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Horrible Morning! - No lights on dash

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by wrightyrx7, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Hi there,

    I have an Audi A3 sportback 1.9tdi 2009 (facelift model)

    This morning i woke up, not only was it a very cold morning but when I got in my car to come to work. My car decided to not start.

    This is the problem/s

    -When i turn the ignition on, no lights on my dash light up
    -All other electrics in the car still work (heaters, lights, stereo, alarm, windows)
    -Car will start but cuts out after a second or two (immobiliser I guess?)

    I have checked all the fuses and all seem fine.
    I have tried disconnecting the battery for 30 seconds and connecting it again (seen online this had worked for similar problems)


    Now im stumped when i parked it up Friday it was fine.

    I dont know if its coincidence or not but this morning is the first time this year my car has been frozen over.

    Any suggestions would be great as im short on cash at the minute and have no other options but try and figure it out myself.

    Thanks for any replies.
    Chris
    #1
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  3. NHN
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    NHN Retrofitter - Audi - VW - Skoda - Seat Site Sponsor VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Does the coil icon flash constantly with ignition turned on?
    #2
  4. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Hi NHN,

    Thank you for your reply

    Not one light on the dash comes on :(
    #3
  5. NHN
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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    That sounds like the cluster is buggered, check all fuses on end of dash drivers side behind hidden panel & as under the hood in front of passenger, under a closed plastic housing with sliding locks each side to undo.
    #4
  6. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    I have already checked the ones on the drivers side, will check the ones under the hood when I get home (by bus!!!).

    If all fuses are fine i'm guessing by your last reply its the instrument cluster, how would I know if this is what it is for certain?
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  7. NHN
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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Plugging another cluster in, trying to login to cluster with vcds.
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  8. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Ahh right, not something I could do then..is this going to be a costly job?
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  9. NHN
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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Whereabouts are you located?
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  10. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Manchester, M40
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  11. NHN
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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    Give N8 a shout as he's Salford area.
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  12. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 4, 2013]
    I have sent him a PM. Hopefully he will get back to me soon, cant cope with buses!! haha
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  13. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 5, 2013]
    Well i got home last night and it started... the fact that yesterday morning was the first morning my car had been frozen over this year leads me to think it was the frost... bizarre!
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  14. Warilow86
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    Warilow86 New Member

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    [Nov 5, 2013]
    I have this exact problem at the moment, i haven't been so lucky with it just starting tho, anyone any ideas? all fuses seem to be fine!
    #13
  15. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    [Nov 12, 2013]
    Sorry to resurrect a week old thread, but I might have some info that could help someone else doing a search.

    My brother's work had a 2007 A3 Sportback come into his bodyshop the other day. All was fine for a couple of days of moving it around, then they went to move it again and the dash was dead and they had the same starting problem mentioned above.
    They phoned Audi as they'd only worked on the rear end where it was hit and couldn't think what would've caused it.
    Audi told them it was due to static build up and suggested they disconnect the battery overnight and it would be fine when you reconnect it in the morning. It worked and next morning everything was working as normal.

    I'm not sure why or how static build up occurs (or even if this is correct), but it did the job and Audi seemed to know the answer straight away as if it's a common(ish) issue.

    Worth a go if you're having a similar problem.
    #14
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  16. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Nov 12, 2013]
    In the world of electronics, static build-up generally results from poor grounding. Also, frosty air is very dry, and that indeed can cause static. As soon as it turns wet, the static leaks away. In danb986 case, there may have been some interference with the grounding wires at the rear of the car, or some added component/loom not adequately earthed. Have never heard of static build-up in cars, but it seems it may well be possible. Just a thought.
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  17. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 19, 2013]
    Well if your in the Manchester area you will see that since i started the post. This morning is the second time my car has frozen over...and the second time it wont start.

    Im gonna try the whole disconnect the battery tonight.


    BUT: as a coincidence.. only a few week ago the back bumper on my car was replaced.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
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  18. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 19, 2013]
    Well someone the following:

    "Sounds like the terminal 30 relay is sticking when cold and not activating the main components. Weird circumstances though as relays are not usually affect be weather conditions unless it's suffered with water ingress."

    anyone know where i can locate this?
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  19. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Nov 20, 2013]
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  20. wrightyrx7
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    [Nov 20, 2013]
    Hi Geraldy,

    Thanks for your reply.

    You reply above re "Static Build up" could be the problem with mine to.

    I had work done on the back end of my car, when I went to check on it they had all the rear lights out of the car. This problem has only started on frosty mornings since i had this work done. Could it be the grounding when they put the electrics back in?

