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Engine cut out, ECS & ESP lights on

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Hellz, May 12, 2009.

  1. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 12, 2009]
    Hi All,

    My first post on here but I've been reading for some time and have picked up loads of useful info... I used to own an 8L S3 (2000) and have recently bought an A3 3.2 Quattro S-Line DSG (2004).

    I've come across a slightly worrying problem and was hoping you guys could help shed some light on it...

    Today driving home from work I was doing about 40mph and slowed to a crawl using the brake. When the revs got to around 1000, maybe just under, the engine cut out.

    I put the car in park and re-started the car, again, when revs dropped the engine just cut out. This kept happening but I managed to get the car home through revving quite a bit following ignition to keep it going, then quickly dropping it into drive and revving immediately.

    Every time I'd slow to a junction or roundabout the engine would cut out again - rinse/repeat.

    Following the first engine cut out and subsequent restart - the emissions control system light and electronic stability program light came on and have remained on.

    I'm going to try and get a diagnostic on it tomorrow but its got me worried and I cant seem to find any info on the net about the issue - I was hoping you guys might be able to give some insight into what it may be...

    I should say - I've taken the car out again tonight to check whether it is still cutting out and it isnt but the ESP and ECS lights are still on.

    The above has also happened about a month ago - On that occasion only the ESP light came on but following a period of non-use and re-start of the car, the ESP light no longer came on.

    On that occasion I took it to my local dealer as it was under warranty at the time (warranty expired last week) and they said there were too many 'ghost' codes to tell what the fault may have been. They said to get in touch if it happened again - typically it does, a few days out of warranty.

    Any advice would be appreciated...

    Cheers all
    #1
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  3. 10blazin
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    10blazin HYPERDRIVE NEEDED

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    [May 12, 2009]
    Id phone up and speak to the manager of the place you took it ..I mean you took it under warranty so its not your fault they didnt do there job is it ......Id explain this to the manager and the fault codes will be there this is the best route to go down im sure they will do it for you .....
    #2
  4. kaz219
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    kaz219 Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [May 12, 2009]
    They should cover it if its only a few days out of warrenty - get it back in to them asap!
    #3
  5. tdisportuk
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    tdisportuk Member

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    [May 13, 2009]
    go back to them...NOW!
    #4
  6. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 13, 2009]
    Well, when I started the car this morning to travel to work both the ECS and ESP lights were still on. The car only felt like it was going to cut out the once but it never did.

    I got to work, parked up, switched the car off and back on - the ESP light is now switching off so it appears that that particular element may be ok - heres hoping.

    The ECS light however is still staying on - just waiting for the dealership to open so I can attempt to get it booked in. :(
    #5
  7. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 18, 2009]
    The car has now been in since Saturday and they havent provided me with the codes but... apparently theyve been looking at an inlet sensor, manifold/exhaust sensor and the 'actuator'?

    They havent yet replaced any of the sensors but theyve said they do not believe the sensors to be the issue... They have also been unable to recreate the problems ive been encountering.

    Anyhow, the car needs to go elsewhere now as they believe the problem may be a stretched timing chain - which I've since done a little research on and apparently it is extremely rare?

    Do any of you guys have any experience of a stretched timing chain?

    If a physical/moving part such as a chain was stretched - wouldnt this be be heard whilst the engine is running?

    If the timing chain was stretched wouldnt the problem occur more frequently?

    Its happened twice, the second occurance took place more or less exactly a month after the first.. and its been running fine again since.
    #6
  8. Clueless 3.2
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    Clueless 3.2 New Member

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    [May 18, 2009]
    My timing chain was chained recently by Audi. To be honest I haven't noticed any difference at all. I took the car in originally for emission light and they decided that the chain needed changing, thankfully done under warranty. They told me once off the chain was slightly longer than what it should have been.

    Originally I was told that when the chain is stretched slightly the car will run the same with no problems. Only when the chain was completely shot you would be able to hear it. You are right in saying that the problem should happen more frequently.

