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VW Tech Water-Cooled FAQ's 
(Frequently Asked Questions
Don't email me.

These are Frequently Asked technical Questions about the problems that commonly occur to Volkswagens. I only answer new questions that I like. email me at own risk.

CLICK HERE > > > for  AIR-COOLED TECH FAQ's or Frequently Asked Questions

     The following 3 factors are what it takes for an engine to run well or to run at all. Your ability to understand and fine tune these 3 adjustments is what will make the engine perform at it's best: 1) adequate and nearly equal compression 2) a spark at the right time and for the right duration (dwell angle), and 3) the correct fuel air mixture. Try to determine these items first possibly with a tune-up and buy a Bentley repair manual for your car. Always remember the KISS rule. Keep It Simple Stupid. Don't assume it is complicated if you haven't first checked the basic and the obvious possibilities.  1) compression   2) spark and  3) fuel mixture.
                             Lenny M.

Click Here to post for free your VW car or parts
that you have for sale or are looking to buy. For a limited time I will be answering tech questions but only if  I feel I have been given enough info and it is written well enough that I can be of help without having to ask 20 questions.

SEE    OBD (Onboard Diagnostics) introduction

Water-cooled Volkswagens

                                Color Legend

                               Engine Overheating
                               Engine Lubrication
                               Starting Problems
                               Tuning Problems
Electrical Problems
                               Body Problems

DTCs    Diagnostic Trouble Codes (click here)

I was in the Sears automotive tool department last weekend and I see they now carry a cheap version of a scanner so you can now determine what your fault codes are and you can delete them to see if they come back. Unfortunately the tool does not include the text of the fault code, just the number and in most cases if you have a "check engine light" on it will come back unless you correct the fault. Without training I am not sure how much this will help you. This scanner can't touch the flexibility and power of the laptop program I use in my shop but is a start and if you don't correct the problem the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) will just come back. You will only get DTC numbers so you can click here for the text. 
     One quick but important fact to know is that things like a bad fuel pump or engine wear causing low compression, blocked exhaust pipes, bad or incorrect fuel might only show up as a Cylinder Misfire fault code and give no clear indication to the OBD (onboard diagnostics) computer of the problem. The computer will only give you some kind of a hint as to where to go. I am not sure what the value of that is.


I REPEAT !!   There are 3 things that cause an engine to run hot;
    1) Lack of coolant
        A) Water leaks
        B) Stuck thermostat or any obstruction stopping flow to the
               radiator and back to the cylinder head
        C) Fan is bad or switch to fan not workinG, bad connections to fan
               or switch.
    2) Ignition timing is too far advanced
    3) Too lean a fuel mixture.

4)  I recently bought a 1990 Jetta with no manual. The red temperature light is flashing when I drive (even on cold start). What does this mean? Arman
Arman;  When the light does flash it indicates 3 possible problems:
      1)that you are running hot and or
      2) that your coolant level is below the minimum and
      3) your coolant level sender in your expansion tank is either
             defective or their is a bad electrical connection to the sender.
        If the gauge doesn't indicate hot, i.e., above the centerline of the gauge about 160-180 F then the light is probably telling you that you are low on coolant. Unfortunately if any of the connections are bad or any of the sending units are defective you will find yourself not knowing the status of your engine. Add water or antifreeze to your system when it not hot and overflowing and if the light stops flashing then you are in good shape but if you have to continue to add water then you may have a leak and require a pressure test from a shop if you can't find it yourself. Sometimes the expansion tank cap leaks but unfortunately we have no tool to pressure test the cap so it should be replaced if you are not sure. You need to fix it. Lenny M.  5/9/2001

My 1995 Passat GLS gets over 200 degrees (fahrenheit) when sitting still, and the fans do not kick on. It cools down on the open road. In traffic. I must turn on the AC to avoid overheating, since this activates the fans. I have replaced the fan thermo switch on the radiator, to no avail. Please help.Darrell Campbell  12/4/2001
Darrel; When the water and coolant in your engine reaches 189 degrees F your thermostat at the bottom of the engine will open shortly after that your fan switch should turn on the fan so the engine temp will cycle somewhere between 189 and maybe175 or 180 degrees F. Of course you could have a radiator blocked with debris this would cause the fan switch to turn late. So the first thing I would do is let the car set and get cold. Then I would start the car, reach down and feel the large hose coming from the bottom of the engine (thru the thermostat) and to the lower portion of the radiator. It should feel cold ( i.e. outside ambient temperature). As you watch the temp gauge in the car and if is working correctly, and it usually is, you will see the temp rise slowly and the fan will not come on until the temp gauge reaches the mid point on the gauge (about 189 degrees) that should be enough heat for the thermostat to open, releasing the engine coolant into the radiator and then to the fan switch which should react by turning on the fan. If the gauge reaches midpoint and continues to rise and the lower hose still feels cool to the touch then the thermostat has not opened yet. Remember the gauge is reading the temperature of the coolant inside the engine water jacket so that is the same temp the thermostat should be reacting to. Continue to feel the lower hose until it begins to heat up and that is when the thermostat opened but if it opens very late or not at all or maybe only partially then you need to replace it. Theoretically the gauge could go just a little higher ,let's say 5/8s of the way up without causing any immediate harm but if you get into the top quarter of the gauge you are asking for trouble in the form of a blown head gasket or much worse. If you have any questions about the thermostat replace it and be safe instead of sorry. It is an item that should be replaced every so often anyways. After you feel the thermostat open you can do something similar with the radiator if you can get access to feel the heat of the hot water move from the right (or passenger) side to the left. This may not be that easy and a hand held gauge would really be more accurate. As it stand 200 degrees is not that far off the mark so if the gauge or temp sending unit were defective you might get a bad reading. Lenny.

#7)   I have an 87 Cabriolet, and sometimes the temp. light will come on and start blinking. By itself this would be no big deal, but the ammeter, oil psi, and water temp gage in the console all go haywire. I have checked the grounds, and this happens with good coolant, new belts, and the engine cool. Any idea?robert williams  7/15/2001
Robert; This could be 2 different problems. Your water temp lite will flash when your coolant is to hot or if the level is too low or if the coolant level sender is defective or poorly connected. Inspect and clean the sensor connection. If your gauges are all acting up pound a little on the dash and watch the gauges to see if they react or reach underneath if you can and wiggle the multi-prong connectors going into the dash and look for a change. It could be a bad connection or something much more complicated like a bad circuit in the instrument cluster circuit board. Lenny

#9)  Hi Lenny, I have a 2000 VR6 that has 23540 miles on it (Jan 2000 to Jul 2001). I had the 20K mile service done and I assume they topped all the fluids. When I took a peek under the hood yesterday (@ 23530 miles) I find the engine coolant level very low. So my questions are: 1) Is it possible for the engine coolant level to go dangerously low with NO indication ? ie. no warning lights, beeps etc 2) Is it supposed to fall so low in 3,400 miles IF the dealer topped it @20K ? 3) Could this be to a crack in the block and coolant's seeped in the engine ? The car drives great but in the mornings, it sounds just a little rough (raspy?) when accelerating (you have to really listen though) Thanks! SA Alex  7/30/2001
Alex; From the info you gave me, and if it is accurate and you left nothing out then my educated guess is that
1) Your cylinder head would crack long before your block would but
only if your car had overheated at anytime. In 22 years of working on VW's I have seen2 blocks crack after extreme overheating and they were both diesels.
2) If the dealership didn't top off your coolant when the engine was cool then you might have had an air bubble in the system
3) If you continue to have to top off your coolant level in the future then you probably have a slow leak in a hose or something and the best way to find out where is to have a technician do a pressure test.
4 )If your coolant level drops below an indicated (marked) minimum level on your overflow or expansion tank and you are not getting a warning light then you have some defective sensor or gauges and that needs to be corrected also. Lenny.

David; I was surprised that I did not hear you mention the thermostat. If you start the car when it is cold and you watch the temperature gauge when it gets to just above the middle of the gauge and meanwhile the whole time you monitor the opening of the thermostat by feeling the hose going from the thermostat to the radiator you should feel the hose get warm all of a sudden when the thermostat opens. If it is stuck and fails to open then the hot water will get hotter in the engine and the gauge will continue to rise and the fan switch in the radiator won't get hot enough to turn on the fan. Voila !! you are overheating. Lenny.

 Hiya Lenny;
     My Name is Shin And i have been told by a friend that what you dont know about VW's is not worth knowing so is my dilemma.
       I am in the Uk and drive a VW Passat 1.8 t 20v  which is a brilliant car, With a LPG Conversion which was done over 18 months ago , but a couple of days ago the engine management lamp came on (the little engine shaped lamp which the manual tells me is the exhaust emission lamp) but after taking it in to a local VW Specialist he tells me that the fault code is
16795     P0411     Sec.Air Inj.Sys. Incorrect Flow Detected
and that it needs further investigation, having spoken to a couple of other VW people they are all saying different things and to be honest i dont know which way to turn.
Shin: You have
some kind of leak or malfunction in your secondary air injection system. This small squirrel cage fan in your engine compartment usually turns on especially at start-up when the engine is cold and pumps additional outside air in the exhaust system so the extra oxygen will help to heat up the oxygen sensor and catalytic converter earlier and get the emissions system to kick in earlier. It is usually more of an emmissions problem than an operational performance problem but still needs to fixed at some point. Lenny 


                                    Engine Lubrication

#1)   I have a 1992 Jetta 1.8L with 5 speed transmission with 118,000 miles on it. I am having trouble with the oil pressure warning system. I have verified with a mechanical gauge that there is 20 psi at idle at the oil filter and the head. I have also installed a new oil pump, new pressure sensors, 20w50 oil and a Bosh oil filter. I still have an intermittent warning light and buzzer. The light and buzzer come on at idle most times and can be cleared temporarily by revving the engine. The oil light and buzzer will also go off for very short periods while driving the car. I have been suspecting an electrical connection but have not been able to pinpoint the problem. The VW dealer is suggesting changing the flex board on the back of the instrument cluster. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. thanks, m vossbergmichael vossberg 11/3/2001
Mike; Most of the 95-92 Golf and Jettas have a small circuit board in the instrument cluste called a "dynamic oil pressure control unit" .The book will tell you that minimally acceptable oil pressure is 2 Bar or 29 PSI at 2000 RPM. If you have that minimum then the problem is probably with your senders or gauges or the connections in between or the dopc unit.. This dynamic oil pressure control unit or dopc unit checks oil pressure at low RPM and at higher speeds. You can check that flexible circuit board visually and with great care and you might find a break. It might be nice to have a used known good unit that you could plug in as a tester. Then you need to isolate whether the problem is in the flex board or in the dopc which is a circuit shaped like the state of Florida or you just have bad connections somewhere. Sometimes just wiggling wires to see the gauges move is one of the best diagnostic tools there is.   Lenny

#2)  Lenny, first of all, great page! I have a 1993 Cabriolet. I recently cleaned the engine out with Gunk cleaner. Ever since then, I'm seeing the Bar level go down below 2 and the oil light coming on when I come to a stop. Is there a sensor that I don't know about that could have gotten wet and is there a way to test to verify wether or not I have a real problem? Thanx in advance! Jerry Bommarito  9/8/2001
Jerry; The only way to tell for sure if your oil pressure is low is to remove the oil pressure sending unit from the end of the head and put an oil pressure gauge in the hole. The book says that the minimum acceptable pressure is 2 bar or 29 PSI  when the engine is revved up tp 2000 RPM. If you do not have a gauge a trained or sensitive ear will do because if your oil pressure was low you would definitely hear your valve lifters making noise at an idle. 1 or 2 lifters will sometimes make noise when the engine is cold but that is normal. In my shop we would run the pressure test , clean the connection and replace the sending units (2). If the press is not low that would usually fix the problem. If that doesn't do it it may be a defective Dynamic Oil Pressure Control Unit in your instrument cluster.  
     If the pressure is low then 9 out of 10 times you have a oil pressure relief valve stuck in your oil pump and the pump needs to be replaced before it damages the engine. For some reason it is not uncommon for a customer to get their oil changed and all of a sudden the valve gets stuck. We don't know why this happens and to date we have no way of preventing it.    Lenny. 

1999 VW Passat 1.8T Automatic I bought this car in Oct of 02 and in Feb I took the car in for an oil change at Texaco (mistake, I know!) Well, the oil light came on. After confirming that there was enough oil in the car we took the car into the dealer and was told there was a faulty sensor and replaced it. Well, the light continued to come on while driving mainly at 2000-2500 rpms. We then had the oil changed at the dealer and then the light came back on and we could hear the lifters. We took the car to another dealer after reading VWs need heavier oil and had the oil changed to 20W50 today. Well, we cannot hear the lifters anymore, but the light is now coming on less but at about 1500 rpms. Can you suggest anything. The first dealer wanted 1100.00 to look in the engine just to see what could be wrong, no guarantee. Angie Sarman, Jacksonville FL 

I'd have to see the results of a oil pressure test to see if minimal oil pressure standards are met. The oil pump is very often the problem especially when it occurs right after an oil change. Lenny

Subj: oil pressure Date: 4/9/03 I have a 90 volkswagen Jetta (gas)and have experienced my oil alarm ringing in. I had my mechanic change the switches but it still rings in. I ran with an oil pressure gauge in my front windshield to get an indication at what pressure the oil was running at. When it was connected to the lower( location on the engine block) switch the pressure ran between 20 and 25 psi. The alarm still rang in. When I ran it from the upper location the pressure ran lower ( about 18-20) psi. The alarm never rang in because I have to take the switch out to put in the pressure gauge. I am wondering from what I have told you if you have any recommendations for me. Thanks Clint.

Clint; Your Bentleys manual will tell you that minimum oil pressure for that car is 2 bar or 30 P.S.I. when the engine is revved up to 2,000 RPM. You don't have to be driving the car to run this test. Also if your oil pressure really is low you probably will be able to hear that the engine is noisier than usual. For some reason or other the oil pumps on these cars will suddenly go out on you. Probably the pressure relief valve in the pump is getting stuck in a partially open position. The oil pressure problem if you have one could also be the result of connecting rod and or main bearing wear or could be a secondary problem created by bad pump or visa versa. We always replace the pump with a new one and remove some or all of the connecting rod bearing caps to check for wear. If oil pressure is not below specs then the switches or possibly a circuit board in your dash instrument cluster called a "dynamic oil pressure control unit" shaped like a map of the state of Florida may have a bad connection or is defective. Lenny.

