Charging port locking issues. Won't lock or unlock - FIX and BYPASS

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Aug 9, 2020
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I have bypassed the issue. I think I have a path to fixing this issue, but I'm going to need some help, but more on that later.

Like many others, I have had the issue where I can't remove the charger because the lock is stuck, and just the other day, I had the problem with the lock wouldn't engage, and the car won't charge.

All 4 of the local VW 3rd party repair places wouldn't touch the car, and my VW dealer quoted me over $2000.00 for the repair. This repair in the word of the Dealer requires the replacement of not only the locking mechanism but also the entire charging port and to drop the battery. This is utterly ridiculous cash grab by VW and the dealer network. The real fix doesn't require this.

The problem isn't with the charge port, just with the lock mechanism, as charging won't engage until the lock is engaged, and you can't remove the charge cord if the lock doesn't disengage.

The Teardown

Today I tore into the car to see if I could find the part that does the locking. As with most things, everything you see here should be done at your own risk, and I take no responsibility if things go wrong.

1. I removed the wheel and the wheel well liner. My car only had 30k and was a mess after removing it. I'd suggest cleaning up a bit .

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2. I removed the "Charging" door flap and surround. I watched this YouTube video on how to remove the surround. Note you also need to disconnect this plug.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN3H43QGZ2k

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3. I unbolted the charge port and the charge port bracket.

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4. Unbolt the final bracket from the car.

5. Once that is done, you can now remove the locking pin from the charge port.

6. At this point, you should be able to see the lock solenoid. This is the part that is causing the issue. You will notice that it is wired into the harness of the car and can't be unplugged. Why VW. Why?

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Let's pause for a moment before I talk about the bypass. The real fix would be to replace the failed module. Simple. But VW has chosen not to make this replaceable and make us pay for extra parts that aren't broken and unnecessary labor.

The actual fix for this is to replace this. This could be done with a splice kit to add a connector where this is connected to the harness. Splice kits are something that VW sells for other issues, and this should be no different. My call to action is for us to figure out where we can get this part from and develop our splice kit to turn this $2000.00 repair into a ~$100 DIY Kit or a low-cost option for repair shops to help people.

The Part number is 5qe 915 651. In doing some google searching, I found that this part is also used on several of the PEHV Audi's and VW's, but it is also wired into the harness. I'll come back to this at the end.

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The Bypass.

Ok, because we don't have a place to get this part yet I decided to bypass the problem.

Now that everything is apart, I tested the charger by plugging in the charger and pulling on the solenoid. And the car started charging. SUCCESS!!!

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There a lot of ways in hindsight that I could have done this, but here's where I ended up.

1. Now that we have the locking pin removed, inspect it along with the solenoid box. The locking pin and its cord are removable and would recommend that you do and lubricate it. I used triflow.
2. Put your attention now to the solenoid. For my situation, I need to pull on the actuator on the solenoid manually. Once I did this, I tested charging the car. I plugged in the cable, waited for the orange light then I pull on the actuator. Then I saw that green charge light pulse. I jumped for joy and yelled, "WAHOOO."
3. Then I tried to stop charging by the usual means, and the actuator/solenoid started working again. I had two options at this point put it back together and hope it doesn't break again, or bypass the lock. I bypassed it. There were a few things I wanted for this. I wanted to be able to actuate the lock myself if it failed again and have it all done inside the charging compartment.
4. The first step was to make it so that I can grab the locking pin. I decided to drill a hole in the pin and then tap the hole. Also, I had these screw clips that I put on the locking pin bracket.

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5. I found a screw that will work for now, but I plan to put a threaded loop with a pull ring later.

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6. Next, I started putting everything back in its place except for the locking pin to the charge port.
7. While putting it, all back together used the gap in-between the charge port and the plate to place the locking pin.
8. With this placement next to the port, I measured and put a few holes in the charge port surround.
9. Put the surround in.
10. Slide the rubber surround over the charge port and then take some screws as attach the locking pin in its new location.

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11. That's it, and you're done!

The Fix

Currently, there is no other official fix for this. The crucial part of a fix is getting the solenoid that labeled 5qe 915 651. You have to buy the whole harness. I have zero connections to VW/Audi or how to get this part, but if any of you know where we can get this. Please add to this post.
 
Wow! Very impressive! Now I am a bit worried about this thing failing on my car.

I don’t have the time or equipment to perform your fix. What do you think about drilling and tapping a hole on the pin without all the tear down work? Other suggestions for an easy fix?
 
Be sure to always disengage charging with use of the solenoid in the normal order, as pointed out in your post on VWVortex the hot proximity unplug is not handled properly by VW and you can get arcing, e.g. https://www.myvwegolf.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=158&start=40#p7690

It's frankly shameful they way they've used the lock to bypass their dangerous implementation of the J1772 standard.
 
Excellent post and tutorial on accessing the charge point mechanism - thank you for that!

Not to disparage or blame you in any way, but I wonder if part of the reason your solenoid failed is due to dirt intrusion?

Ever since this problem surfaced a few years ago, I've been somewhat obsessive about keeping dirt/dust/sand out of the charge port area and spraying silicon lube on the pin...
 
Lubrication question for the plug lock solenoid plunger: Silicone spray, Teflon spray (Tri-Flow), Teflon dry lube (Finish Line), or graphite?

Also, has anyone tried to disable plug locking via OBDEleven?

Also, has anyone with this issue asked the VW dealer if there is a lubricant to use instead of replacing the parts for $2000? Or is it a forgone conclusion that the dealer would never offer a $2.00 solution when instead they could offer a $2000.00 solution?
 
I really have to wonder why VW didn't develop a splice kit and solenoid replacement procedure so that they wouldn't have to pay for this ridiculous repair under warranty. Obviously I don't expect them to care about the cost of repair out of warranty, I'm just surprised that they didn't want to save themselves some money.
 
miimura said:
I'm just surprised that they didn't want to save themselves some money.

