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'99 Beetle tries to start, runs rough, dies.

6172 Views 17 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  billymade
Hi everyone. I'm sure that this issue has been addressed in the past but my search for a similar topic didn't find a thread.
My son & daughter-in-law have a '99 Beetle that did run when stored in a garage following a move from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, TX. After a few weeks, my son went to change the oil/filter and discovered the engine would not start. As far as I can tell we've ruled out the immobilizer. That icon on the cluster does not glow and the fuel pump is heard to continue to operate for a short time (long enough to tell it works). When the engine does run, it is an extremely rough idle then it dies. The battery is fully charged and the engine cranks easily. A friend who works on VW Beetles as a hobby has a laptop-based program that was able to read the computer codes. The only area he was not able to communicate with was the immobilizer. No codes shown seemed to be any that would prevent the engine from running.
My son would like to get the engine running and sell the car as the body and interior on in decent shape.
HELP! please.
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A couple of ideas; the basics:

Please post any and all trouble codes.

The immobilizer; can get goofy, when the battery gets low. I would try a hard reset; see if that helps (remove pos/neg cables; touch for 30 seconds and install back on the battery).

How long was the car in storage? It is possible; that the gas has gone bad, making it hard to start. Siphon out the bad gas; fill with fresh and maybe some fuel treatment/conditioner. I removed the fuel pump and used a fuel siphon tool, that I got from harbor freight.

I would clean and align the throttle body; as these can lose their settings if the battery goes dead.

I would test the fuel pump; get a fuel pressure gage and test the fuel pressure. You can rent (free) or purchase, a fuel pressure test kit from most auto parts stores. Harbor Freight has them on sale; for less than $20 with a 20% coupon.

Here are the fuel pressure testing steps:

Volkswagen Workshop Manuals > Beetle L4-2.0L (AEG) (2000) > Powertrain Management > Tune-up and Engine Performance Checks > Fuel Pressure > System Information > Specifications > Pressure, Vacuum and Temperature Specifications

Those are some basic ideas; the trouble codes, could give you some more info, that could point you in the right direction. Please post them up and do some testing, we will go from there.
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Definitely post all trouble codes - the numbers not just the description.

Also, that car shouldn't have an immobilizer. I believe they started in 2000. I know my '99 didn't have one.

Thanks Billy & Smiley for your replies and info.

The battery is new and fully charged. I'll try the "hard reset" again (at this point I'm ready to try just about anything!). I had my friend with the connected laptop clear the codes at least once with no different result.

The car was/is in storage for a little more than a year but we've been "tinkering" with trying different things to get it to run during that time. The gas has removed and replaced with fresh about a month ago.

I'll try cleaning the throttle body. I'm assuming you mean the edges of the flapper where it meets the interior walls of the intake. BTW, the throttle body does go through it's "cycle" each time the key is put in the "on" position.

I know the fuel pump pressurizes the line when the key is put in the "on" position and that it continues to run after the engine is cranked and dies. I'm in the process of getting a gauge to check the pressure in the line under the hood. I just haven't gotten there.

I'll post the codes if I can get my friend with the laptop back. He stays pretty busy.

I've been getting conflicting info about the immobilizer - if it is present on this year model. Would the dealer be able to get the info with the VIN like US manufacturers?

Again, thanks for the help!
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IF you don't have a vw scan tool; you might consider, buying a cheap vw compatible one, off of amazon. Just search; "vag scanner", the cheap ones are less than $50 and then there are those that do live data and more in the $75 plus range. VCDS is the factory level scan tool; in the $250-$350 range. Even having just the basic vw code readers; can really help diagnosing the the problems with your car, the codes can help us, help you! Please post any and all codes; that you see. :)

If you hear; the fuel pump keep going and not stopping, then it is possible it is failing and not able to pressurize the system like it needs to (when door opens/key on; it should run for a bit, then stop when it gets to a certain pressure). A fuel pressure test; should be done to make sure it is working like it should.
OK - thanks much for the info and advice.

As for the fuel pump stopping a short time after the engine stops running for the less-than-a-minute times, I was under the impression the once the line was pressurized and was keeping pressure that the pump would cycle off, then back on when needed to maintain pressure in the line. Is this not correct? I'm more used to tinkering with US made vehicles and know less than nothing about VWs (but seem to be learning VERY quickly!:))
Before, you start the engine the fuel pump typically runs a bit, to pressurize the system and then stops. Testing is needed; to confirm the fuel pump is good.

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My son works for a small trucking firm who has an in-house mechanic. He said we could borrow the gauge he has in the shop for the weekend and will try it.

Thanks again for the advice!:)
Just checking in to let the two helping me that I haven't forgotten your or been struck by a bout of A.D.D. It's been very hot where I am lately, I haven't had any help, and I've just been very busy.

The next things I plan on trying are to clean the throttle body and check the fuel pump to see if it is delivering enough pressure to the fuel rail.

