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Hello All:

We have had quite a few discussions here in the forum over the past 6 months about problems that arise from low voltage on the Vehicle Power Supply Battery (the left side battery). As most of you know by now, if the voltage level drops below a certain level on this battery, the Phaeton will sometimes generate fault messages on the Y24 display (the screen between the speedometer and the tachometer), such as "Suspension Fault - Workshop" or "Running Gear Fault" or even "Brake Fault". Truth is, there is nothing wrong with any of these components - these messages are only being generated because of low voltage being supplied to the controllers for the different items such as suspension or ABS. Easy enough for us to say this in the forum, but that's small comfort to a new Phaeton owner when they are confronted with these stern messages during their first month of ownership.

This raises the question "Why is the battery voltage low in the first place?" As we have learned, there can be quite a few causes for low voltage on the Vehicle Power Supply Battery. In approximate order of probability, the causes are as follows:

1) New Phaeton owner is sitting in his or her Phaeton in the garage, listening to the awesome sound system, and reading through the owner manual, trying to figure out how the car works. Engine is off. After about an hour, the battery runs down.

2) Phaeton is at the VW dealer getting some kind of service done (maybe an oil change), and the Phaeton technician either does not hook up a battery maintaining system to the car, or, hooks it up to the terminals under the hood, instead of hooking it up to the Vehicle Power Supply Battery.

3) The Vehicle Power Supply Battery is 'worn out', because the Phaeton was sitting in the showroom as a demonstrator for 3 months - without a battery maintainer hooked up to the Vehicle Power Supply Battery - and the battery went flat so many times that now it is incapable of holding a full charge.

4) Something drains current from the Vehicle Power Supply Battery when the Phaeton is parked for a week, unused, in the garage. This might be the little portable fridge or DVD player an owner forgot to unplug from the 12 volt outlet, or, it might be some rare, strange fault of a system in the car that continues to draw power when it should not draw power.

5) For some reason, the Phaeton is not fully charging the (healthy) Vehicle Power Supply Battery when it is being driven.
I encountered the problem of false warning messages on my Phaeton several months ago. I took the car to my dealer, who checked the car out very carefully. He ruled out number 3 (above), because my dealer had installed a new left side battery as part of the PDI process - my Phaeton had been in the showroom for 6 months before I bought it. I knew the problem was not caused by item 1, and the Phaeton technician knew it was not caused by item 2. I ruled out problems that I might have caused related to item 4. We didn't think it was probable that I had a rare, strange problem of some other system. The guided fault finding system that the technicians use (part of the VAS 5052 scan tool) suggested that the generator be replaced. The tech at my dealership thought that was not a good idea, and disregarded that suggestion. So, that left item 5 as the only 'probable cause' of my low battery charge condition.

Around the same time, there were some posts made by other owners who were having the same problem. Joe (jmdpjd1) posted about his problems, and the experience he had - his dealer replaced both of the batteries. That post is here: Two bad batteries. Rodger (phaeton Also) posted about his problems in this thread Report on first 3000 mile trip. As you can see if you read his thread, he had a whole slew of problems, and his Phaeton technician replaced his J367 Battery Monitoring Controller with a new one at part number suffix C (software revision 2700) status.

Since my problems were happening at the same time as Joe and Rodger's, the Phaeton tech at my dealer and I decided we would wait a month or so, and see how things worked out for Joe and Rodger. In the meantime, Robert (iluvmcr) made a post about his electrical problems here: My Phaeton's electrical problems long gone, and that thread evolved into an interesting discussion of Principles of Troubleshooting.

Well - after six weeks passed, Rodger reported back that his Phaeton was trouble-free after having had the Battery Management Controller replaced. This whole issue of battery discharge also came up for discussion at the German Phaeton owner get-together, but the German owners reported that it was uncommon, and in any case, they never had to go back to their dealership more than once to get it fixed. I discussed this with the Phaeton tech at my dealer, and we decided that it would make sense to replace that same controller on my car. During the 6 week time period, I had been very careful to not do anything that would discharge the Vehicle Power Supply Battery, but despite that, my battery showed that it only held 80% of a full charge. Since we knew there was nothing wrong with the battery itself, the logical thing to do was to replace the Battery Management Controller.

