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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,
I am new to the site, but am hopeful someone here can help me with some thoughtful advice.
I have a 1998 Beetle with only one oil change away from 200,000mi.
problem is this; on my way to work this morning the coolant light came on and started flashing red. I pulled into a parking lot and began trying to diagnose the problem. after web surfing on my phone and talking to some friends I decided to replace the thermostat and ensure the coolant level was proper. This did not correct the problem however. At an idle it has no problems, it begins to flash the red coolant warning light shortly after I put it into gear and start to drive.
After some studying online in the parking lot I found out that a flashing light simply means incorrect coolant level, and a solid red is an indication of true overheating. Knowing that coolant level was in fact correct I thought it must be the sensor that was faulty and decided to drive it home despite the flashing red coolant light (may not have been the best idea).
The first ten miles went alright but on the final one mile stretch the oil light started flashing and then about five seconds later the car simply shut its self off. Checked the oil level and sure enough it only showed about a 1/4in on the dip stick, I also found the coolant had all but disappeared from the overflow. Walked home and got some fluids from the garage and went back to refill. Once refilled it started up just fine and I began to drive the last mile home. I did notice a snapping rattle sound this time however. So now I am thinking it is the water pumps plastic spinner has broken. replacing this part looks to be rather involved.

So I guess my question is; do you think it is a good idea to try and tackle the water pump on my own? do you think a lot of damage was done by driving it like I did? or should I just look at retiring my best friend?

Thanks for any and all thoughts
 

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Sorry to hear about your cooling issues; the waterpump/timing belt is definitely doable. Give us a sense of your mechanical ability and what type of diy work on your cars, you have done in the past. That being said; you might want to check the engine first and see if the overheating has done any damage to the head (warped) or the head gasket (blown/leaking). A engine leak down tester or engine compression tester; should give you a quick sense of the condition of the cylinder, head, gasket situation. The key here; is to evaluate and diagnose the problem; make sure the engine is in good condition. That way you aren't throwing money at something that is damaged and needs more involved; major repairs (e.g. pull head, have it checked, rebuilt/resurfaced, r/r head gasket etc.). I hope the engine is ok; the only way to know is to do some diagnostics and see where you are at, go from there. If this type of work is beyond your ability; you might take it (have it towed) to a independent vw/euro shop and have it professionally evaluated and diagnosed. Good luck and let us know; how the diagnosis and repairs go, as things move forward! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick reply!
As for my mechanical ability, I have done all maintenance and repairs so far my self (I am the first and only owner, I was actually on the waiting list when they first announced they were going to bring back the beetle) most things have been doable so far even if there is a bit of a learning curve along the way. Come to think about it, its simply amazing that the timing belt has lasted close to 2Kmi with out even being looked at!
Your idea of having a diagnostic test done with a mechanic is a good plan. I would hate to start dumping money into something that has no hope.
 

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Well, it sounds like you are experienced; if your willing to spend some time and get your hands dirty. You could easily do the compression/leakdown test yourself; these tools are sometimes available for rent from auto parts stores or you can buy a set cheap from stores like Harbor Freight.

Compression Test Kit

If your timing belt and water pump have never been changed; in over 200k miles, I would consider that a certifiable miracle! I guess; you have been dodging a bullet or have angels riding on your timing belt, until now! :) I hope everything turns out, ok!

I too: followed with anticipation; at the release of the new beetle in 98! I even still have the first proto type brochures and new beetle pin; that they sent out, all the way from Germany! I actually think; the prototype "concept 1" looked better then what turned out to be the production car. Part of the distortion and enlarging process of putting it on the MARK IV platform; I guess (safety issues, I'm sure played a part in the final production car as well).

Check out these pics of the concept 1; you have to admit, it looked very early beetle like and just cool. I guess that is that is part of the curse of falling in love with a prototype; it has a purity, concept and styling... that will probably never make it into the end production car.

About the VW Beetle Special Editions | Concept 1

1994 Volkswagen Concept One - Concepts

I got a 2000 1.8T; which was a lemon and then got a 2002 1.8T turbo s. Both were/are fun cars but definitely, have had some pretty major mechanical problems with them! As you can now attest to; part of the "joy" of owning a German car! LOL! :)
 
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