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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. My wife's 99 NB came with a broken key fob (seller didn't bother to tell me the fob had no guts, just the shell). In retrospect, I wish I'd tried the remote when I was first test-driving the car, but didn't think it would be an issue. Of course, when I called the PO to try to ask about the fob, there was no answer and she wouldn't return my calls; live and learn I guess. Anyway, I got a valet key made for around $60 until I can eventually afford a new fob and a dealer reset. About a month ago I replaced the car's original battery. I had already charged the original battery once and it still went dead. Just to be safe I bought and installed a brand new battery and life was good. After about 3 weeks, I tried to start the car and the NEW battery was dead! After re-charging the battery, I read the posts about "parasitic drains" and decided to lock the car with the valet key and maybe that would somehow stop the drain (previously we hadn't locked the car because it's parked in my garage). For the first time I noticed there was a flashing red light on the door lock switch when I manually locked the door (as seen through the driver's side window). On a possible related note, I recalled that while vacuuming the car after we first bought it, I found a wire under the driver's seat that had been disconnected (on purpose). One end of the wire was bare and the other end still had a wire-nut on it, as if someone had purposefully disconnected an electrical component (maybe the seat-belt idiot light or chime?) and they didn't intend to reconnect it. Thinking I had nothing to lose, and hoping this would be related to the battery drain, I reconnected the wire. Anyway, after the battery change I locked the car and saw the flashing light on the DS doorlock. I assumed the light was supposed to be on, but I just hadn't noticed it before. A few days later I unlocked the car manually, sat in the seat and turned the key and the alarm system activated and the car wouldn't turn over. The alarm system deactivated after about 30 seconds (meanwhile I opened the hood and frantically tried to disconnect the battery). A bit of possibly related history: since we've had the car the fuel door and trunk switch on the driver's side door don't work...when I push the trunk button I hear a whirring noise as if something is working, but the trunk still doesn't open. On the fuel door, I discovered the cable was kinked (I read about this in another forum post) and I un-kinked it. Now the fuel door actuator works, but I discovered that when the PO forced the fuel door open the plastic "catch" on the switch broke off.
Questions:
(1) Could the disconnected wire under the driver's seat cause the possible "parasitic drain"?

(2) Could reconnecting the mystery wire under the driver's seat cause the alarm system to activate?

Right now the car is locked and the light on the door lock switch is still flashing; I'm pretty sure the alarm will go off again when I unlock the door and try to start the car. My neighbors haven't called the PD yet, thankfully.

I read about several ways to deactivate the alarm (open the DS door, turn the lock until windows open and close, or unlock the DS door, then open the trunk before attempting to start the car). I haven't tried any of these yet, for fear the alarm will go off.

I know this is a lot of information, but from the different threads, many NB owners seem to have similar issues. My wife loves her NB, but so far we've had a lot of problems and I don't feel confident that she can drive the car without alarm system/battery/starting issues. Thanks for any feedback.
 

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The answers to your questions are "No" and "No." Like you surmised, the only thing clipping that wire does (in a '99) is to disable the seatbelt warning light and buzzer. I bought my '99 when it was 2 years old and it had already been clipped, by dealer service department probably. In later model years the seatbelt switch does interact with the airbag system and will cause an airbag light if clipped.

As for your alarm issues, it sounds like you could have the old solder-joint-in-the-door-latch issue:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/questio...ms-new-beetle/59654-door-latch-resources.html

The red blinking light indicates that the alarm system is active. If the light is not flashing and you use a key that has been programmed with the car the alarm should not go off.

The keys do all have RFID chips in them, even the valet key. The car must be programmed to a new key in order for it to work in the ignition. In order to program a new key you will need two working keys, a dealer or a full VW-compatible diagnostic software package (can be obtained for ~$120 including a cable). At least the '99 doesn't have an immobilizer that would have to be programmed separately.

The parasitic drain is often the premium sound amplifier in the truck if your car is equipped with the Monsoon system. Here is my DIY about parasitic drain:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/questio...0356-how-test-parasitic-drain-new-beetle.html

You have quickly found many of the "joys" of NewBeetle ownership that took me many year to discover! I gave up on trying to make my fuel door work more than 10 years ago! (It will stay closed on its own just fine, no latch needed.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
response to my long-winded post about 99 NB alarm

