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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

A friend of my has roped me into helping her with her Beetle.

- It's a 2005/2006 Convertible with a 1.4 BCA Engine

From what I was told, last year she was driving and the car started acting strange, wouldn't turn over or would start randomly, A few weeks the engine packed in, bent all the valves. She bought another BCA engine from a scrap yard and had someone else put it in. It hasn't started since and that's over a year ago. The car just turns over and over and over.

Last month she asked me to help with it. I think I've checked everything but I can't figure it out , it still just turns over and over.

At first I checked it with my basic OBD2 reader, got codes for crankshaft and camshaft sensors, which I replaced but still no start. The car is getting fuel, there's spark, but still won't start.

The EPC light does come on after a while too.

What am I missing ?
Does the ECU need to be reprogrammed after an engine swap ?

I usually work on classic cars so I'm not familiar with all the fancy stuff.

Thanks in advance !!!

15,603 Posts
Hmmm, picking up; where someone left off and did a used engine swap... could be tough and there are so many possible issues, they did incorrectly! It sounds like you are in the UK or in the Commonwealth? A good start, maybe to purchase a UK sourced Haynes manual for this New Beetle; the service manual resources here are geared towards USA spec vehicles and they never came with the 1.4L engine. The Haynes manual listed below; specifically covers the 1.4L in question and that would be helpful to work on the car.

VW Beetle Petrol & Diesel (Apr 99 - 07) Haynes Repair Manual

Part number:




Product Country:

You can order directly from the Haynes website or check amazon UK for used or new options:



15,603 Posts
As with all engines; I would start with the basics, that you seem to have gone over already. At this point, we have no idea; of the condition of the new engine or if things were correctly put back together or everything is hooked up correctly. Let's start fresh and go over things; to make sure, step by step, working through a process of elimination:

1. spark: you say you are getting spark. Please confirm and explain, how you did this. Traditionally, removing a spark plug; connecting the spark plug wires (uk: high tension leads), ground it and have the engine turned over, look for a spark at the electrode, etc.

2. gas: have you hooked up a fuel pressure gauge to confirm, it is in spec?

a. is the gas (uk: petrol) good or bad? We have seen soured gas; cause a hard or no start condition. Siphoning the old gas and adding fresh; is a way to deal with this. After a year of sitting around; it being bad, is a good possibility.

b. are the fuel lines connected correctly? On USA spec New Beetles; it is possible to connect the hoses wrong: (e.g. the pressure line from the fuel pump: is in the return connection on the fuel rail; thus, the engine is NOT getting gas (uk: petrol).)

c. you could spray some starter fluid; into the throttle body and see if it starts. A quick way, to determine if you have a fuel delivery issue.

3. compression/timing:

a. do a compression test and confirm it is in spec.

b. look at the timing marks and confirm; they are in sync and in proper phase. Marks are typically on the cam sprocket, crankshaft pulley and flywheel (a small window in the transmission bell housing). This is where the Haynes manual; would be helpful in showing the timing mark locations and compression specs. Again, not having the 1.4L here in the USA; I cannot give you advice, on a engine VW never installed on our cars here.

4. immobilizer and programming issues:

These cars have a immobilizer system; when the battery goes dead or disconnected for a long time, they can get goofy and cause a no start condition. When the immobilizer kicks on, the immobilizer light in the speedo cluster will flash. This indicates a fault in the system and the the engine will start for a second or so and then the ecu, will kill the ignition and the engine will stall. These cars do NOT like low voltage where the battery is concerned and this can cause the immobilizer to go goofy and the car being dead for so long, can make the immobilizer "confused". In resurrecting the car; I would confirm, you have a good battery, get it tested at a auto parts store, charge it if necessary and replace with a new one, if needed. When you know you have a good battery; you might try doing a "hard reset" of the ecu. Remove the positive and negative battery leads and touch them together for a bit and then reinstall them on the battery. This erases the memory of the cu and resets everything. Try starting the car again and pay particular attention; to where or not the immobilizer light kicks on.

Here is a excellent page; that explains, how the immobilizer system works and how to determine if the immobilizer is the no start problem you are experiencing:

Immobilizer FAQ and troubleshooting for VW and Audi, with key replacement tips | VW TDI forum, Audi, Porsche, and Chevy Cruze diesel forum

trouble codes:

Scanning the car is a good idea and the codes, can help you find a direction in your troubleshooting process.

You said you had some codes already but what codes, are currently coming up now?

What scan tool are you using and is it a VW specific scan tool?

A generic OBD II scan tool; can be helpful but a VW specific one, can read codes that a generic one cannot and maybe helpful in troubleshooting things further. For example, the immobilizer; will most likely, not be able to be read by a generic scan tool but a VW specific one, could access this module and communicate with it intelligently. Typical VW scan tools are available online from places like amazon ("VAG" scanners) and then there are traditional brands like the Ross Tech VCDS scanner that most independent VW repair shops use. If you end up needing some in depth programming or immobilizer repairs done; you may need to get some help from a mobile auto locksmith, VW specialist or VW dealer.

Anyway, there are some basics to start with and we can go over these together. Going down the list and troubleshooting the no start issue; hopefully, we can find the problem! Cheers... and welcome to the site! :wave3:
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