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Discussion Starter #1
hi there, haven't been on the org too much since i've been working and going to school and have little time to myself.
that is until this morning. i went outside to start my car at 6:30 this morning so that i could get to school and slip a little studying in before my midterm at 8am.
lo and behold babette didn't start.
lights came on, notably the battery light, but nothing stayed on. the engine wouldn't catch.
so the car went to the guelph vw dealership.
turns out i need an entirely new ecu and the wiring harness.
he asked had my beetle been submerged since they don't usually see damage like that.
a new ecu is ONLY $1350 and the harness is $520 with eight hours labour.

i'm kind of wishing i had just bought out my hyundai crapcent at this point. it breaks my heart that something i love so much is breaking the bank.
 

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HEY, I just now saw that you've got a '00 1.8t... is it a 5spd?

Cause if so; I've got an ECU I don't need; sell it to ya cheap if you don't mind not having the 12mo. vw warranty on it that you would getting one from vw. (how does a sealed electronic part fail anyway?)

It's chipped by Upsolute; may lead to other minor problems (got a negative boost deviation issue; that's why I run APR now), but ... well if you're interested drop me an email or PM, or IM.
 

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my turbo is bigger!!!!!!!
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i know waht ya mean man.... but my chip actualy desocketed istself... but i got it replaced under warenty
 

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my turbo is bigger!!!!!!!
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im really good friends with the service writer.... and the tech their are really stupid... and i skooled him on what was wrong with my car so i get what ever i want!!!
 

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sounds like you just bought this car. If so, can you take action with them? An ECU doesn't just do that out of nowhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
i've added pictures of the corroded area of the ecu.
turns out that the entire inside of the ecu isn't destroyed by corrosion as the service manager assured me it was.
just the connection.
the tech working on my car told me that the figured that the moisture had come from somewhere other than a drink being spilled on the dash.
do wiring harnesses wick moisture up into just one connection to the ecu?
i ask in all seriousness since i'm an idiot about cars. i can fix kids but cars? no.
my husband is going to replace the connection and get a better look at the harness connection tomorrow to determine if that needs replaced.
i'm just a little irked that i'm being led to believe that everything is shot to h**l when it's something as simple as a corroded connection, not the entire unit being destroyed.

anyway, on with the photos:




 

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my turbo is bigger!!!!!!!
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eeehhh makes a good christmas ordiment
 

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OOoo! That's reasuuring. Yeah, way to go VW service. They're champs aren't they? Or is that chumps. :/

I bet the harness is just fine, just the connection havin' a problem I bet. I have no idea how it could get moister in there, you've seen the plug from the harness right? That thing has like 6 o-ring things on it doesn't it? Dang.
 

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Hey Katgirl, sorry to hear about your beetle. My experience with the service dept at VW is to get a 2nd opinion..Always! Have a good look at your car inside and out b4 you leave VW.
 

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strange things are afoot
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wawalker said:
This could be a case of the infamous "coolant migration"!:(
yes, this sounds EXACTLY like coolant migration... have your husband take a look at the electrical connector at the coolant bottle.. I bet you anything it is wet.

if it is wet there, you have coolant migration, and yes, the engine harness is toast.
if you are in nice with your dealership, see if they can go up to bat for you with VWOA. this is a WELL KNOWN issue.

do a search on www.tdiclub.com and read all about it.
 

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my turbo is bigger!!!!!!!
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if ur harness is fried id just get a new car... cuz it aint fun
 

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Discussion Starter #14
if it is coolant migration what's my recourse? a bazillion dollars in work and still no guarantee that it won't happen again?
i'm so exhausted just thinking about the money that i currently owe on the car and how much this work could end up costing me. i am a full time student, i don't have that kind of money.

so you say that this is a well known issue? has it happened to a lot of people on the org? do people usually just sell their car instead of dealing with it? i can't accept that my pretty little car is nothing more than garbage right now.
that said, i'm not willing to pay that kind of money into a car, even if it is a beetle.

i am heartbroken about this right now and sick to my stomach.

Eeyore said:
yes, this sounds EXACTLY like coolant migration... have your husband take a look at the electrical connector at the coolant bottle.. I bet you anything it is wet.

if it is wet there, you have coolant migration, and yes, the engine harness is toast.
if you are in nice with your dealership, see if they can go up to bat for you with VWOA. this is a WELL KNOWN issue.

do a search on www.tdiclub.com and read all about it.
 

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i wouldn't worry about it too much, just try and find a connector (get it with about 8-12 inches of harness still attached) and splice it in place of the old connector, then get an ecu from the junkyard (vortex classifieds or ebay are also good places to check). If you can find the stuff there it shouldn't cost more than maybe $200 to fix... i'm not sure the details on this coolant migration thing, i've never experienced it or heard of it before... maybe someone could elaborate?
 

