Saturday, June 29, 2013



Most VW Polo, Golf, Audi, Passat and  Skoda  vehicles and probably every other VAG cars appears to have problems lately. In one sentence, the most common of these problems seems to be on obd diagnostics the culprit being the  wiring that interconnect all the electronic modules, aka the OBD II / CANbus. Virtually every car diagnostic test done on several different VAG cars produced the same faults. This implies that they are common, since they are recurring on different owners cars.  I can relate to this from my Television engineering days, when several same-make and same-model televisions all appeared to give the same problems. These VAG cars all seemed to have Intermittent / Implausible messages on the Data Bus and its highly unlikely that it could be the electronic modules themselves that are intermittent. Should this be the case, each and every one of these VAG cars then needs to be recalled because it looks like a defective design or assembly line problem.  But that's  wishfully thinking on my part which will obviously be met with and answer like - highly unlikely.

Wiring harnesses and cable assemblies for electrical buses interconnecting several MOSFET fast switching electronic modules each having an edge connector / plug whether it is gold plated or not, has parasitic capacitance. Add this  to the edge connector resistance and crimped wire contacts inside the plugs makes for interesting intermittent connections. The following list are faults /errors  that showed up on diagnostic tests on cars with EPC light problems, which  gives you some idea what I'm referring to. I've  abbreviated "Powertrain Data Bus" to PDB: in order to stop each fault from running onto two line.


1) 01312 - Powertrain Data Bus:  - Faulty

2) 18034 - PDB: error P1626 Missing Message from TCU  (Transmission Control Unit)
3) 18043 - PDB: error  P1635 Missing Message from A/C Controller
4) 18044 - PDB: error  P1636 Missing Message from Airbag Controller
5) 18058 - PDB: error  P1650 Missing Message from Instrument Cluster
6) 18270 - PDB: error  P1862 Missing Message from Instrument Cluster 

7) 18055 - PDB: error  P1647 Check Coding of ECUs
8) 18056 - PDB: error  P1648 Failure
9) 18045 - PDB: error  P1637 Missing Message from Electric Load Controller
A) 18097 - PDB: error  P1689 Implausible Message from Elect. Load Controller

B) 18104 - PDB: error  P1696 Implausible Message from Steering Column Controller
C) 18107 - PDB: error  P1699 Missing Message from Steering Wheel Electronics

D) 18057 - PDB: error  P1649 Missing Message from ABS Controller
E) 18259 - PDB: error  P1851 Missing Message from ABS Controller
F) 18090 - PDB: error  P1682 Implausible Message from ABS Controller
G) 18261 - PDB: error  P1853 Implausible Message from ABS Controller

Implausible signal means that it is "intermittent", even intermittent at the time the diagnostic tester was interfacing with the ECU's, TCU's, STC's ABS's, A/C etc... "Missing Message" implies absolutely no contact (Open Circuit) with the respective modules at the time of testing. Since VAG cars became inundated with electronic modules, our individual cars each have a few hundred more electrical connections than the previous generation of cars each and everyone of them subject to the tresses and strains of  the bumps on uneven roads and spirited driving. Add engine heat, steam, dampness and other weather conditions to this equation and suddenly these connections become tarnished over time. Tarnished connections are certainly not electrically sound and one way to clean these contacts is with contact spray but graphite or a grey ink rubber would be more effective to clean the tarnish off the gold plated PCB edge connectors. The Bentely VW manual suggest replacement of the whole wiring harness if  any problems arise but it comes at a cost of  $798.00 and that's for a 2007 VW Polo highline. I would hate to know what it would cost for a 2013 Volkswagen Touareg or 2013 Volkswagen Amrok not to mention 2013 Audio A8.

VAG cars are really nippy and a joy to drive and I'm certain the bulk of VAG car owners enjoy spirited driving but many many VAG car driver probably regret this since they only experienced  EPC light troubles after they did some real spirited driving. I know this is absolutely true for Audi TT drivers who complained that their cars were fin until they gave it a nice workout. It is obvious centrifugal force, torque, tension, flexing, wind resistance and inertia plays their respective roles on the plugs and connectors. The EPC Light problems above, D through G appears to dictate that the ABS Controller is faulty or its edge connector / plug is faulty or the harness is faulty. B through C suggest that the Steering Wheel Controller is faulty or its edge connector / plug is faulty or the harness is faulty is causing the EPC light  to light up. Numbers 5&6 seems to favour the Instrument Cluster as faulty or its edge connector / plug is faulty or the harness is faulty which causes the EPC light to light up. Number 9 and letter A seems to blame the Electric Load Controller for triggering the EPC light. Numbers 1-4 and 7&8 seems to suggest some other electronic module caused the EPC light to light up. All these modules have one thing in common, they are all associated with the Powertrain Data Bus. In essence any module associated with the Powertrain Data Bus can cause the EPC light on VW Polo or other VAG cars to trigger.


Friday, June 14, 2013



In our modern world with its ever rising energy demand, environmental issues have become everyone's concern, and it's imperative that each and every one of us  do our bit for the environment, companies and corporations included.  With our limited fossil fuel and oil resources, alongside stricter environmental and climate protection regulations we need to rethink our driving habits to achieve greater future sustainability and energy efficiency.  Several large corporations across the globe are slowly becoming more environmentally aware through public pressure and their production of “greenovation”. Volkswagen South Africa is such a company yet there are still numerous other large corporations totally negligent, even unthinking, almost Eco oblivious, hard at the process that is destroying our planet day by day.

