2017 Facelift Leon - Total System Failure

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
Well, after six months of waiting I got my new 67 plate 1.4 DSG Leon two weeks ago. :D

I bring to you a long tale of woe.

Today after 690 miles, and whilst on a mini break 300 miles from home, it's broken. :headhurt:

Driving along, as normal. Warning appears: Electric Parking Brake Fault. Then, front assist failure. Then lane assist, followed by: Auto wipers, parking sensor, rear camera, rear lights, front lights, headlamp range control, adaptive cruise control, power steering, auto hold, start stop, keyless entry... all failed. Dash lit up light a Christmas tree. Warning bings, red triangles, yellow triangles, every warning light on. The alarm led on the passenger door started flashing.

Then the speedo and tachometer needles went to zero. The dash lights went out. The media system switched off. Engine still running. Car still driving, but dead at the same time. Indicators not working, no brake lights, no headlights, nothing responding on any of the stalks or buttons. I pulled into a side street and stopped. Engine off. Still bings and lights going off. Then, just one error:

Driver door contact switch.

Remote fob would not lock or unlock the car. Opening the doors, none of the interior lights worked. The ignition start/stop button was unlit, yet the lights-on green telltale by the headlamp switch remained illuminated (headlamps actually off) regardless of what position you set it to. The heater controls and media system were lit, media system actually kept working as it showed my position correctly on the sat nav. Electric windows would work now and then, but almost at random. Global close via the fob worked, but only on the sunroof. Global opening did not. The front running lights stayed on, but cycled between full brightness, dimmed and off.

I'd been over a bit of rough ish road about three miles beforehand (cobblestones on coast road outside of Scarborough if anyone knows where I'm talking about). I figured maybe a wire or fuse had come loose. So I pushed every single fuse and relay to make sure it was seated properly. Nothing.

Called SEAT assist. Guy turns up an hour later. It's now 1330.

By 1500 he'd checked through most of the contacts and earthing. This included taking the instrument cluster out :blink: We (I was helping - well, holding torches and passing tools - cos I didn't fancy standing around in the cold doing eff all) had the majority of the dashboard in bits, glovebox out, battery disconnected, reconnected, jump pack attached, detached, etc. He was speaking to his tech guy on the phone, who had no idea what the culprit was as it was such a long list of component failures- however we all agreed something electrical was going wrong.

Then we moved down to the area by the bonnet release handle - the kick panel/sill cover region by the passenger footwell. As the technician was banging some trim into place, the car sprung into life. Ignition on. Start/stop illuminated. Lights working, etc. My door error got replaced with 'move gear-lever to position'P'. It was in'P' already. :shrug:


At this point there was a mad scramble to pair up his laptop with the obd to see if we could find the fault report. Roadside can't access the fault log without the ignition being on, and as everything was dead, it was only now 90 mins after he arrived that we could get something. But, within 60 seconds, the car threw up a fault : Electric Parking Brake. Then it went through the exact same sequence as it did when I was driving along, before basically shutting down.

We pulled the sill panel off on the passenger side (what an absolute :censored: of a task that was). There were a group of plugs in there, and wiggling them around made the car temporarily go back to normal, before shutting off again. We then located 6/7 earth wires midway along the base of the passenger fron door sill. Took them off, cleaned each of them, and re attached them... TIGHTLY. Once again, the car sprang into life. This time though, it stayed alive. We wiggled the connector block, poked and pulled and bashed a few things, and still the car remained alive. At one point I had upwards of 10 faults showing on the media system vehicle status page but there were now no 'new' faults and no repeat of the shutdown either.

We fired the car up. Engine started. Lights on, all normal, barring the error symbols.

Plugged laptop in. Reset fault codes, and then the roadside guy did some kind of SEAT konami code stuff which involved starting the engine and moving the steering lock-to-lock to reset/recalibrate something.

