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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2005 NBC is a nightmare. Bought it for a reliable commuter car (manual tranny) -- Don't laugh. I am not a master mechanic and I don't have time nor talent for the maintenance this car requires. But...it is such a cute model and drives so well that I would love one just like it that is not so high maintenance. Please share if there is a NBC model that is reliable as a commuter car!
:eek::eek::eek:
 

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The 5 cylinder cars are probably a bit better, not timing belts.

But they all have the same basic issues.

Assuming the car has not be beat to death.

Maybe you can find a garage queen if you shop around.

But you also have to put everything into perspective.

Certain things are common on EVERY car like brakes, clutch and so forth. Other things are model specific like door latches, etc.

What issues have you against the wall

ALL the automatics have valve body issues that I am aware of. MAYBE the much later models had improvements?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The 5 cylinder cars are probably a bit better, not timing belts.

But they all have the same basic issues.

Assuming the car has not be beat to death.

Maybe you can find a garage queen if you shop around.

But you also have to put everything into perspective.

Certain things are common on EVERY car like brakes, clutch and so forth. Other things are model specific like door latches, etc.

What issues have you against the wall

ALL the automatics have valve body issues that I am aware of. MAYBE the much later models had improvements?
Hi There :)

You've always been a big help to me and for that I thank you sooooooo much.

Things are breaking on this car that are not maintenance.

The passenger side window assembly "went out" and the part alone was $200. The cable was mangled--they showed it to me. How does that happen honestly!

Then I noticed a coolant leak and turns out the thermostat housing had warped and was leaking, so had to replace that. $200

The brake booster went out (!!), and that cost $400 to fix and was labor intensive; the part alone was over $200.

This is an issue against the wall: When the mechanic called for the brake booster part, the dealer told them they also have to buy the master cylinder because VW changed the booster after market for that year and the old master cylinder won't seal properly, which turned out to be true. It's throwing vacuum leak codes, misfire codes, you name it like 9 codes because of the vacuum leak. The mechanic said that we will have to put the new master cylinder on it to stop the vacuum leak, no choice. The part is over $200. I'm checking with ECS Tuning for a cheaper part, but so far they all around $130. So with labor I'm looking at dropping another $200 into her.

Knock sensor on cylinder 2 went out ($30), boost pressure control valve went out ($50).

The reverse lights don't work; the fuse keeps blowing every time I replace it (I think it was #12).

The rear right turn signal light "plug" has a short in it somewhere, so if I leave it to "dangle" inside there, the short is gone.

Sometimes the climate control knobs lights work, sometimes they don't. A short I'm sure.

I fixed the radio K-wire problem already, so it's not that.

I paid almost $300 for the key fob from the dealer, and the trunk opener worked once. It's a short. When I unlock her with the fob, insert the key into the ignition and turn the key to start the engine, the horn will beep. What's up with that?? Sometimes as I'm buckling my daughter into her seat, the horn will beep and windows will adjust back and forth until I push the unlock button on the fob several times then the windows and horn beeping stops their nonsense. What the hell.

I bought the skid plate and that's on ($200), and I got the timing belt service done and the thermostat replaced too ($650). Also replaced the rear brake pads ($100). Been using the proper high octane fuel, changing oil/filter etc. regularly, using the correct coolant (pink)...Changed her spark plugs myself when they started misfiring...I have a sneaking suspicion the fuel filter needs changing.

I can see her clutch going out next, but understand that's maintenance...to the tune of $1500 probably....

Her door sensor inside the driver's door is still out, and the window switch panel on the driver's side door is still broken for the passenger window.

At this point, I've taken to manually adjusting the window before I get out because I am totally prioritizing repairs.

What is a garage queen? Would that be my cousin who's done some of the easier work on her outside of the shop?

I am seriously considering selling her. I have sunk so much money into repairs and replacing lost parts (skid plate, key fob e.g.) on her and I don't see it stopping. I mean by the time I replace everything, she'll be like brand new, and I will have spent the same amount of money as I would to buy a brand new one. Except the reviews for the brand new ones are horrible--in the top 10 for most unreliable. I'm thinking about a Mini Cooper instead!
 

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I'm sorry to say that if money is an issue and you have to pay a mechanic to do simple repairs, then a used (no warranty) VW just isn't the car for you.

I'd recommend a used Pontiac Vibe. They're virtually the same car as a Toyota Matrix, including all of the drivetrain, but with a bit of Pontiac styling on the exterior. Since Pontiac is a "dead" brand name, you can find a used one cheaper than the Toyota. The interiors are virtually identical, except for the color of the dash lights and the radio. Pontiac liked red interior lights for the dash, which I don't like (I think the Matrix dash has blue lights). Our 2004 Pontiac Vibe (which we bought new) has the base engine, auto transmission, and has 108k miles with just routine maintenance on it. Since there are no rubber timing belts to replace on the Toyota engine, it's relatively cheap to maintain when compared to a VW that has one.

A friend at work has a slightly newer Pontiac Vibe with the manual transmission and sunroof and he loves the thing. Very practical, relatively fuel efficient, cheap to maintain (Toyota four cylinder engines are very reliable), and not a bad looking car either.
 

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Garage Queen!!! A car that is only driven on nice days and has low mileage. A car that spends most if its live in the garage, not a daily driver.
Many people have convertibles as occasional cars and you can find Garage Queens that have been less molested than what you purchased.

Some of the items you may want to go with junkyard parts like the brake booster and master cylinder if you cannot find the correct brake booster.

"I paid almost $300 for the key fob from the dealer, and the trunk opener worked once. It's a short. When I unlock her with the fob, insert the key into the ignition and turn the key to start the engine, the horn will beep. What's up with that?? Sometimes as I'm buckling my daughter into her seat, the horn will beep and windows will adjust back and forth until I push the unlock button on the fob several times then the windows and horn beeping stops their nonsense. What the hell."

