This is not an uncommon problem with these cars. I had the speedometer cut out intermittently on me, and at first suspected the speed sensor (the plastic gear on the transmission). Unlike the person below said, this gear can easily be removed from the top of the transmission, WITHOUT dropping the engine/trans. I know because I pulled the gear to check it.
Turns out that my problem was a few cracked solder joints on the back of the instrument panel circuit board. I removed the instrument cluster, disassembled it, and re-soldered a capacitor near the speedometer, as well as all of the pins where the wiring harnesses clip into the circuit board. I wrote up a DIY and posted it in the FAQ here, if you want to search for it: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3370991
sounds as though you cluster craped out as the tach and the speedo are controled by to separt things.
The last answer is incorrect as I have the same problem. But they will work every now and then (probably loose wire). When I get my Bentley manual I will find out which one and fix it, instead of giving half-###ed answers.
I had a similar problem with my GLX VRG, the VW Jetta GLX VR6 get's it's speed signal from a hall sender which is a means to change a mechnical sugnal from the transmission into an electronic signal that is read by the dash. I tried replacing the hall sender as it mounts on the transmission at the back of the engine. No Luck. Changed the instrument cluster. No Luck. It turned out to be a small gear in the transmission that rotated the hall sender. I had to replace this. The gear worth about $3 bucks and to get to it, was dropping the engine and removing the tranny at a cost of $700. Hope that your problem is the hall sender and not the gear.
The problem is your speedometer cluster. I had the same problem, and it had to be replaced. If it was just the sender, the tach and speedo would not be out at the same time.
I am going thru the same with my sons car we just bought. The first test is to see if you have power (12volts) to the two outside contacts of the 3 wire hall sensor on the transmission ( the sensor is very visible when you open the hood and look down at the transmission, being just below a 2 wire sensor, it is removed by popping off the wire bale). if you have 12 volts to the outside contacts with the ignition on (not the engine running) you would then reinstall the sensor and then connect (probe) the center wire with one lead of your multi meter and the other connected to the positive terminal (Yes, positive terminal) on your battery. now with that all hooked up, jack one wheel off the ground, turn ignition on and turn the wheel slowly. If the sensor is good, the voltage will change from approx 2 or 4 volts up to 12 volts and then back and forth as you rotate the tire. Now I am headed for the instrument cluster which is in my hand and awaiting a replacemnt. (was easy to remove cluster).
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