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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys, I'm a long time poster on these forums but my last how-to on installing an iPod dock was archived so I'm showing up in the forums as a new user. Anyway, my beetle is now long in the tooth and have run into the dreaded ignition-switch short.

Symptoms are as follows.
Unresponsive non-essential column stalk controls such as signals, cruise control, washer. Though high beam still works.
AC, Fan out but Hazard, radio and ASR switch work fine (didn't check heated seats). Everything else works fine.

In my case, the battery top fuses and wiring were is perfect order so I'm now going to need to check under the dash. As this is bit of a do, I'm thinking of posting my process as this seems to be a regular issue with new beetles of this generation. I've poured through the forums and found a Jetta/Golf based tutorial but not beetle specific found here.

p.s. Mod, if I've placed this tut in the wrong category, please move me, but since I have a 1.8t this is where I posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Ignition Switch wire inspection

All fuses looked fine (input on this found here)

Now to check for tell tale signs of insulation melting near the ignition switch harness.

First of all. Note a couple of thing...
1. Prolonged battery detachment will result in some electronic fuel system data loss requiring recalibration via VAG-COM computer by your local VW mechanic.
2. Although you will need power/engine to turn the steering wheel for some disassembling, please detach the battery before touching any wiring. Afterward, do not reconnect the battery with someone at the wheel just in case. No liability shall be assumed by myself nor newbeetle.org or associated blah blah blah.
3. Note your radio's security pin/code in case this takes longer than expected.
I'd like to thank Bentley Publishing's products for giving me a better sense of what I was getting into as well as many blog postings.

So here goes.
You'll need to remove the lower column trim to get access to the ignition switch just to inspect the wiring. This is how I went forward.

You will need:
Torx T20 screwdriver
4-5 inch narrow shaft Philips screwdriver
1/8" wide slotted (straight) screwdriver
Normal sized slotted screwdriver

You will be removing most of the screws in this Bentley manual illustration starting with the height/length adjustment handle's two T20 screws labelled 1.


Then remove two deeply recessed Philips screws at the bottom on either side of the steering column trim. This will detach the upper column trim labelled 3 as well as a large T20 stubby screw labelled 2.

A shot of my Beetle with screws removed and column adjuster released. Note the "L" shaped hole, this allows the column adjuster lever to slide out once the rubber handle has been detached. #1


Turn on your Beetle and turn your steering wheel right to access the left deeply recessed screw - arrows. Then turn wheel left to access the right deeply recessed screw.
Note: You will need to try to pull the screws out enough than just unscrewing as they protrude enough to hang the lower trim in place. The right side screw is particularly pesky.



You won't be needing power for the remainder of inspection, so go ahead and detach your battery before proceeding to tinker.
Open your hood (hood release is driver's side footwell's left side wall) and unclip the fuse holder from the battery to expose your terminals by unlocking the plastic clips - arrow.


Detach the positive terminal from your battery. Most terminal clamps have accessory nut and terminal nut, choose the terminal nut. It is the side without dongles attached and is usually unpainted.
Honestly, this is an optional step as I was careful and wore gloves, had no issues. But if you're not patient or dexterous. Yes, please detach your battery.



Now, I haven't removed the lower trim just yet because I didn't want to accidentally jostle any wires with battery providing power to airbags. Hopefully you didn't get ambitious and yank the lower trim yet. God (or spaghetti monster) be with you if so.

Being relatively safe from explosions (if you detached battery), guide column lower trim's "L" shaped hole past the unsheathed column adjustment lever. The piece should slide right out now.


...and there it is. A fried wire cover. Go on, take a whiff. If your controls died recently, it should still smell of melted plastic, more specifically, cheap 2nd rate VW cost cutting insulation. Grrr! @#@!#$



Here is the ignition switch socket detached. You can see the Red positive (30) line has completely melted it's retaining shroud. I'll have to get more parts later. But for this DIY write-up. Lets put it back together and test the new switch.


To remove the Ignition Switch, you'll first need to scrape off the resin cover (orange goo) over the retaining screws (circles). Underneath you'll find relatively small straight edge head screws, rotate them out until the switch can be pulled out without manley force. It is advised to not completely unscrew because they may be really hard to put back, get lost, and it is just unnecessary as these just pinch the switch's holding tabs in place.


