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Discussion Starter #1
I've tried searching the community for an answer to my issue, but haven't found one, so here I am. I recently got a 2004 Beetle GLS Hatchback 2.0L gas engine. It has 130k miles. Currently fixing up a few things on it, including the radiator, radiator fan, and radiator support, but now after doing that, the hood won't latch completely! It will go down enough to go past the safety catch but won't fully latch (the "tongue" still sticks out to release the safety latch). Has anyone had this issue before and solved it? It was latching fine before, I checked to make sure the bumper was on correctly (it is) and comparing the current location of the latch to pictures I took before doing the job, it looks like it matches up. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have tried moving the latch itself as much as possible (full left, right, up, or down) but still no dice. Also, if it matters, it looks like something weird is going on with the cable that attaches to the latch and goes into the cabin, as the handle inside the car is sticking up (pointing towards the driver's seat) instead of pointing down (during the radiator job, I never disconnected anything inside, just unhooked it from the latch). Again any ideas are appreciated. I would buy a new latch and try it, but I'm hesitant as I've seen a few users say they bought a new one and still had the same problem. Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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Push the lever in the car back to the normal position and try to latch it. If it doesn't work you'll have to adjust the latch slightly higher so it will catch the hoop of the hood.

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick reply! I have somewhat tried that. It's kind of strange, as if I try to push it back to the normal position, it goes back to sticking up. Also it doesn't look like it is actually moving the ball attached to the latch at all. Could the cable be stretched? Does it attach anywhere in the engine bay. As it is right now, it's just kind of there. So I think that's part of the problem as it pulls the sheath that goes over that cable as well instead of just the cable. I bought the car privately off of someone, so I think things might have been janky in the first place lol.
 

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I would trace the cable in the engine bay and see if things are correct with it. It's possible it came detached in the engine bay or possibly where the sleeve attaches and where the actual cable comes out by the lever if that makes sense

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Discussion Starter #5
That does. I'll have to take a look tomorrow and get some pictures as well. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I'm pretty much at a loss. I managed to fix the latch cable that goes into the car but it still won't fully shut. Is it possible that the second part of the latch is stuck? I can force it to move but only if I push it really hard from the side with a pair of pliers. I don't know if you can tell anything from pictures but here are a few.

250270


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250271
 

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Dowse that thing in brake kkleen and clean it up. It might just be stuck with it being that dirty. Then try work work a small amount of grease into the joints. Does the hook make a loud bang like it's hitting something or just doesn't latch?

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Discussion Starter #8
I was using some wd-40 I had around and tried cleaning it some. I don't have anything to grease it with though, so I might have to try that.

It seems like it's just hitting the second latch point but not actually moving it. I can feel it move past the safety latch, and then it stops. If I put any pressure on it, it doesn't budge at all. I tried to make sure the hood itself wasn't hitting the bumpers. It doesn't look like it is, but it is awefuly close. Some small spots under the hood you can see that it was originally red, so I think the previous owners had replaced it and it might have already been odd before I removed everything.

I think I'm going to go to a local junkyard when I can as they have a few beetles and Jettas, and only charge $5 for a latch. If that doesn't work, then I think I might just say screw it and take it to a body shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK. Thanks for that. Unfortunately mine is missing the manual as well, which is why I probably missed that lol.
 

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I would get a latch from the junkyard. You need to use a solvent like brake kleen to clean out the old lubricant and dirt and whatnot. Doesn't really matter what the manual says, just use a lighter silicone lube and you'll be fine.

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The hood on mine has always taken a lot of force to close. I developed a technique to close it that works pretty good. With the hood in the safety catch position, place the palms of both hands at the edges of the front of the hood near the headlights. Suddenly and very forcefully push down with both hands. I find that pressing down at the corners and not the center works better to get it to latch.
 

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The hood on mine has always taken a lot of force to close. I developed a technique to close it that works pretty good. With the hood in the safety catch position, place the palms of both hands at the edges of the front of the hood near the headlights. Suddenly and very forcefully push down with both hands. I find that pressing down at the corners and not the center works better to get it to latch.
It shouldn't be like that. It should close without a huge amount of force. Might need lubed

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks again for the thoughts everyone! So I went to the junkyard and got another latch. Put it in, and it still doesn't work. At this point I'm obviously swearing profusely as a 1 day job has turned into weeks, all because of the latch lol.

I gave up tryin it myself, and took it to a body shop who said they would look at it. I took it there today and they tried everything I did with no luck. They were able to tell me though that both latches I have (the original and the one from the junkyard) work and so that isn't the issue. They also said that the cable going into the hood release handle inside the car was good too.

From here they basically said I'm on my own since I was doing the work myself, which I fully understand. They never even gave me an option to make an appointment for them to try to do it lol. Luckily they didn't charge me to look at all that and give me their opinion.

So I guess my next question is this; Has anyone had this issue where the latch was sitting too low? How did you manage to fix it? I'm going to start with using washers under the bolts that attach the radiator support to the frame to hopefully raise the radiator support up, and thus raise the latch up. If that doesn't work I'll try drilling new holes (if I can) in the support to raise up the latch.

