1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9 turbo diesel IDI from North America


This car can take abuse!


All four glow plugs blown when I bought it.

Brakes acted funny.

REFUSES to start in the cold unless the block heater is plugged in beforehand.

Both wheel cylinders were blown when I bought it.

Radiator leaked.

Warped/cracked head? It's been overheated before (not by me).

For the last week or so I drove the car, the idle started acting weird whenever the timing advance was pushed in. Engine would hiccup.

A short in the dash would randomly make the wiper motor turn on and smoke would come from behind the steering wheel.

Shifter bushings were shot.

Rear axle bushings had to be replaced.

General Comments:

Now please let me explain before you go on thinking that these are horrible cars. This thing had the crap beaten out of it by it's last owner. I was told the clutch was new, the turbo was new, and the tires were new. That alone says something. Yet this car still runs. The speedometer was broken when I bought it, so it's true mileage is a mystery.

The things I've found that tend to go wrong on a lot of VW's are the shifter bushings and the seats becoming wobbly on their tracks. However, when treated right, Volkswagen's last forever. Everyone I've met who owns a VW says they would never go back to anything else. When I was car shopping for one, I came across more than one person who not only had a VW for sale, but a couple more in the driveway that were for everyday use.

The diesels, especially, are amazing. The fuel mileage is out of this world. My Jetta did great for that. The Jetta's in particular tend to be very front heavy, they nose-dive when you throw them into a corner, but they handle insanely well. The trunk space is unbelievable, all in all if it's one thing VW always has and always will have down pat, it's the use of space.

The Jetta's are fun to drive, comfortable, easy to work on, and they're one of the most solid cars out there. Mine had so much wrong with it, but I would still never go back to anything but a Volkswagen.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2008

1996 Volkswagen Jetta CLX 1.8 from South Africa


It feels like the timing is on and off


My 1996 VW Jetta is jerking?

General Comments:

It started by just cutting off while driving on a highway. The engine was running but could not rev.

I took it to mechanic who took the whole week trying to find the problem. They started by saying it's throttle body, which they changed, and there was no difference, then fuel pump, which they changed and still no difference.

Then a computer box, which they changed and the car started revving, though you could feel something was not 100% right.

On driving the car started jerking. I noticed that it was jerking on the steep when the fuel was low (1/4 tank). I also suspected timing.

I took it to my VW specialist; they started by pointing at HT leads and distributor cap, which they changed and the car is still jerking. When they checked the timing with the timing light, they said it does not hold timing, but they do not know what the cause is.

Now the car does not hold the idling when cold, and you can still feel it cutting while driving. Any one who can help with this?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 20th July, 2008

14th Jan 2009, 13:12

I have a 1998 Jetta 3 CLX with a similar problem; it jerks when going over a certain revs when cold, and also jerks intermittently when driving at a constant speed. Please let me know if you manage to resolve your problem. I will also comment if I should resolve it.

22nd Apr 2010, 02:15

I had the same problem on my 1993 Jetta 3. I replaced the coil, modulator, distributor cap and the rotor. It helped, but was still jerking a bit. I replaced the idling chip on the computer box and that worked for about 8 months. I then decided to just by-pass my computer box, and I have never had any problems again. It's been 2 years since I last had a problem.

1st Feb 2012, 12:52

Hi. I've got the same car, but it's carburetor... It cuts off while driving or idling. I've got to open and close the grommet, then it starts, but still cuts off again. Any suggestions please? My email is yoginnaidoo21@gmail.com.

Thanks a lot, any help is highly appreciated.

21st May 2014, 09:56

Good day!

Kindly advise how to bypass the computer box of a Jetta 3 1.8 1995 model, a carburetor engine.

From Zee.