It was now 1640. Four hours since I'd pulled over. Over three hours since the guy got to me and the car was in bits. Confident that we'd solved the issue we bashed the trims back on (equally :censored:), and I drove the car round for 3 miles. All good, but a day of my mini holiday lost.

With the issue fixed, I continued my journey north (after 3 days in Scarborough I had two more in Newcastle). By now it was gone 5pm, and I just wanted to get to my hotel.



65 ish miles later, on the A19, an unlit dual carriageway, there was a bing from the car.


Parking brake fault.

Then:
ACC fault.
Lane assist fault.
Power steering.
Put gear lever in P.
Then the dials dropped.
Then they came back.
Wing mirrors folded on their own.
Then unfolded.
Dash cycled from daytime illumination, to dim, to off.
Media system turned off and on.
The rear wiper started going, then stopped.
More faults appeared.
Indicatiors failed.
No brake lights. (I could tell cos there was no red glow on the road when I touched the pedal).
No hazard lights.
Possibly no rear position lights.
Engine kept running. Headlamps stayed on (thankfully!!).

I had a car behind me, pitch blackness outside, no street lighting and no way of making any visual indication to anyone else that I needed to stop the car. I didn't know if the tail lights were still on even. I didn't know if the headlamps were about to go off at any moment.

All of this happened in the space of 30 seconds or so, at 70mph on a busy, unlit, dual carriageway, in the dark.

I pulled the car into a lay-by. Hit the button to kill the start-stop system (not knowing if it would make any difference) and stopped the car. Left engine running, lever in N this time, parking brake on. Thankfully the start stop system did not cut in.

The dashboard was still going crazy with errors etc.

Got out, went round to passenger side, and banged my foot against the bonnet release handle area. Lo and behold.... car goes back to normal. I turned the hazards on, then called SEAT again.

It was now 1950. I could not sit in the car cos the lay by was not separated from the carriageway, and with lorries etc coming past no more than 3 feet from the vehicle, I would have been a fool to stay in the car.

So now I'm in the dark and cold too.

SEAT sent the AA out. Took about 40 mins from call until the guy arrived. Whilst I was waiting I was watching my (still idling) Leon do its best impression of the girl from 'The Exorcist'.

Sometimes all the hazard lights would work. Sometimes just the rear. The front DRL lights would go from amber and normal, to the old bright-white, dim-white, off and back again. Inside I could see the dashboard going from normal, to fault reporting Christmas tree, to off, then back again. Sometimes the alarm led would flash, sometimes it wouldn't.

Then, a new one - the wing mirrors would both fold and unfold. Sometimes they'd turn their amber strip lights on and leave them on too.

When the AA guy arrived (I'd spoken to him when he was on the way), the Leon did another new trick. Driver mirror folded, passenger mirror unfolded.

I would not have been in the slightest bit surprised to have seen all the doors fall off and the suspension collapse 'clown-car' style by this point.

Thankfully there was no messing with the AA chap. No point in even looking at it. We agreed that the only option, at 2045 on a Friday, was to tow this upstart Leon back down to Kent, some 320-ish miles away. AA guy made a couple of calls, got relay contractor booked, hire car process started and that was that.

My parents were with me (in their well behaved new Ateca :rolleyes:). So I left the key and the naughty Leon with the AA guy, and continued to my hotel.

Tomorrow (rather 'this' as it's gone midnight) morning I am told there'll be a hire car brought up to my hotel for me to keep until the Leon is fixed.

Meanwhile the Leon will be spending the next 48 hours on a trailer heading back to Caffyns in Tunbridge Wells. Who, I trust, upon seeing it, will fix whatever the hell is wrong with it.


I endured a 6 month wait for this car thanks to horrific factory lead times.

I know things go belly up now and then with mass produced items - I once had a Mazda 3 diesel that broke two days after delivery and was off the road for 2 months - but after the ludicrously long waiting time, later than planned-for delivery... to have this new car fail so spectacularly so soon, ruining my mini break (with family who are over from Australia too) - my ability to view it as ' :censored: happens' is being sorely tested.

