Home Technical Discussions Volkswagen Passat: 1998-2005 (B5)

Volkswagen Passat: 1998-2005 (B5) ABS Light


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Last Post: Oct 24, 2010 6:14 PM Last Post By: papabear
brooz88

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/09/03
ABS Light
Posted: May 8, 2003 3:51 PM
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My ABS light on my 1999 Passat 1.8T comes on intermittently and stays on. When it does, the brake light also flashes. I can park my car overnight. When I restart it, it is off. After driving a short ways, it will come on again. A local VW repair shop said it only showed codes of a bad Brake Switch. They replaced both of these. Still not fixed. They cannot come up with any other solution. My brakes seem to work fine. What else could be the problem?
wohlfarth

Posts: 1,745
Registered: 10/31/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: May 8, 2003 4:34 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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This is straight from the factory information:

If ABS warning light and brake warning light light up together, it is possible rear wheels will lock-up early under hard braking. This could cause loss of vehicle control and may be due to the electronic brake pressure distribution not functioning. Have your vehicle serviced immediately by an authorized Volkswagen dealer or a qualified independent repair shop.

I would get the car into a VW dealer ASAP before this becomes a serious problem.

Stan Wohlfarth
Bentley Publishers
brooz88

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: May 8, 2003 4:49 PM   in response to: wohlfarth in response to: wohlfarth
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Mr. Wohlfarth,

I have brought my car to an authorized VW repair facility. They cannot find any issues other that what I previously stated. Could you please be more specific of what the problem may be?

Thanks,
Chris
wohlfarth

Posts: 1,745
Registered: 10/31/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: May 8, 2003 5:04 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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Chris,

Check page 101 and 102 of your glovebox owner's manual
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/product.htm?code=RP99&subject=20
That's where the warning about the two brake warning lights comes from. It seemed significant enough to include it in our service manual. However I cannot be anymore specific than that. Perhaps you should show these warnings to the authorized VW repair facility (dealer?).

-Stan

Message was edited by: wohlfarth at May 8, 2003 5:04 PM
FRAB

Posts: 1
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Jul 18, 2003 5:34 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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I own a 99 Passat GLS and for the past two weeks a similar situation has occurred. The ABS light comes on,followed by the brake light and the chiming alarm sounds for about 4 rings. The the engine oil light comes on and the tachometer goes to 0 and stops working. After driving like this for a few miles it goes out, then minutes later starts again. Sometimes when I turn of the engine and start again, I get a normal response. Other times, I start and the alarm and lights come on instantly.

I immediately took the car to my certified VW mechanic who hooked it up to his diagnostic machine. He was unable to find anything wrong. I then took it to the dealer, who said the instrument cluster needs to be replaced ($540). They also found nothing mechanically wrong with the car. I find it interesting that the problem can't be isolated and corrected. The alarm and the lights do not affect the braking power of the car, but in the back of my mind I am wondering if the brakes will one day lock up on me.

I saw your post and wanted to let you know that your situation is occurring elsewhere. There has to be a rational solution other than a new instrument cluster.
montner13

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 13, 2003 11:58 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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I've been experiencing the same flashing break solid abs light intermintantly as well. I took my 1998 Passat to a VW dealer and they said they couldn't pull any problem codes from the compter at all. The said they would have to take apart the dash to further investigate the problem. Today they told me it was my ABS Hydraullic Unit. $1450. for the part only! Are these guy's full of it or does this sound legit? Sounds like others with the same issues are posting here. Please let me know your experiences.
Randy
JoeBean

Posts: 4,697
Registered: 02/14/02
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 14, 2003 8:32 AM   in response to: montner13 in response to: montner13
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They could be correct. But then again, it could be just a loose/poor electrical connection. I'd investigate all other possibilities before laying down that kind of cash!
Terry
lonepine

Posts: 7
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 18, 2003 5:47 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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We're having the same problem with our '98 Passat. The mechanic today said he is 99% sure it is the control module. A new one is $1451 plus about 2 1/2 hr. labor. He's going to try to locate a used one. The dealership said about the same thing. Neither the mechanic nor the dealrship got any readings from plugging in the computer. Has anyone solved this problem yet?
montner13

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 20, 2003 10:11 AM   in response to: lonepine in response to: lonepine
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Lonepine, What dealer are you dealing with? I'm across the river at Dick Hanna in Vancouver. They seem to still be investigating the problem. They have been trying to diagnos my promlem for over a week now. Maybe they need to compare findings with your shop.
diatribe69

Posts: 33
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 22, 2003 6:04 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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I drive a 2000 Passat GLX 4Motion, and the same thing has been happening on my car. Here's the drill:

I am driving at random speed.
Chime comes on blasting.
ABS light comes on and stay on.
BRAKE light flashes (same BRAKE light as when e-brake is engaged)
Chime keeps going.
My red matrix display displays the word STOP in big letters.
Red matrix displays BRAKE FAULT, then SERVICE MANUAL.
Chime keeps going...
All goes away after about 20 seconds of driving.
I tested my ABS and it still works.

