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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I've been lurking around the forum here for the last few months trying to resolve my issue, but can't seem to figure it out. It sounds similar to many issues posted and discussed, but I have had no luck the remedies previously suggested so I thought I would start my own thread.

I apologize in advance if I did miss a similar thread that offered the correct solution. I also apologize in advance for the length of this post.

I purchased a 2004 V8 (late VIN 75XXX) in November. Drove it daily for a few weeks with no issues; then one cold morning it decided not to start. Keyless access still worked, key unlocks steering column, all electronics power up, turn key on and hear an audible 'click' from right side (as viewed from driver's seat) of under the hood. The problem has been intermittent since. **Note we have had extremely cold weather in MN lately (sub zero F).

Jumping the battery has had limited success from the get go. At first I would say I had 80% success jumping the vehicle and since then it has tapered off to 0% success (even when I leave a battery charger on the under-hood terminals all night AND try to jump it in the morning).

I suspected weak battery (manufacture date of Nov. '12) so I pulled the battery and had it load tested which checked out fine. I know load testing isn't the most reliable verification of battery strength, but it was all I had to go off of to start. I also monitored battery voltage on the dash gauge: key 'on' and no start, volt meter on dash reads 12-12.5; drops ~.5-1 volt when attempting to start; when it does start holds a rock solid 14v (alternator replaced within the last year). I also monitored the voltage measured off the underhood terminals from when I parked it at night and when I would try to start it in the morning: when parking I would generally read ~12-12.4V and when attempting to start in the morning generally ~11.9-12.2V. (this seems like a reasonable drop, no?

In the last week I have not been able to get it to start at all. Things I have tried with no luck: unhooking negative battery cable; pressing yellow 'battery reset?' button next to battery box under driver's seat; replacing key fob batteries; tsb 27-07-06; put in a BRAND NEW battery; tried JUMPING it DIRECTLY OFF THE BRAND NEW BATTERY... All have given me the same outcome, Keyless access still worked, key unlocks steering column, all electronics power up, turn key on and hear an audible 'click' from right side (as viewed from driver's seat) of under the hood.

I finally received my Ross-Tech Vag-Com and scanned it two nights ago. First scan was exactly as it sat. Secondly, I cleared the fault codes, tried to start it (didn't work, I know, shocker...), and rescanned it. Both scans are attached (I didn't want to paste them here as that would make this post even longer than it already is...)

I am basically at the point where I am all ears for any suggestions anyone has... I am beginning to think starter, but I would sure like to verify that is the issue before digging into that bear of a repair...

Thank you all in advance for your time and suggestions on this issue...

I am sure I've forgotten some details of things I've tried/observed over the last couple months, so please feel free to ask any questions or for more information from my end.

Jordan (trying to stay positive over here 8) )
 

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I suspect your starter motor is defect. Go to a specialist and let them check out your starter.
 

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I just got my 04 v8 treg back yesterday from the shop with exact same issue as yours, and it was the bad spark plug. At least it was what they replaced on mine. So far so good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So they said that bad spark plugs would cause the truck's starter to not even crank over and just click? It seems that the problems I am experiencing would be unrelated to the spark plugs (or at least I would think so), but I am not an expert. Did they give you any more information that would shed some light on why? Thanks for the response!!
 

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I only see two "most likely" causes" once we check and make sure that proper voltage and current is available to the starter.

The starter solenoid contacts have failed. It still clicks which means the relay part is working but the contacts are damaged and no current is passing thru to the starter motor.

The solenoid is fine, current is passing thru, and the starter motor itself has failed. Could be bad brushes (usually). Could be the armature.

If you can take the starter motor out, many auto parts stores have the equipment to test a starter on site.

If the starter is defective, you can replace it, or take it to a motor rebuild shop and have it repaired. Your call. Usually about $100 (YMMV) to repair most starters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the ideas Nickyt. I am wondering if anyone has any tips or a DIY write up for the starter removal (or even accessing it to be honest)? I am able to get my eyes on it, but everything I have been able to find/read says the motor needs to be removed/dropped to get at the starter... Anyone out there have any info how to even access the starter leads without removing the engine??
 

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Just looked in Elsa and for the 4.2 V8 you have to remove the engine indeed to remove the starter. Don't know if it is possible to leave the engine in but I guess not.

But first, check if the relay passes the voltage to the starter motor. If not, just replace the relay, if so, then you would most likely have to replace your starter motor.

For the V6 the motor doesn't have to be removed.
 

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That would be nice but also a lot of work as you can see.

That's the price we have to pay to get a big engine in this car. Not to much room to play with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Nooby. I actually did see that thread and was thinking that I may not have the same problem as my starter has always at least made the audible 'click' and sometimes still starts. But re-reading it makes me think I may have to go that route if I can get a little more confidence that the problem is actually the starter... I just can't seem to figure out a way to get the voltmeter on the starter yet (without ripping the whole thing apart...).

