View Full Version : 1998 a4 serious electrical issue

10-27-2010, 01:45 PM
Occasionally when I start my car the fans, blinkers, wipers, front lights, fogs, boost gauge back-light, horn, rear defrost, temp gauge, and inside lights don't work. The hazards, amber day running lights, brights (only if I pull back and hold on the blinker stick), after-market stereo, heated seats, sunroof, windows, locks, and climate control screen all work. Ive heard about this problem both on and offline but in all the cases ive seen they can just turn off their car and start it back up and it works fine. That doesn't happen to me. It only works again if it sits for a while and maybe if it gets warmer. I have this problem about once a month but now as the temperature drops it seems to happen more. The worst part is that the blinkers don't work and Its not safe to drive without blinkers. Secondly the headlights don't work, making driving at night impossible. It hasn't happened yet so im crossing my fingers. As the weather gets worse and worse I don't want to be caught stranded in a blizzard with out blinkers or headlights. I don't know whats up, I checked the fuses and there all good. Its just really weird it only happens sometimes and not others[headbang]. I really need help before I bring it to the dealer!

10-27-2010, 08:19 PM
Ignition switch is bad. I can pretty much guarantee it. All of the accessories you mentioned run off the "load reduction relay". So one would naturally think the *relay* is to blame. That would be the case *but* your headlamps don't work, except "flash-to-pass" (high beam pull-back position). There is one item in the car that provides power to:

- the load reduction relay
- the low beam and high beam headlamps (but NOT flash-to-pass)

That item is the ignition switch, and this is a common failure. Also, for some of the early A4's, this was a recall/campaign. So you might want to call Audi of America (AoA) customer service, or your local dealer to see if there is any help available for that. Probably a long shot, but can't hurt to try. Also, when you go to order the new part, there are 2 version and the "split" is somewhat hard to define. Best bet is to take a look at the one you have first before ordering the new one, so you know what it should look like. I think the difference was white vs black, but I'm not sure. Luckily the part is pretty cheap.


10-28-2010, 09:40 PM
Alright, thanks a lot. I'm incredibly happy that it's under $30. My only question is why does it work some days and not others? On a side note, I really hope you get paid for all the useful info you know about our Audi's. I know you've personally given me advice on mine several times. Thanks.

10-28-2010, 09:53 PM
Have you ever tried jiggling the key or turning it forward or backward just slightly? These switches are pretty lousy. I believe the main cause of the failure is they just run too much current through them. For example the headlamps. The full current of the headlamps runs through this switch (and the headlamp switch). Other manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, and Subaru use several relays to work the headlamps, which takes the load off the switches and helps them last longer, usually forever.

And I do make a little money at the shop where I work. But I'm quite certain I could make more working at McDonalds, lol. Glad I can help some people out. I very much enjoy it.

11-01-2010, 02:54 PM
I took of the cover on top of the steering column, but I couldn't get the steering wheel off. I followed the DIY on here but the screws on the steering wheel were on too tight. So I just pulled back the plastic and tried to look at the colour of the ignition switch, but then that several wires leading too the ignition switch had been cut and were electrical taped together. This, along with a missing waste gate in the turbo, missing all speakers, non functional cruise control, and no abs really made me realize how stupid I was to jump on this car. I guess im just going to make a trip out to Imola ASAP.