B5.5 Passat Electrical Problems

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Thread: B5.5 Passat Electrical Problems

  1. #1
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    B5.5 Passat Electrical Problems (SOLVED)

    PROBLEM HAS BEEN SOLVED (AT LEAST UNTIL THE PROBLEM RESURFACES???)*******************

    ************************************************** ********************************

    I have done lots of research however other people's cases don't exactly match mine, nor do their solutions resolve my problem.
    I will discuss information of the vehicle, the symptoms, as well as some relevant history of the car that I think might be related.
    It is my 2005 VW Passat TDI. It's the b5.5 engine code BHW. It just turned over 120,000 miles.

    My symptoms are:
    Intermittent non-functioning windows, locks, and interior lighting (the red lit buttons on the window and door controls on all the doors). As well as every now and then, the instrument cluster will flash every light on, then (if at night and i have the lights on, will turn off the cluster illumination (indigo/red), and the needles will all fall down to zero(rpm, mph, fuel, temp) and then go back to normal, with the only thing reset on the dash is the regular trip mileage and time being reset, this will also happen when the car is off, ive never witnessed it, but ive come outside to get in my car with the clock at a very wrong time and 0 miles on the trip. the lcd seems unaffected, those trips stay recorded.

    The problems is that they are all interconnected in different ways. for example a usual day looks like this:
    I start the car and everything works, then suddenly the interior button lights turn off on the doors only (and steering wheel controls but ill explain more on this later). At this point the window controls will not work UNLESS I hit either the lock or unlock door button first, then the windows can be controlled for that respective door (I can't control the passenger doors from the driver window controls, however if i press the lock or unlock button on the passenger door i can then control that window from that door). Auto up/down function does not work in this scenario, I have to hold down the buttons to keep the window moving. The whole (press the unlock button to get them working again trick works but after a while i will lose control of the windows completely, HOWEVER, if i turn the car off i can then control that doors respective window again, and i can ALWAYS get out, and hold the key in the door to the unlock/lock positions to control the windows. This is the main symptom, and i will now discuss the history of the car that might help you get an understanding of what may be wrong.

    First and foremost, I did a fog light retrofit. I bought the relay, and switch from a junkyard, bought the assemblies online, and wired them in as stock as can be, using information on this forum, I had a **** up when i ran the wire that goes to the foglights through the grommet for the hood latch release cable, and did a poor job of it, I realized this when it started raining and my footwell started flooding. It was a terrible experience and I definitely learned from it. I proceeded to redo the grommet properly, test it, and get rid of the water, i dried it out as best i could, then took a shop vac to the carpet, and even employed some cat litter to fully dry out the carpet. I mention this because I already checked the ccm, and even tho its poor placement, the box it sits in kept the water out, there is no visible damage, and when i swapped it into my other 2005 passat TDI which is absolutely 100% stock, it works.

    I also did a Multi-Function Steering Wheel retrofit, using information on this forum as well as information from TDIClub. I did it as stock as possible, I bought a pre-made wiring harness from germany for like ~$80, the relay from online as well as the steering wheel and air-bag, and followed all instructions properly and its as stock of a job as can be. both of these retrofits happened months before the symptoms started showing.

    Another issue is dome lights and the driver door. Pretty much the entire time i've owned the car, its been shifty about the dome lights and when I open the door, it's never a problem when the door is closed, however when the door is open, it would maybe turn off for half a second or maybe more, or maybe there would be a delay in when the light turns on. This was this way for a long time until these symptoms started showing up it's now worse, as i explain later in the post, but this in particular was the state in the past

    The symptoms started showing first as a intermittent loss of the steering wheel controls and interior button lights. then it became more and more frequent, then the instrument cluster started happening, and so on. Now, maybe a third of the time the instrument cluster does its thing, the screen in the center will show the "emissions workshop" and the computer stores a code, the readout is:

    1 Fault Found:
    188058 - Powertrain Data Bus: Missing Message from Instrument Cluster
    P1650 - 000 - -

    The most current stage involves all of this including some issues with doors not being sensed properly, as well as the interior lights not lining up with the message on the instrument cluster about doors, whether it be the door open light, or when you get past a certain speed it telling you which door is open. It happens with all doors, sometime it thinks the driver door is open when it is closed, sometimes the passenger doors, now and then the interior lights will turn off, as if the doors are closed, but the car keeps beeping at me as I drive off, and the message shows (__ door open blah blah) and the only way to shut it up is to stop, take the key out and restart the car without opening a door. If all of this happens I also lose control of locks, if i press my doors lock button, my door lock goes down, then back up. Sometimes the door locks are up while at speed, and then they all go back down, the next time i turn the car off and get out, the alarm goes off.

