Volkswagen Owners Club Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Early 1.6D NA

Don't you just love them?

The wiper's haven't worked since I've had the truck & not sure where the problem is so once I confirm if the motor is good I may just use a 3-pos toggle. The Driver's High beam won't work (low voltage @ the wire) so it's piggy backed via jumper wire off the Passenger which prompted using a heavier fuse.

The new alternator I installed last year somehow died...charging @ only 12.8 or so...just enough to keep the battery from draining. The CHARGE light on dash will be on but very dim & NOT the bright red that is normal when key is 1st turned on & goes away after engine reaches RPM. Replaced it later in the year...back to 13.4...then it TOO went out & has been running like that ever since. Not about to have another somehow fry while sorting out the problem. Fortunately the only time any large draw is on the battery is in the morning with lights on. With lights on is the only time the CHARGE light will show up.

Then about a month or so ago the BRAKE light (see below) will come on when the lights are turned on (comes on with 1st click of switch) but goes out when applying pressure to the brakes. Then for a few days it would stay off. Now it's back to being on with the lights & off only when pushing on the brake. Tail lights also tending to be a bit dim then back to bright & so on.

Now comes a few days ago at night I had an errand to do. Car behind me kept flashing his brights at me for some unknown reason. I get to where I'm going which was a brief stop so didn't turn off the lights (HL's go off with key switch anyway) then find out...I HAVE NO TAIL LIGHTS & the only the passenger flasher works but VERY dim. The brake lights still work but are VERY dim also. Drove home with the cyclops hazards on...thankfully no cops on the road. So it's parked until this business can be sorted out...which sucks...it has a nearly full tank of D2 since most of the driving has been on the VO tank in the bed. Back to using the proverbial guzzler that is my 84.

To help with any ground issues I had already installed an extra pigtail going from BAT NEG to the strut tower for NEG to body then from there to the engine.

Can't find the image I have of my dash for reference but this eBay listing is for the exact same one. Of which I need to figure out still HOW TO REMOVE it to likely help with this problem.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Looking for the trick to pull the cluster w/o breaking it. Turns out it it is held in by friction pads?
EDIT: Found it. Was a screw holding a big ear that was part of the dash to the cluster. Not seeing anything that would look chaffed or rubbing. Getting a hand behind the cluster to remove the speedo cable & main harness is for people with itty bitty hands...NOT bear paws.

With cluster out the BRAKE WARNING still comes on with the light switch & goes out when depressing the brake. D/C'd the brake switch on the master cylinder but no change. Still no tail lights on either side & only a passenger flasher. All fuses are intact.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Might have it narrowed down to the rather infamous fuse panel. Now I DO have a spare 81+ panel complete with all wires cut about 6in out from the panel.
If I'm to understand it right...should I decide to try changing over by splicing everything in 1...wire...at...a...time...just match them up?
Managed to get the backing off & the hot wire connection looks like it has scorched through at least to the 2nd layer. The layering of the panel...ugh
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,605 Posts
That is one way but the connectors that the wires are bundled in should come off the back of the old cluster.
I would use soldering iron, and heat shrink. Remember heat shrink first before solder :).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The connectors came off the box no problem. Is some discoloration here & there on the connectors. Only a couple of the relay bases that slide & snap into place were the pain.

As for the newer spare panel it has no bulk connectors. Wish it did as it would make the process of matching wire-to-wire go at least a LITTLE more smoothly. If it wasn't so much an equal PITA I'd be rid of as much of that mess of wires that go to the fuse box & simplify things. Use the newer panel for color reference when making the connections to the fuses.Of course then comes the matter of getting an aftermarket to mount.

On the POTENTIAL note of simplifying the fuse box...any of the cluster wiring feed through it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Early 1.6D NA

Don't you just love them?

The wiper's haven't worked since I've had the truck & not sure where the problem is so once I confirm if the motor is good I may just use a 3-pos toggle. The Driver's High beam won't work (low voltage @ the wire) so it's piggy backed via jumper wire off the Passenger which prompted using a heavier fuse.