    If I were you I would get a second opinion as I recently got the invoice for the chain (only for information) and it was in £2400 in total. The gearbox has to come out to get to it. So get it checked out somewhere else also, unless you are going to get it done under warranty.
    #7
  9. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 18, 2009]
    Both timing chains were last changed/replaced by AUDI in December 2007, the car has done 17000 miles since. They shouldnt need replacing so soon should they?

    Do AUDI offer warranty on all replacement parts and labour they carry out? The receipt of the timing chains work has 3 sets of dates on it - the date the work was completed and two other dates - Dec 2007 - Dec 2010, would these be warranty dates?

    The car itself is in at an indy garage at the moment and is soon to be moved to another for a second opinion.

    I guess ill have to wait on the second opinion. :(
    #8
  10. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 19, 2009]
    The 2 faults that were found are:

    16395 - Bank 1: Camshaft A (Intake): Retard Setpoint not Reached (Over-Advanced)
    P0011 - 008 - Implausible Signal - Intermittent

    16398 - Bank 1: Camshaft B (Exhaust): Retard Setpoint not Reached (Over-Advanced)
    P0014 - 008 - Implausible Signal - Intermittent
    #9
  11. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [May 19, 2009]
    Is there 1 timing chain for both banks or one for each? I would have said if there was only 1 then you should be getting the same faults with Bank 2 also.
    #10
  12. JST_A3
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    JST_A3 Member

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    [May 19, 2009]
    #11
  13. RobinA3
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    RobinA3 Well-Known Member

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    [May 19, 2009]
    Yes JST you are correct, if the chains have stretched then the timing will go retarded which was the problem my GF had with her Mk4 R32, we got the chains changed for free through VW even though the car is 6yrs old and way way out of warranty, i work within the VW group so i have a few contacts so i got it done for free otherwise it would have cost £1600 minimum.

    here is the thread which makes good reading:

    http://www.r32oc.com/general-chat/9621-timing-chain.html

    if you can get someone with vagcom have a look at measurement blocks 208 and 209 in the engine function which will tell you if the chains have stretched as the readings will be lower than -8 on both blocks.

    your problem is not the same problem judging by the fault codes though.

    it sounds to me that the VVT phasor which controls the valve timing is struggling to do its adaptions for some reason, on some systems when you put the ignition on/start the engine the phasors have to do its adaptions so that it knows which position it is in, usually it swings to the end point and then back to base angle, it might not be doing this on your car which would cause a problem, now this happens on some engines but not 100% sure it does it on the 3.2litre engine but saying that i think it is more than likely.

    usually
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  14. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 20, 2009]
    Thanks for the informed responses guys.

    There is a second garage looking into it today and after speaking to the guy yesterday when I dropped the car off, he says he'd be extremely surprised if it turned out to be a stretched chain.

    He's going to ring me around mid-day with his assessment, I'll let him know of your thoughts.

    Thanks chaps!
    #13
  15. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [May 22, 2009]
    I got the car back yesterday after the mechanics had spent a couple of days looking into the problem - they couldnt recreate it.

    However, they have a diagnosis to which I'm not convinced (although I hope theyre right).

    They believe the problem may have been that the inlet sensor and Camshaft Adjuster were plugged in the wrong way round i.e. in each others positions. They've switched the sensors around and the car seems to be running fine but then again, the problem was intermittent anyway.

    I asked the guy how much the sensors were to replace incase it turns out they are faulty. He then said he'd contacted an AUDI specialist who'd said the sensors were both exactly the same and quoted the same price for each. AUDI on the other hand say they are different and quoted slightly different prices for each...

    I now just have to wait for the issue to occur again before I can take the car back in - they will then replace the sensors.

    On the upside, they strongly believe the problem is not the timing chain itself...
    #14
  16. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [May 22, 2009]
    Don't you hate it when people just don't know?!

