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Hello all!
I have had a 2003 2L manual bug for about 2 years now. The past few weeks it has not been starting quickly and it will stutter, and about a week ago it finally wouldn’t start at all; battery was dead and got it replaced. After battery replacement, I realized the car is doing what it did before and as time went on this past week I needed to do more turns b/c it would stutter too much or start then die (engine light and battery lights on the dashboard). Got the replacement battery tested, it was 100%. My brother thought it was the starter, but we got that tested and it’s fine. After he put the starter back in, it seems to be doing better (doesn’t take as many turns) & we think tightening helped, but it’s still not back to normal (esp as it sits for a period of time). Also, when the car gets going it has no problems. Recently, check engine light came on but code was p0116 (coolant sensor). Do you guys have any suggestions of where to look next?? Thanks in advance!!
 

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I should add it doesn’t have any trouble with key and saw that was symptom with faulty ignition switch, so I don’t think that. My brother also replaced the distributor about a year ago so don’t think it’s that (& with car driving okay)!

Would low fuel pressure or alternator problems possibly be an issue?
 

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I would change the sensor and use a vw sensor not a chinese one. I would first change the fuel filter and if it still giving problems then your fuel pump is just weak. When you turn the key let the fuel system pressurize before you start cranking.
 

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A bad coolant temp sensor; can cause a hard or no start condition. Once you get the engine started, the engine will idle rough until it reaches normal operating temperature (then smooth out). you'll have a rich condition, black smelly exhaust smoke, and if this has been going on for awhile, you may have soot on the rear bumper, near the exhaust pipe.
 

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Beyond that, i have seen a failing fuel pump (check valve); also, cause a hard or no start condition. A fuel pressure test, is a good way to confirm the fuel pump is working; in my case, the residual pressure, would go to zero (after turning the engine off), as the internal check valve was bad. If the pump fails pressure testing; a new pump would be next, stick with only high quality oem pumps from vdo or bosch (we have a long history of documented drivability problems with cheaper aftermarket versions; installed by members on this site).


Lastly, the 409 fuel pump relay; can cause starting problems, a bad one will typically throw a good amount of short to ground codes, (e.g. fuel injectors, purge valve, etc). Replacements, should be genuine vw or Stribel; cheaper aftermarket versions sold at most auto parts stores, are known to cause problems.
 

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If after checking all the above you’re still having problems, I would revisit the starter, you can pull them apart clean and lube them. Beyond that I don’t know how many times I’ve heard or read of someone taking their starter, alternator or whatever to a parts store for testing and it tests good so they put the part back in the car and chase their tails for a month replacing all kinds of other parts only to come back to the starter or whatever it was they had tested originally. Only to find they should have replaced it and been done.

 
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