The new alternator I installed last year somehow died...charging @ only 12.8 or so...just enough to keep the battery from draining. The CHARGE light on dash will be on but very dim & NOT the bright red that is normal when key is 1st turned on & goes away after engine reaches RPM. Replaced it later in the year...back to 13.4...then it TOO went out & has been running like that ever since. Not about to have another somehow fry while sorting out the problem. Fortunately the only time any large draw is on the battery is in the morning with lights on. With lights on is the only time the CHARGE light will show up.

Then about a month or so ago the BRAKE light (see below) will come on when the lights are turned on (comes on with 1st click of switch) but goes out when applying pressure to the brakes. Then for a few days it would stay off. Now it's back to being on with the lights & off only when pushing on the brake. Tail lights also tending to be a bit dim then back to bright & so on.

Now comes a few days ago at night I had an errand to do. Car behind me kept flashing his brights at me for some unknown reason. I get to where I'm going which was a brief stop so didn't turn off the lights (HL's go off with key switch anyway) then find out...I HAVE NO TAIL LIGHTS & the only the passenger flasher works but VERY dim. The brake lights still work but are VERY dim also. Drove home with the cyclops hazards on...thankfully no cops on the road. So it's parked until this business can be sorted out...which sucks...it has a nearly full tank of D2 since most of the driving has been on the VO tank in the bed. Back to using the proverbial guzzler that is my 84.

To help with any ground issues I had already installed an extra pigtail going from BAT NEG to the strut tower for NEG to body then from there to the engine.

Can't find the image I have of my dash for reference but this eBay listing is for the exact same one. Of which I need to figure out still HOW TO REMOVE it to likely help with this problem.
Sorry to reply so late, but I didn't see your thread until today.

I do NOT believe that your tail/brake light problems are related to your fuse box and I do not believe that changing your fuse box will solve those problems. To my knowledge, the circuits for the tail lights and brake lights are nowhere near each other in the fuse box -- the only place those circuits come close to each other is by the tail light sockets and bulbs, or the wiring immediately near those.

I hope you will get your fuse box re-installed or replaced properly but I suspect that IF you'll manage that successfully, you'll still have the same problem with your rear lights. Once you'll be at this point again, I would first carefully inspect the tail light bulbs and sockets for the following problems:

* Correct bulbs? If the sockets have TWO pigtail leads and TWO bottom contacts, then you need bulbs with similar TWO bottom contacts. One incorrect bulb will cause lots of problems. (I'm not familiar with the wiring on the pickups but I believe that they might use bulbs that are DIFFERENT from the hatchbacks.)

* damaged or corroded sockets? If the plastic is damaged, then 2 of the conductors could touch each other, causing your problems. Likewise, if the socket permits the bulb to be inserted incorrectly, the contacts on the bottoms of the bulbs will not touch their proper socket contacts and this can cause your problems.

* damaged, corroded, or missing ground connections to ALL sockets. These are very common and can cause the problems you cited. All sockets must be grounded to clean grounds on clean metal. And the metal sides of the bulb must firmly touch clean connectors on the sockets. Dirt or corrosion here can cause your issues.

* I have seen cases where bulbs may appear to be OK but the 2 filaments touch each other inside the bulbs, which also causes your problems. Remove one bulb and replace it with a known good and correct one and see if problem resolves. If not, then the bulb you'll have removed will likely be good and you can use it to replace another one and see if that will solve your problem.


I do not believe that anything in your car wiring or fuse box would have damaged your alternator. It's possible that your voltage regulator is bad and it's possible that the wiring to your alternator is corroded or damaged. It also sounds likely that one or more of the diodes in your alternator is damaged, or that there is some other problem with your alternator -- but I don't think it's likely to have been caused by something in your car. The output of the alternator is directly tied to the battery. Any short that would have damaged your alternator would have first killed your battery.

Concerning high beam problems: VW seems to use 4 different fuses for the headlights, one for left-low, one for left-high, etc. In my experience, the wiring from the fuse panel to the actual headlight once became intermittent, probably due to a corroded connector somewhere in that circuit. I spliced a single wire from the "output" of the respective fuse to the respective headlight socket and have had no problems with the headlights for the past 30+ years. (I have forgotten which side and which fuse it was, I think it was one of the low beams??)