With the size of VW and the comparatively small run of eGolfs it would likely cost them more to re-design, re-tool, re-document, re-train, etc. for the new part than it costs to just fix any that blow during the 3 year warranty (I did chuckle at all the bold 7 YEAR 100,000 MILE WARRANTY signs in the dealership when I bought my eGolf, all with fine print excluding the eGolf specifically.)
 
I just had another thought: Since the plunger is magnetically actuated, has anyone tried to pull out the plunger using a strong magnet?
 
I found this in another charge port problem thread - the locking solenoid seems to be the same that bmw uses, only theirs can be unplugged. Would replacing your failed solenoid assembly with this one solve the problem?
https://www.schmiedmann.co.uk/en/product/1978852-new?product=61-13-6-805-425

And here is the thread
https://www.speakev.com/threads/charging-port-total-failure.151411/#post-2843948
 
The thread you reference mentions a motor and gears and I do not see a solenoid plunger on the part you listed. While I agree Kuster makes both parts, am not sure BMW uses the same part as the e-Golf, based on those photos.
 
f1geek said:
The thread you reference mentions a motor and gears and I do not see a solenoid plunger on the part you listed. While I agree Kuster makes both parts, am not sure BMW uses the same part as the e-Golf, based on those photos.

I think you’re right - the thread I posted does show a unit with gears and motor that must move a locking pin. A solenoid seems to be a better approach than a gear train of plastic gears (as long as the solenoid keeps working). I googled the part number and see some used solenoids with harness from an Audi for around 300E There must be a better solution out there. So far my solenoid locks and unlocks as designed but the car is only a few months old.
Here’s the manufacturers site: https://www.kuester.net/en/products/actuators

I emailed them asking if they sell or can offer a source for purchasing the solenoid assembly without the harness. Probably not in their rule book to bypass the paying customer (VW/Audi) but thought it was worth a try.
 
I have been having a charging plug locking issue with my 2015 eGolf with 44000 miles for the past year. The silicon spray maintenance for the locking pin has helped. Two days ago the charging plug would not lock and a solid red fault light registered. I confirmed that the pin did not engage. After numerous plug and unplug attempts while palm banging around the port opening, the pin engaged and charging started.

Following the successful charge and with the plug removed, I aggressively lubricated the retracted pin in its housing. During a subsequent charging effort I noticed that the locking pin promptly engaged when the charging plug was inserted. The prior days/weeks it seemed somewhat sluggish. So lubrication is key.

It appears to me that the locking pin is driven by a motor/gear actuator and is not solenoid driven. It further appears to me that the motor torque is not sufficient to overcome friction resistance due to actuator component aging and dirt accumulation. This fault is clearly a design defect by VW given that I have never charged this vehicle outside the shelter of my garage. I am sold on EVs and this eGolf has been exceptional except of this ongoing defect. However, I cannot justify a VW EV purchase of a replacement vehicle when the repair of this defect would cost as much as an engine or transmission overhaul/replacement for a ICE vehicle.

So, after this vent, my question is does anyone know if the replacement actuator is an improvement over the original in the 2015 eGolf?
 
Is there a way (either by VCDS, OBDEleven) that you can extend the locking pin so it can be cleaned and lubricated regularly? I try to spray some silicon on the pin occasionally but it's a bit difficult with the charging cable attached.
 
I use an extension tube connected to the spray valve on the silicon can. With the charging plug engaged and with the aid of a flashlight, I am able to lubricate the locking pin. With the plug removed, I spray around the perimeter of the pin when it is retracted into its housing. I plan to keep doing this lubrication practice twice a month.

I have an appointment with my local VW dealership this Wednesday to address my locking issue even though the problem has been resolved at this time. Will post again if anything interesting is discussed.
 
Is it possible to over-lubricate this lock plunger? Where will the excess silicone fluid go? I only charge my car about twice a week, so the plunger doesn't move that much for my use case. I also try to keep the charging port clean, and I believe keeping dirt out of the charging port can help extend the useful life of the lock plunger.

I am very interested to hear from the dealer. I wonder if dealers have an incentive to give useful preventative maintenance information when this is clearly one area where they can hope to make repair dollars in the future. Yes, I am a cynic when it comes to dealers, but I have had enough bad experiences that I am skeptical of any EV information they dispense.
 
I have not had any problems yet on my 2019 SE. Looking at the action the plunger only prevents you from depressing the lock tab on the charge handle. So on one of my units I cut / shaves off the plastic part that hooks the lock tab, this way even if the plugger gets stuck (at least in my garage) I can pull the plug. Knew someone that had a dead 12 volt battery (while plugged in) and it would not release until they got hood open and jumped the battery.
 
As far as over lubrication, I have the same concern. However, for the locking pin failing to engage and failing to disengage, I will continue with my silicon spray maintenance twice a month since it has helped the disengaging issue and now the engaging issue. As far as my conversation with the VW dealership, they were not helpful. They stated they had no issue with the locking pin. They had issues with the unlocking of the fuel port door on VW ICE models. Silicon lubrication help this issue. This dealership in the Hudson Valley of NYS probably sold 5 eGolf total for all model years.

As far as modifying the charging plug handle, I have considered that solution. However, the locking pin can be released using a appropriate needle point tool. My concern is the recent engaging fault which prevents charging. Thus, the continued lubrication until a hard failure and then maybe a more drastic approach as per the original presentation of this thread.

Hopefully, this is only a 2015 model year issue and follow-on years and the ID models do not have this defect.
 
Check back with your local vw dealer. I know that there is a splice kit available to make the repair where you are only replacing the locking pin and motor.
 

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