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Engine issues need advise

Hello I am new to this forum. I have 2003 New Beetle 2.0 Gas Engine and at 77k. I am the original owner, have changed battery twice, alternator once, nothing much else. I have stopped using dealer service after 50k. “60k service” was done at AAA in 2011.

These are my issues:
1. On 2013 summer, check engine light turned on. AAA service center told me to change cat convertor. The convertor was one month before the warranty expiration at the time so I took the car to the dealer. The dealer service diagnosed that it was not the cat convertor (although it was "close to dying") but the issue was O2 sensor. I have not fixed the problem since then (check engine light is still on).
2. On humid or rainy days, right after starting the engine, it shakes really bad and check engine light blinks. But if you keep on running for 10-30 min, shaking or blinking stops and the car runs as normal. It happened on July 2013, July 2014, then April 2015, most recently a few days ago when I went across a big puddle after big rain.
3. Speedomer started to show wrong speed. It started 1.5 months ago but most recently it is getting close to correct speed (self fixed)? Don’t know if this relates to the above issues.

I took my car to a car mechanic. He said a few things that can be done (engine tune-up, change wires in the engine, perhaps change O2 sensor ... ) but suggested to take the car to the dealer to diagnose -- then he can do what best for the car.

The diagnosis will cost ~$180. I don’t want to do any DIY, so I would have done that except ---
I have recently lost my job and am on temp job. Looking for a job now and likely going out of the state may out of the country in near future (within 6 mon to 1 year?). If I go out of the US, I will def sell the car. Therefore my goal is to spend as less as possible on car (just enough to keep on running) until I get a job and know where I go about. But I don’t want any major catastrophe to happen .. especially during the interviewing trips.
Question (1) would there be a major issues if I don’t fix it? Also, (2) how much would it affect selling price to dealers if check engine light is on or if there is engine issues.
If I need to pay for it anyways, I would fix it now.

Thanks for reading. Appreciate any suggestion. BTW, I still do love my car.
 

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Well, lets address the: "I don't want to do any DIY" issue; frankly, with your lack of a job, more free time and reduced resources, this is probably exactly what you should be doing! Fixing things yourself; can save you a ton of money and it can be a very satisfying feeling, when you fix your own car! You have a deep support resource here with newbeetle.org; which is all of the collective wisdom and experiences, of the new beetle owners here. People are willing and able to help each other out here, just ask! :)

Basic stuff:

1. trouble codes; it would be really helpful to be able to read trouble codes, either buy a cheap vw scanner off of amazon (search 'vag scanner') or take the car to a auto parts store and see if they can scan it for free. Whatever codes you get; I would write them down and post them here, we can help you figure out what is going on. A great resource; is the ross tech wiki and search using the code number.

2. from what you are saying (engine shaking, CEL blinking); my first thought would be a cracked coil pack, as moisture is the common variable that you have mentioned. You can test this; by starting the car and using a spray bottle, to put water on the coil pack (see if you can replicate the rough idle condition). If it acts the same way, as before; that confirms your diagnosis. Its best to buy a oe high quality coil pack ($100 plus) but if you are seriously low on cash, you might get a used one from your local junk yard/pick n pull.

3. 02 sensor/catalyst issues: again, trouble codes would help with this issue and a more advanced scan tool with live data capability, would help diagnose this issue. This would require more testing and data from the testing, to figure out what is going, see what needs replaced or repaired.

I would start with the drivability issue; start with fixing the coil pack and then you can address the 02/catalyst issues later. Let us know; what direction, you would like to go and we will go from there.

PS: remember, we are here to help you as much as possible; things can be fixed, it just takes time, effort, testing and maybe getting your hands a little dirty! :D
 

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You DO NOT need VCDS to analyze and trouble shoot VW issues.

IF the SES/CEL/MIL comes on, ANY generic OBDII tool will read, display and clear any code that has causes the SES/CEL/MIL to come on.

For between $25-$30 you can get a really nice OBDII smart phone/tablet App and interface that will with with either Android or iProducts.

Read this link - http://newbeetle.org/forums/questio...d-scan-tools-software-options.html#post837491
 

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5/23/10 <3
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That's not entirely true. Not all readers will pick up all codes. I know this for a fact. My obdii Bluetooth adapter and torque don't pick up the code I get when I go into limp mode but vag-com does. Many generic readers also won't read ABS or airbag codes.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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That's not entirely true. Not all readers will pick up all codes. I know this for a fact. My obdii Bluetooth adapter and torque don't pick up the code I get when I go into limp mode but vag-com does. Many generic readers also won't read ABS or airbag codes.

It is entirely true. ALL OBDII readers will pick up ALL codes that will trigger the SES/CEL/MIL light, this is a fact and this is why there is an OBDII standard. If you have not figured this out in the 20 years OBDII has been around, you need to do a lot more research.