Before inserting your brand new VW OEM ignition switch (Approx $60 USD shipped from Auburn VW, try to ignore the stupid talking head) you need to note the position of the original burned out one and turn your new switch with a larger flat head screwdriver to the same. Like below (image is the old unit).


Pop her in, screw it all back together and you're done! Everything is back to proper function, no more melting wires (cross-fingers).
On a side note, the wire that is melting is to the headlamps. I've read in another post that the wire melting and switch failure may be due to a long term smoldering of the line rather than a sudden thing. I'm of the opinion it was sudden as burning smell then next day failure seemed to suggest otherwise. But, may be the Day-Time Running kill-mod could help our switches last longer? Well we'll leave that for another day.
Hope this helps!
 

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I iz noob.I can has halp?
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Great DIY write up

Great article! I just got my 00 new beetle this weekend and was on my way to get it registered when I noticed (in rainstorm) that I no longer had wipers, turn signals, lights, etc.

I got on line and found rather quickly that the ignition switch seems like the likely culprit, and was looking for a good DIY article to see if I want to tackle this myself or not, and found your write-up. Great notes. Thanks a lot.
 

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had this happen to my bug. replaced the ignition and it melted it a second time a week later. I ended up taking it to a local vw shop where they rewired my headlights onto a separate relay and they found and fixed a bad ground in the system. no issues since.
 

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I iz noob.I can has halp?
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worked like a charm

My son and I worked on this last night and the write-up was awesome to have printed out and handy. It worked like a charm. Thanks a lot! :D
 

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Think this way. What works only when the key is "on"? Fans, blinkers, headlights.

Radio works without key, brake lights too.


What I thought was a bunch of fuses, was the ignition switch. It made sense when it was explained to me. But, I'm no mechanic. I had to take it in. :eek:
 

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I iz noob.I can has halp?
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had this happen to my bug. replaced the ignition and it melted it a second time a week later. I ended up taking it to a local vw shop where they rewired my headlights onto a separate relay and they found and fixed a bad ground in the system. no issues since.
Sad to report that this has just happened to me again - so my ignition fix only lasted almost 4 months.

How much was that re-wiring, if you don't mind me a$king - just for a ball park before I waste $60 doing this again.
 

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Daytime Running lights_ Ignition problem

Sad to report that this has just happened to me again - so my ignition fix only lasted almost 4 months.

How much was that re-wiring, if you don't mind me a$king - just for a ball park before I waste $60 doing this again.
Seems that I have to do this repair again also but OP is correct. I had disabled the daytime running lights for approx. 1.5 years with no problem. I enabled the daytime running lights approx. 5 months ago and now I have the ignition problem again.

I will keep the daytime running lights disabled for good this time. I'm sure that is the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sorry to hear.

Sorry to hear you guys are still having trouble with this switch. My guess is that this part is an unintentional canary in the coal mine for failing wire looms. Maybe since my plastics are literally starting to disintegrate, the wire insulation throughout the car is also in poor shape causing random shorts. Rewiring the bug seems impossibly expensive either DIY and most definitely by mechanic. My fix is going on 11 months now so it seems the fix is YMMV. :(
 

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1998-2011 New Beetle > 1.8 Liter Turbo > Ignition Switch replacement DIY

Same failure on my 2000 Diesel Beetle in February, 2016. However the purple connector is melted as well. Where to get a replacement?

The failure is control wiring to the "load reduction relay" which disables all high current draws (headlights, DRLs, AC. blower motor, rear window heater, and wipers) while starting the engine.

And yes, all of the interior plastic is disintegrating.
 

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You can get ALL of the plugs/retaining purple portion and terminal end repair wires; from your local VW dealer. I got all of the parts from my local dealer; my whole plug assembly was melted, as were most of the terminals/wires. I replaced; the switch, plug, wire terminal ends and the key tumbler, as it was worn as well.