My mechanic hooked up a VAG (knockoff from MATCO) but no fault codes were found. He said it's because he doesn't have the proper <thingamajig> to access the ABS circuit (ENGINE and AIRBAG are the other two) with his VAG.

It's amazing that, according to some other posts, even a dealer can't get a firm grasp on what the problem is, but they can easily diagnose it as the most expensive part being bad (ABS Module). If you apply Occam's Razor, which states that all things being equal, the simplest explanation (in this case, repair) is usually the correct one. I asked around, and for an ABS module to go bad is rare on a 1999+ vehicle. Also, if the ABS module were bad, the chimes/dashboard pyrotechnics would commence upon startup and stay on the entire trip. What, does it repair itself then decide that it's broken at random intervals? I think not. A worn out brake pad is a more logical explanation since the sensor resets itself, and deciphering just how much brake pad is left is not an exact science.

Nowhere in anyone's post--by a mechanic, dealer or victim--have I seen the phrases 'worn brake pads' or 'speed sensors' used. I had a 1997 GTI that displayed the same symptoms, and it turns out that the previous owner had accidentally cut the cable to the rear right wheel speed sensor, which runs underneath the rear seat (probably cut it when he upgraded the audio system, and thought it was a speaker or CD changer cable).

Anyway, replacing my dash or ABS module is not going to happen on a whim. I am surprised dealers/mechanics don't recommend replacement of the entire car when the radio won't work. ;-)

Certain model Passat's have brake pad wear sensors and speed sensors for the ABS. Any of these parts going bad would light up your dashboard in the manners described. The Owner's Manual is very vague and, surprisingly, so is the Bentley manual.

Also, make sure whoever runs the VAG has the ABS circuit capabilities turned on/activated. The ENGINE circuit will not have ABS fault codes, nor for that matter AIRBAG. They're on separate circuits for obvious reasons (an ENGINE malfunction won't set off your airbags).

Message was edited by: diatribe69 at Aug 22, 2003 6:06 PM
lonepine

Posts: 7
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 22, 2003 7:04 PM   in response to: montner13 in response to: montner13
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We are having Precision Motor Car at 132 NE Grand 503-232-7669 replace the module. The owner found a used one in LA for half the price but the model number ends with a P and apparently the new ones end in a Q which usually means there has been an upgrade. We are going to go for the new one. The mechanic checked all the leads to the module according to a schematic he had and they were fine. We do a lot of freeway driving and the constant blinking is annoying (I think my turn signal is on all the time- and you know those old people and their freeway blinkers on!!). Prior to this problem we had some upholstery work done and the airbag plug did not get plugged in so the computer had to be reset. Then I had an aftermarket cd player installed (and subsequently removed!! but that's a whole 'nother story!) because it interfered with the computer plug-in. Then the ABS problem, but the mechanic both at Ray Reese and Precision Motor say "coincidence". Ray Reese quoted $1450 to replace the module also. Has Dick Hannah (where we actually bought our car) had any luck with yours?
dcurrie

Posts: 5
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 31, 2003 1:35 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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No solution, but I want to add my '99 Passat to the blinking ABS | Brake light scenario. My dealer (Clear Lake VW) also told me the fix is the replacement of the control module at about $1500. Nice.

Maybe VW would like to take care of the whole group of us at once and fix this problem?

Strong letter to follow...

By the way, anyone know the part number for the control module for the 99 Passat or a place online to determine it with certainty?

Dan

Message was edited by: dcurrie at Aug 31, 2003 1:47 PM
dcurrie

Posts: 5
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Aug 31, 2003 4:46 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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Here's a link about a the "elusive" ABS lamps, suggesting an alternative cause. It speaks of several car makes, it does specifically mention VW though not by model or year.

