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Chihuahua Whisperer
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, all. I've read this forum from time to time, and finally decided to register and ask for help.

I have a 2004 New Beetle convertible. It's my "dream car." I've wanted one for YEARS and was so happy when I was finally able to buy one. The car is so cute and so me. Mellow Yellow with a black top, leather (love those heated seats this time of year!), 1.8L Turbo engine.It has 58,004 miles (it rolled to 58000 on my drive today!) I've had it since August, and now I'm wondering if I have made a mistake. :(

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving on the freeway. It was warm and I had the top down and the radio up. I was feeling pretty happy buzzing along in my little car. After driving a clunker for years, I felt so good about myself! Then, as I exited the freeway and came to a stop, the car seemed to stay stuck in 5th gear (it's an automatic and I noticed the gear number on the dash). it shuddered violently, then died. I started to panic, of course, having the experience of years of car issues with previous cars. I turned the key and it started up again, but as soon as I slowed to a top, the same thing happened. I was able to get to my destination and get parked. Driving home that night, it was fine.

In the past weeks, I haven't had any other problems, until last Sunday. I drove across town and as i reached my destination, the car again did the same thing...felt like it was "stuck" in gear at a stop, violent shudders. I flipped the car in neutral and it didn't die, but on take off it didn't feel right as i was driving. It felt like it was hesitating. I parked at a store and when I came back out and went to shift in reverse, it shuddered and died. I was able to back out, but I'm now really worried that something is seriously wrong with the transmission.

On the drive home that day, it was mostly fine until I got almost home. I stopped to turn onto my street and it shuddered and died. A car coming behind me didn't realize I was stalled and almost hit me. Again, I was able to get it started and drive home.

My drive to and from work is only about 4 miles. I have no issues at all on those drives. I am now afraid to drive any farther. I've turned down offers from friends to do things because I am afraid to drive too far. That's not good! I've only made 2 payments and I am feeling like my cute yellow car is a lemon, for real.

A friend who has a 1999 Beetle suggested adding transmission fluid, but of course this isn't possible on the 2004.

I plan to take it to get checked out very soon, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on what might be going on? Would a transmission flush help? I've been googling and find page after page of people talking about replacing the transmissions in their Beetle to the tune of $6000, and that terrifies me!

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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I had replied to your other thread, but it seems as though its been deleted...

VW autos are known to be problematic and tend to fail arund 100k-150k. 60k seems a bit early, but anything is possible I guess. I would start with a fluid and filter change on the transmission. Not a fluid flush, just a drain and fill.

Are there any other issues? Hard shifting under normal driving conditions? This is a symptom of valve body failure. It was so prevalent on the more recent autos that VW is replacing them. Limit is 7 years from in-service date, not sure if there is a mileage limit. I know there is a thread here in the transmission section about it. Could also potentially be your issue, but I've not heard of this kind of situation.


Have you scanned the car for codes at all? Could be something there, even if the CEL isn't on, that may help figure out whats going on.
 

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Premium Member
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There is an extended factory warranty on these transmissions, yours may or may not still be covered based on the time portion of it. I'd get it to a Dealer immediately to at least get the problem noted. Some want a diagnostic fee, refundable if the problem is what is warranted. Last poster I saw mention this said $100, but there was never any follow-up that I read.

M.
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your responses. :)

I called the dealership I bought the car from (not a VW, just used car lot) to get a recommendation on a mechanic to take it to. They gave me the name of a place and called ahead to tell them to do any work I needed at the dealership's cost, which I thought was very good customer service! I have an appointment on Thursday to scan for codes. The person I spoke with said they wouldn't rule out something electrical causing the problem. If that's the case, it would be cheaper to fix than the transmission.

I had read elsewhere (and probably here, I read so much in the last couple of weeks)about the vaulve body issue so I called the VW dealership and they looked up my VIN. Apparently my car is not covered under any warranties and there are no outstanding recalls on it.

Hard shifting? Well, I notice it shifting a bit more between 3rd and 4th, but not really THAT noticeable, and not all the time. I have never thought much of it, most likely because my last car shifted in a similar way and I'm used to it, I would guess. I read responses here before leaving for work and paid attention to the gears on my drive home and made note of it.

My last car was a 93 Chrysler Lebaron convertible. Old car with pretty low miles for its age. (120K)That car was so simple to diagnose and fix! (and paid for LOL)

Fingers crossed that it is a simple and low-cost fix!
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Oh, and yes I did delete my first post. I posted it in the New member area and thought it would be better suited in this folder.
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I took my car to a transmission shop today. No tranny codes came back, but after driving it the shop owner said "I am 99.9% sure you need a new valve body" and went on to tell me about all the VW Beetles he has seen with the same issue. He said 2003-2005 Beetles are under an extended warranty for this part but to expect a huge fight getting VW to replace it at no cost to me.