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strange things are afoot
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basically, the pressurized coolant bottle develops a leak at the level sensor connection. the pressure in the coolant system forces the coolant all thru your wiring by capiliary action (like a wick). there have been people on tdiclub who have found puddles of coolant in their taillights. it is possible for the coolant to get anywhere in the car once it travels into the wiring.

one method of preventing this is to melt/drill a small hole in the coolant bottle level sensor housing, on the OUTSIDE of the connection, this will allow any coolant that gets outside the bottle to dribble to the ground instead of wicking thru the wiring.
 

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Performance Freak
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I think you can avoid replacing a whole harness if you can splice in the last foot or so with a new end. This is something you must be meticulous with and make sure to solder all connections properly to ensure it's long term integrity.

If the ECU isn't fried, as in it's only having contact problems with the connector, you could try using some electrical contact cleaner and removing all that corrosion.
You'd be surprised what a little cleaning can do for electronics.
Then see if you can figure out a way to prevent it from happening again.

In the worst cas scenario, try contacting your insurance company and see if something like this is covered if you have to really replace everything.

The "replace all components" way of thinking is never the answer. Poor mechanics always do this since they don't want to figure out how to properly fix things, or they just don't know how! Cleaning and repairing only what is needed is the best way and will cost the least.

Good luck and keep us updated.

Has anyone else had this happen by the way?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
today's update

okay, today didn't bring me a car to drive, but thanks to your responses it has brought me a tiny shred of peace of mind.
my husband cleaned the ecu connector last night and it appears to be as good as new, with the exception of one pin that has rotted right off. other than that there is no damage. i don't know about the wiring harness just yet, but he had a look at it and said it wasn't as bad as the connector.
he called the stealership and suggested that perhaps it might be coolant migration to which the service manager responded to with a resounding "no".
he said that although there was a bulletin about that, he asked the mechanic to check it on my car and that wasn't the problem. so the moisture has to be coming from somewhere, being forced through the wiring. if it's not the coolant, what then could it be?
it seems to me that they don't want to take responsibility for something that may very well be the case.
in any case, my husband tracked down an ecu from a parted out 2000 1.8T for $220. the guy that has the beetle in his yard said he was welcome to come and pull the harness out himself.
we've cleared out the garage, warm weather is on its way this weekend and i'll be da*ned if i am going to pay $3000+ to the dealership when we can do it ourselves for less than $300.
a friend also said to coat things liberally in vaseline. is coating wires in a petroleum jelly a good idea?
i'm so frustrated at not having my car in the driveway and having the mechanic say he has no idea where the moisture came from. there is always a second opinion, but the stealership will not be seeing a dime of my money for more than telling me what was wrong in the first place.
i'm too cheap for that.
 

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strange things are afoot
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um... if I was you I would get a good look at the coolant bottle electrical connector myself. just to verify that it is BONE DRY and has no signs of coolant. I cannot think of anywhere else coolant or liquid comes in direct contact with the harness..

the ECU in this car is well protected from the environment so unless you have some major rust around the windscreen, there should be no moisture up by the ECU.

you did have a cabin filter in there right? if not, that could explain it. but its unlikely.
 

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Good-bye Curby...
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katgrrl said:
okay, today didn't bring me a car to drive, but thanks to your responses it has brought me a tiny shred of peace of mind...(snip)...we've cleared out the garage, warm weather is on its way this weekend and i'll be da*ned if i am going to pay $3000+ to the dealership when we can do it ourselves for less than $300...(snip)...i'm too cheap for that.
i am sorry to hear about your problems with your car. though i am not a fulltime student, i can totally relate to your situation. i don't have much money for repairs, either. in fact, i had to cash in some of my stocks just to get my 100K maintenance done. i bought the car used and with 3.5 years of payments to go, the last thing i want to do is spend money on it, in addition to my car payment. it's hard to be frustrated with a car that you're so in love with. i want to love my car, but i have to remember, it's a car and when you buy used, as i did, it's a gamble. even if you do all your research, you can still end up with a car that needs work in the immediate future.

it's a frustrating situation when you don't know who to trust. no one i know knows anything about cars, so the only resource i have is people here. i don't have a regular mechanic, but i choose to go to a local mechanic and not a dealership or VW shop because it saves me money. it's bad enough i am a female who doesn't know much about cars, but i don't even know anyone locally who can help me out.

best of luck on the work. though i can't help you with technical support, i am here for ya! good luck and keep us posted!
 
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