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Our 2017 Beetle failed to start the other day. Virtually all of the idiot lights came on, windows went up and down and other odd things happened. My wife gave me a call and I went out to look at it. There was no 'clicking' at the solenoid and I didn't bring my jumper cables so we called 'the hook'. The driver jumped us and we got the car home. I ran a trickle charger on it overnight and got the battery back up to what the charger said was 95%. My wife went out to go to church after I took the charger off - same deal: idiot lights and no-go. I jumped the car and we took it to VW and dropped it off. The next day they called and told us that, after diagnosing (big bucks) the problem they came up with a bad battery - strange because it's not quite 3 years old. We drove up to get the car and were charged over $500.00. They said that after putting the battery in the car they found that the main fuse had blown.................... . As far as that goes I know that fuses blow after the current 'draw' exceeds the capacity of the fuse so, where was the excessive draw? They couldn't answer that for me. We paid and drove the car home after telling the service writer that there had to be something else wrong. By the way, the portion of the fuse that had been blown was for 'stability control' the other tow 'legs' were fine.

Sure enough, we got home, shut the car off and it wouldn't start. Idiot lights aplenty came on. I checked the main fuse with an ohmmeter and that was good. I flipped up the battery blanket and found burns on the top of the + terminal. "That's strange, on a new battery", I thought. So, I jumped the car again and it started. I then checked the voltage at the battery - 11V. I ran it up to 2500RPM and still 11V. For the hell of it I put the scanner on it and pulled the following two codes:

"1.Engne Control Module Code U1008, Status confirmed/Pending-Diagnostic interface for data bus Readout DTC(15053)"

And,

"1. Battery Energy Control Module Code 2252 Status Active/Stored - idle control system"

Now for the 'rascally' German part. The damned Krauts have 'their own' codes, they're not 'standard' codes? Really!?? The German that I took in school didn't include Germanic code translation. Are there any reputable translators out there?

Since the battery wasn't charging and since the main fuse checks out I'm assuming that the alternator isn't putting out. So, back to VW (another 40 minute ride) and dropped the car off. They called later in the day and confirmed the alternator was bad - sometimes it would put out 15V and other times 11V. So, now the total bill is up to - ready for this? - $1,300.00!! (And here I thought that rape was illegal.) Since they don't have an alternator in stock we can't pick the car up for another couple of days - at which point I'll scan it again and check voltages before we leave.

Beyond the questions about the codes here's another couple: 1. What caused the main fuse to blow? 2. Given the burns on the top of the + battery terminal is it possible that they installed the battery backwards and it cooked the fuse somehow?

My first VW was a '57 Beetle - a great car, the second was a '69 Beetle - also a great car, the third - a '75 a Scirocco - a real clunker, the 4th an '05 Passat Turbo 4 - it caught on fire within the first week (a bad spark coil) and went through 3 transmissions in the first two years. On the third one the shrive writer told me (a direct quote): "The transmissions are failing due to an electrical problem. We've identified it and will replace the transmission but we won't fix the electrical problem." From VW of America - nothing but the sound of crickets. The 5th was a 2015 Beetle TDI...that led to a 2017 Beetle and, here we are.
 

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What scan tool are you using;i'm not having much luck with those trouble codes, the cheaper Chinese vag tools, can sometimes give you odd trouble codes that are not valid. The better vw specific scan tools, like vcds are continually updated, improved, errors in software fixed/updated and so, it tends to give valid vw factory trouble codes but you may not always find a definition, for all the vw codes shown.

Based upon what you have described, it sounds like the internal regulator in the alternator; may have started malfunctioning, overcharging and in turn, may have blown fuses/fusable links, gotten the wiring overly hot, causing thermal damage. I'm just guessing but i have seen sticking regulators; causing spikes in charging voltage and met cables, wiring harnesses, in the process. A new alternator and repair/replacement of damaged wires, relayed parts, being the final fox for that scenario.

Let us know, on your scan tool; vcds by ross tech, is a good investment, save you money in the long run and is compatible with the later models of Volkswagens, like yours.

Lastly, was your car out of warranty? Seems early on for a alternator failure; you might contact vw customer care and see if they will help you with your repair costs. In the future, you might try to find a good independent vw specialist and see if you can save some money, bypassing the high costs of the vw dealership. $1300 for a diag and new alternator, battery; seems pretty high, for a somewhat typical replacement repair job (genuine vw parts, can at times be very high; where the same parts, using oem Bosch, might have been substantially less). Using the vw dealer, if you do not do your own repairs; has a certain assurance to it, if that is the only vw repair option in your area but the costs, multiple attempts at repairs/diagnosis, can get expensive.
 

