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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Problems after dead battery. Help!!! (updated)

Here's the story, on a 98 auto NB.

My girlfriend forgot to turn off the head lights last night. This morning, the battery ran out. I tried to jump start the NB tonight and the NB did start. When my gf tried to drive it away, battery dead again. So jump start again, and let the engine idling for like 5 minutes. After that, she tried to drive it away, and it turned out that the NB can only run under low gear and rpm. When she press the gas pedal, the NB did accelerate till like 20mph and rpm close to 3000, then all of a sudden, the engine lost power. It seemed that the NB could never shift onto 2nd gear. What's going on?! It's the battery of the transmisson?

Sigh, since we bought this NB this April, we've kept getting into trouble. Brake sensor, door lock, error speedometer ... and then this. I have to say I'll avoid VW(or say VW from Mexico) in the future.
 

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180 Degrees out of faze
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Well, part of the problem is that the battery needs a good charge. At idle, the generator is not putting out enough power to charge the battery, and run the car too. After the battery died, the computers forgot everything that they knew about you. They will have to relearn how you drive.
Try fully charging the battery, then go for a nice drive.
It is not just VW, but all modern computer intensive cars will give you problems with a weak or dead battery. Granted, VW tried to cut some corners on cost by using cheap sensors. They are regretting that in the end, as they have had recalls on things like coil packs, and MAFs. Plus cutting the sales price to others like the temp sensor, and O2 sensor. Bean counters never learn.
 

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i am strorg
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Best not to use the alternator to charge the battery, although we've all probably done it. It is designed to maintain the charge, not re-charge a dead battery. While it likely won't kill the alternator, it's just not a good idea. Get a battery charger and fully charge the battery.

Good luck...Tom
 

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First off welcome to the org :)

Secondly: you have the most problematic model, and the msot problematic transmission. However, most 98 owners really love their cars. It's also 7 years old, so it's "old" in all sense of terms for mechanical and electrical devices and as such these problems start cropping up in batches.

A new battery should solve a lot of your issues. My beetle is three, at two years the factory battery died (one month after I came into posession of the car). The battery will help a lot. Your car has a learning transmission and will learn how you drive as you drive it. Leave the car unhooked for a good 5 minutes from the battery and install a new one, the car should be totally operational.

I agree that VWs quality went down when they moved production to mexico, it's evident in the post-74 beetles that were made only in mexico. However, I have to say that in 66,632 grueling miles (9,120 as of 4/04) my beetle has surpassed mine and my family's expectations for standing up to a very hard male driver. My collant sensor failed ($6) but to date that's all that's gone wrong. I have a friend with 178k on his 1998 5-speed NB and he's had a few problems with it, largly due to rubberized components drying out and cracking (leak in the radiator hoses, for example, causing overheating). He's replaced mroe window switches than he can count for the power windows and the keyless does not lock the driver door anymore (but the key turning in the lock does). All in all, the car has been great to him and it still drives.. just not with all it's pretty features [like the A/C lights went out, constant blown headlamp in driver side, etc]. These quirks are what drew me to the car -- I don't want a car that's flawless, for I am not flawless. I get a giggle when I whack the headlight of my 02 (front end accident, started after it went into the shop, dielectric grease in the headlamp bulb socket should resolve my problem but i'm lazy)... it makes me giggle because it's such a "beetle thing" to do. [I also had a 73 prior to the 2002.. well versed in Volkswagen upkeep!]

Cheers!
 

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If you have an extra car, it's probably worth buying a new battery at a local shop/store (its probably drained). And next time this happens, you want to jump the car, but leave it on for at least 15 minutes on IDLE not just 5 minutes.

And for KCfoxie, I had the same problem with my drivers door lock not working with the remote, but I found that it works now if I UNLOCK, than LOCK. Good luck.
 

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VW 924 5 said:
If you have an extra car, it's probably worth buying a new battery at a local shop/store (its probably drained). And next time this happens, you want to jump the car, but leave it on for at least 15 minutes on IDLE not just 5 minutes.

And for KCfoxie, I had the same problem with my drivers door lock not working with the remote, but I found that it works now if I UNLOCK, than LOCK. Good luck.
I'll pass that on to Terrance and see if it helps him, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Here comes more story. bad bad bad ...

Friday, disconnected the battery for 10 minutes and then connected it back. Well, this time the battery couldn't even keep the car at idle. Engine would start, and then die in a minute, with the battery error light on. I thought it could be the problem of the battery. So I got it out from the car and took it to Autozone. Autozone guy tested it and told me it's fine. :( Anyway, bought a new one back just to try my luck. No surprise, either battery couldn't get my NB back to running. Desperately, I called towing service and had my NB towed to a VW dealer nearby.

Saturday, I went to the dealer asking for the checking result. Amazingly, they told me they could start the car without any problem, but they were still going to tested the battery and the alternator. What a surprise! I thought, why not having a thorough check. And here came my tragedy. After the test, they told me I had a BAD alternator which would no longer charge the battery and I had a likely BAD battery. OMG!! WTH!! And, for sure, they quoted me the possible cost on that. For alternator, $450 for part and $180 for labor. I don't have any idea about that. And, for battery, $100 part and $120 labor! What a price! I ask them why it's that much. They told me that they will have to reset and reprogramme the computer and sensors in my NB, blah blah, after installation of the new battery. What?! I have to admit I don't have any clue about this either.

I'm ignorant on all what had happened. But I don't want to be ripped off. Anyone could help me figure out what's going on? A dead battery two days ago, and now, all of a sudden, a $800+ bill?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here I come again.