The other huge concern is that I can almost guarantee there will be a collective shoulder shrug in SEAT land about what is causing this issue. I was going to keep this car for 4+ years, maybe longer - and you simply cannot help but have your trust in the product dented by things like this. Further, the fault is unlikely to be isolated to just this one car. If it's a broken wire or loose cable, perhaps, but it may be a defect that exists on many vehicles - and it's no bloody joke when you're in the dark and playing exorcist-car-roulette down a busy unlit A road.

With that being said, Stuart / Stewart from VW roadside, who came out and spent almost FOUR hours getting the thing moving the first time should be commended for his efforts. Each of those guys has a time allocation for each job before a tow should be commenced, and I think he bust the limits on that several times over. Im actually quite gutted that it turned out to be all for nothing. You could say 'it's his job'... but it was a case of above and beyond the requirements. Well above and well beyond. Chances are - cos it's how big companies work - he'll get flak from the bosses about the time taken, but the guy could not have done anything more with the tools he had available to him. There will be many others that would have pulled the plug on it and had it towed, but he was determined to tame the Leon. And, tame it he did, sadly only for 65 miles but mission well acccomplished.

Also the second AA guy - don't think I was kept hanging around more than 10 mins before he'd got recovery booked and on way, and hire car process started. Perhaps some others may have insisted on doing the procedure and process with little regard for the more sensible customer focused approach of 'customer first, procedures second'. Hopefully ALL those guys/girls are like the two I saw today. Ideally, you'll never need to find out. If you're near Scarborough and break down though, Stuart/Stewart from VAG roadside is the guy you want :)

So as 1am ticks past, the 67 plate Leon is probably now sitting in a compound flashing lights and wiggling wing mirrors before starting its journey to Tunbridge Wells. As I mentioned beforehand, I had the delivery delays troubles, and my parents Ateca (same dealer) had its own post delivery problems too. I hope that there's a few sharp intakes of breath and maybe a bit of brown trousers going to go on at Chez Caffyns when they see my 67 plate turn up there.

I expect a first time right fix from them and regular updates and reports. As for the loss of time and HUGE inconvenience.... we will see what happens in that regard, hopefully this time around it will turn out to be SEAT UK contacting me rather than me having to contact them.



Well done if you read all this.

If you did, and if you've got a weird fault/possessed Leon.... kick the panel by the bonnet release. If anyone has had anything like this happen to their MK3s I'd appreciate some info too :)

Bedtime!! :sleeping:
 

SRGTD

Active Member
May 26, 2014
1,268
573
Wow! That’s one bad experience to have with a new car. It it had been me, I think it would’ve dented my faith in the car.

I hope it’s fully resolved very soon. Good luck!
 

dephead2004

Active Member
Aug 3, 2013
923
11
You have two weeks left to reject the car. Realise this is a last ditch option but that level of failure must be unprecedented and highly dangerous for you and other road users. Get some professional advice so you know what your options are
Really sorry
 

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
Wow! That’s one bad experience to have with a new car. It it had been me, I think it would’ve dented my faith in the car.

I hope it’s fully resolved very soon. Good luck!

Thks :) Its knocked the trust I have in it as a 'keeper', but having been through the same type of thing before with my Mazda, I hope it can be fixed. It's waaaay better quality wise than my pre Facelift one was.

You have two weeks left to reject the car. Realise this is a last ditch option but that level of failure must be unprecedented and highly dangerous for you and other road users. Get some professional advice so you know what your options are
Really sorry

Cheers Dep - found a handy link online http://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/rejecting-a-car/

I don't really wanna reject it but as you say, it's a big, big failure of the whole electrical system. If what had happened during the first time had taken place in the dark instead then I'd have been in a layby on an unlit dual carriageway with a totally unlit car too. Or a hard shoulder...

People hit cars that are stationary with lights ON and street lighting, never mind in the dark with no lights. I think if itd been totally off, I'd have needed a police car pronto. It was only the earlier experience that gave me the idea to kick the car.

