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Discussion Starter #1
first of all this is on a 99.5 a4 1.8tqm

When I am driving, occasionally my warning lights on the dash will flicker on and off. Its pretty much all the warning lights, low fuel, seat belt, oil, etc. and when I say they flicker I don't mean a steady flash, but they just go crazy, looks like a damn rave when they are all going nuts. aslo, don't know if this means anything but before everything goes crazy, the low fuel light will flicker a few times by itself (almost a full tank currently) and then the rest start shortly after.

It is totally random, and sometimes when they all start flashing a lot the car will start to cut out. It never dies all the way but the revs drop, it feels like I am letting off the gas in 1st or 2nd gear and getting back on it, so it bucks back and forth. As an example, tonight I drove about 20 minutes at 70mph no problem, turned onto another highway and it started bucking so bad I couldn't maintain more than 45-50, but if I floored it I could get up to highway speed.

I am going to check for loose connections to the cluster, and other obvous things like broken/badly corroded grounds, is there anything else I should look for? I can't imagine it is super serious since it drives perfect 80% of the time, but that 0ther 20% is so bad that I need to get it figured out quick, it already sabotaged my NYE plans because I don't trust it for 60 miles on the interstate.

Thanks
 

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Well they say 90% of all issues are mechanical problems, but i can't see anything but an electrical problem here. Try to figure out when does it happen, what i mean is does it start to occur after lets say hitting a bumpy road, very humid conditions, or any other factors that can trigger this problem you are having. It seems to be a loose connection like you might have stated, but that could be hard to find. Hook it up to a VAG-COM and see does it give any errors.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As far as what triggers it, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. I took it out on the highway, it drove perfect for 20 minutes, terrible for 5, turned around to come back home, it drove crappy for a couple more miles, then perfect the other 20 miles to go home.

I will run the Vag-com on it and see what comes up.

The only things I have done recently to the car is I put in a new CD player, but it already had an aftermarket one, so no new wiring was done, just a couple butt connectors to power the radio.

The other thing I did recently was an oil change. A little oil spilled on the coilpack by the oil fill hole and a bit got on the ground on the valve cover. I wiped it up with shop towels, could that cause any issues?
 

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Check the little connection on your positive side of the battery. The wire is held by a 10mm screw or 8mm, not sure but make sure it is tight. Happened to me when I first got the car, plus the battery I had when it was first bought was a lawn mover battery:facepalm:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, ran the Vag Com and no codes other than the ones I knew I had already.

A friend of mine who is pretty good with electonics thought it might be something shorting out behind the radio area since I just installed a cd player there about a week ago. It looks like there are quite a few wire looms running back there, does that seem like it might be a likely cause?

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Well it depends where the radio was tapped into for the + - and ACC, but i dont think that would be strong enough to give you such problems. Check them battery terminals also like stated by one of the fellow member.. I have a diesel and my car drove fine with the terminal unplugged but i know petrol cars are different.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Did some more digging so here's the update.

I cleaned the main battery ground, the connections at the postive post, the ground on the firewall below the coolant res, and the 2 ground lugs underneath the drivers kick panel. all looked pretty good, but I sanded them shiny anyway, no change.

My buddy came over and we did a couple test drives and here is what we found.

The lights start flickering around ~2500 rpm, but don't always flicker everytime the engine is at that rpm.

The 372 fuel pump relay clicks when the car bucks, so I would suspect it is fuel cut that is causing the bucking. Also, the check engine light comes on briefly everytime the car bucks, but so far it hasn't shown any codes.

I pulled the cd player out, and moved all the wires around that I could, hopefully eliminating any shorts that might be happening, but nothing changed. Not ruling it out, but I am thinking a chafed wire behind the stereo is less likely now.
 

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Does your car have an aftermarket alarm/starter?

When my compustar alarm/starter combo's 'brain' crapped out my car's dash cluster would stay lit and flicker like crazy after you pull the key out.

Check your negative battery terminal and make sure all the grounds are in check

When you got your aftermarket deck installed did YOU install it or a shop?
Did you use a harness wire adapter or did you splice in all your wires into the stock concert/symphony harness? What did you tap your (+) and ground into?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
When you got your aftermarket deck installed did YOU install it or a shop? Did you use a harness wire adapter or did you splice in all your wires into the stock concert/symphony harness? What did you tap your (+) and ground into?
I installed the new cd player, but all of the wiring was done professionally 2 owners ago. It has an amp for the speakers and an amp for the sub, so I wired up 4 wires to the deck (power, ground, signal and memory power I think) and the rest was handled with the RCA cables.

