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Cayenne S started sputtering while on highway, pulled over and now won

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I was driving on I-95 North bound last yesterday afternoon around 5:30p going about 75MPH when all of a sudden the Cayenne started to sputter. I pulled over to the shoulder immediately and turned off car. When I tried to start it, the car would crank but would not start. I get a message stating that the 4 wheel drive system is faulty. I went online on my phone and most people that had this were either a bad battery or the transfer case servo motor.

Since I was with my 1 year old, 7 year old and wife so I didn't want to take a chance troubleshooting while on the side of a major highway. I called AAA and had the car towed 90 miles (Maryland to S. Jersey) to my house. 

My battery hasn't been replaced for 4 years so that's the first thing I bought this morning. After replacing the battery, the car started, sputtered for about 5 seconds then died. It did this about 3 times and not it won't crank at all. Voltage is reading at 12.34Volts on the new battery. I'm charging it now.

The 3 times it started I got 3 messages on the screen. "Air Suspension Faulty" followed by "4 wheel drive system faulty" then "Low Oil Pressure". I change the oil every 6,000 miles using Mobil-1 synthetic. 

What should I check next? I tried jump starting it but won't crank now. Should I keep trying to start the car? Please I need help! Thanks in advance!

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I bet it's the fuel pump.....driver side.

Flip up the rear seat and have someone listen to the pump when it primes....a good pump will make a consistent whine...a bad one will change pitch and sometimes make a grinding noise.

I had my wife turn the key to On position and I could not hear any noise from the driver side rear seat (flipped up). I might have heard 1 clicking sound but that was about it. How long would it make the whining sound? A second, 2 seconds?  Thanks. I'm hoping its just the fuel pump and nothing serious. 

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All I have in the truck is a spare tire and a silver cylinder that seems to be for the air suspension. Loren, I checked online and saw the location for the 2 fuel pump relays. I tried removing the relay for pump 1 and tried starting. No crank. Inserted relay#1 then removed relay#2. Still no crank. Tried swapping the 2 relays to no avail. Checked the voltage and it's at 12.4v. I'm charging the new battery again. 


Will having a bad fuel pump prevent the cayenne from cranking? Or is it because the battery is at 12.4v? Will I hurt the engine trying to crank it so many times? 

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Here are the list that I'm positive about:

1.) Battery is new and I only have 1 under the seat. No other battery in the trunk.
2.) When trying to start, I get no crank. New Battery is 12.4-12.9 when I try to start the cayenne.
3.) I checked the ground under the seat and it seems to be connected fine.

I'm pretty sure I have fuel because before it started to sputter on the highway, I filled it up at a Shell gas station (91). Then about 20 minutes later the car sputtered and died. 

Will a bad fuel pump prevent the cayenne from cranking? As you can see from the video (link below) when I try to start, lights on dash goes off and no crank.

Here is a quick video. 

Edited by Loren
made video display here
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The fuel pump has nothing to do with your Cayenne not cranking.  Sounds like an electrical problem.  It could be the alternator not recharging your new battery.  You should see more than 12.9 volts on your volt meter.  Try charging your battery over night directly. Meaning, placing your charger directly onto the battery terminals and removing the cable to the car. Just wanted to see if the car will crank.  While you have access to the battery from under the seat, check the fuse link blocks which is located next to the battery.  As for the fault codes, they occur when there is low voltage.

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There are several systems that need to power up when you insert the key to cranking position. This is a complicated vehicle and best to have it towed to an OPC or experienced independent garage familiar with the Cayenne many systems. Unless you can scan these modules correctly and activate certain sub-systems you'll just lead yourself down the garden path and replace many unnecessary parts. The fact that the vehicle stalled whilst driving is worrying but it might be something simple such as a failed fuse or main relay located under the drivers seat but I highly recommend having it towed and spending the money on an accurate diagnoses.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry it's been a busy one for me.


I took the Cayenne to a local Porsche dealer and ask them to borescope the cylinders and see what they can find. They checked Cylinder 8 and found out the piston had broken off and hit the spark plug causing a hole in the piston. Being that we babied this Cayenne, we reached out to PCNA in regards to this engine failure. Explained to them that we bought the Cayenne towards the end of 2009 as a CPO (around 64K miles) and had taken good care of it. I only put about a little over 30K miles in the span of 5 years owning it. I presented them with all of my service receipts including the coolant pipe replacement that I paid on my own even though it wasn't leaking and was still under warranty at the time I had it replaced. 


After going back and forth a couple of times, PCNA would not assist us. I had the dealer run borescope on all other 7 cylinders and have found that all other 7 cylinders were scored. With that, I checked TSB regarding Oil Scrapper ring defect and presented it back to PCNA for reconsideration. I was told that the scoring was normal for a Cayenne having 95K miles. From my research, I just don't buy what the rep told me. He also e-mailed us that our Cayenne didn't fall on the VIN range even though it looks like it did. He even told me over the phone not to listen to members of Rennlist, Renntech and 6Speedonline. I will be posting the cylinder pictures sometime this week and maybe someone here can chime in.  


We couldn't believe that our Cayenne's engine is broken. To be honest my wife and I thought this would last the longest compared to cars we had and currently have. We've had a handful of BMW's that went well over 130K miles. I've had Dodge and Chevy Pickup trucks that went over 180K miles. Ford, Lincoln, Saab cars that went over 160K miles before selling or trading them in. PCNA rep basically told me and my wife that we are screwed. Short block is around $10K and after dealer installs it along with other parts it will be close to $15-$17K. KBB value is around $17K. 


So now I'm seeking some legal advise from our lawyer regarding this. I wasn't expecting this treatment from PCNA. I've had goodwill from BMW in the past and was very pleased with how they treated us. 


I guess I have to get the Cayenne towed back to my house while I wait for my lawyer's input. Does anyone know a broker that can sell the Cayenne for me or should I sell as is or part it out. I hate to part ways with the car since it's mint inside and out. 

Edited by profusion
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