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Help—suddenly won't even turn over when trying to start

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
Hi All,
I've got a '17 GTI with around 53k miles on it. It recently had a catastrophic clutch failure (pedal just stuck to the floor while driving in heavy traffic), and while I was unfortunately not able to get any help from the dealer or VoA, at least the car has a brand new clutch and flywheel (that's how catastrophic the failure was...).

Since that repair ,the car has only been driven 100-200 miles. It would always start on the first button-press, but I noticed once that on the first press it did nothing, but it started on the second. Then a few days later I went to start the car, and nothing at all. Due to this failure to start, I accidentally left the car on but not running for a few hours, but all that was running were the tail lights, internal instruments, and the fan on low. So I checked the battery, and the voltage was low. My charger said it was very low-10ish volts, but I put it on a trickle-charge anyhow.

I assumed that either the battery was toast, or the alternator went and killed the battery, so I wanted to just start the car and measure the voltage across the battery terminals to see if the alternator was charging the battery. With the battery fully charged, I got exactly the same result: the car just turns on and the engine does nothing at all: it doesn't try to turn over.

Wondering if the battery was so toast it couldn't provide any cranking current (or anywhere near enough for the starter to move), I changed my charge over to its boost setting. Same result: the engine won't turn over at all.

I connected the VCDS and did a full auto-scan of codes. I'm a beginner with the VCDS, but the only code that seemed relevant to me is:
15282 - Starter Will Not Turn
P3054 00 [167] - Jammed or Electrical Malfunction
MIL ON - Not Confirmed - Tested Since Memory Clear
Freeze Frame:
Fault Status: 00000001
Fault Priority: 2
Fault Frequency: 2
Mileage: 85642 km
Date: 2021.09.07
Time: 21:00:43

Engine RPM: 0.00 /min
Normed load value: 0.0 %
Vehicle speed: 0 km/h
Coolant temperature: 20 °C
Intake air temperature: 23 °C
Ambient air pressure: 1000 mbar
Voltage terminal 30: 11.210 V
Unlearning counter according OBD: 40
Engine: operating status: ES
STATE_LS_SAE[1]: INI
T_AST_SAE: 0 s
MAP_MES_SAE: 99 kPa
Lambda probe voltage: bank 1: probe 1 (broadband probe): 1.997 V
FAC_TPS_1_SAE: 16.406250 %
FUP_H_SAE: 8290.0 kPa

So I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I have only limited time to debug this, but thoughts I've had:

Could there have been some kind of immoblizer interlock that came on when the battery voltage dipped so low?
Could there be a problem with the starter? Bad connection...up to and including it died when being removed and replaced during the recent clutch job?

Thanks for any ideas!
-mike
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
Hi All,
I've got a '17 GTI with around 53k miles on it. It recently had a catastrophic clutch failure (pedal just stuck to the floor while driving in heavy traffic), and while I was unfortunately not able to get any help from the dealer or VoA, at least the car has a brand new clutch and flywheel (that's how catastrophic the failure was...).

Since that repair ,the car has only been driven 100-200 miles. It would always start on the first button-press, but I noticed once that on the first press it did nothing, but it started on the second. Then a few days later I went to start the car, and nothing at all. Due to this failure to start, I accidentally left the car on but not running for a few hours, but all that was running were the tail lights, internal instruments, and the fan on low. So I checked the battery, and the voltage was low. My charger said it was very low-10ish volts, but I put it on a trickle-charge anyhow.

I assumed that either the battery was toast, or the alternator went and killed the battery, so I wanted to just start the car and measure the voltage across the battery terminals to see if the alternator was charging the battery. With the battery fully charged, I got exactly the same result: the car just turns on and the engine does nothing at all: it doesn't try to turn over.

Wondering if the battery was so toast it couldn't provide any cranking current (or anywhere near enough for the starter to move), I changed my charge over to its boost setting. Same result: the engine won't turn over at all.

I connected the VCDS and did a full auto-scan of codes. I'm a beginner with the VCDS, but the only code that seemed relevant to me is:


So I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I have only limited time to debug this, but thoughts I've had:

Could there have been some kind of immoblizer interlock that came on when the battery voltage dipped so low?
Could there be a problem with the starter? Bad connection...up to and including it died when being removed and replaced during the recent clutch job?

Thanks for any ideas!
-mike
The battery voltage is very low. Only 11.2 volts.
 

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
Yes, at the time of the fault the voltage was very low, but I did charge it up over 12v and had the same results. I would think that if the battery was trashed, it would still turn over with the charger attached and in jump/boost mode, wouldn’t it ?
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
Yes, at the time of the fault the voltage was very low, but I did charge it up over 12v and had the same results. I would think that if the battery was trashed, it would still turn over with the charger attached and in jump/boost mode, wouldn’t it ?
My battery recently showed 12.5 volts and it wouldn't crank the engine at all because it ended up being a dead cell which reduced the cold cranking amps. Just get yours tested.
 

EpicTech

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Houston
Car(s)
MK7 GTI 6sp w/PP
Charge battery to proper voltage and try to crank. If no go, then take a look at the starter solenoid. Mine went out at 67k, but I helped it to that state but running in accessories only mode for hours at a time. My guess is the starter didnt like that too much.
 

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
Took a look tonight. After clearing the engine codes, the "starter will not turn" code persisted. I will go have the battery checked and replace if need be, but in addition, how can I diagnose the starter solenoid's health (or lack thereof)? I pulled off the airbox just to take a look, and if I remember from my MKIV Jetta, the starter solenoid is integrated into the starter unit, isn't it? Or can it be replaced separately?

Thanks for any ideas!
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
The starter solenoid either works or it doesn't. Have them do a "load test" on the battery.
 

EpicTech

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Houston
Car(s)
MK7 GTI 6sp w/PP
You need a starter sir, I was trying to say that earlier.
 

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
Is there anything worth checking between the battery and the starter. All I can think of is just sanity checking the starter relay.

It looks like replacing the starter isn't too bad from above once you take out the airbox. Am I missing anything about that?

Thanks!

PS: The battery passed the load test, so that re-confirms @EpicTech 's diagnosis :)
 

IanCH

Autocross Champion
Location
MA
Car(s)
'20 GTI
I feel like people need a big red sticker across the windshield saying that the battery only lasts 3 years and anything beyond that is gravy. (2 years if you live in a hot place)
 

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
quick report:
- I was able to locate a new starter locally, so I picked it up
- Just to be thorough, I checked the two starter relays and they both operated normally
- I replaced the starter

Upon reinstalling the battery (I had it out for about 2 days to be tested), when trying to start, I could immediately hear the starter solenoid engaging (thunk), but instead of starting, I got an ESC error and a TPM error. I'm pretty sure none of these systems interact with the starter , so I'm guessing that there's a VCDS reset I have to perform after the battery's been out for some amount of time. I'm currently searching forums, etc.. If anybody has a link or keyword to search off the top of their head, I'd appreciate it :)

Thanks again for all of the the help—I hope I'm close!
 

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
(Oh, and my leading theory is that the battery is indeed still in need of replacement, despite the "passable" performance on the load test).
 

mlohm

New member
Location
MA
Car(s)
'17 GTI
I don't honestly know how to check that. The starter installed easily: no forcing any meshing or anything, although I don't think it would contact the flywheel until the solenoid engages, so ...yeah, how would you check that?....
 
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