I just clipped off the old but connectors and spliced in new ones of my own. I did pull out the cd player and pulled all the wires so they are hanging out of the dash to hopefully eliminate any problems cause by wires rubbing or shorting out.

No aftermarket electronics other than that, stock alarm which works to the best of my knowledge, don't have a key fob so I don't know about the functionality of my keyless entry.


Another thing I noticed on the drive in to work is that if I keep the revs below 2000rpm, it doesn't ever seem to buck or have flashing lights, so something is either backfeeding electricity above a certain rpm, or possibly a certain amount of vibration at that rpm is causing problems somewhere.

I am pretty close to just tearing out the dash and going through all the wires behind the stereo, I just am hoping there are a few other easy things to check before I have to get that crazy with it.

Are there any other ground locations behind the dash I should be checking besides the one under the drivers kick panel?
 

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Power, ground, signal, and memory? When I did mine I think I only used ignition power, ground, and constant power.. I would suggest removing the CD player and electrical taping off all the loose wire ends to prevent wires touching. Then try to run your car.
 

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So....I bought a B5 A4. It's doing LITERALLY the same exact thing as you are describing. Did you end up finding the problem?

This thread was my savior, then it just died... No results.

Thanks
Nick
 

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So....I bought a B5 A4. It's doing LITERALLY the same exact thing as you are describing. Did you end up finding the problem?

This thread was my savior, then it just died... No results.

Thanks
Nick
My girlfriends 99 1.8TQ does similar things as well. She doesn't have the LCD screen but little windows for each light, and from time to time I catch them out of the corner of my eye flashing once on and off (like...for less than a second).

I have just chocked it up to a bad ground somewhere or a wire shorting. No pattern has been found, it happens at random points.
 

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I'll go ahead and bump this thread for great justice.

My '99.0 started doing the exact same thing this morning. I previously had an intermittent issue with the alternator that "fixed" itself, but now I'm wondering if that's related. Too much noise on the lines can cause all sorts of weird issues.

Anybody else that posted previously have any luck?
 

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my 00' VR6 just did this today in the middle of a 1.4 hour drive. It happened for about 5 seconds, all the instruments in the cluster started flashing and dying down to the point where it reset my clock and odometer. i have to say it was the fist time it happened and it was raining moderately. the rain might have had something to do with it although it was strange cause it was so brief. seems fine now but will keep my eyes open and re post if it happens again and or if find a solution to this problem.
 

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Bump for solution

Been having the same problem. Started a year ago stopped over the summer and started again over the winter. Now it's all the time. Not dependent on revs at all. It's just like a Christmas tree flashing on my dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I realize I became the person I hate the most on internet forums. I figured it out and forgot to post back.

It was a loose ground on the valve cover. The little 10 mm bolt by the coil packs.

No idea why that is the ground that screwed everything up, but that is what it ended up being. One of my friends is a mechanic, and gave me the advice of checking grounds any time there is a weird electrical issue. According to him, it can cause all sorts of different problems, some constant, some intermittent, and as he said they are fairly easy to check, and usually free/cheap to fix if they are the problem.
 

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first of all this is on a 99.5 a4 1.8tqm

When I am driving, occasionally my warning lights on the dash will flicker on and off. Its pretty much all the warning lights, low fuel, seat belt, oil, etc. and when I say they flicker I don't mean a steady flash, but they just go crazy, looks like a damn rave when they are all going nuts. aslo, don't know if this means anything but before everything goes crazy, the low fuel light will flicker a few times by itself (almost a full tank currently) and then the rest start shortly after.

It is totally random, and sometimes when they all start flashing a lot the car will start to cut out. It never dies all the way but the revs drop, it feels like I am letting off the gas in 1st or 2nd gear and getting back on it, so it bucks back and forth. As an example, tonight I drove about 20 minutes at 70mph no problem, turned onto another highway and it started bucking so bad I couldn't maintain more than 45-50, but if I floored it I could get up to highway speed.

I am going to check for loose connections to the cluster, and other obvous things like broken/badly corroded grounds, is there anything else I should look for? I can't imagine it is super serious since it drives perfect 80% of the time, but that 0ther 20% is so bad that I need to get it figured out quick, it already sabotaged my NYE plans because I don't trust it for 60 miles on the interstate.

Thanks
This sounds like the exact issue I am having in my 96' Toyota Avalon
 
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