He was going to track down a copy of the letter that was sent to a previous customer regarding the warranty extension and fax it to me ASAP. I haven't seen the fax yet, but I am not looking forward to going to battle with the VW dealership.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Premium Member
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I took my car to a transmission shop today. No tranny codes came back, but after driving it the shop owner said "I am 99.9% sure you need a new valve body" and went on to tell me about all the VW Beetles he has seen with the same issue. He said 2003-2005 Beetles are under an extended warranty for this part but to expect a huge fight getting VW to replace it at no cost to me.

He was going to track down a copy of the letter that was sent to a previous customer regarding the warranty extension and fax it to me ASAP. I haven't seen the fax yet, but I am not looking forward to going to battle with the VW dealership.
Yes, I told you about this right at the git-go. (I love being invisible!) lol

The information is in a thread here, I believe I have it saved and will post it up for you. Long thread, but it's there.

I would not expect any kind of battle if it is the valve body. Dealers love warranty work, THEY GET PAID BY VWofA! Do expect a diagnosis charge, which will be refunded if, in fact, it is the valve body.

Yes, here is the thread and the information you are looking for -
http://newbeetle.org/forums/transmission-talk/47455-tiptronic-auto-vw-extended-warranty.html?highlight=extended+warranty

MORAV
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Aparently I'm invisible as well...mentioned the valve body in my first post and also linked that thread in the last one! :p
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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Discussion Starter #10
Read up on this thread: http://newbeetle.org/forums/transmission-talk/47455-tiptronic-auto-vw-extended-warranty.html

The letter is also in there. I've not heard of the valve body making the car stall, but I guess its possible.
Thank you for that!

I called the VW dealership and they looked up my car. I had until 10/21/11 to take advantage of the warranty extension. :mad: Yep, I missed it by 18 days. But, I'm not giving up. I'm currently on hold with VW of America; I've asked them to see if they can do anything, since I mised it by less than 3 weeks and have not had the car long.

FINGERS CROSSED!!!
 

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Premium Member
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Good luck, but I'm not bettin' on it! Sorry you didn't get here just a little while ago! :(

Aparently I'm invisible as well...mentioned the valve body in my first post and also linked that thread in the last one! :p
Gotta' love it! :rolleyes: But we try...
Actually I see replies missed all the time, sure you do to. I don't think it's intentional we're ignored!
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Good luck, but I'm not bettin' on it! Sorry you didn't get here just a little while ago! :(


Gotta' love it! :rolleyes: But we try...
Actually I see replies missed all the time, sure you do to. I don't think it's intentional we're ignored!
Oh, no one was ignored! I read all the replies, I promise! And i appreciate it! :)

I had read about the valve body in this forum a couple of weeks ago when I started Googling "transmission issues" but since my car was doing something a bit different than those in the threads I read, I didn't know if that was my problem. Actually, I wish I had seen this forum BEFORE I bought my POS car, I would have NOT bought VW.

VW of America, of course, couldn't help me. She kept saying "your car was out of warranty when you purchaed it" and I kept saying is was NOT. It was still in warranty when I purchased it, the warranty is just expired by 18 days. She put me on hold nearly 10 minutes, then came back and gave me the "great" offer of $750 toward the purchase of a new VW.

Right. Like I am going to buy ANOTHER car that will drain my bank account. :rolleyes: I asked to speak with someone else and she put me on hold again, then came back and said she spoke to her supervisor (but wouldn't let me do so!) and once again, all they can do is offer me $750 toward a new car. I told her I found that extremely insulting and I will NOT be buying another VW.

Dream car = nightmare.

The transmission shop I took it to was not suprised. He said in the 30 years he has owned his shop, VW has always been horrible to deal with. He was going to make some calls and see what he could do for me aas far as lowest cost options to fix my car.

Just 2 payments made so far. Can't wait to see what the future brings! :(
 

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Premium Member
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I do so feel for you!

I think I speak for Smileybug also when I say neither of us were offended. You've got a bigger issue to deal with. Not surprised about the response from VWofA. 19 days ago, it would have been a different story. But, as a businessman, I do understand, a line has to be drawn somewhere, and if you make exceptions, where is the line moved to (for the exceptions)?

Sounds like you've got a really good guy in your transmission guy, I'd follow his advice. He could have misled you from the start but was honest with and appears to be trying to help you out of this unfortunate situation.

New Beetles are novelty cars and most of us around here accept that and understand the premium involved for ownership. Most consumers have learned, or at least heard, the VW of today is not the VW of days gone by. Most every consumer type report, ranks the NB close to the bottom of recent cars gone by. VW played off the value and dependability of their icon to market and sell, what by most, are considered PsOS. Too bad, but that's what are world has come too.

As you do go through your ownership of this vehicle, come around with any questions or issues, we'll do our best to make it as painless as possible, maybe even somewhat enjoyable.