Also, not that it means anything, but just some info of recent behavior:
Saturday I was attempting to start it and was jumping it directly on the battery. Let the jump sit for about 5 minutes before attempting to start, still only got the 'click'. Out of frustration I kept turning the key and on maybe the 20th turn it started up... (not sure if its by design, but when I turn the key to 'on' and try to start it I will get the click for about 5 start attempts; after which there will be no more starter clicking until I turn the key to the 'off' position and then back on...) Like I said, I'm not sure this means anything to any of you, but thought it was worth mentioning to see if anyone as seen similar behavior.

I love this truck, but what an f'in nightmare....

Thanks everyone for your input and ideas.
 

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It's a safety that you can't start it when the engine is running. I presume that this is the case here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well... I unfortunately don't have the time right now to dig 10-12 hours into the truck to test the starter leads so into the shop it goes to see if they can diagnose the starting problem's root cause. I will provide an update when I 'know' anything.

Thanks again all for taking the time to try to help me with this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looks like I will be undertaking the starter removal. If ANYONE has any info or knows of people I could contact that have done it I would greatly appreciate it. I will be attempting to do it without removing the engine as grafauto did (whom I have tried to get in contact with, but his last activity was 1+ years ago...).

Thanks all in advance for your time and suggestions...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I took the truck apart and got to the starter this weekend...

First off you will have to disconnect the battery its located under the
drivers seat.
Remove the air filter box on the right side with the pipe going into the
throttle body.
Remove right (passenger side) front wheel. SAFETY STANDS IS A MUST!
Remove right front wheel well plastic liner.
Remove the under body plastic coverings.
Remove the front propeller shaft that connects the front diff to the
transfer case.
Remove the down pipe with catalytic convert from right side manifold. There are 2 Oxygen sensors on that pipe; size is 7/8 or 22mm they maybe seized.
Now here is where it gets really hard. Time to remove the right side
manifold.
There are nuts 8 on the top side and 2 on the bottom side
and 2 long bolts some of them you will have to get from underneath.

At this point I was able to see the leads on the starter... Lone behold one terminal didn't even have a nut on it. $0.46 and 5 minutes later, the lead was tight and reassembly began.

I finished up last night at about 12:30AM and 6 starts later so far so good. I will circle back if any problems return.

Thanks all for trying to help through the situation.

PS, I was given the instructions (just as I listed them above) for this job by GrafAuto (huge thanks to him). And in case this is useful for anyone else, he included the following instructions for the actual starter removal.

Remove right side engine mount; there are 2 bolts from the mount to frame and 1 from engine to mount.
Before you take the mount out you will need to support the engine some how; I used a engine T-Bar.
Now you will need to remove the engine mount bracket some of the bolts are a real pain to get to. Once you get the mount unbolted you can leave it in the car cause I had a real hard time to get the engine mount and the bracket out and worked around it.
Now you can remove the the 2 main bolts that hold the starter and the
connections; 1 bolt is on the engine side and 1 is on the trans side and
remove the starter from underneath.
 

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Good post. Good job!
 

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So I took the truck apart and got to the starter this weekend...

First off you will have to disconnect the battery its located under the
drivers seat.
Remove the air filter box on the right side with the pipe going into the
throttle body.
Remove right (passenger side) front wheel. SAFETY STANDS IS A MUST!
Remove right front wheel well plastic liner.
Remove the under body plastic coverings.
Remove the front propeller shaft that connects the front diff to the
transfer case.
Remove the down pipe with catalytic convert from right side manifold. There are 2 Oxygen sensors on that pipe; size is 7/8 or 22mm they maybe seized.
Now here is where it gets really hard. Time to remove the right side
manifold.
There are nuts 8 on the top side and 2 on the bottom side
and 2 long bolts some of them you will have to get from underneath.

At this point I was able to see the leads on the starter... Lone behold one terminal didn't even have a nut on it. $0.46 and 5 minutes later, the lead was tight and reassembly began.

I finished up last night at about 12:30AM and 6 starts later so far so good. I will circle back if any problems return.

Thanks all for trying to help through the situation.

PS, I was given the instructions (just as I listed them above) for this job by GrafAuto (huge thanks to him). And in case this is useful for anyone else, he included the following instructions for the actual starter removal.