IF the SES/CEL/MIL comes on, ANY generic OBDII tool will read the codes and display the data that triggered the SES/CEL/MIL light. This includes manufacturer specific codes that follow the OBDII format. Imagine if the SES/CEL/MIL lit up on the millions of cars on the road and many of the codes could not be read and displayed by generic readers, then vehicle owners would be loosing their minds having to go to the dealer or more advanced shops for the codes to be read and the problems to be resolved. How can all the states that perform Emission Inspections interrogate all the makes and model cars that come through the Inspection lanes each year? They can do this because ALL errors/codes that trigger the SES/CEL/MIL can be read with ANY generic OBDII tool.

What can happen ,and this does occur sometimes, is there may be manufacturer "specialized" codes that also occur at the same time that the SES/CEL/MIL comes on and generic tools will not read these manufacturer "specialized" codes, but manufacturer "specialized" codes DO NOT trigger the SES/CEL/MIL. But for the most part anyone that has a good understanding of engine controls can use the data from a generic tool to resolve the error problem(s). Also many of the higher end "Pro" tools will read and display manufacturer "specialized" codes. So do not thing that VCDS is the ONLY tool that can do the job.

I get SO tired of everyone saying you can only fix a car with VCDS or a manufacturer software or tool, this is not the case for majority of engine and transmission problems. Having more info is helpful, however, it is not always necessary.

There are some more advanced generic tools that do support in fact support ABS and Airbags. Matter of fact there is a $4o stand alone handheld tool that dues support Airbag and ABS, this is the VAG405.

The point I want to may very clear about is for people that have NO OBDII tool, they need to consider an OBDII smart phone/tablet App for $30 or less. For people that have VCDS they also need an OBDII smart phone/tablet App as it will be the first tool they will always pull out. Trying to drive around with a laptop in the car for diagnosis is not convenient or easy, also when traveling or commuting it is much easier to keep an OBDII wireless interface with you for watching things like engine temperature, helping friends and family members as well as helping yourself if the SES/CEL/MIL comes on.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Just because it doesn't trigger a CEL doesn't mean the code isn't important. Getting a reader on the car that can get all codes is very important, IMO. Again, my car goes into limp mode. No CEL, but I do get a code. So you can be having issues with the car that are tied to a code with no CEL. You don't need VCDS to read the codes, there are cheaper readers that will pull it, but getting all codes is going to be what helps you get the car working as it should.
 

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You guys are drinking the VCDS punch big time.

If there is ANY drivability issue that will likely impact performance and emission output, the SES/CEL/MIL will light AND ANY generic OBDII tool will be able to read these codes.

Additionally, just because the SES/CEL/MIL is not lit does not mean everything is fine either. Any generic OBDII scan tool that can read and display Live/Realtime data can be used to monitor KEY things like:

Engine coolant temperature
Fuel Trims
O2 Sensor performance

There are likely situations where even VCDS does not show errors and there may be issues with engine management system on the car.

I am in NO WAY buying the fact that you would not be able to gather quite a bit of useful data with a generic OBDII scan tool if you detected an issue with the car. I do this ALL the time. I also have tools that do most of what VCDS does and even more and are way more expensive than VCDS and I do use them on occasion, but they are not my first line tools.

What the problem here is everyone THINKS and EXPECT some magic codes from VCDS or other more advanced tool will tell you what $20 part needs to be replaced. This is NOT going to happen.

Additionally I deal with higher end scan tools that will gather all the trouble codes that a generic tool will not read and you have to be VERY careful when reading all the manufacturer specialized codes. Often you can and will be flooded with an avalanche of codes and you have to understand what to pay attention to and what to ignore.

I am not saying that VCDS or other more advanced scan tools do not have a place in diagnosis and testing, BUT what I get SO tired of hearing on the these forums is you cannot fix these cars without VCDS or some other dealer/manufacturer level software or tool and this is TOTALLY untrue.

People need to start with the basics and if and only if the basics are not helpful, they can move on. Additionally people need to think WAY outside of the box when it comes to resolving drivability issues regardless of what tool(s) are being used.

I have played with VCDS and I am not buying that it is the ONLY tool that works on VW's and you cannot fix problems if you do not have it.

VCDS or other advanced tools can be helpful at times, but a generic OBDII tool is where everyone needs to start.

Even the VAG405 for $40 is quite useful, but the VCDS punch drinkers are so narrow minded they do not want to hear about what this $40 can do.

Think what you want, but for the majority of drivability issues, a decent generic OBDII tool will help resolve the a very large of the problems that show up on a daily basis.

This subject is almost as bad as the mythical coolant sensor problems on these engines, when the majority of the people overlooked the basics of soft thermostats and cold running engines. Even VW missed this one BIG time. Almost all of the restricted oil pick ups and sludged up engines were due to a $10 thermostat that had the main spring go weak due to poor heat treatment. This is not just a VW problem, it is an industry wide problem that people just seem to gloss over and ignore.

People need to open up their minds a bit here.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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I'm speaking from personal experience where a code reader didn't read my code for limp mode. If you're going into limp mode, that's a pretty big deal in my mind. I never said VCDS was the only reader that would read that code, but my generic reader didn't pick it up, while VCDS did. You need to really make sure the tool you get is going to allow you to really get to the heart of problems. Not all of them can, as I've personally seen.
 

