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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 2004 Beetle with a manual transmission that won't start. I'm thinking it's the clutch safety switch (or whatever it's called). But, is there a way to test voltage of the switch? I'd prefer not to buy a new one if that's not the problem.
Also, here's some background and troubleshooting. I bought the car knowing it had problems. I had the clutch and transmission replaced. I've driven the car about 50 miles over the last couple days running errands and such without any problems. I went to get the car inspected today and it wouldn't start. It won't even try to turn over.
The troubleshooting I've done are:
1) made sure the alarm is disabled (unlocking the doors).
2) tested the battery voltage. There is no drop when I attempt to crank
3) switched the starter and fog light relay since they are the same - it made no difference
4) the car can be push started and drove the 20 minutes home without any problem

I'm guessing the clutch switch may be bad. Or is there something else I'm missing or should try first? Thanks!
 

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If you have a scanner; see if there are any trouble codes. So, when you turn the ignition key/switch; is there a clicking noise or does the starter motor spin at all? It is not uncommon; for the electrical portion of the ignition switch to fail, the wiring/plug to melt and cause a no start condition.

Check out this thread for replacement info:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/1-8-liter-turbo/59181-ignition-switch-replacement-diy.html

Aside from that; you could remove the starter motor and have it tested at a auto parts store, that way you could rule that out as a problem.

#4 - Lock Relay for Starter (Clutch pedal Switch) (53)

http://workshop-manuals.com/volkswa...m_horn_relay/component_information/locations/

http://workshop-manuals.com/volkswa..._start_relay/component_information/locations/

starter motor

http://workshop-manuals.com/volkswa...or/component_information/service_precautions/

wiring diagrams

http://workshop-manuals.com/volkswa...iagrams/diagram_information_and_instructions/
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
11-12 year old car could have a bad starter as well.

Best to check connections and try to jump starter solenoid as this will rule out Theft Deterrent system, clutch switch, ignition switch and so forth.
How do I jump the starter solenoid?

Thanks for the diagrams. I switched relay 3 and 4 and it didn't make a difference. But are both 3 and 4 clutch relays then? Or is it a backup light relay? Both 3 and 4 spots are 53 relays.

The starter makes no effort to turn. No clicking, whirring, or anything. I've replaced a few starters in my life, and they've always given warning of either clicking, taking longer than usual, etc. This went from working fine to nothing overnight.
I tend to not think it's an ignition problem because it runs just fine when push started. But then again, I'm the one with the broken car. Lol.
 

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To jump a starter solenoid you have to have access to the starter which I do not recall how hard it is on these cars. You then take a small insulated alligator clip wire lead or you can buy a cheap remove starter switch (something like this - Amazon.com: INNOVA 3630 Remote Starter Switch: Automotive and you might find this at your local auto parts store as well) and connect it from the battery terminal to the smaller solenoid connection and see if the starter responds. If not, time for a starter, if the starter responds as expected, there is likely a problem with the start control components or circuit.

You can search YouTube University for some videos that may not be specific to the VW, but you may find some specific to the Beetle as well. Also look a the wiring diagram as some solenoids have 2 small wires and the correct wire terminal needs to be chosen.

Bosch starters are known to often fail without warning so this may be a typical old age starter failure you are dealing with, but rule out the starter control components and circuit to be sure.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's some followup. The first thing I did was use a wire to bypass the clutch switch. It made no difference. I ended up starting to remove the starter and discovered that the ground or negative cable from the starter had a break that was about half the diameter of the wire. I went ahead and had the starter tested since it was almost out and everything tested fine. I replaced the cable and while putting everything back together noticed that the wire that clips to the starter has a broken clip. So, I think the likely suspects were either the bad cable or the wire was loose and not making proper contact. Either way, the car is back to starting just fine. Thanks everyone for all the help offered.
 

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Glad you made progress and thanks for the update. Often the "lookie-pokie" method is a good place to start. Intermittent problems are often more about ruling things out/the process of elimination then testing each subset of a system.

Do you think vibration was part of the failure/problem? How many miles on the car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As far as the wire with a cut, I don't know when it happened. I bought the car and had the transmission replaced before I ever drove it, so it really could have happened any time. The cable looked to have a little corrosion, but nothing extensive.
The smaller wire that clips to the starter probably came off or loose while I was driving it that day. I was hearing some noise on my passenger's side front, so I went to a parking lot and drove around in circles to see if it was the cv axle clicking. However, my suspension problem looks to be a wheel bearing, but since I don't own or have access to a press, I'll be finding a mechanic to replace that.
The car has 132k on it.
 
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