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Weighing Options for overhaul
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BACKGROUND: I bought a 2000 Jetta TDI for my daughter to drive to college last year. She was in a bio-diesel club in high school and is majoring in Chemistry. Unfortunately, I’m taking a bath on this car. We’ve only run about 15 gal of bio through it, no more than 4 gallons each time. Have already spent $2,500 on repairs related to low coolant sensor and it throwing a P0380 code, so glow plugs were replaced. Had to replace the glow plugs a 2nd time as my mechanic said they weren’t turning off. He routed a switch under the dash to fire them in cold weather, but the drawback was the “check engine” light stayed on. He said to disregard warning. Ran for 3 months, then dropped a valve, so now I’m waiting for the estimate for an engine overhaul from a VW Dealer (lost faith that my mechanic knew diesels well enough and previous work may have contributed to the engine failure).
Bought for $5,800 with 105,000 miles (base automatic model). Put add’l $2,500 into first couple repairs. Estimate engine overhaul at $3,000+.

Question:
should I cut losses and sell w/o running? Rebuild at dealer? Rebuild with special "parts" to make it more bio or veggie friendly?

Choices:
Rebuild and sell
Cut losses

 
 
Registered: July 17, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think at this point you need to sell it to somebody who can do the work themselves. Those prices are INSANE to me, but I fix everything myself. I bought my 2000 VW Jetta TDI last year not running well for $2700 with 180,000 on it...so to pay $5800 seems like you got RIPPED OFF.

I have repaired/replaced:
Cleaned out carbon build-up in intake: free (the cause of not running well)
Variable-vane turbo actuator: $30
Timing belt and water pump: $350
Repaired coolant leak: $2 for a piece of 5/16" hose
Flushed system of German red coolant and replaced with American green: free (I had already blown all red coolant out due to leak)
--no more friggin' $20 per gallon coolant!
New solid flywheel clutch kit: $300
New polyurethane suspension bushings front and rear: $140
And the relay that powers the computer: $7

I have, give or take, $3600 into the car; runs and drives like a dream now, pulling 46-50mpg depending on how many people I am driving with!

If you need to keep paying shop rates to fix it, time to get something that doesn't need repair. Blue Book on that car is only $3500-4000. You are WAY beyond that now.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If this was an old Mustang, I could do everything myself, but it's a whole different animal.
Just heard back from dealer. $2,200 in parts. Labor another $$$
 
Registered: July 17, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Its not as bad as you think, I think. This is the newest vehicle I have ever done this involved of work on. I have been amazed at how easily everything has gone. Everything has just been so logically arranged to come off and go back on again. And even after 13 years of WI road salt, the bolts have come off: VW must implement some wicked rustproofing at the factory!

I dropped the tranny and did the whole clutch rebuild in 8 hrs: the entire transmission only weighs 40lbs, wet. SOOO easy compared to muscling around a 200lb 3/4-ton truck tranny to do a clutch! My brother came over and helped me lift it into place by hand.

The whole timing belt kit install took 6hrs. "Lock timing cogs here and here, disassemble, reassemble, on the road again." There is so much room to work with that little 4-cyl once the engine shield and splash guard come off the top and bottom.

I gave myself the entire weekend to do each and I had them both done by early afternoon on Saturday.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Told the dealer to do the repairs as any other option guarantees a significant loss. If we keep the car 5+ years, then the pain of my investment will be lessened - as long as this money pit doesn't rear it's ugly head again.
Thanks Ryan.
 
Registered: July 17, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So how did it "drop a valve"? Timing belt go way beyond service interval and break or slip?
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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No, I had that wrong from a phone description, so I went to see it last night. Not strong on overhead cams, but this has one and there are chromed disks located between the valve stem and cam that like silver 1/2 dollars. Several of those were busted to pieces, scarring the cam. They will replace the "head assembly" with a rebuild, which includes cam, valves, etc in head. It had the strangest looking pistons I've ever seen - like they were hollowed out. Germans...
 
Registered: July 17, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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