#16)  Hi Lenny, I have a 1988 Passat CL 1.6 (Euro) and I am wondering about the engine. It started to drink oil. It has about 100 000 miles. No leaks. No smoke at the tail pipe and the pipe is dry and the plugs are dry too. I know it's not enough information can you venture a guess? I am guessing (more like hoping) that it's just the valve seals that are shot but you are the man. EdEd Nukic  9/4/2001
      Ed; Check for oil drips under car and if there is any then check your valve cover gasket first and then check the gear side of the engine for seals leaking. Lenny

                             STARTING PROBLEMS                                  

Have 93 Passat GLX just turned 100k.Recent tuneup and runs great but occasionally cranks but won't start (warm or cold). Had it towed twice and it started immediately after being lowered from the truck. Have been told it could be fuel pump, ECU, or starter. Any experience with this phenomenon?
greg burt 12/25/2001
Greg; Do you mean engine won't run or starter won't work. Either way if you lift or jiggle the key switch does this have any effect on starting. If so the key switch, the key switch housing and the electrical ignition switch needs to be replaced, all of them. That is the best I can tell with what you gave me. Lenny 

#18)  I have a 86 Jetta GLI i can get it to start if i jump from the battery to the starter but if i try the key nothing it is a 5 speed does it have a safety switch if so where is it? pillar  9/17/200
Pillar;  There is no safety switch on a manual 5 speed of that year. You either have a bad ignition (electrical) switch or a bad connection coming from it to the starter. If can get underneath the steering column where the ignition switch is you can pull the connector off and inspect it and then us a jumper from the large red wire to the starter wire (usually a large red wire with a black stripe to see if the starter works . If it does then your problem is probably the ignition switch.

great to find a ste for informationBryan Crandell  12/17/2001

Hi Lenny; I have a problem with a 1996 Jetta Trek Automatic (2L). The car is reluctant to start. It will crank well but doesn't fire. Occassionaly it will fire just as you release the igntion switch from the start position. Also I tried to read the error codes; the MIL went out but did not blink any codes. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. BryanBryan Crandell  12/17/2001More information on the Jetta Trek. The engine is a type ABA which means the timing is not adjustable; although the timing light indicates the timing is retarded. I checked the knock sensor, which the manual said would retard timing and it seems fine. Any ideas?????Bryan  12/18/2001
Bryan; If the car starts after you have just released the ignition switch then there is a very good chance you have a bad ignition switch. Unfortunately you have to replace the electrical ignition switch, the key/tumbler portion of of the ignition switch and key/tumbler housing portion of the switch or you might not fix the problem and on top of that you need a special and expensive puller to do this job and only a shop like ours would have this special tool. Get the ignition switches replaced first then lets see if you still have a problem. I have got to tell you tho without a scanner or another computer to erase the fault codes in your PCM you may not be able to do job.  Good luck Lenny.



                             TUNING PROBLEMS                                        

If you don't understand the importance of OXYGEN SENSORS in tuning then click here first to receive a tutorial about this important subject.

#14)   have a Golf Mk3 VR6 1996, unmodified, that has a misfire from 5,000rpm through to about 5,500rpm, and a very light misfire at about 4,200 rpm. Also, it can sometimes miss and splutter from very low revs, in, say, 3rd gear. Is this likely to be the powerpack, or plug leads, as they seem to fail constantly on VR6's !James Little  8/30/2001
James; I would have to interrogate your on-board engine computer to even get started on that problem.Lenny.  

#15)  My 1993 Passat stalls when the engine is cold. A tune-up did not solve the problem. Is it a sensor? Steven Hanson  8/31/2001
Steve; Same answer, I would have to start by scanning your Powerplant Computer Module, your PCM, (or ECM for Electronic Control Module) to determine where to start. Lenny.

hi.i am tring to find the timing specs for a 1992 golf thanks for the helpbob bourassa 11/30/2001
Bob; Please Bob, get a repair manual. I have a shop to run.  I don't recommend anybody work on their car without a repair manual. I don't and neither should you
. Lenny.

I have a passat vr6 from '92. Recently it started running bad. When i put the gas pedal down it just like something is holding it back and then it slowly starts to get better but it still isn't quite what it used to be. I think it has something to do with the injection system or with the feul pump. Please help me. Greetings from Holland.b.pulles  12/3/2001
B; It is good to hear from you Holland but I don't have enough info I would be guessing. Lenny

i was wondering if anyone knew the exact spark plug gap for a 1991 passat (4 cylinder 2.0 liter fuel injected)and will the gaps for platinum plugs be any differentAJ 12/27/2001
Bosch spark plugs all come pregapped and don't need to be tampered with at all. Lenny


                           ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS                                

Tech Data
Wiring Terminal Identification by Number 
Next time you pull a relay or a switch and look at the numbers and wonder what they mean you will wish you had this list. I only wish I had had it 20 years ago.

My 1974 VW bug just lost both headlights, they both quit working at the same time, what should I check in order of importance, and best "guess" in order to pinpoint the problem? Thanks, Bobby HedrickBobby Hedrick  12/16/2001
Bob; Common sense should tell you headlites are normally on separate fuse so that if the fuse blows you won't find yourself driving down a dark road and all of a sudden finding yourself in a canal. Chances are you have loss of power to your lite switch or a bad switch or bad connection coming out of the switch. My money is on the switch. Lenny

As an add on to rich's question on 11/1/01, my '97 Golf recently wouldn't start after stopping to get gas. The alarm kept going off and the lights dimmed when trying to start it, the instrument panel flashed 'error' in the mileage window, and the clock went to 0:00. We jumped the battery and it ran but the instrument panel still didn't work properly. The battery didn't hold the charge and wouldn't start after a 2nd jump. The dealer said it was the battery which they replaced and the instrument panel shorted out probably because they crossed the cables when jumping the battery. (AAA jumped it so I would guess they know what they are doing.) It has to be replaced. Is this problem with the instrument panel related to the battery or is it an electrical problem? Thanks.Tara  12/3/2001
Tara; You said it yourself, if they jumped the battery in reverse they also reversed the flow of electricity probably burning out all sorts of nifty little electrical devices. Lenny.

28)  I have 1997 gti vr6. Recently I jumped my car but accidentally crossed the jumper cables, can I fry the computer like that? According to the dealer that's, what happened, but I thought there were fuses to protect against that. rich  11/1/2001
Rich; The books always tell you that you should not jump your car's battery with cables if it has a PCM or ECM  onboard.  No there is usually no fuse to protect the computer unless possibly a fuse protecting the relay that might power the computer. Having said that if you reverse the jumper cables on your car I think you stand a good chance of frying a lot of components on your car including your car's computer. Lenny.

Hi Lenny. I've borrowed my friends 1989 VW Jetta and have come upon a problem. The radiator fan is staying on after the car is shut off. So long that it ends up killing the battery. We're trying figure out what sensors might need to be replaced. Have you had this problem before and if so what was the solution? Do you know where online one might find a wiring diagram? Must I go out and purchase the manual? Cheers.david moran  1/2/2002
David; Depending on the speed of the fan ,fast would mean you probably have a bad thermo fan switch in your radiator that needs replacing or if the speed is slow then you have a bad AC fan relay which turns the fan on whenever the AC is running. Get a book. You may have a fan relay that is defective besides the AC fan relay. Lenny

Hello I have two questions. I have a 95 jetta 2.0 . I'm trying to change the sparkplugs on it but I can't pull the wire and the manifold sits on top. It's my first time driving a VW so I'm not really familiar with the engine and I don't know how to remove the wires. If you could help me on this I would really appreciate it. Also, I would like to hook my car up with some performance parts and I'm looking around and seems like neuspeed makes most the parts for my car. What would you recommend from experience, on what companies should I rely on to shop. Thanks for your time and hopefully you might help me.Oscar C  1/8/2002
Oscar; Pulling those spark plug wires is done with a special hand tool that would normally be clipped on your front hood support rod but they often fall off. If you don't use the tool you stand a chance of damaging the ignition wires. Maybe if you are careful you can do it with a pair of plyers. Neuspeed makes some good products. Baum tools should have that tool. Lenny

Hi, I have an 89 Jetta GL. The car wont start. I figure more or less that the car isn't getting any gas because when I sprayed gas in the engine, it started. I hot - wired both pumps so I was sure about the gas flow, but the car still wouldn't start. I have come to realize that the injectors aren't getting any current to open or close. Why isn't the car getting the current? How can I fix the problem? Il Naga Bklyn, NY  1/12/2002
Naga; You did a real good job of laying out the facts. I will have to assume that from your description you have a Digifant injection system and the injectors are not pressure activated but are electrical solenoids. The fact is the Digifant is a good system and is very self correcting to small intake leaks and other problems but there is only 1 output from the computer and that is the signal it sends to the injectors telling them to shoot fuel into the intake manifold and if there is no signal from the computer to the injectors then you could have 1 or more problems. The most likely culprit is 1) no power to the computer, possibly a power relay, 2) no ground connection to the computer, usually a ground strap that goes to the from the top of the cylinder head to the computer or 3) a burnt out computer often caused by those bad connections. Let me know what you find. I need input myself to see if I am giving good advice. Lenny .

Hi Lenny, I have a 1999 1.8T Passat GLX and just recently the entire instrument panel went dead. No odometer, no speedometer, no clock and none of the other gauges work. The check engine light is on. I suspected a fuse but could not determine which one needs to be changed. Any advice you have is appreciated. Sal, San Francisco, CA  1/14/2002
Sal; For starters lets keep it simple. I am going to talk about basic common sense measures because I don't feel like looking in the book unless I had the car in front of me. First thing you could do is rap with the flat of your hand on the dash above the instrument cluster and if the lights flicker or come on then your bad connection is in the dash and very possibly is the push-on multi-prong connector (MPC) that goes into the dash. If that were the case then you might be able to go the next step and reach under the dash and find the MPC going to the instrument cluster move it a little bit with your hand and if the lights flicker then you are closer to isolating the problem. If you have to pull the steering wheel to remove the instrument then you are probably in over your head since you will need an expensive special steering wheel puller and disconnecting the air bag which I don't recommend. If you could get the MPC down without pulling the dash then you could check a black wire to see if you are getting power when the key is on  or a brown wire to see if you have a good ground. You need them both. Lenny.

2000 Jetta GL. The lamp behind my climate control panel has gone out. How can I change it myself, without breaking some hidden plastic clip? Rob, Arlington, VA 1/16/2002
Rob; Very carefully?? Lenny.

Color Legend

       Engine Overheating
      Engine Lubrication
     Starting Problems
    Tuning Problems
Electrical Problems
  Body Problem



I have a wonderful 97 VW Jetta, and when I have work done on it--sometimes the radio "locks up." By this I mean that you need a code to make it work again. I bought the car used, and the dealer did not give me a manual. I even wrote them and asked for one---and after the sale--well let's just say I won't but another car from them again :( If someone knows the code so I can turn on the radio, I would be oh-so-happy---not as happy as having our soldiers come home soon--but pretty close :) Thanks and BLESS YOU for even considering answering this irritating question! But I am not buying the manual!!!! Karen. Karen Knight, Columbus, Ohio  4/10/2003 

Karen; If you remove the radio you will find a serial number on the radio. You should be able to call the service dept of any dealership and give them the number and possibly your VIN number and they should be able to look in their computer and tell you what the code is and you should have instructions for entering the code in your radio in the manual in your glove compartment or call the dealership for instructions on how to activate the radio. Lenny. Jamie Gravelle, PEI Canada 3/13/2003

#25)  Lenny: I recently purchase a 1996 VW Jetta, I had to replace the battery, and now the radio displays "SAFE" In looking through the owners manual I found the radio code, unfortunately I also found a repair order indicating that the radio had been replaced a few years ago and I do not have the new code--- what can I do? Thanks ChrisChris Hughes 10/28/2001
Chris; Since the number was not saved you are going to have to pull the radio out of the dash and you will find a serial number for the radio. You then have call or go to the dealership possibly with your VIN number also and they will give you the code and instructions. Earlier radios required a special tool that will find in a Bentleys manual but we just made 2 of then out of 2 pieces of coat hanger wire and sharpened the ends for easy entry. Later model tools (in the book also) were different. Check your book. Lenny

I recently purchased 97 VW CABRIO(H/L). I don't know the radio safety code #, so I cannot listen to radio yet. Is there any way to find the code number from VIN or anything? Thank you, Akira Takahashi  1/1/2002
Akira; If the radio doesn't have neutral factory setting of all 1s like 1111 or 0000 then you have to pull the radio and get the serial number off the radio then call any dealership and they should have the number in their computer. If you try unsuccessfully to enter the code maybe 3 or 4 times then you may have to wait an hour before you can try again.

 #2)       Are there problems with unexpected engine failures in the VR6 eng Lynn Gregg  5/1/2001
Lynn; As the owner of a VW repair shop for over 20 years I can tell you the weak link in the water-cooled VW's  (let's not talk about the Wasserboxers) is not the powerplant. I have one customer with a 1987 Cabriolet that has over 800,000 miles and counting. Of course that is not a VR6 but I have no direct knowledge of the VR6 motor having problems and it carries a 100,000 or ten year warranty and they have been producing them since 1993. In other words I haven't had anyone come to my shop with a bad engine yet. In fact the weak link is more likely to be electronic than mechanical. That figures since the 100,000 mile warranty covers only lubricated drive train parts and the main computer. Lenny M.

#6)  Hi, I have a 1996 Passat GLS and would like to change the pollen filter. I understand that if the filter becomes very dirty, this could effect the AC's output, is that true? I just noticed an odor coming from the vents when it is on.. Thank you, TSTony Stout  7/12/2001
Tony; I recommend you replace it. If it is wet and causing oders it could be causing more problems than it is solving. It should be located under the hood in the air plenum passenger side near the windshield. Lenny.

#11)  Are any specialty vw tools required to replace the rear shocks in a 95 jetta glx? thanks steve.
Steve; If you are using a good Bentley's manual it will tell you if you need special tools and it will also give you the VW number (VAG) Tools are available from Baum Tools ,Assenmacher or Zelender Tool Company. Check the internet for their telephone numbers or URLs.

My sister's 1997 Jetta 2.0 5sp with 55k miles has developed a clicking under load in reverse. The local dealer wants $700 to pull the transmission to take a look. She is the original owner so the 100K warranty should still apply. Is this a frequent problem with this transmission? What are the chances that it will be covered under warranty? Thanks for any help you can give! Paul 
Paul; Anything in the drive train (engine and transmission) that is lubricated by oil should be covered. If this is a automatic transmission the electrical solenoids in the tranny may not be covered. I am not sure. Sensors and computers etc are not covered. The mechanical parts of the tranny should be. Lenny.

I have a '93 VW Passat VR6 and I had the transmission replaced by a local dealership. They of course, were no help to me. Since I have had the vehicle back, the tranny shifts through gears 1-2-3 just fine, but when it comes upon gear #4 it shifts once at 2500rpm and then again (about 2-3 seconds later) at 2100rpm. The shifts are very abrupt as well. Also, after only going over 60 mph the car will shift itself out of overdrive to a lower gear. A gain from 2500rpm to about 4000rpm happens. Then,just turn off the engine, restart, and it shifts ok, until you go over the 60mph again... What could this be? GerryGerry Holland  8/28/2001
Gerry; Sounds like a problem for the people that sold you the tranny. Lenny.

