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    Thread: Fault Code: P2181-35-00

    1. 07-10-2008 12:14 PM #26
      So, the dealer confirms that the p2181 code goes off, which the dealer tells me means the ECT, Thermostat, Timing Belt and Water Pump are bad. I tell him those have been replaced, and that the ECT has been replaced a couple times. He's says they'll clear the code. HOWEVER, they say that p0231 is going off, the Speed Sensor -- $450.
      I tell them, thanks, but no thanks. Clear the code, please, and I'll look into p0231. Again, my main concern: pass inspection. I take it to my mechanic, and SHOCKER: p2181 is coming up! No p0231. He wants me to fight them, and I want to just pass inspection. BUT, my car can't pass inspection until it goes through a drive cycle, or readiness, without throwing the code. THAT STINKS!
      So, essentially, I need to make sure the code is absolutely clear to pass inspection.
      My mechanic's idea is that it may be a computer error. I don't see anyone, especially those dealing with these repeated MIL problems, discussing this idea. Why not?
      Advice? I'm in quite the quandary.

    2. 07-10-2008 12:42 PM #27
      What is the warranty on an ECM, by the way? I read on another post elsewhere that the dealer should also test the ECM when p2181 goes off.

    3. 08-25-2008 02:12 AM #28
      I have a 02 1.8t jetta with 86k miles. The CEL came on, vag-com code p2181 changed coolant temp sensor. One week later CEL came on again with the same code, changed the timing belt, water pump, coolant change, and t stat. All of the parts were ordered from ECS. The code was thrown again this morning on the way to work. At this time I'm all out of ideas and recommendations. thanks.

    4. 08-28-2008 11:20 PM #29
      I've got a 02 1.8t Jetta and it's reading the same code P2181 and will not pass inspection. After reading this Im a little concerned that Im looking at a costly repair that will not cure the code.

    5. Member
      Join Date
      Dec 23rd, 2001
      Los Angeles, CA
      2003 Audi A3 Wagon
      08-29-2008 09:30 AM #30
      I would be a little Leary about doing allot of work before verifying that your fans are spinning. The sensor is super sensitive. After you get the fan's spinning replace the green top sensor. Sometimes that fixes the problem.
      Eric Guizzetti
      2008 Audi A3 3.2L

    6. Member
      Join Date
      May 21st, 2005
      2016 Golf R DSG DCC NAV Lapiz Blue
      03-08-2009 01:51 AM #31
      changed out temp sensor, flushed coolant. code came back 300 miles later after resetting battery. I had water pump and timing belt done 40k ago. I'm lost as to where I should go with this next?
      Temp gauge reads fine in cluster

    7. 03-08-2009 09:38 AM #32

    8. 03-08-2009 05:10 PM #33
      Dana, I came to the same thermostat conclusion on my MKIV R32 with only 25K miles. After EOT sensor, Checking wiring from sensor to ECU and checking the fans being all OK I removed the thermostat. The car never overheated or anything like that but it was setting P2181. While I am waiting for the new one I tested the "failed" thermostat and it seems to operate when I actuate it in boiling water. I do not know how accurately though but it does move. When removing the T-Stat it did not come with the cover, it was stuck up in the housing. I had to gently pry it out with a screw driver. This is quite common isn't it?
      Would you know of any test that would condemn the T-Stat for sure.
      I would love to be able to confirm the failure mode. Thanks. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    9. Member
      Join Date
      Feb 8th, 2003
      Middle Village, NY
      '04 big turbo Jetta wagon, '11 tdi sportwagen
      03-08-2009 05:58 PM #34
      the thermostat is the most likely cause, although the water pump should be checked as well.

    10. 03-08-2009 07:31 PM #35
      Thank you for your reply Tom. I do not mean to hijack this thread but it has been a very common code in several VW models and the more information the better.
      Anyways, I figured that if the T-Stat does not fix it my next stop is the water pump as you stated. Now, if the pump has failed and it is not moving as much volume of coolant as it should; would that cause an overheat fairly quick? I know our cluster does not read real temperature but it is always in the middle. Also, with VAG connected I get 85 to 90 Celsius.

    11. Member
      Join Date
      Sep 11th, 2007
      san diego CA
      03-08-2009 08:03 PM #36
      if vagcom has a obd freeze frame option for the triggering of the cel then use that. in most cases if it triggered the p2181 at 79 degrees its the thermostat sticking open. if it was triggered at like -49 degrees or somthing just not logial then its your temp sensor. easy as that. but i dont know if your vagcom retrieves obd freeze frame data.

    12. 03-16-2009 01:15 PM #37
      Hey guys
      I happen to have the same problem but i noticed that my fans don't turn on and my engine needle temp gauge stays in the middle at a reasonable place so i don't thing its the Engine temp. but i tested the fans bridged them to the battery and both turn on. i think it might be the temperate fan switch but i might be wrong i will replace it this week and will get back to you guys.

