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Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, GTI: 1993-1999, Cabrio 1995-2002 (A3) Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS


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Last Post: Aug 27, 2003 2:01 AM Last Post By: CRasH180
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jun 30, 2003 7:04 PM
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My Car - VW 1998 Jetta GLS 2.0 liter 4 cylander engine, everything is stock except for the tires

Fist problem -
My brake light (Internal Indicator) is bright red while I am starting the car. Every now and then when I disengage the parking brake the light will become a dim red and none of the electronic components in the car will work, i.e. radio, A/C, wipers, etc. I can turn the car off and turn it back on and sometimes the light will stay off when I disengage the brake, but sometimes I have to turn the car off and on again 2 or three times to get it stay off. Sounds like a faulty wire to me, but haven't checked yet.

Second problem -
This just started happening about three months ago and it has been happening ever since. When I go to fill up my gas tank it appears to be full, because the gas handle will not let me fill up my tank with any more gas. However, when I get into the car and start the engine the tank is only 3/4 full. I can stand at the pump and just keep forcing it to give me more gas until I overflow it, but I would rather not do that.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to what is going on here?
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jun 30, 2003 9:35 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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It's quite possible you have one problem, did these troubles start around the same time?? This is pretty much a guess as I have never pulled the cluster from an A3 model and checked it out but the A1 and A2 Jetta clusters have a voltage regulator on them that keeps the voltage reference point for the instrumentation at a constant level (alternator and battery outputs fluctuate)... My guess, you've either got a short somewhere in the harness or a bad regulator.

Larry...

PS-The manual has a well detailed procedure on checking this but you will need a VAG 1527-b Voltage Regulator Tester, VAG-1598 Test Box, VAG-1598/8 harness adapter and a good DMM...

Message was edited by: MADRABBITS at Jun 30, 2003 9:39 PM
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jun 30, 2003 10:37 PM   in response to: MadRabbits in response to: MadRabbits
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Unfortunately, no. They happened about 6 or 7 months apart. If, I am remembering right. I asked the dealership about the problem and they said that it was probably a bad alternator. I asked someone else and they said it was probably that the contacts for the wires are not making a good connection or faulty cabling. I need to get the repair manual for my so I can check this stuff out. I feel that I am at the mercy of the VW dealership at the moment.

It is funny that you mention regulators. I had two rear window regulators (The left and right) go out on me about two months apart. Cost me almost $300 to get one of them fixed.
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jun 30, 2003 11:50 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Yeah, I figured. After I made the post I realized you hadn't reported any other gauge abnormalities. I don't see how the alternator would cause this without the other usual signs of failure. Without being to specific I would say to look into your wiring. The A3 line seems to be generating a lot of wiring woes for people. If you haven't ordered a manual yet you can do it right here:

http://www.bentleypublishers.com/resource.htm?subject=20#jgga3

As far as the fuel gauge is concerned it is always possible that the sending unit is faulty...

Larry...
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jun 30, 2003 11:50 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Just an after though, did you try pulling the wiring off of the parking brake handle (You may have to remove a portion of your center console to do this)? I believe it just supplies ground when the brake is engaged, disconnect the switch, if your trouble remains it will be up stream in the wiring, if it goes away, the switch on the parking brake would appear to be faulty...

Larry...

Message was edited by: MADRABBITS at Jun 30, 2003 11:51 PM
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 1, 2003 9:29 AM   in response to: MadRabbits in response to: MadRabbits
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I have not pulled any wiring or done anything to the car as of yet. I was waiting to hear what everyone else thought about the problem before I proceeded. I really do need to get the Bentley manual. It appears to be the most thorough manual I can find. I do not even know where the wires would be to pull.

Thank you for all of the help,

CRasH180
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 1, 2003 9:45 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Yes, not a bad idea to wait for a book. You've already been living with the trouble for a long while anyway. The brake light trouble seems to be the simplest of the two. The Bentley tells you how to get the console apart in a pretty detailed fashion, this is the first trouble I'd tackle.

