Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Beep" Under Dash

So three weeks ago I noticed an irregular, random high-pitched "beep" from under the dash of my '11 GTI. I noticed it right after my wife came back from driving the GTI to Pittsburgh. During that trip she rolled past the 20k miles for the scheduled service reminder, which then "gonged" at me each startup.

I didn't pay much attention to the beep at first, since it coincided with the service reminder; probably same issue? I can ignore the service reminder, so I can ignore the beep. I'll get the car serviced next week or whatever (hell, the service is free, right...?) The noise was not startling or anything, just a random audible "beep".

Well, the following week we were going to drive the GTI to the NJMP 12 Hour, so I decided to have the service done beforehand. Thea took it in and I asked her to discuss the beep with the service manager (she heard it during the Pittsburgh trip). Car got serviced quickly, but Service Manager says he never heard it...What, did you wait, like, only 30 seconds or something? OK, whatever.

Thea and I took off a couple days later for NJMP...and that beep was still there. All day. All weekend. Even with the car turned off. During our 5 hour journey (each way) it became a game for us to predict when it would beep...and neither of us won. We used the iPhone's stopwatch to create a lap chart to find out if it was predictable...it wasn't. And it seemed to never come from the same place: left, center, right of the dash? I even used the iPhone to capture the sound so I could bring it to the dealer...and all through the rest of the weekend it was always there.

At this point I was getting a bit annoyed. I went through the owner's manual...nothing. Even thought about posting something here, but I wasn't going to give you rat bastards the opportunity to make inane VW CEL jokes (the CEL  wasn't on, so f**k you). In desperation I decided to post up on VWHortex to see if anyone had heard of this, and no one had...several suggested that I or the dealer had installed some kind of aftermarket security system or something, but since I had purchased this car literally off the showroom floor with 16 miles on it and there were no "additional charges", I didn't think so.

So last night I'm sitting on the sofa having a beer, responding to posts on VWVortex, and I decided to grab a flashlight to check it out myself. Opened the door, slid the driver's seat back, pulled out and shook off the floor mat, and "assumed the position" -- upside down. Nothing seemed out of whack, all common VW plastic hoses and ducting, common German wiring harness, no ScotchLocks, no aftermarket butt connectors, no straggling wires. Digging and prodding, changing the focus of my eyes near and far, looking for anything non-Teutonic.

Then, suddenly, BEEP!!! Right by my chin.

I pulled my head back a foot and look up, and sticking out, right there at the bottom edge of the front lower dash panel, was a piece of white racer tape, curled up over the top edge. What the...? I scrunch down further, pull my elbow in by my side to get my hand up by my face, reach with my compressed wrist up to the area, curl my fingers around the edge of the dash panel and feel something. I grab, it, pull it out to find...
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Wait for it.....
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And then I think about it: when did this start? Three weeks ago. Right when the service light came on, right? Yup. And also right when I was at the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

You f****r.

"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. But I have skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you...and I will find you."

I have an idea of who you are; after all, white racer tape...? At the April NHMS event, one of the lowest-attended races for a long time...? And yet this one was good. Real good. Too good to keep to yourself, no matter how hard you try. Many a criminal has revealed himself in a drunken round of braggadocio...and you will, too.

Time is your enemy. And I have all the time in the world...

- tGA