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luiscamino

I bought a lemon GTI... vibration during acceleration and electrical problems

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Hello all!

I think I haven't posted a lot in like a decade here (I have a 1.0 Arosa since 1997, which I love) but a couple of months ago I finally made the dream of "upgrading" to a GTI. It's a German 2004, tornado red, 6 gears, 145k km (90k miles), all stock. Visually in excellent condition, zero rust around or underneath, hasn't been repainted anywhere, great interior... and after what was obviously not a thorough enough inspection, I brought it home having noticed only that there was something wrong with the engine temperature sensor, brakes needed changing, and a slight vibration while driving that didn't concern me much at the time.

 

1st set of problems: Electric

On the ride home and the next few days I started noticing small things: Driver's seat heating worked intermitently, driver's door passenger window opener also didn't work all the time, rear wiper button on the stalk not working (though wiper itself worked), blinker stalk a bit faulty, driver's door open not activating interior light and and the Gamma CD changer unit LEDs not lighting up with headlights on (though unit works).

Small things, I thought, till I brought it (innocently and lazily) to the VW dealership right in front of where I live. Long story short, they said all the cables in the driver’s side door sill were in really bad condition, as if there had been a continuous water leak into the area god knows from where. They recommended against replacing the whole loom because of insane costs in the thousands and no guarantee that another problem would appear somewehere else. So they just repaired some individual cables… not exactly sure for what, because the door lock, seat heating and window problem are still present.

Has anybody heard about internal cables getting rusty? Would you trust a non-VW workshop to replace the whole thing (if I ever found an extra loom to begin with)?

 

2nd problem: Vibration during acceleration  

So the vibration was not so "slight", it's actually really annoying and worrying, and doesn't let me enjoy the car at all and push it as it wants... I have obsessively searched and read through dozens of topics describing similar symptoms, the most similar to mine being this one. But I still couldn’t say for sure I know where the problem originates.

At VW they said the engine mounts are OK, they replaced spark plugs and leads and the problem persists (i.e. they didn’t take the time to even try the car before or after). There was never any power loss problem anyway, but whatever.

The vibration appears only during acceleration, the stronger the acceleration (demand for torque) the slightly stronger the vibration gets. I don’t feel it at all through the steering wheel, but rather through the whole car, most notably the front of the car. The vibration is also not noisy, it’s more of a strong “pulse”. It gets especially bad above 5000rpm in 6th gear (100mph, Autobahn), but as soon as I lift off or press the clutch, it disappears almost instantly.

What do you think? Honestly if my brain didn’t know it’s impossible, I’d say a cylinder is trying to jump out of the engine! But after the research I’m thinking more a faulty inner CV joint (can’t be outer joint because I’d feel it on the steering wheel, right?) or according to some other accounts, the ball joints, though my limited knowledge prevents me from understanding how a ball joint affects the driving.

 

I'm sorry for the long post... I wanted to gather as much info as possible before asking for help and opinion, rather than the usual back and forth :) Thank you in advance for any hints!


PS: Fun fact: I also have a 2006 2.0 MX-5 NC with 6 gears and I thought of the Lupo as the fun little city car to replace the Arosa (for reasons) and keep the MX-5 for proper trips through the Alps. Then a couple of weeks ago I discovered that the Lupo 0-60mph acceleration numbers are exactly the same as the Mazda!! Amazing for a 35hp disadvantage for the Lupo, even if it weighs about 100kg less. The gear ratios of the GTI are freaking awesome. I'm going to have to bring it to the fun trips as well, once it gets sorted :) 

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could the vibration be the exhaust catching somewhere, taking it off is a bind but it would confirm or exclude it as a possible

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Electrical - replacing the door loom is really quite simple. I used a lupo sport loom (with electric mirrors) which seems fine. I would probably also get the multimeter out and check the other features which aren't working

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find a good auto electrician to just repair the faulty section.

so much cheaper and easier.

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has the car got a duel mass flywheel, if so it may be knackered and causing vibration as may be out of balance, only way to know is gearbox off, clutch off and inspect all the bits as you go

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Thank you all for the tips! No idea if GTIs have a dual mass flywheel, but if that was the case, wouldn't the vibration also happen with lift off, since the flywheel is still rotating? when i press the clutch at any revs, the vibration stops almost immediately.

Check this out by the way, VW dealership tells me EACH inner CV joint costs 206€ :blink: Is there any disadvantage in buying some non-originals off ebay? As far as I know these are the "balls" type, not the "tripod" ones with the 3 ring-like bearings. According to a repair manual I have, different Lupos have different types.

