2000 beetle will die at random times, and will not start for about 15 minutes!
At random times my Beetle will die , always at idle-ie. drive thru, stop light etc. If you wait about 10-15 minutes, it will start as if nothing happened! the last time it died the check engine light came on, but it drives ok!
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With the car running rough it could cause the harsh shift but if it is staying at 5000 rpms then the ****** is about to go out on you. The rough idle sounds like a vacuum leak. If you can keep the car running at idle listen for a sucking type sound. That would indicate where the vacuum leak is.
I had that problem for the longest time. I had to clean the Mass Air Flow Sensor. Very easy to get to. Go to any auto parts store and ask them for the MAFS Spray. If cleaning it doesn't work, you may need to replace the MAFS. Once again easy to replace. Make sure you put it back nice and tight.....