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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day everybody. I'm new here. I have a 2001 Beetle GLX with the 1.8L auto. I purchased it just a couple of weeks ago with 120,000 miles knowing it needing engine work. I was successful in repairing the engine and it now runs great. In my preliminary road test however I discovered all three of the gauges are intermittent. The speedometer will read 0 sometimes while still rolling the miles over. The fuel gauge may read 0 when I know it has plenty of fuel, or it may read full when I know that it is low. Ant the tach is not accurate most of the time either. I now have about 1500 miles on it and the gauges are still all over the place. I have checked for coolant migration into the harness. None noted.

So as suggested by the posts here and other sites that I have researched, I purchased a used gauge cluster from Ebay. Funny, there are many gauge clusters for sale on Ebay, so I made sure that I purchased one from the same make & model & from the same VIN series as mine. When I received the replacement gauge cluster and installed it, this is when I discovered the immobilizer system in these vehicles. It was of couse activated with the replacement gauge cluster installed.

After spending much time researching the posts from this and other sites I took the vehicle (with the original gauge cluster plugged in) to a local dealership to re-flash the eeprom in the replacement gauge cluster. This is when I was told that they can not help me. The service department at the Bellevue Washington VW dealership told me that they can only program a new gauge cluster,they can not re-program a used one. Then they told me that a new gauge cluster is no longer available. They told me that they could send my original gauge cluster out for repair for $350 and there would be no gauranty that it will work.

It is hard for me to believe that there are so many used gauge clusters for sale on Ebay and none of them will work in other vehicles??? What is up with all of this? Today I went to a very repitable key and lock place in Auburn Washington to see if they could help me. They attempted to copy the programm from the original gauge cluster and flash it to the replacement one. They were unsuccessful. They sent me to the Auburn Washington VW dealership where they knew the service manager personally. I spoke with him and he told me that he can not help me either.

I found a Revo outlet in Richland Washington and spoke with a guy on the phone today about defeating the immobilizer in my ECU. They can do it for the cost of about $450 plus shipping. It would have to include a performance up-grade.

I see a lot of good information from Ross-Tech, but it looks like I would need to purchase some expensive VCDS software, and I can not see in their literature where they can help me with a used gauge cluster.

This gauge cluster issue must be a sore subject for many New Beetle owners out there? What say you? I appollogize for the long post, but this is my dilema. Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!
 

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Well, I wish I could give you an answer to the gauge issue. BUT... Welcome to the great and wonderful ORG! Many fantastic cars, people and answers lurk in this great land. If you haven't done so already, take time to fill in your profile and post a few photos so we can ORGle them!!


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. I'm actually not a fan of social media, so forgive me if I abstain from the whole Facebook/Myspace thing. I will post some pictures of the car though. I just put some new tires and wheels on. It looks pretty good for a 13 year old car. I hope to provide some good information here as well as get some. Today I attempted to run a hot wire directly to the 14 ga. blue/red wire @ the fuel pump connector. I wanted to see if the fuel pump power is interupted by the immobilizer when activated. I first did this with my original gauage cluster installed, the immobilizer was not activated. The engine would start and run fine with the fuep pump power suply jumped. Then I installed the replacement gauge cluster and attempted the same thing. The engine would start momentarily and then shut down. This tells me that the activated immobilzer does more than just interupt the power to the fuel pump. I also took both gauge clusters completely apart. Then I swapped all three of the gauge motors. I re-assembled the original gauge cluster (which now had the gauge motors installed from the replacement gauge cluster) and installed it into the car. I drove the car to work today (about 35 miles) and as usual, all three of the gauges are still acting up, not reading correctly most of the time. This tells me that the gauge problem is in the printed circuit board of the gauge cluster some place. I wish that I could find a way to by-pass the immobilizer function other than having the ECU immobizer defeat done through the Revo outlet. $450 is too much for me. I would live with this problem before spending that kind of money. The other thing is I see a bunch of "Immo by-pass" devices on Ebay. They are all from over-seas. I gave in and ordered one for $15. Most of them are $15 to about $40. It is a 1" square pc with a place for 3 wires. The first is 12v+. The second is 12v-. The third is for the k line wire from the blue connector. I connected this device as instructed (I think) to the green and blue connectors @ the back of the gauge cluster. I verified with a VOM that I had 12v positive and negative. I cut the k-line wire from the blue connector as the instructions say and connected it to the third place on the small immo by-pass pc. I installed the replacement gauge cluster and attempted to start the engine. Of course it starts momentarily and then shuts down. The immo by-pass device was not successful. I removed the bogus device and reconnected everything as it was. It is funny to me...there are many of these devices for sale on Ebay from different stores, but none of them are in the US. Again, it's hard for me to believe that none of them will work for this problem??? How is the immobilizer by-passed when someone wants to do a remote start installation? I don't know...I think that I am at my witts end and I will surrender to this gauge cluster issue. I will just live with it.
 

