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Volkswagen Beetle Maintenance and Repair



  • I have a 2000 beetle and the speed, rpm, and fuel gauges are not working. they are all the way over to the right.
    does anybody have any ideas.
  • mrrk47mrrk47 Posts: 104
    Asking about my 2001 GLS Beetle again, what is the 3 letter/number designation that the auto tranny goes by, 01M or something like that??
    My mechanic says the fluid is a little dark, what does it mean? How long do these trannies last....
  • I have a 2003 NB GLS TDI that I purchased last year at 52k miles. I wasn't looking for a Beetle at all. I bought it for the TDI economy, and this car happened to be one of the nicest TDIs available. My choice seems to have been prescient as the car has been a good experience.

    This is my second VW and my take on them is this.
    They are a good car that require owner involvement.
    They are different cars. They behave differently than the run of the mill Japanese or American car. They offer unique value, like the suspension, handling, 4 wheel disc brakes, heated seats,one touch power down windows all around, etc-> at a competitive price point. They have a diesel option. They are the only passenger car right now in the price point with the diesel.

    But this comes at a trade-off. You have to be involved with them. You will have quirky things act up and go, that you have never seen on your other cars. You need a reliable VW dealer for warranty work, and a really reliable independent VW repair place for out-of-warranty. You have to read forums to get advice to manage costs that come up. You have to really adhere to the maintenance schedules.

    Most of the above you could probably lapse or take a short cut on with a conventional Japanese or American car. Not with a VW.

    Now having said that, I truly feel with active maintenance, that my Beetle could go well over 200k miles. Plus, VWs have great bodies and rustproofing. They don't rot like Toyotas.

    In general stay away from early years of a model, and avoid certain automatic transmissions. Mine has the 4spd auto 01M, and they have a reputation for failing. Although mine drives great.
  • Could mean the fluid is a little burnt.
    As I mentioned in my previous post, the 01M that you have, I also have, and unfortunately they have a bad reputation.
    But, I wouldn't worry over it. Mine drives perfectly. I've had it for 32k miles.
    You have to change the fluid and filter at least every 100k miles if not sooner. It is supposed to be lifetime fluid, but that is a crock. Have a good, reputable independent VW place change the fluid and filter if it hasn't been done.
    A number of people have these lasting well into 150k+ range, some over 200K+. It seems the valve bodies on the trans can go.
  • mrrk47mrrk47 Posts: 104
    It's me again with my newly bought used 2001 NB GLS, I really dig this car and no big problems 1000 miles in. But, the brakes still squeal loud, I'll probably have the rotors replaced because my mechanic said they're fine with 80% left, but they squeal like nobody's business!
    They only gave me one key fob, I have no key who will be the 1st on here to tell me I'd better not lose this key because I can't copy or replace ...or am I wrong. Does anyone have exp. with replacing one of these and the cost of it. Can it be cut from the one I far as the immobilizer is concerned can the VW dealer simply reprogram my key fob and one I may purchase....can someone tell me if I;m making sense. Thanks.... and yes I asked if the dealer had anymore keys for my car.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    There is a wealth of info on the internet about VW/Audi keyfobs.

    Basically, a replacment needs several steps taken including cutting and reprogramming.

    If you have a known-good one, then re-programming it involves plugging one in the ignition and the other in the drivers door.

    This is another great time to remind others to INSIST that both keyfobs and the valet key is supplied when purchasing a used VW. Make it part of the purchase-agreement that the seller will purchase any missing keys. (Keyfobs can cost over $100 each!!!)
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    we've misplaced both our 06 VW NB TDI key fobs and are using the valet key now. to get a new key fob it's $280 and that will also require another $100 for the valet key to be reprogrammed too. then when we find the old key fobs they would also have to be reprogrammed for $100 each as well. ugh.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    $280 per keyfob is a ripoff!! If I were you, I would do some more research before paying that kind of moola.

    If you do find the old keyfobs, they should just work. Are you suggesting that they would somehow become DEprogrammed just because you misplaced them?

    If you DO need to reprogram a keyfob, you can reprogram them yourself. There is no need to pay dealership to perform this simple process.

    As I said before... to reprogram , one goes in the ignition and the other in the drivers door.

    The moral of this story is... The security of a system that makes your car almost impossible to steal also means that lost keyfobs are expensive to replace.

