View Full Version : Wes, I need your advice

10-14-2010, 07:53 PM
Anyhow, I am tired of waiting for other compaines to get on the ball with diesel.
I am thinking I want a TDI jetta wagon. According to UB, you have extensive knowledge on this subject and I thought I would draw it out some for all of us to learn.:bowdown:
So I am looking at wagons, for the space to work out of. Want to learn more about VW diesels and what years are the best and what to stay away from. What to expect on longivity and such. And to see what fuel ecomany one can expect. What the maintaince might be. And any other tid bits you can share.
Thanks in advance. Robbie
My Saab is dead and I do not want to poor more money into it, it has served me well and needs its RIP time:thumb::hill:

10-14-2010, 08:12 PM
there are others here besides me that have TDI experience so I expect marco to chime in and Timm just got a TDI too so he can tell you his thoughts on recently looking and how his is :D

I would not own a vw if it weren't a tdi so you might also look for 300D mercedes wagons. They are bullet proof too.

I have 2002 (VE engine) and is a sweet spot in years for the TDI (IMHO). I think 99-2004, I think 2004 was the first of the PD engines but I don't know the timelines well. It's more desirable since it's easy to wvo and doesn't have much computer nonsense and really easy to increase HP. knock on wood I've only had some fuses blow, the plastic clips that hold the front windows in the track to go up and down and glow plug. Otherwise it's been oil,filters and gas it up and go.

Mine is a manual and at sea level I got the rated 42-44 and 50+ on the hwy. I think my best was around 54 but you have to go 60 since it's sweet spot of 2k for fuel consumption. I think I get low 40's round town and high 40's hwy since I'm lead footing it and the torque is nice at alt. It's easy to put in a higher 5th gear to get better highway mileage but even the couple hundred $ for the gear would take a loooong time to pay for itself.
The automatics suck down 10+mpg so like 34/44 is what you would expect.

I have to change the timing belt on mine soon but it doesn't look that hard and could be really easy for you to change with more mech experience.

I had an 82 jetta for a while with no turbo and I had a 82 audi 4000s diesel (same motors) pretty much ran forever (i think both had 400k+ and I abused them, esp the jetta) but slow as hell with no turbo. The late 80's had one and run well. The eco diesels of the 90's are somewhat rare and harder to find until the late 90's when they really started selling a lot.

The jetta i have now is an A4 and comfortable to drive with nice seats on long drives. My wife had an A3 body style and the seats sucked for anything but around town, the long drives were uncomfortable but it was also the base model.

Marco can fill you in on pumpduses... :thumb: From what I know they comfortable and drive better with more bells and whistles, you know the evolution of things. I don't know how amenable they are to wvo if you want to start brewing

TDIClub.com is where I go for info.


10-14-2010, 08:33 PM
also mine always started in cold weather. I think the lowest it's been was -20. Problem was driving to work when it was that cold the motor never really warmed up but it was only 1 or two times it's been cold enough to do that here. I did get gelling of a frozen line one time it was that cold too. It started and went a couple miles before it died. I'll buy some anti gel if I know it's going to get that cold again just in case but I never had a problem with gelling when i had the 82 in gunnison and it gets way colder there on a regular basis. that's just standard diesel stuff which you are already familiar with. I don't think they put anti gel in the tanks on the front range in the winter. anyway my plugs glow'd fine and started up easily. I think the later ones use glow screen.. marco probably knows??

10-14-2010, 08:51 PM
I wanted to buy a wagon when I bought mine but my wife absolutely said no when she didn't have kids. I shouldn't have listened and bought one anyway.

The TDI wagons are harder to find...

10-14-2010, 10:47 PM
Thanks Wes, Good info to have. I did look at a 2005 mercedes E320 cdi wagon a few years ago, that was a sweet ride. Straight 6 no urea to add on that model (until 07 and the v -6 came in) but again a rare ride to find. I have been looking for the 320 for a while. Then the idea hit me to ask about the VW. Yea, I would not own a VW either, but figure I have heard lots of good and bad of the diesel from VW. Even drove a new 2010 today, just for fun. It was a nice drive, not that I can afford some thing like that now.
It had the dual clutch, DGS trans missions. A auto built like a manual transmission(no torque convertor, no planatary gear set, main shaft and two side shafts int he trans mission). It was a fun ride.
My goal is to get a good manual tranny one for the best fuel ecomany.
How has yours been in the snow?
Good traction with the FWD?
Thanks again

10-14-2010, 11:05 PM
My brother inlaw is an automotive engineer at a plant in france that does clutches/converters/trannies for just about everything including Ferrari. Because they have tapped out what they can pretty much effectively get out of a diesel engines efficiency a majority of innovation has been in those transmissions. He's always telling me about the cool things they are up to over there. They are really cool transmissions.

