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VW GTI (All styles)

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  • Just wanted to thrown up this post on my never ending MIL nightmare. My '02 GTI 1.8T has been in the shop 4 times now for an MIL that never seems to shut off. The first time, the dealership reset it and upgraded some software on the ECM and sent me on my way. A month later, they said it was sporadically misfiring and replaced the ECM. Five weeks later, they said no trouble codes were showing up and the misfiring was probably caused by old oil (the car was a demo and the dealership did not tell me they hadn't replaced the oil; so 9k later, old oil). They replaced the oil and sent me on my way. A few days later, MIL on again. This time (and if the stories I've read about VW owners and their ignition coils are true, they'll never believe this), they can't find a thing wrong with the car, but it's still misfiring. So VWoA tells them, replace the ignition coils--all of them. So they do and now they tell me it's running fine. I still don't have the car yet (tonite hopefully) because they want to be absolutely sure there are no other issues with this car. Although this has been annoying, I still love the car. And my dealer in Houston is terrific. If you want any more information, please feel free to email me.
  • How long does the misfiring go on for? If it is just the first couple minutes after being started then you might have the same problem I did.

    My dealer in Austin told me to switch to a lower octane gas from 93. I now use the mid grade(89 or 90) and haven't had a MIL light since.
  • Good question. I don't know really. This is the diagnosis that they came up with (misfiring) and then I would actually notice it after the MIL came back on. In all of the cases, the MIL always came on within the first few minutes after I started the car. I'll call my advisor and ask him about it.

    As a follow up, I found out that the ignition coil packs were taken off a new vehicle on their lot and put on my car just so they could get the problem solved. Funny if its just an octane issue.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    I have to agree 100% with what you said. The rear sway bar did wonders for my GTI, I also went with a 25mm, and switched out to a 22mm H&R front sway (needed the extra driveshaft clearance).

    What a difference, especially with Bilstein sport shocks, H&R race springs, and a neuspeed strut bar, that car handled like it was on rails. Add the Bridgestone S03 Pole Positions on some 17" forged wheels and I was set.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    It is absolutely amazing what a difference suspension upgrades make to a GTI. So far I've done the Neuspeed Front strut tower brace, 25mm rear sway bar (don't need a front one, no rubbing), race springs, Koni sport adjustable struts/ shocks.

    The last few things I want to do to is the Neuspeed lower front tie bar for $90 and a rear upper stress bar (goes between the towers behind the back seat) both of these mods are supposed to make big improvements in body rigidity. There are a lot of designs of the rear stress bar - anywhere from $90 to $200 for a removable one. A stock or slightly modified GTI doesn't need stress bars but when you start modifying the suspension a lot past stock it is a good idea.

    I'm investigating replacing various suspension bushings with poly bushings as well - I think I'll replace the front A arm bushings first. Replaceing the bushings seems to be a lot of bang for the buck. This car will be my first foray into bushing replacements. Whats nice about poly bushings is that if I don't like them putting the stock one's back in isn't a big deal. Last but not least are the tires - I'm doing my best to wear the original 17" Michelins Pilots out - can't stand these tires - I'm either getting Falken Azenis or Kumho MX on the stock 17" alloys. I plan to get some used 16" alloy wheels with some type of track tire for AutoX too.

    I have a "test course" in my neighborhood where I take the GTI when I change something on the suspension. It has a series of extremely tight S turns going out to a high school in the back of the neighborhood - all one way with great visibility and totally abandoned on the weekends. I enjoy seeing the tangable, measurable improvements these suspension mods have made to the GTI - I've been practicing my 4 wheel drifts lately (not something I'd recommend with the stock suspension) - this is really, really addicting. My Michelins have left a perfect black line through my test track :-)

    Where a stock GTI has a soft almost floaty touring suspension with a good dose of oversteer. My GTI has been transformed into a nice tight but not punishing suspension that understeers like a rear drive car - no lean or sway, perfectly controlled, handles like it's on rails and this is on the stock all season tires.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    But yes, I agree with everything you said.

    VWMS makes a lot of stiffer rubber bushings instead of poly bushings if you were interested....

    Just wait till you get some super sticky tires on there, you'll be amazed even more.

    The stock Monte Carlos are a good wheel, they are 23 lbs (about average for a 17" cast wheel), and they are made by speedline. The Michelin tires are awful, I know what you mean. If you want to spend the extra money, I highly suggest S03 Pole Positions, they are about $150 for 225/45/17 last time I checked - not bad at all.