#19)  I have a 1985 Jetta GL. Recently at around 360,000km I had the master cylinder replaced and the booster and the proportioning valve. Now at 412,000km Im having a problem with the front brakes. when it is cool out the pedal stays soft and rims remain relatively cool-the right front is always warmer then the left. On hot days the right rim becomes so hot it has melted the hub cap, and will hold car on a slight incline. why is this with the temperature change and only on the one side of the car? Problem becomes most noticable around mid 20c to 30c. I have replaced both front calipers, replaced brake fluid every 2 years since new. How does the proportioning valve work on this car?harry  9/24/2001
Harry;  I had this problem on one of my personal cars and I wish I could tell exactly what the problem is. I can only tell you what the solution was for me. In my case both front calipers were binding up to the point where the car wouldn't even roll. I tried a lot of things but the last thing I did was to replace the master cylinder and either turn or replace the rotors because they were extremely warped at this point. That fixed it for me.
     The proportioning valve reacts to the distribution of weight in the car because if you are by yourself in the car the car will brake differently than if you had a full tank of gas, 2 NFL football players in the back seat and a trunk full of bricks. In fact the front or rear brakes will lock up on you if the weight distribution in your car is way out of whack. When there is more weight in the back the rear of the car will sink lower and the proportioning valve which is attached to the rear suspension I-beam will pull on the valve and will then redistribute the brake pressure from front to rear thus avoiding brake lock up. The most common way to spot a proportioning valve that is bad to is that it begins to leak brake fluid. Lenny

Francisco;  You are withholding evidence. You say the pump is broke but what do you mean? The pump is noisy, fuel pressure readings are low, the pump is bound up. You have 2 pumps in that car. 1 small cheaper pump in the tank and the larger main pump under the car sometimes encased in a plastic housing to keep it running cooler. The main pump does not fail that often. If the in-tank pump fails the larger more expensive main pump that is under the car will get noisy and it will eventually ruin the main pump. If the main pump fails it will not ruin the in-tank pump. If either pump is not getting at least 12 volts it will eventually destroy the pumps.
      We usually replace the small pump first then if there are still problems with the main pump it is next. Lenny.

#29)  Is it necessary to remove any splash (engine) quards to change the oil on a '99 Passat 1.8T.? If so any tips or tricks ? Joe  11/3/2001 

                                 Note  Joe; Is it  necessary that I answer this question. I am assuming at this point that one of my employees must be playing a trick on me by writing this email. You know, things like "How often do I have to adjust the piston return springs?" Please people, help me. Turn off your computer, go outside, get down on your knees and look under your car and see if there is a splash pan blocking your oil filter. Get a Bentley's repair manual and I am sure it will tell you how to remove the 4 to 6 bolts that might be holding the splash pan on. It might even instruct you how to reinstall those same bolts. Don't forget to check the torque specifications. (Just kidding). Viel gluck ( good luck), Lenny

Hi Lenny, I have an 1985 Jetta 1.8l. Every couple of days i have to add some oil. The engine is not leaking from anywhere except under the air cleaner. so i opened up the air cleaner and half of the air filter is soaked in oil. I checked inside the line that comes from the pvc valve no oil there. I am assuming that the airflow meter is shot. is there some kind of fix for it or do i have to replace it, and if i do have to replace it, is it an easy job.Pat  12/5/2001

Pat; Check first to make sure your positive crankcase ventilation hoses are routed properly. Next make sure your dipstick is reading correctly. Drop the oil and filter if you have any doubt and refill the engine oil based on the book (around 4 quarts). Then check your dipstick reading. Last and probably most likely pull off the oil filler cap off the valve cover and look inside. If you see a camshaft instead of a plastic splash cover hiding your camshaft then this your problem. Pull the valve cover and install the plastic splash cover (part # 026 103 547). They are cheap and easy to replace . Don't forget to put a new valve cover gasket kit on. (Please no silicone for gosh sakes) Your air flow meter should be fine. Lenny.

when their hands are full of grease and they need some very simple piece of info that could be found in 2 seconds in the book. Heck, the fingerprints alone make for great bookmarks. It has some advantages especially if you can get used to the search engine it provides. Sometimes it actually works but imagine what my mechanics think when their hands are full of grease and they need some very simple piece of info that could be found in the book. Heck, the fingerprints alone make for good bookmarks. I can get the cd rom for you. I will get back with you Monday with a price plus s & h. 
         E-mail me with your previous question and I will see what I can do.
Lenny M.

I need to replace the motor mounts on my 95 Passat. Is this something that a reasonably handy person can do? The dealer wants $700 to do it. Thanks. Jim EttweinJim Ettwein  12/20/2001

Jim; Even with a lift the job is not that easy and with an automotive lift it is still difficult. Lenny

I have a 1992 Jetta that has been in the garage for the last 4 months , i bought the car drove it 30 miles and it died and it wouldn't start i was told it was the ECM . but that did nothing, so i had it brought to a shop and they said it was the HALL EFFECT so they got a new distributor but that didn't fix it either, they said that the positive side of the coil has a signal but the negative side isnt pulsing, but the distributor has a pulse. any idea of what it might be cause me and the guys at the shop would really like to know any ideas you might have to solving the problem. thanks. mikeMichael L 12/22/2001

My daughter recently purchased a used 1996 Cabrio in nice condition. It runs great but we have noticed that the interior fills with water if left out in the rain. It is not the convertible is new. We have run water tests on it but can not find the problem. The car is usually parked on an incline. When it rains the driver's front carpet gets wet but not soaked...the rear passenger side and driver side get soaked. My guess is that the weep hole in front of the windshield on the driver's side might be filled with foreign material that soaks up an initial amount of water but then leaks into the passenger area when the foreign material get water logged. I think the water then runs down the interior floor next to the drivers door wicking out to the drivers carpet but collecting and soaking the back carpet. I don't understand how the the water gets through the center "hump" between the 2 seats unless there are holes in it for wiring etc. Have you encountered such problems/questions before and do you think I am on the right track. I am not mechanically inclined! And can water leak into the passenger compartment from those holes or should I look elsewhere? The Volkswagen dealer could not give me any answers. The carpet under the gas and brake pedal (on the inclined firewall stays dry but gets wet on the driver's side floor, rear driver's and rear passenger side floor. My daughter loves the car but is frustrated with the soaked and foul smell of wet carpet! HELP PLEASE....Sincerely Clark SempleClark 12/27/2001

Lenny, the crankshaft flywheel pulley bolt on my golf diesel recently sheared off completely throwing the injection and alternator belts off as well and probably the timing belt as well. My local specialist tells me I will need a new crankshaft as it is impossible to get the rest of the bolt out of the crankshaft. Is this correct? Are there ways of getting this bolt out economically or do I need to replace the whole shaft? Lenny, the crankshaft flywheel pulley bolt on my golf diesel recently sheared off completely throwing the injection and alternator belts off as well and probably the timing belt as well. My local specialist tells me I will need a new crankshaft as it is impossible to get the rest of the bolt out of the crankshaft. Is this correct? Are there ways of getting this bolt out economically or do I need to replace the whole shaft?Graeme Biddle.
Graeme; I can answer your question but I just wish I could get people making inquires to tell me simple stuff like the year of the car , tranny type, size of engine etc. Anyways , here goes. We see this problem every so often and each time the car was of a certain age and type that the owner couldn't justify a complete overhaul which require pulling the transmission in order to replace the crankshaft. This is what we did. We rigged it, with the owners full understanding of what we were doing and each time it worked. First off the crankshaft pulley will deliberately not bottom out when it is installed so we have always been able to get it out. It is made of a different hardness of of steel so it does not readily want to gall or combine with the softer steel of the crankshaft. It takes a little time and patience, less than an hour, but we have always in the past been able to back the remnants of the crank pulley bolt out by taking a punch or a chisel and carefully tapping on the bolt remnant in a couterclockwise direction until the shaft eventually spins out. At this point I would be very surprised  if the crank gear were not damaged so you probably will need to replace it. Also the keyway on the crank is probably damaged. With a new crank gear you usually can realigne the gear very close to the original position it should be in. Use lock-tite on the bolt. If the key way on the crank is damaged and it usually is you will want to add some JB weld and let it setup overnight. Also another trick to keep the gear from slipping would be to drill with a small drill bit into the seam or mating surface of the inner portion of the gear and the outer diameter surface of the crankshaft as tho you were drilling a new keyway and then breaking the drill bit off inside the crank and gear. I have done this on diesels and gas engines and have never seen one come back yet. WARNING This is not the "proper " way to make the repair but it can work. By the way do you think the valves in the cyl head got damaged when the bolt came loose? Lenny

My 95 Golf has 72000 miles. I hear that the timing belt needs changed. Is the failure of a timing belt catastrophic (= expensive) or does the engine just quit? Thanks!rod 1/2/2002
Rod; Catastrophic at high speeds. Assuming you have a ABA 2Liter engine the pistons will slam into the valve at higher speeds, 50 mph or more, but possibly may not cause damage at a low idle. Unlike the dealership that used to recommend replacement of the belt at 60,000 miles I recommend replacement at 45,000 miles.Lenny

1989 Jetta 1.6 Digifant II My cars problem started with the car stalling after was driven for more than halve an Hour and refusing to start again. After few hours could start again. But when I drive it for several minutes then sundenly stops like the current or the fuel suply was cut. I check the current supply and it seams that is working fine. Later on I could not starting at all and I call in the engineers. The conglusion was that the oxigen/fuel mixture was to reach, the battery too low and they found also that sometimes the injectors where still working even when the engine was not running resaulting in flooding the engine with gasoline. Since they don't have the specs of this car they did some guessin and fixing work but the only thing they manage was a smoothly running engine for few minutes and then stall again. I by myself suspect that the engine was choking do to block cutalitic converter so I sugest to loose the conection prior the catalytic converter. The results where a running engine for few more minutes. Layter on I tried the car and I found that the engine could run for longer times with the aircondition on, does this has anything to do with the vocoum system and if yes, can be the problem in the fuel presure regulator? This all seams to be logical but what about the flooding of the engine? Is there is any case that failure of the coil made the distributor stop on a close sircout with the ECU reasulting in a continues injection pulses even with no running engine? The Chinese enginers can not solve the puzle and since they don't have such an ECU they can not try with a new one to see if that solves the problem. AT the end they sugest to modify the car and make it with carburator. Please if you can come to a conglusion from the historical of the car and your experiance I will really apreciate it and I will be very greatfull to you. Merry Christmans, George MichaCHINA  1/7/2002
George; Considering your particular unique problem and the difficulty of get parts and good technical help I am going to suggest that you put a carburetor on that car. Good Luck .Lenny.

Hello, I have a 2L '96 Jetta, w/ auto transm. I hope the following very minor (but mind bugging) problem rings a bell: In the dashboard the (automatic) gear-selection-indicator light is not illuminating. It seems every time someone has worked on my car (airbag, smog test, after MIL diagnositics etc), it is back "on" or "off". You expect this to be a bad bulb behind the gear-selection window in the dashboard or is this a signal that comes from _____ ? Suggestions? Appreciate your help.Bram van Spaendonk, San Jose, CA 1/6/2002

I have a 1983 VW Rabbit that has an intermittent fuel pump. It is fuel injected 1.7l, manual transmission. The fuel pump was seized, we replaced it and it ran fine. Parked it over night and now there is no power to the pump. All the wiring diagrams that we can find do not match this vehicle. We do not know which relay is for the fuel pump. Any help? Thanks Rick Yuke, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada  1/9/2002
Rick; I can tell you this, if you don't have battery voltage, at least 11.5V going to the fuel pump or you have a bad ground connection, check with an ohmeter then you will burn out the pump. You need a good reference manual. Does your model have an in-tank pump. If the fuel pump back near your right rear wheel goes directly into the tank with a short 4" elbow shaped hose then the answer is no. Otherwise you need to check that pump also. I don't have the time to look in a book to see where your fuel pump relay is at but if you pull a relay that has 5 prongs and you jump the 2 that have 30(power) and 87(fuel pump) written on them then the pump should run and if it doesn't you need to look for corrosion in your fuse panel and possibly replace the panel. Lenny 
 Hi! Lenny. It is an external pump and it seems the fuel pump relay is toast as everything works fine by jumping 30 & 87. Thanks RickRick Yuke Moose Jaw Sask. Canada  1/10/2002





I cannot get my 88 Golf 1.8 started. When I turn the key I hear absolutely nothing (no click) but the lights will come on. I am sure it isn't the battery. It has an Automatic Transmission and I replaced the neutral safety switch thinking that was it but it wasn't. Now I am thinking it is the starter solenoid. Any tips??? Where is the starter located on this engine? Is it possible to jump the solenoid on this engine with a relay to the battery. Any help would appreciated because I need to get it smogged so I can register it. Let me know thanks. Josh Peters, Las Vegas, NV  1/18/2002

Josh; Ignition switches are a big problem with these cars. Wiggle the key a little bit to see if something different happens. If is the switch I recomend that a shop does the because it requires a special puller and the electric, the key switch and the tumbler housing all need to be replaced.Lenny.


I own a mk3 golf gl 1.8l (1992) manual, and recently it has developed a problem when cold starting. It now takes a few good turns of the starter to start it from cold, and when it does start, initially the idling speed is noticeable slower, and the car is extremely ponderous at low revs (under 2000), but suddenly leaps into life above 2000 revs. This continues until about 5 minutes driving, when everything (including starting) returns to normal. Can someone tell me what the likely problem is? Henry, London, United Kingdom 1/22/2002

Lenny, I have a '98 Jetta GL 2.0L Manual with 74k. It has had more than its share of problems, the worst one being a drivability problem that has been developing since 68k. The engine hesitates upon acceleration and the Check Engine will blink and then stay on. It cruises fine and never stalls. The problem has gotten worse over the last 6k miles and seems to be more common when the engine is warm than cold. It is highly reproducable--it acts like the air intake is blocked. I have taken the following actions: replaced fuel filter, replaced air filter, replaced all vaccuum hoses under the hood, replaced fuel fill cap, replaced MAF sensor, inspected catalytic converter (looks fine.) The OBD II code says P0102, which is "mass air flow reading too low," but neither the problem nor the code went away when I replaced the MAF sensor. I'm stuck, could you give me a couple of suggestions, things to look for/inspect? My next move would be to replace the O2 sensors, but there is no engine code to support that. Thank You, James Galloway Austin, TX 1/23/2002 

Lenny, please cancel my request for help on 1/23 I figured it out! The new MAF didn't fix the problem because one of the many things that I did in the meanwhile was change the plugs (and break the wires) A new wire set solved the problem. James Galloway James Galloway, Austin, TX 2/12/2002

1993 Passat GLX wagon (2.8 VR6, 5 speed, 111k mi.). Problems: 1) Occasionally during extended highway driving (usu. 65 mpg, usu. after a half hour or more of driving, but not with any regularity under those conditions), the car "bucks"--feels sort of like my folks' old Suburban when it was experiencing vapor lock. Often, the check engine light comes on for a while when this happens (but not always, and every now and then the check engine light comes on after extended highway driving *without* the bucking).. Given that I can hear a pretty loud whining noise somewhere behind me, I wonder if it isn't the fuel pump? 2) Using a jumper wire, I pulled a code 2441 from the computer--but I don't find any references to this code anywhere--am I pulling the code incorrectly? Or...? E. Coleman Duluth, MN 1/23/2002

Well I just got a 1999 Beetle form a local dealer and the check engine light loves to come on. Its a 4speed auto; The car has 49k on it and everything else on the car works great!! except the beshatted Check engine light. They have had it in the shop checked the codes replaced the Mass Air Flow sensor...then when the light came on again they replaced the wiring harness. Something about a crimping error whatever the hell that is. Told me that should do the trick your good to go. Not more than a week after I got the car back...OHH whats this the light is on again!!! Here is my question WHAT IS IT!!! What could be causing this problem and is it dangerious to drive long distances?? Shawn, Utica, NY 1/25/2002

I have a 92' Jetta 1.8 manual, I got the car for a sweet deal. I was told it needed a new head gasket. It will not turn over at all. What steps should I take to fix this beautiful machine. My only previous car restoration was a 65' Mustang. I am an amateur and need help!!!!Knic,Orlando,Fl.  1/26/2002

Knic; A lot more info would help. A lot more. If you think the head gasket is blown pull the spark plugs and run a compression test. If water comes flying out of one of the holes then guess what ?? You have got a blown head gasket, a possible bad head and if the cylinder walls are scored or have aluminum on them then you are going to need to replace all the pistons. I am not sure you are ready for this jog. You will need a special tool to remove and install the 2 large clips that are at the bottom of the exhaust down pipe. Lenny.

