Turbo Beetle Disaster

zderfzderf Member Posts: 44
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
Have just notified NHTSA Office of Defects
Investigation regarding serious safety concern with
my 99 GLX Turbo.

The EPC and MIL lights in dash come on at will and
car enters "safe mode" of operation at about 10%
power. Lotsa fun on a crowded interstate.

The car has 585 miles and has had two wrecker
rides back to the dealer. Its still there. All
heads are bald from scratching.

Am I alone?


  • lucien2lucien2 Member Posts: 2,984
    That is a Lemon for sure, and there ought to be laws in your state governing how you are compensated (usually, you get a new car). Sorry to hear about your problems; every manufacturer churns out a lemon once and a while....

    Anyway, the dealer is going to fight this, so I would research what qualifies as a lemon in your state and document EVERYTRHING that happens, every conversation, etc. A bulletproof case is best.

    most stories about lemons and the fight that follows turn ugly at times, sorry. there was someone who posted with an Explorer, and I knew a guy with a Subaru, so it does happen, regardless of nationality of the car.

    Good Luck
  • disturbeddisturbed Member Posts: 4
    I purchased a 1999 Subaru Outback Sport, and it has virtually turned into a lemon, however, the only thing that has gone wrong that is "worthy" of being a lemon is my terrible clutch which is still being replaced right now. The other problems include: constant rattling, dents all over the car, the car even has a dent from where I tried to scrub off some tree sap and ended up pushing a little bit too hard. There are also scratches all over the car from road rocks, another sign that the pain is too thin, although I suppose living where gravel is used on the roads explains that. Additionally, there have been many other problems with the car, but they've been fixed successfully.
  • lucien2lucien2 Member Posts: 2,984
    yea, I have heard about the clutch problems...how many miles do you have on your car? I just bought a 1999 5speed outback, and am now wondering if I'll have the same problem.

    The lemon I was referring to belongs to a friend in TX. Apparently, the dealer wrecked the car bringing it down off the car-carrier truck, than shoddily repaired it, repainted it, and sold it as new....
  • disturbeddisturbed Member Posts: 4
    My Outback Sport has 9,000 or so miles on it. You most likely will not suffer the same problem I did as long as you don't have to start on a hill with traffic on a regular basis. I believe that the steep hill in my daily commute is probably what burned away the inadaquate clutch. It is always bumper to bumper at that portion, and seeing as most people have automatics they like to get right behind me so that our bumpers are almost touching. Rather than hit them and worry about whose fault it is later, I over-rev the car and slowly release the clutch there-by prevening any rollback; but... the smell is produced and the clutch quickly begins to burn away. If you are looking for a topic to discuss your outback that is more lively than this then check out the Subaru topic at http://forums.vmag.com

  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    Josh: In such situations, simply use the handbrake!. When you come to a stop on the hill, set the handbrake. As you start up, have your right hand on the handbrake. Slowly release the handbrake as you release the clutch. You won't roll backwards and you won't fry your clutch.
  • zderfzderf Member Posts: 44
    Just to advise that the problem has again returned and the Turbo Bug is back home at the dealership. VW's efforts to correct the EPC problems by installing a new engine control module (system computer) did not do the trick. It made it 200 miles B-4 the problem surfaced again. Now have 1100 miles with three trips on the flat bed tow truck.

    This is try no. 3. Our Lemon Law will take control at try no. 4.

    Love the car, but reliability and confidence is waning.

    More to follow I'm sure.

  • ramonramon Member Posts: 825
    Josh, do you ride the clutch often? That spells disaster for any 5 spd cars! Use the brakes guy! I have a silver 99 OBS and there's hardly any scratch (touch wood). Maybe silver hides scratches well. So far I have some minor problems but Subaru fixed it without fuss. It is still one of the most fun car I ever driven! Need more power though.
  • huskeeboyhuskeeboy Member Posts: 1

    I have a 96 Legacy Outback. It has the "hillholder clutch" which I think is standard on all manual Subies. Have you tried it? Press brake and clutch pedals when you come to stop. You should then be able to release brake pedal without the car moving backwards. You can then press gas and release clutch to start.
  • nycpaulnycpaul Member Posts: 3
    I have a friend that is desperately trying to find a New Beetle Turbo in Northern Virginia (McLean to be exact). She wants a red, yellow, or green one (in that order). She has been going to a dealership that claims to be the "third largest seller of New Beetles in the US" (she didn't give me the dealer's name yet) for quite a while, but to no avail. Her salesperson seems unenthusiastic and claims there are none to be sold.

    Has anyone in this area had better luck? Or has purchased one?
  • zderfzderf Member Posts: 44
    This is an update on the beginnings of this thread of the same title.