    As for the front tie bar, I have heard mixed reviews about just how beneficial this is. The rear strut bar however I was planning to do to my GTI, but then I sold it. The Alpha1 looks like a nice unit, and I like that it can be removed.

    - Anthony
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I'm eyeing out a Turn-2 rear stress bar. I think it's needed on the Golf & GTI. The hatch design loses some of its torsional rigidity compared to the 3-box Jetta.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    Yes - I meant oversteer -it turns right in, very crisp response now with the rear sway. I was testing it out again this past weekend. I have an AutoX event coming up as well, looking forward to getting it out on the track.

    That Turn-2 bar is nice, I have links to a few rear stress bars at home, quite a range in prices.
  • bruticusbruticus Posts: 229
    Here's the situation. I've been wanting a Subaru WRX for quite some time, but I've been unable to find insurance coverage for less than $2900/year, which I simply cannot afford (I like the car but will not pay $3000/year on the loan and $2900 more for insurance)

    I had put the GTI on my list but only as an alternative (mainly because a friend has had one for 14 months with some bad experiences) and am now considering its merits. If there are any posters out there like me (see below) I would appreciate information on your experience insuring the GTI.

    I'm 27, single, male and live in central NJ. I've had continuous insurance coverage under my own name since July 1998 (was on father's policy between 1993-1998). I have no accidents/claims on my record at all. In May 2001 I was ticketed for careless driving (while aiming for a highway exit ramp I moved off the road 100 feet too soon and was nailed for "driving on the shoulder to avoid traffic," a total line of crap but that's beside the point).

    I'm currently with AllState, have been since July 2000, and have paid ~100/month pretty consistently. Last January, when looking at buying the WRX, I got quotes for its insurance and was shocked to get nothing better than $2000/year. In the past few weeks I played the quote game again (thinking "probably not much change, but I can afford it now") and nearly had a heart attack at hearing the aforementioned premiums. The $2900/yr was from AllState, and agents of two other companies said flat-out "we're not going to beat them, and I doubt anybody else will."

    The USAA woman was really sweet, and took the trouble to determine that the reason those quotes are so high is due to the WRX qualifying as a "high-perf vehicle," based mainly on is hp:weight. Deleting my 2 points from the quote dropped it 10%, but changing back to a regular-old Impreza dropped it almost 50%.

    So, for all those GTI owners out there whose lives look a bit similar to mine, have you been seeing these kinds of premiums?

    DjB
  • GTI 1.8t owner here who pays $1100/year. I'm 33 but have had a one ticket and one fender bender in the last 3 years.

    1.8t is a good choice because it is easily and cheaply modded and is a good way to get around hp/weight ratios that these companies use.

    Check out Geico as they were the lowest rate for me when I got my Saturn back in '95 as well as the lowest for my current VW.

    My other piece of advice is to take a defensive driving course if you haven't already. This course, in Texas at least, cost $35 and will take up 6 hours of your time. In return you get 10% off your insurance for a period of three years. At $3000/year you would save $900 for a $35 investment.

    Also you may want to compare rates on: Mazdaspeed Protege, Mini, Focus SVT, Mazda 6, etc. and see what they come up with.

    Good Luck!
  • bruticusbruticus Posts: 229
    Also no Progressive, and no companies offer online quoting whatsoever. In NJ, auto insurers MUST adopt "take all comers" meaning they can't turn any applicant away; they must offer some kind of policy for drivers with terrible records; because this driver group has a high overlap with the group of drivers with little money, these high-risk policies are subsidized by premiums paid by average drivers. As a result, many insurers (State Farm being one of the biggest in recent news) are quitting the business in NJ completely, which decreases competition and allows remaining insurers to jack up rates.

    At the same time, a large % of vehicles on our roads on any given day are registered/insured in a different state, while a smaller % are not legally registered or insured at all. So auto insurers writing business in this state are faced with paying money on claims they can't hope to recover in premiums because, quite often, one party involved in an accident will be paying a company in a different state (or no company at all). That risk is, again, subsidized by average drivers' premiums.

    Atop that, there's no real regulation of how insurance companies rate driver risk; one company may allow people with 1 accident or 2 points into their best-rate group, while another won't offer their best rates unless a driver has no points, no accidents, and has been insured with that carrier for 3 years or more.

    IIRC, in NJ the average premium for all "driver categories" is highest or second-highest in the nation.

    Cars like the Protege, Mini, and Focus suffer much the same insurance drawbacks as the WRX: rated as high-performance; intended/marketed to young, single male drivers; prone to theft; often used for weekend racing...