Larry
JoeBean

Posts: 4,697
Registered: 02/14/02
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 1, 2003 10:06 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Hi Crash180,
First off, as an avid VW fan, I can tell you that there are no manuals out there that can touch the Bentley for your vehicle. Most other manuals have very little information (especially regarding wiring) compared to the Bentley.

Now, on to your problems...
The dealer may be suspicious of the voltage output by the alternator. To rule out any obvious alternator problems, do the following:
1. Using a digital voltmeter, measure the DC voltage between the positive and negative terminals of the battery with the car idling @ about 2000 RPM. It should be around 13.5-15.5V.
2. Set the meter to read AC voltage. Bring the idle up to 2000RPM again and connect the voltmeter between the alternator casing and the output terminal (the terminal with the biggest wire connected) on the alternator. The reading should be less than 0.4V

Now, on to other possibilities. It sounds as though you might have a short somewhere in the wiring to the parking brake switch, or perhaps a failed component that is drawing too much power. The switch gets voltage from the igntion to one side, and the other side connects to the brake lights and to the daytime running lights diode. As Larry suggested, try disconnecting the connector to the switch and see if you have any problems. If not, start searching through that wiring to find where the short could be.

As for the fuel guage problem, there's a fuel guage sensor in the fuel tank that you remove from inside the trunk. It's likely faulty.

Terry
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 2, 2003 5:36 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Ok, I ordered the Bentley Manual (VW Part #LPV 800 116)for my car and I should have my book in a few days. At least I am one step closer to working on the problem myself. I am a proactive person and do not like people to just do stuff for me and say, "Ok. It's fixed."

I know this forum is here for people to help people, but I just wanted to say that I appreciate the help none the less. Because, you better believe that I am going to be asking more questions on this topic. :)

Thanks again,

CRasH180
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 2, 2003 5:58 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Hey, just a reminder to you and everyone who stops by, Only you know what the resolution to you trouble is, unless of course you come back and tell us. This helps everyone to learn from your experience.

Good luck....
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 3, 2003 1:07 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Don't worry about that. I will definately follow up if I find the solution or need any help getting this little bugger resolved. Thanks for the reminder though.
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 20, 2003 9:44 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Ok, I got the manual. After looking at it, I am thinking I may do more bad than good if I try to fix the car myself. Especially, since I do not know much about cars. I wish I had bought the warranty that covers everything on my car. Instead, I went for the middle coverage plan that covers everything that never breaks and doesn't cover everything that does break. I have had this 3 year warranty for a little over one year and am thinking I need to just up it to the warranty that covers everything on my car. It will probably cost me about $150, but I think it may be worth it. I wonder if the VW dealer would let me watch while they work on my car.

Anyhow, I think I may need to just take it to them. I am afraid I may damage my car more.
JoeBean

Posts: 4,697
Registered: 02/14/02
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 20, 2003 1:52 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Hi again,
if you can get this problem solved by upgrading the warranty, and it'll only cost $150, I'd say go for it. However, if you are careful and follow the instructions closely you don't have much to worry about. I'm pretty sure you could fix the problems, though it may take some time. We're here to help, too.

Terry

CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 20, 2003 11:28 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Well, I guess that one of my problems is that I have never been very mechanicly inclined. At first, I didn't know how in the world to remove the center console assembly (I didn't know that was what it was called until I read the Bentley book). Then, I found page 70-2 of my Bentley manual. It describes in pretty good detail about how to remove the console and allow you access to all the things described in the parking brake section; i.e. removal and adjustments and the like. I feel kind of like a fish out of water doing this work. I am a computer tech, not an auto tech. I guess I can see the similarities in the two, however. I will start working on this as soon as I actually have some time to do it. I may start a new job tomorrow and I can not be without my car. The only problem is, that the console brake light problem is starting to happen more often now that it ever has. I need to get this resolved, asap. Thanks for all of your help,

CRasH180
JoeBean

Posts: 4,697
Registered: 02/14/02
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 21, 2003 7:15 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Hi again,
If it makes you feel any better, Larry and I both work in computers/electronics. So don't think that disqualifies you :).