I was allowed to watch the process, and I took some pictures for the forum. I won't really know for sure if this action - replacing the controller - was the right decision until about a month from now. I know that the 'baseline' charge level for my battery was about 80% (414 amps out of 480 total) before replacing the controller, and this was after 6 weeks of being very careful to not discharge the battery in any way. In about a month's time, I will take my Phaeton back to my dealer, and we will check the battery charge level again. If it is significantly higher than the baseline, then that should prove that we made the correct choice.

I'm not suggesting that replacing this controller is the magic answer for any electrical problem on a Phaeton. But, it does seem to have solved the problem for Rodger, and in a month or so, when I take the car back to have the battery charge level checked, we'll find out if my Phaeton is doing a better job of keeping the Vehicle Power Supply Battery fully charged as a result of replacing this controller.

Michael

Just a postscript: On the way home from my dealer, I stopped by another Toronto VW dealer just down the road, to say Hello to a forum member who works there as a salesperson. He showed me a Phaeton sitting on their back lot that VW had just bought back from a customer (they replaced it with a 2005). It was waiting for VW to pick it up and send it out for auction. I asked him what the problems were. It seems that Phaeton had all sorts of electrical problems - fault messages about suspension, brake faults, running gear faults, etc. - and it had been in for service numerous times, but the messages kept coming back. It's unfortunate that this buy-back happened, because I think we might have figured out how to identify, and possibly solve the cause of these problems. My guess is that a battery management controller replacement is less expensive than a buyback.

Checking the health of the battery using the special VW Battery Checking Tool
It is not necessary to take the battery out of the Phaeton to do this. It was just easiest to take pictures this way.




The printout from the Battery Checking Tool
Although my battery voltage was good (11.93 volts), the battery was not fully charged - only 414 amps out of a possible 480. The tool recommended that the battery be recharged. This was, we think, the key diagnostic point in figuring out the whole problem. If the battery was not fully charged after I had just finished driving the Phaeton for 100 miles on a summer day - then, the Phaeton was not sending enough 'recharge' back to that battery.


Part way through the disassembly process
The relay panel has been removed and set to one side, and the bolt holding the battery in place is being loosened.


Location of the J367 Controller


The old and new controllers
 

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Re: J367 Battery Monitoring Controller Replacement (PanEuropean)

Apropos of this same topic, I can't stress enough the great importance of hooking up a battery maintaining system to the Vehicle Power Supply Battery (NOT to the booster terminals under the hood) whenever any maintenance work is being done on a Phaeton. Normally, during maintenance work such as diagnostic scans or troubleshooting, the ignition is left on. A Phaeton will draw quite a bit of power if the ignition is on and the engine is not running - heck, just the daytime running lights (DRLs) alone draw a lot of power from the battery.

As most folks know, there are two batteries in each Phaeton. The one on the right side, the starter battery, is only used to start the car, and as emergency backup. The battery on the left side, the Vehicle Power Supply Battery (the larger of the two) is the one that powers all the comfort systems, such as lights, audio, and controllers.

There are two posts under the hood of a Phaeton that can be used to hook up external power for the purpose of boost-starting a Phaeton that has two dead batteries. The negative post goes directly to ground, the positive post leads to the starter itself, and to the starter battery. It does not connect to the Vehicle Power Supply Battery, unless the battery paralleling relay is closed - and the battery paralleling relay is normally open, not closed. This means that you cannot maintain the charge on the Vehicle Power Supply Battery by hooking up a charger to the posts under the hood! You have to hook the battery maintainer (or battery charger) up directly to the top of the Vehicle Power Supply Battery.

