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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I didn't introduce myself before posting in the a forum. Opps my bad.

I've been driving a 2003 New Beetle GLS TDI Automatic since September 2003. I reside in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. I was actually directed to this site by my brother-in-law. However, I do not believe he's a member. He too drives a New Beetle TDI, a 2000 I believe.

I had the dealership do all maintenance on the vehicle while it was under lease and while it was under warranty.

During that time I experienced a cooling issue and limp mode This required a number of visits between January 2006 and May 2006. Under warranty the dealership corrected a coolant leak; but I believe they neglected to replace the coolant temp sensor. My temp sensor would stay blue for a very long time all the time. I eventually had this replaced at another garage and the temperature light has been perfect since.

During the time when the coolant issue was a problem the car went limp. I brought it right to the dealership. At that I had an open work order and my car went off warranty. The dealership I believe replaced my Mass Airflow Sensor and either replaced my Turbo or cleaned the actuator etc. I would lean more towards replacing the turbo as it seems to be more of a dealership thing to do.

After that my car was relatively good and ran well, other than oil changes, brakes, and some bushings all was well.

In mid 2008 or 2009 I had trouble with my Alternator and had a rebuilt one installed.

In December 2010 I started having trouble starting the car. I had the starter replaced, and still had trouble. Even though my battery appeared good to me, the shop I have been using replaced my battery. The problem persisted; although changed slightly. They then replaced the starter again because the head on the first one had broken or something...

In late May or June of this year my car started to drive oddly. It would not shift correctly; the car was getting an error from a vehicle speed sensor (G68), if I pushed it to 3,000 RPM it seemed to shift. This was just before the car was to hit 158,000 KM. So, knowing that the timing belt had to be done around that time I figured it would be a good time to do the timing belt. Instead of waiting. I had also read different points for replacing the timing belt. I had read 158,000 KM, 160,000 KM, and 161,000 KM. So, I figured either way I was doing good.

So, I got the car back and figured all would be well. For the most part it was, the car drove well. I am somewhat involved with a local VW owners group. So, we went on a run. A few times the car had some trouble going to the correct gear. This was the vehicle speed sensor again. It hadn't been replaced at this point. The car did start to work correctly again, but did go limp once or twice.

So, called the shop that I have dealt with and they couldn't look at it for 2 weeks. Fine, I borrowed my wife's car. I brought it to them to show them what it was doing, I had a tech go out with me and everything. They were going to call me about the vehicle speed sensor and about replacing the Automatic transmission fluid and filter. But I did not hear from them for a few weeks.

The car then started doing its new thing where it would drive for just a little bit with just a little bit of power. Then it will surges or pops and then drives fine, except for limp mode every now and then. The issue where it drives a little bit and won't let me go over 1500 RPM has seemed to have gotten worse. I goes longer and longer before the car does it.

This is when I posted this thread.

I spoke to the shop and they said they'd look at the car in a couple of days. I asked that they replace the air filter, fuel filter, do an oil change, the automatic transmission fluid, automatic transmission filter, and the vehicle speed sensor. They did all of this except the items with the automatic transmission fluid and filter.

I took the car and it was good, except limp mode at one point. But this lasted a night and part of a morning. Then it started to do its thing of not wanting to go above 1500 RPM for a bit and then it surging/popping and being normal. I went to the shop and they had their tech go out with me. The car did this immediately. So, they took it to look at the turbo and the actuator.

I'm not sure that they drove it because it was no better. I first had trouble starting the car when I held it for the glow plugs to warm up, even though its summer. The car would not start. I had a bit of grey and white smoke coming from the back of the car the entire time I held the key. I attempted to start the car without holding the glow plugs and it did start mostly ok. The RPM jumped up and down a little and then evened out to around 900 RPM. I drove up the street and I could get the engine to do 1500 RPM or so and I could go to 20 or 30 Kph but no more. The entire time the engine sounds kind of quieter than normal (nice) but it was almost like it could quit at any moment the way it was sounding.

My fear is that its the transmission, because those are known to not be very good. I'm not an automotive technician, but I wouldn't expect the transmission to cause the car to not start correctly nor let the RPM go over 1500 RPM.

So we will see. I need to speak to the shop on Monday.

Premium Member
23,902 Posts
Please post any updates, the transmission will not affect starting. It could be timing, less likely is a clogged fuel filter, fuel line damage, fuel restriction in the tank because you said it comes and goes. Also, since this post is pretty technical, moved to mk4 section.

19 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I wanted to provide some follow-up.

- VNT was cleaned up because of overboost readings
- They tried a new EGR/throttlebody
- They tried a new MAF
- Then cleaned the manifold, it was the first time they'd seen this (mostly work on gas)
- The car has been driving well and getting better fuel mileage then I have gotten in a LONG time!
- Then my starter went again (2nd time in a year)
- And my battery had to be replaced... I thought it was the alternator

So, all seems pretty good now. At times, the car still seems to lack power, almost like its randomly in limp mode. I will look through the suggestions for periodic limp mode.

I want to give the car a good long run, that might happen this weekend.

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