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noob
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all:
I bought a '04 NB Turbo Convertible in January. I noticed that the auto top function was kind of funky, but my hubby's an engineer so we decided it was a good enough deal that we'd buy it and he could fix it. :rolleyes:

We've read through all the threads on this forum about convertible top issues so we're familiar with some of the causes of intermittent tops. But in his attempting to diagnose and fix the problem, it went from intermittently
working to not working at all.

And just saying to heck with it and dropping it manually isn't working as 1) I weigh like 100 lbs and I can't lift the top on my own, and 2) the thing screams like a banshee when you drive it that way, because the sensor thinks the top isn't dropped right. Sigh. :(


Here's what it WAS doing:
- top would start to drop, then pause/get stuck/then continue until it was down
- top would be stuck down for several minutes to an hour before the automatic switch would come back to life
- top would pause and chug upwards until it was back closed
- note: wings were found broken off under the spare tire post-purchase (gotta love shady used car salesmen).
- the little retractable slider plastic pieces sometimes get stuck and don't engage/slide, and you'll have to manually push them out of the way for the top to raise.

Here's what we've done:
- cleaned the little metal push button switch in the right top windshield frame (as suggested)
- done a full window reset
- checked the hydraulic fluid level in the motor in the back
- checked all of the fuses in the panel
- tempted to pull the sliders off since they still get jammed/in the way, but haven't done that yet

Here's what's happening NOW:
- the automatic button doesn't do anything, except drop all the windows 1" if the top latch is disengaged.
- if I go through the motions to drop the top, I hear a whirring noise from the motor in the trunk, then I hear nothing.
- The top light stays solid orange
- Window resets off the master switch do not make the automatic top button do anything but drop the windows (used to work sometimes, now it's none of the time
- if I drop the hydraulic switch and lower the top by hand, the light is solid at a stop, or when driving, it's blinking and screaming at me randomly from 0-30mph (it it because I have to do something to latch/secure the top down somehow?)

Any takers on this one? I've ordered a VAG-COM and it's on its way, but I am assuming that I've got top up/down sensor replacements and maybe even a motor to contend with at this point, and who knows what else in terms of gremlins.

THANK YOU for any help!!! Super appreciated. It's 80-90 degrees in Cali, and so far I've just cranked the radio to cover up the banshee while driving :cool: but I want to fix it right... otherwise she's going up on Craigslist :(
 

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Super Moderator
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14,783 Posts
The "flaps" were a problem, and eventually eliminated. Be glad they are not there.

When I had my NBC, we never had any issues with the top, so I am not going to be any help with your gremlin. :eek:

Whatever you do, don't use VW to service. Find a good, reputiable independant VW shop in your area. Most rely on word of mouth, so check around. Good luck to you. :)
 

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Registered
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3,690 Posts
Is your car an automatic or manual transmission??

VAGCom/VCDS will likely give you and idea as to what is going on.

Likely something going on with the small side wings in the back, they are the first thing to deploy. If they do not move, then the top will not open.

Test a few things:

1. With the top fully closed and latched, operate the console switch. All 4 windows should drop like 1 1/2" and this is the only thing that should happen. If the windows drop, then this confirms the console switch is likely working.

2. With top fully closed and latched and windows fully closed, rotate the top latch lever and see what happens. All 4 windows should drop like 1 1/2", both rear side wings should open up, and the outside temp gauge should turn yellow. This confirms the top switch near the windshield is working.

3. Then try to use the console switch once the top latch has been released and see what happens. The top should start to open normally.

The rear winds are electrically controlled, small stepper motors as I recall, and there are sensor switches or some way to determined if the side wings have opened or not.

See if your car still has the side wings and if they open or move at all. You may also have only 1 side wing open??

Also pull the cover on top of the battery and check the wiring terminals for melting and signs of over heating, not sure the top electronics draw power from this location, however, this wiring block is a known problem area.
 

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noob
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. It's a manual transmission (turbo). The car's wings were found ripped off in the trunk, so those are no longer an issue. The slider pieces get stuck in place sometimes... not sure if they should be removed as well or not, since half the time when manually putting the top up they get jammed and crunched.

As it is right now, hitting the switch drops the windows. Opening the top latch drops the windows. Hitting the button with the top unlatched does nothing.

I received the VAG-COM yesterday and after much head banging realized the software wasn't compatible with my laptop's OS, so broke out an oldie with XP and got it working.

Here's what it reported (fingers crossed I did the check correctly):

CONTROL MODULE PART NUMBER: 1YO 959 255
Faults Found:

02000 - switch position
008 - implausible signal

02460 - Position sensor for left linkage flap position sensor (G442)
008 - implausible signal

01091 - switch front canopy (F202)
008 - implausible signal

02466 - switch for right convertible top locking (F325): Open
008 - implausible signal

When I ran the VAG-COM test, I had the top latch disengaged and pushed the top down button. Not sure if this is correct way to diagnose or not, and can re-diagnose if needed in the event I didn't do it properly.

