Any information would be greatly appreciated!
I just purchased a used 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX with just over 90,000 miles. It ran well for my test drive but I have unfortunately experienced stalling issues in the brief time I've had it.
1. It always feels like it's about to stall when I'm sitting still and not giving the engine any gas.
2. It felt like it was going to stall when I accelerated on a highway so I slowed down.
3. The car once stalled very soon after starting the car. I was parallel parked on a street facing downhill so I don't think I gave the engine gas or that much gas. I pulled over and turned the engine off and waited for 5 minutes to restart the car. I was able to start and drive the car home thankfully.
I took the car in to a mechanic for an inspection and received the following information:
1. The fuel filter was recently replaced
2. The fuel trim is too lean, mass air flow meter signal is too low
3. Evaporative emissions large leak detected, needs fuel cap
4. Throttle position sensor needs further diagnosis
5. Auto trans code (problem unknown)
6. ABS hydraulic pump outside of specifications (intermittent)
I asked the mechanic why he thought the car was stalling. He suggested that it may be the fuel pump relay or the ignition coil.
I know absolutely nothing about cars but was going to look into the possibility of resolving this issue myself as I need to save money! My library has a copy of the Chilton repair manual for my car which I'm going to look through and try to get an idea of how difficult it will be to take care of issues on my own.
Thank you in advance for any information or advice on resolving my stalling issues.
Before you start spending money there is a service bulletin on updating the ECM software to a newer version. The service bulletin is 01 08 16 April 4, 2008. This can only be done at the dealer.
It explains what you said is what the mechanic said is stored in the vehicles computer. It states the lean mixture and the MAF (mass air flow) sensor being out of range (too low).
There still may be other problems like a faulty TPS (throttle position sensor) like the your mechanic said or could be a fuel pump issue but the software update should be done first before anything else.
After the ECM is updated with the new software you should notice an improvement. If problems still exist then further testing would be needed.
Clearing the trouble codes by a mechanic helps the diagnosis by seeing which trouble codes pop up first; these trouble codes should be dealt with as they occur.
Get back to us with your results, we can diagnosis the problem further if needed.
Thank you for getting back to me and your advice about the software update. I contacted the dealership about the ECM software update and received the following response in an email...
I did a little digging on the technical service bulletin for your vehicle. That bulletin is an “information only�� bulletin, which doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a software update for you vehicle, it only refers to the method in which the technician completes the update if there is one available. When we do diagnosis, part of the process is checking your ecm software version to see if you have the latest update.
From what I am seeing based off your diagnosis from Verner’s there is quite a bit that could be causing the issues you’re having. We can certainly do a software update first if there is one that is available, but I want you to be aware that it may not fix your stalling issue and that we would not be responsible for any issues that still occur. To update your software it would cost $200, if there is an available update. Let me know if you’d like to setup an appointment for the update.
I want to spend as little money as possible and my primary goal is to resolve my car's stalling issues. Wouldn't the mechanic that I took the car in for an inspection with have checked to see if the software is up to date? $200 seems expensive for an update. Should I check in with the Volkswagen mechanic to see if they did this already for me or what they would charge for an update? Where do you recommend I go from here?
I really appreciate your advice and help with this issue! Thank you so much!
Some mechanics look at the problem first with a scan tool and not all of them look at the service bulletins. Having work done at a dealership is always expensive but they have the scan tool to do the updates so most people are stuck and have no choice. The dealer was also correct that sometimes the update doesn't correct the problem and can be related to other issues.
If you need to save money; have the mechanic erase the trouble codes and have him test drive the vehicle to see which trouble code pops up first. The trouble codes that pop up are what you would deal with first.
Your stalling problem could be caused by one of many components like the Throttle position sensor (TPS), Mass air flow sensor (MAF), fuel pump, broken vacuum hose or air hose and the list goes on.
If you can find a good mechanic that has a lot of experience with Volkswagen then that would be the best way to go. As of saving money it all depends on what the problem is.
Reverse what I said only to save some money, have a mechanic look at the car and when all other options are exhausted then call Volkswagen with your VIN number of the vehicle, they should be able to look at the history of the vehicle dealer records to see if the update was actually done. This is only a phone call and won't cost you anything.
Keep us up to date on your progress.