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Hey Everybody. New Volkswagen owner here, and I gotta say I'm a little intimidated by all the problems with my car.

I actually got a 1999 2.0 L New Beetle for my girlfriend for free. However, there were lotssss of problems (hence the free).

I spent the money for a new battery so I could get it to a mechanic. I spent $900 dollars at a mechanic for a lot of the problems, but It's still got quite a few that I'm trying to tackle myself because I'm not made of money.

I'm fairly certain I'm capable of fixing the rest of the problems except one that has got me a little worried, because I don't know where go with my troubleshooting.

A little background of previous issues that may be important.
- Mechanic fixed the charging system by replacing wiring and plugs etc. Said they were really corroded, huge mess. This solved the cars problem with locking the doors randomly, beeping, and accidental alarms being set off.
- Stereo was not working. I pulled it out and put an aftermarket stereo deck in and It's working well again, but while I was doing this the car would beep and lock the passenger door randomly.
- Fuel Guage is not working
- Tachometer is not working

Speedometer is working great, and the trip is there, but my fuel and rpms are at 0 all the time.

I've checked the fuses.
I have checked the fuel sender unit with a multimeter and it seems to be working right, so this leads me to assume that it's the cluster that is faulty, but with all the weird stuff happening above, I'm also a little afraid that I have a deeper problem with wiring (maybe a ground problem?).

I've pulled the instrument cluster out, but it was too late to see well enough to get the connectors off so I came in for the night. However I'm not sure where to go from here anyway so I thought maybe some of you more knowledgeable owners could help.

I figure I should probably test the cluster but I haven't a clue how. So tomorrow I'm thinking I'll take it the rest of the way out and head to the dealer. Maybe they can test it for me? I dunno, that might be a pipe dream. 'Paranoid they'll just tell me it's broken anyhow and try to sell me something.

SO. What would you do next?

Think it's a deeper wiring problem? Where to start?

or Test the cluster maybe?
If anyone knows how to test one and are capable of explaining it as if I were 5 then that'd be awesome. Hopefully the dealer can do this for me though.

If the cluster is faulty then what do you do?
Buy a new one? or repair the old?
I looked on one website and their quote for a repair on my cluster was $225. I really don't have that much money (it's already being spent on different parts for the car).

Anything help or support will help me not feel so flustered guys.
Thanks so much!
 

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1.the cars problem with locking the doors randomly, beeping, and accidental alarms being set off.

This typically; is related, to the door locking module, they have issues with microswitches and solder joints being cracked. Another common problem; is the wiring harness, that goes from the body to the door (encased in a black rubber sheath); the wires bend from opening and closing the door. The wires crack and cause all kinds of electrical problems. Here is info; on how to repair the door lock module or just replace with a new one.

VWVortex.com - MKIV door locks explained - why you're having problems!!! :(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5dtdyDDgrw

2. speedo cluster:

The clusters are known for failures of specific gauges or complete failure, intermittent immobilizer problems. The gauge stepper motors fail or onboard components fail or solder joint crack from vibration.
You can replace the stepper motors yourself; you can buy new stepper motors or get a similar used cluster and swap parts to repair yours. A used cluster; from the same car as yours, is a option but your odometer reading will be different but this can be changed by shipping it out to a special shop like reflect tuning.

http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/77329-2001-beetle-broken-speedometer.html

For cluster repair options and programming info; read this thread: (keep in mind; your 1999 DOES NOT, have a immobilizer so a used cluster should not need programming for that)

http://newbeetle.org/forums/2-0-liter-gas/91097-cluster-lights-fuel-speedo-tach-gauges-not-working.html

3. Troubleshooting:

These, cars are pretty sophisticated; I would recommend, that you get a vw specific scan tool to read trouble codes. These trouble codes; will give you direction, in your troubleshooting process. You can purchase; a inexpensive code reader on amazon that reads codes ($20-$200) , spend a little more for live data ($70+) or go all the way, to factory vw level scan tool, VCDS by Ross Tech ($250-$350).

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=vag+vw+scan+tool+

http://www.ross-tech.com/index.html

4. service manuals:

It really helps to have a service manual; to help you do your repairs, troubleshooting correctly. The Haynes and Chilton are pretty basic, the Bentley brand manuals are better or you can get a subscription to Volkswagen's Erwin online manual for one day, then download them in .pdf format.
Meanwhile, you can use this free online manual and it is very good.

http://workshop-manuals.com/volkswagen/
 
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