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Old 11-13-2009, 04:55 PM
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Default 98 Jetta Electrical Issues

My '98 Jetta GL is starting to have some strange electrical problems that I could use some help figuring out. The symptoms are not always there and seem to happen randomly.

My symptoms include:
-Low beam headlights stop working
-Heater/AC stops working, including control panel lights.
-Windshield wipers stop working
-Parking brake light on the dash comes on, but dimmer than when the parking brake is on.

They all go out at the same time, and when everything goes out or comes back, I hear a click coming from the fuse box/relay area.

Sometimes when I first start the car and everything is not working, releasing the parking brake will cause it to come back.

These symptoms have gotten worse over time. It started with the headlights quickly flickering off then back on again. Now things have progressed to staying off for sometimes days at a time, and they dont work more often than they do work.

I would appreciate any advice that I can get.
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:28 AM
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Sounds like a bad ground or relay. I'll check the wiring diagram tomorrow and give you some suggestions based on your clues.
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:15 PM
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search the forum other people had this exact problem... i remember reading something like this.
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:07 PM
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Default Have you figured out what's the problem?

I have the exact problem and only since 3 days, lights go out (4 times now) and wipers stop functioning (And it was raining real hard too!!). They come back on when I restart the engine and then... poof! Lights go off or wipers. Makes me very nervous on the road...

Just like you, what I get is a dimmed brake light on.

Help!!!
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:13 PM
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Elihup, What motor is in a Jetta GL?
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:26 AM
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igntion switch maybe....
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:48 PM
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This is the thread that prompted me to join here!!!

I have the same issues. The same car. 1998 Jetta GLX VR6 5-speed
103k miles.

Drove car to a shop. Came out an hour later. Went to drive car and ABS and BRAKE light stayed on (they usually go off after a few minutes- ABS module??)

Wipers refused to work, blower would not work, rear defrost would not work (I was afraid to try the windows as it was pouring)

Next day I went to move car and everything worked!

Couple of days later same issue again!

All of this stuff CAN"T be linked to a simple ignition switch can it? (I've ordered a VW manual but right now I'm flying blind)

I also did a search on this board but could not find a definitive fix.

Any ideas?

If it's easy enough, I'll do a write up with pics and all!!
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:51 PM
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forgot to subscribe...
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:17 PM
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OK, so after even more reading it seems as if the Ignition Switch is a common culprit in these electrical scenarios.

After viewing an excellent DIY on vortex, I have one other question.

MJMAutohaus sells this part.
They actually sell two versions:
1. manufacturer is German company Meyle $9.95
2. manufacturer is German company Febi Bilstein $17.50

The parts look the same. Can anyone tell me why one part is nearly twice as expensive? I'm new to all this stuff and figured some of the local experts might be able to chime in.

TIA
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:19 PM
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Here's the link to the install that MCROW posted in another thread...

VWvortex Forums: new ignition switch install
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