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What scan tool are you using;i'm not having much luck with those trouble codes, the cheaper Chinese vag tools, can sometimes give you odd trouble codes that are not valid. The better vw specific scan tools, like vcds are continually updated, improved, errors in software fixed/updated and so, it tends to give valid vw factory trouble codes but you may not always find a definition, for all the vw codes shown.

Based upon what you have described, it sounds like the internal regulator in the alternator; may have started malfunctioning, overcharging and in turn, may have blown fuses/fusable links, gotten the wiring overly hot, causing thermal damage. I'm just guessing but i have seen sticking regulators; causing spikes in charging voltage and met cables, wiring harnesses, in the process. A new alternator and repair/replacement of damaged wires, relayed parts, being the final fox for that scenario.

Let us know, on your scan tool; vcds by ross tech, is a good investment, save you money in the long run and is compatible with the later models of Volkswagens, like yours.

Lastly, was your car out of warranty? Seems early on for a alternator failure; you might contact vw customer care and see if they will help you with your repair costs. In the future, you might try to find a good independent vw specialist and see if you can save some money, bypassing the high costs of the vw dealership. $1300 for a diag and new alternator, battery; seems pretty high, for a somewhat typical replacement repair job (genuine vw parts, can at times be very high; where the same parts, using oem Bosch, might have been substantially less). Using the vw dealer, if you do not do your own repairs; has a certain assurance to it, if that is the only vw repair option in your area but the costs, multiple attempts at repairs/diagnosis, can get expensive.

Thanks for the response. I've been using a Blue Driver scanner for a number of years. It's worked very well on a host of vehicles including: 6.7L diesel Ford Super Duty, 6.2L Super Duty, 3.6L Subaru, and a number of others. If it weren't the middle of winter in New Hampshire I'd do the work myself but I've given up working in cold garages.
IMG_0166.PNG
 

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The BD offers a code lookup but requires vin # and other info.


Blue Driver has been touted as have a wide range of coverage and compatibility; i have never used it, i guess the only way to know, is to try. 2017 is a pretty new volkswagen vehicle, i don't know; how much they keep things updated or what "coverage" means in reality. Most typical scanners are weak; when, it comes to European car coverage.

Note: "Please note, while Enhanced Diagnostics may not yet be offered on your vehicle, all other BlueDriver features, including trouble code lookup and Repair Reports work on ANY vehicle with an OBD2 port."

There is a reason, ross tech is dedicated Volkswagen Audi Group vehicles with VCDS and it is used by VW repair shops the world over. It is essentially a clone of the factory scan tool; used at the vw dealerships.

OBDEleven, is another option, that is similar to the blue driver wireless dongle and a app that runs on a smart device or tablet.

Having said all that, i wouldn't know if using a vw scan tool; would give you more useful info or codes, without using one, comparing the results of a full auto-scan.


If you end up using the blue driver trouble code lookup feature; please post any results you end up getting, thanks.

PS: the identifix feature; in blue driver, looks helpful as well, many advanced features seem to require the "pro" version.
 

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You'd asked a question about warranty: yes, it is 'out' of warranty.

As to the Blue Driver, when I plugged it in to the Beetle I had to update it's firmware which I did. When it gave the results, I contacted 'Support' at BD and asked how to interpret the results, here's how they responded:

"On Feb 19, 2020, at 1:09 PM, BlueDriver Support <[email protected]> wrote:
It sounds like the alternator may in fact be your culprit.

Quick disclaimer - I'm not a mechanic so I'm just speaking from a combination of research, DIY experience, and lessons learned looking in to other repair reports of the years.

The U code on the ECM doesn't sound like an ECM issue, it's just complaining about a communication fault on the data bus - most likely this is being caused by the "no signal from alternator" code coming from the batter controller (which is often a virtual subsystem of the J533 interface/gateway module).

If there was damage to the ECM I would expect there to be a ton of codes - we've got stacks of modules in the office we use for testing/QA/etc and I've powered several with a 16V power supply without issue, they should be pretty tolerant to actual damage from voltage fluctuations."

I've found them to be highly responsive to any questions that I've asked them over the years and some of the questions that I've asked, especially about the diesels, have been VERY esoteric.

I've written, as well, to VW of America in order to try to get some help but they've been far less helpful over the years than has, for instance, been Blue Driver.

I realize that almost all internal combustion engines essentially haven't changed too much over the years - their 'controls' have changed dramatically - but the engines still operate the same way. VW (and the Germans in particular) seem to try to 'out do' themselves regarding the 'controls' portion of just about everything that they build and they sometimes remind me of software engineers who write programs that are so needlessly complicated that, when I finally figure them out I sometimes say to myself, 'You jerks, why didn't you just say that in the first place!?' In other words, don't over complicate something that should be pretty damned simple. (I used to work for a German industrial machine company and while they built some excellent equipment, they continually 'dazzled me with brilliance' regarding controls.) Somehow, the acronym KISS is always at hand.
 
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