Question about 2001 Volkswagen Beetle

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Sputtering, hard start in moisture

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my car was sputtering a bit while driving, especially up hills. Then a couple of days of hard rain came, and I had trouble getting it to start. The engine would turn, take a while to catch, and when it did, it would drop below the normal idle and die again. If I kept my foot on the gas for 10-15 mins while it warmed up, eventually it would let me put it in drive and go. Rain stopped, problem ceased (except for the sputtering). Took it to a garage (while sunny, of course) and they couldnt find anything. It seems to do this in the rain, or heavy fog. Any ideas or help would be appreciated.

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From what you describe it is most likely the Ignition Wires have deteriorated and the High Voltage is grounding out through the moisture. The Ignition Wires break down over time and are considered routine maintenance as well as Spark Plugs. The Distributor Cap and Rotor (if equipped with a Distributor) are prone to become coated with dirt on the inside surfaces which is conductive and cause a Ground Path which will cause a Misfire condition. I don't see anything in your question as to when you had a tune up. How many miles? With the under hood temperatures of a fully warmed up engine it is not uncommon that it can be in the 250 degree +/- range which will breakdown the Ignition wires. If you still have the original Spark Plug Wires after 13 years replace them, Spark Pkugs and the Distributor Cap and Rotor. One other thing comes to mind, Change your Fuel Filter as well while your at it.

Posted on Jan 31, 2014

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Next time it does this, try spraying wD40 on the distributor, all around it. if this fixes it, you have a crack in the distributor cover. just replace it. good luck

Posted on Dec 01, 2008

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