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I might be mistaken, but I think with Immo2 the ECU isn't really part of the matching. I read that Immo2 just has to match the cluster to the RFID chip inside the key housing. If that's true, theoretically you'd just need the RFID chip from the same seller that sold you the cluster and you might not even need to do any programming. If not, keep reading below.

You can do the IMMO cluster swap and key programming yourself with a laptop, but you'll probably need at least one diagnostic cable and two PC programs. You need one program such as VAG-Tacho to extract the PINs from the old cluster and then from the new cluster (I think each has to be wired into the car at the time, but there might be another way), and then you need VCDS (or perhaps the early non-dongle version of VAG-COM) to reprogram the new cluster. I'd start by checking the Rosstech site to see how it's done for your particular version of IMMO (probably Immo2). The only thing that site won't tell you is how to get the PIN codes. That's why you need something like VAG-Tacho first. You might as well get matching cables with each, because it's more trouble than it's worth to adapt hardware IDs of different cables to work with other software. You should be able to find everything you need on eBay.

Cost should be reasonable if you can get away with the old non-dongle version of VAG-COM, but obviously a bit more if you can't. On the other hand, I bought the full dongle version VCDS cable from Rosstech years ago, and it's paid for itself many times over. I've successfully extracted PIN codes from my Immo3 VWs using VAG-Tacho, but actually didn't have to from my Immo2 car because it came with a little plastic tag stuffed into the owners manual that already had the code as provided by VW. If you didn't get or don't have the tag, though, apparently VW can no longer supply the code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your help & suggestions. It is much appreciated. I just can't justify spending the money on the software and hardware needed for me to personally re-flash the eeprom in the replacement gauge cluster. I am finding it difficult to believe that there is no good solution to this intermittent gauge problem. I am forced to surrender to this problem & leave the original, intermittent gauge cluster in place so that I can use the car. Two thoughts: With so many used gauge clusters for sale on eBay, how can any of them be sold and installed in another vehicle without the ignition key & matching transponder chip?
And with so many of the immobilizer emulators also available on eBay for these vehicles, how can they be sold when they do not work? Sometimes we just don't get to know why. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gauge cluster saga.

Thanks for your suggestion. I contacted LKQ today. They are currently looking to see if they can locate a gauge cluster for my 2001 Beetle VIN 416908 1.8T auto. However, the person that I spoke with was unaware of the immobilizer function being a problem with gauge cluster replacements in these vehicles. So I asked him if he could locate a gauge cluster with a matching ignition key & RFID chip. At least this way I can remove the RFID chip and replace it with the gauge cluster. My experience in spending $75 for one of these used gauge clusters has shown me that none of them will work without a matching ignition key with the corresponding transponder chip. Two VW dealers here in the Seattle area have both told me they cannot re-program the immobilizer in a used gauge cluster. I drove my 2001 Beetle (with the old, non-functioning gauge cluster installed)to both of these dealers and asked them to help me re-program the replacement gauge cluster. When the replacement gauge cluster is installed, the immobilizer is activated and the engine will not start. The VW dealers both told me they can only program a new gauge cluster. Furthermore, I am told by both dealers that a new gauge cluster is no longer available. So...anyone who owns one of these new Beetles with a malfunctioning gauge cluster has two options: 1) Send the original gauge cluster out for repair for a cost of about $300 - $400, and no guaranty. 2) Purchase a working used gauge cluster with a matching ignition key & transponder chip. The transponder chip needs to be removed and replaced in the original key to go with the replacement gauge cluster. So...this is where I am at. I am in search of a 2001 VW gauge cluster with a matching ignition key & transponder chip to go with it. A second or "valet" key will not work because it does not have a transponder chip inside of it. Thanks again and I will post my results.
 
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