At any rate, I've been reading through the forums and found majority of convertible issues and gremlins are resolved in replacing part # 1Y0959985A (Microswitch) so I already sourced one on eBay for $70 and it's on its way. Figured I may as well get a jumpstart :rolleyes:
 

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Registered
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3,690 Posts
If the wings have been removed, I the switch(es) for the wings need to be spoofed??

Not sure about what is needed, but I am sure you can search around.

It sounds like the main top switch is working if the windows drop as well as at least the switch near the front windshield??

Sounds like maybe a switch in the back may be bad??

Good luck, let us know what you find.
 

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noob
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I checked that link already. Now the switch does nothing, not even roll down the windows.

And to make matters worse, I went for a drive this weekend and had a MAJOR problem.

Was tooling along about 50mph in 4th gear and car felt funny. Downshifted to 3rd thinking I just lugged it and then can SHUT OFF. Steering LOCKED, NO brakes. Spotted a gravel driveway next to a ditch and cranked the wheel hard and yanked the e-brake. Luckily it stopped at the edge just before the ditch. :mad: Only thing I saw was a red battery warning light, nothing else. Engine completely cut out, no sputtering, just total loss of power, steering and brakes.

After I started breathing again, I turned the key and it started right up. No warning lights, no nothing. Drove it straight home and parked the $^*%# car in the driveway.

This issue takes higher priority over the top not working automatically. This is a total deal-breaker for me. I've got two kids and I am not driving this car like that. I slapped it up for sale. :( At least older cars and trucks you can pop a hood and figure out a mechanical issue... these things are electrical nightmares! :mad:

Thanks for the posts on ideas for the top. If anyone wants to buy a 2004 triple black Turbo NB convertible in Northern Cali, I'm selling it for 6k or best offer :(
 

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Registered
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762 Posts
If the engine shut off, then I would suspect the Engine Speed Sensor (G28) since they can cause that when they go bad. However, you will still have steering and brakes, just not power steering and brakes. I doubt the steering wheel just outright locked up unless the key was removed from the ignition.
 

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noob
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
"...I doubt the steering wheel just outright locked up unless the key was removed from the ignition."

:mad: Well, it DID. No brakes, and locked steering. Key solidly in the ignition the whole damn time. The only thing that stopped the car was yanking the e-brake and veering skidding into a gravel driveway, just before a large ditch.

At any rate, it's no longer an issue, because I sold the car. And despite having owned two other VWs in the past, I will NEVER own another. There are plenty of other convertibles to choose from, ones that are nowhere near as buggy or as ridiculously expensive to fix.
 

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...

At any rate, it's no longer an issue, because I sold the car. And despite having owned two other VWs in the past, I will NEVER own another. There are plenty of other convertibles to choose from, ones that are nowhere near as buggy or as ridiculously expensive to fix.
Well, good for you - I had been following your post and was going to suggest that you get rid of it - and maybe smack your engineer husband a bit. You never want to buy a car like this one if you notice problems at the start - unless you plan to restore or are a dedicated car nut.

On the other hand, I don't think that refusing to buy VWs for the rest of your life is the way to go. I have a 2003 NBC, purchased used with 2,800 miles on it and I have not had any issues with the automatic top. Yours could have been abused, who knows.

By the way, the new ones look great, don't they? But I think that the older design is still more unique.
 

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noob
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I've had other VWs with their own unique problems. I love the styling, but the cost to keep, coupled with the poor construction (especially on these convertibles) makes me look to other car options for the future. That's two bugs now riddled with problems... the whole "fool me once, fool me twice" saying still echoes in my brain, even after selling it (for less than I paid) :rolleyes:

Engineer hubby needs no smacking... it was bought at my insistence, and we had no idea how deep the can of worms was going to go. On the plus side, I fixed several goofy issues on my own, like replacing glove box lid, passenger door handle assembly, passenger seat handle, etc on my own, without the help of an engineer, whose favorite motto is "if it ain't broke, fix it until it is" ... :p
 

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2004 NB Vert Original Own
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9 Posts
NB Convertible Top Problem sounds odd .....

I have a 2004 triple black NB Convertible Turbo 5 speed. I bought it new in December 2003. I have never had problems like the ones you describe. Two issues in the nearly 10 years I have owned the car:
a) rear window passengers side regulator - fixed myself but it was a hassle just getting to the part
b) those darn flaps in the 2003-2004 convertible model years - fixed myself but parts were expensive and the design of the system is truly bad.

For the benefit of other 2003 or 2004 NB Convertible Owners:
Some soft top advice I got from a long time VW tech: When retracting or closing the top on your beetle, do it on a flat surface, not on a steep incline or decline. Doing so puts a lot of stress on the mechanics of the system.

Sorry about the bad luck you had with your beetle convertible. The new ones look great.
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Also pull the cover on top of the battery and check the wiring terminals for melting and signs of over heating, not sure the top electronics draw power from this location, however, this wiring block is a known problem area.

My top was acting wonky. Had that fuse block on the battery replaced, and it is now performing normally. The mechanic said if there was any variance to the current going through there it could effect the top motor.
 
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