97 VW Cabrio rough idle and cut off (long story but help a girl out please)

Asked by Jul 22, 2015 at 03:52 PM about the 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 97 VW Cabrio had been running fine and then when I turned her on, she was idling
very rough but I didn't think anything of it and I put her in drive and got about 6 miles down
the road and at a stop light, she cut off and I was able to coast to the side of the road.
When I turned her off, some white smoke was coming from the engine (but not a lot), no
sweet smell and the car did not overheat from the radiator issues. I tried to start her a
couple times and she would turn over and then clunk and shut off before I could put it in
drive. About an hour later, the tow truck driver turned her on and she started fine and he
could drive her around the parking lot, but I didnt wanna take chances so I had her towed
home. Left her in the spot a few days and then turned her on and worked perfectly. Until I
got to a speed bump about 5 miles into my drive and slowed down, then she shut off. I
took her to the mechanic and they couldn't find anything wrong related to my issue but
said she was going through coolant super fast. I picked her up (no repair done) and when
I turned out of the parking lot, she made a loud squeak noise and then was fine and was
fine at stop lights. Got to my driveway and put her in park just to let her idle with the
engine on for a few minutes. She was fine but when I turned on the AC, the RPM would
drop, rough idle, and then shut off.  Help me save my baby!

3 Answers


Why do want to save this car? How many miles are on it? I had a VW Rabbit and it was a maintenance nightmare, VWs are just not good cars. I had two VWs and they were problem cars. I thought I'd give them another chance after my 1970 VW, but, even though the Rabbit was a liquid cooled engine, it didn't make any difference. Now, your problem, it kind of sounds like a blown head gasket, did your car overheat? It's interesting that you said it didn't overheat from radiator problems, but, it could have still have overheated. Otherwise, why all the white smoke? And, how much are you willing to put into a 1997 car? Even if you repaired everything, you'd have to keep the car for several more years to get your money's worth from this. And, you might be in for a rough ride while it goes through some of these problems. It's just a thought, but, you need to consider a cracked block and damaged water jackets. These jackets are the circulatory system inside your engine and if they get clogged, it will not properly cool your engine. There's nothing worse than a hot and overheated engine. Honestly, if I were you I would consider getting a Honda, Toyota or Subaru, but not Nissan. Nissan makes terribly inconsistent cars, stay away from them. Good luck.


Most of us on here,are here because we have a car that we like and is kind of unique.Plus the fact they aren't made any more makes an even better reason some of us love our VW Cabrio's.For you to give advice to someone looking for help figuring out what is wrong with their car,advising them to get another car.Well to me you are defeating the purpose of this forum.Especially since most of us here have VW's because we Love VW's.Besides buying a rebuilt motor is still cheaper than anew car.And I for one would rather drive my MK III Cabrio with a rebuilt motor than a Honda,Toyota,Subaru,or even a Nissan.And the main reason is,I can't get into the "Bug Out" in Manassas VA.If I'm driving anything other than a Volkswagen.You may have a bad experience with your VW,but most of us that own them, Love our Volkswagens.


Also if she has the 2.0 in her car they are everywhere.Any Golf or Jetta engine will drop right in.You can find them on eBay for 3 or 4 hundred dollars.Or places like Crazy Ray's in MD.If I liked my car I wouldn't get rid of it just because I needed a motor.Not trying to be difficult or anything,just saying. (o\_I_/o)

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