Fetch and the Art of Car Maintenance

16 watchers
19 Aug
10:22pm, 19 Aug 2023
9,749 posts
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Northern Exile
No, but I hear and read a lot about solutions to faults so it maybe something I've seen fixed.
Here's the issue: I recently moved house and being so busy with stuff, hadn't moved or started the van in a good few weeks. We've had incessant rain (I live in the lee of a mountain) and I suppose some components have got damp, in any event when I started her up the other day the folding mirrors had failed and also the electric window on the driver's side, plus the control on for the passenger side. This has turned out to be v. complex, mirror adjustment still works from the control cluster, mirror heating works, central locking works. All the logic is controlled from an ECU attached to the electric window motor pictured below. After a lot of research I narrowed the problem down to fuse F2/b which is a 30a thermal fuse that protects both door functions, however seeing as the passenger window still works (albeit only from its own control) it can't be that. I am thinking it must be the ****ing ECU and you can only buy them as a complete unit, they are v.expensive. Before I go and buy one, I was hoping that someone here might offer some perls of wisdom .....
19 Aug
10:31pm, 19 Aug 2023
27,943 posts
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Lizzie Whizz
Dehumidifying sorted out damp switches in my old car.
19 Aug
10:37pm, 19 Aug 2023
9,750 posts
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Northern Exile
Yes. I have had the component drying out in the airing cupboard for the past two days and used my heat gun to frazzle any moisture out of it, however the odd thing was that it didn't appear damp to me in the first place.
20 Aug
8:21am, 20 Aug 2023
9,751 posts
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Northern Exile
p.s. I should add that I've always had a dehumidifier in the van when not in use. This is more of a technical issue than one caused by damp, although I have a consider that a possibility
11 Sep
5:53pm, 11 Sep 2023
9,769 posts
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Northern Exile
view of the overwhelming response I got to my post about VW electrics, I thought I would post a bit of a diatribe about what happened - it took some work to get it resolved 🙂

So, the problem was that the drivers side window on my T5.1 California suddenly refused to work, stopping halfway down. The only other symptom was that the mirrors would no longer fold, although adjustment and demisting was ok. I also couldn't control the passenger window, though it worked ok from its own side. WTF?

I spent a long time researching this and it was hard to get definitive answers, there are no specific fuses in any of the panels that protect the door winder mechanism, likewise the folding mechanism - the best you'll get is fuse F2 next to the diagnostic port, this an old-fashioned 30a thermal fuse that (in theory) protects that circuit. I tested continuity on pretty much every fuse in the vehicle and replaced that 30a fuse (expensive), I also replaced the double switch cluster as they are apparently a weak spot - nada. Eventually I bit the bullet and took the door panel off - not easy - and removed the winder motor itself along with all the connections, this had to be the prime suspect as it has an ECU built into it that controls other door functions. I tried to cost one via VW Lancaster, they told me - and I quote - "none of these are available in Europe, but the cost is £413 + vat". What?

I then enlisted the help of a VW California auto electrical specialist, this involved a drive down to the Peak District - a drive of about 140 miles. Very quickly we established that it definitely was the motor, we took the whole thing to pieces and the shaft was very tight in its bearings, so what I think happened is that as it had been standing for a while, it just seized up after being inactive for so long and then blew a component on the ECU. As for "unavailable", that was total bollocks and VW Commercial (Derby) got one for me the very next day at considerably less than £413 + vat. It was installed that day, all diagnostics done and the logic "relearned". Somewhat to my amazement, I got the panel back on without breaking a single clip, a minor miracle.

So I reckon the whole thing cost me about £400 plus hours and hours of faff. Better than the four-figure sum that VW would have charged I suppose.

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