Given the culprit, I did some research on the cost and possibility of a DIY.
The alternator's listed at around $350 online. As to the installation instructions, I found them in my service manual, four lines total. Shouldn't be too tough to do, huh? I think I can deal with those bolts without too much problem. But there's a step to remove the drive belt, hmmm ... no experiences. And the battery, autozone sells it at $80 something. It's easy to put it in.
And, according to my service manual, I gotta do quality check on the system at the end.
1. Re-code radio(what? tough?) and set clock.
2. Check the operation of power windows and reset as nessary.
3. Reset basic setting for automatic transmission using VAG 1551/1552 or suitable scan tool([email protected]#%!).
4. Reset basic settings for engine and OBD II rediness codes as required using VAG 1551/1552 or suitable scan tool([email protected]#[email protected][email protected]#!$!#@!!!).
Are step 3 and 4 necessary? I mean, if I skip them, will the car drivable? I just don't want to tow my car to the dealer for a rip again after all these effort.
Any comments and suggestions are valuable and welcome.
 

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When you swap out the alternator, make sure to check any wires connecting to it for bare spots. My alternator went to crap due to a bare wire touching the frame.
 

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I wish I had a shop
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I looked at partsamerica.com (aka advance auto parts) and you can get your alternator for more like $200. They may give you a refund if you return the old one so it could be even cheaper.

EDIT: there is a $75 core charge which is refunded when you return the old one, so it will cost you a little more upfront
 

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Buggles mom
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I just had the battery replaced in my car I bought the Battery and my husband put it in. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RADIO CODE!!! Trust me if you do not have that in your manual you will need a dealer to pull your radio check the side of the radio to get the code. I bought Buggles used from a non VW dealer who did not have the owners manuals. That is why I do not have the code.

I filed a complaint with VW of America they called me back today I have to call them back on Monday. I told them they need inculde this code some where on the car itself so people like me can get it.

I now have to wait untill 11/17 untill my dealer can do this for me I also will need to pay another 40.00 for this.
 

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nibeil said:
...1. Re-code radio(what? tough?) and set clock.

The radio has a security code that needs to be entered after it is disconnected from power--this is there to make it worthless to a thief. If you have the original owners manual you may get lucky and find it in the radio book--if not the dealer needs to pull the radio and get the code from VW

2. Check the operation of power windows and reset as nessary.

You can reset the windows by cycling them up and down all the way 3 times.

3. Reset basic setting for automatic transmission using VAG 1551/1552 or suitable scan tool([email protected]#%!).

You can reset the transmission to it's basic settings by turning the key on(don't start), holding the accelerator to the floor at least 5 seconds, let up accelerator and start the car.

4. Reset basic settings for engine and OBD II rediness codes as required using VAG 1551/1552 or suitable scan tool([email protected]#[email protected][email protected]#!$!#@!!!).

Take the car to AutoZone and ask for the free code scan--if any come up, ask them to clear them out. Maybe buy the alternator and battery from them as thanks.

Are step 3 and 4 necessary? Nope, Do my shortcuts and save $! I mean, if I skip them, will the car drivable?...
:thup: :)
 

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I am with porkchop here, I replaced my gf's oem with durabuilt from autozone.

her alternator crapped out and killed the battery, luck for us the battery could still hold charge.

I took out the old unit and replace it with the new one, easier than i thought it would be. I almost forgot i was working on a vw.

but optima's battery is way overrated, one of my friend had one for less than two year and it's already dead, he never drain the battery and the car is in excellent running shape(he's a superbe mechanic)
 

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kcfoxie said:
I'm glad someone else concurs that the alternator is a simple replacement :)
It is simple, if you know what your doing. Also, does anyone know how to get to the thermostant on a 2.0 without taking the alternator out?
 

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SilverBug
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Well, I read all of the posts of this thread. My first impression... Deja Vu!! That same thing happened to me. My NB was left for 15 days and when my gf tried to start the engine the battery was dead. I took out the battery and practice a jumpstart, meanwhile the computer was reseting. After that the car turned on, but as same as you, no idle, it just turned off when you release the pedal. The only defference is that here we dont have an aoutozone, only the dealer that esaily can pull you an eye out. So I have a little experience on auto mechanics and checked everything and I felt like cylinder wasnt working normally, it was a little bumpy, but just a little. If you realize when you start the air conditioning it accelerate a bit more, it wasnt doing this and that bumpy thing increased. I replaced the four sparkplugs and cleaned out the throttle body, it was a mess inside there. I cleaned that up and put it all back together, start the car and the check engine dissapear, and 950 rpms idle, steady. Thank gos my alternator is Ok and if you havent changed sparkplugs it might be a good idea changing them and cleaning the throttel body.
 

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SilverBug
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Toad, let me find something for your question.
 

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SilverBug
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there's your answer Toad.
 

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Hello. Replaced my battery with a Optima 35 Red Top as suggested by the forum. The install went well and fast. I did not think to test anything other than starting the car.

Imagine my befuddlement when the interior lights, power windows, and alarm do not work. When the headlights are switched on, the reach hatch opens.

Any suggestions? I am here in Guam with no VW mechanics, just the org to guide me so I am pleading for help.

TIA

Harry
 

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Could you give some more info, please? Year of car? Does the engine start and run normally? Do the interior lights work when the individual switches are flipped, or is the problem just with the door opening? Is the problem with the windows just the auto-up and down, or do they not move at all? Can you move the windows using the key in the door? Do the headlights still work normally?

The computer can be reset by removing both cables from the battery and holding them together for 10 seconds, then reconnect both. Connect the negative cable last. Move it into place quickly when connecting it to the terminal to minimize the amount of sparking that will happen.
 
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