Below are some pictures: The first picture shows how external power is connected to maintain the charge in the Vehicle Power Supply Battery at the Transparent Factory in Dresden (it's pretty safe to assume those folks know what they are doing!), and the second picture shows how my Swiss VW dealer keeps the Vehicle Power Supply Battery charged when they put a Phaeton in the showroom. The last picture is a wiring diagram of a Phaeton - it's pretty easy to see that electricity supplied to the posts under the hood will NOT feed the Vehicle Power Supply Battery.

Michael


Phaeton being assembled at the Transparent Factory in Dresden


Phaeton in showroom with battery maintainer hooked up



Wiring Diagram - note the open relay between the post under the hood and the Vehicle Power Supply Battery



The red (positive) terminal under the hood is identified as TV2 in the diagram above.
As you can see from looking at the diagram, it is impossible for power connected to this terminal to make it back to the vehicle power supply battery.
 

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Re: J367 Battery Monitoring Controller Replacement (PanEuropean)

Just a follow-up note to provide additional information about the battery testing procedure, using the special VW battery testing tool (the Midtronics MCR340V Battery Analyzer):

The attached PDF file provides detailed instructions for testing the batteries in a Phaeton. Whenever ANY kind of electrical problems are encountered (unusual warning displays, such as described in the posts above, Phaeton not starting properly, stuff like that) it is essential that the first step in the diagnostic procedure be to check the condition of the batteries, to rule out low voltage and/or a low charge condition from the batteries - especially the Vehicle Power Supply Battery, the left side one - before any further troubleshooting work is done.

There are two notes in this document that are worthy of special attention. First is the note at the top of page 3, which states "Phaetons with V8 or W12 engines: Go directly to the battery terminals. Do not use the remote location (under the hood)" Second is the note about halfway down the first page, which provides a reminder that the Vehicle Power Supply Battery (the left hand battery) in all Phaetons is an 'Absorbed Glass Mat' (AGM) battery, not a standard battery. It is important to select this type of battery prior to testing the Phaeton Vehicle Power Supply Battery.

Michael
 

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Re: J367 Battery Monitoring Controller Replacement (PanEuropean)

Here is a copy of a technical bulletin that VW put out that explains the importance of making sure that the vehicle power supply battery (comfort battery) is not allowed to discharge when the Phaeton is in the dealership for service.

The first two pages of the bulletin discuss pre delivery inspection, and re-emphasize the importance of ensuring that the battery is in a 'fully charged' condition prior to new car delivery, regardless of what the voltage present on the battery may be.

The third page of the bulletin is what is of more interest to us as owners (and of great importance to Phaeton technicians) - this discusses the need to keep an appropriate battery charge maintainer hooked up to the Phaeton when it is in the shop and the ignition circuit is switched on. Note that there are two different procedures discussed on the third page. The first procedure explains use of the "Charge Express" tool, which is sufficient if the ignition will only be on for 30 minutes or less. The second procedure explains the use of the INC-940 tool, which should be used if more extensive work is planned - in other words, if the ignition will be left on for more than 30 minutes.

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, there is nothing wrong with Phaeton batteries, in fact, the car is built with two very high capacity batteries in it. The nuance of the problem is this: If the car is in the shop being serviced, and the ignition is on but the engine is not running, the car will demand tremendous amounts of current from the batteries when all the different diagnostic checks are carried out - for example, when controllers are scanned for fault codes with a diagnostic scan tool. The same concern applies to owners who have a VAG-COM diagnostic scan tool - if you don't have one of the battery maintainers mentioned in the tech bulletin, then keep the engine running at all times when you are using the VAG-COM.

I hope I am not boring anyone by continually beating the drum about "maintaining battery charge capacity" - but, our experience here on the forum suggests that letting the charge capacity of the comfort battery decline seems to be the number one cause of problems that Phaeton owners encounter. It is so easy to avoid this problem if proper procedures are followed.

