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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for a little brainstorming regarding a 99 2.0 NB. My girlfriend bought this car this past summer against my advice. Not that I didn't think she should buy the NB, I just didn't want her to buy THIS one! History is unknown but it had obviously not been cared for.
Regardless, it seems it's now my problem. This car has little or no heat and the coolant doesn't seem to be circulating as it should. Reading about the plastic impellor on the water pump, I was convinced this was the problem. I've since changed the timing belt, waterpump and tensioner and was almost disappointed to see it had previously been changed to a metal impellor.
Everything I've looked at thus far indicates some gorilla fist has been there before. Numerous missing nuts, bolts, and non factory hose clamps. System has been flushed and refilled and as mentioned has a new tb,wp, thermostat and tensioner.
So....when started and ran with the coolant cap off eventually the thermostat opens followed by hot coolant rising in the reservoir until it over flows. At no time does the cooling fans come on (even when switched to A/C) so I'll be sorting that as well. Even when hot, the bottom of the radiator is cold and if I open the petcock it drains cold coolant!
I'm determined (forced) to get this thing sorted as due to finances she's stuck with it and frankly I think I'll kind of like the car once it's sorted. Not that familiar with forums but I did a lot of searching prior to posting and read such problems as recalled coolant reservoir, water pump, thermostat, air in system etc. and hope to get some troubleshooting direction rather then just throw parts at it! BTW, wish it had a coolant temp gauge but to my knowledge it has not overheated.
 

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It does sound as though someone did do SOME recommended maintenance. Here's some information on trouble shooting the coolant system, including the cooling fans, although to not have heat, or the system running cold, would not indicate a cooling fan problem, as they are thermo-switched by the advent of water temp rise.

Bentley Cooling System Diagnostics
http://newbeetle.org/forums/2-0-liter-gas/52013-overheating-problem.html#post753256

Bentley drain and fill procedure
http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/52130-beetle-overheating.html#post753690

If there is a flow problem with the coolant you should be experiencing overheat issues, and you have indicated no such. To run cold, would more indicate a thermostat issue -
http://newbeetle.org/forums/1-8-liter-turbo/53622-heat-seems-not-work-well.html
I have posted the Thermostat R&R way below, along with the system hose routing diagram.

Lack of cabin heat could be "blend door" related -
http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/41973-blend-door-diy.html

Last resort could be a heater core issue, but a major project to R&R -
http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/52424-c-musty-odor.html#post756498

Hope this helps, post up if you need some more help.

M.
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If the coolant is begin forced out through the expansion tank, you might have a bad head gasket; I suggest a compression or leak down test.

Keep this in mind, the 2.0 is easy to work on and once you solve all of those previous owner abuses, your NB will be trouble free from then on.
 

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Again, a pressure leak or loss of coolant should cause a hot running situation not a cold running one. The only problem the OPer has indicated is coolant too cold to produce heat, to me an indication of not enough restriction by the thermostat to allow the coolant to heat. And no warning light on the NB to indicate cool running, but if memory serves, water temp can be checked by VAG.

M.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Appreciate the responses, and especially the diagram of the cooling system. Some misunderstanding, the engine does warm up and the coolant does get hot, just not through out the system! Coolant returning to the reservoir is very hot as it is when I disconnect various hoses yet if I open the radiator petcock that coolant is still cold, as is the bottom of the radiator. Actually, if I feel down the lower radiator hose starting at thermostat the hose is hot until I've traveled down about half the length of the hose and it is then cold the remaining distance to the radiator.
Blue cold light works, red flashing light works, have never seen a solid red overheat light and have yet to see the fans run.
Might be a day or two until I can look at it again but appreciate the responses guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As for bad head gasket, when I first saw the coolant rise to overflow the reservoir I had the same thought. Suppose it still could be but the car otherwise runs fine, no coolant in the oil, and the coolant only rises in the reservoir once hot and the thermostat opens.
Another observation that seemed odd was the coolant hose going in to the heater core was very hot, coming out wasn't hot at all. Same could be said about the hose going in / out at the transmission cooler. No doubt the respective coolers were cold and maybe sucked off "some" of the heat but seems it had ran long enough to equalize.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't doubt it D2Beetle, it's been my thought from the beginning and it's what prompted me to change the water pump. The question remains as why? I'm confident no coolers, radiator, heater core, etc. are plugged or restricted.
 