Note: I used the shrink wrap/adhesive lines butt connectors; that VW recommends, through 3M. They are excellent and seal out the element, truly superior to the old style. They are called; 3M™ Scotchlok™ Heatshrink Butt Connectors; learn more here:

https://www.google.com/search?q=3M™+Scotchlok™+Butt+Connector+Heatshrink&oq=3M™+Scotchlok™+Butt+Connector+Heatshrink&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60.825j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=3M™+Scotchlok™+Butt+Connector+Heat+Shrink

I found them; at my local Walmart and got a small kit with assorted sizes, in the Automotive section by the light bulbs. These are the real deal made in USA, crimp well and the heat shrink/insulation, does not fall apart like the cheap stuff does. I used my crimp pliers; Snap-on Terminal Crimping Pliers Cutters Crimper 9 3/8" # 29CF. There are other companies; that make the same tool; under the thomas/betts, channellock, klein, ideal and many other brands. When crimped correctly and the heat shrink melted; the pull strength is excellent, the repair is sealed from the elements and it is a truly superior repair solution.

3M Electrical Connectors 03830NA Heat Shrink Splice Connect, 24-Pack

Designed for use with 22 to a 10 gauge wire
Connectors feature a heat activated sealant that provides resistance against moisture
Enables easy wire insertion and correct wire positioning
Assorted blue, red and yellow heat shrink splice connectors
Moisture resistant

They also; sell them in dividual wire gauge sizes:

3M Heat Shrink Splice Connectors 03881NA Heat Shrink Splice Connect, 16 pack (blue: 16-14 gauge wire)

3M Heat Shrink Splice Connectors 03880NA Heat Shrink Splice Connect, 16 pack (red: 22-18 gauge wire)

To finish off the repair; I replaced some of the friction tape, that VW used to protect the wiring harness from abrasion. This was in the household section and finished off the repair nicely.

3M 3407NA-BA-6 Friction Tape, Black, 3/4" x 20'

Hope this helps! :)
 

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I went ahead and moved this from the 1.8T forum to the Technical DIY forum :bigthumb:
 

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Thanks to the poster who took the time to put this together.

Lights, a/c, and turn signals went out a few nights ago. Didn't realize at the time that the wipers and horn were also out.

$42 at Advance Auto after using my rewards from their program and about 90 minutes from start to finish, and we're good to go.
 

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Granted, my switch is also melted; however, I would like to test, which one of those cables make the starter work.

Which ones I need to bypass to crank the engine.
 

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For those looking to replace the Ignition Switch Connector and harness, I found the connector pigtail (with wires) part number 4A0 971 975 on Amazon for $30 and the ignition switch part number 4B0 905 849.
My understanding of the real cause of the problem is the OEM pigtail is a little short and the stress on the connector causes the connections to heat up due to the improper contact with the ignition switch.
My plan is to pump the new connector full of dielectric grease and make sure there's plenty of slack in the harness when I reassemble it with the new parts.
 

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For those looking to replace the Ignition Switch Connector and harness, I found the connector pigtail (with wires) part number 4A0 971 975 on Amazon for $30 and the ignition switch part number 4B0 905 849.
My understanding of the real cause of the problem is the OEM pigtail is a little short and the stress on the connector causes the connections to heat up due to the improper contact with the ignition switch.
My plan is to pump the new connector full of dielectric grease and make sure there's plenty of slack in the harness when I reassemble it with the new parts.
Thanks for your post with part numbers. Mine has sporadically been not kicking on the load reduction relay and finally went kaput today. Verified it's the switch and I have the melty harness as well. This post is a lifesaver as I thought I had to remove the steering wheel to get to the area, but not with a little bit of manpower tugging the trim out. :D
 

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Yep

Just adding my "Yes, it's the switch" for those of you that have the same problems.

Original owner of a 2001 turbo.

Thank you doldori and the ORG!
 

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I had the headlights and other items go out on my 2005 convertible. Pulled the interior trim and pulled the plug off of the switch and sure enough the same positive connector is melted. I bought a new switch at Advance Auto Parts for $46 and will try the new switch out soon. This thread is a lifesaver! I had randomly smelled burning wires in the car a couple times over the weeks prior to the main failure, so I hope this is the fix. If it happens again I will need to figure out how to rewire the headlights through a relay or something.
 
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