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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys hows it going! First things first I am new to the forum and new to VW's in general so any advice from here on out is greatly appreciated and welcomed :)

Now the problem at hand:

I bought a 1998 New Beetle 2.0 a couple weeks ago knowing that the previous owner could not get it started. Well that person sold it to a mechanic who also could not get it started and my buddy talked me into buying it from him. This mechanic is known to not be able to figure things out and it turns out to be something simple.

Skip ahead a bit and some research later. After trying a couple things for the sake of science, I unplugged the throttle body sensor and got it started and running. YAY! But it died as soon as gas was given to it (no throttle sensor makes sense :rolleyes:). So I went to the local upullandpay, found a throttle body, installed it and it ran again! But as soon as gas was given to it, it would die again.

After calling around to a couple vw auto shops, someone from Dubwerx (a local vw and audi specialist) said it sounded like it was the ecm that was bad. So I ordered a used ecm (matched all the numbers correctly), and installed it after it arrived. After install I went to start the car and it started and died. Tried again and this time it ran but died after given gas (same as before), next time I started it and given it gas it stayed running but wouldn't stay running past 1500 rpm. When I got it running by itself I let it idle and it idled a little rough for about a minute then started to want to stall out for about 30-45 seconds till it finally died and does this every-so-often if I can get it to start.

We have tried reading the car for codes with an obd2 and it wouldn't pick up the car (this was before changing the ecm) haven't tried reading it again after ecm change but I don't have it readily available to me. I have checked the fuses but do not know where the relay fuses are in this model vehicle nor which one is which. I am at a loss with what could be causing all this nor can I find anything online to help.

So to sum it up:
Changed the throttle body
Checked the fuses (minus the relays)
Changed the ECM
Checked for leaks (I think I heard one coming from the FPR so I changed the vacuum hose)

Any help what-so-ever would be greatly appreciated!

15,839 Posts
Hey, there! There are MANY issues that could cause your problems. To bring some sanity to your troubleshooting process; I would start with some basics:

1. Fuel pressure: check and make sure it is in spec. Check for specs and procedures in the service manual: check the steps for power to the pump, fuel pump relay etc.

a. a typical fuel pressure test kit rented from a auto parts store or purchased from places like Harbor Freight will work fine.

2. Clean the throttle body and get it aligned. Throttle body alignment; resets the settings and can cure idle and stalling problems.


a. your car should have a cable driven throttle body; from what i hear, it needs a TBA with a VW scan tool the Ross Tech VCDS.

b. you could try and turn the ignition in the on position and leave it for a couple of minutes. Some call this the "poor mans" throttle body alignment but I do not know if this works with the cable driven cars.

Having a vw type scan tool; would help, getting some trouble codes and give you some direction in your troubleshooting. A common problem, for not being able to communicate with the obd II connector is a aftermarket radio. Typical errors; will be "cannot communicate" messages, etc.


You can pick up affordable VW specific code readers on amazon: (e.g. vag 405 , vas 450)

1. low end ones; just read and clear codes


2. higher end ones; emulate the VW 1552 and can read live data, align the throttle body, match coding, etc. (e.g. vag 505, foxwell pro vw tool)



The Volkswagen factory level scan tool; is VCDS by Ross Tech. It is the industry standard and emulates the factory VW 1552 system.


Here is a online; vw service manual, that can help you start your testing process. This will be according to the VW factory specs and help eliminate potential problems and you can work down the list of potential issues. Hopefully, you can find the problem!

This is a for a 2000 model with a 2.0L; in general, it should be similar (aside from the cable/drive by wire throttle body):


Fuel pump and pressure testing:



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