More car woes | Meet the Trudgians

More car woes

Posted by on May 6, 2022 in Featured | 0 comments

More car woes

I alluded to the fact that the relationship between the car and myself is not a happy one in a recent video. And, several months later on, I can confirm that we were not on speaking terms until very recently.

Ok, so to make it very clear, the car starts, drives and stops. Up until last week, the car has been riddled with many small faults that have accumulated to the point of me not enjoying the experience of the new tow car, and if truth be told the confidence in the car was at an all-time low. So in no particular order here are the issues, some of which I have fixed, some are still on going and some will have to wait.

Door open issues

If you open the passenger rear door, the car doesn’t recognise the door as open, and it locks the car and the alarm goes off. In fact the car will decide to lock itself in random fashion on a whim with people in or out of the car, I cannot seem to stop this from happening, but I think I know what is causing it. This is attributed to a dodgy door open/closed micro switch in each of the door locks. In fact, all of them are in some way broken, either with a intermittent connection or open circuit. This fault is quite common on these cars

Random light bulbs not working

Every now and then a bulb will stop working. From the indicators to the brake lights and number plate light, I have one by one taken every single light cluster out, removed any signs of corrosion, replaced the bulb, cleaned the contacts and so far, its worked, until today when randomly the right rear brake light wouldn’t work! Electrical corrosion is rife in the rear of the car, the cables are good, but the terminations were all very bad.

Headlight warning

Along with random lights not working, apparently both my headlights do not work according to the dashboard, that tells me both lights are non-functional. But they are. I have a fix for this, but at the time of writing I’m waiting for some parts to see if my hunch is correct.

Lumpy gear change

I know what this is, I know how to resolve it. It’s another £550 to fix. And it is on the list to do, that being a gearbox oil flush. When I had this done to my 535d, it was night and day difference. But right now and when cold, oh my goodness it is lumpy….

Squeaky brakes

New pads and new discs will resolve this, I know it needs both as I’ve seen the lip on the edge of the front discs, and its more lippy than a stroppy teenager….

Rear screen wash not working

Originally, I assumed this was a blocked nozzle, but in fact it was far worse. The hose that feeds the rear screen had split and was dripping through the headliner of the car. Once I found the fault I fixed it by adding a silicon tube sleave over the broken section, and so far its been an excellent bodge. To replace the whole pipe means the entire headliner needs to be dropped and new pipe fed through.

Odd power steering whine

If I were a betting man, I’d say this was on its way out. Very noisy and whiny when cold and when warm a bit grindy – I’m going to start this fix with a complete fluid flush to see if that remedies the issue. There is no leak as far as I can see, so perhaps a replacement of fluid will help.

Very weak battery

Replacing this is going to be fun. It’s situated under the passenger seat, and the seat needs to be partially removed to install it. I think in this instance, I should let Halfords install the new battery and let them swear about it.

Tow bar installation

More on this in the near future.. but it’s not great. There are a couple of issues, but the electric install has caused me so many problems, there has been not many weekends where I haven’t been out in the boot with a multi meter fixing dodgy wiring… And I’ve only towed once. In fact, to remedy some of the issues I’ve installed a new socket to remove some of the faults caused by bad wiring, corroded cables and a bad install all round.

Broken Throttle body

Another common fault apparently, where the nylon gears wear out on the throttle body. This is ultimately a fix anyone can do at home, and indeed I did. It was annoying that this threw a warning and limp mode 2 minutes after our 1st towing experience, which by the way did go well. This was 3 bolts, 1 cable and 2 hose clips. A 10 minute job, including a chat with the neighbour.

Broken wing mirror

The previous owner had a smash on the wing mirror. My Sherlock Holmes investigations, concluded this fact as all the screw posts were glued back together with gorilla glue, the screws were DIY self-tappers and the sheered cables held together with insulation tape. This issue only became apparent when I added the towing mirror to the car and the whole thing fell to the floor. I also noticed that the wing mirror indicator didn’t work either, due to the smash, the LED had become dislodged from the inbuilt light tube, That is also fixed now. At the time of writing a new wing mirror has arrived, I have primed, painted, clear coated and polished the new housing and it’s ready to go back on the car.

Heater / blower motor

All of the above issues, I think I could live with, however this is by far the single most irritating issue with the car. Apparently this is common for VW Touareg’s, Audi Q7s and Porsche Cayenne’s, where the motor, the resistor network or the controller break down. The fault itself is odd: Sometimes it works, Sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it runs at the wrong speed, in any case, its annoying when you need the screen de-misting, or when you need to warm up / cool down the car.

I was told that to replace the resistor motor controller, I would need the entire dash to be removed and would cost upwards of £800 to complete, however after looking on line I found a way of getting to it from behind the glove compartment. And after £14.99 on the new part, the heater, AC and blower fans now work as they should and the cabin is a nice place to be. The photo shows the broken part and also my Oscilloscope showing the correct PWM signals coming from the control module.


So, onto the positives. Well It does tow really nice. It has towed our caravan a grand total of 54 miles at the time of writing. It was smooth, stress free and very easy to cruise on the motorway. I wasn’t so impressed with the 17MPG though, but I think this was down to the failing throttle body that was stuck in a halfway open position. Since replacing this part, I have found fuel consumption a lot better, and running some fuel additives has also increased the MPG by a huge 7miles ! (in fact I added 150 miles to the range of a tank of fuel) so the next time I tow I will check the consumption again.

The conclusion is this, Up until I resolved many of the issues (the fan blower being the biggest game changer) I really didn’t gel with the car, I found it frustrating and irritating, But now the car works like how it should, Its quite a pleasurable drive. Even Mrs T has had a go and reluctantly said “it’s alright” which is high praise indeed. However, this car is not a daily drive, it shouldn’t be used as such. It is in fact the tow car and I need to remind myself its job in the family is to tow the caravan.

It must be said that for a 15 year old car, it does clean up remarkably well, sadly being black it only stays clean for 7minutes after washing it, but in those 420 seconds, it does shine and sparkle well. I have started fixing some of the stone chips and paint issues around the car, so it looks better each time I clean it. One of the biggest blemishes is a scratch on the driver’s side, which I will make a start on when I have my brave pill.

I do have a few upgrades lined up for this car, one of which is a reversing camera and a complete over hall of the towbar, hopefully I will share these with you in a future update. But for now, I’m off to the car wash, as 9 minutes has elapsed since I last cleaned it.

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