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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering if I'm the only one that experiences these things during the winter (generally any time below -15*C)..

1 - Usually (probably 8/10 times on a cold start below -15*C), I get an "Immobilizer Active" message on the MFD. No functionality is impaired; goes into gear, drives fine, other than not being able to clear the message without a restart. Perhaps this is related to the slightly extended winter cranking times? Or a key problem? I do sometimes get a "No Key" message when I press the engine start button even when the key is in my pocket; press a button on the fob and it's solved. Maybe I should try my other fob.

2 - Sometimes, not necessarily on a cold start, I get a running gear fault (no specific codes). Again, goes into drive/reverse/etc. fine. The only thing I notice is that the air suspension seems to firm up (like offroad level, doesn't seem like the dampers getting jammed up).

Is it a reasonable assumption that there is a little bit of moisture in the air lines that freezes up something on the valve bank? I can get the error to go away with a restart or two. Presumably the computer recognizes there's a fault and shuts down valvebank operation or whatever until a restart, hence why I can get everything sorted without VCDS/mechanical intervention.

This is the second winter I've been encountering these little issues.. like I say I suspect moisture for the running gear fault but the Immobilizer message is a little bit confusing.
 

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No such issues, but my Touareg is newer than yours. I also have a 2004 Volkswagen with an immobilizer, however. This car has never exhibited any cold weather related issues whatsoever - it has spent its entire life in cold climates.
 

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-15C is pretty cold. The oil in the shocks may be a little more viscous at that temp? <shrug>

Is the car kept outside? Or in a garage? If so, how cold does it get there?

I agree, I don't see why it would matter, however. What does your VCDS scan show??
 

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Discussion Starter #4
buckwheat; Thanks for the feedback. I figured I would've come across a lot more threads on this sort of thing if it were more prevalent.

FSJ Guy; It does ride stiffer in the colder temps, but there's a noticeable difference when the running gear fault is on vs. normal cold temp. driving. It rides exactly the same as offroad/X-tra height although the MFD does not indicate the height change (which the first time I had the message pop up, it most definitely was at max height).

It's parked outside overnight. I haven't scanned it recently but from the times I have scanned it, nothing out of place showed up. Maybe I should bring a laptop & VCDS with me and hook it up when it acts up to see what comes up, as I don't think it stores anything permanently (I could be wrong).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll try changing it. I seem to think I replaced it before but I'm not 100% sure. Strange though that I've never had the immobilizer actually do anything other than display the message.
 

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I will also occasionally get the running gear fault but it seems to occur more on mornings where the temperature drop is drastically overnight or when previously driving on a rainy day and the. The next time is down in the single digits F. Then after the next restart goes away with nothing stored.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Had a few different faults this morning: EPC, CEL, orange cruise control light in the MFD, and TCS light. No "Running Gear Fault" this time though. Idled like crap too. I think the throttle body froze up a bit, cause once I blipped the throttle a couple times it sorted itself out.

I went through a few different modules via VCDS and got pretty much what I was expecting: a dozen or so "intermittent no communication" warnings, a fault with the throttle actuator (as I say I think it was iced up), and some ABS codes as well (hence the TCS/cruise control lights; I've had these before occasionally too, kind of a PITA since you need to clear it with VCDS to get cruise control back). Cleared everything and all was well. I should note that I was able to drive with all the lights on no problem, once the throttle sorted itself out. The air suspension module had a fault code stored for "intermittent control unit faulty" or something to that effect (probably from my earlier incident I described).

So at this point, I'm assuming these are all just various components getting frozen up. I had driven the Touareg for a half hour or so last night so that was probably enough to introduce some condensation into the system. Seems to align with your situation, Marbles, with respect to drastic temperature changes (in my case getting everything nice and warm then sitting overnight outside).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just installed a new battery from Walmart. The old one (a VW Varda or whatever it is) was stamped 2011, so I think its a ticking time bomb of a no start. I had to press the start button twice this morning yo get it to go, no faults though.

Immediately, the starter now turns over much faster (albeit on a warm engine), and the voltage is a steady 14V indicated vs fluctuating between 14-14.5 (though this may change, I know new batteries sometimes take a while to fully charge up hence the lower voltage currently). Additionally, its showing 11.5-12V with ignition on, engine off, vs the old battery which was around 11.

We'll see how it fares tomorrow morning, hopefully thats the simple fix. Thanks to everyone who contributed, much appreciated!
 
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