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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all:

I am brand new to your forum. I did check FAQ and did a quick search but found no information. My apologies in advance if I missed something but as you will see, this is an extenuating circumstance.

I am trying to help a woman whose husband had a stroke and is now totally disabled. She has very little money so I would like to help fix her car for her if I can. To this end, I just got this account in the hope that you folks can help me. I do like the new beetles but do NOT own one. I turn wrenches on old Chevrolets so while I have some mechanical aptitude, I know that these are totally different cars.

The skinny: Her 2001 New Beetle's windows fog up if she leaves the windows up. The car loses coolant with no exterior leaks that she can see. There is no interior heat. Applying general automotive knowledge to this leads me to believe that her heater core is leaking badly. I understand that replacing the heater core is a VERY big and difficult job; a job that is probably beyond my ability. Can any of you give me more information or alternately, suggest other probable causes for the problems that she is experiencing aside from a bad heater core?

Finally, in the event that doing the job is beyond me, is there an easy way to bypass the heater core so that the car is at least holding coolant? On a final note, while I know that it is not a turbo or a TDI, I do not know if it is a 2.0 or a 2.5. Sorry about that but I figure it does not make a difference with the problem at hand.
Thank you,
Neue Kaefer (new beetle in German)
 

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Does it smell like antifreeze slash coolant inside the car? My 99 and most older model new beetles have a low amount of heat that come out, even though the thermostat, heater core, and entire cooling system is functioning properly. There's a problem with the blend door not sealing tight. Does the car have a sunroof? Has it been raining there lately? Rain or snow melt getting inside the car can make the windows fog up. Hopefully more will chime in and will help you get this thing figured out!

Sent:)
 

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First you need to figure out how much coolant is leaking and it if fact it is leaking inside the car. Also you mention the windows fog up if the windows are left closed up, do you mean only when the car is parked the windows fog up? What windows are fogging up?

Usually a heater core problem will cause the windshield to fog up while driving and sometimes when parked, but usually just the windshield and there will also be a stick film that gets on the windshield.

These cars have a lot of water leakage problems and the windows fogging up could be a water leak and not the heater core.

The cowl area under the windshield can get all kinds of leaves and pine needles that clog the drain holes. You can clean this up, but you need to know need know exactly what to clean and take apart, so do not take any action yet.

Also suggest you open the trunk, check on top of the spare tire for moisture and around inside the spare tire well. I have seen spare tire wells fill up with water as well.

Pop the front floor mats and see if the carpet is wet under the floor mats.

The heat problem is likely a combination of a failed thermostat and a blend door/cable problem.
 

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Welcome to the forum! You've found a great place to get help with a New Beetle. Sorry to hear about the circumstances, though.

I'd say to start by checking the cabin air filter. Chances are that you will find lots of debris inside the plenum. The filter is supposed to be replaced every 2 years. You can get an idea of the condition by turning the fan to high on the "vent" setting. Compare the air flow when the recirculate button is pressed to not pressed. Any difference indicates blocked fresh air passages.

Here is a DIY on replacing the cabin air filter:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/technical-how/20647-how-change-ac-dust-pollen-filter.html

The first picture is missing. It shows removal of the raised center portion of the upper dashboard. Simply slide it toward the front of the car and lift it up.

If the heater core were leaking into the interior you should have a smell of coolant. Another possible cause of poor heater performance can be a failed water pump. The original pumps had plastic impellers which disintegrate over time. A 2001 should have had the timing belt and water pump replaced by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi and thank you three for the advice. I spoke to the lady for the first time again today. As I suspected, it is the heater core. Anti freeze is definitely all over the inside of the car. The other possible explanations advice ia very much appreciated and I will keep it in mind for future reference. I will pass the information on to her as well.

I told her that the first step would be for me to bypass the heater core since she needs the car to get back and forth to work. I really do not feel confident tearing the steering wheel, airbags, dash, instrument cluster and so forth out as I have never done this type of work.

Again, I am ok when it comes to OLD Chevrolets but these new cars are very complicated. I have a feeling that doing the job in question would take a number of days and I worry that I would not be able to get it back together correctly or that I might end up causing more problems.

Any further thoughts or advice are welcome.
Thanks again.
 

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One more thing: Is there a How-to anywhere with photos on how do remove the dash and replace the heater core? It was also suggested that the water pump and timing belt need to be done but I do not know how big these jobs are on this car.
Thanks again.
 

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I replaced the ac condenser (next to the heatr core) on my '98 without removing the steering wheel, it wasn't easy working around the dash, but was a more appealing option to me :)
 

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Hi again:

I did the bypass for her last Saturday. It was not easy at all compared to my 60's Chevrolets and took a couple of hours to do. (This amount of time was primarily due to not being able to get access to the hoses as they went into the heater core.)

Then she told me that the same repair place that had earlier quoted $3K to replace the heater core now will do it for 500 bucks. So my work may have been in vain.

The important information here is that the part that works like a charm to join the two heater hoses together so as to bypass the core is:

The brand is "Apollo" PEX" and the part number is "APXE11". It is a 1" x 1" brass elbow that I got in the home PEX plumbing section of a Lowe's. It comes in a yellow and white baggie. I cannot claim coming up with this on my own. I got the part number in another VW web site but did want to reiterate it as well as to pass it on as something that works just fine for an unintended purpose. I just re-used the clamps that had fastened the two hoses to the heater core to attach them both to the PEX elbow.

Thanks again to all who replied and I did pass on your thoughts to the lady who owns the new beetle in question. Going back to my '68 Impala convertible project now...
Neue Kaefer
 
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