    Things I have checked:

    CCM, visual inspection as well as trying it in an identical passat, aside from exterior/interior color, and the fact that it is 100% stock,

    CCM wiring, visual inspection, no signs of rust or fraying
    driver door wiring, visual inspection, no signs of rust or fraying
    ECU visual inspection and wiring, no signs of rust of fraying, was bone dry when I opened it up
    Cluster wiring connections, they were not loose, no signs of damage or faulty connection

    From what I have gathered off the internet, the possible culprits could be:

    CCM
    Driver door master window switch
    Driver door latch/lock module/assembly, have read the forums about the micro switch failing and having to be replaced/ have a new one soldered in
    Instrument Cluster
    ECU

    and the wiring between any of these components


    My goal with this post is to maybe find someone whos had this exact same problem and maybe can point me in what direction to go first, as well as maybe a fresh set of eyes for this problem. Please let me know if you have any more questions or need more specifics or pictures. This is my first real post on a forum so I apologize if this is in the wrong spot or something along those lines. Thank you for your time and assistance.
    Last edited by ricauerbach; 04-10-2019 at 10:11 AM. Reason: PROBLEM SOLVED

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  3. #2
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    My car has a crank no start issue and have replaced lots of parts to no avail. I pulled the ccm out and there's no visual water damage.
    The board looks good, but I shined a light from underneath and found 2 spots where it looks burned plus there is a red dot on the board that is a water indicator where it should be white. The car won't crank without the ccm.
    ricauerbach likes this.

  4. #3
    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatientRebuildimg View Post
    My car has a crank no start issue and have replaced lots of parts to no avail. I pulled the ccm out and there's no visual water damage.
    The board looks good, but I shined a light from underneath and found 2 spots where it looks burned plus there is a red dot on the board that is a water indicator where it should be white. The car won't crank without the ccm.
    You might want your own thread for this.


    OP, when you checked the wiring for the CCM, did you also peel away the fabric tape to reveal the factory splices that are commonly the culprit of many electrical gremlins? Those splices can corrode to the point of breaking or cause shorts which can make everything go crazy.
    AndreasPassat and ricauerbach like this.
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  6. #4
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    I strongly second what VAGguy said--check the splices in the floor wiring harness.

    In particular, check the CANbus splices. The Comfort CANbus wires are a twisted pair, orange/brown & orange/green. Keep them twisted as close to the splices as possible. These wires are spliced in the floor harness, under the carpet. If they got wet they may be your culprit.

    The Comfort CANbus is the communication bus between:
    • CCM
    • Instrument Cluster
    • Driver's Door
    • Passenger Door
    • Rear Left Door
    • Rear Right Door
    • Radio
    • Steering Wheel Controls Module
    • Climatronic


    I very much suspect an issue with the Comfort CANbus is the root cause of your issues. It certainly explains all the door weirdness. And perhaps bus errors are causing the instrument cluster to reset, although that seems odd.

    The other/additional possibility is a flaky ground, so certainly check the ground stud beside the driver's left foot (behind plastic panel). That's very easy to access, too. I don't think there are any common sources of power between the CCM and cluster, but the ground is a possibility.
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    Ok. I will recheck the ccm and ccm wiring, as well as post pictures. When i originally checked it, I simply checked it for obvious signs of damage, i peeled away the fabric tape but not too much, as I didnt know what to specifically look for. I did not know about that water indicator dot so that is very useful information, thank you!

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    I will take particular attention to these wires. If you have a pinout for the ccm it would be greatly appreciated as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricauerbach View Post
    If you have a pinout for the ccm it would be greatly appreciated as well.
    I second that, I have searched for the past week for one. It would be nice to know what goes to where, I feel for you.