Michael
 

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Re: (BLVWTECHSJ)

Hi Christopher:

Welcome to the Phaeton forum! I'm glad you find the information useful. All of us who own Phaetons are pretty happy with our cars, but we have discovered (same as you) that because the car is so new, there is not a large body of knowledge out there yet with respect to maintenance, troubleshooting, diagnostics, and repair.

We have a Phaeton Forum 'Table of Contents' that is a good place to go if you are trying to find specific information. The third and fourth posts down in the table of contents (Troubleshooting Problems, Phaeton Technical Reference Material) contain information that is intended to be helpful for Phaeton Technicians and Service Advisers.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to post them. We are a pretty enthusiastic and curious group of owners.

Michael
 

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Re: (BLVWTECHSJ)

When I made the original post (above) about the battery controller replacement, I stated that I wouldn't really be able to come to a well-founded conclusion about the efficacy of this fix until the new controller had been in my Phaeton for a few weeks, and I then compared normal battery charge capacity pre and post controller replacement.

So, I waited a little over 3 weeks, to let everything normalize, and then drove up to my VW dealer to have them check the charge capacity of my Vehicle Power Supply Battery - the battery that supplies all the comfort systems on the Phaeton. This was a quick and simple test, it took about 5 minutes to do in the parking lot of the dealership, and the only disassembly required was removing the door from the electrical compartment in the trunk of the Phaeton. The tool used for this job - the Midtronics battery tester - is about the size of a portable calculator, and can easily be carried around. It is intended to be a portable tool.

I am very happy to report that the battery passed the test with flying colours - the tester reported that it was in good condition, fully charged, and no further attention was needed. This is the same battery that I have had since my Phaeton was new. I didn't use the car very much in the 25 days since the J367 battery management controller replacement - it was only driven about 200 miles in that time.

I think that this follow up test confirms the wisdom of the decision that the Phaeton technician at my dealership made - that being that the only intervention needed to fix all the low battery problems, spurious fault code problems, intervention load management problems, etc. was simply replacing the 'B' status controller with an updated controller at 'C' status. The controller itself is not cheap - I think it is about a $400 (retail) part - but, $400 for a part and one hour of labour charged to VW's warranty account is a heck of a lot less expensive than buying back the whole Phaeton, which unfortunately has been the process that some other owners have had to go through to get the same problem fixed.

I realize that one experience with one Phaeton is not sufficient to make a broad recommendation respecting the whole fleet, however, based on my own experience, I recommend that if other owners are encountering problems with maintaining a full charge on the comfort battery, the first step in the troubleshooting process should be considering replacing the battery management controller with a 'C' status controller if the existing controller is at 'A' or 'B' revision status.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone else who has had their battery management controller replaced - did this fix your problem? It seems to have done the job for Rodger and I.

Michael


The follow-up testing process - this took about 5 minutes in the parking lot


The result of the follow-up test - compare this with the original reading


Before and after test results
 

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Just got mine tested. it says, Rating 450 A(DIN)
13.54 volts 602A
Good Battery
Test Code 5WJAL2H-V21QNR3
This was done beacuse the system did not restore the Voltage to the Passenger (right Side window) after hibernation. And that one window would not operate. Only took about 1.5 hours of driving.
 

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Re: (PanEuropean)

I have been having some strange things happen with my car recently:
1. right side headlamp will not turn on. After cutting the ignition and restarting, everything is fine. happens about 3-4 times per week.
2. dashboard lights do not turn on initially. They turn on after about 1/2 mile. The red arm on the speedo is lit up but the background is not. Of course this happens at night - during the day, who knows.
3. volume of the audio system is still not working properly. Sometimes when I start the car up it is at zero even after I know it was turned up at last shutoff.
4. after the car was parked overnight recently, I got in the car and started driving and noticed that the trip data never reset to zero. I am talking about the info in the "since restart" menu. This is making me think the car never really shutdown that night. Perhaps this could be draining the battery and causing some other problems?
Does any of this sound similar to problems related to the battery controller?
 

