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I read the post, but I also thought it funny the guy that sees hundreds of Beetles never bothered to figure out what the real problem was because he said he did not have time. After the 2nd or maybe 3rd one I saw, I would have sorted out 100% what the problem was.
I realize you are electrical Jesus, but you do lack reading comprehension. Another shop replaced that fuse panel twice. I replaced the cable after fuse panel #2 (again, not replaced by me) cooked itself. I replaced the cable because I can use a multimeter and determined it had high resistance. That fixed the problem, the problem has not returned. On that particular car, or any of the other cars I have replaced the corroded and green, rotten alternator cables on. Green inside a wire generally indicates corrosion, and corrosion causes resistance. I'm sure, being the prophet of all things electrical, that you already know that.

Have a good night, electrical Jesus. I hope one day my automotive abilities can measure up to yours, but in the meantime, I'm just going to have to settle with being a capable and successful VW master technician.
 

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Electic fans

It appears to me that when the electric fans get old they start dragging because of all the brush dust inside and in the process start using up too much current and get hot and then loose connection and battery corrosion sure doesn't help. Do you agree with that Mr. Master VW Mechanic Bandi?
I disassembled & repaired both of my fans and a whole lot of brush dust came out. You can feel the fans dragging when you spin by hand, clean and repair and them verify that they spin freely. Measure the current before and after folks so you can verify if you actually fixed something or not.
 

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Even if the fan(s) start to consume too much current, at some point the fuse should be the weak link in the chain, the wiring and connectors/connections should not be getting hot.

This is all foolishness thinking that meltdown should be expected.
 

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It appears to me that when the electric fans get old they start dragging because of all the brush dust inside and in the process start using up too much current and get hot and then loose connection and battery corrosion sure doesn't help. Do you agree with that Mr. Master VW Mechanic Bandi?
I disassembled & repaired both of my fans and a whole lot of brush dust came out. You can feel the fans dragging when you spin by hand, clean and repair and them verify that they spin freely. Measure the current before and after folks so you can verify if you actually fixed something or not.
Brush dust, corrosion on the shaft (which sometimes splits the plastic in the hub of the fan blade) and bearing wear seem to be what kills the fans- the bearings sometimes wear to the point where the fan starts to hit the plastic housing- that can also be caused by an imbalanced fan, or at least that certainly accelerates the bearing wear. I've still got both original fans in my car after nearly 700,000 km, even basic maintenance like blasting the centers out with an air nozzle and spraying a bit of contact cleaner inside every summer seems to help.
 

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Brush dust, corrosion on the shaft (which sometimes splits the plastic in the hub of the fan blade) and bearing wear seem to be what kills the fans- the bearings sometimes wear to the point where the fan starts to hit the plastic housing- that can also be caused by an imbalanced fan, or at least that certainly accelerates the bearing wear. I've still got both original fans in my car after nearly 700,000 km, even basic maintenance like blasting the centers out with an air nozzle and spraying a bit of contact cleaner inside every summer seems to help.
I agree if the bearing is warned out and the fan is either imbalanced or dragging it'll cause the motor to work harder and in turn pull more current which means higher wattage. I also have the original fans still on my 03 1.8t with 209k miles
I had to use thicker wire on the fuse box connection though and it seems to be helping out so far so good, we'll see how it holds up this summer when the fans are on all the time cause you can't drive without A/C in Texas.
thanks for you help
 

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electronics

Even if the fan(s) start to consume too much current, at some point the fuse should be the weak link in the chain, the wiring and connectors/connections should not be getting hot.

This is all foolishness thinking that meltdown should be expected.
dude? what school of electronics did you go to? The wires are getting hot because they were not designed to handle this amount of current/wattage and then causes the connections to get loose because of the heat. If you look at bassman12's pictures you can see that he modified the fans connections with soldered and thicker wires. :p
 

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dude? what school of electronics did you go to? The wires are getting hot because they were not designed to handle this amount of current/wattage and then causes the connections to get loose because of the heat. If you look at bassman12's pictures you can see that he modified the fans connections with soldered and thicker wires. :p
See my comments in post #3 earlier in this thread.

The "wires" are not the problem, the "connections" are where the problems show up.

Below is part of what I stated in post #3 above.

What is really scary is how some "Design Engineer" actually thought the 30 Amp blade sockets were adequate. What a bunch of garbage the narrow side of the terminal grabbing the 30 Amp fuse blade.

Electrical connections need to be tight and very low resistance as mentioned otherwise heat will be a side effect once a big enough load is present.
S164 which is a 40 Amp flat fuse (the middle large flat fuse) is Coolant Fan Control (FC) coolant fan/control module

S180 which is a 30 Amp blade fuse (the left most fuse or closest to the large flat fuses) is the Coolant Fan fuse

S180 has a crappy overall design where the female portion is not a full blade socket, it is a wiper design which under severe conditions will not likely handle a sustained 22-25 Amp load. Then add to the fact this is likely a tin plated copper wiper that will become annealed over years of thermal cycling. Add the under hood engine heat with the fuse box mounted high in an area where there is little airflow, I can see how some of these fuse boxes do fail. But it is interesting how not all of the fuse boxes are having problems, I would guess about 10-15%?? based on some of what shows up in forums online. These are not clearly 100% failure rates. Maybe there were different fuse box designs of vendors so possibly not all fuse boxes are the same.

