most cars will as they provide enough juice for the entire car.
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