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2005 VW Golf Electronics

Hi, I am having problems starting a 2005 VW Golf. Whenever I turn the ignition, the dashboard and all electronics turn off. I can see this happening because the clock on the dash goes blank. The starter isn’t even given a chance to work. Even after a couple of minutes of sitting in the car trying to turn on lights, roll down windows, unlock doors, nothing I do will get the electronics in the car to work EXCEPT if I open the driver door and shut it, then the electric system restarts (the clock turns on to 12:00, the CD player tries to eject). I try to turn the ignition and again all electronics turn off.

Here are some of the “rules” I noticed (I restart any shutdown by opening/closing the door)

  1. I cannot turn on the headlights for more than a fraction of a second will turn off the electronics
  2. Using keyless to either lock or unlock the car will turn off the electronics
  3. Holding my foot on the brakes for a couple of seconds will turn off the electronics
  4. If I open the passenger door and the dome lights come on, that does NOT turn off the electronics
  5. I can leave the key in the ignition and as long as I don’t turn it, the electronics will stay on

I did change the battery a couple of months ago but I don’t think this is the issue because I’m still getting power at times. It could be the immobilizer going bad. I’ve tried two sets of keys to no avail though and the immobilizer light does not show up on the dash. I have checked fuses and underneath the hood but I haven’t seen any obvious issue.

I’ve also gotten it the car to start after a dozen tries a couple of times but this problem has been getting worse and worse. There seems to be no rhyme or reason why it starts one time but fails another. I’d rather not starting ripping things out looking for loose connections. Does anyone have a suspect? HELP!

You may have a faulty ignition switch in the steering column. I’d first check online, or call your dealer, to find out if VW has issued and TSB’s ( Technical Service Bulletins) on this problem. If so, it’ll describe your symptoms, and VW should fix it on their dime, because A bad ignition switch is a safety issue.

I would suspect the ignition switch. It gets used alot. Is there play in the switch with the key inserted? Can you wiggle and get it to start or no? You have to start somewhere on this electric journey. I would get a diagram for the starting system and look at all possible items that could be failing including the starter.

The trouble could be caused by two ways. One way is there is a faulty connection on the power side of the circuit or, the other way is a problem with the chassis ground connection. You could try running a temporary jumper wire from the negative battery post to a good clean ground spot on the chassis of the vehicle and then see if that clears the trouble. If that works then clean the chassis grounds, especially the one from the battery to the chassis.

If the ground jumper doesn’t work then you could try running a spare power wire from the postitive battery post and to the main power fuse in the panel under the hood. Be very careful not to touch anything else with the lead since it is hot to the battery and sparks will fly if you short it to ground. If the trouble clears then clean the wire connections from the battery to the power distribution panel.

It would be a good idea to clean the battery connections also just as a PM.