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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello. I've posted on here in the past but lost my login access so I had to make a new account. You all have been great in helping me keep my Beetle going these past seven years, so I will turn to you with hope you'll aid me once again.

1998 with 107k miles, stock

Since I moved to Charlotte two years ago, I've been to Eurowise twice and they're amazing, did a preventative replacement of my water pump with an all metal one right when we got here, replaced my coolant flange after that.

Only issues I had previous to the one I'm about to describe is with my AC... turning it on makes a horrible noise and the whole car shudders, so my solution was to just not use the AC... simple enough. Yokel local mechanic said it was probably the compressor and that would be ~$800 to replace so yeah we will be going with the pioneer spirit on that one and just living without it until I hit some real money.

Can't lock it because otherwise the security system goes stupid and won't let the car start again for hours, or even days. That's okay, I just don't leave anything of value in the car, and if they steal it... good luck and Godspeed!!

The other issue is that I'm low on brake fluid, the light comes on but the level is just under the level it should be so I've just been waiting for a decent paycheck to go get it flushed/filled and the lines checked.

The day after a long move (~16 hours of short trips back and forth moving houses) my husband borrowed my car to do some errands and calls me, frantic, that my car is making a horrible noise from the engine compartment and that he is parking it and having it towed. He then called me again to say he'd started it up and it was not making the noise. I chalked it up to him being unused to VW and since the car didn't do it again, remained cautious. Then it did make the noise.

It's kind of a whining roar? When it did this, I pulled over safely and shut it off, and each time it would start back up without the noise. The only time it didn't start right back up, I waited a few moments and then it did. This happened perhaps five times over the last month. I'm working two jobs and 50 hours or so a week, so my free time has been limited to make appointments.

Well, that kind of got kinked when I went to go to work a week ago and the sucker wouldn't start. It tried, the engine tries to turn over and the ignition/starter seem to be working, but it won't actually start. I read some forum posts and tried from neutral in case it was the neutral safety switch, and it did start once, but was making the horrible noise, so I shut it back off again.

Based on this, would you say it was a fuel pump issue? If you think its worth the minimal investment to swap it out, let me know... or should I just limp it to Eurowise? If the bill is over $1000, the odds are game over, though that would mean we were screwed when fall comes and my husband goes back to school. For the moment, it can sit while I save... I can drive his Mustang.
 

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First off? Love the userid. (Kinda wonder if some people know what "Badwolf" means from the BBC perspective)


Fuel pump groans and noises would be heard in the rear/middle section of the car. As the pump is in your fuel tank.

Did the CEL come on during any of this? If so, what codes?

Engine noises like described can come from many areas. Belts, alternator bearing going bad, secondary air pump with a bad bearing. If the air pump hose came free of the air box, or where it attaches to? It will sound like a souped up vacuum running. In our case the random noise was our starter bendix sticking out after we started the car, and it was a god awful geary spinny sound that eventually quit after a few seconds.

Might be worth pulling off the engine cover plastic if it's got it. Having your better half start the car---and seeing if you can identify what is causing such a loud racket--or which area the noise is coming from. I'm kinda cringing a bit, because the noise also could be the idler pulley for the timing belt...

We have a lot of nice helpful people here, I'm sure we can help figure this out.

S-
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No codes that I know of, my dad is sending his reader but it won't get here in the mail til Thursday or Friday.

I can get a video of what it's doing Thursday when I'm off, maybe that will help you guys to diagnose. Thanks!

BadXWolf is my tag and yup I love Doctor Who, especially the 10th Doctor's era.
 

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More of a Pertwee era person myself.


Video and audio of the problem would also be helpful. Quite a few members might have had the same sounds, or it might ring a bell with them.

S-
 

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Autozone, etc. can read codes for free so that wouldn't be a bad place to start. And yes, a video would be helpful. Sounds can be tough to diagnose based on descriptions.

(I love the 10th Doctor. We got into Doctor Who last year. Ready for the new season in August :D)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Got the videos done. Dad's code reader hasn't arrived yet.


1st vid - YouTube

1st video shows startup. It started on the 2nd try. The higher pitched beeps are my Pioneer sound system. I tried to record some engine sounds too but the video cut off and my neighbor decided to chat me up about the car so I can get more video later.

