VW Passat issues

Hi all

i have a W Reg Passat which would not start this morning. I assumed a flat battery. I bought home a jump back from work and still nothing. I checked all around, and can see that the negative wire has come away from the body of the car due to rust. How on earth (no pun intended) can I reattach this somewhere so I can get the car started.

Proud dad to Darcy.....


  • Mr.Generous
    Mr.Generous Posts: 3,266
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    A new earth strap costs £2.59 from Halfords. Ebay sell them as do car accessory shops. The whole chasis of the car is the earth so you can attach the new strap to any body or engine bolt you can remove and re-attach that fits the strap. If its to a painted body panel you need to chip or wire brush a bit of paint off so its metal to metal contact. After its bolted on paint over it, or just put some grease over the bolt and any bare metal.

      Halfords part number 165332 - Braided earth battery cable.

  • angrycrow
    angrycrow Posts: 1,078
    First Anniversary First Post
    It all depends on how the cable has failed.

    Most likely is the end of the wire has snapped off. In this case you can buy generic earth leads to replace it and bolt onto the existing fittings. If the actual anchor point has failed in the body work you will need to repair the hole and put a new bolt in, this will require a seam welded patch. As temporary solution you could put a new bolt somewhere nearby to fix the earth strap to. 
  • It has rusted away from the chassis with the bolt. So may have to put a new one in
    Proud dad to Darcy.....
  • It has rusted away from the chassis with the bolt. So may have to put a new one in

    Or use any other bolt. If that bolt doesn't go to the chassis then what it bolts probably does. Any metal contact will conduct the 12v - try it.
  • use a jump lead off the neg to the engine block, (always assuming the engine earth strap is good) to get to a car parts place
    Now we all know how it felt to play in the band on the Titanic...
  • "The whole chasis of the car is the earth", actually, with a steel monocoque car the whole shell is a possible earth, on a Reliant Scimitar (proper one) dont use the body...lol
    Now we all know how it felt to play in the band on the Titanic...
  • Goudy
    Goudy Posts: 1,428
    First Anniversary First Post
    It's not just all the plastic fantastic cars that don't use the chassis/body as the earth.

    A lot of older cars actually used a positive ground.
    So the + terminal connected to the body/chassis.

    Most manufacturers dropped this when car electrics went from 6v to 12v, but there were a few eastern block cars that got built like this until the 80's and 90's, like the FSM Syrena.

    But going back to the rusty earth problem, make sure the earth strap is thick enough and up to the job.
    Just as the positive side has a thick cable to power the high loads for things like the starter.
    The negative side needs just as thick cable and a clean mounting point.
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