I have a 2002 a3 1.8t quattro sport 180bhp with the ARY engine. I have an intermittent problem when pulling away under normal conditions, where the esp light will flash and all power to the engine is cut for a few seconds, it then goes off and allows me to accelerate. This is not due to harsh driving/wheels spinning. It doesn't do it all the time however it seems to be after sitting on the brakes then pulling away and turning at the same time for example after sitting at traffic lights then turning left/right.
I took the car to a car park and drove the car on full lock left, the esp light was flashing constantly and I could not accelerate past around 10mph even with foot to the floor. This would not stop no matter how long I tried (nearly made myself sick lol). When I tried the same thing to the right it was all OK, no light and I could go as fast as i dare.
Some googling and searching on here seems to point me towards wheel speed sensors and/or steering angle sensors however from what I gather, these usually give constant esp light rather than the intermittent problem I have (I could be wrong here). For this reason I am inclined to believe it is a more mechanical fault and the sensors are just doing their job as they should.
I have noticed that the lower ball joints have been replaced at some stage as it has new bolts and retaining brackets attached to the lower arms. This, in conjunction with a steering wheel which sits very slightly to the left when driving straight, suggests maybe the car needs alignment/tracking done. Would this cause the faults that I am experiencing ?
I also cleaned the rust off the abs rotors all round and cleaned the tips of the speed sensors. I did notice when doing this that the front sensors were very close to the rotor (would probably fit a folded piece of paper between them and no more) while the back off side was probably double the distance away compared to the front and the rear nearside was further away again. Could this be causing the problem ? If so I would have expected the problem to be constant. Should I try tapping these in further or am I likely to damage them ? There is quite a bit of rust around them.
I am thinking of using a local German car specialist to do a diagnostic check however I am concerned that they will not find anything due to the intermittent nature of the problem. Would they be able to hook up the tester and drive it full lock to the left and read why the esp is cutting in ?
Thanks in advance for any advice.