In the snow it's ok. I have dedicated yokohama ice guard tires. my camry did much better but i believe because it was heavier. I've never been stuck or slide out in the jetta though either and I go over berthod all the time in the winter in the snow to go to WP/MJ. I have a giant thule box on the roof too and it's fine.

10-14-2010, 11:35 PM
PP- Be careful if you think about going the DSG route for tranny in the VW/Audi. When I bought my A3, i had to order the 6 speed manual as I really didn't like the feel of the DSG. My biggest issue was coming off of a light where you get rollback and can't do anything about it. I didn't like the thought of a computer engaging the clutch in time...

It ended up being the right choice as there have been some issues with the DSG locking up and stranding people. Audi did a good job of hushing it up, and may have fixed the issue, but I would do some research before going down that road.

Good luck!

10-15-2010, 07:32 AM
also - I know from demo-ing several new 2010/11 a3 bodies, that they are very loud in the road noise department. I mean louder than a mini truck loud. Wes's is quieter by a long shot.

I took the new sedan to grand junction and back, as well as vail a couple of times. 250 plus pounds of torque and 45 mpg is very addicting.

10-15-2010, 10:09 AM
We like Allison's 2006 TDI Jetta lot...

I'd say it has had it's typical VW issues though. It eats rear brakes, but all you have to do is keep an eye on them. The red display in the instrument cluster went out once, but it was a warranty item. The wiring harness under the passenger seat had an issue causing the Airbag light to go on. Dealer had to replace it to the tune of $200. We've had two fuel pumps go bad (the on in the tank, not the injection pump). After the first one went out I think the dealer did a ****ty install and killed the second one. The third one we are on now has been running fine for probably 30k miles.

All in all though we like it a lot. I mean it has about 70k miles on it and has done pretty well. It runs great up the pass (70-80mph) and gets decent mileage. I think when we calculate it it is around 35-40 in the city and that's driving it normal. the computer always says you get more. On the interstate it is more like 45mpg driving normal and you can get like 50 if you super baby it. Anyways, I don't think we've ever seen under 34 even including pedal to the metal runs up to the tunnel and back. Its quick enough to be kinda fun.

I've done all of the regular maintenance on it except for the fuel pump, instrument cluster, and wiring harness. Really other than that it has been one set of rear brakes, oil changes, air, and cabin filter changes. We get our oil and filters from TDIparts.com.

I've never had the intake manifold off or apart to clean it but i understand that is something that needs to happen every once in a while because they crustify.. well see when we get there, supposedly they feel really down on power and yo uhave to open it up and clean it all out. Never done the timing belt since it's low miles.

Build quality seems pretty nice for what you pay for it. It has a few rattles that are annoying for a 70k mile car, but it is no porsche either. The suspension is nice, brakes are adequate, and the interior seems like it's decent quality.

My parents got a 2008 TDI wagon with the automatic and it gets much worse mileage just as said above. I have driven it a lot and really like it though. It's the typical benifit you get with an auto and a turbo type thing that is nice.. it never falls out of boost. Probably why it get's worse mileage too. The wagon itself seems really handy though.

as far as winter driving it seems to do just fine. With studded general winter tires it has done well enough to feel pretty confident around here and in the mountains during the winter time. The diesel and manual trans can be an annoying combo in heavy traffic headed up to the tunnel in the winter though.. the clutch has to slip quite a bit to get it rolling and it has heated up a few times because of it. The traction control does OK in the winter but I prefer to have it off and keep the R's up a bit more with a little wheel spin on the harder climbs. The traction control tends to neuter it almost too much and you loose momentum. I have to say that I haven't really had the opportunity to compare it to another front wheel drive car in the winter though. Seems like as long as you aren't pushing a big wall of snow it does OK.

As far as starting in the cold goes, it has done fine. Cranks immediately every time with no effort. Starts just like it does in the summer. It can be noisy though on cold mornings here in Boulder, and when we stay in breck and it drops to -10 or -20 it still starts immediately but sounds like the old diesel rough terrain forklifts we used to run cranking up. takes a while to get it going nice. I added a block heater and now Allison has heat when she gets in it and it starts like it's 70 outside. She rarely remembers to plug it in though.