Hope these pointers will help you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I checked the sockets for the bulbs. No problems to be found.

Since there is no other location so far found in with the lights that appears to have been grounding out, I eventually turned up another post on here where someone was describing a similar problem who was having some of the same symptoms. Seems to correlate when it comes to a lack of lights. I have NO tails whatsoever. A short in the box could make the brake lights are VERY dim as the power tries to back feed through the panel(?). The brake bulbs were "operating" even with the connector @ the connection to the pressure switch on the master d/c'd. Also what else could be making the BRAKE WARNING light on the dash come on with the lights & go out when pressing on the brake? The box I also discovered to be getting very warm when last drove (same night I discovered the lack of lights). So something definitely going on there.

This thing has eaten 2 alternators down to barely charging & have had enough electric hiccups that are occurring only when the lights are turned on. I even disconnected the front bumper-mounted lights on the off chance they were to blame.

Got the fuse box apart. Definitely some moisture present despite the fact it hasn't rained here in a loooooong time. Before I got it the door windows were both down & had seen who knows how many rains before that. The obvious corrosion (will try to get pics) is beneath & into the layers where the live 12V connects & the copper rivet connection to the box was a tad loose (not good). Some scorching going on that looks like it's at least 2 layers deep. Started to peel back the layers & could see corrosion beginning to go on in spots here & there between circuit runners with isolated spots that were WET. Half the layering can't be removed unless another copper rivet is drilled out that keeps things sandwiched. MIGHT be able to repair it.

Found a POSSIBLE source for replacements for only $20ea through a parts ad on BurnAllTheMk1s FB group. But communication on the other end is iffy at best. CarParts4Sale has a few as well. I'd rather look into a replacement panel before jumping head first into the headache of rewiring.

On top of it all I'm having to use alternate transport since the water pump on my 84 is going out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Found another box. Didn't solve (all) the problems but mine still had issues. I finally pulled the rear drivers bulbs & tested to find all still work. Issue? The bloody sockets were making faulty contacts. Went to pull the passenger side while everything was on & got to the tail//brake, heard that faint telltale crackle of electrical contact, then suddenly...LIGHTS ON BOTH SIDES! The ground connections for both fixtures are solid...no corrosion or loose. Even the BRAKE light on the dash stays off when lights turned on.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,605 Posts
Corrosion and grounds don't go together. The bane of the Rabbit's/Caddy's/Cabriolets are the grounds.
Yours isn't the first time that I have heard or seen corroded sockets that set things wonky. You have to remember that Turns are based on resistance in the circuit, and Brake Lights not so much.

If you haven't downloaded Chris's electrical pdf's you may want to go there and get them. They are better than the haynes for Rabbits, specially the Westy Ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1 of the issues I ended up with was there was a pigtail connection (factory from the looks of the wire) that I had forgotten about when installing the replacement box. Was wondering where the wire went as I'd marked the ends of the leads (but ended up missing one) while fubaring my own attempts to take pictures of the old box before pulling leads off. Couldn't find the marked connector when installing the replacement box. As a result it seems the thing never even charging on the drive into work so I had too dead a battery to leave work. Wasn't even doing the half-arse charging I used to have since the truck died as I pulled a cable on the battery. Thought the BAT light was on when I originally left but never saw it at any start afterwards. Was almost home when I recalled the pigtail. Got 1 end of it attached where I made matching marks but the other wasn't. If the attempt to take pictures had worked it would be a different story as I would then have THOSE as reference.

Got the wire attached & looked @ the spades on the old box to see where the other end used to attach...I think I found it but still no BAT light when key is turned on.
I have a Bentley which also has diagrams. Pretty sure that link was 1 of the ones I found when looking for wiring help. I have one of the Euro style black fuse boxes so skipped over it as it showed the later spade-fuse types. Still handy.