    Hope it's fixed as it is mate. It's horrible having a car where you're constantly waiting for wrong things to happen when you're driving.
    #15
  17. 3.2 Ju
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    3.2 Ju Well-Known Member

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    [Jun 29, 2009]
    Have you got this fixed yet?. It reminds me of a problem I had with my 3.2 dsg. That started cutting out at traffic lights etc. It turned out to be a bad earth somewhere down in the engine bay. Got it back all fixed and it never happened again.
    #16
  18. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Jul 2, 2009]
    Following the mechanics plugging the sensors in the other way around the problem occured again within a few days.

    I then had the inlet sensor and Camshaft Adjuster (sensor) replaced around 1 month ago - maybe more. With the problem being intermittent it's hard to be 100% sure that it is fixed.

    However, following replacement of those sensors the car has been running fine.

    So far so good...
    #17
  19. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Jul 9, 2009]
    Hi all,

    Well, I thought they'd finally managed to fix it but today, again, the engine cut out for no apparent reason. It seems that the engine struggles to idle, as if temporarily the timing is out. Whats more odd is that only the ESP light came on this time, no engine management light.

    I managed to film what the car was actually doing this time - note in the video that as soon as I take my foot off the accelerator the revs drop right down to zero instead of idling at 800-1000. Additionally, on start up I did notice that the ABS light would flash on for a milisecond, on occasion...

    Any advice would be appreciated as not one garage of the three its been to has managed to pinpoint what the hell is going on.

    Video - click here

    I managed to drive it home through holding revs on the accelerator and holding the brake whilst having to stop at junctions/roundabouts... When i got it home I re-started it and low and behold, ESP light off, car idling fine and running as normal...

    Strange and frustrating. I'm attempting to get my money back tomorrow although I expect they'll do everything in their power to prevent that from happening.

    :mad:
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
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  20. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Aug 27, 2009]
    Following the replacement of a few parts the error codes seem to change whilst the problem remains the same... I had the car in at an Indy garage this week and they found the following codes:

    P16396 - Bank 1 Camshaft A (Intake) Retard Set Point not reached.

    16486 - Mass Air Flow sensor - Signal too low

    17499 - Mixture regulation Bank 2 - Rich limit exceeded

    17573 - Long term fuel trim additive Air Bank 1

    Dealership booked it in at AUDI today - they then ran a full diagnostic and couldnt fault the car - the only thing they could find was a 'sporadically spiking' Lambda Probe that wasnt creating a fault code... they're non-comittal on whether that could trigger the problems I've been having.

    No further forward but I imagine the dealership are starting to worry at the mounting costs of sorting this out... :sorry:

    I now have to wait for it to happen again and then get it back to audi to check out... joy!
    #19
  21. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Sep 16, 2009]
    Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Exactly the same thing has happened to me. I bought my A3 3.2 V6 Quattro DSG from a private dealership in April 2009. I have since had the same problem that you are talking about. The first time it was resolved by replacing the air mass flow sensor. However it has since just happened again and is with my mechanic now. I am really hoping that it won't be something serious, but I have every faith in my mechanic (a friend of mine) that he will find the real problem. I will keep you posted....
    #20
  22. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Sep 16, 2009]
    Thanks Martin, looking forward to hearing what your mechanic finds!

    good luck :)
    #21
  23. imran62@gmail.com
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    imran62@gmail.com DSG

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    [Sep 17, 2009]
    Hey ... same problem audi a3 3.2 dsg !!! have you solved the problem??? it seems like a common problem looking around
    #22
  24. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Sep 18, 2009]
    Not yet mate, as its intermittent I'm currently waiting for it to happen again so I can get it back into AUDI... IF/WHEN it happens again and AUDI manage to diagnose the fault I'll update the thread...

    Imran/Martin, out of interest, what year is your 3.2Q?

    And Martin, I dont think the problem is overly serious (heres hoping) its just more frustrating than anything - it seems to be a sensor related fault as I believe if it were a mechanical issue the problem would be constant or at least occur more frequently.