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Re: (njwiseguy)

consistently - only item 3 - I am the only driver, and the volume is not consistent when I start the car. It has always been this way regardless of programming and reprogramming, andonly using one key.
I have had the headlight issue occur a few times (the automatic headlights) where they did not turn on, or turn on quickly, but that has not happened for about 6 months.
If some of the problams are consistently occurring, I know some have had battery issues, but when there is a battery issue, the problems are consistent over time. However, most of the situations that I am aware of, including my own, are so infrequent, that I think they are just electrical/software issues. I had these same type of issues with my Audi A6, and they could never be resolved, and they were not battery issues. Audi's are well known for there electrical issues, and it seems the Phaeton has some ofthe same characteristics. However,my Audi was much worse.


Modified by dzier at 2:40 PM 8-26-2005
 

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Re: (dzier)

Re: item 3, I thought this was discussed in another thread and the conclusion was that it is caused by either of two things:
1. You have the maximum initial volume user setting too low, or,
2. You are either opening the trunk or unlocking a door other than the driver's side door before getting into the driver's seat. This was thought to be intentional because the car "thought" you might not want the audio system to turn on and it mutes the sound. Adjusting any audio volume control at that point brings the volume up to the previously level.

Modified by car_guy at 1:00 PM 8-26-2005


Modified by car_guy at 1:29 PM 8-26-2005
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: (car_guy)

Correct - that audio problem was discussed in another thread recently. I think I need to go through the old posts and update the Forum Table of Contents. I'll look for the link later tonight.
Michael
 

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Michael,
As always, thank you for the fantastic job you do sharing critical information about the Phaeton with the forum. I swear, VW ought to keep you supplied with a Phaeton as long as they make the model.
~PC
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Re: (PhaetonChix)

Thanks, PC, that is very kind of you to say that.
BTW, we now have 4 participants in our 'test project' to do more research about this controller, so I am now going to forward the 4 names to Dresden, and the folks from Dresden will contact you to take things further. I had planned on doing this in person in Dresden this coming week, but my work schedule was changed and I have to go to Western Canada next week. So, I will get things set up by phone.
I met with Daniel (Swiss Phaeton) tonight in Zurich - he has the exact same car as I do, but with a few more options, and his serial number is very close to mine. His car also has the B version controller, and a diagnostic scan of his car shows the same problems as my car was having. So, he is now going to talk to his dealer and see if they will change the controller to a C version. I think there is a tech bulletin out in Europe about this, but I am not sure.
Michael

A postscript added much later: There IS a campaign out in Europe (more precisely, in the ROW, or 'Rest of World', which means everywhere except North America) to replace Battery Management Controllers that have an A or B suffix with a new controller that has a C suffix, which implies software 2700 or higher in the controller. It is Campaign 97J9, see criteria 11 of that campaign.

For North American Phaetons, the same campaign was called 'Campaign OH', and it is described in the TB posted further down on this page (June 28 2006 post). This TB might also be looked up under TB number 2011889.

Michael
 

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Hi Michael.
I have very same problem (with small modification). Yesterday I spended 15 hours (!!!) in my friends workshop, and we found out that on red wire that is going into this controller is normall 12V and on exit there is only 7 to 8 V. It makes my Phaeton crazy. We will fight with it tomorrow, but I'm afraid, I will have to buy (sic) and replace this controller. I saw yesterday this is B version.
Tomasz
 

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Re: (flanker27)

Tomasz,
What was the warranty on the 2003 Phaeton in PL? Depending on cost, it may be worth a phonecall to your local VW corporate representative or a plea to the service manager at your dealership.
 

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Hi again
This is second hand car, warranty eneded one month ago. I will call VW dealer in Poland and Germany on Monday and ask wheter they can replace this module as "factory defect" Otherwise I will have to buy this part :-(((
 

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It seems my battery went bad. It was replaced with 000-915-105-CE. The tech found faulty roof accessory modules and replaced them with updated modules. Part #s 3D0-947-106-AA-6C3 and 3D0-947-136-A-6C3. Everything is working well again. I am a happy camper.
 
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