    Incase you did not know... your RADIO is also protected by a security system. I sure hope everyone has writtten down the code to unlock their radio.... lest another expensive trip to the dealership is forthcoming. (example... replacing the battery in your VW may cause the radio to go into SAFE mode and reqiuire that code to unlock it)
  • hilihili Posts: 7
    My 2005 convertible has brakes which squeal, only first thing in the morning, and only wen I back it out of the garage. After that, it's fine. Is that typical, or is it a water condensation on the brakes that is eliminated when they warm up? I mentioned that to the dealer and he's at a loss as to the cause. Does anyone else have the happening and if so, what's done to fix it?
  • hilihili Posts: 7
    I have a peculiar problem with my 2005 convertible. The brakes squeal like mad when , in the morning, I back out of my garage. Then, they're fine all day long. The same thing happens almost every morning, and only in reverse, and only first time used. The dealer is completely puzzled. So am I. Does anyone else have this problem, and if so, how do you fix it?
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    hi peebs. no i am not suggesting the existing/lost keyfobs would become deprogrammed just due to being misplaced.
    but i understand the fact is that if I get a *new* keyfob, then the two misplaced/lost ones would no longer function, at least not the "remote" part - they would have first to be reprogrammed at $100 each.
    thanks for the headsup re Radio code...
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,120
    hili, here are some ideas:
    - think of it as a feature not a bug. some people pay extra to have the vehicle beep beep beep when in reverse. :|
    - emergency brake could be misadjusted. if you leave the e-brake on purposely/a-little, does that eliminate the brake squeak.
    - a possible workaround is to back the car into the garage for its overnight rest. a possible downside to that is stinky/dangerous fumes in the garage each morning on egress.
    none of my 5 VW TDIs had/has exhibited this problem, including 06 new beetle.
  • I drive a 99 VW Beetle. It's got about 94,000 miles. This morning my oil light started flashing, just for a minute or so, and then turned off. I'm only about 1500 miles over an oil change. Could there be something electrical that is wrong that would make this light come on? If not, how soon does the light come on and how long do I have until it HAS to be changed? Thanks.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    From your description... it sounds as if the flasning oil lamp was when you first started a cold engine. My first thought is WRONG OIL IN THE ENGINE! You did not say which engine you have but you should be validating that the proper oil was put into your engine.

    As a reminder... the oil light is NOT an indicator of how MUCH oil is in your engine. Instead, it is telling how much oil PRESSURE is being applied to the bearings. If ther pressure is too low, the lamp comes on. Extremely low pressure will flash the light.

    Make no mistake... the oil light being on means IMMENINENT DANGER for your engine. A flashing light is even MORE severe. Never never NEVER drive with oil light on or you may be looking for a new engine soon.

    One minuite of flashing may the the equivalant of about 50,000 miles of instant engine wear. (the engine is self-destructing with metal-to-metal contact on the bearings and cams)
  • I have a 99 beetle gls in the morning when i start it the temp light comes on and stays on till the car has warmed up. what does this mean
  • elisa2elisa2 Posts: 6
    I just had the mechanic put a brand new carburetor in my 73 Beetle and it is hesitating when I try to accelerate in all gears. This doesn't happen consistently but for sure to happen more often and intensely when the engine is cold. The mechanic sees condensation (water) in the carb and thinks that's the problem. He's already adjusted timing, choke, etc. Does this sound right? Should a brand new carb have this problem? The acceleration is also very flat in 3rd gear. :(
  • elisa2elisa2 Posts: 6
    Sorry Folks, it's a 1972.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    A brand-new carberator needs to be TUNED to the engine. Especially an older engine which may have changed its intake-charactoristics since it was new. It is unrealistic to expect a carberator "out of the box" to be setup properly for your particular engine.

    What you describe sure sounds like it is leaning out too much under accelleration. A too-lean mixture can also lead to melted pistons due to heat buildup. (LEAN = HOT engine)

    One way or another, the main jets need to be set a tad richer for the midrange/accelleration circuits.

    The fact that you encounter this with a cold engine might be considerd "normal". Carberated engines rarely run well when cold. A properly-tuned carberator can minimize this flat-spot.

    The advent of fuel-injected engines has made many of us forget how poorly carberated engines used to run while cold.

    The condensation in the venturi is a well-known phenomena. Those water-droplets are from the AIR (not your fuel). It is often referred to as carberator-icing. Under certain atmospheric conditions, the watervapor in the air will fall out of suspension and condense inside carb. Car engines are susceptible to icing. It has to do with the drop in temperature caused by the faster flow of air in the venturi of the carburetor, combined with amount of moisture in the air. Many carberated engines had a special intake-tube that pre-heated the intake air by drawing it past the exhaust manifold. This helped reduce carberator-icing phenomena.

