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Re: I have a 2003 VW jetta tdi
You've lost engine coolant somewhere, and need to fill the engine back up with the VW special G12 coolant.
Then find the leak, which will be in one or more of the following places - Water hoses to heater core, including any other coolant carrying hoses in the engine compartment Radiator hoses Plastic manifold bolted to side of engine which is known to leak (have replaced on an '01 VW Beetle, and an '02 Jetta, both members of our family in the past few years.). Overflow reservoir cracked Radiator leak.
Reply back what you find. If the engine got too hot, you may need to have the thermostat replaced.
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Try disconnecting the battery (unhook on of the terminals) wait for like 15 mins, hook the terminal once again and start the car. I also own a 2003 Jetta and once my engine light would come on after 2 mins of driving. Disconnecting the battery is like resetting the computer and hopefully the sensor.
My 2002 Jetta TDI had similar symptoms and research revealed that that model transmission (01M) is plainly and simply, a heap of **** . If you want to be done with it, you can have a used manual installed for about half what replacement with another POS would cost. If you are mechanically inclined, you can follow the procedure outlined on www.tdiclub.com to do it yourself, or if you are lucky, there is a "Guru" near you who can do it for you. (I wouldn't let a dealer touch it though!)
I did the swap myself just about a month ago, and I LOVE driving my car again. No comparison between that old slush box and a manual with TDI torque.
Guys, what you are experiencing is the car built warning system. When your engine light blinks it indicates a Major Problem has occurred or is occurring in the engine. When this occurs the cars goes into a "safe," mode which means all power is cut by at least half in an effort to save the car from more major damage. You can take your VW to any large chain autoparts store (autozone, advance, etc) a lot of them are offering a free engine diagnosis. Do this if possible to see where the problems maybe coming from and ways to fix them.
My '01 TDI had the same issue and apparently it was a switch gone bad behind the horn and airbag. . . so no idea if the airbag would have worked had I been in an accident. Definately worth going to VW and having it looked at though. Better safe than sorry.