Will keep all posted :)
 

Mikeyh22

Active Member
Oct 18, 2014
49
4
Bolton
I got my new fr just before you bubbs and I’ve noticed an intermittent rattle recently when setting off but I think I’ll shut up after reading your post! Hope it gets fixed. Worst thing is when you keep getting told it’s fixed but then find the fault reappears. I had a bad fault on a new ford Orion years ago where the garage ended up adding a fault to the original. Was in the garage more than I was in work and was expecting an invite to their Christmas party as part of the staff.:)
 

dephead2004

Active Member
Aug 3, 2013
923
11
Caffyns has got quite a good name although they are not the force they were years ago. Just remember 30 days before the argument gets much greater.

On the other hand if it's just a huge big plug that's a bit loose and they can put it back and demo the car to you with them driving , then that's better than waiting forever for another
 

dephead2004

Active Member
Aug 3, 2013
923
11
Thks :) Its knocked the trust I have in it as a 'keeper', but having been through the same type of thing before with my Mazda, I hope it can be fixed. It's waaaay better quality wise than my pre Facelift one was.



Cheers Dep - found a handy link online http://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/rejecting-a-car/

I don't really wanna reject it but as you say, it's a big, big failure of the whole electrical system. If what had happened during the first time had taken place in the dark instead then I'd have been in a layby on an unlit dual carriageway with a totally unlit car too. Or a hard shoulder...

People hit cars that are stationary with lights ON and street lighting, never mind in the dark with no lights. I think if itd been totally off, I'd have needed a police car pronto. It was only the earlier experience that gave me the idea to kick the car.

Will keep all posted :)

That's a great site. Might bookmark it. Who knows....
 

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
I got my new fr just before you bubbs and I’ve noticed an intermittent rattle recently when setting off but I think I’ll shut up after reading your post!

Yeah in your case, maybe DON’T bang anything :);)

Today I got the SEAT assistance replacement car:

It’s a black knackered 16 plate 34500 mile Manual 1.2 SE 5dr Leon.

The only bit of that which makes it equivalent to mine is the Leon bit. Not at all impressed that I have a DSG automatic and yet was given a manual transmission hire car which has no Sat Nav.. Not sure if it has cruise control either. :wtf: Really & truly this particular example of he 1.2 is a piece of junk, because it’s clearly been thrashed from the get go... but I will wait until I am home (still up north atm) and THEN stress out about it.

Determined not to have some bloody car wreck my week off, and I am :censored: if I’m wasting what little holiday time I’ve got left running around making phone calls and chasing cars.
 

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
Caffyns has got quite a good name although they are not the force they were years ago. Just remember 30 days before the argument gets much greater.

On the other hand if it's just a huge big plug that's a bit loose and they can put it back and demo the car to you with them driving , then that's better than waiting forever for another

Caffyns managed to make my 63 plate squeaky clutch pedal stop squeaking after3 previous attempts by other dealers, so I have a bit of confidence that they’ll fix it. I hope it’s something like a loose plug, or a broken cable, or blown computer. Something that can be proved to be faulty. Will not accept ‘think it’s fixed’... it’s got to be ‘definitely fixed’.

I’m gonna have some fun with my next SEAT UK contact email I think :D
 

Pinky

Active Member
Sep 27, 2015
185
8
Wow. I have never heard of a total, step by step, failure like that on any car.

I do hope its a single obvious fix.

Admire your sense of humour. The clown car reference made me chuckle.
 

Mikeyh22

Active Member
Oct 18, 2014
49
4
Bolton
Bit off topic, but the clown reference made me think of the Audi advert that’s out now where the “clever” Audi cars avoid the clowns in other cars doing stupid things. In my experience it’s the Audi cars that are driven by clowns and it’s them that need to be avoided!
 

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
Car’s at dealer now. Got a nice mail from the aftersales manager out of the blue this morning (I was in sleepy land!).