Wow, it appears my alarm problem is a common occurrence! It is a beautiful car and my wife loves it, but I think she's starting to think we got taken for a ride. I was having my doubts until I started reading all the posts about different "quirks" on the NB alarm system. Like you, I'm going to stop worrying about the fuel door. It closes and that's good enough. I'd still like to know why the trunk switch doesn't work; I've read some posts about adjustments, but they seem pretty complicated. Tomorrow I'm going to try all of the tests you listed in the link (after I warn everyone to stand by for the alarm). Your response will start me on the right track, and I'll holler back after I run the checklist. Thanks! KC
 

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On the trunk not opening, the problem is usually the preload adjustment on the hinges. There needs to be enough preload to force the door up about an inch when the release is activated. Otherwise it will relock itself. You may be able to open the trunk by having someone pulling it upward as the release is activated. See this thread for the screws on the hinges to adjust:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/questio...w-beetle/40788-any-way-make-rear-hatch-3.html

You only need to move them a little, maybe 1/4 turn at a time until it works.
 

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This website has good information on the VW keys:

Sidewinderkey.com

The software needed for matching your own keys (in case you don't have 2 working keys) is VCDS:

Ross-Tech: Products

It is also good to have if you are going to work on the car yourself. You can access all the diagnostics available on the car and also change things like the automatic door lock/unlock, horn beep or light flash for locking or unlocking, lights off delay when closing doors, ect. I have the VCDS-Lite version ($99) and an ebay cable ($15).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dead battery (again) but door lock still flashing

Hello, took me a while to get back (other priorities). Well, today, with the red light on the door lock still flashing we unlocked the driver's side door and just observed what would happen. After unlocking and opening the door, the red light in the door lock was still flashing. On a whim I decided to unlock the trunk and that stopped the red light from flashing so I'm pretty sure that somehow disabled the alarm system. Then, while my wife was still plugging her ears and ready for the horn, I attempted to start the car; wouldn't you know it, the battery was dead. I jumped the car with my pickup and it started easily. Right now the car is sitting in the driveway, idling and I'm going to look at the parasitic drain thread to see what I can do. Appreciate the feedback; going to try the drain tests then I'll re-read all of the info you provided re keys. Thanks for staying in touch.
 

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If the alarm does not disable (red flashing light shuts off) when you open the door, then you have the bad door latch issue. You can also open the passenger door to shut off the alarm instead of the trunk.
 

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The dragon is watching U
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello,
Well, the good news is I bought and installed a new door lock actuator and when I unlocked the door the flashing red light stopped flashing. The bad news is the door wouldn't open with the new actuator installed. The outside door handle cable (the short one that engages in the door handle with a small plastic insert) is installed//adjusted correctly and the door actually opened on the second try. My brother-in-law (a long-time mechanic)and I removed the new actuator and closed/locked/opened the mechanism dozens of times with no problems. Next, we reinstalled the actuator and attempted to open the door using the inside door handle. The door didn't automatically unlock and- open as it should. After doing all of the above actions multiple times to rule out operator error, we noticed that the plastic locking mechanism (this is the plastic device where the door lock rod is installed on the actuator) wasn't seated correctly...when we viewed the locking mechanism across its top we noticed it wasn't flush, indicating that it wasn't installed properly at the factory. This was causing the lock to not disengage properly when we pulled the inside door handle. After a few tries with the inside door handle, the door would finally open. Next,just to ensure we didn't miss anything, we reinstalled my original actuator (this is the one with the bad solder joints that caused my original battery drain) and cycled it through several times and each time it worked perfectly. I emailed the company (1A auto) and they're refunding my money and I'm ordering a Dorman actuator from another company. I decided against soldering the old actuator connections; I want a reliable system for my wife to drive, and re-using old parts just wasn't an option. Just wanted to let everyone know. Thanks. KC
 

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Hey there...
I also have a 99. As far as I know, there is no oem part you can buy that will fix the door problem permanently. The design just beats itself up over time. Those little switches get hammered and eventually give way.

For a reliable fix you should get new key fobs for your car. They can disable the alarm system even when the switches and sensors are beaten to death in your doors. I went for years in that condition because I didnt want to dismantle the doors. Eventually I did get in there to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All, thanks for all the great replies. Yes, I'm buying a new keyfob (thanks red99 for the hookup w/sidewinder). However, now I have a different issue and I wonder if this has happened to anyone else. Just received and installed my brand new Dorman door lock actuator and the door opens and closes correctly before and after unlocking the door manually with the key. However, now when I lock the door using the key, I barely (I mean barely) turn the key to the right and the door locks...then it unlocks normally but when you turn the key back to the middle/neutral position if you go even a millimeter past dead center to the right the door locks. The door also locks when you turn the key to unlock the door, and then release the key and let it "snap" back to the middle...very sensitive. As you know, I've been working on this actuator/parasitic drain problem off and on for about 6 months, and now I have this new problem. Very frustrating.