2nd vid - YouTube

2nd video... I let the car idle (same startup from 1st vid) for about two minutes and then shut it off. At the end of the vid you see me put it in neutral and it started right up from neutral once but wouldn't do it again.


The neighbor said he's a certified mechanic and smelled my oil cap and said its burning oil "and probably at the end of its life" and something about an engine flush and piston rings? Kind of stopped listening when he said end of its life comment...

It has never overheated on me. I did have the coolant leak last year, but I just kept it filled by constantly checking it/topping it off until I could get it repaired... it never overheated.

Dad says ignition again... I have replaced the ignition switch once before. The horrible noise didn't occur in either video I took today...unrelated?
 

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How long ago did you replace the switch? Some of the starters on our new beetles will get gunned up and make a weird whining sound, after you start the car! Is the sound; related to starting only? Another noise that comes on after you start the engine, is the air pump; it kind of sounds like a jet engine or vacuum cleaner but if it is worn-out or dying it can get very, very, loud! I really think you should purchase a Volkswagen compatible scanner from Amazon. Look for a vag450 or the newer vs450 ( both less than $50); we will do our best to help but we really need to know what possible trouble codes are residing in the car to intelligently diagnose things.

Video #1:

1. you keep turning the switch over, over; is the starter engaging when you do this? I cannot hear anything from the motor in the video; when turn the key to the start position.

a. when you say it "won't start"; again, is the starter turning over but the engine won't start and run? (possibly fuel pump)

b. when you turn the key; is it totally dead and no starter activity? (I would guess a starter switch/barrel or failing starter motor).

Lately, a lot of people here (including myself); have experienced a hard or no start condition, in relation to a failing fuel pump. The way to confirm the health of the fuel pump; would be to get a fuel pressure test kit and test the fuel pressure to see if it is in spec. From what I have seen and anecdotal evidence here on this site; a bad or failing fuel pump, will not throw a trouble code. So, fuel pressure testing; is the way to evaluate the fuel pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No codes from my dad's reader; I got it to start and drove about 20 minutes, did a lap of the neighborhood and still no codes. Starts maybe once every 25 tries from either park or neutral. Haven't had time to really mess with it too much.

There is corrosion around the battery terminals and I think the battery is around 3 years old. If it turns out to be that battery, I'll feel stupid... but I am also scared of messing around with the battery because with every electrical issue in the past, the damn security system has bugged out! Someone needs to teach me the magical door disarm dance... I've had the mechanic at Eurowise do it and a random at the gas station years ago after I changed the ignition switch...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also, when I turn the key forward, it makes a noise from the engine compartment... attempting to start but won't "catch" and fully start. I assume that is what is meant by cranking (as opposed to being totally dead when you attempt to start it)
 

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Hmm, well what you are saying; sounds more like a immobilizer issue, then a starter issue. So, all this time; you have been able to turn the car over with the starter but just not start, run and idle!? Does the immobilizer light; blink in the speedo cluster, when it won't start (icon of the body of a beetle and a key)? DId you ever have the starter or fuel pressure tested; are you saying the starter is working ok, every time you turn the key (again, I couldn't hear anything in the videos).

This is for TDI but the info is the same and is still good for your car; (troubleshooting steps/info for the starter).

http://www.myturbodiesel.com/wiki/starter-removal-and-testing-mk3-and-mk4-tdi-engines/

immobilizer faq and understanding how it works; how to troubleshoot the problems:

http://www.myturbodiesel.com/wiki/immobilizer-faq-and-troubleshooting-for-vw-and-audi-with-key-replacement-tips/

Is your dad's code reader; a volkswagen one or just a OBD II generic scanner (what brand/model is it)? You really should get a VW compatible scanner; get one on amazon.com, look at the vgate vs450 for about $50. You really need access to those VW codes; to intelligently work on your car and troubleshoot the problems with these crazy VWs! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pulled out the battery and got it checked, they said it was fine.

Reinstalled it and it started up with no hesitation, so I drove it for 15 miles since it had sat for a good three weeks. Don't want anything seizing up.

Upon arriving back and parking, it had a hissy fit with the security system (as I assumed it would, having had the battery out) but I did the door trick and it quit. I started it back up without an issue once, then it intermittently started the grinding bit again. But it is starting much more often than it was previously.

Probably a combination of the starter and possibly the battery wires at this point, I'm feeling... I'm going to replace the starter and see what that does.
 
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