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Perhaps we are getting off topic ...

Suffice it to say, that in order to help the OP with a "budget driven" solution, the DTC's are needed. So, now we wait for the OP to post the DTC's.

Off Topic: If you really want to debate OBD I, II or III, start with this and in a separate post ...
 

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I believe I was and am on topic, I gave the OP a budget driven solution to be able to read DTC's.

I just wanted to make it CRYSTAL clear that if there is a light on the dash that relates to the ECU, for $30 or less is all he needs to spend to get started.

Apparently others disagree.
 

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My point is that yes, you may be able to get codes associated with the CEL with any reader. But you may not get all codes present, and therefore not get the whole picture of the issues at hand. You need some sort of reader than can read ALL codes.
 

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I am going to make one last attempt to make this point very clear not only for your benefit but the benefit of anyone who runs across this post and seems to think the only way to repair these or any modern vehicle requires a manufacturer specialized software or tool to read manufacturer specialized or proprietary codes.

Here is the deal, short and sweet, if the SES/CEL/MIL lights up on the dashboard, any generic OBDII tool will be able to read ANY and ALL DTC's/codes that triggered the light. This is a fact and how the OBDII system is and was designed.

There can be additional manufacturer specialized or proprietary codes in addition to standard OBDII codes, but these additional manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes DO NOT cause the SES/CEL/MIL to come on and are not typically needed/required to understand what triggered the SES/CEL/MIL light.

Manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes can give more insight, but what you have to realize is there are THOUSANDS of vehicles each day that are repaired by shops and DIY'ers that are only using generic OBDII tools. These shops and DIY'ers can be and are successful in repairing vehicles without using more advanced Pro tools or manufacturer specialized software or standalone tools.

OBDII does in fact support something called manufacturer specific codes. These are codes that typically appear as P1xxx. These are DTC's/codes that follow the standardized OBDII format which can and will allow manufacturer specific codes to be read and data displayed on any generic OBDII tool.

So there is clearly a mechanism in the OBDII standard for manufacturer specific codes to trigger the SES/CEL/SES and any generic OBDII can read these manufacturer specific codes and display data related to these codes.

Manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes do not follow the standard OBDII protocol, or at least to not have the triggers for the SES/CEL/MIL light and they do not have a direct translation to a generic or manufacturer specific code. Again, these manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes DO NOT LIGHT the SES/CEL/MIL indicator. There may be other specific indicators that these codes can light, sometimes related to traction control and/or electronic throttle control, but in general, manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes do no trigger any sort of warning for the driver.

These manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes cannot typically be read with a generic OBDII tool, however, even ABS and Airbag codes typically follow a "standard" so generic tools that can read ABS or Airbag codes can be used. There are many of the more advanced generic OBDII tools available that can read and display ABS and Airbag codes and some of these tools can also read and display many, if not all of the powertrain manufacturer specialized/proprietary codes. These tools are typically in the cost range of $200+.

I am by no means saying do not consider VCDS, but what I am saying is there is so much confusion and hype not only here with VW owners and VCDS, but with MANY, MANY people on other forums and other manufacturers that are brainwashed into thinking the ONLY way to repair the car with with a manufacturer specialized software or standalone tool.

Like anything, for anyone new to DIY and trying to sort out problems with their car, start with baby steps. If the task is to address the SES/CEL/MIL that is on, for as little as $20 very powerful smart phone/tablet OBDII Apps and interfaces are available that will give insight into what cause the SES/CEL/MIL to be triggered. Additonally these tools can and will display Live/Realtime data as well as be able to Log the sensor data. Probably over 95% of the time anything that triggered the SES/CEL/MIL can be quickly and easily analyzed with a decent generic OBDII tool, whether is is a smart phone/tablet App or stand along hand held tool.

For problems with ABS or Airbags, for as little as $40 the VAG405 will be able to read and display ABS and Airbag codes. The VAG405 will also read OBDII codes, BUT it lacks Live/Realtime data display which is very unfortunately. The VAG405 will also read most other modules and systems in the car, I just cannot vouch for how thorough and accurate the VAG405 is for anything other than OBDII, ABD and Airbag.

The bottom line, unfortunately there is not a single tool for all jobs. While VCDS is a good tool, it is laptop based which means is it more cumbersome to install and use and I have found the interface at times can be a bit frustrating by only displaying 8 bit octets that require looking an 1's and 0's then having to translate or research each state of the octet. It has its place and can and is very useful, but it is not a "must have" tool for everyday problems.

The beauty of the lower cost interfaces for smart phone/tablet apps means the interface and easily be carried in the car and you will always have an OBDII tool available while you are on the road. Heck, for as cheap as the interfaces are, I leave one in each of my cars. I do not know many people that carry their laptop with them at all times in their car.

So keep and open mind, get the right tool for your budget and needs, start with something simple and then determine if you really need something more advanced.
 
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