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We have a 2000 vw beetle with the following problem that was fixed in Feb and has reoccurred but is random.
Car would not start (immobilizer blinking) and dashboard lights/instrument cluster lights flickering when key was out of ignition. VW dealership replaced instrument cluster and ignition switch.
Car ran fine for 10 months. Same problem started last week but is random. Battery tested fine under load, check ground under battery tray (OK), check connections on starter.
Took car to different VW dealership this week (we moved). Problem only occurred when customer service lady went out to check the car. Master Tech. went out next morning and car has started perfect for two days with no codes.
The VW dealership has no idea what might be causing it since it's no happening and no codes.
My guts feeling is that we are having a electrical short somewhere, probably on a ground wire or connection.
I haven't looked closely but where are the main ground connections for this car (2000 VW beetle 2.0)?
Or what do you think it might be?
 

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dashboard lights/instrument cluster lights flickering when key was out of ignition.
Besides a bad ground, my other guess would be a bad ignition switch. But first I'd check and clean the grounds and check and clean the contacts on the big fuses on top of the battery.
 

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The items in the circuit between the battery and the dash lights in order are:

Battery
Fuse S176 (140 amp, top of battery)
Ignition switch
Headlight switch
Fuse 3 (side of dash)
Illumination controller
Dash lights

I would say that the headlight switch is most likely since it is on the "dash lights" side of the ignition switch and has power even with the ignition switch off. It is also a fairly common replacement item. The ignition switch can't be the problem unless the headlight switch is also bad.

Interesting that the dash lights and immobilizer problems coincide. Hopefully solving the dash light problem will also fix the immobilizer.
 
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