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Old 02-05-2013, 11:10 PM
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Default Ripped off by the dealer?

Hi,

Any thoughts on whether I should recommend bailing on this dealer and taking the vehicle elsewhere for work? So far they are in diagnose mode and haven't started work.

TLDR: Hard starting + anemic heating a week ago = $350 replacement of coolant temp sensor at a new (to us) dealer; when car stalls a week later the same dealer now wants to charge $680 to fix an EVAP leak and replace the thermostat ($200-$250 for the thermostat). They haven't yet determined why it isn't starting or what caused the loss of power; the EVAP was just a code they decided to fix.

Are they really taking us for a ride? I'm trying my hardest not to go scream at them... asking them their pricing they just read their book rates. WTF 1.4 hours to do a thermostat? Especially when we already had the car there for the same work 1 week ago?

Full:
I'm familiar with doing work on my Neon, but less so with Beetles. My girlfriend's ~2000 2.0L Beetle has been hard starting lately. I haven't witnessed it but she says sometimes it takes 4-5 tries. It also lost power and stalled when she was pulling onto the highway last night. Finally, she has had problems all winter with the heater not working well (which I have noticed and suggested the thermostat might be stuck open).

A couple of weeks ago she triggered a check engine light. I scanned it and got 4 odd codes which I couldn't quite piece together (P1850,P0440,P0725,P1780) except as possibly being raised by a shorting CAN bus line or other problems with the ECU / TCU. I test drove it and had no problems with it shifting, plus the speedometer, ODBII speed, and GPS were all in agreement, so the speed sensor being a problem seemed unlikely. I cleared the codes and told her the thermostat was probably bad causing the heating problem, and there was a possible short on a circuit connected to her ECU causing the check light which would be more difficult for me to diagnose.

Last week - before the stall - she took the car to a different dealer since it is near her work. She asked them to check out the hard starting and lack of heater. They billed her $350-$400 for diagnosing and replacing the coolant temp sensor, which was apparently throwing a code. (I didn't read this code before it went into the shop). At the time they said this was a 'first step' and might not fix everything. They said the thermostat didn't need to be replaced yet, and would be a next step if the problems didn't go away. They weren't able to explain how it was connected - at all - to the hard starting. I didn't voice my concerns because I figured it was possible this was the issue - a short in the sensor could perhaps trigger the 4 other PIDs I read, plus perhaps cause the radiator fan to run non-stop. Now that I think about this that still couldn't cause poor heating as the thermostat, if working correctly, wouldn't have opened. (My scanner showed the coolant at 50-60C max highway - so I knew the heating issue was that the coolant wasn't heating up).

The last few days she was still having trouble starting and then lost power. She was able to start it again and drive home, but had her roadside assistance tow it back to this dealer. They've had it all day today and haven't found anything except a code for an EVAP problem (possibly the P0440 I found) and the still cool coolant. They want to replace the thermostat and fix the EVAP problem for $680. What. the. hell. They're charging her again for diagnosis even though she was just there and already paid for diagnosis of the same problem. And they're billing her the full 1.4 hours labor + $50 parts for the thermostat, which they should have replaced last time. Furthermore, they say they haven't figured out the hard starting or loss of power yet and want to keep it overnight to see if they can find the problems by 'starting the car in the morning'. They said they have no clue and currently the tech is stumped.

This dealership has a decent rating online, though I wonder whether the string of recent excellent ratings are fake - they're all roughly the same word count and have the same tone. Reviews from a year to 4 years ago are mostly poor.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:27 PM
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The stealership will rape you if you let them. What you need to do is find a good independent VW/Audi shop that you can trust.
If you can fill out your user profile it will help other who may be in your area give a recommendation to a reputable shop in your area.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:51 PM
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OK, thanks!
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:27 AM
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P0440 is a leak in the EVAP system. Could be just a loose gas cap or something more serious. See this for a thorough explanation of the EVAP system and its diagnosis:

EVAP system

P0725 is for the engine speed (rpm) sensor. This is a known high failure item. A bad sensor will usually cause sudden stalling with no other symptoms.

P1780 is a park/neutral switch malfunction.

P1850 is a communication error between the ECU and TCM. A possibility here is bad battery, fuse or ground connections. These cars are vulnerable to corrosion problems in the connections around the battery, including a fuse panel mounted to the top of the battery case. See this thread:

ABs Light problem VAG COM diagnostics
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:56 AM
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Great details. I hadn't seen this exact phrasing for the last 3 (and EVAP is pretty generic). As for the speed sensor someone did post that they fail often, but everything else I read seemed to say it was the vehicle speed, not engine speed. Is this basically a camshaft position sensor then? I could see that causing both hard start and stalls.

BTW, none of these errors except EVAP came back over the next couple of weeks... I tightened the gas cap and drove the vehicle myself and didn't have any of the problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red99 View Post
P0440 is a leak in the EVAP system. Could be just a loose gas cap or something more serious. See this for a thorough explanation of the EVAP system and its diagnosis:

EVAP system

P0725 is for the engine speed (rpm) sensor. This is a known high failure item. A bad sensor will usually cause sudden stalling with no other symptoms.