This overall is a design deficiency.

If you look at this Pico fuse holder, this is a FAR superior way to have the ATC fuse blades captured or connected, it is effectively a female blade socket, not the narrow side of a wiper. Far more surface area to make a proper and tight connection to the male fuse blades.

Pico 0948PT 3 to 30 Amp ATM Mini Blade Fuse Sealed Weather Resistant Automotive Electrical Fuse Holder 1 Per Package
 

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fuse

on my schematic for the 2003 1.8t turbo it shows both fuses feed into the fan control module and The 180 also connects to the thermal switch mounted on the radiator bottom corner for the fans. The 164 fuse also feeds the third speed relay. I agree design deficiency
if only VW corp. would agree......LOL
 

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I do think there are MANY variations of these cars over the long production cycle.

I am still amazed with the number of different engine option even in the same displacement/family.

I think this is more of a "German" thing as I see a lot of crazy variations even in the BMW models I deal with.
 

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Had my first fuse box issue finally show up.

14 year old original fuse box, not a major melt down, problem was with the cooling fan fuse. Cooling fans and AC was intermittent. When I wiggled the fan fuse with the AC engaged, key on, but engine not running, the cooling fans would run.

Noticed a slight bit of black on 1/2 of the fuse, but no major melting or burning.

Removed the original fuse box and opened it up, found the STUPID VW female terminals that only connect to the fuse blade at 90 degrees and the width of the fuse blade thickness.

14 years of constant thermal cycling caused the "V" groove in the female portion to finally loosen up. DUMB ASS VW DESIGN, but it did last 14 years.

After seeing the OE fuse box opened up and the necked washers and the type of glass reinforced plastic and comparing it to the pictures of the aftermarket fuse box in the beginning of this thread, I WOULD NOT recommend an aftermarket fuse box at all. If you do choose an aftermarket fuse box, you MUST perform the bolt mod the OP demonstrated!

I choose to make a similar modification to the original fuse box by installing a heavy duty 30 Amp ATO pigtailed fuse holder. With some extra effort I was able to locate the fuse holder inside and underneath the fuse box cover.

I used my 1/4 drive torque wrench to make sure the nuts for the fuses were all properly tightened down.

I can say 100% the problem is not with the fan(s) drawing too much current causing the fan fuse problem in the fuse box, this is just a STUPID VW design on the way the male blades of the fuses have VERY little surface area contact AND very little mechanical force on the fuse blades. The fact that these tend to last 10-15 years means the design is ALMOST good enough, but not quite.

The problem with the larger pigtail feed to the fuse box overheating is a VERY different problem not related to the fan fuse problem.

Either install an OE replacement fuse box, or modify the fan fuse with a heavy duty ATO pigtailed fuse holder. I assume repair shops will go with the OE fuse box route due to many reasons. I WOULD NOT even entertain an aftermarket fuse box even if they upgraded the ATO fuse contacts. You will have to spend additional time and money to perform the longer bolt mod the OP did to his aftermarket fuse box.
 

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current

The heavy duty ATO pigtailed fuse holder can withstand the amount of current the fans are drawing that's why it works better and does not get as hot. The thicker the wire the more current it can handle. Simple basic DC electronics. glad we were able to agree on something..LOL:D
 

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The problem is the stupid perpendicular female ATO fuse socket design that VW chose, clearly someone without any practical electrical background did not design or review the design of the fuse box.

Again, it lasted approximately 14 years, but if the car was located in a hotter climate I would guess the problem would have shown up earlier.

I would be very careful about any aftermarket fuse boxes after looking at the washers used in the aftermarket fuse box, again, something designed by someone that has absolutely no practical electrical experience.
 

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Thanks!

Thank you to all contributors!! My 2005 1.8t Convertible recently melted the fuse box on a hot day. I have the new Motorking fuse box sitting here, I will do all the upgrades offered, if they work then you all are winners!!:D
 

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Let us know; how the motorking fuse box works out for you; they seemed to make an effort, to improve the design, over the original VW part. checking your cooling/a/c fans for wear/problems and alternator charge harness wire, for resistance; is also, a good idea.
 

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So far the larger wire and extra nuts seem to have alleviated the problem. I will post again if I have another issue with it. Thanks again for the help!!
 

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So, what do you think of the MotorKing fuse box and it’s manufacturing quality, compared to the stock VW part? Would you recommend; this upgraded design part to others? Thoughts? Thanks.
 

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I guess I am not sure. The plastic did crack, but I am not a gentle person, I tend to break things...lol If one was not modifying it I am sure it would be fine, but my cable end was too large to fit in plastic so I ended up trimming some plastic away making it a weak point. I did really like the configuration for the fuse block, it seemed sturdy, much more so than the stock one in my opinion.
 

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Now I have another issue. Since doing the repair my battery light comes on when you start the engine. It remains lit until about 2,500 RPMs, then it goes out and stays out until you start it again. So far it seems to be charging normally and working. Could this be a precursor to the alternator dying? Could I have done something wrong?
 

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Good question; you might run down, to a auto parts store and have them do, a full charging system test, to confirm, everything is working ok.

If you want to try; to start checking, testing things yourself and have access to a multimeter, this video is a great guide to start testing things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDdgs5bqzZg
 
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