Trouble after jump start. 99 Beetle

I have a 99 Beetle that’s been sitting for over a year. Attempted to jump start it to no avail. The motor turned over but never started. I noticed the jumper cables were very hot when I disconnected them. Fast forward a few weeks, I swapped the old battery with a known good battery. The dashboard clock was on. I put in the key, and turned to start. but then nothing. The dash and clock went blank. I didn’t hear the fuel pump “buzz” as usual. It was as if someone just disconnected the battery when I turned the key.
Any Ideas where to start?

Most likely, when you tried to jump start the old battery you had the cables reversed.

You can only hope that you only fried a fusible link and not fry the ECM…

Unless you are very adept at electrical diagnosis and reading a electrical schematics, IU would get it towed to a good mechanic.


Thanks Yosemite -
If the cables were reversed, would the car have started at all in the first place? I’ll look at diagnosing the ecm. Meanwhile, the fusible links on the battery are not melted. Could the starter / solenoid itself be shorting out?

Both times you stated that the engine never did start.

Because it’s a 99, I’d say too that your battery cables may be corroded beyond their usefulness and need to be replaced. Sometimes they are corroded beneath the insulation so bad that they crumble inside when flexed.
Peal back a few inches of the insulation and check.

There may be another fusible link that you are not aware of.
I have not worked on a Beetle for years, so I’m not sure where the fusible links are located.


That same thing happened w/my Corolla one time, and the problem was the battery cables were loose and the connections a little corroded. Double check that. Note from the posts we get here, attempting to get any car running after it hasn’t been used for a year is usually a challenge. There’s often fuel and electrical system problems that have to be corrected first. You’d be wise imo to have the fuel tank and fuel system drained and replaced with fresh gasoline and new fuel filter before trying to start the engine. Otherwise you risk clogging the system, especially injectors, on the first start.

I don’t fully understand but normally when you turn the key to start, it shuts the other circuits off in order to supply the max to the starter. I would suspect you only have one problem not two and that is that current is not getting to the starter from the battery.