P1780 is a park/neutral switch malfunction.

P1850 is a communication error between the ECU and TCM. A possibility here is bad battery, fuse or ground connections. These cars are vulnerable to corrosion problems in the connections around the battery, including a fuse panel mounted to the top of the battery case. See this thread:

ABs Light problem VAG COM diagnostics
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:48 AM
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First things first.

Dealers are noting more than over priced parts replacers, they do not diagnose and repair cars, they replace parts.

Find a decent Indy that knows VW and get your work performed there.

And this temperature sensor issue is about ready to have me pull my eyeballs out. Yes there were some temperature sensor issues, the sensor is usually less than $20 and is gravy to install. Price may have crept up a bit, but this is about where I last knew the price to be.

BUT, the dealer tech if he had a brain could have quickly determined if the thermostat needed to be replaced after reading the complaint of poor heat and connecting a scan tool to the car after a 10-15 minute drive. But the tech probably could not get a porter to drive the car?? But even in this instance, given the complaint of lackluster heat, the temperature sender has nothing to do with the heat performance. It is all to do with the thermostat and a very slim possibility of a water pump being bad, which would likely cause an overheat issue.

The thermostat should have been replaced regardless based upon the complaint, the temperature sender, well this is debatable.

Suggest you read my comments in this thread - 1.8 Turbo Vacuum Issues

Evap can be due to solenoid being bad or possibly a crack evap tank which is located behind the right rear wheel and can easily be cracked if someone bumps a high curb, light pole or another car.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisAshton84 View Post
Great details. I hadn't seen this exact phrasing for the last 3 (and EVAP is pretty generic). As for the speed sensor someone did post that they fail often, but everything else I read seemed to say it was the vehicle speed, not engine speed. Is this basically a camshaft position sensor then? I could see that causing both hard start and stalls.

BTW, none of these errors except EVAP came back over the next couple of weeks... I tightened the gas cap and drove the vehicle myself and didn't have any of the problems.
It's actually the Crankshaft positioning sensor/impulse sensor. It is prone to fail and will cause stalling and hard starts. Replace that and I bet at least that problem will be solved. The cool coolant issue is most likely the thermostat. Charging you over 300 bucks to replace the coolant sensor is a joke you can get them for less than 10 bucks and it takes literally 2 minutes to replace. I hate dealerships. Don't let them charge you $680 dollars to replace the thermostat. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to swap those on the 2.0 motor and the part is less than 20 bucks. I can't believe these rip off artists are allowed to be in business. Also change your transmission fluid if you haven't done so already. I assume you have the 4 Speed Automatic of that era which is the worst ever transmission VW put in the beetle. Also when was the timing belt and water pump service performed last? If you don't know do yourself a favor and have it done ASAP. Those engines are interference engines and if the timing belt goes so does your head.

Anyway, good luck and I hope you get it fixed and not by that dealer.

OEM / Performance Parts for Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Porsche & Volkswagen - ECS Tuning

OEM / Performance Parts for Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Porsche & Volkswagen - ECS Tuning

OEM / Performance Parts for Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Porsche & Volkswagen - ECS Tuning

Volkswagen New Beetle 2.0 > Search > Timing Belt > ES#8452 ECS Timing Belt Kit - Ultimate Plus - 06A198500
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:56 PM
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Crap, if its the crank position sensor is it under the timing belt pulley like on my Neon? I really need to get a repair manual... Also, its winter here in MN and I don't have a heated garage to do repair work in. If its hard to get to I guess I'll try to find another shop nearby. There's a place called Metric Auto Works in Woodbury, MN that we have used in the past. It's also pricey (~100 / hr?) but I didn't get as bad of a feeling from them, short of their 2500 mile oil replacement they convinced my gf to start doing. I don't *think* they were working by book rates. There's also a shady shop run by a VW tech in his off hours, but it's much further away.

I looked at a video for the replacement of the thermostat and wow, that is simple. Biggest pain will be the drain and refill of coolant. Is the radiator drain easy to access?

If the EVAP canister is easy to get to I'll give that a try too. The person handling the car did tell me what the problem was w/ that but I can't remember I don't recall her saying it was one of the solenoids, but if it is, are they easy to change too?

Also, the timing belt and water pump were done last year, and a 100k mile tuneup package a bit before that. I don't know what all that entailed but I assumed belts, coolant, and fluids.

Thanks for the help. You have been far more useful then any mechanic we've been to so far.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:32 PM
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The rpm sensor is very easy. It is on the front of the crankcase near the oil filter. One bolt and the electrical connector as I recall.

The coolant is easy to drain. Fitting is on the driver side of the radiator, easy to access by removing the belly pan. A 3/8" hose will fit on the drain tube and allow you to collect the coolant. The drain turns about 90° and then pulls.

