[Vwdiesel] Electrical problem

Herold, Walter L Walter.Herold at constellation.com
Fri Apr 3 03:07:38 PDT 2009

I had something very similar happen to one of my cars about two years ago, except that I saw and felt it happen.  There were some nasty thunderstorms in our area, and I had the garage door open, debating whether or not to bring my wife's Cadillac into the garage.  I don't like starting a car, and not letting it warm up.  I was about 10 feet from the car, when lightning struck the ground next to the car about 20 feet from the car and about 30 feet from me.  It scared the living sh*t out of me, to say the least!!  It momentarily blinded me, and I felt the heat in my face, and smelled the corona.  I had never had one that close before in my life, and really don't want it again!  I decided then that the car had to come in.  I tried to start the car, and it was dead!!!  Nothing, nada, and the battery was about 2 weeks old.  I thought all the electronics in the car HAD to be fried, but I put a charger on it nevertheless, and it charged back up, and seemed OK.  I still didn't believe it, and took it to the dealer for warranty service to check it out.  They put their computer on it, and there was NO HISTORY of it ever happening!  Meaning that it had to be EMF (Electromotive Force).  Now I understand what the government is worrying about in case of a nuclear attack, it was something I had never witnessed before.

-----Original Message-----
From: vwdiesel-bounces at vwfans.com [mailto:vwdiesel-bounces at vwfans.com] On Behalf Of Erik Lane
Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 12:02 AM
To: vwdiesel at vwfans.com
Subject: Re: [Vwdiesel] Electrical problem

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Fortunately (or unfortunately??) I managed to find the problem before I came back to the computer to see everyone's input. I haven't had many alternators apart, but it surprised me to hear you say that an alternator can't have bad sections in the way that I was thinking, Loren. Although if it has just constant rings like that I guess it makes sense. I was thinking of it more like a DC motor like a starter I guess.

It turns out it was the glow plugs. The contacts in the relay were halfway fused shut. I say halfway because I was able to force them apart and they now have a slight gap, but the thing is definitely not trustworthy! The one contact can wiggle around some in the housing, and neither contact looks too good - one is pitted and the other has extra material on it. At one point water got in there and caused some corrosion around the microchip as well, but it still worked good with that.

So I pulled the brand new relay out of the car I'm getting ready for the road and put it in my driver so all is good again.

That's quite a relief!!


Good call, Terry! Although I have a load tester I can borrow from my neighbor, so I could have done that myself. But I didn't have the battery charged enough yet. (I still wouldn't do it now, but the car will start solidly so I have it out of the shop and ready to drive to school tomorrow.) _______________________________________________
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