One of the times the pump went out we had it parked in the Loveland parking lot overnight and it dropped to a ridiculously cold temperature. In Breck it was -10 so I don't know how cold it was up there. It took me probably 5 minutes to get it to start but I got it running. I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on until Allison called me from Idaho Springs when the in tank pump finally quit. My guess is that it was on it's way out and that cause the hard starting. We only occasionally run additive (Stanadyne) only because some folks have suggested it. Allison says it smokes a little less with it but I haven't noticed enough of a difference to really keep using it. We never really run any anti gel and just run diesel from the front range and Frisco.

A month or so ago my brother and I were doing a "spirited" drive up pikes peak and the clutch started slipping again. dunno what that was all about... we relaxed the pace and it started grabbing again. Probably due to wear from the stop and go traffic heading up and down the tunnel. I bet that clutch is the first major thing I have to do to it.

Also FWIW, If it weren't a TDI we wouldn't own a late model VW.

Air Randy
10-15-2010, 11:13 AM
Thanks Wes, Good info to have. I did look at a 2005 mercedes E320 cdi wagon a few years ago, that was a sweet ride. Straight 6 no urea to add on that model (until 07 and the v -6 came in)

Dee has a 2008 ML320 with the TDI V-6 diesel, it doesn't have urea injection, it uses the BlueTec emission system. Thats the same exact setup as my 2007 Dodge truck with the Cummins has, probably cause Mercedes owned Dodge at the time.

Also, I've had 2 Audi's with the DSG transmissions. I've never had a single problem with them. I've taken mine in when I received the recall notifications and they never applied to my vehicles. I've also never had a hill hold or roll back problem with mine.

Uncle Ben
10-15-2010, 01:42 PM
My wifes '05 turbo 'vert was a great car! The only glitches it had were the power window computer would get out of whack and the side windows wouldn't drop down the 1/2" when the door handle was pulled to pull the window out of the excellent rubber seals. It was in for the problem twice and apparently the second time they correctly fixed it as we never had problems again. I tried to get Lori to keep the car but she had her self convinced that the rag top would fail and cost more than the car when it was out of warranty. The 1.8 Audi turbo motor got 35 mpg and (especially after I chipped it) flat out motovated the little yellow beast after fully spooled! It was an auto trans and it did have a couple annoying shift issues when very cold that after researching we accepted as normal. I would get another one! Lori got her MB C240 in replacement of the bug and other than needing a rocket scientist to convince the climate control cold for summer and no cold on the legs for winter it is an awesome car.

11-08-2010, 06:20 PM
Ours is a '02 wagon, not TDI though. We ('specially Kirsten) love it. We'd buy another VW in a heartbeat.

But then again it is the most basic GL base model, manual windows, 5 speed, no turbo (ours is the 2.0L gasoline), FWD, 15" steel wheels, etc. It literally has zero options. But the Mk4 Jetta wagons were made in Wolfsburg and not Mexico like the sedans, so I wonder how that factors in.

One thing is it is horrible in the snow, but I have fairly cheap Pirelli P5 MS tires on it and so maybe expensive winter tires would help. We just drive the truck when it snows... Our Civic was much better even with marginal tires. Neither had/has any traction control.

I personally love the seats in it, best I've ever sat in. But for comparison I think the 1992 4Runner seats I have in my truck are also really good (but they have a lumbar feature, which I'm growing to like!) and so obviously it's a low bar. I think our '96 Civic seats were the only close comparison for firm support.

Wouldn't be a VW if it weren't a TDI because of all the issues I have come to expect from later model VW's.

I pulled up this thread again because Allison just called me telling me that the check engine light came on. Just seems that this kind of stuff is the norm for VW's.

I expect more electrical issues as the car ages, but I think that several fuel pumps, abs wiring harness, funky brakes, a new dash display, rattles, and now a check engine light kinda add up... especially since it still has less than 80k miles.

It does run great though, and give us good mileage. It's also fun to drive still.

11-08-2010, 10:34 PM
My personal experience with a late 80's Jetta combined with 6 years in the used car business prevent me from ever owning another VW product regardless of fuel savings. Well unless it was air cooled... maybe....

Electrical nightmares in my experience and not user friendly to service. We had two different mechanics that refused to work on them at the dealership. Too time consuming.

