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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 1999 New Beetle GLS. I was replacing a thermostat, radiator hose and coolant fan assembly & took a shortcut by not moving the alternator.
That would have been ok except at one point I reinstalled the battery while tightening the thermostat housing and sparked the harness that holds the infamous big black wire going to the alternator.
Since then we've had battery drain. I've checked every single fuse, lights anything that would pull from the battery and can find nothing. The old battery was under warranty so we replaced it.
So I am back to the "spark"...I am hoping someone will know or have an educated guess what I damaged. Am I looking at a new alternator? Diode?
I have disintegrating spine syndrome that goes with a nasty disease so spending a lot of time on this has taken it's toll on my body, not to mention the wife's patience. I know it was a stupid oversight but a thing called "brain fog" haunts me too...I just plain forgot I had the battery hooked up & all it took was one little spark.
There's also a clunking sound coming from where the fuel pump is, starts fast then winds down in around a minute before it stops making the noise. Before all this started the car was hard to start after filling up with gas, got a new gas cap, can't disconnect the old fuel filter to put the new one on.
I know it's a lot of info but thought I should leave any thing out.
Any help would be much appreciated I have done my research and searched the forum here for days.
 

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RockAuto October Newsletter :: Early Edition

Check item number 6. I know he's referencing a Ford--but considering the spark show? It might apply. Only way to tell would be to fully charge the battery--unhook the battery terminals--Unplug the wiring to the Alternator (everything) TAPE the terminals to prevent another shortout. Then reconnect the battery.

From there? Let it sit for a day or two and then reverse the procedure. If it goes dead as fast as you say? Then it's either going to prove the Alternator is bad--or something else is draining it.

Keep in mind this will probably require the radio code be put into the radio again to pull it out of 'safe' mode. Also it will reset the computer presets. (happens sometimes when the battery is disconnected--If you have the electronic gas pedal? Turn the key to 'on' but do not start it. After about 30 seconds (should be only 15 really...) you should have heard a motor run under the hood. That would be your throttle valve setting itself up again.

S-
 

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quick question, when I did the procedure to reset my throttle valve I heard the noise and everything, but I definitely have a physical/true throttle body.. what is this 'throttle valve' thing??
and yeah it's sounds like you've just shorted a big chunk of your power to ground, get a hold of some schematics and an ohm meter and get busy haha, best of luck!
 

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It's called "Fly by Wire" system. Kinda like how a jet plane works with the controls. You're not moving the actual parts via normal linkage, but electronic controls. The gas pedal in many of these cars is nothing more then a spring loaded rotary potentiometer that takes the gas pedal position--relays it to the computer--and that takes the input signal and relays it to the throttle control valve. Basically it replaces the physical linkage/cable.

If the battery is disconnected for any length of time? The system will recalibrate itself (that's the motor sound you're hearing after turning the key to 'on' for about 15 seconds)

It's supposed to be "Better" control, In my opinion? Just more electronics that can fail...

S-
 

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quick question, when I did the procedure to reset my throttle valve I heard the noise and everything, but I definitely have a physical/true throttle body.. what is this 'throttle valve' thing??
and yeah it's sounds like you've just shorted a big chunk of your power to ground, get a hold of some schematics and an ohm meter and get busy haha, best of luck!

Yours might be the IAC motor setting itself up? I'm not quite sure on some of these cars. I'm still learning. (used to be a tech 20 years ago...playing catch up)

S-
 

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It's called "Fly by Wire" system. Kinda like how a jet plane works with the controls. You're not moving the actual parts via normal linkage, but electronic controls. The gas pedal in many of these cars is nothing more then a spring loaded rotary potentiometer that takes the gas pedal position--relays it to the computer--and that takes the input signal and relays it to the throttle control valve. Basically it replaces the physical linkage/cable.

If the battery is disconnected for any length of time? The system will recalibrate itself (that's the motor sound you're hearing after turning the key to 'on' for about 15 seconds)

It's supposed to be "Better" control, In my opinion? Just more electronics that can fail...

S-
Actually, I think the early NBs still were cable driven. I could be wrong, but I feel like I remember reading it.
 

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Might have been? My manual states for both cable types and electronic. Never really states when they changed things over. Then again? With the number of engine 'codes' VW used both overseas, asian market, and the US market? Nothing surprises me about these cars.

S-
 

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mine is a late 98 and it has a throttle cable and lever on the back side, and a bunch of plastic on the front (tps?) guessing they changed to electronic prior to the 05+ exterior remodel/introduction of the convertible and 2.5 since its causing some confusion, similar to the shift linkage changes around 01 I think?
 

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mine is a late 98 and it has a throttle cable and lever on the back side, and a bunch of plastic on the front (tps?) guessing they changed to electronic prior to the 05+ exterior remodel/introduction of the convertible and 2.5 since its causing some confusion, similar to the shift linkage changes around 01 I think?
Ours is the 01 and I'm pretty sure we have the electronic valve. I can reach behind the throttle body and not feel a cable. Unless it's buried into the vast unknown....(again, wouldn't surprise me)

S-
 

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I hate to say it, but it sounds to me like the alternator is causing the drain. I'd pull it and take it to a parts store to be tested. Most parts stores can test it for free. Unfortunately, VW alternators aren't cheap, so you might want to call ahead to ask about the price before you haul the alternator to the store.
 

