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Discussion Starter #1
New to the forum and looking for help and wisdom...

I was driving to work yesterday and all of a sudden, all the electrical went out for a few seconds and then everything came back to life. The radio went off, the trip odometer reset to zero, the clock reset, but the car engine kept running so I didn't think much of it, and continued my drive to work.

Trying to get home that evening, the car wouldn't start. Opened the hood, and it smelled like "burnt electronics". I disconnected the DRL as I thought it might be a battery drain. I did some quick research on the threads to try to get some ideas. Here's what I did and know so far. I got some help push starting and got the engine going which let me drive home. On the way home, I stopped at Autozone where they checked the battery and alternator. It was producing 14+V so that checked out OK. The glow plug light goes on (along with all the other lights and buzzers) so it's not the Relay 109 issue. I'm thinking it might be the starter solenoid or some other fuse or relay. I haven't checked whether the ECU is a BK or GQ and I don't have an OBD (yet). Any ideas, guess, or similar expereinces?
 

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Were there any error codes? What car do you have? Passat? Voltage dying and then seeming OK could be a bad voltage regulator. The car doesn't need much electricity to run because there are no spark plugs. I don't think it's the starter solenoid since you lost power. Also check for rubbing/cracked wires and shorts in the wire harnesses.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What's weird is the car just won't start, no turnover, no engine cranking noise, no nothing. Only way to get it going was to push and pop the clutch. I'll be checking the wire harnesses tonight, but I don't know what caused the "burnt electronics smell". Would the voltage regulator make that smell and prevent the car from cranking during a start? The battery is good and measured 14V when running. Is replacing a VR easy for a novice? Anyone have a part number handy?

I haven't had a chance to run any error codes. I need to get an OBD and need to check if I have a BK or GQ ECU first. It's a 1996 Passat 1Z and I don't know if the original owner had the ECU upgrade.
 

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I spent the morning chasing this down with no luck and think it's a bad starter. Followed all the troubleshooting tips of the forums. I put a meter to the starter and I'm getting 12V to it along with 12V to the solenoid switch terminal, so ignition switch should be good. Still no solenoid movement or starter turns. Did a direct battery to starter connect with no luck. Wires look good, not chafing or visible shorts, so I guess I'm due for a starter/solenoid.

Anything else I could be missing? Any weird relays or fuses to check? I'm getting the glow plug light on the dash, so the Relay 109 should be Ok.

Finally, anyone know where to get a Bentley Book for a B4? I have the DVD version, but it's not the same as having a book with me in the garage.

tia,
 

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Any vendor sells bentleys. You can buy them online as well. For the price I would just print out the pages you need or take some notes.

The ones on ebay for $10 are copies of chiltons.

Yep, if you put battery directly on the starter solenoid and no go then it's a bad solenoid. If you put it directly on the starter and no go then it's a bad starter. Odd that both would die so I'd still be checking for a short somewhere.

I've heard of the solenoid sticking in the "ON" position and as a result it fries a bunch of electrical stuff. If this happens the starter is stuck on the flywheel's starter ring and it spins like crazy. You'd hear a humming noise and feel some resistance.
 

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2nd, if you put electricity directly to the starter and it doesn't spin then it's bad. The big question is why would the electrical go out for a few seconds without the car stalling. And how is this related to the bad starter?
 
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