    This 1999 GLX Turbo with 1300 miles was "turned in" yesterday and again belongs to VW. The chronic problems with the EPC system resulted in its 4th and final tow truck ride back to the delivering dealership.

    It has been reported by VW that this is the only case of its type, and they have agreed to supply a replacement 2000 GLX. This will take up to 2 months, even with VW's ability to "snag" cars from their own production line. So, the fact that dealers claim there are none to had is very possibly a true statement.

    Be advised that it appears that VW is taking a service oriented approach to this on their own. I have not had to take matters into my own hands by seeking outside assistance (Lemons Laws et all).

    The dealership (Seattle, WA) has again been tasked with fixing this car. Assuming they can successfully do so, the car will likely be wholesaled by VW... and they will get primo dollars. So be weary of a bright blue GLX with 1300 miles at the auto auction or on the lot. It could be the Turbo Beetle Disaster that started this thread.

  • lrpendantlrpendant Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a NB 1.8T in Fairfax. I did have to wait about three weeks. I had been working with Manassas and they could not produce what I wanted (combo). Manassas did search the VW east coast inventory for available Turbo (w/ me watching) but nothing closer than FL. I walked into Fairfax VW, asked about Turbos (got to have) and the sales rep, stated that they are out, but was willing to see what was inbound (their normal preorders). They had one of exactly what I was looking for and we bartered from there. They tried the premium route, but I refused that and settled for MSRP. Any sales person worth the time of day should be able to either see what's son order or search the VW dealer inventory.

    Make them earn their commision....
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    I'm more than a little sick of poorly monitored Edmunds forums. I really did come here to find out about the New Beetle. Crack the whip or take a hike!
  • bug4pegbug4peg Member Posts: 15
    Stohlman in Alexandria has a yellow turbo auto listed in their inventory, as well as a silver turbo manual, and I can tell you that Miller in Winchester will have a turbo auto, yellow with the sunroof coming eventually, cause it was my order. I just bought mine from Sharrett in Hagerstown, MD. Tell your friend to check online inventories and to keep calling local dealerships. My order from Miller was built on 9/13 but by last week it hadn't made it to the dealership. When I finally put the salesman on the spot, he said he didn't know where it was and was quite amazed that I was able to find the car I ordered (only difference was the interior color) because he couldn't find one in 4 states .... when I took a closer look at the sticker, the car wasn't delivered to the dealer I purchased it from....

    It's an awesome car, your friend will LOVE it.
  • docgbdocgb Member Posts: 5
    A recent Automobile long term update on the turbo beetle also mentions a mysterious shut down. I don't know where the new beetles are built/assembled, but I had an 86 gti [built in a now defunct factory in Pa] whoose brakes warped at 20000 miles and transmission blew up after 80000 miles. The brakes, the dealer fixed for free when I said I was not impressed by "German Engineering", and said I'd get an Integra. Earlier this year I was skimming thru a VW Magazine. They had an article on my generation of gti[s] and cautioned that their transmisions tended to "machine themselves down". The new beetle looks great and the turbo version has good performance but...
  • zderfzderf Member Posts: 44
    This is a follow-up to the original post here about the 99 GLX Turbo failure.

    VW bought the car back. Its headed for Germany and the tech training school.

    The 2000 GLX replacement has been in service for 3 weeks. One return involved the driver's door power window would not roll up. A common problem that was fixed straight away.

    Now at 600 miles, no EPC light or any other problems. We're looking to get 5000 miles B4 the comfort zone returns.

    VW did rally to make us whole.

  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Congratulations, zderf! I'm glad to hear everything worked out for you. And I'm also glad to hear that VW is shipping that car to their training facility. What a great idea!

  • miatasanmiatasan Member Posts: 1
    What a coincidence. I was walking down the street in downtown Los Angeles from my office today and saw a brand new GLX with hazards on in the red zone. The spoiler line above the rear window and leather interior made it obvious that it was a GLX. Because I just bought a Silver 99 GLS, I paid attention to this new beauty. After my lunch, about an hour later, a flatbed truck came by and picked it and its owner up. The car didn't even have license plates yet. I wonder how many of those lemon GLXs are out there. What a shame.
  • kjaureliokjaurelio Member Posts: 33
    Glad to hear you got your new car zderf!

    BTW, what color did you get? I seem to be hearing of a lot of dark blue GLX's out there (that's what I have). I have just over 2000 miles on my Beetle with no problems. I'm looking forward to a lasting relationship with this car.
  • zderfzderf Member Posts: 44
    This new 2000 GLX is the same color as the 1999, bright blue. A bit rare perhaps, which is why it took so long to get the replacement.