Other than that I have no idea. I'm only somewhat mechanically inclined so any other thoughts or ideas are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

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Try inspecting the front of the hood carefully to see if it may be bent in such a way that the center is too high relative to the corners where the stops are. If so, you may be able to straighten it by putting blocks of wood under each front corner and pushing down where the latch is.
 

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I just read this in a different forum.

"2000 VW beetle. Hood was difficult to close to begin with, had to slam it hard to close it all the way.

Hit some road debris so had to have the broken radiator and plastic holder replaced by mechanic.

Back from repairman, hood only closed correctly twice with very hard slams. Then the plastic piece broke from slamming so hard. After that I fashioned a metal piece from a wire hanger but couldn't get hood to close all the way. Bent the primary catch on the hood latch due to slamming. Bent it back but realized slamming was not an option.

Replaced the hood latch and plastic latch lever with new parts just to rule out faulty mechanism. Tried several adjustments but could not get hood to close. Tested both latch mechanisms out of the car and both functioned normally.

I reamed out the bottom of the bolt holes to raise the latch mechanism (on the latch mechanism) about 1/4 inch more. Still would not close. No more travel at the bolt holes or the secondary plastic lever would not function at such an angle.

Looked at hood alignment and realized the mechanic must have removed hood for the radiator job. I could tell the hood bolts had been moved and the alignment was off when the hood was put back on.

I loosened the 4 hood bolts, still wouldn't close while loose. I re-positioned the hood and held it in place while I tightened the bolts back down. I guessed where it should be by the marks near the bolt brackets and by eye-balling it.

Voila, the hood closed perfectly without much pressure at all. I was shocked.

I then moved the latch assembly down about 1/8th inch and took off 2 rubber bumpers from hood to see if misalignment was the only issue. Hood would not close. Latch height was also an issue.

I moved hood latch back to highest reamed position, put rubber bumpers at lowest position and the hood closed perfectly again. I then adjusted the bumpers until the hood wouldn't close and then backed them off a half turn.

Hood now closes easily and perfectly.

2 assumptions/fixes -

1, The hood alignment had been altered by mechanic and misaligned. This is important to hood latching. Hood bolts must be tightened down to properly close into the latch. Something to do with the curved shape of the hood I assume.

2, The height of the radiator assembly and chassis that holds the latch assembly seems susceptible to vertical misalignment (bending) due to repeated hood slams and or misalignment upon repairs. Fix by somehow raising chassis by force and/or reaming out bolt holes on latch mechanism.

Hope this helps someone."

They also replaced the radiator.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey everyone. Thanks again for the suggestions. I finally managed to get it fixed!

So I took the bumper off and was able to look at it a bit more closely. I noticed that the back part of the latch wasn't actually fitting in the hole in the hood where the loop (or hook or whatever you want to call it) is.

So it's a bit of an odd way of doing it, but I put a few washers (about 5 on each side) between the plastic core support and the latch itself to push it forward. Got a longer bolt, got it screwed in, tested it, and it worked! Put the bumper on, now it didn't. Ugh.

So at that point I decided to try to move it up, so I drilled a hole as high as I could (so it would go through the top of the metal part and the plastic core support), and moved the latch up (also did some carving out of the back of the core support so the latch cable would fit correctly. Not much, just a little).

Tried it again and it didn't work, because of the same issue as before (the latch didn't fully fit in the slot in the hood). Added one more washer on each side and voila it worked! I closed it and opened it multiple times without issue. I did have to get a little longer bolts with nuts, but it's there and it's secure, even if it is a little bit ugly lol.

So all of this I think is a combination of using an aftermarket radiator support and the car being somewhat neglected before. The hood was obviously replaced, and it just seems a bit off. But if anyone out there is having a similar issue, I hope this helps you out!
 

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I've tried searching the community for an answer to my issue, but haven't found one, so here I am. I recently got a 2004 Beetle GLS Hatchback 2.0L gas engine. It has 130k miles. Currently fixing up a few things on it, including the radiator, radiator fan, and radiator support, but now after doing that, the hood won't latch completely! It will go down enough to go past the safety catch but won't fully latch (the "tongue" still sticks out to release the safety latch). Has anyone had this issue before and solved it? It was latching fine before, I checked to make sure the bumper was on correctly (it is) and comparing the current location of the latch to pictures I took before doing the job, it looks like it matches up. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have tried moving the latch itself as much as possible (full left, right, up, or down) but still no dice. Also, if it matters, it looks like something weird is going on with the cable that attaches to the latch and goes into the cabin, as the handle inside the car is sticking up (pointing towards the driver's seat) instead of pointing down (during the radiator job, I never disconnected anything inside, just unhooked it from the latch). Again any ideas are appreciated. I would buy a new latch and try it, but I'm hesitant as I've seen a few users say they bought a new one and still had the same problem. Thanks in advance for any help!
! I actually solved this, and I am 100% sure you have the same problem! It is the rubber support button/pillow thingies on left and right sides of the hood. For the hood to rest on. Their design is, that you screw them into the hood. The more you screw, the deeper they go in. You simply need to screw them in deeper, because they keep the hood too high, thus preventing it from locking.
You have no idea how much time I spent on the lock, before realizing it is not faulty at all.

Hope this helps, good luck!
 
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