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Daughter driving '04 Beetle on interstate, starts shaking, she pulls onto shoulder where car dies and speedometer stays pointed at 60mph. Tries to restart car without success and then after holding down gas pedal and trying to start (read somewhere here that clears codes) windows roll down on their own.

Insurance company messes up tow order and gives out wrong address so car gets towed on order of state police to a garage of their choice. Once I figure out where car is I tell them to take a look at it since it is already at that garage. They say alternator bad, swap that out, then say there is electrical problem as well and car is "smoking" and they are afraid to turn it on and ruin the new alternator. Said they traced wires as far as they could but don't have wiring schematic.

About a month or two ago the car wouldn't start, jumped it and then it ran in limp mode (wouldn't leave 5th gear) until next morning on restart.

Any ideas? Want to get it towed to place recommended in the forums here but that is an hour away. Feel like I'm about to pay for an alternator (that the car may or may not have needed), and another tow.

TIA
 

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Hmm, lots io possible problems; the feedback, from the shop that worked on it, doesn't give you much confidence, that they had a clue, about what they were doing.
Is the car at your house now or still down at the shop? Do you want to fix it yourself or leave it to a pro shop to deal with the needed repairs? Let us know what you are thinking and we can go from there, thanks!


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Discussion Starter #3
Unfortunately car is at shop almost an hour away (near where it broke down).

I would prefer to take care of it myself but right now I just need to get it towed away from that place.
 

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Ok, just spoke to mechanic again. He said the fuse box on top of battery is getting real hot as well as one of the wires. He pulled fuse and said he was worried it would blow alternator again (although this seems backward -- disclaimer, not a mechanic).

I'm going to have him throw fuse in and try and drive it back home. Maybe I end up on side of road again, maybe car catches fire (maybe not a bad option -- kidding), or I make it but will update when I can.

Recommended VW mechanic said the fuse box on top of battery can go but thought I'd be able to get it back home driving. If I can get it back here I will take a look and if necessary get it out to him.
 

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While I was reading this, before I got to the end, I remembered something like this happening to me. I had a 1999 NB and was on a trip, the window started rolling down, got half way and stopped. I was in Chicago, where I had never been. I had to have it towed, they said it was an alternator, Fortunately, I didn't have the wiring problem. They did charge me over 900 bucks for the alternator replace and towing bill. Not sure, but I think they took advantage of a traveler on the price. Good luck with the wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, at least you're making me feel a little better price wise. :)

Just drove car back (about a 45 minute ride) with no problems. They did replace the alternator (only charged $430) and couldn't have been any nicer.

Below are pictures of the fuse box. He showed me the existing fuse which was basically melted in half.


 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok after doing some more digging on these forums and seeing the black cable look a bit toasty, I'm starting to believe the solution is a new alternator harness.
 

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This video should be help;!

https://youtu.be/fDdgs5bqzZg

When you replace the fusebox; you might consider, getting one of the aftermarket versions, that are improved over the stock one. These are made by Dorman, Tech Smart (standard motor products) and othrr brands.

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https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&hl=en-us&ei=CSVcWMOLOcKM0wKplZSYBA&q=tech+smart+vw+battery+fuse+box&oq=tech+smart+vw+battery+fuse+box&gs_l=mobile-gws-serp.3...138945.147047.0.147654.16.16.0.0.0.0.148.1984.0j16.16.0....0...1c.1.64.mobile-gws-serp..4.4.537...0j0i67k1j0i8i30k1j0i8i7i30k1j30i10k1.cpeKW9YxAJc
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just called local dealership as the route for that wire looks kind of tight for me.

They quoted me $531.00! Wow.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry for play-by-play on my saga. Just grabbed multimeter and measure 3 places. At alternator, alternator cable at fuse box and where cable attaches to battery.

All measured around the same -- 15v (analog multimeter) -- which to me indicates the alternator cable is ok.

Only things I can think of at this point are that she said there was shaking before things went nuts. When I was just using the multimeter the fan kicked off right in front of the battery and started making noises -- looking down I saw the metal clamnp that holds the positive battery cable toward the bottom of the battery housing was detached from its mount.

And this car was used to jump our other car that same morning, although not sure how that could have resulted in a melted fuse.
 

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As in the video, you could make and install your own; for much less and choose a higher gauge wire than stock (which is one of the problems with the stock alternator harness).
Another issue that can cause the fuse box to melt; is worn out cooling fans, that can cause a increased draw and heat up the wiring and fuse box.


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Discussion Starter #13
As in the video, you could make and install your own; for much less and choose a higher gauge than stock (which is one of the problems with the stock harness).
Another issue that can cause the fuse box to melt; is worn out cooling fans, that can cause a increased drawing and heat up the wiring Nd fuse box.


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How long with non-operational fan would this take? That was one of my thoughts when I saw the metal clamp interfering with the fan operation.
 

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Good question: I don't know, it depends on how much of a draw is caused and the heat that is created. The melting fuse boxes, is a common problem and the issue is generally a bad charge alternator harness or bad (worn out) cooling fan motors, which cause a increased draw, increasing heat in the wiring and fuses/box. The draws are higher than the wiring and fuse box are rated for; something has to give. You definitely, need to fix the cause of the problem or it will happen again; the melting of the fuse boxes and wiring, is a symptom of a greater problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Happy Holidays.

Was driving with daughter last night and she noted interior of car smelled like "burnt crayons". Popped hood and checked the alternator cable and it was extremely hot to the touch. Going to measure resistance when I get a chance but now going back to original assumption that the cable is the issue and will try to replace tomorrow.
 

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The crayon smell, historically; is from the interior insulation under the carpet. It can be eliminated by removal and replacement with other sound proofing material.


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The crayon smell, historically; is from the interior insulation under the carpet. It can be eliminated by removal and replacement with other sound proofing material.


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Thanks again. Finally gave in and brought car to recommended mechanic nearby as life isn't giving me time to work on it. Waiting to hear back.
 
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