    DjB
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I'd get quotes for a 1.8t GTI from your same sources - that's the only way to really know what your rates would be. My 02 1.8t GTI insurance runs about $900 a year in Florida. GTI's are typically cheap to insure in my experience.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Good Lord!!!! If I ever consider moving to NJ, please remind me about these ridiculously high insurance rates. I pay about 2400/yr to insure 3 cars in Florida full coverage (no collision or comp on oldest car) with Progressive. I'm 23, single, no points and no accidents. Cars insured are an 03 Suzuki Aerio SX, 02 Mitsu Lancer, and 92 Miata. NJ residents are being ripped off, especially the young single male group.
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    My recent problem with an ignition coil failure caused my car to be holed up in the dealership for days waiting for a new part. The coil was eventually replaced. I then read in today's NY Times Automotive Section that each of four ignition coils is prone to failure but that VW's policy was to only replace the one that failed. I immediately went back to my service documentation, and sure enough, only the coil on cylinder 1 was replaced. So it's only a matter of time...

    I plan to take this up with VW next week. (I pressed for a buyback under PA's lemon law after the ignition failure, but no luck.)

    Summary of first 17K miles: rattle in driver's door; 2nd gear syncro failure resulting in replacement; noise in 4th and 5th gears resulting in transmission replacement (4 transmission related visits/fixes in 16K miles); ignition coil failure resulting in ignition coil replacement on cylinder 1. VW has to realize that this just won't do in the North American market, where reliability is paramount. For comparison, I have owned 3 humble Chevy Cavaliers with only a water pump failure and a thermostat failure, each around 100K miles. All three cars parted company with me on their original transmissions and clutches.
  • dle01dle01 Posts: 37
    I just saw the NYT article; here is a link to it for those who are interested.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/02/automobiles/02COIL.html

    This is not super good news on the reliability front. The article mentioned that now that parts are available VW will be offering proactive replacements of all coils. I'm going to check with my dealer this week to see if they are willing to do this on my car (a 2002 VR6).

    Has anyone had any experiences with dealers willing to replace more than one coil? Anyone received any proactive correspondence regarding the problem from VW?
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Perhaps this official announcement from VW will help put some of your concerns to rest: Volkwagen and Audi To Replace All Ignition Coil Parts.... Also, for more on this subject, here a discussion from our Maintenance & Repair board. Hope this is helpful.

    And perhaps we can get back to discussing some other subjects about the GTI. Thanks for your participation! ;-)

    Revka
    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    Good to read about the fix.

    I had started to test other cars as a prelude to replacing the GTI. But... Subaru WRX: fast but crude; Honda Accord: extremely competent but left me totally unmoved; Saab 9-3: comes real close, but try ordering a base car; BMW 325i: great to drive but too cramped and not as fast as the VW; Jaguar X-type 2.5 5spd: like the Mondeo that spawned it, a good car, but poor head room and it's not really a Jag, and, yes, a Chevy Impala: honest, roomy, under-rated car with a great engine and the best auto trans you can buy. But the GTI is just plain great to drive, and very roomy for two (more than any except for the Impala and Accord, thanks to old-fashioned near vertical side glass and more vertical windshield). If only it would give me 70K miles of trouble free motoring.....
  • I'm beginning to really like the GTI VR6. I've been doing some research about the car and am very impressed with the facts and figures. How 'bout the new incentives and rebates from VW?

    1. Where is the GTI built? Brazil or Germany? How 'bout in 2002?

    2. Should I wait for the 2004 GTI 4 Motion?

    3. Is the Cargo space roomy enough to hold a mountain bike with or without removing the front wheel?

    4. What else should I know about this car before I go and buy a Honda Element EX 4WD or an Audi A4 Avant 3.0 6-speed.
  • hi, Im a new VW owner, I just bought a '03 GTi with the 1.8t, I like it alot. Im comming out of a 1998 Caddillac Seville STS. I have about 450 miles on my GTi and i have a rattle comming from my passenger door. Other than that the car has been awesome, its quick and fairly good on gas. My insurance however did go up about $400 a year as oppose to my caddy....im a 22 yr old guy btw.
    I have only had one ticket my whole life and no accidents, so im on the same boat as some of you other guys
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    It's built in Brazil. The last German built GTI was in early 2001.

    The Element and A4 Avant are totally different cars. Apples to Oranges.

    2004 GTI 4motion? No such thing. There will be a Golf R32 with a 3.2L VR6 and 4motion, but that's it. About 5,000 headed to the US and we aren't sure if it will come with the DSG or the 6 speed. Expect pricing to be right around the $30k mark.

    - Anthony
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