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Old 01-05-2013, 08:36 PM
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Default Lacking acceleration

98 Beetle, 144,000 miles. Taking off from stop lights is fine but merging on to the freeway has very slow acceleration. Doesn't matter how hard you step on the gas pedal. I think it happens when it is in 4th gear. When we were going to the mountains (Big Bear) I had to put it into 3rd gear and leave it there to get speed up the mountain. Any ideas? Thanks
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Prostreet71 View Post
98 Beetle, 144,000 miles. Taking off from stop lights is fine but merging on to the freeway has very slow acceleration. Doesn't matter how hard you step on the gas pedal. I think it happens when it is in 4th gear. When we were going to the mountains (Big Bear) I had to put it into 3rd gear and leave it there to get speed up the mountain. Any ideas? Thanks
Yup, it's an automatic with the valve body starting to fail. Happens all the time with these notorious O1M transmissions. I am amazed that you didn't have any issues earlier on.
Have you changed the transmission fluid yet?
If not then it is time to get rid of the mud in your transmission and put some fresh fluid in. No guarantees with that transmission and eventually you will need to replace the valve body and transmission harness. It's just the nature of the beast.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:16 PM
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Thanks for the bad news. Yes the fluid has been changed. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed that it lasts for awhile. Been like this since we got it about 2years ago.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Prostreet71 View Post
Thanks for the bad news. Yes the fluid has been changed. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed that it lasts for awhile. Been like this since we got it about 2years ago.
Since it doesn't kick down to a lower gear automatically you may want to try downshifting manually in order to be able to accellerate better.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:33 AM
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Your issue may not be transmission related.

Suggest you get a scan tool that can read real time data on the car and verify the coolant temperate and fuel trims. Far too often people check the coolant temps on newer cars and see a figure close to 180F and determine the coolant temp is fine. This is not the case, most of the newer cars need to run at about 200-205F for proper performance. This is where your engine should be running as far as engine coolant temp. Do not be fooled by the fact your engine may have a 185F thermostat. Your coolant temperature sensor is located at the output of the cylinder head coolant, not near the thermostat so this is why there is a big difference between the thermostat temp and what the coolant temp sensor reads.

The other thing I would suggest you do is some research on the 2.0l catalytic converter issues. You may need to get under your car and take the palm of your hand to and hit the catalytic converter to see if you get a rattle of internals from the converter.

Not sure if the early cars were as prone to the converter problems, but it is worth checking out.

You may also need to buy an exhaust back pressure tester to confirm you do not have an exhaust restriction.

Something like this is what you would need to test the exhaust back pressure - Tool Aid 33600 Exhaust Back Pressure Tester - Amazon.com

The other thing is do you know the history on the car very well? It would not be the first time a camshaft would be off by 1 tooth causing a loss of power. This should be a pretty easy check by just removing the cam belt cover and confirming the camshaft position is correct.
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