    Fingers crossed one of us can pinpoint the source of the problem soon...
    #23
  25. imran62@gmail.com
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    imran62@gmail.com DSG

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    [Sep 18, 2009]
    cheers for the reply... mine is sep 2004
    I would say fustrating ..
    Just a quick point just had mine serviced the power is as when i first bought it!! So its not affecting the performance.
    If it does happen try to hold the revs at about 2 or take it for a ride it seems to cure the problem untill the next time ??
    #24
  26. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Sep 18, 2009]
    You dont necessarily have to hold the revs at 2k just dont allow them to drop below 800rpm until you can get it home / parked up or it will cut out.

    Once home I've tended to leave mine for at least 2 hours or so and the majority of the time, overnight. Following this idle period the problem goes away. However, where the warning lights (ECS/ESP) remain lit the car seems to run a little 'roughly'.

    When picking the car up from Audi I spoke with the technician that had been checking over my car and he was at a loss as to what could be causing it. One thing he did mention though was a 21 step diagnostic process the car was being run through. He said that this 21 step process would also flash the ECU back to factory settings and recalibrate sensors.

    Apparently, any time a sensor is replaced it is usual audi practice to calibrate the sensor.This may not have happened at an indy garage where I have had sensors replaced, and I have no knowledge of issues the previous owner may have had repaired at Indy garages.

    Again, whether this could be the cause of the problems I've been having - they were non-comittal.

    I'm hoping the factory reset will resolve the problem but I'm not hopeful...

    Incidentally, mine is an 04 model too...
    #25
  27. andyb_88
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    andyb_88 Member

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    [Sep 18, 2009]
    When my emission control light came on for my 2.0 TDI a3, the problem was that my main cooling fan wasnt working.

    If i was you i would take it to the audi dealer asap as warrenty has only just run out, they should still look at it for you.

    Hope this helps.

    edit: i really wouldnt drive the car either, if it is anything to do with the cooling fans like mine was you're going to do a hell of a lot of damage and it will eventually blow.

    Also my old car kept cutting out when the revs dropped down, this was due to a water leak. Probably irrelevant but worth checking.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
    #26
  28. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Oct 8, 2009]
    Right!!
    It happened again to me and I sent it straight to my mechanic so that he could see it happening. He plugged it into his computer which does a low level scan and it showed no errors.
    He then got his friend (who looks at cars when Audi dealerships can't find the problem) who completed a much deeper scan.
    It came out with three errors. I don't have the codes yes, but I should have them when I get the report back. One was with the dashboard, the second was with the outside temperature sensor, and the last was the sensor for the traction control.
    As I understand, having this combination of errors automatically puts the car into 'limp' mode. This is not something that the car needs to see a sex therapist about, but means that it shuts the car down and produces the symptoms we have all been experiencing. It is then not until you have the errors cleared at the deep scan level that it will stop happening. The mechanic that did the deep scan has not charged me yet as he is giving it a month to see if it happens again, but he is pretty confident.
    I haven't had even a splutter since so I am pretty sure it is resolved..... we will see.

    Oh, and I have an '05 A3
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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  29. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Oct 9, 2009]
    Whilst I've had the traction control warning light enabled I havent had any errors in the areas you mention (Temp Sensor/Dashboard)... Yet.

    Following the car having been at AUDI and having been 'factory reset' I havent had the issue occur again. The car was in 7 weeks ago approx, this is the longest stint it's gone without requiring sexual therapy (fault codes reset).

    Fingers crossed it has been resolved... I aint holding my breath.

    Heres to non-impotent 3.2 V6's !
    #28
  30. imran62@gmail.com
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    imran62@gmail.com DSG

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    [Oct 10, 2009]
    ok guys ..just thought i would say check check your coilpacks.. last night mine went into serious misfire and today the garage pulled out half of the coil and the other half has remained inside the head ??????????????????? .... So we will wait and have to see if the other half can be taken out or the head removed ????
    My car has been on the vag many times never showed up as a issue had the plugs changed 12k ago ...
    #29
  31. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Oct 20, 2009]
    Well, I hate to tell you guys, but it happened again last night :no:. I was on my way to get it serviced (typical) and it cut out again. At least this time I was close to my mechanics and able to get it in straight away. I will keep you posted.....
    #30
  32. edition
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    edition Active Member

