Just want to make sure my understanding is correct before I waste time and money. If I get the immo deleted in the ecu, I can swap the cluster out (matching part #) and program new key fobs using vcds hexv2, without needing the skc. Yes?
Theoretically, yes; shipping out your cluster for repair, is another option, if you want to keep everything original, no programming needed and the immobilizer intact, "plug & play". In my situation, i decided; to replace my cluster, as it was bad and caused the immo to kick on randomly, a no start condition (always it seemed at the wrong time; leaving me temporarily stranded). In my case i had to use vag tacho to pull the secret key code, used vcds, to program the keys and key fobs. I wanted to transfer the odometer reading over to my new/used cluster and so, ian @ reflect tuning, zero'd out my new/used cluster, which enabled me to do the odometer input using vcds, ian could have done this as well but this was my primary vehicle, the milage was changing all the time, as it is my daily driver, as i was still using my old defective speedo cluster. All the programming, learning curve and research required, using vag tacho, vcds, etc; is a hassle, time consuming and could be avoided. Don't get me wrong, it can be done but based upon my own experience; for most people, i would leave everything to others (e.g. have the cluster rebuilt, plug/play no programming needed or maybe check with having reflect tuning do things for you). I am somewhat a glutton for punishment, after spending a number of weeks, contacting vcds support, learning as i went through trial, error; researching correct procedures and learning allot, i finally got everything to work, new cluster, keys programmed, my odometer settings swapped, all back to normal (my immobilizer issue finally fixed!). In retrospect, i began to question the real benefit, of everything i did and recommend avoiding all of that, if at all possible. If you decide to go that route, we can try to work together, figure everything out but it is programming a computer, after all, each step must be done correctly, for things to work, as it should. While it may not be important to everyone; the new cluster, will have the odometer reading from the old car, something I wanted to swap over from my old cluster, another issue that wouldn't be a issue if you had your original cluster rebuilt/repaired (no immobilizer or key fob programming required either, plug & play, your done!).
Thanks very much as always, billymade. Mine is a Canadian car, so the speedometer is km-prominent, and it was rolled back by previous owners (grrrr!!), and I purchased a # matching U.S./mph cluster and the hexv2 before I learned that I'd also need the skc. I tried a knockoff vagtacho (and a $40 junk laptop to run it lol) but i couldnt make it work. It came with only one key and after "the auto locksmith morning trip fail", I bought 2 keys on eBay for cheap enough to play. I contacted Ian @ reflect on your previous recommendations to others (its ~$100 nowadays fyi) so I'm ready to start the project in a few days but it's been such a long pitfall ridden project that I'm nervous about it. Ian's response was half of what I'd hoped so im trying to dot my i's here.
If you'd be so kind, what's this about zeroing out the cluster? Its alreasy titled "not actual mileage" so im not real concerned about the odo reading (or changing that #), but if its a functionality roadblock im alllll ears.
This is kind of getting into the weeds but here we go... take this with a grain of salt but based upon my research, this is my understanding, of how things work with the New Beetle and how I was able to finally fix my car.
It seems, VW designed the Magneti Marelli produced cluster for the New Beetle; in a unique way and put the immobilizer on the circuit board in the speedo cluster, not like they did in the Jetta and Golf.
Many immobilizer and odometer mod tools; like Vag Tacho, Abrites, etc., cannot seem to work with, the unique EEPROM chip for the New Beetle speedo cluster without causing data scrambling problems. The EEPROM chips, has the hex data on them and you need to change the odometer readings in the speedo cluster by changing this hex data. This doesn't seem to be the case with other VW's; like the Jetta, Golf, etc., which can be changed easily without any issues or scrambling the data.
All of the research, that I did; indicated, the eeprom chip, had a added security feature to it and if you tried to modify this code (pull of the data; then reflash it back on the chip), using a OBD II port based programmer, will cause a "check sum error" and render the speedo cluster unusable. Now, if you had a EEPROM based programmer; backed up the hex data and were able to "reflash" this data, you might be able to restore the cluster, to working order. These were outside my capability and I did not have the chip programmer and that would require substantial investment, to acquire one, much less, have a use for it long term.
This is how I understand, Ian at Reflect Tuning; is able to do things with the New Beetle cluster, immobilizer and odometer settings. This programming modification, requires disassembly of the speedo cluster; to access the circuit board, then, finally put a "EEPROM chip programmer", attached to the pins of the EEPROM chip and pull the data, off the chip, modify the hex data (e.g. odometer reading), then reflash the chip with the modified data and bypass the security chip issues, that way.
Now, whether this is a grand conspiracy on VW's part; to design things in a way to make, immobilizer, odometer changes impossible or hard, I suppose is up for debate. It would make sense to me; that VW would do it's best, to keep their speedo, immobilizer, odometer systems as secure as possible and prevent odometer modification fraud or outright theft of their vehicles.