As for the exhaust... I hope I can find the problem elsewhere before I have to get to that... but thanks!

 

 

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you don't have a dual mass.

the inner CV joints are exactly the same on all non tdi lupo and mk4/5 polo, no idea why your manual says that.

rock the engine back and forth and see if the sub frame mount has a load of play.

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yeah the repair manual is for all Lupos and Arosas, not just GTI. it's actually short on GTI specific info unfortunately.

i'll try rocking the engine later, thanks for that tip!

meanwhile I've found this interesting video where a worn inner CV joint is shown, as cause of exactly this problem. he's literally describing my symptoms:

 

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so I keep trying to diagnose the vibration while i search for a good vw specialist around here...

the engine seems to be pretty solid in place when i try to push it. it also doesn't move too much when i accelerate in 1st and reverse with the handbrake on. however the whole car does vibrate as well at idle when cold, for the first couple of minutes (and not from low rpm, it's stable at 950-1000). the top two engine mounts look ok visually but i might try taking them out since it's easy. i haven't checked the lower one yet.

as for the CV joint, the shafts themselves don't seem to have any play in them when i push them around in all directions. the left joint rubbers seem to be in good condition with no grease leaks at all. as for the right one, i managed to take a photo of the inner rubber and it does seem to be pretty grimey... what do you think? sign of a leak, meaning defective joint?

 

 

 

20170428_152119876_iOS.jpg

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that looks pretty standard.

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I've experienced bad vibration on heavy torque (power at revs) with a few vdubs. Things normally causing it are cv joints (grinding, rumbling sound), diff cage knackered (planet gears go- sounds like thumping), other gearbox problems (like bearings), exhaust touching something when the engine moves and sometimes cooling fan... On rear wheel drive cars it can be propshaft, diff or gearbox!

The electrical stuff sounds like it's contacts-related for the door lock mechanism- check microswitches. Dash lights, probably the connector- unlikely to be loom. Seat heater- usually a connector, switch or a crimp failing. I'd be surprised if it was the loom unless there has been loads of chaffing/rubbing somewhere. The indicator/wiper intermittant thing is the very common contacts having worn out.

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On 3/30/2017 at 10:45 AM, luiscamino said:

1st set of problems: Electric

On the ride home and the next few days I started noticing small things: Driver's seat heating worked intermitently, driver's door passenger window opener also didn't work all the time, rear wiper button on the stalk not working (though wiper itself worked), blinker stalk a bit faulty, driver's door open not activating interior light and and the Gamma CD changer unit LEDs not lighting up with headlights on (though unit works).

Small things, I thought, till I brought it (innocently and lazily) to the VW dealership right in front of where I live. Long story short, they said all the cables in the driver’s side door sill were in really bad condition, as if there had been a continuous water leak into the area god knows from where. They recommended against replacing the whole loom because of insane costs in the thousands and no guarantee that another problem would appear somewehere else. So they just repaired some individual cables… not exactly sure for what, because the door lock, seat heating and window problem are still present.

Indicator stalk intermittent: contacts wear out, just replace the stalk

Drivers door not activating interior light: will be dry joints in the lock mechanism, dismantle and re-solder

Dryjoints_zpsbccfb40e.jpg

CD changer lights: you might just need an illumination loom, pull the CD changer out and have a look if one is fitted http://www.seatcupra.net/forums/showthread.php?t=113637&page=2

Window problem: could just need a new switch

Drivers seat heating: I'd swap the roller switches over and if the problem still persists I'd probably look to replace the heating mat (or at least remove the seat covers and look to see if it

Edited by jon_273
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Just a quick update months later to inform that the vibrations under acceleration were indeed an inner CV link. I actually went ahead and replaced both shafts since the price was not so different from replacing the CV links (parts more expensive but labour cheaper).

I was almost moved to tears as I drove away feeling how smooth it runs now... Now I can move on to the next issues.

 

 

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yeah more or less... and planning new supension (B12 kit) plus a bunch of other small things:

 

Missing rubber seal front of hood, left side

Hood inner lining

Refit roof cantrails

Fix front brakes (non symmetrical)

Fix windscreen/dashboard noises

Handbrake doesn't brake right rear wheel (!?)

Parasol driver mirror broken

 

Electrical

AC (no current)

Driver seat heating

Window switch driver side for passenger window

Window switches Auto function

Door lock (interior light and headlight warning sound)

 

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Those electrical issues aren't a big deal. Just fix them :) 

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