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    [Oct 20, 2009]
    Yours DSG as well Martin?
    #31
  33. golf
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    golf ***** rent boy VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 20, 2009]
    I had a very similar problem with my Audi A4 1.8T which turned out to be the crankshaft sensor. Might be worth looking into?
    #32
  34. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Oct 21, 2009]
    Yes it is (just changed the thing on my title)
    #33
  35. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Oct 21, 2009]
    Martin, did you ever get the specific fault codes from you mechanic? It'd be interesting to compare and contrast.
    #34
  36. edition
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    edition Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2009]
    Any Ideas wether it could be a DSG fault?
    #35
  37. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Oct 21, 2009]
    I don't think it is a DSG fault. It seems to be electrical though. I have just spoken to him and he has done a 'factory reset' on all the sensors. He has also cleaned the throttle housing which apprently is another common cause.
    I will try and get the codes for you Hellz.... if I remember - memory like a sieve!!
    #36
  38. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Nov 4, 2009]
    well, all seems well so far. Not a grumble in sight. I have been using high octane unleaded as well to keep it all nice and clean. Here's hoping it's sorted now.
    #37
  39. whippet
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    whippet New Member

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    [Nov 26, 2009]
    Hi Guys been reading through this thread, I have just been having exactly the same problem. Three times now at very slow speeds or stationary, the revs just drop off and the car dies.
    First time under warranty back in May, it went to Southampton Audi, all I found out is that they had changed part of the wiring. Part of me wonders if not managing to find a fault all they did was reset the fault which cleared the problem temporarily and gave me my car back.
    Since then and 6 weeks out of warranty, same problem, they changed the mass air flow meter, £300 and 10 days later exactly the same problem again. Each time I have had Audi recovery come out to me and say that a mass air flow low signal error is coming up.

    So car back with Southampton Audi and me very annoyed because I reckon they changed a part which did not need changing. At the moment they are using my car with their drivers driving it round to try and get the fault to repeat so they can diagnose correctly.

    They have also suggested a dash unit fault (as mentioned in post above) as I have this code as well as problem with that car not quite idling correctly, for this they have suggested an air leak some where.

    To be honest they do not seem to have a clue, I have read with interest the posts above as my problem sounds exactly like Hellz's, has there been any conclusion, by coincidence my car is a 3.2 "04" plate DSG A3 too.........


    Cheers
    #38
  40. martinhutton
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    martinhutton 3.2 V6 Quattro Sport DSG

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    [Nov 27, 2009]
    It sounds like you have exactly the same thing. The key to getting it fixed is to replace all the sensors that have the faults THEN get a master reset for the system. You should see that your trip computer menu will go back to being the default.
    The other problem that I had was with the external temperature sensor. This kept giving a fault every time, even when it was reset. You will find that the default place for the external temperature sensor is in the wheel arch. Even with normal driving you will find that the temperature inside the wheel arch is significantly warmer than the ambient temperature.
    This is a major problem as the engine management system takes the external temperature as an input and adjusts the mixture depending on it. To combat this I have now got my temperature sensor neatly poking out the front of the front bumper where it is exposed to the actual air temperature. I have now been running for 2 months with no problems at all.
    #39
  41. Hellz
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    Hellz Geordie Racer

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    [Dec 2, 2009]
    The issue my car had has never been pinpointed. Note I say "had", since I had the 'factory reset' at the AUDI dealers in Newcastle (end August), the issue as yet hasnt raised its ugly head...

    Before this it would happen on average within a month of a code reset.

    The only suggestion the AUDI guys had was that the lambda probe was spiking periodically but during their test time, not enough to raise an error code.

    I've had multiple sensors replaced and that, for me, didnt wholly resolve the issue - what seems to have done it is the ECU factory reset. Have a word with your AUDI dealership and just ask them if they can run your car through the same process.

    One thing that had crossed my mind was the possibility that my ECU had been remapped, do any of you guys experincing the issue have a remap applied?

    I bought my car 2nd hand so couldnt be sure whether it was mapped or not...
    #40

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