No power to anything unless high beams lever is pulled

paynecavepaynecave Member Posts: 3
edited December 2020 in Volkswagen
This is the weirdest electrical problem I've seen. I try to start with the key and get nothing. No gauges come on, no accessories, and definitely no crank.

However, if I turn the headlights on and have someone (or a strap) hold the high beams lever back it still won't start with the key but it will start by jumping the starter. Of note is that this only works every other pull of the high beams. Pull it once and the dash lights come on. Let go then pull it again and they don't. And it will only start from the starter on the cycle when the dash lights are on. When I try to start it from the key I get a draw on the battery but no power sent to the starter.

I have bypassed, and then replaced the control relay. I disconnected and jumped the alarm. I am getting power to the fuse box on the two large, red wires. No power at the ignition switch. All fuses are good.

Has anybody ever heard of or seen this problem?


  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,575
    Your attempts at bypasses actually get you further from figuring this out than closer. Undo those and then I can assist you in figuring this out. The headlight observation is interesting but forget about it for right now. When you test for power what are you using, a volt meter or a test light?

    The power to the ignition switch comes directly from the battery positive connection via the fuse block. The power feed to the ignition switch which splices inside the fuse block also feeds the 30 amp fuse #19. Check and see if you have power to it. (Fuses #21 and #22 also get power from the same circuit at all times) The fuses might all be good, but you need to prove that you have power to them.

    The Black/Yellow at the ignition switch is fed power from the Red wire when the ignition is turned on. The Black gets power in both On and Crank. The Red/Black only get's power during crank. Since you said that you don't have power to the Ignition switch (Red)
  • paynecavepaynecave Member Posts: 3
    thecardoc3, thanks for your quick reply. At this time, the only thing currently bypassed is the alarm but I will undo that and redo previous tests. I'll let you know what I find.

    For testing I used a multimeter to test continuity of wires and a test light to test for presence of 12v power. I get good connectivity and voltage on the battery feed to the fuse block at the two fuses above the relay panel (not sure what fuse numbers but they are both 30A). I get no connectivity between the fuse block and the ignition switch. Am I correct in thinking that the wire between the fuse block and ignition switch has no splices or connections between them? If so, there must be a break somewhere inside the dash.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,575
    The test light should be sufficient for testing this. At the fuse block you have the main red leads from the battery. One of them goes into connector Y pin #3 You should see power there all of the time coming straight from the battery. Connector Y is horizontal while all of the rest of the connectors are vertical. You need to find connector H1 pin #2 for the next check.

    There are three connectors above "Y", in the lower half that will help you with the orientation. There is a vertical one that is right beside the inside edge of "Y" on the bottom row with "Y" that is labeled "U2" in service information. Directly above U2 in the upper row is H1. You are looking for Pin #2 in that connector which is the red wire that delivers power to the ignition switch.
  • paynecavepaynecave Member Posts: 3
    That is some very helpful information. I'll let you know what I find. Thank you.
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