The above is due to bad door latch. Its not the horn beeping, it is the alarm horn. What is happening is the car is confused and does not thing the door was opened. Sometimes you can open the opposite side door first to solve this until the door latch is replaced. The windows in jumping up and down because the sensor in the door latch solder joint is probably broken and it is intermittently thinking the door is opening and closing quickly.

Many of the problems you are having are "normal" VW type of issues, many of the problems you are having are due to prior damage, neglect, poor repairs.

Would be interesting to find out the history on the car, because most of the electrical issues are somewhat unusual.

Sorry to hear you are still dealing with all these issues. Overall most of electrical issues should be pretty easy to sort out by someone that understands electricity.

Hang in there, see if you can find a used power brake booster, they do not fail often, but they also do not last forever either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ah...a garage queen...got it now! LOL ;)
Well she is not that, and yes, to find one of those is probably everyone's dream.

The brake booster was already replaced by the mechanic with a brand new part, so that's history. Now I'm looking for the master cylinder and so I can certainly check around for the lowest possible price option for that. I'm in the process of finding out the correct part number. Any idea how long we're talking to install the master cylinder? So I know what to expect as for labor costs--I seriously doubt that is something I can just pop on myself. I did get the ramps you recommended for doing oil changes and other minor things myself--.

Thanks for the info on the door latch being the problem with all that nonsensical window adjusting and alarm horn beeping--I'll move that repair up higher in the list. I wonder if I can replace the door latch assembly myself....I've seen some posts on here with instructions so I might give it a go...

As far as the electrical problems with the rear back up lights and passenger turn signal switch, and the dash climate control lights intermittently working, I think there could be two shorts--one in the rear and one in the dash. She hasn't been in any floods or anything like that, but she's been beat to death by her prior owner. A lot of little things need replacing here and there inside, such as the power source for back seat passengers which is hanging literally by the wires.

I only paid $6k for the car, 2005 with 85k miles on her, so she is a little bit of a fixer upper. She needs minor issues addressed as for interior and exterior condition. I figured I could spend some weekends tinkering with her, and get parts from pick and pull. But the big stuff breaking such as the break booster/master cylinder, thermostat housing, and the passenger window assembly were a real kick in the pants, especially given they occurred in the first year of ownership.

I need to find a husband who is also a master mechanic LOLOLOL :D:D:D
 

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Hang in there, you will hopefully be able to keep ahead of the issues.

Door latches are a PITA, but do not let that scare you. I wish I would easily give it a difficulty rating, might check YouTube as a video would make it FAR more straight forward. Even a non convertible would a decent reference, the convertible is actually better as you do not need to take the glass out, support it it play with the window regulator.

As for your lights, some of the problem may not be a short, but a bad connection, you have an issue with the reverse lights as the fuse is blowing. You can actually "read" a fuse to determine if there is a short, if the fuse is blown wide open and there is black inside, usually a short, if the fuse is just slightly blown with no black, it is not a dead short but some sort of overload.

As my 14 year old son has even figured out, "If the top goes down, the price goes up"!

It's almost Thanksgiving and we have had freezing temps in the morning, but my daughter is out riding around with the top down today as it is 60F! So there is some redeeming value to these stupid things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hahahaaaa @ your daughter with the top down at 60 degrees F - Gotta love the kid in her! :D I've had it down at 65 degrees F myself Hee heeeeeeeee!

I am now wrestling with what to tell my mechanic about the bogus line of BS Worldpac parts distributor allegedly gave him about the break booster having been modified for the year make/model of my car, and that the master cylinder must also be replaced with it to remedy the multitude of new vacuum leak codes. A line of crap per VW and AutohausAZ. Common sense after talking with VW would indicate that the O ring needed to be replaced on the break booster (which does not appear on my invoice after the work was done replacing the break booster).

Is there a special tool required to remove the break booster? My mechanic had to saw it off to get it off the break pedal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As for your lights, some of the problem may not be a short, but a bad connection, you have an issue with the reverse lights as the fuse is blowing. You can actually "read" a fuse to determine if there is a short, if the fuse is blown wide open and there is black inside, usually a short, if the fuse is just slightly blown with no black, it is not a dead short but some sort of overload.
I need to replace the fuse for the reverse lights now that I've fixed the K-wire issue with the radio and see if it doesn't blow now. It could very well have been the K-wire? The fuse was just slightly blown with no black, just a bit of discoloration.

A bad connection could be anywhere.
The fog lights are missing, so the connector is just hanging there under the driver side bumper. I literally just tucked it in up there when I found it hanging out, so it wouldn't drag the ground.
The head light on the driver side can just slide right out, so it's not connected? Is there a connector in there?
The passenger side rear signal light plug works fine when I let it "dangle" but when I snap it into place, the signal blinks rapidly like it's out. A short in the plug maybe or the wires to the plug?
 

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I need to replace the fuse for the reverse lights now that I've fixed the K-wire issue with the radio and see if it doesn't blow now. It could very well have been the K-wire? The fuse was just slightly blown with no black, just a bit of discoloration.

A bad connection could be anywhere.
The fog lights are missing, so the connector is just hanging there under the driver side bumper. I literally just tucked it in up there when I found it hanging out, so it wouldn't drag the ground.
The head light on the driver side can just slide right out, so it's not connected? Is there a connector in there?
The passenger side rear signal light plug works fine when I let it "dangle" but when I snap it into place, the signal blinks rapidly like it's out. A short in the plug maybe or the wires to the plug?
Your rear signal is likely not a short but maybe a bad socket?

Again, shorts cause fuses to blow, bad/loose connections do not blow fuses and cause lights to drop in and out.
 
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