Question 1: Could I have caused this somehow during installation? (this is about the 10th time I've re-installed this and other actuators...but this is the first time ANY of them have done this).
Question 2: Does anyone else have a super sensitive door lock actuator that locks/unlocks when you barely turn the key?
Question 2. Does anyone know if these actuators/locking mechanisms can be adjusted?

I'm going to remove the actuator from the door and retrace my steps to see if I possibly installed it incorrectly, and at that time I'll cycle the actuator closed/locked/unlocked/open several times so verify it does the same thing when uninstalled. I'd appreciate any feedback. Thanks. KC
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
99 NB Alarm Problem

Hello, well after ordering 3 (yes, 3) defective door lock actuators, I finally got one that worked. Now the alarm and the door lock (flashing red light when the door is locked) work as advertised. However, I STILL have the parasitic drain problem. It is a new battery that I installed last summer, and, after finally "fixing" the parasitic drain by replacing the door lock actuator, I thought I was finally good to go. It turns out, after many, many hours of trying to fix the drain problem, I'm right back where I started. Question 1: How do I permanently disable the alarm system? Question 2: Has anyone else replaced the driver's side door lock actuator due to alarm problems/parasitic drain and still have the same problem? Can't even describe the frustration these "new beetle" problems have caused. Just when I think it's fixed, it's not, and this has happened several times. Any advice is welcomed. Thanks. KC
 

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Have you isolated the parasitic drain to a particular fuse using the technique from my DIY in post #3?

Also, have you actually measured the parasitic drain current? It could be that your alternator is not charging the battery. Measure the battery voltage with the engine idling. After the engine has run for a minute or so it should measure 14-14.5 volts if the battery is charging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey Red...I haven't done the parasitic drain test yet. I recharged the battery (after the battery went dead with the door locked and the door lock light flashing) and the charge maxed out at 12.26 volts and the car started normally. This was on December 26th. I have since checked the battery a couple of times daily and it appeared to lose about a tenth of a volt each time I checked it up until a week ago. For the past 7 days the voltage has stayed at 11.5. My previous parasitic drain drained the battery completely dead in a day or two. Does this sound like parasitic drain to you? I'm going to recharge the battery and check the voltage while it's running as you suggested. Appreciate the help. KC
 

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It sounds to me like a battery that isn't charging due to a bad alternator (most likely worn brushes) or maybe a bad battery. A new battery should be close to 12.8 volts right after charging. As they get older that fully charged voltage will drop a bit, but 12.26 is too low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
99 NB Alarm Problem

Red...we set up for the parasitic drain check and our first indication (with the multimeter knob on 2m) was .760-800. We then opened the driver's side door, and the meter spiked to 3.something, then after a few seconds it read a steady 1.0. Closed the door again and about two minutes later the meter reads .808. At one point I locked then unlocked the door and the meter spiked to 3.0. Now with the door closed I'm maxing out at .835 but it's jumping around from .798 to .835. Should I go ahead and start pulling fuses, or do you think I may have another problem? You said that 056 is "normal" but what are the tolerances (plus or minus)? I've rechecked the setup twice going step by step through the instructions, and I'm wondering if there may be another problem, since mine won't even stabilize.
 

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There shouldn't be much variation between cars for the drain, so I'd say anything over 60 or 65 mA is too much. You should use the procedure I outlined at the end of the DIY to track it down to a particular circuit.

Do you have the Monsoon sound system with the amplifier in the trunk? That is a common source of problems.

Also, are all three interior lights switched off? Since you may be new to your car I'll point out that on the 2 lights over the doors the clear plastic lens is a giant rocker switch that goes between "off", "door" and "on." Make sure they are in the "off" position when you do the test. Otherwise they will stay on for a little while after you close the doors with a timer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. So there really is no tolerance on this measurement. I'll complete the rest of your diy steps tomorrow now that I understand it a little better. As for the Monsoon system, all I know is we have a 6 CD changer in the trunk. Did I ask you about your junction/fuse box (on top of the battery)? In your pic, you have four wires (1 black and three red). Ours has 5 wires, 1 black and four red. Not sure why or if that would make a difference in the measurement. Funny thing about those lights you mentioned, I figured out how they work pretty much by accident, and they were off during this process. I'll get back to you tomorrow. Once again, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Forgot to mention something. The three lights you mentioned are off during the process, but the small red/white light on the door is illuminated when I open it. Just curious if that would make a difference.
 
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