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vanagonman, VW Mechanic
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 274
Experience:  11 years experience running VW shop and parts store focusing on VW vans.
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2002 VW beetle: misfire..miss..check engine light flashes..cylinder

Customer Question

My parents have a 2002 VW beetle with a 2.0 SOHC engine. Just recently it started to misfire (dead miss on a cold rainy day / check engine light flashes therefore "dead-miss") so i started to pull the spark plug wires one-by-one to find the cyclinder. Turns out to be cylinder number one. While pulling the wires i noticed that number one had no spark coming out. So I used a DVOM to check the wires, they ohm out at 6,000 ohms (i think), regardless they're all exactly the same. So now I'm stuck on the coil. When I used my DVOM to diagnos that I came up with mixed results; mainly because I don't know if its waste spark or separate coils per cylinder (I think its the later). I thought it was the coil causing the problem because after removing the wires from it (one at a time) still no spark came out from number one. But I am second guessing myself due to a lack of availability of it from the neighboring parts stores. Any procedure to diagnose the ignition coil would be greatly appriciated.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Danny replied 8 years ago.

It is waste spark and resistance tests aren't a valid test because they win't show anything
If the insulation is cracked on the wires or the coil. Put the stuff back together and startr the car. Use a spray bottle
to spray the wires and coil and when it starts missing more you found the problem. Is
it only missing on one cylinder? What codes are in memory?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I tried the trick with the spray bottle (first thing I did), but there was no spark arking around (that I could see or hear). And yes it is missing on one cylinder only (#1) ,but I don't have a scantool/code reader to tell you what the codes are.
Expert:  Danny replied 8 years ago.
I would try switching the plugs or wires around. It's doubtful that it's the coil if it's just one cylinder but one of the others could be slightly missing as well. Autoparts stores have scan tools you can use sometimes. You should try calling around.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Alrighty, I swapped both the spark plugs and spark plug wires between cylinders 1 and 2 and still the problem persists, cylinder one misfire. No different than before.
Expert:  Danny replied 8 years ago.
At this point you need to scan the vehicle and see what codes are in memory. See if there is codes for another cylinder misfire as well. The computer may be picking something up even if you can't tell by pulling other wires. I would suspect a faulty coil or there is also an update to replace the ground wire to the coil pack.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
To me this problem is simple, there is no spark to #1 cylinder. Please lets focus on the problem, I'm through perfroming tests over which I've done allready. As far as the trouble codes go there's is only one code that effects only the #1 cylinder a P0301(cylinder #1 misfire) however I can't nor do I care to confirm it with a scanner because the work I've done has done that for me (along with a flashing check engine light). Furthermore if it had burned a valve I would've seen evidence of it on the spark plug(metal flakes or a totally wiped-out electrode). I'm sorry if I come across a little upset but it is Sunday afternoon and I'm running low on time. If you don't have any answers pertaining to the ignition coil or the computers signal to the coil than simply say "Goodbye" and I will uderstand. Thank You.
Expert:  vanagonman replied 8 years ago.
OK focus on cylinder number 1. Do you have a compression tester? I would do a compression test on this cylinder. If you have an Autozone local to you, you can buy the tool, use it and then return it and they should give you your money back. That is really the only way you are going to know what is up with cylinder number 1. I would also test the other cylinders as well just to get a general health of the engine. If the compression is low then you have an internal engine problem like a burnt valve or bad rings, etc. and the head is going to have to be removed to find out what is up and repair it. If the compression is good then I would suspect the injector on cylinder number one of being bad or clogged.

Let me know if I can help you further.