    I don't see how this could cause a problem with the dash not coming on, but then again I'm no good with electrics.

    You seem to know what your talking about, could you kindly supply me with an explanation - for me to explain to them - when i take it back to them and tell them i want them to check the grounds in the rear.
    #19
  21. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Nov 20, 2013]
    Seems odd that two cars have reported something similar, and in both cases the rear bumper or rear lights have recently been worked on. I would be quite surprised if the fault is occurring due to static, but maybe there is a connection (no pun intended). There are indeed two official grounding points at the rear. They are somewhere on the 'C' pillars, one each side. Perhaps when working on the rear they have somehow disturbed the grounding system...hard to know. However, I see no reason not to ask them to check carefully, both visually and by ohmmeter that what is supposed to be grounded is in fact grounded properly. This fault could be as you have mentioned, some electrical component failing when very cold. If so it must have happened before to some unfortunate customer(s), so Audi should know about it. Do make sure that the battery connections are on real tight, and that the battery grounding strap is not corroded where it attaches to the car. Freezing conditions also cause metal parts to shrink a bit, and if these are electrical connections it may give some problems only when cold. That's a long-shot but worth a look-see.
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  22. wrightyrx7
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    [Nov 20, 2013]
    Many thanks for your reply Geraldy212

    I am going to the garage that did my bumper later on. So hopefully they will have a look.

    But on the phone he didnt seem to think it was them that caused it. So might have to locate them myself :/

    DOnt suppose you know of any diagrams that show how you get to the grounding points?
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  23. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Nov 20, 2013]
    No the Haynes manual just indicates that there are two grounding points at the rear, located on the left & right 'C' pillar. Have never seen these points, and I expect you have to take the rear panels off to see them. There is no reason the garage cannot go in and examine what work they did and check the looms/connectors. As far as I know, only the reverse-assist option has components connected to the rear bumper. But there are lots of wires in the rear, feeding rear/stop/fog lights wiper and stereo amplifier etc. Good to have a look. If this does not show any problems, suspect a component is getting cold-soaked and failing. If you can get a member to make a VCDS check when cold and not starting it might show up something. Also, the ignition switch could be the culprit as they are known to fail on the A3.
    #22
  24. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 20, 2013]
    Well I had its scanned, but no errors appeared...which isnt a surprise considering its running find now its not frosty.

    Found out today my managers husband has a Ross-Tech Cable. So gonna get it off him and keep hold of it until it does this again on the next frosty morning we have and scan it.

    Thing is will it scan if the instrument cluster/dash isnt coming on when i have this problem?
    #23
  25. wrightyrx7
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    wrightyrx7 Member

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    [Nov 21, 2013]
    I have made a video, incase it helps shed light on my problem.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2014
    #24
  26. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Nov 21, 2013]
    The fact that it starts should mean that the ECU is operating under 12v power, as are other circuits such as climate control. The thing that does not seem to be working is the instrument cluster (which I also believe controls the immobiliser). In other words, at very cold temperatures, the instrument cluster controller, or the printed circuit board or the connectors may be failing. Possibly an open-circuit due to low temperature. To test out this theory when it happens, you could quickly pull out the cluster, take it inside the house until it warms up, then try it again.
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  27. wrightyrx7
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    [Nov 21, 2013]
    Hello again Geraldy212,

    This seems like a good theory. Next time it does it this is what i will do. Once the cluster is out do you know if the circuit board is visible? If so maybe i will see the open-circuit while its cold.
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  28. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Nov 21, 2013]
    No I do not know if the printed circuit board will be visible. It may be very hard to see any open circuit, but worth a good look. Taking out the cluster will also exercise the plug/socket and hopefully clean off the contacts a bit. Other than that, I am fresh out of ideas. Good luck.
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  29. crunch 78
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    [Dec 28, 2014 at 9:53 PM]
    Hi m8 i have exactly same problem an i had back wiper fixed 3 days ago did you get it fixed
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  30. wrightyrx7
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    [Dec 29, 2014 at 4:18 PM]
    Hello,

    After everything I found the problem myself when parking my car up. I walked around the back at seen one of my rear lights was full of water.

    The water in the light must of been affecting the instrument cluster. It is all linked after all, as the instrument cluster tells you when a bulb has gone.

    So I took my rear light out tipped all the water out, used a hairdryer to dry the rest out. Fortunately I could see how the water was getting in and used superglue to fix.

    Hopefully it's this simple for you, good luck.

    Chris
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