Starter motor won't disengage even after removing key


Registered User
Aug 29, 2012
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Hi All,

I have a 2003 A4 1.9 tdi. I changed the starter motor a couple of days ago after it burnt out for not disengaging. I fitted the new one and all good for a couple of days.

Now the car has a similar issue were I crank the car and starts fine but the starter won't disengage and when I turn the ignition off and remove the keys. It will only stop after disconnecting the battery. Today I changed the ignition switch and still have the same issue.

if it was the solenoid in the start stuck wouldn't it start cranking again soon as I connect the battery. It only starts to crank and stay engaged when I turn the key.

Has anyone had similar issues or know what the issue could be.

Im not sure how the ignition or starter is wired - but would expect the ignition to be connected to a relay and then the relay to the starter.
Perhaps it would be the relay that is sticking?
Thanks Alex, I had a look in the Haynes manual but doesn't show any relays for the starter/ignition wiring unless anybody knows otherwise.
Another note. If I leave the ignition on but not turn the starter over. After a couple of minutes the starter will crank and start the car without touching the ignition.
Sounds like the ignition switch isn't disengaging, I had this on my B5. The casing can crack and the return spring doesn't spring back from the crank position. When you crank the engine with the key it should feel tight and positive. If it feels a bit floppy and vague then it's likely that's the cause. Simple fix if it is, a new ignition switch is only about £20 from a dealer.
I replaced the ignition switch today and still get all the same issues. Tested the starter again while on the car and that is working fine engages and disengages fine. Leads me to think there must be a relay somewhere just need to find out where!
starter relay is under the front scuttle panel at the side of your ecu
might be easier to remove your wiper arms and the plastic trim around the windscreen as anything under there can be a pain to do
Opened the ECU panel today. There are 3 relays in there. Which one is the starter relay?
Give them all a 'techie tap'. Could just be a sticky contact. If you can't find out which is the starter relay, change 'em all :laugh:
Put a new relay in today but still getting exactly the same issue. Starter motor still spins. Anyone have any ideas what else could be causing it?
The funny thing is when I try to start the car with the 219 relay removed the starter motor fires and stops when the ignition is turned on and off. But as soon as the 219 relay is in the starter motor starters to spin as soon as I turn the ignition and wont stop until I disconnect the battery.
I've been looking at the audi wiring diagrams and, to be honest, they're pretty poo. Haynes are just copies. They don't show relays but the only way the starter gets a live is from the ignition switch. This does go via the ecu (as you know from the relay) so check the condition of all connecting plugs for corrosion, water ingress etc. Failing that, maybe you've fitted a duff ignition switch or the wiring is damaged at the ignition switch.

Gremlins, indeed!
Replace relay 219 and see if it fixes your issue. Had a passat with a non starting issue last week, it was a 2004 b5.5 model 1.9 Tdi...
hey wondering if replacing the 219 relay solved your problem? i have same issue. when i turn the key to start car the starter motor will not stop cranking, even if i remove the key. i have to disconnect battery to stop it. i have installed new starter and a new ignition switch. car is a 2000 audi a4 1.8t quatro b5 engine. thanks