3rd Apr 2009, 12:43
I highly recommend visiting TDIclub.com.
This site is a wealth of information on TDI's... how to's, FAQ's, forums, etc.
21st Jun 2009, 14:18
I have a 2000 Jetta TDI which was a year old when I bought it, and had been driven extensively on the highway (64,000 kms).
I had a turbo problem, poor acceleration, but found a very reliable VW repair mechanic (Eddie) in Kitchener, Ontario where I live. All I needed was a $99 part plus labour and the car runs great. That was three years ago. I now have over 240,000 kilometres on the car and still get a 1000 kms to a tank. Last week I filled up at 79.9 cents Canadian.
I have had no rust problems and no problem with the glove compartment.
I use synthetic oil and change it every 8000 to 10000 kms.
This is my fifth VW, and I swear by them, not at them. My daughter has a 2006 Jetta TDI and loves it. She also does the regular maintenance and does not abuse the car.
Warren from Kitchener.
15th Sep 2009, 13:10
I love my 2001 Jetta TDI 5 speed. 320,000 miles since I purchased it new. I have been rear-ended and pulled out in front of and I can only say this little guy is a tank. Glove box, center console and cup holders are features I only have fond memories of, but the moon roof still works and I can still drive 600 miles on a tank of fuel.
However, last week it faded, stalled and wouldn't start. A friendly mechanic got a diagnostic that some sort of component that talks to the glow plugs is bad, but he won't touch it. Says I should go to the VW dealer because he might be wrong, and the part is $300-400 plus $300-400 to install.
Do I go to the dealer or kill the car?
1st Oct 2009, 03:05
I traded an A6 wagon for a new TDI Wagon in 2003, and have put 130K miles on it.
I have had all kinds of fancy German cars in my life. But the TDI is the best car I have ever owned.
I do my own scheduled maintenance every 10K/20K miles.
The only problems I have had with the car so far are:
1) Bad #2 glow plug at 50K. It cost me $50 for the part and 30 minutes of my time to fix that.
2) Replaced the MAF sensor at 60K. It was a 15 minutes job and the part was less than $100.
3) Timing-belt job at 95K by a TDI Club guru. It cost me $650 parts and labor.
4) It has just developed an alternator-pully noise problem at cold engine starts a week ago. A local independent shop quoted $60 for parts and $100 for labor.
I drive from San Francisco to LA every 90 days. It is a 1000+ miles round trip. The pleasure of the high-torque TDI engine is absolutely priceless. I expect my TDI will give me close to 1M miles of service if I keep up with the scheduled maintenance. After that, I would buy another TDI without thinking twice. In fact, I will never buy another gas engine car in my lifetime.
31st Oct 2009, 12:37
My 2000 Jetta TDI was purchased three years ago with 67K on the odometer. I have the 01M automatic transmission, manual windows and a factory CD changer in the trunk. In three months I began having the CEL (dash) light come on. I changed the glow plugs, cleared the dash light and everything was fine for about two months when the CEL began lighting again. The error was always a glowplug problem, but it started in cold weather just fine so I lived with the light for quite a long time. Eventually, I decided to pull the glowplugs and check the resistance and found that #2 glowplug had failed and taken out the glowplug harness as well. I replaced the glowplug with one of the originals and installed a new harness which fixed the problem.
I have also repaired the injection pump twice for leaks. The O-ring around the output 'head' was replaced with a Viton O-ring and the gasket on the Quantity Adjuster cap was replaced. Both of these I contribute to myself and not something that happened at random.
There is no fuel pump on these early A4 cars. Don't run out of fuel because simply adding more fuel to the tank won't allow you to restart your engine. No fuel pump, remember? Getting the engine restarted requires some tools and work under the hood. The fuel has to be sucked, by whatever means, from the tank to the injector pump. This can be a real problem if you aren't equipped. Fortunately, a fuel pump from a 2004 (I believe) or later TDI can be installed, but it isn't simply a bolt-in thing. It will need to be provided electrical power to make it work, but it will fit in the tank without any modifications. Once properly wired, it will function properly and even help relieve the injection pump of some of its duties and provide a few extra pounds of fuel pressure to the system.
Speaking of the fuel system, make sure you keep the fuel filter clean. If you run a lot of waste vegetable oil (WVO) through your engine, then this is particularly important because the fuel filter will eventually load up with the free-floating fat particles you can't see and cause a blockage, and cause your engine to suddenly lose power, usually under moderate to heavy loading, such as climbing a steep hill or using full power. Changing the filter will usually fix this. Fortunately, fuel filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change. All TDI's should have a new fuel filter at least once every year or 20,000 miles. Save yourself a potential problem and change your fuel filter.