I am helping a friend with a 98' Beatle, automatic. The car runs ok but the MIL is on. I Scanned the car and come up with a DTC of P0172, system too rich bank 1..Two days earlier the car had the oil changed, don't know if this had anything to do with the problem. I would buy manual, but I don't own a VW, just trying to help out. O2 sensors not working? My scanner did not show any voltage movement with rpm increase. The two I saw read about 470 mv. Thanks for any help you can give Gene. Gene Wilson, Houston, Tx  1/28/2002

Gene; Based on the info you gave me it sounds like #1 oxygen sensor could be at least part of your problem. Lenny.

My 1999 2.0 New Beetle drinks coolant every time I drive it. In August it overheated badly & the dealer replaced the thermostat, temp sensor, fan control unit among some other o-rings and switches. However the overheating problem remains and I am wondering if the cause is a warped/blown head gasket. How can I determine if it is, and how much money should I expect a shop to charge for that sort of work, any idea? Also, will a bad overheating experience permanently damage the overall engine performance, and if so, which areas are most vulnerable? Any input greatly appreciated; anyone who reads this can email me:  Jeffrey, San Carlos, CA  1/28/2002

Hi, I have a 94 Golf with 145K. About 2,500 miles ago, the "check battery" light starting coming on. It goes on and off with no logic, but is off most of the time. The battery is fine, and today I had the alternator replaced, but the light still goes on. Any idea why? Thanks! Paula, Newfane, VT  1/29/2002


Lenny - a desperate cry from Down Under! We have a 96 vr6 passat with about 75000miles on clock but we have had for only 1 year. In Sept the coolant light started blinking - immediately returned to place of purchase under guarantee. They replaced hoses. When my wife was driving home, coolant poured out. This time they replaced seal and thermostat. Soon after, prob returned - we changed to new local VW man - he tightened water pump but this didn't fix it; he put in a sealant which seemed to work but when the sealant was removed, leak returned. Problems were then found with water pump (replaced) and head gasket (replaced). Last thing was to shave head which had slight warp. (All this costing $mega). Picked up car - drove 10 miles in 2 trips - again light is flashing, evidence of coolant leaking, level is down, when I tried to open coolant to top up, it was boiling and I had to wait. You can see I AM DESPARATE...any ideas? Thanks KenKen Wight, Melbourne, Australia 2/2/2002

Ken; Don't panic yet. A simple leak from a hose or hose flange will cause that light to flash if you are low in coolant and it is normal for the coolant to overflow if you open the expansion tank when the engine is hot. Let it cool down and top it off between the 2 lines marked min and max and then if you are still losing fluid have a mechanic run a pressure test if you can not see the leak yourself. Let me know. Lenny.

Hi Lenny. I have a 2001 Jetta 1.8T Wolfsburg with 7300 miles. My engine runs rough only sometimes when at idle. You can feel the vibration in the seats when this happens. Over the past 25 days there have been 4 attempts to fix this problem. 1)carbon build-up was found on the engine, spark plugs, oil. They did a decarb and replaced the s.plugs and oil/oil filter. 2)mass airflow sensor replaced. 3)coil packs on cylinders 1 & 2 replaced. 4)engine control module replaced. There have been misfire codes on a combo of cylinders 1 & 2 at each attempt to fix the problem. The check engine light came on after the 3rd try. I haven't noticed the car driving differently, it's just very rough at idle. It hasn't acted up again since the 4th try but I have this feeling it will...I've now have a case filed w/the BBB requesting to replace the vehicle because I qualify for the VA Lemon Law. The dealer actually said to me "we don't know what's wrong with your car." HELP! This is my brand new car! baby! What could possibly be wrong? Thank you. -Stacy. Stacy Stavrou, Arlington, 2/4/2002

I have a 1990 Jetta Turbo Deisel with manual transmission. The car was driving and running like new at 150,000 miles. Suddenly oil came out of the dip stick coating the engine compartment. The car still runs great when there is oil in but can't drive it because of a crankcase pressure problem. Can someone enlighten or help a finiancially strapped VW owner with some possible solutions.Thanks. Danny Sutherland. Danny Sutherland,Halifax,Nova Scotia, Canada 2/5/2002 

Danny; You either have bad valve seal leaking oil into your cylinders or more likely because of the pressure buildup bad or broken rings. Unfortunately the diesels sometime get a bad groove worn into the upper portion of the cylinder walls which also could be causing the problem. Sometimes it is fixable with new and sometimes oversized rings. Lenny.  

I have a 99 Passat w/ a 1.8L turbo(gas) automatic and the oil pressure light continues to go off. I use factory filters and still have the problem. I have changed oil weights, etc. No specific times or rev's-comes on when it wants to 4-5X a day and is VERY annoying- HelpPete, Metairie, LA  2/13/2002

I have a 1999 VW Jetta Wolfburg ed. 2.0L engine and I cant find the place on engine to fill up with trans fluid canu help me? Mike G. N. Laud. Fl.33068 2/13/2002

Lenny I have a 2001 Passat V6 Tiptronic, about 11000 miles. Car makes an occasional "chirp chirp chirp" sound from around right rear when moving. Sound comes and goes and is not constant. I have looked on some VW owner BBS and have seen others mention this. No one seems to know what it is, the dealer can not hear it when I take it in (never seems to make the noise then). One post did mention a faulty EVAP pump that his dealer said was making the noise. Do you have any experience with this? I know that these noises are hard to locate but if it is part of EVAP perhaps dealer can fix anyway. Thanks. Curt, Overland Park, KS USA  2/15/2002

Lenny, My wife's friend has a 1994 Golf III, 2.0L, automatic. She brought it over today as she is having problems with it overheating. The fans work, the coolant is ok, and the belts are new. I assumed it must be the thermostat. I know nothing of this car. I own a 2000 Jetta 1.8t. (Which by the way was rear ended on the highway yesterday, and the whole trunk will probably have to be replaced. Boo hoo.)I am a strong believer in manuals, and have a Bently for my car, but being in a rush, I had to get a Haynes. (I dont like it, as it is very unclear.) Any ways, I could not get the power steering pump to budge out of the way, and was about to give up when I decided to just check over a couple of simple little things for while I had it. Now the problem: there is oil leaking from the area of the intake manifold, into the air filter box. What might this be? Valves perhaps? Please help. Just trying to be a good husband! Thanks! Roy Olson, Houston, TX  2/16/2002

Roy; If you want to know if it is the thermostat you simply start the car when it is completely cold. Reach down, possibly under the car, and feel the hose coming out of the bottom of the engine , thru the thermostat, and then into the bottom of radiator. Watch the water temp gauge as the car heats up and when the gauge reaches the middle and then a little above the middle you should feel the bottom hose heat up as the thermostat releases the hot water to the radiator and then shortly after you should hear the fan kick in. If the hose doesn't heat up then the thermostat is not opening and needs to be replaced but the most common problem to cause overheating is for the fan switch to stick and not turn on the fan. Of course a bad connection to the switch or the fan will do the same thing. Lenny.

Lenny, I'm an ex mechanic. Probably a bad thing! I bought my son a 1995 Jetta GL 2.0 Automatic. I put a few gauges in the car, oil pressure being one of them. When cold, the pressure will run to 80psi. At hot Idle its barely readable 2-5psi at best. The motor isn't noisy but I have that fear that the motor has problems. No smoke and has plenty of power. Is it bearing that are on their way? Is it the pump? Do these motors have an oil pressure issue? Nothing in the manual. Only thing I have done is put screw in head studs as the stretch bolts are a known problem and the head gasket was spewing oil slightly when I got it Any help appreciated. Marty M . Ellicott City MD  2/20/2002

The oil pump is usually the culprit or clogging of the screen going to the oil pump. Usually the engine is noticeably louder when this happens. Check the book and I believe it will say that the minimum oil pressure should be 29 PSI at 2000RPM when engine is hot . Where did you hook up your gauge ? It is supposed to be at the end of the cylinder head on the drivers side. Lenny.

Lenny, appreciate the info. I put a 1/8" nipple in the head and a Tee so that I could install the sender and original switch. I changed from 10w-30 to 20w 50, now at Idle I get about 15lbs at 2k I get about 31psi. I am surprised that viscosity would make such a difference! I'm used to chev V-8's. Changing oil wouldn't make that kind of difference. I do hear what sounds like a bad pulley idler kind of ringing in the belt side of the motor. What do you think, should I go with the pump? Looks easy enough to do. Do you sell these? If so, e mail me the price of pump and gasket required. Thanks again.Martin Mogavero Ellicott City, MD 2/26/2002

84 Jetta TurboDiesel 5 speed. Fuel seems to drain back into the tank after it sits for a while. What has failed? Is there a check valve in the injector pump? Thanks! Pete Wright, Hayward, CA  2/22/2002

Both Rabbits and Golfs use a small spherical plastic coolant tank with a sensor in it (mine is not hooked up!) Is this a pressure, temp, or level sensor? How do I test it and hook it up to a useful gauge? I read zero ohms when I first connect a DVM then it slowly rises to 500K ohms. What should this read? Gary Newsted, Nashua NH  2/25/2002

Coolant level. And when the coolant level is below the minimum it will cause the lite to flash but there is no reason to get alarmed until the temperature gauge reads in the hot zone. Still you probably have a leak that needs to get fixed.  Check the book for specific readings. Lenny.

Hi Lenny, I have a 95 Jetta GLX. I have about 131,810 miles on my car. I recently bought the car but it seems that my oil temp. gauge is not working right. It shows that it is overheating but no lights or awareness activates. I would sometimes tap the glass and then the needle would slowly go towards the center or even more to the right. Also, air conditioning panel doesn't light up. I changed the fuse for the interior which is ( Row 25- 15 amp) but did no good. All the other displays light up fine. Please help. Thank You. Danny, Elizabeth,NJ,U.S,A, 3/1/2002

Danny; If you tap on the glass and the gauge moves, guess what ?? You have a bad gauge or a bad connection to the gauge behind the dash. Without a special tool to pull the steering wheel hub you are going to have difficulty pulling the steering wheel so you can get to the instrument cluster to find the problem. Lenny.

1996 65,000km VW Golf GTI 16 Valve 2 litre. I recently had an interesting problem to which I have found no previous reference. After driving 300km I stopped the car and after a 2 minute stop the car would only run for 2 seconds before cutting out. The car was towed to a European but non VW service agent who attempted to diagnose the problem. The first suggestion was a faulty igniter coil which seemed hopeful as the national agent had recently sold 2 units. Unfortunately this was not the case. Then they sent the computer to the national agents for testing. This supposedly revealed a number of faults. It was sent for repair but the New Zealand repairers could not open the computer so sent it to Australia. Fortunately they had the proper equipment and were able to advise that the computer was working perfectly. Then I read a web article about VW's new immobilizer. The immobilizer would only allow the engine to run for 2 second before shutting off. So A spare key was tried and it worked. The first key was a copy key that was 2 months old and had worked perfectly well for 2,000km. It had not been dropped nor place near magnets. In fact it remained in the ignition over the period that it failed. How is that for an unusual case? Peter Young, Auckland, New Zealand  3/3/2002

Peter: Thanks, I owe you one. I hate to say it but you are one of the few people that come to the forum and actually contribute valuable info. Most people want to pick my brain for information and don't even bother to give me feedback as to whether it was successful or not. Lenny.

I just purchased a 1990 VW Cabriolet  What is the middle gauge in the cluster of three above the shifter that reads BAR and has a scale of 1-5? Also, does anyone out there have an owners manual for this machine? John 3/3/2002

John: A bar is a measure of pressure and 1 bar = 14.7 PSI. If you thought your Cabriolet had low oil pressure the repair manual tells us that your oil pressure should be 2 bar or approximately 29 PSI at 2000 RPM. If it is much less you might have thinned out oil or you might need a new oil pump. Lenny.

I recently bought a 1988 Golf GL (fuel injection). The red temperature light is flashing when I drive (even on cold start). I am not running hot, the coolant level is not below the minimum and the fan starts when the gauge's needle indicate just above the centerline, I think all is working rightly. I am using only water (no coolant). Could be damage the level sensor or any connection? Thank you Gerardo Moriel, Chihuahua, Chih, Mexico  3/4/2002

Gerardo; You answered your own question correctly. The light is probably indicating incorrectly that your coolant (water) level is low. If you don't use anti-freeze the coolant level sender will  corrode up and won't send a proper signal. For that matter if you don't use anti-freeze everything will corrode up and I would hate to be the guy that has to change your water pump. lenny.

'86 Vanagon, Digifant, EngCode MV Problem: Stalling, usually highway, but now starting around town too. Started as "once in a while" and has grown slowly to "just look at it funny" frequency. van will cruise fine for a little while (5-10min), then will, intermittently, "cough". Tach drops off, van feels like I pulled foot off gas pedal. Will sometimes come back on its own, sometimes I have to coast off road and restart. After restart, will sometimes go on like nothing happened, or will stall again (immediately or a few feet/yards/miles down the road). Tried So Far: Shot all the wires from most/all sensors to ecm (followed voltage/resistance check chart in Bentley's manual), and all were fine. Changed Plugs, rotor, ignition coil, cleaned any corroded connectors found (replaced if necessary), running injector cleaner through system now, and replaced fuel filter. Nothing made a difference except the fuel filter. It ran perfectly for 1.5 days (a major improvement lately), but has now started to have the problem again, though not as bad yet. Current Suspicions: The fuel line looked ok, but a little frayed/deteriorated when I changed the fuel filter, my only guess is that the fuel line is disintegrating inside and the pieces are clogging something (filter probably). Maybe junk in the tank. Saw very small black particles in gas drained from old filter, but none looked very big. Any ideas would be very appreciated. Signed Very frustrated in AR Mike Witt, Little Rock, AR 3/6/2002

Mike; Sounds like you could be on the right track. Check your fuel pressure. I once saw a car go thru 4 fuel pumps in a row because of a bad ground. You need battery voltage going to the pump and a a solid ground connection or your pump will burn up if it is not bad already and you need a fuel pressure test to determine that. You could also have a defective fuel pump relay. Lenny.

My 79 2.0l bus has a full tune up good compression and runs pretty good. While changing the injector seals I noticed the tip of #1 injector was burned off (the plastic part). Also im getting terrible gas milage. Any thoughts on this Thanks. steve russo naugatuck CT 3/7/2002

Steve; Do all the spark plugs look the same color? A tan ceramic on the plugs is best, extremely white is too lean and will damage your engine and black or dark is too rich or if it is only one spark plug then it is possibly a bad ignition cable. Pull the injectors, jump the fuel pump and open the door on the air flow box and you will be able to check the flow pattern. Hopefully you will have a nice, even cone shape. Some may need replacement if they are real bad. It is expensive but better to replace them all at one time. Lenny.  