Now, the "zeroing out" of the cluster; is essentially, a work around, for being able to allow the use of a "new/used" cluster, that has milage on it and transfer the existing original odometer reading over to the replacement cluster. VW made the programming parameters such, that to be able to change the odometer readings; you essentially had to have a "new" cluster without odometer readings already on it. So, to conform to these programming requirements, modding the speedo odometer, to read "zero", allows one to program the odometer with a VW factory scan tool, in this case, we would use VCDS by Ross Tech (essentially a "clone" of the factory VW supplied 1552 scan tool; they used in the VW dealerships).
YES, I was very nervous; about damaging and scrambling my new speedo cluster (while new in the box; had odometer readings on it, for some odd reason)! So, I researched online and tried to follow the documented VW factory service manual steps; to program everything and transfer the odometer reading to it. I used Vag Tacho, to pull the secret key code; then, used VCDS by Ross Tech, to do the odometer programming and key, key fob programming, everything worked! I ordered three different versions of Vag Tacho and another programmer; to try to pull the secret key code. I struggled with all them; using various versions of Windows, had issues with virus software warnings, incompatibility issues and even tried compatibility modes, in later Windows versions, like Win 7. I bought them on Amazon and so, I was able to return them; as I couldn't get them to work with my car (odometer correction), in all of the cases. You get what you pay for and these were Chinese hacked versions of these programming tools.
After that, I contacted Ross Tech and they helped me, figure out the odometer programming steps and how, to change from the default "kilometer" readings, over to the USA spec "miles" readings in the odometer. Uwe, the owner of Ross Tech, original creator of VCDS and some of his tech support folks; were over the weekend, number of days, going back and forth with me, were able to help me finally, get things handled, programming done correctly.
So, finally:I used Vag Tacho to get the secret key code; then, used VCDS to program the odometer reading and restore, my original clusters mileage and get everything back to how it was originally. Whew! Lots of research, very limited documentation online about programming the odometer issues but after banging my head for weeks; FINALLY, got everything done! The fact, that everything actually worked out and I didn't "brick" my new cluster in the process, was something of a miracle to me!
As you can see; this is why, I recommend, a cluster repair or if possible, letting others handle things, like programming. Now, it CAN be done but it can, take time, substantial effort, research, to figure things out. I hope this makes sense and isn't too convoluted; to make sense, on what it took to do my cluster swap.
I am SO grateful for you for this post. THANK YOU.
This issue is a rotten onion I've been peeling for a couple years on and off and I thought I finally had it figured out but I'm super glad i asked and you responded.
I'm going to have to read that several more times to unpack it all so I can make a decision.
I love my car but I have to say it's a torturous affair, and the lack of support available from the dealership sours me horribly to their products.
Really, no need to try and figure everything out (really kind of mind numbing anyway); I chose to and seem to be something, of a diy VW repair masochist of sorts! Again, if you could ship out and the original speedo cluster is repairable; the repair your original cluster, it would be the easiest and least hassle, solution. Having the data swapped; from the old to the new/used cluster, is also a option. Just remove, ship it out, get it back repaired and reinstall, plug & play, no programming needed, done!
The existing cluster works perfectly well, it's just that the mph numbers are tiny, under the large km/h numbers (having been produced for the Canadian market which runs on metric.) Considering that it displays 3mph off anyway due to "allowable variation from the manufacturer" I'm leaning towards leaving it alone and continue using my GPS unit for my speed, and seeing if I can match a new key to it manually so I have a dang spare. Feeling like it's really a pathetic situation though, and oh so unnecessary to be this bloody complicated. I'm very soured, after owning 3 beetles and a jetta as my only cars since '03. Never again after this one goes, I'm done.
Why not have the original speedo repaired? You could even send the other one with it for any possible needed parts; come out with a rebuilt/repaired cluster with a lifetime warranty (some places; offer this, like BBA REMAN and others). There are options; in my case, I just wanted everything to work as original but Reflect Tuning, may have programming options for you. If it is possible, to eliminate any programming or creating more brain damage, for yourself; related to fixing your car, I think it is worth it.
PS: if the gauge face is a issue; you might be able to swap the Canadian spec face, into your good working USA spec speedo (problem solved)? Although, the odometer, would probably; still read in "miles" vs. "kilometers", which may not matter to you? There are a number of new beetle speedo cluster take apart videos on youtube; just keep in mind, they are pretty delicate, as they age, heat really gets to things and so, it is easy to break parts in the cluster.
Swapping cluster faces as a possibility! Fantastic idea. The odo part I am able to have read in miles, it's just the visual of how fast I'm going thats my issue, asvshown im the pic.
Outstanding, sir. New hope for solving my dilemma yet. I might even get one of those black on white overlays while I'm disassembled.
I DID IT !!!!!
I removed the km/h cluster faceplate and swapped in a mph one. Thanks billymade again for the idea, I'd have probably never considered it. YouTube vid by marvinsdad got me 3/4 of the way there, then I was able to use a utility knife to get the top edge of the faceplate up and peeled it up from there. It has sticky tape holding it on all over but the faceplate is a flexible thin plastic that's durable enough to withstand peeling up. Ermagerd I'm so excited.