PS: After typing the above (to be left for anyone else's reference if need be)Found the issue is somewhere in the exciter circuit. The BAT light isn't connected somewhere anymore so it can't perform the it's task when revs are reached. Using a jumper wire I connected the BLUE wire from the ALT to power & it loaded the engine up where it stayed even after removing the wire so it's now charging at 25A. I have some of the OLD style shop style gauges that looks like a regular meter which sweeps either way...if pointing away from the battery it's discharging...that has the insulated piece of channel metal on the back to clip onto any heavy wire. Put it on the starter wire & have a read now. Hate to think I might just have to resort to a temporary MANUAL exciter circuit or install a bypass to some other keyed power source. If I knew what wire on the back of the cluster is for the light I'd tie in. Also possible the contact on the back of the cluster (which it turns out was needless to disconnect) isn't making good contact anymore.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,605 Posts
There are 3 wires into the cluster that control the Battery Light.
T18/Pin13 Black that is 12V in from ignition switch.
T18/Pin7 brown that is the main ground to the cluster.
T18/Pin11 Blue Exciter wire going to the Alternator.

Check that your Blue wire on the alternator with the Key in and in the run position has 12V to ground on it.
If not, then trace the wire back or Strip a piece of the wire to see if there is 12v on the wire as that would say the plug is bad.

If you don't have 12V on that line, then check the clusters blue wire for 12V at pin 11. If you have 12V there but not at the end run a new wire.

Bulbs as in the Battery lamp do burn out. If you don't have 12V on that pin 11 then suspect the battery bulb in the console.

The exciter circuit is a simple thing, but folks fail to realize that it works in reverse. It applies power to the voltage regulator to "tickle" or preload the coils to start the field to allow the alternator to charge. Once the alternator is producing 12.5 or better 13.5 Volts, the bias on the bulb is higher on the alternator side pin 11 than the incoming battery voltage from pin 13, and shuts the lamp off. So the issue that I see is that there is a interruption of the voltage from pin 13 to pin 11 to the alternator.
That interruption is going to be
A burned out blub.
Bad mylar run on the back of the cluster.
Weak connectivity of the Blue wire to the cluster.
Broken main connector on the plug end of the alternator.

I strongly urge folks on the Cabriolets and well other things to add an additional frame ground to the main cluster ground pin 7 on the wire side of the connector, I use a Scotch Lock Blue Wire add, a 10 inch piece of wire a ring connector, and a sheet metal screw. Drill a small pilot hole behind the cluster, sand the area around it to bare metal, then use the screw and ring connector with a modicum of Die-electric grease and screw it into the firewall.

Since it has been decades since I have seen the back side of the mk1 81 cluster I am remiss in telling you how to plump up the connector mylar to get better connectivity of the connection unlike the Cabriolets that I am now used to.

But since your bulb doesn't work with just battery on, (engine not started) I would suspect the bulb or the connections of the bulb to the cluster.

Yes you could wire in a new bulb to the cluster or a spot, and it should work just fine. As the Bulb being illuminated means that the alternator isn't producing voltage that exceeds the battery input.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,605 Posts
A good source for ceramic fuse boxes is here:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I tested the ALT BLUE to POS BAT & it will light up. With engine running the light is off until I switched the it to NEG BAT for the light to come on which also loaded up the motor. So the connector @ the alternator is good. For the time being I ran a lead from a point on the blue wire near the battery where the harness turns to go into the cab & tied the other end to keyed power that supplies the HOT side of a manual button for the GP circuit. This of course immediately excites it on starting with no need for the normally obligatory throttle bump. An alternate CHARGE light could be installed into that routing. Might just do that to save the trouble.

The BAT light on the dash used to come on before I pulled the cluster to better reach the upper harness (needless in the end) but no longer will. Had a heck of a time getting the plug attached back to the cluster which required sliding it over the printed mylar circuit which keeps shape only thanks to a long thin plastic tab. Went on with a sharp SNAP which hopefully was it's locking into place. The HI//LO headlight indicator & signal still work on the left side of the cluster while the OIL & TEMP still come on. Either of those latter 2 are redundant since I have analog gauges installed now. Never bothered with a Volt or Ammeter on this truck OR either of the other cars since they are basic diesels & once started can run all day long on a "dead" battery keeping the cut-off solenoid engaged...which was the case yesterday. By the time I got home there was no power to either illuminate the WVO indicator lights (though the solenoids were still engaged) or operate the diesel fuel gauge.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top