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Wolfgang, VW Master Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 4532
Experience:  Senior VW Master Tech 15 yrs
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98 vw beetle: hill..multiple misfires on cylinders 3 and 4 due..valves

Customer Question

98 vw beetle 2.0 L gas is sputtering and has low power when driving, even worse when going up hill..... engine light is solid but started flashing after changing fuel pump, but only flashes a few times then goes back to solid... also had her scanned, came back with multiple misfires on cylinders 3 and 4 due to low fuel detected.... we've tried so many things already and my husband is a handy man who checked her all over, valves, everything and we cant figure out what the problem is or what else to try
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Matt replied 5 years ago.

this sounds like a lack of fuel and could be a lack of fuel pressure from the electrical pump at the tank.

If the connections to the pump are corroded or damaged then the pump could stop at any time or could not be running at full speed. Check that its relay switches in and out and the relay contacts are clean and bright – replace the relay if in any doubt and do the same for the fuse,
Ideally measure the pressure at the injectors and if this is low check the pump as described and also consider changing the fuel filter as if this partially blocked this too will reduce pressure.

This could be an airleak after the airflow meter, any air dragged in here isn't 'seen' by the ECU and so not compensated for and can lean the engine out and can also allow the engine to rev up when not desired causing rough running.
As its a mechanical fault it tends not to turn on the fault light and you can sometimes hear a 'hissing' noise with the engine running.

Check the hose clips for tightness and inspect the trunking for any cracks or splits and also all the vacuum system, the small bore pipes and fittings for cracks and missing parts.

The best way to locate a leak is to have the engine running and warm and then spray lighter gas /propane around each joint in turn. If the engine rev's up you've found your leak.
Work your way through each possible joint one at a time and you should find it. I use a slightly flattened piece of brake pipe and some rubber hose from the can of lighter gas to provide a spraying 'wand' and allow a direct blast of gas into each area, especially those difficult to reach with large implements.

Might also be worth checking the wiring and connector to the airflow meter for any signs of corrosion or damage. you can do a quick fault find if you unplug the meter and run the engine without it.
if the engine condition is the same then chances are the meter or the connection to it is faulty

Air leaks are very temperature dependent as gaps can open or close up as things expand with heat, so the weather and engine temperature can effect them.

This leads them to be quite intermittent in the case of mild leaks

its also worth cleaning the airflow meter by removing it from the car and spraying the exposed sensor wires inside the tube with a brake or switch cleaner - ensure that the cleaner is one of the old fashioned, non Eco type that does not leave a residue

On no account touch the sensor wires with anything physical as they are extremely fragile
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

we just replaced the fuel pump and I forgot to mention we did the fuel filter as well.... no changes in the cars behaviour, do you think its the relay if the pump made no difference?

He already did the leak test you are talking about with the engine running and spraying all components, he also did a compression test and that came back good too...hes cleaned everything right up, she would work good for a few minutes until the cleaner burned off then go right back to bogging out and sputtering


we will check the relay and fuse next


But I also have the codes from when she was scanned if it helps, but like I said, we replaced a lot of things since having those codes read so I dont know if they would all still be there, they are

po117 ect sensor low circuit ( we replaced this sensor)

p0300, p0301 ( we replaced plugs and wires)

p1300 ( we replaced fuel pump, line, filter)

Expert:  Matt replied 5 years ago.

the pump fuse and relay should both be in the panel by the drivers left knee

however if spraying the cleaner / lighter gas around makes the car run correctly for a few moments then this shows that there is a leak

if there was no leak then spraying the gas around wouldn't make any difference

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
not spraying the cleaner made it work good, it was after he cleaned the intake and the cleaner was still inside, she worked good for a few minutes until the cleaner was burned off.....
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
just want more opinions, hes telling me it could be things we've already tried
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.

hello there!


i'm Eurocar


please unplug the mass air flow sensor and see if the power comes back!!


let me know

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
he tried that as well and it makes no change
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.

ok what scan tool do you have ?


code reader?




Customer: replied 5 years ago.
we dont have a scan tool, i already listed above the codes we got when we brought it into a garage.... that was only a week ago we got those codes.....
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.

there are certain values needed now in further diagnosis of your vehicle


you may have a compounded repair and maybe more than 1 part is needed for repair !!


the exhaust may be restricted


may have a bad coil


lots of possibilities!!


the 2.0 litre had issues with the mass air flow sensor and the front oxygen sensor sue to improper fuel tables programmed in the ecu


A good trained VW technician can pick these issues out and a proper repair can be done


Factory scan tool or VAG COM is needed



Not the answer you wanted but want to get to the point .


i hope you understand this !!


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
so the previous vw mechanic said to check the relay and fuse... should we start there? because we already had all hoses checked for leaks and the maf sensor was checked as well and dont make any difference to the cars performance, were just wondering whats best to try next, we already tried so much
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.

lets do a compression check of the engine !!


do you have a compression tester?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

have you read any of my previous posts??? we did a compression test last night! 180lbs, so it was good!

Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.

sorry missed that


lets do this


you are going to do is a capacitor discharge!!


disconnect the battery cables and have them touch together unhooked and hold for 15 minutes


then with the key in the on/run position hook up the pos cable first then the negative cable with the key in the on position and the door open!!! (this is key verbatim)


you will hear noises normal


then start the car and test drive see if the power comes back!!


please let me know!!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
we will go try right now, be back after to update, thanks
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
made no difference at all we didnt even have to test drive it, we just gave it a few shots of gas while in neutral and you could still hear the sputter..... what in the world could we check next???? Im getting fed up with this car!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok he just disconnected the MAF sensor and the sputtering stopped while car was going but in neutral.... so can the car be used with this sensor unhooked until we get a new one in? because she works worse with it connected, thanks
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.



replace the mass air flow sensor


part # XXXXX


and then clear the faults!!


please press the Green Accept button for the consultation and help given


have a safe day and THANKS!!


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
sorry one more question before i accept, fixing the problem will not turn off the CEL? we have to go get the codes cleared for sure????unfortunately, where we live, its $80 each time we just hook her up to there machine....LOL.....and is it ok to use the car with the sensor disconnected until the part gets here??? thanks!!!
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 5 years ago.

yes you are correct


the codes needs to be purged!! after replacement of new part


should be no issues with the maf disconnected and drive it for a bit but not for extended period of time



Wolfgang, VW Master Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 4532
Experience: Senior VW Master Tech 15 yrs
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