    It sure sounds to me as if your "mechanic" may not be well-versed in carberated engines. Virtually all of your complaints can be "tuned out" by properly adjusting the carberator settings.

    Again, i warn you -- Leaving your carberator adjusted so lean may burn up your engine. (especially since it is air-cooled) All good engine-tuners will start on the RICH side of the tuning-band and sneak-up to a leaner setting.... This is to minimize the possiblity of melting an enigne while getting it tuned. A proper carb. setup may take several days (or weeks) of "tune-n-test".
  • Wow! I just noticed the date on this thread. I'm going to try to post anyway. Maybe it will help someone with the same problem. I too had the same problem. I started smelling a musty smell and dirt smell. I remembered my mechanic had told me of some things that may start going wrong with the car and things to look for. He told me about the "air cabin filter". When you circulate the air through, by pushing the circulate button beside the air conditioning button. That filter gets dirty and has to be replaced. When they took mine out, it was full of dirty leaves that had got stuck in it. They sprayed some lysol on the new one and then my car smelled fresh and so much better.
  • elisa2elisa2 Posts: 6
    Thank you, BPeebles. I don't know if he adjusted the carb lean or not--but he did talk about adding a tube which sounded a lot like what you're talking about--this intake-tube that preheats intake air. He said he has a lot of old bugs on his farm that he could search around for one that has this intake tube and give it to me for no charge. He may charge me for labor, which is okay. I don't know why the new carb doesn't come with this intake tube if this is a common problem? Where it stands now, is that I am supposed to call him to see how his last adjustment was (the third one)and talk about him searching for this intake tube. How do I ask him about the lean issue? I don't want to sound like I think he doesn't know what he is doing. I think he does know what he is doing as he is a respected Beetle mechanic. One issue he raised, sort of, was when I took him driving, he noted that I drive slower than him. He guns the gas pedal, I slowly push it down. So he pushes thru any hesitation while you can clearly feel the Bug buck/hesitate during the early parts of the acceleration while I drive. I still didn't think that should happen despite it being a carb engine. Am I unrealistic? I found the followin info on-line. What do you think?:
    "Fuel: According to Rob Boardman, the hesitation problem is almost certainly a lean-burn thing. VWs like a fractionally rich mix -- they don't like lean burn conditions. A larger main jet in the carburetor will provide a richer mix and may help the problem. Also, Rob advises the use of a brand-name fuel with at least 91 octane (more aromatics and less methyl tertiary-butyl ether - MTBE - to achieve the higher octane. Only the 1200cc engines and the newest low-compression factory (Mex/Brazilian) engines are happy on 87 octane gasoline. Carburetor: Spitting/sputtering/cracking is an indication of the fuel/air mixture being too lean. The engine speed (RPM) at which the problem occurs tells which jet needs to be changed. Test the engine's performance through the range of 1000-4000 RPM, paying attention to steady throttle position through this range.
    • If the engine runs good at 3000-4000 rpm but stumbles elsewhere, the correct main jet is being used, and the problem lies somewhere else. If the hesitation problem occurs at higher rpm (2500-4000), a larger main jet needs to be installed. If the main jet doesn't solve it, try the accelerator pump (see below).
    • If the stumbling occurs at 2000 RPMs and lower, a larger idle jet may need to be installed to enrichen the mixture. (Don't go much beyond 65, however.)
    • If you have an 009 centrifugal-advance distributor, a larger main jet may sometimes help to compensate for the flat spot inherent with this distributor. The standard jet is 127.5 (in a 34PICT/3 carburetor); try a 130 or even larger.

    What are these "jets" that you are talking about, are they part of the carb or part of the engine? You mentioned "main jets", The article above talks about "idle jets" and "larger jets". Since I experience the hesitation when I first accelerate, am I correct that the article suggests my "larger idle jet" is the issue? I really appreciate your help with this. Oh yeah, and am I interpreting the meaning of "flat" correctly? I am thinking that refers to no acceleration while I have the pedal to the floor in the third gear.
  • elisa2elisa2 Posts: 6
    BPeebles, we haven't even touched the issue of distributors. :cry:
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    To answer your question about what is a "jet" which we are talking about...

    The carberator contains small orfices thru which fuel is metered. These are precisely-sized holes usually drilled in brass. These are called "jets" which are a critical part of the tuning process of any carberator.