Also, use only VW 505.00 rated oil in your diesel unless you have the PD version; then use VW 505.02 specs. All oils meeting these specs will be synthetic, and therefore expensive, but it's worth the extra money for the better lubrication and increased engine longevity.
My glove compartment door broke. This is common in the early A4 Jettas. I disassembled and repaired at a total cost of $22 (for a plastic hinge pin). Inconvenient, but not a major event.
My pop-out cup holder has broken several times, and each time I have repaired it. Poor quality, and the replacements are better built, but they run over $100, so I'll keep repairing mine for as long as I can.
All of the vacuum driven functions are provided their power from a mechanical vacuum pump on the rear of the camshaft. The design of the pump itself is excellent, but I had a serious brake problem (lack of adequate braking ability) and eventually traced it to the only hose fitting on the vacuum pump. It is held in place by a crimp, and over the years and miles, the fitting had loosened the crimp a bit, making the fitting leak. I used a small ball-peen hammer and lightly tapped the crimp until it held the fitting tightly, and then I sealed it with a heat-resistant sealer. My brakes are incredible now.
I performed the timing belt change myself. It's a pain, but not impossible. I also changed all the pulleys and the water pump at the same time. This isn't absolutely necessary, but seriously recommended. The work to change the water pump is the same as changing the timing belt, so do it all at one time and save yourself the trouble. This procedure requires setting the ignition timing and that is done by adjusting the injection pump, which requires some special software (free from Ross-Tech.com) and their specialized cable plus your computer, usually a laptop.
The CD changer is pretty much junk. Changing from one CD to the next is likely to end up with an error showing on your stereo display. My car, bought used, didn't have the security code for the factory radio and the local VW dealer wants $53 to provide me with the code. I swapped to an aftermarket unit instead.
With my automatic transmission I typically get 36.5 to 39 MPG in town. On the road I'll run from 43.8 to 45 MPG. You can expect approximately 10% better with a 5-speed.
The front sway bar bushings (rubber) wear out and cause the sway bar to make an audible knock when hitting bumps. These are cheap and fairly easy to replace, but it takes a lot of hard use to wear them down to the point of replacement. If you drive on paved roads all the time, you probably won't need to ever replace them.
The hard plastic parts such as the glove compartment door, console, cup holder, etc., are made out of ABS. If your plastic parts are black in color, then you can make your own repair glue very easily. At your local hardware store, go to the ABS plastic fittings isle and buy a 2" ABS coupling. It will be black and cost around $1. Also buy some acetone. You won't need very much so buy a small container. Take a 1/4" or 3/8" drill (a sharp one) and place it in your hand drill or drill press, then start drilling holes. The drill will produce curly pieces coming out of the holes being drilled. Gather these pieces up and place them in a glass jar. Pour enough acetone in the jar to cover the pieces about half way then screw on the cap and let it all set for three or four hours then check it. What you're looking for is a medium thick 'goo' when all the plastic has dissolved. Add more plastic or acetone as needed. You can dip a matchstick or other such item into the glue and apply it to any broken plastic parts in your car. You'll want to let it cure overnight, but you can dab small amounts onto broken parts to build it up and recreate a broken locking tab, etc. I have done this throughout my glove compartment, center console and dashboard to repair all sorts of things. The cured glue will become part of the original piece, and the strength will be at least as good as the original. I usually add more than necessary, and then file it to the shape I want after it has completely dried. I also tried buying the glue specifically made for ABS, but found it to not work nearly as well as what I have described above.
Overall, my TDI has required more maintenance than all of my nine Honda/Acura cars put together, and I probably won't buy another VW after this, but I love to drive my diesel. The available torque at low RPM is incredible, and once moving, it doesn't require significant changes in the throttle pedal to adjust for hills. At 1.9 liters with 90HP and 155 ft lbs @ 1900 RPM, it makes for easy driving. As a comparison, my 2000 Honda Civic SI with its factory stock 1.6 liter, 160HP, 8000 RPM engine only managed 128 ft lbs of torque, and all at over 6000 RPM. It required a lot of shifting during normal local driving.
If you're mechanically inclined, and particularly adept with motor vehicles, then you may want to look at the VW TDI. If not, then I would recommend you look at something else, because having to pay for someone to service your TDI might be more than you would like to have to do.