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Starter won't engage. Bad starter? Or Kessy module? Or other? 2004 V8

9313 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  johnk
Hey All,

2004 V8 Touareg. Overall, car runs great. My brother has been using it for about 6 months. Yesterday, it would not start, or even crank. Based on searches & knowledge, this is what I have tried so far:

-Ran Vag Com for codes. Nothing relevant.
-Tried jumping it. Dash volts read higher, still wouldn't even crank.
-Bought a replacement ignition switch locally, since it seemed like it was not triggering the start function. No difference. Also, Vag Com Meas Blocks showed the car registering the start function when the key was turned.
-Checked every fuse we could find, including in battery compartment under the seat.
-Tried taking it out of park, to neutral & various gears, in case it was the gear selector sensor or something.
-Brake switch is new-ish, and brake lights work fine, and dash light saying to push the brake goes off once you do, and allows you out of park.

I am now stumped. The starter never engages, no cranking or clicking or anything. Is it likely a bad starter? Or (hopefully not) a bad Kessy module? The lock & unlock functions are working, and the key in the ignition will unlock the steering column & shifter, etc.

What should I do to troubleshoot further? Looks like the starter job is a huge pain to do, dropping subframe, jacking motor up, and obviously needs a lift, etc. And modules are expensive, and likely need coding..
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Have had same issue with different solutions. Also 04 V8. Put new starter in a year and a half ago. Keep your fingers crossed that this isn't it. Even if they don't pull engine to get starter out, lots of labor.

But had similar problem a couple of weeks ago. Found that melted insulation on wiring in fuse relay box in engine compartment was running transfer fuel pump constantly and maybe other problems. Car starts fine now, but still getting intermittent warning to put shifter in Park when driving, which might be Kessy related(or not).

You should hope it's Kessy and not starter. Some have claimed to bang on starter and get car to start, which points to bad starter. Starter is buried and I don't know how they were able to hit it.
This is exactly what happened to my 04 v8 almost 2 years ago. 1st tow to battery. 6 weeks or so later car died and towed, repair wires under driver side rug near door. Month or so later same thing. Dealer unable to duplicate. Dealer kept car of 2 months, supposedly started fine every day(probably every week). Finally had a sit-down with manager and they replaced starter. FYI, starter can be replaced through passenger side wheel well without pulling engine.

Car fine for last year and half, until similar, but not exactly same no crank a couple of weeks ago. This time voltage would drop when key turned to start versus prior symptom where voltage would not drop when key turned to start. After several tries, I got it to crank and took to dealer. Noticed warning to put gear selector in P while driving to dealer(I suspected Kessy). New battery and found that transfer fuel pump was running continuously. Tech went through wiring and found burned and shorting wires under fuse/relay panel in engine compartment. Car returned and OK so far, but still get intermittent gear selector to P warning on cluster MFI.

Was the problem shorted wiring from the beginning? Was Kessy a contributor?

So check wiring under fuse panel and see if it cranks when you try to start it on lift. You might be able to poke starter from below with long screwdriver. If so starter

Putting a new set of tires on tomorrow, so I hope to get another year or 2 out of the beast, until non vw replacement. Sick of VW outrageous parts prices and the need for so many of them!
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Fuse panel was just ahead of bulkhead on driver side under removable plastic plenum cover. The piece that the fuses and relays plug is screwed onto the case. Lift up to expose all wiring to fuses and relays. I do not know where the starter relay is other than the power relay under the driver seat (435). I think there might be a relay in the starter/solenoid assembly, too. You might just have a bad connection at the starter. Problem is that to get to it, you have to go through the passenger wheel well and remove a lot of stuff. By then, might as well put a new starter in. I think this forum has procedure or just google.
Check the wiring under the plate in the fuse box in the plenum. If OK, then check the wiring under the drivers side carpet running up near the A pillar.
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