Remove right side engine mount; there are 2 bolts from the mount to frame and 1 from engine to mount.
Before you take the mount out you will need to support the engine some how; I used a engine T-Bar.
Now you will need to remove the engine mount bracket some of the bolts are a real pain to get to. Once you get the mount unbolted you can leave it in the car cause I had a real hard time to get the engine mount and the bracket out and worked around it.
Now you can remove the the 2 main bolts that hold the starter and the
connections; 1 bolt is on the engine side and 1 is on the trans side and
remove the starter from underneath.
Just did this yesterday! Thank you for all of the information, it really helped a lot and saved me a lot of time!
I want to add my 2 cents to this
1. Before you remove the prop shaft, you have to remove downpipe, that is right next to it. Without removing it first, you can't remove the propshaft, because there is no space to pull it out.
2. Just to clarify - 8 nuts on top side of exhaust manifold, 2 - on the bottom side. 3 top on the right side of manifold and 2 bottom ones are clearly visible - you can remove them without any problems (don't forget to remove one 10mm bolt that holding the coolant pipe, so you can move the pipe around to get to one of the nuts). 4 more bolts is a little tricky to remove. You have to find a right size socket and right size ratchet in order to get to those. It can't be regular socket from craftsman - it was not deep enough, it can't be deep socket - it is too long and won't fit there. I worked with Husky socket and small extension - will update the exact sizes when I will be back in the shop. Those 4 bolts you have to remove from the front side of the manifold. Now the last bolt (in the rear of manifold) you have to remove from the bottom (where the rest of the exhaust was located previously). Long and skinny arms would make this job a lot easier.

I had to change a starter completely, so I followed GrafAuto instructions to the end. They are not clear enough to me, so let me specify them a little.
Before you proceed, support the engine with this: Engine Load Leveler 1100lbs Capacity Support Bar w/ Dual Hook Cross Hoist Motor | eBay
1. Unbolt the engine mount (you can't remove it unless you remove the engine bracket). There are 2 bolts on the sides of the mount connecting it to the frame and 1 nut on top connecting it to the bracket.
2. Once you unbolted the mount, you can start unbolting the engine bracket. There are 3 bolts that holding it and all of them are pain in the butt to get to. You will need a joint set like here - Sears.com and bunch of extension, different size ratchets and you head!! I had Craftsman tools, this advance auto parts set: Toolworks 5 pc Tune Up Set TW111: Advance Auto Parts (helped me a lot!!!!!!) and a lot of other ratchets and extensions.
3. Now, there are 2 ways of removing the starter:

a) with the bracket still present on its place. I didn't choose this method, so the instructions are approximate. However, based on Grafauto, it is doable. Here you have to shake the bracket a little to release it from it's place, then move it on the side to open more space to reach to one of the bolts that holding the starter. It is located on the back bottom of the starter.
- first thing to do: you have to remember (or take a picture of) mount position of both cables that are connected to the starter. When you install your new starter - make sure you tighten those cables back in exact position they were tightened before!!!! Otherwise you will have problems instaling engine bracket in it's place.
After that - remove the main power for the starter first (one 13mm nut on the front of the starter, I believe the only way you can do it - with 13mm combination wrench). Then, remove the bottom bolt that holding the starter. Next, locate the second bolt - it is on the transmission body (see picture) - and remove it. Remove the starter and disconnect second cable from it.

b) remove the bracket. I chose this method because without the bracket in it's place you have more space to work with so it makes removing and installing the starter more easier.
To remove the bracket, first you have to remove all of the cables attached to it.
- first thing to do: you have to remember (or take a picture of) mount position of both cables that are connected to the starter. When you install your new starter - make sure you tighten those cables back in exact position they were tightened before!!!! Otherwise you will have problems instaling engine bracket in it's place. -
Then, disconnect the little sensor shown on the picture 1, remove main power cable that connects to the starter (13mm wrench). Move the power harness out of the way, disconnect ground cable which connects the bracket to the chassis. Now you have plenty of space to remove the bracket. Pull it up first to remove it from the engine mount and then remove it from the bottom side. You can leave the engine mount in its place if you want. I removed it to get even more space to work with. If you decide to do so - remember the exact position it is attached to the frame. If you put it back wrong, you won't be able to mount the bracket properly. Then, remove the bottom bolt that holding the starter. Next, locate the second bolt - it is on the transmission body (see picture 2) - and remove it. Remove the starter and disconnect second cable from it.
Installation is the reverse of removal, just don't forget to make sure you tighten power cables to the starter back in exact position with exact angles they were tightened before!!!!

It took me 11 hours only to remove the starter. If I had better DIY with pictures, I would cut this time by 75%.
I'm still in process of putting everything back together, will post updates if necessary.

Pictures:

Pic 1. Little sensor that you need to disconnect




Pic 2. Second bolt for the starter.




Good luck to everyone who is attempting to do it, I hope this write up will save your time!
 

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Excellent. This kind of post with pictures is immensely helpful. Thank you for taking the time to help others later.
 

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I'm in the process of doing this now. I've run in to a couple issue but have been able to figure them out until now. The current issue is that the bottom bolt on the starter came out 1/2" and then stopped. I've tried everything I can think of to get it to move but it won't. Has anyone experienced this or have any suggestions?

Thanks,
 

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what do you mean by "stopped"? As far as I remember it is a long bolt, it has to come out a lot more than 1/2 inch to disconnect it.
 

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It's like the threads are getting gauled or cross threaded, ie it getting harder to back the bold out. My only though is that there is corrosion on the bolt causing the problem.

Sent from Note 4
Please ignore typos
 
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