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It may be the diodes in the alternator, BUT, you may get lucky and something else in the the car is in stupid mode.

Here is what I would do.

If you have a test light, disconnect the small wire on the positive battery terminal and then disconnect the positive battery terminal. BE CAREFUL if you are working with just the positive side and the negative terminal is connected. You do not want any more sparks!

Then put the test light between the positive terminal and the battery and see how bright the test light is. This is not a 100% definitive test, but it may give some insight as to what is going on here?

Then while the positive terminal is still disconnected, reconnect the smaller wire to the fuse box on top of the battery, sung the nut, you can fully tighten it once the positive terminal is reconnected .

Now turn the headlights on for 1 minute with the positive terminal disconnected. Note the headlights will not come on, we are just draining all on board modules to reset them.

Then turn the headlight switch off, reconnect the positive terminal, tighten the positive terminal and the smaller wire for the fuse box on the battery.

Let us know what happens.
 

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if it is the diodes, could he just go to a junkyard and take the entire regulator from another alternator? no one rebuilds alternators anymore cause in most cases it's cheaper, but the brushes will last forever, so it's worth a shot to do alittle soldering on the old one imo
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
just a quick reply to tedybear my throttle is definitely cable driven so, that is out of the picture. appreciate the input though, thanks
After doing some research Yeah I have it whittled down to diode or whole alternator...ok back to reading all the responses...
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It may be the diodes in the alternator, BUT, you may get lucky and something else in the the car is in stupid mode.

Here is what I would do.

If you have a test light, disconnect the small wire on the positive battery terminal and then disconnect the positive battery terminal. BE CAREFUL if you are working with just the positive side and the negative terminal is connected. You do not want any more sparks!

Then put the test light between the positive terminal and the battery and see how bright the test light is. This is not a 100% definitive test, but it may give some insight as to what is going on here?

Then while the positive terminal is still disconnected, reconnect the smaller wire to the fuse box on top of the battery, sung the nut, you can fully tighten it once the positive terminal is reconnected .

Now turn the headlights on for 1 minute with the positive terminal disconnected. Note the headlights will not come on, we are just draining all on board modules to reset them.

Then turn the headlight switch off, reconnect the positive terminal, tighten the positive terminal and the smaller wire for the fuse box on the battery.

Let us know what happens.
I have done the voltage tests on the alt and battery so I know the battery holds a charge disconnected, but have not tried to see if there is a drain the way you are suggesting, great idea.
Also like the headlight idea though I am fully going on your advice...sounds like some VW mojo and I'm all for that right now.
Going out now will let you all know what happens. I was ready to pull the alt and check the diode so I'll try this...might just save me a lot of time and pain, literally. Ha!
Thanks all
 

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I have done the voltage tests on the alt and battery so I know the battery holds a charge disconnected, but have not tried to see if there is a drain the way you are suggesting, great idea.
Also like the headlight idea though I am fully going on your advice...sounds like some VW mojo and I'm all for that right now.
Going out now will let you all know what happens. I was ready to pull the alt and check the diode so I'll try this...might just save me a lot of time and pain, literally. Ha!
Thanks all
The headlight trick is just a shortcut to disconnecting one battery cable and then touching the battery cables together for 30 seconds. Many times the disconnected cable will not reach the other side of the battery easily and many times people do not understand what they are trying to accomplish and think they are going to short the battery doing this.

The long story is to disconnect BOTH battery cables and then hold the battery cables together for at least 30 seconds, maybe even 1 minute, then reconnect the battery and see what happens.
 

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you mentioned that you couldn't remove the fuel filter, you know that they are 'button type' don't you? mine were alittle stuck at first and I just squeezed the clips with a set of channels, after that you can squeeze them by hand, be sure to take off the gas cap when you remove the filter to relieve fuel pressure. the noise could be air getting in the fuel line? or the pump struggling with a plugged filter? not really sure but good luck,
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
so after 3 days of disconnect, rain and cold (i'm in NWGA) she fires right up! I want to post a pic of something tho and tell me if this looks right to you...is that fully connected or what I dont think si and it goes to the wire to the alt...i can't get it in to save my life
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
the cables will reach each other but now i am confused about the alt cale, the little one, leave it disconnected when i hold the + and - together for a minute, and do i still turn the lights on?
 

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Actually, I think the early NBs still were cable driven. I could be wrong, but I feel like I remember reading it.
1998 and 1999 were cable, 2000 and on were FBW.
 

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the cables will reach each other but now i am confused about the alt cale, the little one, leave it disconnected when i hold the + and - together for a minute, and do i still turn the lights on?
If you disconnected both battery cables, the smaller cable on the positive terminal should still be connected.

Touch the terminal ends that were disconnected from the battery together(positive and negative) cables for 1 minute, then reconnect them to the battery.

This should drain all capacitors in modules in car and put them back in a normal state. If this does not help you likely have leaking diodes in the alternator?
 
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