On my GF's beetle it was doing the same thing, except it would be once or twice, I checked the system for codes, and the central convience/alarm/locks system was complaining about recieving an "improbable signal" and it was intermittent.
I've noticed with this car, if the system has a code stored, even if the problem is fixed, the computer will still try to make the car behave poorly.
I cleared the improbable signal codes using the Vag-Com, and the key taking multiple times to crank/start went away. Another example was it had a bad coil, and I had a no start, just cranked, system thought it was running, but the precat O2 sensor didn't register, until I cleared the code, the computer didn't bother to realize it was recieving a signal and ran the fuel injection or the edge of flooding. Interesting to have the car fighting to idle, then hit clear codes, and almost instantly it smooths out the idle.
Just a suggestion to try and save you a few dollars.
This is a fairly common thing on older/high mileage NBs and if you let it go it can cause some real problems other than just having to turn the key 20 times to start the car. Get a Bentley manual--it should have everything you need to do this and any other issues that come up.
Hi. How difficult was it to replace the ignition switch? MY daughter's 2001 Beetle has the same problem and I don't want to pay the "stealership" to do it but if the steering wheel has to come off I don't want to attempt it. Thanks for your time and help. Bernie T.
I just copied and pasted this posting for you from a thread from back in '06 regarding the How-to for changing out the ignition switch (Thank you again, Deserion!)
To get the ignition switch out, you do NOT need to pull the airbag. I just completed this (again) last night on my '00 2.0L.
Once the battery is disconneced, pull the ignition wiring connector off. You'll see two small flat-blade screws somewhat embedded in the tube the switch sits in. Once those screws are out, you can slide out the switch. The other end is just the key lock cylinder, which operates the switch via a T-shaped rod that goes into the back of the switch. Don't need to remove that.
My wiring was melted, too, and I replaced it with some wires I obtained from 1st VW Parts (000-979-227). You'll also need a new socket (8D0-971-975). I bought a new switch from ECS (Mahle), but, believe it or not, that didn't work with the new wiring. I cleaned up the old switch, and it works wonderfully. I'm monitoring it for a while to see if it goes back to being melty.
THANKS out there in Margaritaville (and to daughtersbeetle who emailed me!). With all of your info I am ready to tackle this problem without fear (when I get the part(s)). I'm wondering if I'll encounter the melted wires as well. Time will tell! Thanks again!
Okay, I got the thing apart and replaced the switch but wonder if the switch is the problem at all! I found the infamous MELTED WIRE! I wonder what this wire goes to and why it melted and how much of a fire hazard it is. It is melted at the entrance into the switch and looks like it may have melted part of the connector. It also looks corroded. I'm wondering where I can get a new harness and how difficult that will be to replace. I also wonder if I can just somehow splice a new wire into the old one.
okay, so I went to Crazy Rays and took an ignition switch out of a 2000 Beetle. Of course I had to cut the wires. The good news is this one did not have a melted wire though it did look discolored like it had heated up. But after hours of tediously splicing the wires in everything was looking good.....but all of a sudden I have lost the fog lights. They were on earlier. I'm gonna check the fuse but wonder why it would have blown if it did. Guess I should check it first before I jump to conclusions. Will keep you posted.
So you can buy the socket? My wires are in pretty good shape but the red wire that started the problems melted the part of the plug that holds the connector in place to hit the appropriate blade so now it's loose.