I need to change the belts on my 92 passat GL 16v. What exactly do i need to remove and how do i do it? Also. My car is running hot after about 10 minutes of driving.. Steam also comes from under the hood. I was thinking it could be the radiator or heater hose.... What do you guys think? Brandon Edley, Lewisville TX 3/7/2002

Brandon; I'll answer the second part of your question. You should be able to open the hood and see where the leak is at. We have a safer and better method. We remove the expansion tank overflow cap and  attach a pressure tester when the car is cold. We pump the pressure up to normal operating pressure and then listen and look for the coolant leak. Lenny.

Lenny, my 1998 Jetta VR6 has been making a funny noise... when I investigated where the noise seemed to be coming from, I felt vibration coming from the area where a round hub of wires connect at the back underside of the intake manifold on the driver's side. The VW dealer said it may be the secondary water pump that operates on water temperature needs when running the heater in the car. After shutting off the car, it whirrs and continues running... I opened up the coolant reservoir cap when the secondary pump was running, and that seemed to relieve the pressure, and the pump turned off. Also replaced the coolant reservoir cap. When it comes on sometime, it seems to operate in quick jolts, rather than running smoothly. I had never in two years noticed the car making the sound before. Could the pump be wearing out or have a bad bearing? Or maybe a bad sensor? I checked it out in a manual, but there was no mention of troubleshooting the secondary pump. Thank-you for your feedback. eric byrne,upland,CA 3/8/2002

I've recently bought a 1989 VW jetta 1.8l 16v. It is making a loud repitative rubbing sound from the front passenger side wheel area. It sounds like something is out of round. The sound get louder and faster as the car speeds up. You can also feel the vibration in the floor board. I've checked the cv boots and none are torn. I also replaced the rotors and pads. The sound is still there. Any ideas? jared, bloomsmburg, pa  3/20/2002

Jared; Could be your front wheel bearings. Lenny. 

Color Legend

       Engine Overheating
      Engine Lubrication
     Starting Problems
    Tuning Problems
Electrical Problems
  Body Problems

Lenny I have a 1987 VW Golf GL 1.8L 5 Sp with CIS E fuel injection. I drove in garage and it seemed fine after a day of driving around. After a few days I went out and started it to let warm up and it seemed fine. I came out a few minutes later and the engine was dead. I tried to start and it would try to start but just wouldn't run. In turning over with starter it sounded like it was out of time. I checked all the pulleys, Set number one cylinder at top dead center, number one plug wire at mark on distributor and every thing was in place. couldn't check with timing light because it wouldn't run long enough. Timing belt was ok. Since it still sounded like it was off time a little I moved the distributor a little and engine turns over better. I put timing light on all plug wires and they are all firing. I finally got it to start and run a few seconds at a time. I checked both fuel pumps and they both run, I disconnected the fuel lines at pump and they both pump fuel.. The small pump in tank I recently replaced and have also recently replaced the relay. I removed the cold start valve and had a good cone spray which was pulsating but never broke from a continuous spray. I checked the thermo time switch with test light and it checked out ok. I recently replaced the oxygen sensor. Filter is clean. Tank has gas. Sounds like it is not getting fuel. I do not have fuel pressure gauge. After trying to start I do smell gas. I need help before I tow. jphightcordovatnshelby   3/20/2002

JP; First off if the car drove good for a day or even an hour it is not likely that the timing went out unless the car had just been worked on. You have skipped some basics. I am going to guess that if you pull the spark plugs the inner porcelain might be  fuel fouled or black, same thing, and if you clean them up or better yet replace them. In the future if you have a good running car that has solid state ignition that is set properly and all of a sudden you have drivability problems don't touch the ignition timing as long as you do have spark. Once the ignition timing is set up properly you should never ever have to touch it again. So leave it alone. If you didn't overheat the car then compression should be fine unless something really freaky happened and your timing belt jumped a couple of teeth or it is stripped out. 1 or even 2 teeth would  have less of an effect than you might think. So now you are left with fuel pressure and you need a gauge to to check it. Moisture could cause the fuel pump relay to stop functioning and a corroded fuse panel could do the same. 1 or even 2 intake leaks  sounds like a possibility. Remember , you can't skip basics like compression tests, checking the timing belt, fuel pressure tests, etc. Try spraying some quick start aerosol to check for intake leaks and be careful around the ignition wires. Quick start can start a small fire that usually goes out pretty fast as soon as the aerosol burns up. In summation agent WD40 if you choose to accept this mission and if your car does self destruct in 30 seconds Lenny's VW will disavow any knowledge of your existence. This message will delete itself as soon as you have read it. Good luck and use common sense. L.

Hello, I just bought an '86 Cabriolet, manual transmission, in great shape and I was driving the other day and all the electrical systems went out. I looked under the hood and the battery was un hooked. I hooked the battery back up, and I noticed the battery is the wrong size, I braced it into place with a 2x4 and continued to drive. While I was driving the system went out again when I hit a bump, then came back on, but the cd player stayed off. When I stopped the car again I hit the battery connections again to check if they were loose. Then I noticed that the fog lights and dash were still on. The thing is that the fog lights and dash stay on when everything is turned off, the stereo still doesn't turn on, and when you rehook the battery up (I unhooked it after I parked so it wouldn't run down the battery) it begins to smell like an electrical spark / fire inside the car. Before all this happened the stereo would go out for a brief second whenever I hit a bump or took a turn quickly, I think that was from the battery being loose. So my question is... what could that be? Thank you. Ben, Minneapolis, MN 3/22/2002

Ben; Too many possibilities for me to speculate. If a lot of things are screwing up the fuse panel may have a bad connection on it's "hot" lead coming from the battery or your fuse panel may have a poor ground connection or any of the ground or hot connections at the battery terminals. If a lot of water has leaked into the car and the fuse you need to pull it down and examine it. If you a lot of corrosion in the front or back then you probably need to replace your fuse box/panel. Lenny.

I have a 1989 Jetta sedan. I bought it used and it came with an after market alarm system which is junk, no name brand, paperwork, etc. If the car is jumped, stalled, etc., it arrests the starter. I can start it through the solenoid, but that's it. When I turn the ignition, nothing. I have pulled fuses, a few wires and disconnected the wire from the solenoid and still no luck. Any advice before I do some damage on how to remove this thing from the starter and/or ignition? Michael Accorsi, San Francisco, CA  3/23/2002

Michael; Normally the wire from your ignition switch, terminal #50, travels directly from the switch thru the firewall and connects to a yellow colored push-on connector to a wire that goes to your starter solenoid. You need to check your manuals electrical schematics to find out what color the wire is, it will be a thick gauge wire red and possibly black or white striped. If some kind of ford type solenoid switch has been added to the main power cable going to the starter you need to bypass it and run a cable directly from the positive side of the battery. Any wire or cable on a VW that is hot all the time is terminal #30. The black wire coming from the ignition switch is the ignition wire, #15, and should go directly to the ignition coil. Lenny.

I have a 1990 Golf, I messed up the firing order when pulling the wires to replace them with new ones.. could anyone tell me the correct firing order for this car? and how to set it.. thanks Ian Springfield, VT  3/26/2002

Ian; The distributor rotor like almost every VW except the16V turns clockwise and the firing order starting with the line or notch on the distributor is 1-3-4-2.  Usually that wire on the distributor is the one directly in back and closest to the engine block. The spark plugs themselves are numbered left to right 1-2-3-4 starting on the right side of the engine compartment where the camshaft and crankshaft pulleys are located. Lenny.

I have a 1974 vw bug with a stock 1600 engine and automatic stick trans. my problem is when I shift it from neutral into reverse or first it shifts too hard into gear it literally jerks the car hard. I'm afraid this will tear up my transmission thanks, chris. chris ,scottsboro ,alabama  3/27/2002

Chris; It could be one of 2 things or both.  1) If the idle speed is set too high it will cause it to jerk. It should be around 950 RPM. 2)The other possibility is the timing on the solenoid vacuum valve is set too fast. On top of that electrical device that is attached to the left side firewall of your engine compartment is the solenoid valve that opens the vacuum connection to the vacuum servo that shifts your transmission into neutral when you shift. This valve is always hot thanks to an electrical wire with an in-line fuse coming from the positive side of the ignition coil and it is activated into action when you push on the shift rod while shifting gears by a contact switch inside the shift rod. On top of this valve toward the front of the car is an adjustment screw (sometimes with a plastic cover on it) that will set the speed of engagement of the valves action. Turning 1 way will make it engage faster and turning the other way will make it engage slower. You might want it slower. Lenny.

Alright, I am looking to buy a 1992 volkswagen Cabriolet. It's a five speed manual with 50K miles, I just want to know, how well these cars hold up, since friends of mine who have owned later models have had nothing but problems with theirs, where things were constantly needing repair. Am I going to get stuck with the same problems? Could you tell me a little more about the reliability and performance of the 1992 model of the convertible cabriolet? Thanks a lot.Jeanine, oxford Ma  3/27/2002

Jeanine; Unless Murphy's Law is working overtime that should be a good car for several reasons. (By the way, a lot of people don't realize it but Murphy's Law was not named after Murphy but another guy with the same last name). One of my customers has an "87 Cab with over 800,000 miles on it and counting. His job keeps him on the road a lot and he plans to give the car to his son when it reaches 1 million miles. The engines are as solid as a rock if you don't overheat it or run it low on oil and give it plenty of oil changes it will last forever. Another good thing is that when a new model of any car comes out the first couple of years the manufacturer is still working out the bugs (problems) but since this is next to the last year of this models production, that's good. Also the "92 has one of the better fuel injection systems, the Digifant system. The down side to the convertibles is that as the rubber seals get older and dryer the car will tend to leak so get used to getting a little wet now and then or be prepared to put out the money to  replace the windshield frame and window seals every 10 years or so. If left unattended for too long moisture in the car will start to effect the electrical system and relays so don't wait too long. Also if you are trying to get a better price from whoever you are buying the car from always come test drive this car on a rainy day if you can. Then you will know how bad it is and and you can whittle down the owners asking price if it leaks some. Lenny.

1999 VW passat V6 automatic. The car has a metal clattering noise coming from under the valve covers on both sides. It is heard after the car is warmed up and is coincident with the RPM's. Does this sound like the lifters collapsing? I have tried SWEPCO's oil improver, but this did not work. If I replace the lifters does the cam and valves and valve cover gasket have to be replaced also? How much does this cost? If I have the Bentley manual can I do it myself and how long might it take? Also are there special tools? Thanks, Steve Steve, Pittsgrove, NJ, USA  3/30/2002

Steve; If SWEPCO's oil improver is like STP or an oil treatment  (engine honey we like to call it because it is so thick) then that may not do the trick for hydraulic lifters. We add something called lifter quiet which will thin the oil out a little bit and clean out small passages. Run the engine based on the given instructions time and then change the oil after a while. Maybe even thicken it up. It is hard to diagnose sounds from a description but lifters would make what we call a tapping sound. i.e. a knock but much higher pitched and will generally go away at higher RPM's. You need to get that Bentley manual and read it. It should warn you if this a job that only a professional should attempt. Lenny.I

Dear Lenny, !DANGER! I have a HORROR STORY to share with everyone that four of us had in my 1996 passat glx vr6. We were traveling on the PA turnpike last night and the gas pedal stuck to the floor of the car. It began to accelerate out of control reaching about 90 mph. I could not use neutral to coast because I would have lost the engine due to the rpms. I decided not to turn the car off at those speeds along with curvy damp roads because I would have lost the pwr. steering. I decided to stand on the brakes until it stopped, but it was a rough fight between the braking power and the engine that wanted to just go and go. Finally I stalled it out after I got it down to about 20 mph. I got out of the car and obviously the rotors were glowing red hot. My question is did I do the right thing to regain control of the car? And also I feel that this is a serious design flaw and not just a simple failure of a mechanism. What do you think? I noticed today that the gas pedal makes a sound like it is ripping fabric when I press on it -- do you think it could be the throttle body cable is frayed inside the foam underneath the dash at the firewall? Also, the man who sold it to me last month mentioned he thought the cruise control was acting funny. Do you think the cruise may have been the culprit? Is this possible? Also, at one point during the night, before the incident, we noticed that the RPMs were at 3000 when in neutral, and when I opened the hood to check the throttle body cable, it looked ok at that end, although when I moved it with my hand, it was not decelerating after I took my hand away. Thank You Shayne in Kent, Ohio 4/1/2002

I have an '86 jetta, standard transmission, gas, with the railway fuel injection. It's a plain model with very little options and i've never really had any problems with it, recently though when it was in neutral, it idled at around 1800 rpm. I got my VW mechanic to clean the throttle body and put in a new fuel filter, but it didn't totally fix it. Now it sometimes idles at 1000 rpm which is normal, and then five minutes later in neutral it will idle at 1500 rpm. Do you know what this could be?  Now it sometimes idles at 1000 rpm which is normal, and then five minutes later in neutral it will idle at 1500 rpm. Do you know what this could be?please email me to let me know, thanks, K.Recksiedler Canada  4/2/2002

Mr Recksiedler; I don't know if you can remember back about 15 years ago when Audi was featured on the CBS TV show 60 Minutes and on the show people were claiming that their Audis were jumping into swimming pools and smashing thru garages. The problem turned out to be a defective "idle air stabilizer". Sometimes this device which is supposed to maintain the idle RPMs at about 950 will all of a sudden go haywire and rev up to 2000 or more and if it happens at the wrong time it could rev up and run over somebody in a parking lot. Check to see if your car has one of these devices. Write me back if it does and I will tell you how to check it. By the way what is railway fuel injection? Is that supposed to be Digifant fuel injection you are talking about. Lenny.

Hi. I have a 1990 Jetta GTi 1.8 8v Digifant-injection Manual. When I start it from cold, it ticks over fine, until I touch the throttle, then it runs very lumpy, as if its on 3 cylinders. Revving does not change the situation until about 5 minutes of running when it smooths out and runs beutifully. I would not normally be too worried, but the lumpyness is eating my engine mounts (as u very well know the a2 engine mounts are far from good. It is also drinking a lot of fuel (about 200miles to a tank), i know i've got a heavy right foot, but my mate is worse than me and he gets 350 from his 8v golf Gti (same year) at least. I have had the head off and re-seated the valves, I have tried leaning the fuel mixture but it still seems to run rich (slight exhaust pop on gear change). have you got any suggestions? could I have an air leak? (I have gone through my air system with a fine tooth combe)i'm stuck, and i dont want to give it to VW who will charge me through the teeth just for a diagnosys. Many Thanks UK 4/4/2002 

How do I reset check engine light on 1996 Cabrio , auto, without going back to dealer? Thanks for any help you can give me. USA 4/4/2002 

You need someone like us or the dealership with a computer to check your car with.

Lenny, thanks for reading and responding, this is quite nice of you. My question I hope is quick. I have a 1995 VR6 Jetta, manual speed. I am wanting to replace the battery myself. I bought the Bentley manual for my car about a year ago. It looks simple enough if you're careful and follow the directions. (I replaced a battery on my 1987 Nova way back when and had no problems, but I know things have changed.) I'm hesitant though, because my Dad who has a 1999 4-cyl Jetta, manual speed, try to do it on his own, but after he replaced it the car wouldn't start. He ended up having to take it to the dealer who had to reset the computer or something. Will that happen to my 95 Jetta? Are there any other unknowns you can think of? Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond. - Mary Mary, Columbus, Oh 2/26/2003 

Mary; If you are going to change the battery you don't want to pull the battery out and leave the car without a battery for any extended period of time. Do it right away. But there is a good chance that if you pull the battery and replace that your check engine lite might come on and you may have to have someone delete the fault code with an external computer. Lenny.

