2011 Jetta 2.0 Intermittent Starting Issues
Good day all bright mechanical minds,
I've come to a grinding halt here with the girlfriends car. I've scoured the Internet and a few of my other mechanical friend minds and we can't come up with a solution so hopefully you Jetta folks can lend me a hand! I'm a domestic truck guy so the German engineering I've never dove into them head first.
Background of the issue: Regardless of run time, outside temperature, or cold start with no consistency she'll attempt to start her car but the starter solenoid will click and the car won't turn over almost like the battery is dead or weak. I've boosted it and same result occurs. If you wait a few minutes without external power the car will start normally. This occurs randomly and the same issues prevail. Try to start once sounds like it's dead, wait a few minutes try again it starts. I figured something was up when she's only had the car for about 7 months and in this time I've (rather and incredibly painfully and frustratedly) changed both her head lights 3 times, finally making me put LED bulbs in. She did drive a fair amount at night, as she was working over nights when she bought the car but I've never seen 6 bulbs burn out in 7 months. Yes - they were high quality bulbs Sylvania from both Canadian tire (for the non-Canadians here it's a sorta amazing combination of automotive stuff, household appliances/supplies/housewares/repair supplies, outdoor/hunting/sports all under one roof anyways....) and Walmart for random hope of change. No difference. Even with the new LED bulbs in her car (by the way WAS NOT easy installing them in the stupid clip system these cars use for the H7 bulb) are starting to show problems. They do have the cancelers (resistor to provide load and a bridge rectifier to reduce that pulse in the current to eliminate the flickering) yet intermittently one of the other of the bulbs wont turn on until you toggle the headlights again, and sometimes they flicker.
Sorry for the novel I'm trying to not leave anything out for possible answers..
My homework/potential solutions:
So we bought her a new battery, as the indicator on the battery said it was toast so new battery went in. Problem was solved for a solid 3 weeks and it went back right to where we were. Alternator appears to be charging and functioning properly, peaking at 14.3 volts after starting and leveling out to about 13.6 volts after running for a while. No significant system drain either, normal draw for a few computers keeping themselves alive.
Found 2 solutions, don't like the work behind either of them, but what has to be done has to be done to fix the issue. The first one is pretty simplei-ish, it claims to be a wire between the steering wheel column and the fuse box that has corroded and doesn't carry current/commands properly.
The other solution is A LOT more intense. A member on a generic car forum said that they had the same problem, sent the car to their dealer. The dealer had their way with it for a week, tried everything under the sun. They eventually pulled the entire dash of the vehicle apart and found a computer (not sure of it's name or exact function) had water damage and was the source of the issue. The user said that their windshield had been recently replaced and safelite was called in to prove that their work wasn't the cause of the water damage. Further into their investigation they found a defective spot weld on the firewall that had been letting water into the car and into the computer. The dealer replaced the computer, repaired the spot weld and re assembled the dash at no charge to the customer. This resolved their issue. I would really rather not go this route as if it ends up not being a spot weld I can only imagine the bill from the dealer.....
I'm pretty much game to all routes of investigation and causes, your knowledge and experience is greatly appreciated!