Initial indications appear to suggest that the rear washer pipe is leaking, spraying water onto the connector blocks in passenger footwell. I’ve only used the washer once - on the day of breakdown - so hoping that it’s not fried anything too much.
 

KXL

KXL
Dec 15, 2016
1,503
170
London, UK
You sure it's not one of the auto-bots from Transformers movies? I know there's the Camaro (Bumblebee), but there was also a Ferarri 458, maybe the new one is a Seat Leon :p Eg...it throws up all lights, have mirrors folding and unfolding...when you kick it on the side, it behaves again, and there's a long tow back to the dealer/workshop (NEST perhaps) to discipline it and sort it.

Back to the real world...sounds like a bummer...I also feared for all these new 'high electrics moving computers on wheels' cars...that when one thing goes everything goes. At least (I believe) from the old Leon and my current Ibiza, I haven't got button start, so it's still manual key turn, this should still work if all electrics failed, and in place of that e-parking brake, if need be...I can still slow the car down by gently using the handbrake. From what I gathered, you could at least still steer the car when all the electrics failed.
 

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
The 458 was the one that turned into a BBQ wasn’t it? :p

Just had a chat with service manager - certainly appears to be a fault induced by a dripping washer hose connector, as that hose runs right alongside the electrical connectors in the footwell region. Could well have just worked itself loose, maybe the hose connector wasn’t clipped tightly, or something, but they’re gonna see about replacing the hose connector to be on safe side.

Happy with progress and contact so far, the dealer has the car all week so plenty of time to test it thoroughly once it’s been put back together again. :)
 

KXL

KXL
Dec 15, 2016
1,503
170
London, UK
The 458 was the one that turned into a BBQ wasn’t it? :p

Just had a chat with service manager - certainly appears to be a fault induced by a dripping washer hose connector, as that hose runs right alongside the electrical connectors in the footwell region. Could well have just worked itself loose, maybe the hose connector wasn’t clipped tightly, or something, but they’re gonna see about replacing the hose connector to be on safe side.

Happy with progress and contact so far, the dealer has the car all week so plenty of time to test it thoroughly once it’s been put back together again. :)

The one that turned into BBQ was the American pickup truck (weapon's specialist, Iron Hide) in the 3rd series.

Will Seat give you any compensation for your the 'troubles.' Maybe haggle for a free service hee hee... :rolleyes:
 

Bubbs

Active Member
Jul 18, 2013
209
5
The leon is fixed!!!

It's FIXED:thumbup:

Here's what happened (screencaps from a video from the dealership) -

Down behind the bonnet release there are a load of plugs:
10ykt4n.png


And just above them, there's this black and white thing. It's the rear washer pipe.
2duvyhu.png


The pipe was leaking, so whenever you used the rear washer it made the pipe do a little wee all over the connector blocks and also running down into the footwell. Water+electric things = Clown Car Leon :) . Water mark here is from where the technician had tested the rear washer for leaks:

2i6i4cj.png


Caffyns then cleaned all the area, took apart the connectors, cleaned all contacts with electrical cleaner and made sure everything was dry, then reassembled. No more faults. :)

To be certain, the service manager then used my car for a day, to make sure that the problem didn't reoccur, using washers etc, then checking for further leaks. All was well.

I'd been told that the car would be fully cleaned - sure enough this morning it was ready to go and just as if I'd been picking it up on new-car collection day. The labels I'd peeled off on day one (dealer adverts ;)) had been replaced too (I've peeled those off now as well haha).

The fuel tank was full - Even the tyres had been given a bit of the black stuff :D

The biggest surprise- a really unexpected nice touch, was what I found on the passenger seat:

15yi6gk.jpg


Top marks to Paul & everyone at Caffyns Tunbridge Wells. 12/10. :clap: They made a bad situation become the most trouble free and well communicated experience I've had with any dealer, ever.

Hopefully I can now get to work putting my dash cam in, and my new aluminium pedals, and have a few years of trouble free motoring too :D
 
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