    13. 03-19-2009 09:29 PM #38
      Man I too have this problem. My temp gauge stays in the middle, the waterpump was replaced 5k mi. ago, fans turn on and the heater works. The only thing was when i opened the coolant tank, there was some smoke/steam coming out of it. also, my car recently crapped out because of overdue oil change making it sluggish. i don't know if it overheated b/c i wasn't there when it happened, but i replaced couple coilpacks and spark plugs and now running fine. any ideas?

    14. 03-24-2009 04:50 AM #39
      K so i replaced my aux temp sensor and that didn't fix the problem and then i replaced the coolant temp sensor for the ECU reset the ECU and haven't gotten check engine light on. But still the fans don't work they are all getting power and sensors work so does any one have any idea what it could be.

    15. 03-30-2009 09:06 AM #40
      I am having the same problem as a couple of the people in here, so i figured i will post as well.
      I have the P2181 code , replaced water pump and CTS , still on and car would not heat up , so i replaced the thermostat. A little under a week later the code pops up AGAIN.
      I am not really sure where to go from here, my fan turns on when the AC goes on , heat is good. The car will take a longer to get to temp. but still get there. and it will sometimes start getting cooler while driving.
      I am thinking i have a bad thermostat , but i want to make sure before i do it again because it literally has less than 300 miles on it.
      What else would cause this , im lost here

      *edit* i just remember when i did my thermostat i noticed that the electrical connection (in front of the coolant reservoir, i am not sure that 'switch' that is) was making a really fast clicking noise , whether that is a malfunction (i would assume , but i will leave it to those who know what they are doing to decide )

      Modified by Borg-Omen at 9:16 AM 3-30-2009

    16. 03-30-2009 07:59 PM #41
      have you checked the thermo stat sensor or the aux fan switch check those the engine has to be heating up it just can't not be heating up so check those sensor that what i did and erased the codes tell me how th works out.

    17. 03-31-2009 10:37 AM #42
      i will check those out and report back [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

      Modified by Borg-Omen at 10:39 AM 3-31-2009

    18. 04-01-2009 07:12 PM #43
      i went to autozone and tried to get a ect sensor and they had two types. green 4 pin and balck 2 pin. which one should i be looking to replace? what does each one do?

    19. 04-06-2009 05:53 PM #44
      the 4 pin green one is for the ECU to check it's temperature i'm not exactly sure what the other one does but i have read a lot of info on this and that 4 pin sensor is commonly the problem and go defective out first so try that out. hit me back

    20. 04-06-2009 07:10 PM #45
      yea who ever was asking for the another name for the aux fan sensor just check this site it will help.

    21. 04-12-2009 03:16 AM #46
      Badmex007, How/what did you do to test the fan switch faultiness. I'm another one that's been having the dreadful P2181 (for 1.5+ years). Changed out WP, Thermo, and ECT. see this post if interested... http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4339502
      Also, Anyone know how to check if the connection and/or wiring harness is bad, or even know the resistance values for the ECT harness. thx

    22. 04-12-2009 12:22 PM #47
      I've chased down temp faults before in the past. My rule of thumb is If I diagnose the sensor to be bad (compare actual engine coolant temp with what the ecu thinks, of course checking power, ground and signal.) I will recommend replacing the T-stat. If I find a bad T-stat I insiste on a new temp sensor. Never use an after market temp sensor, it must be VW.
      I have found bad grounds to the temp sensor. Or I should say bad grounds in general. The ground is just bad enough that it will start the car, but while cranking the voltage drop in the rest of the system will cause the temp fault. Its always worse on the colder mornings. On start up the ecu uses ECT IAT MAF TPS to calculate air/fuel ratio, coolant temp being one of the more important ones. As well once the ECU goes into fuel control.

    23. Member dr.chop's Avatar
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      Apr 8th, 2009
      Riverside, CA
      2003 Jetta GLS 1.8t
      04-13-2009 02:15 AM #48
      Okay, here's my run at this issue. My wife has a 2004 Jetta wagon with the 2.0l and the CEL has been on for a year+. She never took it in under warranty, so I decided to have it checked myself (should have just bought a vag-com with the $ I wasted). It threw the P2181-035 code on the sheet and another fault number in the instrument/cluster section of 01304 49.
      I am not sure what the later code is, but after reading this thread, the other is common. My question is this: The dealer has said that the "Thermostat was sticking open" causing this code to come up. Not sure how they figured that out just by running the code, but the car has no issues with warming up or overheating. The fans all work as they should, and there are no issues other than the light. Oh, and an occasional stutter when driving on the freeway like a lack of power. The car has 65k on it, so I am confused as to what the problem could be...I am going to change the CTS and I bought a thermostat, but it is a lease going back in October and don't want to waste a dime on it. Any insight?

    24. 05-03-2009 05:16 PM #49
      i just got the p2181 with autozone device. i took the car to carmax and they said it was the catalytic converter thats bad. im not sure who to believe now. also, where is the thermostar in car???

    25. 05-04-2009 10:31 AM #50
      Quote, originally posted by ThatJustHappened »
      i just got the p2181 with autozone device. i took the car to carmax and they said it was the catalytic converter thats bad. im not sure who to believe now. also, where is the thermostar in car???

      P2181 usually is a intermittly stuck thermostate. or bad connection on the ect wiring.

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