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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The door latch used in the New Beetle is fairly prone to failures, particularly with electrical problems that can cause many problems with the behavior of the door locks or alarm system. The latch contains 3 microswitches that sense 1)the key being turned in the lock direction, 2)the key being turned in the unlock direction and 3)the door open/close status. The cause of the problem is usually broken solder joints at one or more of the microswitches or at the circuit board connector for the wiring harness.

Symptoms

A number of different symptoms are possible:

1. The alarm goes off and the car won't start when the ignition key is turned.

2. The door locks or unlocks itself at random times.

3. The interior lights don’t come on when the door is opened.

4. The interior lights come on while driving, as if the door had been opened.

Alarm system work-around

If you are not able to start the car because of the alarm system try this procedure:

1. Unlock the driver's door and get in.

2. Reach across to the passenger door, open the door a few inches and then close it again.

3. Now put the key in the ignition and start the engine. Opening the passenger door should disarm the alarm.

4. If the passenger door doesn't work, try opening and closing the trunk instead.

It is possible to lock the car without setting the alarm using this procedure:

1. Get out of the car and shut the driver's door.

2. Go around to the passenger door. Go in through the passenger door, reach across to the driver's door and press down the lock pin.

3. Press down the lock pin on the passenger door and close the door.

Proper operation

To test for proper operation of the door latch do the following:

1. Put a key in the lock on the driver's door and twist in the clockwise direction. The door should lock and the alarm should arm as indicated by a blinking LED next to the door lock pin.

2. Twist the key in the counterclockwise direction. The door should unlock and the alarm should unarm as indicated by LED next to the door lock pin turning off.

3. Open the driver's door. The courtesy light on the door panel should come on and the interior lights should come on if the switches are set in the "door" position. When the door is closed the door panel light should immediately turn off again.

A latch which fails any one of these tests is bad. If you have a problem that occurs intermittently such as with locking or unlocking randomly the tests may all be OK but the latch is still causing the problem.

The passenger door doesn’t have a lock so it’s only sensor is for open/close status. Proper operation can be checked using test 3. Passenger door latch failures are much less common.

Repair instructions

If the problem is indeed the solder joints the latch can be repaired rather than being replaced. The following links provide information on doing the repair.

This DIY thread explains removing the latch from a disassembled door, taking the latch apart and repairing the solder joints:

VWVortex.com - MKIV door locks explained - why you're having problems!!! :(

This video has great instructions on disassembling the door. It shows fixing the window regulator, so once the door is apart you will be removing the latch instead:

How To Install Replace Broken Power Window Regulator Volkswagen Beetle 98-10 1AAuto.com - YouTube

This DIY has good pictures on removing the door trim panel. It also shows removing the various switches from the panel which is not needed to repair the latch:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/paint-body/51680-deer-drivers-door-panel-diy.html

This is a good step-by-step for removing and reinstalling the door latch once the door is disassembled. It is for a Jetta but is the same as a New Beetle:

VWVortex.com - DIY - Replacing the front door window regulator clips and/or door lock module

Some of the tools that will be needed are Torx T-20 and T-30 bits and an 8 mm triple square bit. The triple square bit will be the most difficult to find. Lisle makes a set that includes 6, 8, 10 and 12 mm bits that you may be able to find in local auto parts shops for around $15.

Lisle Corporation

The triple square bit is also available easily on ebay or amazon.

If anyone has any suggestions, additions or corrections to the above please post a reply and I will edit this message with updates.
 

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Awesome sauce. This is a repair I have on the back burner at the moment; but this will help so much when I get the time to do it. Thanks for the info an especially the links.


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No pic jfoj; but in other breaking news, I finally got a Bentley of my very own. Just waiting on the mail. So far since the 6th its made it from DesMoines to Jacksonville. So close to Tampa I can feel it...lol.


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The door latch used in the New Beetle is fairly prone to failures, particularly with electrical problems that can cause many problems with the behavior of the door locks or alarm system. The latch contains 3 microswitches that sense 1)the key being turned in the lock direction, 2)the key being turned in the unlock direction and 3)the door open/close status. The cause of the problem is usually broken solder joints at one or more of the microswitches or at the circuit board connector for the wiring harness.

Symptoms

A number of different symptoms are possible:

1. The alarm goes off and the car won't start when the ignition key is turned.

2. The door locks or unlocks itself at random times.

3. The interior lights don’t come on when the door is opened.

4. The interior lights come on while driving, as if the door had been opened.

Alarm system work-around

If you are not able to start the car because of the alarm system try this procedure:

1. Unlock the driver's door and get in.

2. Reach across to the passenger door, open the door a few inches and then close it again.

3. Now put the key in the ignition and start the engine. Opening the passenger door should disarm the alarm.

4. If the passenger door doesn't work, try opening and closing the trunk instead.

It is possible to lock the car without setting the alarm using this procedure:

1. Get out of the car and shut the driver's door.

2. Go around to the passenger door. Go in through the passenger door, reach across to the driver's door and press down the lock pin.

3. Press down the lock pin on the passenger door and close the door.

Proper operation

To test for proper operation of the door latch do the following:

1. Put a key in the lock on the driver's door and twist in the clockwise direction. The door should lock and the alarm should arm as indicated by a blinking LED next to the door lock pin.

2. Twist the key in the counterclockwise direction. The door should unlock and the alarm should unarm as indicated by LED next to the door lock pin turning off.

3. Open the driver's door. The courtesy light on the door panel should come on and the interior lights should come on if the switches are set in the "door" position. When the door is closed the door panel light should immediately turn off again.

A latch which fails any one of these tests is bad. If you have a problem that occurs intermittently such as with locking or unlocking randomly the tests may all be OK but the latch is still causing the problem.

The passenger door doesn’t have a lock so it’s only sensor is for open/close status. Proper operation can be checked using test 3. Passenger door latch failures are much less common.

Repair instructions

If the problem is indeed the solder joints the latch can be repaired rather than being replaced. The following links provide information on doing the repair.

This DIY thread explains removing the latch from a disassembled door, taking the latch apart and repairing the solder joints:

VWVortex.com - MKIV door locks explained - why you're having problems!!! :(

This video has great instructions on disassembling the door. It shows fixing the window regulator, so once the door is apart you will be removing the latch instead:

How To Install Replace Broken Power Window Regulator Volkswagen Beetle 98-10 1AAuto.com - YouTube

This DIY has good pictures on removing the door trim panel. It also shows removing the various switches from the panel which is not needed to repair the latch:

Deer - Drivers Door Panel DIY

This is a good step-by-step for removing and reinstalling the door latch once the door is disassembled. It is for a Jetta but is the same as a New Beetle:

VWVortex.com - DIY - Replacing the front door window regulator clips and/or door lock module

Some of the tools that will be needed are Torx T-20 and T-30 bits and an 8 mm triple square bit. The triple square bit will be the most difficult to find. Lisle makes a set that includes 6, 8, 10 and 12 mm bits that you may be able to find in local auto parts shops for around $15.

Lisle Corporation

The triple square bit is also available easily on ebay or amazon.

If anyone has any suggestions, additions or corrections to the above please post a reply and I will edit this message with updates.
I just went thru this repair on my 2006 NB and discovered that the pins of the wiring harness connector would NOT wet with ordinary rosin core electronic solder! Maybe mine were oxidized. Anyway I resorted to an aggressive acid flux intended for stainless steel and it worked well. The flux I used was Flux 682 from the Eutector-Castolin company. I’ll bet if I had ignored this problem and just piled on the solder until the pins were covered up....the erratic door locking might have continued.
 
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