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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this forum but leveraged the knowledge here to help me attempt to troubleshoot an issue with my daughter's 2006 beetle. The only problem is that none of the solutions I found were the fix for the problem the car was having. I don't generally post on forums very often but, I am posting this to hopefully help someone else that may run into the same problem.

My daughter was driving to work one day and had to come to a sudden stop. At this point the car began to spit, spudder, idle terrible, etc. etc. Luckily she made to work. I had the car towed home to start diagnosing the problem. I got out my ODBII reader and saw the following codes P2279, P0171, P0300 - P0304. After doing some quick research (many sites...including this one), I started looking for vacuum leaks. I found a minor one but nothing else. So, then I went the route of the PCV diaphragm. I took it off to find that it had a minor break. So, I replaced the entire valve cover hoping that would solve the issue but no luck. Next I moved on to testing the EGR valve and it appeared to work correctly. I then moved on to the MAF sensor (using the following site: Part 1 -VW Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Test (5 Wire Type) (easyautodiagnostics.com) ). I initially thought I had an issue with the #2 wire because I was not getting 12V with the ignition on (not running)...however, after starting the engine I was getting 13.4 volts. I decided to go ahead and replace the MAF sensor anyway but that got me nowhere either. Just about ready to give up, I took a step back and realized that I could get the engine to run correctly in the following scenarios:
1. MAF sensor disconnected (everything else exactly as it should be)
2. MAF sensor connected but only if the PCV valve hose was disconnected and holding my finger over the end to block the vacuum.
3. MAF sensor disconnected and PCV valve hose disconnected

I knew there had to be a vacuum leak some place but I was pulling my hair out to figure out where. Then I got a lucky break....while I had the engine running and the MAF sensor disconnected, I started messing with the PCV hose again. I had it off without my finger covering it and noticed some faint smoke from the passenger side of the engine. I thought this may have been some oil that dripped down the side when I changed the valve cover. However, when I reconnected the PCV hose the smoke disappeared. I took it off again and the smoke reappeared....back on and it disappeared. I started to look for more vacuum hoses, etc. to figure out where this smoke was coming from. Then I found it...an opening on the passenger side of the engine. The opening was a missing "CAM PLUG". I purchased a new cam plug to replace the missing one and POOF, the vacuum issue was gone! Good news is that the car is back on the road and I gained a significant amount of knowledge troubleshooting this.

Hopefully this information helps someone and saves them a significant amount of time (I spent a few days on this).
 

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Interesting, excellent troubleshooting and detective work! That is the first I have heard, about a “cam plug”; can you post a photo of the location, the part # and where did you get a replacement for it? Thanks for sharing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting, excellent troubleshooting and detective work! That is the first I have heard, about a “cam plug”; can you post a photo of the location, the part # and where did you get a replacement for it? Thanks for sharing. :)
The location is on the passenger side cylinder head. There are actually two of them (one for each cam shaft).
These things are cheap (about $5). None of my local auto parts stores had them in stock and the nearest VW dealership is quite a drive. I was able to find them online at rock auto (link) and advance auto parts (link). I ended up going with advance auto parts because they could get a new one to me next day with the lowest shipping rate.

This first picture is not mine...picture of the cylinder head and locations of the plugs.
Gas Motor vehicle Auto part Engineering Machine


Cam plugs are on the passenger side of the engine.
White Light Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Automotive exhaust


Automotive tire Rim Automotive design Gas Automotive wheel system


Front of new plug
Finger Automotive tire Circle Metal Rim


Back of new plug
Hand Automotive tire Finger Cameras & optics Thumb
 

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Interesting, very good info and pics; makes you wonder, why it was missing (maybe the former owner or a mechanic was in there before?)! As to your new "cam plugs"; they look to be Elring, possibly the highest quality oem gaskets and parts for Volkswagen (typically made in Germany), some say possibly the oem supplier to VW. I've used Felpro, Victor Reinz and Elring, seem to be the high quality gaskets, I have used so far. Solid product; keep using Elring! :)


PS: the next thing to look out for on the 2.5L is the vacuum pump leaking and the pcv diaphragm failure. Both of these are repairable and seal/repair kits can save you allot of money!

(stick with the RKXTech repair kit; seems to last longer and be better quality):

 

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RKXTech, also makes are repair kit; for the leaking vacuum pump, a notorius source of oil leaks:



If you sign up for their emails; they give you a extra 10% off on your order! I also, used their new replacement gas cap rubber seal and my original one, was cracked! This, new seal, seems to help my engine start up; a bit faster, less cranking.... as the fuel pump, prime up pressure, is ready quicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting, very good info and pics; makes you wonder, why it was missing (maybe the former owner or a mechanic was in there before?)! As to your new "cam plugs"; they look to be Elring, possibly the highest quality oem gaskets and parts for Volkswagen (typically made in Germany), some say possibly the oem supplier to VW. I've used Felpro, Victor Reinz and Elring, seem to be the high quality gaskets, I have used so far. Solid product; keep using Elring! :)


PS: the next thing to look out for on the 2.5L is the vacuum pump leaking and the pcv diaphragm failure. Both of these are repairable and seal/repair kits can save you allot of money!

(stick with the RKXTech repair kit; seems to last longer and be better quality):

My daughter has been driving this car for about 3 years now. This has been the first odd thing that has gone wrong with it beyond normal wear and tear items. I actually thought about the vacuum pump at one point but there were absolutely no signs of a leak.

Thanks for the info on RKXTech also. I have never heard of them until now. If something else happens I will definitely check them out.
 
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