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Discussion Starter #1
History: My bug sat idle on my driveway for 8 mo.s with the battery disconnected(due to an unrelated, I presume, short that would roll the windows down, pop the gas tank lid and pop the rear window and lock the doors) after charging the battery, it ran around the block and then for about a mile where it died along the road. Since then I've filled the tank, added a fuel treatment and changed the fuel filter. It still only runs for a second and then dies. Does anyone have any possible answers before I start swapping parts?
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Have you checked the battery to make sure its good? Alternator?
 

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Have you scanned the car for codes; does the immobilizer (beetle body outline with key) icon flash in the speedo? Could be your immobilizer; has gone goofy, because it was dead for so long, remove the battery cables, touch pos/heg terminals for 30 seconds and then install them back on the battery. This will do a "hard reset"; of the ecm and should clear any goofiness in the immobilizer system, see if the car starts ok then. As others have noted; a thorough analysis of the charging system and a scan for codes would be a good idea. I would scan for codes first; before doing any resetting or clearing of codes. Post up those codes and hopefully we can help; you probably, will get a zillion trouble codes, because the system has been low on volts or totally dead form sitting (stock anti theft kills the battery). Scan for codes; write them down, clear the codes and see if anything changes. If you don't get anywhere after that; I would look into the charging system and also do a fuel pressure check, see if your fuel pump has died.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice, I'm going to check the fuel pressure tonight after work and then I'll try the battery thing. I can't drive it anywhere to get the codes checked. I need to start driving it again since all my customers ask me where my beetle bug is. It stands out since I put a giant tribal graphic on the sides and acts as a big billboard in front of my sign shop.
 

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Did you notice; if the immobilizer (beetle body outline with key) icon flashes in the speedo cluster? If it does; typically, the car will start for a couple of seconds and then die. This is the immobilizer; killing the ignition! There could be a number of issues; causing this, again... a scan with a VW compatible scanner would really help you diagnose these type of issues.
 

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Its a '98 - no immobilizer.

Even though the battery was replaced last year, if you haven't had the battery on a trickle charger, it could have been enough to drain it. I would definitely test the battery and alternator.
 

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Its a '98 - no immobilizer.

Even though the battery was replaced last year, if you haven't had the battery on a trickle charger, it could have been enough to drain it. I would definitely test the battery and alternator.
This. Take the battery to an auto parts store and they'll test it for you. It's possible that having the battery sit for so long, or on a charger for too long, has killed it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Fuel pressure is good. I reset the codes by holding the 2 leads together and it started and ran for a little longer than usual then it went back to the "run only for a second" routine. I spoke with a mechanic friend of mine and he said it sounded like the air flow sensor because it had the same symptoms as a different model car he had worked on. We'll see tonight...
 

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I don't think I've heard of a MAF keeping a VW from running.

I would definitely get your battery and alternator checked to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I replaced the fuel regulator and it didn't fix the problem.
One thing I forgot to mention in my description of symptoms,
was that as I was driving it right before it started the problem, the brake light indicator on the dash started flashing. Maybe someone knows what it means when the brake light on the dash starts flashing. Meanwhile I'm looking for someone to stop by the house and check the codes since I don't want to put it on a trailer and haul it anywhere. Hopefully all you VW mechanical brainiacs have the answer.
 

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Have you had the battery checked yet? Low voltage from a bad battery can cause various lights to come on.

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