Terry
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Jul 21, 2003 7:47 PM   in response to: JoeBean in response to: JoeBean
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Certainly not... If you pawn this one of on the dealer, good for you. It may save you some frustration (of course it could cause you some too). But not to get to philosophical, now that you have the book take a moment to get intimate with it. Don't just look at the pictures or skim through it, read it cover to cover. Two years from now your car will start acting up and you will be able to diagnose it while your still driving.

A car is much like a computer or anything you use. It's nothing more than parts combined into a series of systems used to achieve a single purpose, go. When you troubleshoot, break it down to the simplest level and work up. What do you know, what do you need to know, what have you proven good, etc, etc. If you want to , you can do this, a little time and a little patience. Whoa, I'm going to be a motivational speaker when I grow up

Larry...
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Aug 10, 2003 9:00 PM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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Well thank you for your help with all of this. I took my car to the dealership, because I could not get anyone from the finance department on the phone. When I bought my car I bought a warranty with the car. There were three versions of the warranty; bare package, middle package, and full coverage. I selected the middle package. Now, that I am having these problems with my car and do not have hardly any time to actually work on the car, I asked them how much it would cost me to upgrade my warranty to the full coverage package. They told me that it would cost me almost $1350 for a full three year extended warranty. Minus the $650 middle package I purchased I paid for when my car was under 40K miles. Now it is over 53K miles and they say I fall into a different bracket.

They showed me a 2002 Jetta TDI, with Monsoon speakers and Sunroof. It still has two years left on the warranty. They would give me $7000 in trade on my new car. And the TDI could probably be negotiated down to about what I originally paid for car I have now.

The only question I have for everyone here is, do you think this sounds like a good deal or are they trying to pawn off a faulty car on me? I guess I could get the CarFAX report on the car, but I wanted to know what you all thought of the vehicle.

I hope you all can respond relatively soon, I am going to contact them tomorrow about the car.

Thanks everyone
MadRabbits

Posts: 2,201
Registered: 05/04/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Aug 11, 2003 3:02 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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It's all about what suits your needs. The price of increasing the warranty will likely be 2 or 3 times what it would cost to have a dealer fix your current troubles, but you'd be covered for 3 years, not bad...

However if the TDI has your eye then go for it. The $7000 is pretty good on trade in for a 98 GLS, average is about 6k. Depending on the final price of the TDI it may work out to be a pretty fair deal. If you have access to CarFax it never hurts to check. And if you are worried about the condition of the vehicle ask the dealer if you can test drive it (always) and take it to a neutral party for an inspection of sorts....

Larry...
CRasH180

Posts: 13
Registered: 12/09/03
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Aug 11, 2003 7:26 AM   in response to: MadRabbits in response to: MadRabbits
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Oh yes, I did test drive the car. It drives really well. I read what edmunds said about the car at this link:

http://edmunds.com/used/2002/volkswagen/jetta/100003507/roadtestarticle.html?articleId=71989&tid=edmunds.e.followup.content...Volkswagen*

They basically thought it was an ok car. When I test drove it I thought it was a nice car, with lots of special features. I would ask for the CarFAX report on the car and try to get the car Certified by VW. The other two things I am looking for would be a good warranty and a good interest rate. The salesman said that I have excellent credit, but we will see. They say you have excellent credit, then try to stick you with some 19.99% interest rate. I already learned my lesson from the car I am driving. I will definately take it to have it inspected. I also read on some of the forums about the problems people have been having with this year of Jettas. I know all cars are going to have a few that are going to be faulty, but I think it will be a good car. Also, I asked my relatives about this deal and they said that it sounded good except for the fact that the dealer is trying to get rid of it really fast and for a pretty low price. The car price would be something like $18500 - $7000 trade-in value for my car - anything else I can get off on the car. I can probably talk them down to about 10500 or at least somewhere near what I paid for my 1998 car when I first bought it.
JoeBean

Posts: 4,697
Registered: 02/14/02
Re: Two problems: Brake Light and Fuel Guage on a 1998 Jetta GLS
Posted: Aug 11, 2003 9:30 AM   in response to: CRasH180 in response to: CRasH180
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TDI's are sweet. At any rate, bring it to either a local VW-specific garage or to another VW dealer and get it checked out. Don't bring it to Mom-And-Pop's Chevy Station.

Terry

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