The TDi's do drive nice on the mountain though. With good tires I've always had good luck in the snow for a FWD anyway.

11-09-2010, 12:11 AM
Well funny how it goes, you think a Vw has interesting electrical problems, Try a Saab on for size. I got them figured out mostly(I am sure as I say that, some thing new will Kill me). I do want a diesel, and I am willing to try it for a few years(I have been doing my homework). I hope to pull the trigger soon. But it will need to be a good one. It seems like the diesel on cost a whole bunch more then the petrol ones.
I guess it is a choice. and what game you are willing to play.
I do wish Toyota was playing the Diesel game here in the states.

11-09-2010, 08:00 AM
I do wish Toyota was playing the Diesel game here in the states.

Don't we all

11-09-2010, 08:55 AM
Yep, you got it Robbie. That's why we have a TDI.

11-09-2010, 10:20 AM
Just bought a 2010 TDI Jetta 6 speed manual a few weeks ago. From reading on TDIClub I knew I wanted a manual and obviously a TDI. From what I have read a lot of the poor quality of VW's comes from really bad service and mechanics at the dealers. Many people on TDIClub refuse to take it to the dealer for anything, even the "free" service. There is a guy in Golden who is supposed to be a very good TDI guy. So far I love the car...35+ MPG in town (a lot of stop and go traffic) and 45+ on my biweekly drives to and from DIA. I have heard that a 6 speed TDI wagon is very hard to find, and will have a $5k or more fee because they are so popular. Wish I would have found one though...especially with the new pups.


11-09-2010, 11:00 AM
Doing a bit of reading it seems like Mazda might be one of the first Japanese automakers to release diesel carts in the US, but not until earliest 2012. I would love a small hatchback mazda 3 with a 2L diesel that gets 40+mpg and has 266ft/lbs. Torque steer here I come! :drool:

Looks like the US version may be a 2.2L and start out in the Mazda 6:

Torque is the calling card of a diesel, and the Sky-D delivers. In US-spec guise it will churn out 310 lb-ft of torque at approximately 1,800 rpm and generate a peak of 167 horsepower at 4,500 rpm. It'll rev all the way to 5,200 rpm, which is pretty darned high for a diesel, permitting gearing that doesn't necessarily have to be super tall.

Sky-D said to return 43 mpg on the US highway cycle in these cars. Mazda hasn't confirmed the existence of the CX-5, so take your best guess on its fuel economy.

11-14-2010, 04:52 PM

Allison just told me she got an "Emissions Workshop" message on the dash.


one more thing.

Dave, this is why i made my comment earlier about VW's and not owning one unless it is a Diesel.

We are driving around a Diesel Passat Wagon now with the auto in it and it is a hoot to tool around in though....

11-14-2010, 10:15 PM
I have been reading and reading and lurking. It is exciting to be interested in a new platform and to see guys who know there stuff.
I hope to find a rather good example of the 2004-2006 model wagon. I have driven a couple now. Both that had about 100k miles on them. One was a real tight drive, sounded nice, pulled real well. But had a white interior(I do not like white for inside), the leather was nice, supported me better than the cloth seat of the other one I drove. That one was interesting. Something happened to the front end and the owner would not admit doing anything but regular maintaince stuff. But this stuff was new cv's and bushing, and inner tie rod ends. Had a bad brake shimmy, and pulled to the right(even after recent alignment). It pulled well, but did not sound as smooth as the other one.
But the vechicle I like the most driving was the 2010 I had driven with the 6 speed manual(it also has a 2 speed final drive). I do like the common rail engine, quite, strong and does not seemed stressed at higher RPM band.
Anyhow the hunt continues.

12-04-2010, 09:55 AM
Well, FYI..

Apparantly there was a glow plug recall with the motors that had the ceramic tipped glow plugs. Our 2006 falls into that category barely.

The fix was to replace the plugs with steel 5 volt ones (OE was 7 volt) and reprogram the computers. VW apparently had so much trouble with the recall (poor cold weather starting afterwards, fried ECMs) that they cancelled it. The issue with the ceramic tipped plugs I guess was that they can break off in the motor causing damage.

Since the recall has been halted, our only option is to go get OEM ceramic replacements. I'm off to the dealer today. Other folks have had good luck with a Rocketchips reprogram set up to work with the volt plugs. Not ready to go there yet I guess.

Google it if you guys are interested in the details.

Oh yeah and as far as bulbs burning out, ours burns out tails and headlight bulbs pretty regularly.