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    Hello again. I apologize in the significant delay in communication my profession requires I travel overseas for long periods of time, just got back home a while ago to give attention to my passat. I went through everything we discussed and it turned out to be none of that. For some reason the symptoms were being caused by the steering wheel controls adapter that interfaces between the car and my aftermarket head unit. I discovered this when installing a usb and aux extension with faceplate into the back of the head unit and noticed every time would freak out when i wiggled the adapter. I unplugged the adapter from the car's factory radio harness and the head unit harness and I havent had the symptoms come back since! For your information the adapter I used was the Axxess ASWC-1 adapter. If anyone has had success with this adapter I will consider buying a new one and consider this one a random defective adapter. Otherwise, I'll take cruise, windows, locks, interior lights, and trip computers over steering wheel radio controls until I find an alternative adapter.
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    FYI, my mechanic told me electrical problems and other parts problems hit the passat hard around 125k miles.

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtonis View Post
    FYI, my mechanic told me electrical problems and other parts problems hit the passat hard around 125k miles.
    It can, but not a guarantee. 172k on mine and not a single electrical issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtonis View Post
    FYI, my mechanic told me electrical problems and other parts problems hit the passat hard around 125k miles.
    He's just afraid of the car.

    Quote Originally Posted by VAGguy View Post
    It can, but not a guarantee. 172k on mine and not a single electrical issue.
    Same.
    Mine will be 18 years old in July, currently has 209,000 miles. Aside from a weird 1-2 shift (only with a cold trans), it's amazingly solid.
    And, I've had ZERO electrical issues with the car.

    ((knocks on wooden desk now))
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    Quote Originally Posted by cuppie View Post
    He's just afraid of the car.

    Same.
    Mine will be 18 years old in July, currently has 209,000 miles. Aside from a weird 1-2 shift (only with a cold trans), it's amazingly solid.
    And, I've had ZERO electrical issues with the car.

    ((knocks on wooden desk now))
    My adopted 2002 GLX 4Mo 2.8L ATQ (125k miles) wagon's previous owner was told last year not worth fixing the car.

    I am less than 300 into it, purrs like a kitten.

    Only electrical issues were due to corroded grounds in the engine bay. couple blasts of CRC Knock'er loose ate that rust away and all is good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VAGguy View Post
    It can, but not a guarantee. 172k on mine and not a single electrical issue.
    wow you are super lucky. I have owned my 2003 Passat since it had 45k miles (it has 157k now). Here is list of things during my ownership.

    1. Oil Pump - this was part of lawsuit against Passat due to poor design of oil pan to engine. Reimbursed over $1,000 by Passat for new pump.
    2. Moon roof opens on its own sporadically.
    3. Dash board lights are now faded.
    4. Replaced window regulator. (did myself)
    5. Both front axles replaced. ($$$ repair)
    6. Fuel pump sensor replaced ($$ repair)
    7. Exhaust system developed holes ($$$ repair)

    There are more but have forgotten. I estimate my year cost in mechanic fees to be about $800 year to keep this car in good working condition. The shop who changes my oil always needs to tell me how difficult it is to reach filters with this car. My family tells me to stop dumping money into car. But its paid off, I don't want $300 car payment back each month and I actually like the car

  16. #14
    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    B5.5 Passat Electrical Problems

    I was just talking electrical. Even my other repairs were minimal and all done by me so just the cost of parts. Had since 24k miles


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    I think the dash fade was the only electrical issue on my youngest son's 2000 Passat wagon. He has about 240K on it now, bought it with 147K 4-5 years ago. Mine was great apart from the window switch and fading dash, then I decided to swap the engine and trans. Multiple electrical issues afterwards, harness was swapped intact, no rust on the car and grounds are clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ar393 View Post
    Only electrical issues were due to corroded grounds in the engine bay. couple blasts of CRC Knock'er loose ate that rust away and all is good.
    Quote Originally Posted by PZ View Post
    I think the dash fade was the only electrical issue
    I lied, so I have the fading dash issue as well. Nothing I'm willing to do about that for now.

  19. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtonis View Post
    2. Moon roof opens on its own sporadically.
    3. Dash board lights are now faded.
    2. Needs new switch. Contact cleaner may or may not take care of it.
    3. I think we've all been there. Mine did it; wife's is doing it. I really have a hard time calling that one an "electrical problem", though. ((shrugs))

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