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I don't doubt it D2Beetle, it's been my thought from the beginning and it's what prompted me to change the water pump. The question remains as why? I'm confident no coolers, radiator, heater core, etc. are plugged or restricted.
Then you are left with three possibilities; water pump (could be defective), thermostat or head gasket, :confused: as these are the only items that can block or restrict flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I certainly appreciate the responses. I'm kind of back where I started unfortunately. Car runs good, almost wish it did have coolant in the oil or vice versa, something more obvious!
What really started this was she was driving it back from Omaha. She got about 40 miles away from home and called saying the "hot" light was on and she had pulled over. I grabbed the car dolley and headed that way. Instead, I found the low coolant light was flashing and yes, it was low. I topped it off and followed her the rest of the way home uneventfully. Next day, low coolant light and I noticed it dripping beneath the water pump. I replaced wp, belt, tensioner, and thermostat. She's now driving it the short trip back and forth to work BUT has very little cabin heat. Looking in to that is when I first noticed the problems I've previously described, cold lower radiator, etc. Humbug! I don't mind a challenge but this ones got me scratching my head.
One thing I would like to know.....is there a valve that directs the coolant through the heater core as on older cars or does the coolant flow through the heater core at all times?
 

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the low coolant light was flashing and yes, it was low. I topped it off. Next day, low coolant light and I noticed it dripping beneath the water pump.
to my knowledge it has not overheated.
I replaced wp, belt, tensioner, and thermostat.
System has been flushed and refilled
This car has little or no heat
the coolant hose going in to the heater core was very hot, coming out wasn't hot at all. Same could be said about the hose going in / out at the transmission cooler.
the coolant doesn't seem to be circulating as it should.
when started and ran with the coolant cap off eventually the thermostat opens followed by hot coolant rising in the reservoir until it over flows.
At no time does the cooling fans come on (even when switched to A/C)
Even when hot, the bottom of the radiator is cold and if I open the petcock it drains cold coolant!
Not that familiar with forums but I did a lot of searching prior to posting and read such problems as recalled coolant reservoir, water pump, thermostat, air in system etc.
the engine does warm up and the coolant does get hot, just not through out the system!
Coolant returning to the reservoir is very hot as it is when I disconnect various hoses
if I open the radiator petcock that coolant is still cold, as is the bottom of the radiator. Actually, if I feel down the lower radiator hose starting at thermostat the hose is hot until I've traveled down about half the length of the hose and it is then cold the remaining distance to the radiator.
Blue cold light works, red flashing light works, have never seen a solid red overheat light and have yet to see the fans run.
As for bad head gasket, when I first saw the coolant rise to overflow the reservoir I had the same thought. Suppose it still could be but the car otherwise runs fine, no coolant in the oil, and the coolant only rises in the reservoir once hot and the thermostat opens.
She's now driving it the short trip back and forth to work BUT has very little cabin heat.
is there a valve that directs the coolant through the heater core as on older cars or does the coolant flow through the heater core at all times?
Trying to put all your comments in one place and sort through them.
 

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I certainly appreciate the responses. I'm kind of back where I started unfortunately. Car runs good, almost wish it did have coolant in the oil or vice versa, something more obvious! ... One thing I would like to know.....is there a valve that directs the coolant through the heater core as on older cars or does the coolant flow through the heater core at all times?
If car maintenance were easy, there would be no money in it! :rolleyes: Anyway no valves that I am aware of.

There is simple cost effective test that you can do on the expansion tank to see if it has a head gasket leak into the water jacket. A guy came out to my house and ran the test which took all of 10 minutes and $50... Then I proceeded to take the cylinder head off.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thinking I'll get a combustion leak detector to check for a blown head gasket. Who knows, maybe even a cracked head that only leaks compression in to the cooling system once warm.
 

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There is simple cost effective test that you can do on the expansion tank to see if it has a head gasket leak into the water jacket. A guy came out to my house and ran the test which took all of 10 minutes and $50... Then I proceeded to take the cylinder head off.
Probably a chemical reaction test similar to this one -
How To Tell If Your Head Gasket Is Blown - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks once again D2. See the familiarity between my posts and your original complaints? Nearly a mirror of your original issues, even the same color bug! The real bummer is the one I'll be working on only has 75,000 miles.
Mine is currently identical to the symptoms yours displayed after you changed the water pump, etc. Runs good, no red light, etc. Bummer, hope once I've completed this repair it goes on to achieve the high miles you have on yours!
 

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Thanks once again D2. See the familiarity between my posts and your original complaints? Nearly a mirror of your original issues, even the same color bug! The real bummer is the one I'll be working on only has 75,000 miles.
Mine is currently identical to the symptoms yours displayed after you changed the water pump, etc. Runs good, no red light, etc. Bummer, hope once I've completed this repair it goes on to achieve the high miles you have on yours!
I look forward to seeing yours hit every milestone that mine has done.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Not nearly as much as I would look forward to it D2! Instead, the nb is staying home this weekend while she once again takes my Element out of town.:( Hopefully get Christmas out of the way and get the time to dig deeper in to the beetle.
I don't drive and seldom even ride in her beetle. I had asked her if foam had blown out the louvers and she said it hasn't. Looked tonight and the louvers are nearly plugged with the door foam. Oh well, don't really mind working on vehicles, it's just often difficult to find the time.
 
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