Volkswagen launched VW Polo BlueMotion and the “Think Blue” concept in 2005, which is their holistic approach to ecological sustainability and underpins their brand philosophy and their commitment to global environmental responsibility. Some time in  2012, Volkswagen announced its intention or rather its aspiration to become the leading car manufacturer in the world by 2018. By which time, they  intend to reduce energy and water consumption, waste, solvent emissions and CO2  emissions by 25% relative to its 2010 values. Volkswagen’s Uitenhage Plant is already hard at work to become a “Think Blue Factory”  since its new world-class press line consumes an astounding 30% less energy than conventional press lines. Currently Volkswagen's award winning Polo BlueMotion is the most successful environmentally friendly car label, using the most fuel efficient BlueMotion  technologies which has subsequently been extended to Volkswagen Golf BlueMotionVolkswagen CC BlueMotion, Tiguan  BlueMotion, New Touareg BlueMotion.

VW Polo BlueMotion 1.2L Stop-start technology - 4.4 Litres/100km

Electric vehicles 

BlueMotion technology is really great and suffices as eco-tech for today's car  however, will Volkswagen really  become the leading car manufacturer in the world by 2018 in the presence of Electric vehicles  which can be powered by electricity generated from renewable sources of energy.  German Electronics Company Siemens showcased its "eChopper" electric bike and eRuf roadster at the COP17 in Durban late in 2011. Siemens is not a car manufacturer but with many years of experience in energy, mobility, and IT, is
perfectly positioned to pioneer a new era of sustainable transport.

Way back in 1881, German Electronics Company Siemens  rolled out  the world’s first electric tram in Berlin and by 1905, Siemens built the first “Elektrische Viktoria” (“Electric Victoria”), an  electric car used as elegant hotel taxis or delivery vehicles in Berlin. By the 20th century, Siemens became the leading supplier of electric drives for railways. Today Siemens uses its extensive expertise in energy, mobility, and IT to refine the technology for electric cars and large-scale fleet trials.  Since April 2013, approximately 100 Siemens employees has been test driving electric cars for everyday use and assist to optimize the interaction between the electrics cars and the electricity grid. Just five years ago, this seemed to be a vision for the distant future.

Porsche eRuf Roadster courtesty Siemens

Quiet electric cars  with  zero-emissions are especially ideal for cities and are currently the only means of transport that also enables a clean solution for individual mobility. Electric cars, electric bicycles, and electric scooters are already gaining in popularity for local usage and if  electric cars are to make a real breakthrough, the  automotive and electrical industries need to form joint ventures to setup the necessary infrastructure like charging stations, for electromobility.  Is there a future for Bluemotion technology  if  German car manufacturer Volkswagen  and German Electronics giant Siemens decide to produce our electric VW's of the future? VW has the  e-Co-Motion electric van and the XL1 hybrid. Siemens is currently one of the top automobile electronic module manufacturers. The first images below is VW's  electric concept car and the second is VW's first electric production car called  the  e-Up capable of 150 km per charge.

Volkswagen's single-seater electric concept car called the Nils.
VW's first first eGolf 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013



Electronics has taken over the modern day car, a trend that started prior to 1994. Since then  motor vehicle electronics technology has taken on a completely different form. With the advent of OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) there has been strides to standardize automotive electronics in all vehicles with relative success. With the arrival OBD II automotive electronics standardization was close to uniform, however there were other derivatives among which was EOBD (European OBD). Thereafter, along came CAN-Bus which is now the defacto standard for all cars built after 2008 internationally. All cars built from 2012 only sports CAN-Bus,  and are not backward compatible to ODB II or the earlier OBD.  This move implies every auto technicians who financially invested in ODB II scanners will have to get the latest equipment in order to scan the latest cars. Just look at the Audi Q7 with its 50+ electronic modules all of which are CAN-Bus only. 
Audi Q7 has more than 50 Electronic Modules.

The hexadecimal list of Electronic Modules below are just an idea of what can be expected in current and future motor vehicles many of them having as many as 24 different module versions, many modules incompatible with the various models of Audi, VW, Skoda and SEAT, each with its own features and coding.

02: Auto Trans
05: Acc/Start Authorization
07: Control Head
08: HVAC
0E: Media Player 1
0F: Digital Radio
11: Engine II
13: Auto Dist. Regulation
15: Airbags
16: Steering Wheel
18: Aux. Heater  
19: CAN Gateway
1E: Media Player 2  
20: High beam assist
22: All Wheel Drive
28: Heating / Air Conditioning (Rear)
2E: Media Player 3
34: Level Control
36: Driver's Seat
3C: Lane Change
3D: Special Function
42: Door Elect, Driver
47: Sound System
4F: Centr. Electr. II
52: Door Elect, Pass
55: Headlight Range
56: Radio
57: TV Tuner
5C: Lane Maintenance
61: Battery Regul.
62: Door, Left Rear
65: Tire Pressure Monitor
67: Voice Control
6C: Back-Up Camera
6D: Trunk Electronics
72: Door, Right Rear
77: Telephone


Address 01:   Engine:
Controller:     8E0 909 518 A,
Component:  1.8L R4/5VT 0003
Coding:         0011581 or 0016711

Controller:    8E0 909 518 AC
Coding:        0004501 / 0004581

Controller:     8E0 909 518 AK
Coding:         0016711 or  0016751

Controller:     8E0 909 518 AF
Coding:         0016701 / 0016751

Controller:     8E0 909 518 AL
Coding:         0011584

Controller:     8E0 909 518 AS
Coding:         0011511

Controller:     8E0 909 518 F
Coding:         0016701

Controller:     8E0 909 518 G
Coding:         0016581

 AUDI Automatic Transmission codings will be covered in Future Blogs.
VIN Number identification will also be covered in Future Blogs.
Volkswagen’s new modular architecture will also be covered in Future Blogs.