I have an '07 VW GTI, manual, stock, with 88,000 miles. VW replaced the engine at the tail end of the powertrain warranty due to engine oil loss problems, but I don’t think this is related to my current problem as it was so long ago. I should also state that I bought and installed a new battery approx. 3-4 months ago.
My current problem is that my car won’t start. Drove it to a friends, hung out, got in it to leave, the engine turned once and then nothing. Tried to crank it a couple more times, but nothing. Electricity was good - headlights worked, all power systems worked in the car, but nothing cranked. No sounds afterwards, either, other than a very high-pitched wheeeee sound (electrical system turning on?).
Opened it up and saw that the alternator harness was nearly frayed in two just below the fuse box it comes out of next to the battery, with hints of battery acid exposure at the fray. So I got it towed to a mechanic and they said that although there was electricity at the starter, the starter was burnt-out (they think it caught fire or melted internally).
Here are some semi-blurry pics I snapped with my phone camera of the general area of the engine compartment and close-ups of the starter motor and what I’m calling the alternator harness (frayed part).
I have some theories, but I thought I’d open it up to the community here. I have three basic questions:
(1) Has anyone else had this problem or a similar one on a Mk5 VW? Any suggestions?
(2) How could battery acid get past the fuse-box and into that harness? Is this what caused it to fray, or did it come loose and rub against that bracket? Has this happened to anyone else?
(FYI I saw NO indication of battery acid dripping from the battery itself, just what looked like acid remnants where the wire was frayed.)
(3) What should I expect in terms of cost for a new starter and new alternator harness? Is it difficult to change out either of these parts?
(The mechanic it’s at now tentatively quoted me just north of $1000 ($230 starter, $150 harness + labor) bc they weren’t sure how much work was involved in installing the harness.)
Thanks for any help you can provide!