For what it's worth, here's a little something I put together for our "newbie's", which may offer you some information you might find valuable.
http://newbeetle.org/forums/new-member-forum/51021-newbie-welcome-kit.html

M.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Not offended...I was more talking to MORAV anyway since I had just posted that link :p

The VW autos are known to be pretty junky, at least since the mid-90's anyway (before that they were pretty darn sturdy...my FIL's Vanagon had 260k on the original 3-speed auto, the last 60k of that leaking transmission fluid pretty badly too with no ill effects. Just topped up when it shifted funny!). Its unfortunate, but true. But VW is not the only one with trans problems...my hubby is dealing with a horribly slipping auto in his Honda Accord (yes, a Honda with problems!) and its incredibly common in that generation of car as well. Its just something that happens. When it comes to cars today...they just don't make 'em like they used to!
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Happened to think of this...

When I read the Carfax about my car (which I stupidly forgot to print) I seem to remember the lot I bought the car from got the car from the local VW dealership. I'm wondering now why VW didn't see this issue and fix it while the car was in their possession? The salesman that sold me the car said local VW did the inspection on the car at 55,000 miles, which is just 3,000 miles ago. Why didn't they see this issue?

The transmission shop just called. He can fix it for $1600. That's $1600 more than I currently have. :(
 

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Premium Member
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When I read the Carfax about my car (which I stupidly forgot to print) I seem to remember the lot I bought the car from got the car from the local VW dealership. I'm wondering now why VW didn't see this issue and fix it while the car was in their possession? The salesman that sold me the car said local VW did the inspection on the car at 55,000 miles, which is just 3,000 miles ago. Why didn't they see this issue?
When a new car Dealer takes in an older car in trade that they don't feel has the quality or condition to be sold on their lot, many times they do very little in appraising the car, certainly no shop diagnosis, and the Used Car Dept (almost an entity unto themselves), wholesales these cars to other used car lots.

Many of these lots are "Pay on Lot" dealers, who have a ready market for nicer, but yet older cars, with or without problems, as they don't have a reputation to have to stand behind. This may or may not have been the type of Dealer who ended up with your car, and that you bought from, but is the reason VW didn't market or diagnose, or fix the car. They had no responsibility to do so, and no repercussions to deal with. "As is" to the purchasing used car dealer. Sorry this problem car ended up in your driveway or garage.

M.
 

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Chihuahua Whisperer
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Update!

Yesterday I had the valve body replaced on my Beetle. The shop owner told me that someone had previously replaced that same part with a part purchased somewhere other than VW, and it obviously didn't fix it. He also said he took it out on the freeway and really opened her up and was satisfied with how much better the transmission was performing. While he was at it, he changed the filter and fluid.

Driving the car home, I could tell the difference IMMEDIATELY. The car drives MUCH smoother. I was told I might see a better gas milage, too. The shop ownwer told me to check in with him next week to let him know how it was running, and he said he would like to drive it again in a week ago, just to be sure. I ahve to say I am impressed with his service!

It was an expensive fix, but hopefully the problem is now solved.:D
 

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Artsy Fartsy Bohemeanne
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I'm still relatively new at this forum so if whatever from the following is included in the information "M" usually tells new people to look at-sorry I didn't look at all of it yet.

What are the best ways to make sure NB's don't have transmission problems? I'll be having Orange Car seen soon for a routine oil change and brake light replacement and I'd like to keep the car running as well as possible. We're at less than 57,000 miles right now. My warrenty is up. Car is completely paid for but that doesn't mean I want to dish out $6000 in a year or so because I'm disabled.
 

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Just had valve body replaced 12/2011

I bought my VW convertible beetle brand new in 12/2002. My transmission started acting up about 5-6 months ago. After dealing with the hard shifts for months I finally took my car into teh local VW dealership. They informed me that I needed a new transmission which cost about $6,500. I told them that my car is not worth that much when it is working perfectly so they tried to sell me a brand new VW. Told them I would never, ever again purchase a VW because of all the issues I've had with my car over the years. I did have a 3rd party tranmission shop replace the valve body because of all the posts I've read. My car works perfectly now. I still love my VW but will be selling it soon before something else goes wrong with it. I called VW of America today to see if I could get a reimbursement for the replaced valve body. They pretty much told me I was SOL since my car was over 7 years old. So dissapointed in VW! They know they have a problem with this but refuse to do anyting about it. They should fix the problem no matter how old the car is! I'm at 75K miles, I drive under 10k miles per year and have never driven my car like I stole it. I'm telling everyone I know NOT to buy a VW EVER! So sad because I love my car - even have a VW tatoo!
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Extended warranties do end. I was way under on mileage for the extended catalytic coverter warranty for the 2.0L AEG motor but over on years by 1. I did try to see if they'd still cover it but I wasn't shocked that they didn't. Sorry that they wouldn't cover it, but the extended warranty was for 7 years for the valve bodies. Plenty of other makes do this too...hubby's auto is failing on his Honda in the exact way that they tend to. Sent him a letter for extended warranty on them but he was over on mileage. Can't expect a car maker to cover things out of the warranty period, even its been extended. They can't just replace things throughout the life of a car...pretty ridiculous really.

Sorry your experience was bad but don't bad mouth the brand because of one car. I'm on my 2nd VW as a DD and have 2 projects at home. Never any issues with mine.
 
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