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Ok, so my wife went to get in her 2004 beetle the other day and the starter just started clicking when she turned the ignition. I disconnected the battery for a bit and it cranked up fine after awhile.

It did it again later that day. All of the instruments light up and the car seems to have power until I turn the key. I got it started again and took it and got the battery tested. The battery was shot so I replaced it. Now it is still doing the same thing.

When I get the car started, it runs fine for as long as I keep it running. So, it doesn't seem to be the alternator. The starter will click but turn over sometimes, but it seems like it's not getting enough power from the sound of it.

This morning I went out and the battery is completely dead again. Brand new. I checked the fuses and wires in the box on top of the battery and they look fine. There has to be some electrical problem somewhere that I'm not seeing, I just don't really know where to look. Any suggestions? Are there sensors that could become faulty and drain power? Will faulty wiring show up on a diagnostic test?

I would appreciate any help I can get. I can't afford to take it to a dealership and pay $500 to replace a simple wire or something. Thanks
 

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Does help to know the engine size.

Check the fusebox on top of the battery, or around the battery for corroded wires.
 

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Ok, so my wife went to get in her 2004 beetle the other day and the starter just started clicking when she turned the ignition. I disconnected the battery for a bit and it cranked up fine after awhile.

It did it again later that day. All of the instruments light up and the car seems to have power until I turn the key. I got it started again and took it and got the battery tested. The battery was shot so I replaced it. Now it is still doing the same thing.

When I get the car started, it runs fine for as long as I keep it running. So, it doesn't seem to be the alternator. The starter will click but turn over sometimes, but it seems like it's not getting enough power from the sound of it.

This morning I went out and the battery is completely dead again. Brand new. I checked the fuses and wires in the box on top of the battery and they look fine. There has to be some electrical problem somewhere that I'm not seeing, I just don't really know where to look. Any suggestions? Are there sensors that could become faulty and drain power? Will faulty wiring show up on a diagnostic test?

I would appreciate any help I can get. I can't afford to take it to a dealership and pay $500 to replace a simple wire or something. Thanks
The first things I would address:
  • You may have a bad battery, one that will not hold charge, it only takes one bad cell, and new batteries can be bad.
  • Alternator, the alternator charges the battery, the battery runs the car. The engine will run off the alternator with the battery disconnected, but DON'T EVER do it. This is not the way to test the alternator, and I hope you haven't done this. The car will, however, safely run off a fully charged battery without the alternator, and depending on the battery and what else is on in the car, could go 50 miles, easily.
  • Wiring or wiring connections from the battery to the fuse bank or the alternator to the fuse bank, in the battery box on top of the battery.
Check these noted wiring connections. If all are CLEAN and TIGHT, charge up the battery and take the car to a Corner Auto Parts. Most have the proper equipment to test the battery and "load test" the alternator and test the voltage regulator in the car. I like Advanced Auto. I suspect when this diagnosis has been completed you will have found your problem.

If not, wiring can be voltage drop tested which is a little involved and requires some knowledge of the use of a multi-meter (Corner Auto Pats Stores don't have the knowledge), and to test the starter properly, it has to be removed, and bench tested.

Now, all this has been said, based on the fact you have stated you have looked at the fuse box on top of the battery and it doesn't have any of the look of the one in this thread -
http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/52338-morav-needs-some-help-helping-someone-else-org-battery-fuse-box-issue.html

If so, the thread will give you a lot of guidance.

MORAV
 

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Every new battery I've purchased has required several hours on the charger to have a full charge.

Are you sure your new battery wasn't just low to begin with?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I appreciate the help. But whatever it is must be draining the battery constantly. I'm going to have to jump it and take it to advanced autoparts, but I can tell the battery is being drained for some reason even when the car is just sitting.

There is a consistent clicking in the dashboard that kinda sounds like the blinker is on. If I put the key in the ignition or turn on the lights, it stops. I'm going to take it to get it tested, but it seems like a wiring problem.

I checked the wires again, running all the way to the alternator, but still can't see any crimps or damage. There is a little corrosion on the negative terminal connector, but I brushed it off mostly. It's from the last battery. Anyways, thanks for the help.
 

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I appreciate the help. But whatever it is must be draining the battery constantly. I'm going to have to jump it and take it to advanced autoparts, but I can tell the battery is being drained for some reason even when the car is just sitting.

There is a consistent clicking in the dashboard that kinda sounds like the blinker is on. If I put the key in the ignition or turn on the lights, it stops. I'm going to take it to get it tested, but it seems like a wiring problem.

I checked the wires again, running all the way to the alternator, but still can't see any crimps or damage. There is a little corrosion on the negative terminal connector, but I brushed it off mostly. It's from the last battery. Anyways, thanks for the help.
My money is on the Alternator. It may still partially work but not enough to keep the battery charged. Besides the headlights being on I can't think of anything that would fully discharge a Fully charged battery in a few hours. I once had the interior lights on when I was looking for something and forgot to switch them off. They were left on all night and even so the car started right up in the morning. Not sure how old your car is and how many miles are on it but I would have the alternator checked. I am almost 97.6% sure that it is at fault.
New Alternators run around $300+ but I have seen aftermarket units run as little as 120 bucks on E-Bay. Probably made in China but these days everything seems to be.
 

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Yep, that's where I was until the poster states he hears a clicking under the dash with the key out, while the car is sitting, although it may just be when he opens the door and the fuel pump relay kicks the pre-prime. Need a little more info as to the frequency of the clicking in that regard.

However, a drain on the engine can be checked easy enough with a meter, just don't remember what the std draw is, And as a matter of fact, somebody, I need to know also. I think I just have a bad battery issue, but I want to check.

OPer, we still don't know which engine you have, but there are two different alternators used, 90A and 120A, somebody correct me on the later if it is 150A (old age/memory thing). If you aren't the original owner, someone may have had to change it and to save money used the smaller even though the car required the larger. Not sure what vehicle/engine uses which, but do know my '02T has the larger.

I'd also be inclined to check the 7 ground/Earth points. :)
Beside talkin' funny, I guess you guy's count funny on that side of the pond also... But I'd check the alternator and battery first, before bothering with any further diagnosis.

 

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Also, 04's (don't remember the exact TSB, I think it was for the 'verts) had a recall on the monsoon amp. It drains the battery, although with a new battery, I don't think it would drain it that fast.
 

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Also, 04's (don't remember the exact TSB, I think it was for the 'verts) had a recall on the monsoon amp. It drains the battery, although with a new battery, I don't think it would drain it that fast.
I know the TSB, I'll look, but I think it was earlier than '04. You haven't been around! you have a good TDay?
 
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