Just another idea for the fray.

http://www.mightyap.com/Data/TT84.pdf

(fixed the link, I hope)

Message was edited by: dcurrie at Aug 31, 2003 5:18 PM

Message was edited by: dcurrie at Aug 31, 2003 5:18 PM
lonepine

Posts: 7
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Sep 1, 2003 11:13 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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We're taking the Passat into the shop in the a.m. to have to module replaced. Will post as soon as we get home to let you know if it solved the problem. Will also get the part number and post it also. Will take the MIGHTY page along also..thanks!
lonepine

Posts: 7
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Sep 2, 2003 10:21 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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The ABS light is out. The brake light does not blink or ring. The ABS module was replaced; the brake fluids were drained; the system was bled according to manufacturer's procedure. All codes were reset, tested and rechecked. The part number is 8E0614111Q (made in Germany). Good luck fellow ABS light wonderers! Will post if we have any additional problems.
dcurrie

Posts: 5
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Sep 2, 2003 11:30 PM   in response to: lonepine in response to: lonepine
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Lonepine, thanks for your post. There is hope!
diatribe69

Posts: 33
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Sep 3, 2003 3:52 PM   in response to: dcurrie in response to: dcurrie
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Mine goes in to Stevens Creek Volkswagen on Monday, Sept. 8. I already know the DTC code (01203), and I have VWofA looking in to the matter as well.

Once the dealer diagnoses it (I am betting that they will respond with a bad ABS module), I call VWofA, give them my customer care #, then they take over and see if they're going to cover the cost of repair, even though my vehicle is out all warranties.

jimharper, on the Audi forum, got Audi USA to cover the same repair on his 99 A4 1.8T, so I am aiming to do the same.

I think if everyone with this problem calls in VWofA/AudiUSA and complains and files a claim, that something can/will be done.

The customer care number for VWofA is: 1.800.822.8987. For Canada, it's: 1.800.822.8987

Pick up the phone. It won't hurt. If you've already had the service done, they can look up the service record and start a dialogue with your dealership.
lonepine

Posts: 7
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Sep 11, 2003 11:42 PM   in response to: diatribe69 in response to: diatribe69
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Opened a Customer Care case with VW but they said there was nothing they could do to help. In our case, maybe it's because we're pushing 116M miles! Good luck with your case though!
emphyrio

Posts: 5
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Sep 15, 2003 12:56 AM   in response to: FRAB in response to: FRAB
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Frab, I have almost identical symptoms to yours with a 98 Passat 2.8 v6. Mine is clearly triggered by temperature. When the ambient temp gets above 60-65 degrees, the tach goes to zero, ABS & brake lights come on, then the oil alarm and light starts blinking. This began on my way home from the dealership after they did a bunch of work under the hood. A long story, which I'll spare you. No help from the dealer or VWoA, "a coincidence!".

However, I can make the symptom come & go now with a can of freeze spray, directing the spray to the ABS control module. There's definately something electronic inside that's failing after ambient temp exceeds x degrees. This is introducing an instrument cluster "communication error" in conjunction with the alarms and lights. Extremely annoying (especially the oil alarm, which resets to normal when RPM's drop to 0 and then sounds off again with acceleration) in stop & go traffic.

So, the dealer (who has replaced 2 instrument clusters attempting to fix this, one of which I was forced to pay for... $500), now wants to replace the entire ABS assembly $1450 + labor. Apparently the control module is not available as a separate FRU. This is mind-boggling.

Does anybody know if the control module can be replaced without replacing the rest of the ABS unit? It obviously can be removed as a discreet unit. What happens if I remove & inspect it?

I would like to understand the root cause of this problem, and whether it's a random failure, a latent defect, or induced into the system by diagnostic activity (mistake?) or short circuit on the Can-bus. I would certainly go after the dealership with lawyers ablazing if I could demonstrate their involvement in the problem...
DRMUD

Posts: 123
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: ABS Light
Posted: Oct 21, 2003 6:38 PM   in response to: brooz88 in response to: brooz88
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I am now the proud owner of a 1998 1.8T Passat with an ABS light problem. The problem started occuring seemingly just after I changed out the front pads. When slowing to a stop (normally) the ABS unit would jump in and act as if I was skidding, when obviously I wasn't. At this point ABS light was not on. After about a month of this funny ABS actuation maybe once a week, the ABS light decided to come on and stay on along with a blinking BRAKE light. At times it would shut off, but would come back on at some point during that day. I pulled out the Speed sensor and cleaned them, but to no avail. I don't even want to spend the 80 bucks on diagnostics, but you guys are spending 1450! Ouch....I hope that is not my problem. Every once in a while, the ABS will jump in for no reason when I am just about to stop.

Let me know if you have any ideas. I am thinking it is a speed sensor...$170 a piece!

Thanks

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