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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off hello everyone. I am glad I found this site!:D

I have an 03 Jetta with 2.0 I just purchased about a month ago. The P2181 trouble code appeared shortly after I purchased it. I have replaced the thermostat (twice), water pump, coolant temp sensor and the code has returned again a day after replacing the water pump. The car gives no symptoms. It runs great, good heat, and does not overheat. I used universal coolant. I read the VW coolant is recommended but I see no reason for it to cause the code. Any ideas? :confused:
 

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Is your fans running? And I would flush that universal junk out and replace it asap before you destroy your coolant system
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now that you mention it I don't remember the fans coming on and I had it running for a good half hour purging the system. I was told there was a "fan switch" or something like that, but I have not changed that.

I will swap out the coolant tomorrow. Dealer has it for $25 (it makes two gallons). I am curious how does the universal coolant labeled "all makes all models" hurt your cooling system? More corrosive perhaps?
 

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Now that you mention it I don't remember the fans coming on and I had it running for a good half hour purging the system. I was told there was a "fan switch" or something like that, but I have not changed that.

I will swap out the coolant tomorrow. Dealer has it for $25 (it makes two gallons). I am curious how does the universal coolant labeled "all makes all models" hurt your cooling system? More corrosive perhaps?
much more corrosive then the VW G13, turn your AC on and see if both fans come on, if they don't I would start trouble shooting the fan circuit
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On lunch I picked up some coolant. I also turned on the AC and the smaller fan spins fine and the large fan was not moving. So I gave it a nudge and it started spinning. It is cold here in MI perhaps that's why its not overheating? Sound like a bad fan. What do you think?
 

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On lunch I picked up some coolant. I also turned on the AC and the smaller fan spins fine and the large fan was not moving. So I gave it a nudge and it started spinning. It is cold here in MI perhaps that's why its not overheating? Sound like a bad fan. What do you think?
if it's not overheating the thermostat is stuck open, it's allowing the coolant to continuously flow and cooling it down to much, I had this happen to me, I did read you replaced the thermostat but that's really the only thing that would cause it not getting up to temp
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
if it's not overheating the thermostat is stuck open, it's allowing the coolant to continuously flow and cooling it down to much, I had this happen to me, I did read you replaced the thermostat but that's really the only thing that would cause it not getting up to temp
It is getting up to temp. The needle stays at 190 possibly a couple degrees above and holds. I replaced the thermostat twice in the course of a month. I also was doing some research and it appears the P2181 code is a common occurrence in these cars.

I am concerned about the one fan not spinning. Could the fan not spinning cause the CEL code? I am swapping out the coolant today after work. I will reset the CEL and see if it comes back on.
 

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ok my bad, I believe this fan not coming on does trigger that code, I would start looking into trouble shooting that fan
 

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Update I put the VW coolant in last night and the CEL turned off on its own. I did not have to reset it. I do believe the fan is bad though. I will check it further when I change the plugs and wires.
 

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Another update for those that are curious. The Check Engine Light has been turning on and off. Some days it may come on and others everything reads good. I have not replaced the fan, but will update once I have done so. After plugs and wires it seems to run slightly smoother although not perfect. I might try a service shop to have them look it over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just wanted to give everyone another update. I have since changed the temp sensor again as well as another thermostat. Neither fixed the issue. The radiator had a small leak so I replaced that as well and I replaced the fans at the same time. That did not fix the issue as well. Stay tuned one of these days I will find out what the problem is.
 

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Just wanted to give everyone another update. I have since changed the temp sensor again as well as another thermostat. Neither fixed the issue. The radiator had a small leak so I replaced that as well and I replaced the fans at the same time. That did not fix the issue as well. Stay tuned one of these days I will find out what the problem is.
what is the exact issue you are chasing down again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
what is the exact issue you are chasing down again?
The CEL has always been on since I owned it. The code it shows is P2181. I cleared the fault codes again shortly after my last post and it has not returned. I hope it stays off this time for good. If it comes back on I will let you all know.
 
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