    DOCGB, Automobile Mag's test car had a O2 sensor failure which manifested itself in the EPC system. They cleared thier problem with one visit. Our '99 is beleived to have had a harness problem with errant grounding. Did you notice that Autoweeks's long term Beetle GLS 5 speed lost its clutch at I think 8000 miles?

    Geeze.. these test cars would seem to indicate a wider spread problem here. But general feedback has been good. Ummmm
  • xvwxxvwx Member Posts: 3
    Just bought 2k beetle GLS Turbo on 11/29/99. No problems after 1500 miles. Trunk light stayed on a few times but thats it. Doesn't really get that good of gas mileage. And it only takes 92 octane which in Ca. is very expensive. Iv'e driven a Lexus, Mercedes E class, Volvo T-5 and this VW rides just as good if not better. Its top of the line with any car on the street. My friends own the fore-mentioned cars and so far I have'nt let them know I have this car.The VDUB can hold it's own.
  • tbrodietbrodie Member Posts: 3
    I contacted a dealer about my color wishes and
    was told I would need to wait a spell.

    In the meantime, I'm getting cold feet for
    two reasons: (1) reliability (2) rattles.

    Any positive experiences to share?
  • PeterunPeterun Member Posts: 83
    Just acquired a 5 speed 2000 GLX . . . . hoping it runs well . . some of these posts have me a bit worried . . .but so far (first day, the car's perfect. Let us pray! Pete
  • orbachorbach Member Posts: 1
    I've had a 1999 Turbo Diesel for 13 months.
    I encountered a one-time (i hope) problem after i shifted into third. the car accelerated on its own, pinning the rpm gauge and causing clouds of white smoke from the exhaust. Even putting it in neutral didn't help. I had to stop the car. When I started it again (I was a mile from home), I drove slowly, but it accelerated again (more white smoke). I had it towed in and they couldn't verify the problem - i've driven it for two days now (~100 miles) and no problem yet.
    It occurred with 19900 miles. I've heard that this may have happened with other models. Any similar experiences? (I hope not for your sake).
  • bug4pegbug4peg Member Posts: 15
    tbrodie -- I got my 1.8T auto (yellow w/ luxury package) in October. This is by far, the greatest car in the world! It makes everyone smile.

    I've only had one problem.... the day I took it in for it's states inspection, I was tooling around town looking for someone to inspect it and I found a station that would, they asked me to pull over on the side and wait, so I backed up and parked. Turns out they couldn't inspect it at that time, so I tried to take off. It took me about 5 tries to get the engine to stay running (it would cut off after a few seconds), then my airbag light stayed on. Took it to the dealer, they couldn't find anything, so they reset the computer. No issue since. I do occassionally have trouble getting my gas cover to open, but holding the switch up and a little persuasion with a key as a lever opens it right up. All new cars have quirks.

    Everything on this thing is automatic, so I sprung for the extended warranty so I could drive with no worries. The car is not a bargain, but it is pure joy. It's unique and it makes you perpetually happy! I've got 3.5k on mine now. I waited several months for it and paid msrp. I just got Wet Okole custom seat covers for it, they even embroidered the beetle logo on them. I'm trying to rationalize buying the daisy rims for it (they cost $179 each if you get white 'petals').

    Good luck!
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    The CAA's Autopinion 2000 is out, and the best thing you can say about New Beetles is their mechanicals are sound (engine, transmission, steering, braking) but they hired Austin-Rover-Triumph electrical engineers to design and do Q.A. on their electricals and electronics.

    bug4peg. Your CAR makes you perpetually happy? Have you tried rebooting your personality and values? Get a grip! Get two. Get another.

    BTW, I have an ocean-side villa just outside of Regina that's "not a bargain, but it is a pure joy". I will accept either cash or cashier's cheque for your convenience.

    It would be wonderful if the Bug was well engineered and built, but from what I see here they haven't learned ANYTHING from my VW Rabbit 20 years ago!!! But at these margins, and with enough willing people, why should they? (and on tonight's NOVA, affluenza)
  • lanie1lanie1 Member Posts: 19
    Would appreciate information from any of you who have owned the GLX long enough to have an opinion about reliability and performance. Thanks ;)
  • zderfzderf Member Posts: 44
    I'm on number two as seen above (2000). The second one now has 2500 miles with no problems.

    Performance is a complete hoot. No complaints there at all.

    I started this thread in July 1999. I now feel comfortable enough to close it. The Disaster has ended.
  • kjaureliokjaurelio Member Posts: 33
    Glad to hear the update zderf!

    I've got just over 5k on my GLX with no probs. I just love these cars!
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    The icelady cometh...

This discussion has been closed.