    I do not have the space here to teach you every nuance in the art of carberator operation...but here is a synopsys

    The role of a carberator is to precisely mix automized fuel droplets with air as the engine sucks the air thru it. All carberators have a venturi. This is an area where the airflow is forced to flow thru a narrowed opening. The laws of physics says that faster-flowing air has less pressure. This lower pressure sucks fuel thru one or more jets into the airstream. The fuel is also atomized into droplets at the same time.

    Most carberators have at least 3 "circuits". Each circuit may have its own jet.
    2)mid throttle.
    3)full throttle.

    Each of these circuits are "tunable" usually by adjusting the size of the jets thru which the fuel is meterd. There is also some amount of overlap between these circuits so changing one jet can affect the other settings. Some jets are adjusted with a screw... other jets are "fixed" and must be replaced with larger/smaller jets to make an adjustment.

    Also, there is usually an accelleration pump. When the gaspedal is pushed down, a small amount of fuel is squirted into the carberator to assist in accelleration. (reduce sudden lean condition because air changes speed easier than liquid gasoline during changes in throttle openeing) Yes - this is often called a "flat spot" during accelleratin.

    The above is just a simple explanation... Some carberators may have emulsion-tubes, power jets, slide valves, Constant-vacuum, constant-venturi, float-level settings, idle-bypass circuit, dashpot adjustments, multiple 'barrels', air jets, tickler valves, needle valves... the list goes on.

    (Yes... I have been working on carberators since I was about 8 years old)
  • elisa2elisa2 Posts: 6
    Thank you, that helps a lot in conceptualizing what is happening. On Friday, I told my mechanic to go ahead and find the tube for intake air issue and then he said, "you mean the air filter?" Now what is he talking about it? What does the air filter have to do with pre-warming the air to prevent condensation? And for clarification, I should use the term "flat spot in 3rd gear" when I tell the mechanic that I have very little umph/accerlation in that gear? Thanks again!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    The intake-air heater is usually fed into the airfilter housing. (Air is heated BEFORE it reaches the airfilter.)

    Note that heating the intake air was often used to improve running in cold weather. It is most often considerd BAD for power to heat the intake air. (because colder air is more dense... thus has more oxygen in it)

    Most intake-air heating systems only operate for a short time... then thermostaticly close off the heated air to allow cold air into the engine for most of the time.

    Yes - "flat spot in 3rd gear" would tell most mechanics that it is lacking accelleration in 3rd gear.

    Also, be aware that all carberator tuning must be done with plumbing and air filters installed.... the tuning will change each time somthing else changes. Carberators are VERY sensitive to any changes in the intake-air plumbing because they operate based on pressure-differental.
  • elisa2elisa2 Posts: 6
    I can't thank you enough for the education. Yes, that is exactly what my mechanic was talking about. Heating the air prior and then it automatically shuts off. I have to assume he knows to readjust carb after installing this intake air heating system. I drive myself crazy enough by doubting people's abilities all the time. Thanks, again. :)
  • I boughtsrame car for my daughter speedo does same thing tranny also slips when cold and sarting usualy first time you move. The HAynes vw manuel says you can access the speedometer by jacking car up. I couldn't find it, Looks like transmission range swnsor is below airbox, an danother one sits on transaxle in front side of transaxle. I hadn't thought much abouy cluster. I have learned that the speedometer sensor also part of engine control system
    Check engine light goes on and off Po422, and P1582,p0102,p0112. No help from dealers they want to scan and repair only themselves.
  • (2003-turbo betle-17" low profile tires)I've noticed a shimmy that becomes more pronounced when I accelerate (60 - 65 mph). I have replaced the tires but the problem still exists. I have also begun to notice a squeaking sound that comes and goes as well as a new "click" (metal to metal) when staring from a stop (this too is sporadic). A 2nd appointment with the dealer has been made but I would appreciate any information.
  • HI, I was hoping someone can give advice on this problem that my backseat passengers keep having in my 2006 New Beetle (TDI ;-). Everyone who sits back there bangs their heads on the pillar behind the rear side window. The Insurance Hiway safety institute has crashtest photos of dummies hitting their heads on that same pillar, It makes me feel really guilty knowing this to let people sit back there, so I'd like to know what others are doing about this problem. I called VW customer care and they told me to talk to the dealer and there's nothing they could do (some customer care!!!). My current plan is to take it to a body shop and have padding installed up there. Any other suggestions?
  • Have an 02 with temp light on as well as fuel light and seat belt light. Just got it out of the shop for transmission problem...bad sensor. We've had nothing but electrical problems. Cant wait to get rid of this thing... :sick: :mad: :lemon:
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