Buggy Beetle

My 2002 New Beetle with 79 thousand miles is having issues that the diagnostic tests can’t diagnose. Most recently when I start the car and go none of the gauge needles move–not the tachometer, gas or RPM needles. I have to stop, turn the car off and remove the key from the ignition for at least 10 seconds, then they work again. Before this problem, the car would just not start at all–absolutely no juice and I would have to get a jump to start the car (this was with a new battery). This occurred randomly. I took it to the dealer and they said the battery wasn’t connected–they connected the battery but then the aforementioned problem started. Wait there’s more…in between these two problems the speedometer stopped working, that is after the car is warmed up it won’t accurately register speeds over 65 MPH. The dealer says it may be a crack in the transmission but they’d have to take it apart in order to tell me.

I’d be suspecting the gage cluster, before I’d let anyone get close to the transmission.

[i] I took it to the dealer and they said the battery wasn't connected [/i] 

Could you be a little more specific. Where was the lack of connection. It sounds like it may be a matter of the same problem again. Maybe a bad battery or battery cable.

Since you 2002 NB is no longer under a factory warranty, I suggest you find a good local mechanic and have them take a look at it. I would not have a lot of faith in the dealer and the independent mechanic is likely to charge you less than the dealer and may well be better at their job.

A 2002 with only 79000 miles? Holy cow! I heard that they were problematic, but that’s really something. To the original question . . I’d go to another dealer (if still covered by warranty) or seek a decent VW mechanic. Sounds like the cluster to me. Rocketman

The comment about removing the key and then the gages working suggests to me that the power for the cluster is going through contacts of a relay that may be intermittantly not working. It’s possible that something occurred with that battery situation, perhaps a blown fusable link, that’s related to the current problems.

The fusable link is an amperage-rated wire that runs from the battery + terminal to a relay/fuse box under the hood. The link itself provides connection to and protection of the relays that enable some of these circuits. If they had to replace the link it’s possible that you have some intermitant short that was the cause of the blown link and is now causing the weirdies. It would be interesting to find out exactly what the shop meant by the battery not being connected.

Can you ask them for more specifics and post back?

Thank you all so much for your input.
To answer the question(s) about the battery connection. They said the terminals were not fully connected to the battery. They looked connected when I jumped the car 2 hours before I got to the shop…but they said, the car started and kept going because of the jumper baterry giving enough juice to get the transmission going. I haven’t had that problem again since they tightened everything up…yet (if I don’t count the instrument panel and clock going dead like it used to when the car wouldn’t start before). BTW the battery is new–replaced it after the problem started 9 months ago and drive around with the old battery (which also checked out fine) to give myself jumps.

I took the car in for it’s 80,000 mile maintenance service yesterday and told the dealer about the instrument cluster problems–they said it worked just fine for them and it would cost $785 to replace it. Then another $250 to take the transmission apart and look for the crack that is supposedly causing the problem with the speedometer and another $500 in other things that need to be replaced/repaired.

I agree with looking for a local mechanic because I don’t think those guys that work at the dealership are problem solvers…more like surgeons–if it doesn’t work take it out and put in a new one. Anyway, I’ll see if this site has any recommendations for good mechanics in my area.

I had hoped to get at least 10 good years out of the car…

Thanks again…