Lenny, We've had a particularly cold and snowy winter here. Not sure you get these types of quesions in sunny FL but I hought I'd give it a try! I have 1995, 4-cyl, manual Jetta - dark green to be exact! It has 113,000 miles on it. My husband uses the Jetta to commute to work and leaves home around 6 am. On mornings when it is below 10 degrees, the car stalls while idiling and stutters when driving. It does not do this on his return trip from work after the car sits in the sunny yet cold parking lot. I was beginning to think it had something to do it sitting all night until the other evening. My husband had driven the car without incident from 6 to 6:40 pm. It sat for almost 2 hours and was driven again without incident. I parked the car after driving for 20 minutes an when I returned it stuttered again for about 3 minutes. The temperature did drop while the car was off. Why would it do this? We've already used dry gas fearing water in the fuel line and nothing has changed. Thanks! Rhonda Rhonda in MA 2/28/2003

Rhonda; If there is no check engine lite on your dash then you might need a fuel pressure test.If there is a lite I could know much with interrogating you OBD computer on your car.

IThe stick shift broke off on my '87 Vanagon Syncro. There is a 1" stub coming up from the ball in the floor, and about 1 1/2" on the stick until the bend. It is a hollow tube. Can I retrofit a connection between the two? or is there a kit available? Should I get a welder involved? I have another shifter on a junk Vanagon, but it is parked in 4 feet of snow right now. It seems simpler to fix the broken one. Lynn Bowes, Steamboat Springs, CO 3/3/2003

Lynn; I agree. Fix the old one but don't let the welder melt your plastic bushings.

Color Legend

       Engine Overheating
      Engine Lubrication
     Starting Problems
    Tuning Problems
Electrical Problems
  Body Problems

Lenny I own a 1986 jetta GLI, I recently changed the spark plug wires,distributor cap&rotor,and plugs. after doing this I noticed that the Idleing was real rough and shaky, is it possible that I put the wires in the wrong order? what is the correct order for spark plug wires.Eric Guzman, San Jose, CA 3/4/2003

I have a 1998 VW GTI VR6 and I am trying to add an Autometer Lunar Series tach to it. I have called several places to find out which wire I need to hook the tach terminal wire to and they have not been able to tell me. I even called the VW place here in Atlanta and the guy was unable to tell me which wire it was. What he did tell me was that if I hooked it to the wrong wire, I could burn the tach or the PCM. As you can see no one around here has been able to tell me anything. On the wiring diagram that the Autometer co. sends, it says that the wire needs to be hooked up to the negative side if I had a distributor; however, as you guys probably already know, I have a coil-pack on my car. I wish I could give you guys a lot of tips but I'm just getting started on my car. If anyone could share this info with me I will really appreciate it. Thanks Juan Juan, Gainesville GA, USA 3/4/2003

I have a 1988 Golf,1.8L manual trans. And I keep smelling fuel when I stop the car. No stall or hesitation problems. My odometer does not alwas work but I know my milage has dropped. Any suggestions on what to look for? Thanks Richard, Beale AFB , CA 3/4/2003 

Richard; Is it in the engine compartment or inside the car? Let me know. LennyI

I have a 2002 Jetta in which the radio totally died (no power). All the fuses in the fusebox are good. Is there an in-line fuse or does any have any other suggestions? If there is an in-line fuse, where is it located at? Thank you. Chris Chris, Downers Grove, IL 3/6/2003

Chris; I don't believe it has an inline fuse. In fact the radio fuse may be on the same fuse as the cigarette lighter which can blow pretty easily. Please email back to let me know if this is it.

I just bought a 1998 Jetta glx 2.8 l automatic. I was looking for ways to beef up the H.P. TomTom Dorchester MA USA 3/6/2003

wonderin why my 1600 dual port wont start it has fire on all cylinders getting fuel .i put j pipes on it and fuel leakes out on the #1 side it just pops and blows flames out the stinger and it is wired right...any ideas. Gene, salem Oregon 3/7/2003

Gene; Pull the spark plugs and see if they are black or smell like fuel. Check your dipstick for fuel in the oil. If so you carburetor is overflowing and foulin outb your plugs. Lenny

I have a 97 VW Jetta, I came back for spring break from college and it won't start. When I open the door the four way flashers come on and when I turn the key it doesn't turn at all, there is no sound. Everything electric runs, lights, stereo.... It only sat for a month. I cleaned the battery terminals and nothing happened. Please help. ThanksScott Blystone, Mt.Pleasant, PA 3/7/2003

Scott; I am not sure what the problem is. If you can some how isolate the problem a little more then maybe I can come up with something.

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Vehicle: 1992 VW Golf, 1.8 litre gas powered, 5 speed. After sufficient warm-up driving in this cold winter, the Oil light and buzzer come on and flash etc, mainly when coasting in gear at low rpm, eg, before a down shift from 5 to 4 when taking highway off ramp and decelerating, approaching a stop sign in 3rd while braking, etc. (the clutch is not depressed). Once this happens for the first time, the oil light flashes periodically at idle, however the buzzer and oil light cease when accelerating in gear or after a down shift has been completed. The engine sounds like it is idling normally (with the oil light flashing, the oil level is sufficient. The only thing I could add is that the dipstick tube has obviously rotted off or is gone for some reason or another and a piece of hose is clamped in there to maintain the dipstick tube length (or maybe not properly). Could this have something to do with the pressure (since a tight seal is not formed with the dipstick)? Or perhaps too much oil? Or a stupid sensor that has a fuse I could remove. Any help would be appreciated. P.S. I am doing repairs myself, the car is cheap and not worth me spending a fortune on to fix.Matt, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 3/10/2003 

Matt; You can usually hear noisy lifters in an engine with low oil pressure but the only way to be sure is to remove the oil pressure sending unit and screwin an oil pressure gauge. The pressure needs to be 29PSI or 2 bar at 2000 rpm.

Lenny, I have a 1997 Jetta GL. I have several problems. First, In the winter when it is cold the front two doors (driver/pass) won't open. There is no resistance on either the inside or outside handles, much like the door is still locked even though the doors are unlocked and the lock arm/pin is up. Using the key or autolock obtains the same results. On warmer days, I can pull on the handle repeatedly until I get resistance and the latch opens. Come spring, I'll tear open the door panel to take a look, however I wondered if this is a common problem or if I'll have to replace the whole latch/lock mechanism. Second, The rear defrost no longer works. I get 12V at the switch (referenced to chassis ground). 12V on the other side of the switch when activated and at the drivers side rear window connector if disconnected from the pad. When connected, the volts drop to almost nothing and there is not much drop across the window to the other pad. I'm a EE and this doesn't seem to make sense. Normally I'd say the grid is shorting out to gnd and not offering any resistance, but maybe that is by design. My question is: What kind of voltage drop should I be seeing across the grid? What kind of resistance should the grid have (if everything else is disconnected)? Any other thoughts to the problem. Lastly, The A/C seems to put out mist through the vents. I know there is a drain for water from the exchanger through the firewall. I've cleaned it out once before but it seems to get clogged quickly. Any suggested remedies?. Last time I disassembled the exchanger casing, I wasn't able to fully remove the lower cover. I must have missed a bolt/clamp somewhere. Thanks, Lorin Lorin Ting, Annapolis, MD 3/11/2003

Hi, This question is about my 1991 Vanagon 2.1. I rebuilt the engine last summer because of low oil pressure. I measured the crank mains and throws which were all perfectly to spec and put in new std size bearings (mains and rods). Got it together, still low oil pressure (15 psi cruising at 3000 rpm). Changed the oil pressure valve, tried VW filter and 20/50 oil all to no avail (15 psi pressure all the same, less than 5 at idle). Took the engine apart, checked clearances, rod bearings at .0015. The number 4 main bearing has a clearance of about 0.0045, the number 1 (near flywheel) has 0.0035 measured with the bearing shell compressed in the case (using an inside mike and subtracting the number 1 journal diameter to calculate the clearance). With the shell not compressed in the case the clearance is about 0.006". I haven't checked the other main bearings, they are more work to do, but I might yet do this. I miked the case as well to see if the case diameter is slightly smaller than the outside diameter of the bearings (to be sure they are securely held in the case). This was fine, typically about 0.001 to 0.002 smaller for the case bore. The only thing I've found that seems odd to me is the very high clearance for the number 4 bearing. I don't know what to do now because the crank is fine, the case is fine, yet the number 1 bearing (which is in perfect condition and was in the engine for only 1000 miles) is fine (I miked it too and its surfaces appear perfect). Can the 0.0045 clearance on one bearing explain my oil pressure problem? Should I be focusing on the cam? Is 0.0035 for a compressed number 1 bearing too great (I think it is pushing it). The number 4 bearing has a couple of "U"s stamped on it, but otherwise says std. The bearings are Kobelscmidt and I bought them new. Now I don't know what to do (I'm at a loss). I put in a new oil pump too when I did the rebuild, though not the cover plate which was a bit scuffed. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Don Don Rempel, Vancouver, BC, Canada  3/12/2003

Dear Lenny, aside from my question above, which i'm told may be a non-VW oil filter causing low oil pressure, NOW it seems the cooling fan wants to run forever. I just got home from work and I noticed the fan still on an hour after i shut the car off. I just disconnected the neg. terminal on battery cause i was worried i would kill the fan motor or the battery? Do i need a thermostat or a temp sensor? 1992 Golf, gas, 5 speed, 1.8L 4 cyl. Any help you can give would be much appreciated, Thanks! Matt, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 3/12/2003 

Matt; Sounds like either a fan switch or what you may be calling a temp sensor or your car may also have a run-on switch that turns on if the air temperature in the engine compartment is hot. The switch could be bad or the wire going to it could be grounded to the block. Lenny. 

Matt; For starters you need to add a pint of oil treatment like STP so before any damage is done to your engine. That of course is not a fix but a bandaid until your problem is resolved. The chicken or the egg. If you are running hot then this will thin out your oil and lower the oil presure. I always replace the the radiator fan switch because they have such a hugh rate of failure but the thermostat not opening has to be considered and on more than one occasion we have found the Vanagon radiators disintegrating internally and clogging up. You can check the radiator flow by removing the front plastic grill and when the coolant temp gauge needle moves to the middle position the thermostat should open (if you haven't already removed it) and you should be able to feel with your hand the heat moving evenly across the radiator from right  (passenger side) to left where it will make contact with the fan switch and turn on the cooling fan. Also to protect your engine you can turn on the AC because this will automatically turn on the fan.

2000 Jetta GLS 1.8T Our airbag light keeps coming on, and we are told its the clock spring. I understand that this is the group of wires under the steerting column, but is there a way for me ti 'fix' this without having to run to the dealer each time. Thanks josh Josh - Easton, PA 3/12/2003

Josh; Unless it is a plastic piece that you could epoxy back together.

Where I can find an illustrated page to repair the alternator from my beetle Mex 1998. Thanks. Julio. Julio Pimentel, Caracas Venezuela 3/12/2003

where is the thermostat located and are there any tricks to replacing it? also what is a normal differential between the coolant temp. and the oil temp? this is for a 94 vw passat vr6.thank you. daniel rome,allentown,pa 3/13/2003


1995 VW Passat VR6 (manual trans) Hard to start engine when cold. I suspect it is a censor problem, but, I don't know which one or where it is located. When the mid-life VR6 (105k)finally starts, it runs rough and I smell gas, but the engine eventually smooths out and runs fine after about 20 seconds. When sitting at a stop light, typically, a censor in the engine management system recalibrates the fuel to air and the engine rpm's drop and it seems like it is going to stall but just in the nick-of-time the reset completes and the rpm's are fine again. It never used to be so noticeable. What might be causing the hard starting problem? Thank you as always for your help. Steve Hall, Omaha Steven Hall, Omaha, Nebraska s& 3/13/2003 

Steven; I would need to get a scan or readout of the fault codes in your on-board computer to get a fix on where to start.

1995 VW Passat VR6 (manual trans) Hard to start engine when cold. I suspect it is a censor problem, but, I don't know which one or where it is located. When the mid-life VR6 (105k)finally starts, it runs rough and I smell gas, but the engine eventually smooths out and runs fine after about 20 seconds. When sitting at a stop light, typically, a censor in the engine management system recalibrates the fuel to air and the engine rpm's drop and it seems like it is going to stall but just in the nick-of-time the reset completes and the rpm's are fine again. It never used to be so noticeable. What might be causing the hard starting problem? Thank you as always for your help. Steven Hall, Omaha, Nebraska s& 3/13/2003

Need information about 1983 VW Jetta, how do i adjust toe and camber on front end, where are the adjustment points, and what do I do to them to adjust + or -. Thanks. Michelle Tidmore, Antioch, California 3/13/2003

Michelle; If it is an 83 Jetta then it is like a Rabbit. If it is a 1993 car then it is completely different. Let me know.

I have a 1990 1.8L 5Speed Jetta.. My question is where do I check the trans mission fluid. Sounds dumb, but the manual only decribes on how to check in on a automatic. My car has been slipping out of 3rd and 5th gears and is making strange noises and hard to get into before going in to a mechanic I would like to know what the problem may be and where to check the damn fluid...there is no dipstic that I can see. Please help Thanks. Jamie Gravelle, PEI Canada 3/13/2003.

You need a 17mm allen wrench or socket to the remove the plug on the left drivers side of the tranny. Not the bottom drain plug but the one that is halfway up the side of the tranny. Pull the plug and stick your finger in side. If your doesn't come out soaked with 90 weight gear lube then you need to add some gear lube. Lenny.

I have a 96 VW Jetta. I had the Transmission repaired and now the radio says "safe". I have the code (1990) but I cant punch it in on my radio, because the face plate only has the numbers 1 through 6. How do I punch in the code to reset the radio, if I dont have the numbers on the the radio itself? LInda, Pensacola, FL 3/14/2003

Linda; The first preset button is pressed once to give you 1 and the second preset button is pressed 9 times to give you the number 9 and so on. Lenny.

I have a 98 New beetle, which I bought used. When I got the car, there was damage to the radio, as if someone took their frustration out on it. Anyway, the first two pre-set buttons are smashed in, and the first 4 never did anything when pushed, and the lcd is cracked. The radio worked fine, but then a fuse blew. I replaced it, but now it says safe. I know I'm supposed to punch in the code using the first 4 preset buttons, but how the heck do I do that if the buttons won't respond? Is there anyway to by pass this? Or am I just going to have to get a new face plate/radio all together? Is it even possible to GET a new radio? Andrew, Tacoma, Wa, USA 3/15/2003

Andrew; For lack of a better or less blunt term your'e screwed. Sorry I am just the messenger. You need a new radio. Be careful and don't put in a aftermarket radio unless you're technician knows how. The 1996 and up system if wired wrong will destroy the computer interface for the technician that is unaware of the damage it will do and he will be very unhappy with you if he knew why. Lenny.

