View Full Version : Weird electrical problem...

11-28-2006, 06:04 AM
The other day I was driving around and I thought I smelled burning plastic. I had just done a lot of mechanical work to the car, but nothing involving anything electrical or even inside the cabin of the vehicle, so I didn't think too much of it. Well a few days back, a whiff of smoke curled up from the steering column, but I didn't notice anything wrong. Later that day, I realized that my headlights didn't work. Long story short - headlights, wipers, external temperature display, heater/fan controls all went out. I did some digging and found the two most likely suspects: the Load Reduction Relay, and the Ignition Switch. Since the relay was cheaper, I got that first and swapped it in - no change. So I bit the bullet and got the switch, popped that in and problem solved.

Fast forward to yesterday - I was driving around and there was that smell again. I shut the heater and radio off and just drove with my headlights on (it was dark), and I made it home without any smoke and everything still works...

The only thing that I can think of that I had changed recently as far as electronics go are a switch from regular halogen bulbs to Silver Stars. I went in to the auto parts store yesterday to see if the Silver Stars used more power, but both the OEM bulbs and SSs are rated at 55 Watts. What could be drawing so much current that it is on the verge of melting a brand new ignition switch?

Any ideas?

11-28-2006, 06:15 AM
do you have an aftermarket head unit? that fryed mine twice. maybe something is grounding out and causing it to blow.

11-28-2006, 06:30 AM
No - stock stereo. I will try and VAG it and see if it throws any codes.

12-04-2006, 06:41 AM
Well - In case any one is interested, I solved the problem. Turns out that faulty switch had caused the wire leading to the #30 post on the switch to superheat and melt through its insulation. This then melted into the #75 wire and was causing an intermittent short to ground. I cleaned up the contacts on the switch with an emery board, and spliced in new wire replacing the burnt wire. Everything is good and no burning wire smell.

Check out these threads on PassatWorld detailing the exact problem:



12-04-2006, 12:36 PM
good work my man [up]