For the EVAP, I am putting together a DIY that I will post to the forum on testing the EVAP system. They were probably talking about the purge valve as that is probably the most common failure, but it is easy to test with a hand vacuum pump. The EVAP canister is in the rear fender near the gas filler. It is expensive and you don't want to go there until other things have been eliminated.

Good to hear the timing belt has been replaced. Hopefully the water pump was replaced as well. It is driven by the timing belt. The original ones have a very high failure rate. The impellers were plastic and break or come loose from the shaft. It is easy to check the water pump when the thermostat is removed. Just reach a finger into the pump cavity and see if the impeller moves or has missing blades.

If you are going to maintain one of these cars it definitely pays to have some help from others who have been there. I now consider the internet to be the most valuable tool that I use for working on my cars. Especially since VW is not afraid to do things a little differently from anybody else if there is some perceived benefit.

Last edited by red99; 02-06-2013 at 06:08 PM..
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red99 View Post
Especially since VW is not afraid to do things a little differently from anybody else if there is some perceived benefit.

That's what I assumed was happening here - that all of these parts were incredibly difficult to fix because of how VW packaged the engine in the Beetle. Turns out I was wrong
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisAshton84 View Post
That's what I assumed was happening here - that all of these parts were incredibly difficult to fix because of how VW packaged the engine in the Beetle. Turns out I was wrong
Just wait until you replace a headlight bulb! You'll see what engineers-gone-wild can do.

Seriously, though, pretty much everything is serviceable. It is just a matter of the complication in fixing it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:57 PM
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Damn, the dealer already did the work before the gf could tell them to stop

But they still haven't figured out why it wasn't starting or stalled on her. Jesus. Failure.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red99 View Post
Just wait until you replace a headlight bulb! You'll see what engineers-gone-wild can do.

Seriously, though, pretty much everything is serviceable. It is just a matter of the complication in fixing it.
Heh you say that but that's the one fix I did already. Of course, whoever did it previously broke both sides. I was able to get out the assembly with the bad bulb, but don't know what I'll do when the other one breaks. It's stuck firm and the tab is broken off.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisAshton84 View Post
Damn, the dealer already did the work before the gf could tell them to stop

But they still haven't figured out why it wasn't starting or stalled on her. Jesus. Failure.
Crankshaft Positioning sensor

I can't believe they are so stupid and haven't thought of that yet. Oh wait. They will the next time you return it and help pay for their kids college education.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
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Crankshaft Positioning sensor

I can't believe they are so stupid and haven't thought of that yet. Oh wait. They will the next time you return it and help pay for their kids college education.
If the aftermarket prices for replacement CPS are that high, paying the dealer premium probably would cover a semester at state school :-X

She's taking their shuttle over to pick the car up (not going to wait any longer for them to diagnose). I'd go with, but have a meeting at work. I told her to tell them:

1) since they were unable to find the problem, you asked another mechanic
2) that mechanic was extremely surprised at the costs the dealer was charging you
3) especially surprised that they charged you twice for diagnostics
4) and surprised at the book times you were given
Given what he said,
5) you are extremely unhappy
6) that he said a whole thermometer replacement should be $50-$75
7) and that you are extremely upset that after paying for diagnostics twice, they still haven't found the problem you're asking them to find
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:02 PM
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I did some more investigation on the EVAP fault codes and it looks like P0440 is related to the purge valve, and not a leak. Here is a post with the official VW/Audi definitions of the fault codes:

ABS and the new Beetle

For P0440 it says:

16824 P0440 Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) - Purge Malfunction B

So that is good. Much better the purge valve than a leak somewhere. I've seen much less problem with EVAP leaks on VWs compared to other cars.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:04 PM
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Oh god. They only gave her a coupon and discount on the diagnostic, bringing that down to $63. And they told her next time the car doesn't stop, don't even call, just have it towed to them.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:03 PM
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Here is some more info on the code, including possible causes/fixes: 16824/P0440/001088 - Ross-Tech Wiki
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:26 PM
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Thanks for the EVAP info.

I'm thinking we'll take it to the after hours VW tech. He promised to run a diagnostic for free and give us a loaner car. He also thought it could be a clogged fuel filter (didn't mention the OBD2 codes to him yet).

This time I'll make sure the quote is reasonable... it's worth paying a little bit since I don't have a heated garage to work in.

If not I guess I'll bum a garage spot off a friend and try to take care of it myself.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:31 PM
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Well I know the thread is mostly dead, but here's the going rates (she did get some prices knocked down apparently, total is $492 insead of quoted $680):

diagnostics $63 (reduced price)

thermostat replacement $176
thermostat + washer $32

purge valve replacement $63

purge valve part $158

You guys have been very helpful, even though we didn't end up saving any money on this run.

By the way, they told her the Beetles are designed to never need a fuel filter replacement, but the other VW tech said that was the first thing he'd try. Who's right?
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