Hello fellow VW owners/aficionados! I'm haling from Irving, Texas in hopes of finding some assistance on my 1997 VW Passat GLX sedan. It has been recently discovered that the window regulator must be replaced, so one has been purchased. The door is halfway disassembled, but I can't figure out how to get to the regulator itself. Can anyone help? By the way, the windows, locks, etc. are electric. Thanks. Joanna Espinoza, Irving, TX 3/15/2003

I jsut bought a 96 Volkswagon Jetta with a 2.0 8v and manual 5 speed trans. My engine is great, but I am having some serious problems with my steering and suspension. First of all I have a 2" drop in the front (proffesionally done w/ eibach) I know this causes problems but there has to be a way to fix it! My steering goes from left to right at high speeds, and pulls very hard when I break. At other times, it drives completly strait. My front two tires are towed in and rear two a little toed out, this is causing extreme wear to the very inside of the tires. They say it could be bump steer, but its more than that, Im sure. When I turn the car makes a sound similar to a spring popping up and it makes a hollow metal noise ("") I know its not my cv joints. Les shwab said they could not find the problem because it all looked tight, but I dont trust those guys very much, they couldn't even adjust my tow. I feel like my whole car is just going to bust apart with wheels flying off in all different directions. With the front drop in mind, what could be causing this loss of control? What should I have a mechanic look at when he try's to figure out how to make my car go straight, and/or who would be the best person to take it to if my mechanic cannot figure it out? Could it have to do with the trunnion bolt and sleeve? or possibly shims by the upper fulcrum? please help me? sincerely, Jameson. Jameson, coeur d' Alene, Idaho 3/16/2003

I have a 95'Jetta GLX VR6(2.8L) with a manual transmission. It has 67,000 miles on it. As I'm taking off out of first gear or going in reverse, my car makes a squealing noise. My friend said it might be my throwout bearing. Your help is appreciated. Dave, Wolcott, CT 3/17/2003

Hello! I own two Volkswagen busses, one a 78 with a 2000 cc engine, and another 79 with a slightly smaller engine (don't know off hand the size.) I had some problems with the 79. For a long time it wouldn't start. Just quit on me after i ran out of gas one night. I filled the tank, checked the fuel filter, checked the fuel pump, and proceeded to isolate the problem in the electrical system. I checked spark from the coil = good. Spark from the distributor = not good. So i replaced the dist cap and put all new spark plug wires on. Now the bus starts, but eventually stalls out which it never really did before all this trouble started. Should i check the spark plugs, or get new ones? Could there be a problem elsewhere? Everything seems fine as long as i keep my foot pushing on the accelerator. Any help would be appreciated. thank you. Benjamin, near Erie, PA 3/17/2003

O.k. here is the problem I have a 90 jetta gl 1.8 8v sohc german production digi. It decides it won't start every once in awhile car will turn over and I hear the fuel pump prime but wont catch if i hold the key in the start position for a minute or two(know horrible for car but i have to get too work) it will start with a rough Idle and then run fine idle levels off to about 950 it sometimes revs between 1250 and 1800 till it gets warm then 950 The start problem seems to happen when it is above freezing and damp out. I have changed plugs wires cap and rotor and it still does it bently says wipe condesation off wires or check pump. any ideas please i need this car to last and want to bring it back to OEM spec.. I have a son due in 3.5 weeks and can't have a car I might have to fight with in an emergency please help. John Uiterwyk, Buffalo,ny 3/17/2003

I have a problem with my VW Golf Driver MK2 1.6 J registration 1991 manual speed. The engine runs at an idle speed of 2,000. It takes alot of acceleration to get through the gears to the required speed. The counter goes up as far as 4,000 revs then just plummets instead of dropping slowly. Because of this it has lost a lot of power. The exhaust blows and occationally pops when trying to get through the gears. When I turn the engine off it does'nt cut out straight away it carries on for a second or two (judders, splutters clunks then finally cuts out). I've checked the ignition leads, there's only one which has a slight oxidisation to its contacts. The distributer cap and spark plugs were changed only some 5-6 months ago. The engine temperature goes up to half way on the counter after about 10 - 15 mins driving. The front part of the exhaust pipe was changed around 5-6 months ago and the back box only 4-5 weeks ago. Leicestershire, UK 3/18/2003

1996 volkswagen jetta gl trek 5spd, 4cyl 120,000k I hear a clicking or thumping noise every time I accelerate in only 4th or 5th gear. I gets even worse when I have my ac on. I seem to notice it when im in a lower rpm. Please Help Me!!!!!!!Any idea what it might be???? Jennifer Mikalauskas Tampa Florida 3/18/2003

Hi, I have recently purchased a 1992 Mark 3 vw golf 1.8 automatic transmission. It has recently had a reconditioned Auto box and has since done about 20000 miles. The problem i have is that it will not go into the final drive and so sits at 40 mph at about 3000 rpm and then if you accelerate to 60 mph it goes up to about 4200 rpm and so on. Do you have any suggestions as what could be the cause of the problem and how to remedy it. Thanks, Waz. Waz, Birmingham, England UK 3/18/2003

Hey whats sup guys i have a VW jetta 97 and my question is i have a automatic 2.0L and i wanted to swap out my 2.0L for a VR6 engine do you think that everything will match up and what do i have to change out? and if i don't do that then i wanted to change out my automatic for a standard transmission and so would everything bolt up right as far as mounting goes and welding? Kris Mesilla NM 3/18/2003

I own a 1997 5 speed Golf GL 2.0. The clutch pedal started to stay depressed yesterday. I can lift it back up... it seems that a return spring is out of place but where is the return spring for this model Golf, inside the engine case? Thank you for any help you can provide! --Christian Christian Cutler, Decatur, GA 3/18/2003

I have an '88 VW FOX 1.8L Engine. 4 speed Manual Transmission. Right now I think I need to adjust the linkage as my fourth gear is not working. Sometimes it works when you hold it really tight, but most of the time it just grinds. All the linkage is in the tranny casing. I have never worked on transmissions before, how hard a job is it? How long would it roughly take? I do not want to start a job and not be able to finish it. I need my car. Every other gear works fine, just fourth is the problem. Do I need any extra parts or special tools? Should I replace the trans fluid as well? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Kyle ; Kingston, Ontario (Canada) 3/18/2003

Kyle; Wrong, all the linkage is in your hand and under the car. Your nylon shifter bushings are probably loose or worn out. Lenny.

Dear Lenny, Matt in Canada here again, first off the STP treatment quieted the buzzer and Oil light. New Problem, Different Car, my 1985 Jetta (gas, 1.8 i think, manual 5 speed) After backing out of driveway and putting in 1st something "broke" will not move in any gear, upon releasing the clutch I notice the axle shaft(i think that is what it is) is actually turning but making a clanking sound each revolution, back in neutral the sound sometimes disappears, but not always. P.S. there is still tension on the clutch pedal. Thanks, Matt matt, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 3/19/2003 

Matt; Sounds like one of your cv joints broke. Lenny.

91 jetta gl digifant. my question is. if its not called a pcv valve then what the heck is it. mine broke off at the valve cover and the valve cover is putting a nice coat of oil under the hood. ---Brian Brian, Akron, Ohio, 3/19/2003 

Brian; If the pcv plastic air vale or the pcv grommet broke your car is not going to rum well. Lenny.

Hello, Car is a 90 vw golf 1.6 (manual) after shutting off the car the fan is still running. sometimes it cuts off after 10-15 minutes and sometimes it does not go off and the battery dies. Thanks! Maria Schwartz Maria,Aviano,Italy 3/20/2003 

Maria; You have a bad fan switch, a bad fan after run switch or the wire going to the after run switch is grounding out to the engine or something. Lenny.

Re. 2001 golf tdi Brazil.mnfg. vacuum controlled air intake valve hangs up (gets stuck) in closed position due to carbon build up. Result is a no start condition. NO AIR car gets driven lots 80 miles daily any ideas as to cause. oil changes every 8000 km. air filter clean? How should it be serviced 1.9 tdi Brad Lauzon yblauzon@sympatico 3/20/2003

Brad; Be careful. Without more details it sound like you are dangerously close to a very expensive engine replacement job. I will try to get back to you soon. Email me here to remind me.   clicking here. Lenny.

I just bought a 1993 Passot v6 GLX. It is leaking water . I was told that it was the secondary water pump? It looks to me that the secondary pump is at the very bottom front of the engine. It also looks like the water is leaking up hire . My guess it is the main water pump? It also looks like it would be very very hard to replace. what do you think Jeff Jeff Loeffler Sellersville Pa jeff.loeffler2@VERIZON.NET 3/21/2003

Hello, I like to know what is a best choice 34 pict-3 1BBL or 34 ICT/H, my original solex has many leaks, so i decide to replace them, but i donīt want to invest to much, in a daily driving car. Thanks Mario, El Salvador 3/21/2003

Great site guys. I have what I believe is a 1968 beetle (might be a little newer). The automatic is blowing oil out all over the place and slipping. The oil leak looks to be between the engine and tranny, although some has been blown up into the engine compartment. Single port motor runs real well. Seal gone? What tranny fluid should I used when finished with repair? Thanks much. Steve Reiter steve Reiter, Bellwood, Nebraska 3/21/2003

Steve; Don't keep running it short of fluid or you will ruin the tranny and they ain't cheap. Dexron II or the newer Dexron III

Hi I have a 2000 cabrio GLS the convertible top will not go up I checked the hydraulic pump in the trunk and the tank is empty but I Don't know what type of fluid to put in to it? Know won seems to know can you help me? thank you kimberly miami, fl 3/22/2003

Kimberly; I will check on that but you can close the top manually in the meanwhile. Lenny.

I recently replaced the spark plugs in my 95 VW Passat GLX V6 Automatic. I used Bosch Platinum +4 (#4418) After feeling great because I'd never done this before, I called VW to find out what I saved. The service guy told me that if I used these Bosch plugs, I'd blow a hole in my pistons. Is this true? If so, why would Bosch sell them for my car? Darren, Studio City, CA 3/22/2003

Darren; I will check on that but on the face of it it sounds like a lot of bulls++t to me. Let me check further so I don't give you any bad advice. Do get the feeling some shops want to treat you like a mushroom. You know, put you in a dark room and feed you a lot of BS. Lenny.  Darren; On second thought lets keep it simple. Call 1 or 2 reputable parts outlets and inquire as to the spark plugs that are used in your year, make, and model car. Sometimes even Japanese NGK plugs are used but don't feel you have to buy the most expensive super duper platinum plated with 20 electrodes (I joke). I prefer a more basic often single electrode plug because some day when I break down in the Iraqi desert I will simply be able to pull the plugs, clean and regap them and continue on my way. Lenny.

Lenny, I own a 2001 VW Jetta and need to replace the driver's side brake light. How can I get into the housing where the brake light resides? There are no screws holding it in place and I feel that if I force it open I will break the casing. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks! Paul, Seattle, WA 3/22/2003 

Paul; Thru the trunk. Lenny.

hi, I am working on a 80 aircooled vanagon. We have 120 compression, spark, fuel, and have gone thru countless diagnostic procedures. All we get it to do is turn over and every once and a while backfire. We have replaced or check all the sensors, brain, harness, checked grounds, we are lost. It seems to be spark related but the coil is good, points are gaped right, wires, rotor, and everything seem good. Can't even get her to sputter even with starter fluid. Any info would be a big help. Thanks, Chrischris, asheville, nc 3/23/2003

Chris; At this point you may have already fixed the problem but your plugs are so fouled up it won't fire. Do you do you not have spark. Try and give me more facts and less opinions. Let me remind you  for an engine to run well or run at all it needs  1)adequate and equal compression, 2)a good spark at the right time and the right duration, and 3) the correct fuel air mixture. If you pull the center electrode off the distributor cap and hold maybe 1/4" from the center and have someone turn the car over with a well charged battery for better sparking power are you getting a consistent spark? If you get shocked it won't permanently hurt you but it might give the guy standing behind you a bloody nose when your elbow suddenly jerks bacvk and hits him. If there is no spark then you have a spark problem but if the spark is there but kind of thready it could be because the plugs are resisting the spark because they are fouled. Any spark is good. Pull all the plugs, turn the engine over to clean the fuel out of the cylinders. If you spray starter fluid and you have spark but it doesn't even misfire then you are probably too rich.  If you know how to disconnect the fuel pump or the fuel pump relay or pull the electrical plug off the air flow sensor to shut the fuel pump down while doing this. Clean or replace the plugs if they are fouled or fuel contaminated. This may get the car running but not fix your problem so write me back with your results.   Lenny.

I have a 97 Jetta GLX VR6 that I recently had serviced and had the check engine light reset for what I thought was an engine misfire I had on a cold day recently. The code the guys pulled was P0411 "Secondary Air Injection System Incorrect Flow Detected" On the advice of some other forums I went ahead and replaced all the visible braided vacuum lines with brand new ones from the dealer. My MIL is still on (gonna get it reset again) but my question is this: Is it likely that the vaccum lines were the problem or should I be looking at something else? PS: I do own a Bentley and use it often! Thanks, Dave. David, Greensboro, NC 3/24/2003


Ty: You don't really have the tools to do the job and answer my questions so I can help you but there are other ways so I'll try. I would never use a used fuel pump. If you have a defective in tank pump then main pump will make noise even tho it may not be bad. We usually replace the small in-tank pump before we even think about replacing the more expensive main pump. You need to make sure you are getting 12 volts to these 2 pumps but first find yourself a gas can or container to pump fuel into. Go into the trunk , remove the round lid and remove the fuel output line, usually the one on the left (there should be an arrow to indicate fuel flow direction). Hook up a 7mm fuel line and puit it in your container. Have some one turn the key on and the fuel pump relay should go on for maybe one second and the fuel should come out in a steady stream. If there is no fuel flow disconnect the electrical connector and do the same test to determine if you are receiving battery voltage to the pump. If power is good and going to the pump then the pump is bad or a connection or fuel line in the tank is broken. You can also do this test on that pump on the bench. Lenny.

1989 Jetta GLI 16V Wolfsburg ed. 5 speed 176,750 miles Problem: Car starts up no problem, but I start to loose RPM ( I mean she bottoms out) when the engine gets to 196 degrees. It will go from 3800 rpm to nothing then back up again, then when it gets past this temp it will somewhat go back to normal with only a few hickups. A couple of times lately it has not come back up and then when I get to the side of the road let her sit for a couple of minutes I get back on the road like nothing happened. I probably need to mention she has flooded a couple of times recently but I wait a few minutes and it starts right up. Thanks for any advice you can give me on this matter. D Curtis, Columbia, Md 3/26/2003

D Curtis; Check for a bad connection on your coolant temperature sensor and run an resistance or Ohms test and check the graph in the repair manual to see if it is defective an get back to me. Lenny.

I'm mystified as to how to remove the spark plugs on a T4 2.8 VR6 engine. The spark plug lead's connectors are resistant to being pulled. It seems that the twin fans need to be removed from the radiator to help. I've heard that it may need the inlet manifold taken off. Your suggestions are welcome. Thanks in anticipation. Martin. Martin, Cambridge, England. 3/26/2003

Lenny: I have a 1998 Jetta that I turned into an all-wheel drive vehicle with the help of a few bike chains linked together and 4 large sprockets on each wheel, but I'm getting really bad gas mileage, my brakes aren't working correctly, and it's really hard to steer. Any idea what could be wrong? I use Pennzoil 10-w-30? Dan Tonel, Spokane, WA 3/26/2003

Will; It sounds like a screw loose behind the steering wheel to me. Also I wouldn't use Pennzoil 10-w-30 because of a potential for valve float and possible damage to the piston return springs. Lenny.