Ok, it's insanely hot here too; let us know, the results of your testing, when you get to it! :)

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Well, I was finally able to drag myself out into the heat after I borrowed a fuel pressure gauge from O'Reilly Auto Parts. Hopefully I connected the gauge corretly (Located fuel pressurized line, connected a "T" connection to line from fuel pump, other end to line to fuel pressure regulator and gauge to the base of the "T". Switched on the ignition, allowed the fuel pump to run before it shut itself off, cycled the ignition switch a few times). I never saw the gauge move at all. Checked the gauge against a pressurized tire and found the gauge did more. I don't know enough about the circuitry on these fuel pumps to be able to get the fuel pump to run continuously. Is there another way of checking the fuel pump for proper pressure/output?
I'm not positive but you could probably control it through a vag-com. I know for sure if it's possible but it is on the PD diesels so there's a good chance you can.
So, there is NO fuel pressure; when the key is turned on? What if you turn over the engine? It is possible; that the check valve is bad, sticking or the fuel pump cannot pump up; thus you have no pressure. This is what would happen to my fuel pump; I had a hard time starting it but when it did, the fuel pressure was fine. However, when I shut the engine off; the fuel pressure went to ZERO! The residual fuel pressure is supposed to be maintained for 10-15 minutes.

Be sure to follow the testing directions and also confirm with the fuel pressure regulator tested as well.


Fuel Pressure: Pressure, Vacuum and Temperature Specifications

System Pressure Specified Value

2.5 bar (36 psi).

Residual Pressure

After 10 minutes there must be a residual pressure of at least

2.0 bar (29 psi).

From where I am standing; I would replace the fuel filter and retest (confirm; it isn't a clogged fuel filter). If you're still having the same problem; I would replace the fuel pump.

For a fuel pump; I would go oem Bosch or VDO. Bosch has a good quality and affordable pump; amazon has the best price with free shipping. DO NOT; buy a cheap aftermarket fuel pump from your typical local auto parts store. They have been known to fail and cannot maintain proper pressure and just cause more problems.

Bosch 69740 Original Equipment Replacement Electric Fuel Pump
by Bosch

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Thanks for the input, Billy.
The first thing we did when we discovered that this Beetle wouldn't start and acted as if the engine was starved for fuel was to change the fuel filter.
We're just trying to get this thing running so that it can be sold without breaking the bank. I understand that most times replacing parts with OEM stuff is the best, but we won't be keeping it. Suggestions on an economical source for a fuel pump?
Thanks again
That is a excellent price on amazon @ under $120; as a comparison, the vw dealer has the oem fuel pump @ $350! I wouldn't recommend any fuel pump; that is less than $120 from a cheap aftermarket company; all we have seen on this site, is people having them fail on them. What is the point of buying a part; if it won't work correctly and fail on the owner of the car? We have seen this; over, over, over again, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Stop the insanity; do it once and do it right! You will be rewarded with a correctly running car and it will be reliable, work as it should. I cannot recommend cheap parts; that are inferior and will not work correctly or last.

(the genuine vw fuel pump; usually doesn't come with the fuel sending or the tank seal; which costs extra).

Genuine Original Equipment Replacement Parts 1999 Volkswagen Beetle GL
All Vehicles - 1999 - Volkswagen - Beetle - GL - FUEL SYSTEM - FUEL SUPPLY - FUEL PUMP

Volkswagen Genuine Factory Part Part Number: 1J0919087J

FUEL PUMP Beetle; 2.0L, 1.8L

Fits 1999 Volkswagen Beetle GL

MSRP: $342.00

Volkswagen National eStore

Bosch 69740 Original Equipment Replacement Electric Fuel Pump

(comes with a built in fuel level sending unit and a new tank seal included)

by Bosch

List Price: $344.59 Price: $110.31 + $8.37 shipping

http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-69740-O...=1-1&keywords=Bosch 69740&tag=viglink20690-20
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Moved post to proper forum.
Once again, Billy, thanks for your input and experience. I'll keep everything in mind.

What is your opinion on picking up a used fuel pump from a "Pick-N-Pull" type junk yard? How much does heat & humidity affect such parts?
Well, I cannot really recommend used parts (for electrical things like a fuel pump); I mean, it could be fine or it could work and then die, leave you stranded. It is a gamble; I really have no way to know the quality or condition of a used part. Seeing how old these cars are; I have a hard time believing a old wrecked new beetle in a junkyard; doesn't have a worn out fuel pump as well (unless it just happened to have been replaced recently).

I guess, it comes down to: if you are time poor or time rich or money poor or money rich. You could do a ton of footwork; getting used parts and end up in the same place you started (keep going back to a junk yard; until you find a good used one). The other option; is spend the money on the Bosch pump and be done with it, move on with your life and spend less time messing with it. Its up to you; time vs. money; what is more important to you?
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