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I'm posting this on behalf of a friend. Can anyone offer any advise?

My 2002 A3 TDI is playing up and giving me lots of grief. I would like some advice because i can't afford just to take it to a garage and have them fiddle with it for a day or so and charge me the earth.

The problem started about a year ago with the temperature gauage going up and down whilst driving. it used to sit at exactly 90 and didn't move but now sits at about 80 and goes up to 90 and sometimes down to 60. it didn't really cause me any problem so i left it.

then one morning about 6 months ago when i started the car the needles were dancing up and down, like the power was shorting out. after driving for a couple of minutes it stopped and everything was normal. Again very annoying but seemed only temporary. More recently when the dash pod has been playing up the dash goes dead, no speedo, no rev counter, nothing. and then it sparks into life about 5 mintues later - all ok. Sometimes the speedo does not reset at 0mph and starts from 60mph and goes up from there! The needled was off the clock a while ago when i was doing about 40mph!

over the last month or so when the dash is playing up i sometimes have warning lights come up (immobliser and sometimes ABS light) and sometimes it wont even start. i put the key in and turn the engine on and the immobliser cuts in and it wont start. so i disconnect battery, wait five minutes for memory to clear and then it will start.

sometimes you can tell when its going to play up because when i press the key fob to take alarm off and open the door, usually the dash display lights up, but on bad days it wont, it will just be dead and the car wont start. Last week it was reading in kilometres and this week miles!

when i disconnect the battery my electric windows dont work properly for a few days!

its so unreliable now that i worry everytime i stop to get diesel that it wont start. I contacted Audi and they want £150+ VAT just to plug it into their computer! Fortunately my friend has got a program on his laptop which does the same sort of thing and it flagged up about 8 different fault codes but gave no definate answer.

i've read posts on lots of forums which seem to suggest that it is the dash pod itself but will this affect the immobliser too?

Any advice or things to try would be appreicated.
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