I got 87 VW GTI 16V 1.8L 5 - speed manual transmission I just put a used transmission in. Every time I put the car in 1st gear and try to drive the car starts jerking back and forth, this also happens in second gear but not in the other gears. I think it could be a problem with the linkage. what do you think? Shawn, Moundsville, WV 3/27/2003

Skip; How did you confirm that the used tranny was going to be good before you installed it. Odds are because 1st and 2nd gear are in line and both are giving you problems then it is probably a linkage problem. This can very subjective but you should be able feel the all the spring loaded detentes give way to your shifting pressure and feel yourself moving cleanly into each gear. Hold the presses! As I think about it more you could have problems in the tranny. If adjusting the linkage doesn't help go under the hood and disconnect the tranny linkage from the tranny you can then manually shift the tranny and be sure you are in the exact position you need to be in. If all else fails I might have a used tranny here at the shop so let me know.  clicking here. Lenny.

Lenny i have a 1998 vw jetta 2.0 5 speed.When rain or get wet under the car,i have problem to star, sometimes go for few blocks then die,rpm slow go down when i go to first gear i wait till next day and hopping no rain in Fl.?some body told me to change the sensors? Thanks for you advised,sorry we live far away.Thanks againg Marco. Marco 3/28/2003

Marco; The first thing to do is shut off the key or remove it and then disconnect all the computer connections in you engine compartment and make sure they are clean, dry and corrosion free. Clean them. If you get no change then go on to check the large connection to your computer and make sure it is clean. Lenny.

 have a 84 rabbit and ti keep it running i have to loosen a gas line it is fuel injecson i think it may be the return line to the tank please help me if you can. roy smith d 3/30/2003

Roy; I gave up my mind reading job to become an automotive technician. Which fuel line did you loosen and for how long did it run, etc, etc, etc, etc? You can give me some history too if you think it will help me. Lenny.

Electrical Problems

Hi Lenny, I purchased a used 96 Golf 2.0 GL last spring. It is a 5 speed standard. It came with an aftermaket air intake on it but I have had no problems at all with the car since I have had it till this past couple of months. When driving in wet rainy conditions the check engine light begins to blink and then stay on. When this occurs the car acts as if it is stuttering you can feel this when it happens. I brought it to a garage and the light indicated a miss fire. I have no problems when it is dry out but when it is rainy it does the same thing....loss of power and the check engine light blinks and stays on. sometimes while this happens if I let off the throttle a little is acts as if it is going to come out of it. Again I only have problems when I drive in wet conditions. I was wondering if you could help me out on this because I don't know what I should do. Thanks. Jeremey, Unity, ME, 3/30/2003 

Jeremy; It sounds to me like a classic case of ignition problems that only occur when there is enough moisture in the air to assist as a conductor. One of the tools in most mechanic's arsenal is a little water aerosol spray bottle that can be sprayed on wires or the coil when the engine is dry to see if the car will act up when this happens. This is true of most any car with ignition wires but is especially troublesome on the 93-99 Golf 3, Jetta 3s on the 2nd stage high energy ignition coil that develops a hairline crack in the plastic close to where the ignition wire going to the distributor is plugged in. THis coil is attached to the drivers side firewall and is rectangular in shape. Lenny.

Greetings... I have a 1991 Vanagon Weekender with AC, Power steering, 138k Auto matic on the motor orig. heads, no drips. I have had it a week, bought it from a fastidous engineer type. Runs fine passed inspection. Had a clicking lifter, that cleared up after about 20 minutes, is this serious or could be. Don't know much about compression checks, no smoke from the exhaust, has good power for a bus. sam. Sam Scholz 3/30/2003 

Sam; It is perfectly normal for most VWs to have lifter noise when first started up and is almost always not a problem if it goes away after a few minutes and/or at higher speeds. It wouldn't hurt and could help to buy some "lifter quiet" additive and add to the engine oil  as per the instructions on the container. Lenny.

RHD - Mk 3 - 1.6GLS GOLF - 1997 Hi Lenny, This is on behalf of a female colleague; Oil pressure light "flashed on" - momentarily lost engine power (1 - 2 seconds - did not die totally) and the car then carried on as normal, and the oil pressure light went off. Water temperature gauge was normal, car was service within 5,000 Km, (all filters replaced).... She took the car to the VW agents..and they replaced (wait for it!) the water pump! (Prize 'rip-off'!) The problem arose again - 2 months later...this time the Oil pressure light stayed on for about 200 M, whilst pulling off the road. Same symptoms. Water temp okay, fuel fine. Car was towed in - and when started....problem gone. Could you advise to the possible problem, plus have VW electronically "wired" the oil pressure sensor (does this model have a 'Hi' & 'Lo' oil pressure sensor?) to 'restrict/cut-off' fuel flow, thereby cutting the engine - forcing it to die thus 'protecting' the engine from further damage? I seem to remember the 'first' Golf's had this device. Regards & thanks, Jot. Jonathan Burke, Rep. of South Africa 3/31/2003

Where do you check the transmission fluid in a 2002 beetle? I don't see it. I see where the oil goes, but nothing for the transmission. Thanks. fric 3/31/2003 

Fric; Without a computer you can't check it. There is a plug that needs to be opened up to check the but only the computer that we attach to your car it will tell us the exact temperature of the fluid and any other temperature will cause problems. Lenny.

Lenny can you help here is the problem I have a 90 jetta gl 1.8 8v sohc german production digi. It decides it won't start every once in awhile car will turn over and I hear the fuel pump prime but wont catch if i hold the key in the start position for a minute or two (know horrible for car but i have to get too work) it will start with a rough Idle and then run fine idle levels off to about 950 it sometimes revs between 1250 and 1800 till it gets warm then 950 The start problem seems to happen when it is above freezing and damp out. I have changed plugs wires cap and rotor and it still does it bently says wipe condesation off wires or check pump. any ideas please i need this car to last and want to bring it back to OEM spec.. I have a son due in 3.5 weeks and can't have a car I might have to fight with in an emergency please help
john uiterwyk, buffalo, N.Y. 3/31/2003

i have a 1600 engine with a 12v generator, what do i do with the regulator and wiring when installing an alternator. phoenix,oregon 4/1/2003

Phoenix; That depends. What kind of an alternator. Does it have a separate voltage regulator or an integral voltage regulator inside the alternator? Lenny. 

Greetings, I have a 1989 VW Passat GT 1.8 injection. When restarting when warm the idle speed jumps to 2500 then slowly drops to normal. I've cleaned the idle control valve to no effect. I've heard this is a common problem. Any thoughts? regards. geoff scotchbrook, london, UK 4/1/2003

I have a 1996 Cabrio. The AC only works when the engine temp is cold. As soon as the engine warms up the AC compressor quits. Could this be the sensor that is mounted on the left side of the radiator? Dennis DeSpain Naples,Fl 4/1/2003

Have a 96 Jetta automatic. Recently the transmission is in 2nd gear in all of the forward gear settings. Reverse, park, neutral are all fine. Any ideas? Is this a computer controlled shift, so are we looking at computer problems? Kennewick WA 4/1/2003

I have a 1988 1.8 8v GTI (digifant) that has suddenly started to develop a fault. This is that when warm there seems to be a slight miss fire on tickover, but driving is fine and as before the fault. The oil seems ok and so does the water (I was suspecting a gasket problem) so I think it rules that out. I have since had a compression test done and in the first cylinder there is a slight loss of compression - but im told not serious. I assume this is causing the probs do you have any idea in what could be causing this. Colin - Manchester, Great Britain 4/2/2003

I have a 1996 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 3 2.0 Litre 16V. When idling the engine sounds a bit rough, diesel sounding. Can the tappets etc be realigned if this is the problem or does the 2.0 litre 16 V model have hydraulics so this would not be possible? London, England 4/2/2003

I have a new 2000 Beetle. I had an aftermarket radio installed with no problems, about a year ago. Recently, the "check engine" light went on, and when I brought it in for service, they told me they can't run a diagnostic test to see what the problem is because of the aftermarket radio. They claim that the internal computer thinks the radio is missing since the stock radio isn't there, and they can't run the diagnostic to see what the problem is. Any suggestions as to how to correct this, rather then their suggestion of re-nstalling the stock radio? Thanks. Matthew, Freehold, NJ 4/2/2003 

Mathew; If you find somebody that knows what they are doing they should be able to pull the radio and correct the bad wiring and then reinstall the radio but the next time you take it somewhere and they need to scan the computer a different shop may require you to have them pull the radio again. This is true of all cars made mid 65 on up. Lenny.

Good day. I have a 1992 Jetta Diesel, 5spd with 265000km.on it. Just recently, after starting, the alternator light stays on and the tachometer does not work. At first, if it was reved up to about 3500rpm, the light would go out and the tach would work. But now, the light just stays on and, again, no tach. I truly believe that the alternator is the problem, as the battery is fairly new, but I just need confirmation. Any suggestions would be appreciated.  

I have a 1995 VW Jetta 4 cylinder. Every time I try to play the radio it says "SAFE" on the radio screen. How can I fix it where it's not going to cost me a ton of money. or should I just purchase a new radio. Also every time I lock my car the alarm will go off in a couple of hours. What is wrong with my car. ? THANKS. Joanna, Anaheim, California USA 4/3/2003

Joanna; If you don't know the radio code then you will have to pull it out of the dash and locate the serial number and call the dealership for the code. Of course the their may just be a default code of 1111 but if you try twice in a short period of time then you will have to wait an hour before you can try again. Lenny.

I have a 2000 Jetta VR6. Since I purchased the car, if the car is left for more than about a day, the battery will be drained. I have taken the car in to the dealership and they have been unable to find the problem. After starting and stopping the car and then measuring the battery current with the car closed shows a current draw of below 30 mA (the spec). If I were to guess, it would seem that there is something that is applying a load after a period of time that rapidly draws the battery down. If I drive the car every day, the battery is solid. If I leave the car for several days, the battery is flat dead (not even enough power for the clock). I have replaced the battery three times since 2000. Any ideas? Lacey, Washington 4/3/2003

Lacey; You need to find a shop to keep the car for as many days as it takes to find the problem. You or them or somebody could pull out half of the fuses and see if the problem persists in the next couple of days. If the car doesn't start charge up the battery and put half of those fuses back in until the problem goes away and hopefully by process of elimination at least narrow down the possibilities. If the car does start then do the opposite. You get the picture. Have you put a new radio in recently? Lenny.

I currently have a 2000 VW GTi with only a 2.0L engine, after last nights snow storm i drove to work and because of the low ride i dragged some snow and ripped a piece of plastic of the bottom that is still dragging, it's near the front driver side tire and it's just a piece of plastic but i can't rip it off, do i need it? can i rip it off? what the H**L is it. there is another on the other side still intact but i can't figure out what it does. please help as i don't want to drag it all the way home if i shouldn't. Sorry it is a 5 speed manual. Shawn Auger Ontario Canada 4/4/2003

Shawn; It sounds like your plastic wheel well and it also sounds like it is damaged already so you might just want to cut it away and replace if necessary when you get a chance. Lenny.


Jim; No but you wioll have to unbolt the 17 mm bolts on either side so you can drop the I-beam down and out of the way. Lenny.

I searched all your posts & didn't see my problem. I hope you can advise me as 2 dealer service departments have blown me off. I'm a 2nd owner of a '97 Jetta GLS automatic bought in 5/99 w/19,000 miles. A year later I reported to service that the transmission would delay shifting into last gear, requiring a "tap" on the accelerator. They found no problems but reset the basic settings. 2 months later I reported it again & they reset the settings. 4/91 I complained again that it took too long & too high rpm's to shift into final gear (45,000 miles). Again, the basics were reset. Not only did it not fix the problem but it started "thunking" into gear. 2 months later, service told me I had a transmission problem & since it was still under warranty, they replaced it. When the problem still continued (although less obvious), I took it to a 2nd dealer who told me I hadn't needed a new transmission, that it was just a factor in the computers in automatic transmissions, and to drive in 3rd gear around town & in drive on the freeway. It seems like every oil change, they have to reset the basic settings & it runs smoother for about 6 months. I just had it in for another check, again, no problems were found per them but the car is sporadically "clunking" into gear. They recommended it was time for a transmission flush which I had done (& was told it might make the problem worse ?!?). I've lost my faith in VW dealers. At 72,000 miles, I have no warranty anymore so the "easy fix" is gone. I called VW but since it's out of warranty, all they could tell me was to make an appointment with the field service manager of the dealership. Being a female & "car illiterate", can you recommend any course of action? Thank you. Jan, Torrance, CA 4/4/2003

Janet; I would have to scan and interrogate your onboard computer to get some idea of what your problem might be. I would like to know what fault code was present before they returned your car to"basic settings". See if any of your receipts contain this info or the will the dealership have this info? If you have a 50,000 mile warranty and the tranny is replaced doesn't the dealership start counting all over again from zero miles. Write me here or you can email me directly. E-mail me by clicking here.

I have a 1998 1.9l tdi beetle. Turn signals stopped working. I have checked the fuse ok I have replaced the relay and they still don't work. The hazzard flashers do work. Please help me. Jack Clark, Longview, WA 4/7/2003 

Jack; Without more info it sounds like a defective turn signal switch. Lenny.

Subj: mk3vr6" Secondary air injection incorrect airflow
Date: 3/30/03 From: 
I was wondering if you can help me diagnose this problem, I checked all the hoses from the pump to the intake all looks good. The pump also seems to be running, I can hear it whine. The check light keeps coming on. please help, thanks.

Pequisto; You did no say what year it was but this usually means you have intake leaks often in the small vacuum lines all around your engine.Lenny.   

Subj: vw passat  Date: 4/7/03 From: I would really appreciate your help on this. I'm changing the key switch on a 93 passat v6 and I can't get it out of the housing. How is this done? I have been prying and pulling everywhich way and can't figure it out. Thanks so much, Bob.

Bob; I could give a long explanation of how to replace the tumbler key switch but the problem is on that car and any of the 1993 VWs and up you need to replace the plastic 1) electrical switch, the 2) tumbler switch and the 3) key switch housing all at the same time or you may just be doing the same job over again in a month or 2. You could get lucky and not have to do this but I recommend you do them all if you want to be sure the problem won't come back. Also there is a special VW tool for pulling off the steering wheel hub but you might get lucky and with a lot of difficult effort be able to do the job without it. Lenny.

I just acquired a 94 Jetta 2.0 5 speed with 86,000 miles. It shifted great into all 5 gears, then suddenly, it won't engage in 5th gear. The shifter will go to the 5th gear position, but it is obviously in 3rd and not 5th. The clutch was replaced about a year ago, and I did have a full service oil change/fluid check done on it. Can anyone give me an idea of what is wrong and what this will cost me? I have always driven volkswagens and couldn't turn down a nearly free car for my soon to be 16 yr old. I got the car from a friend who has taken great care of it. Thanks! Martha, Raleigh, NC 4/7/2003 

Martha; It is good that you bought it from a friend so you can ask questions to the previous owner if you need to. Question, is the shifter kin of loose and "sloppy"? Sometimes you will lose the 5th gear and nothing else on those trannys so you or somebody mechanically inclined can open the hood and manually shift the tranny into fifth gear and at that point you will either find out that you have some broken shifter linkage or a bad 5th gear. Sometimes the nose of the tranny can be pulled off and the defective 5th gear can be replaced with possibly a good gear either new or used. Lenny.


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