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VW Jetta TDI

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  • I test drove a 2005 jetta tdi standard yesterday. First time ever driving a vw. Man was I impressed. I have always owned Honda and was set on an 08 civic but am seriously considering buying the tdi. The wife works about 100km from work (round trip) + all the running around with the kids activitys, I figure 120-130 km a day. The forums that I have been reading are always mentioning the fuel efficiency. Works for me. I did notice a post earlier were it was mentioned to rev to between 3&5 thousand rpm before shifting and that diesels like to be run a little hard and hot.
    Any comments or suggestions about buying a VW would be helpful.
    P.S. the dealer was great. They let me take the car for 24 hours to drive it and experience the car, knowing that I might not even buy the thing. It's sitting in my garage right now. lol. I think they know I want it.
    Thanks in advance.
    First time poster.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    My advice I offer all potential TDI owners is this...If you're going to rely on a VW dealer for service/repair, you may not be a happy camper. If you can maintain the vehicle yourself or have a good independent TDI specialist nearby and are very meticulously with the maintenance....you'll never want another vehicle. I find many Honda owners to be the type that are only interested in ubber-reliability which may or may not happen with a TDI. And a preowned one is a scary situation because if the previous owner was not meticulous with maintenance it may cause major problems down the road.

    That being said....I also own a Honda Odyssey and for a few months last year owned an '07 Civic EX. My '00 Jetta TDI was totaled after over 160k miles of nearly flawless service and was my favorite vehicle ever. It never visited a dealer and all maintenance/repairs were made by yours truly. The Civic is a very different animal and personally was just not right for me. My Odyssey has been pretty reliable and the Honda dealer is very good near me (360° from my Toyota dealer). I would buy a used TDI in a heart-beat IF I personally knew the history/owner/etc. Knowing what I know about TDI's I could never just walk onto a lot and buy a used one. They're a finicky vehicle and many pre-owned ones were test subjects of Toyota/Honda owners. They have the dealers perform the service and after a couple small problems that the dealers screwed up the repairs (or charged them a ridiculous amount) they dump them and run back to Honda/Toyota. Read back through these threads (and other TDI sites) and you'll find tons of stories of dealerships that just have no clue how to service TDI's and you'll understand where I'm coming from.
  • My radio wouldn't turn on this morning. The first thing I wanted to check was the fuse. I looked at the "fuse card" and can't tell which fuse is for the radio. Any idea where I might be able to get that information? Thanks.
  • test drove the civic again today and the ride quality of the vw is still my preference.
    The previous owner of the jetta was an older couple who had the vehicle serviced at a local vw dealer. There is only 37000 km on it. There are so many positives about the civic,new,full warranty,0km, however the fuel economy in the jetta might out way the positives in the civic.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    Two things I'd be scared of...make that three. Low mileage tdi, driven by old people, and serviced by dealer. That's a bunged up trifecta there. I'd prefer one with 100k miles driven by Mario Andretti if it was serviced by someone that had a clue what they were doing.

    Easy driving will gunk up the intake on a TDI and it's an elaborate process to clean it out. I've heard of dealers charging $500-$600 to do this but I helped a guy (car bought used.....) do it in a few hours. Either way, it can easily be prevented by just driving the thing and not babying it. Not using the correct oil is a big no-no and there's many documented cases where dealers aren't using the correct oil and/or the LOF guy just doesn't know/care. And 37,000km in three years???

    I had several major complaints with my short-term '07 Civic. One, the seats just killed me no matter what I did with them. That's a subjective issue and I'm sure most folks don't have that problem or everyone would be ditching them. It was the main reason I bailed on it. Second, the car has zero torque which wore thin on my nerves after awhile. I drive in the mountains a lot and hills that I could accelerate up in 5th gear with the tdi required holy-crap rpms just to try and maintain speed. Got old quick. And finally, driving my typical 75-80mph resulted in a mere 28-30mpg. The good news is the Civic suspension/steering/feel doesn't urge you to drive that fast so you'll likely find yourself putt-putting along at a more leisure speed. I was averaging 35mpg overall keeping it in the 70mph range on the highway. My TDI would average 45mpg with highway speeds in the 75-80mph range and overall far more aggressive driving.

    I'm actually looking (more proactive than active) for a used '05.5 or '06 TDI that was owned by a diesel geek. Very hard to find because the types that actually take care of these cars don't usually get out of them unless they're forced. I actually bought my '00 used from a guy that lost his job and just had to sell it.

    There are other small fuel efficient choices out there that aren't quite as dull as a Civic. I went the Civic route only because I knew I'd only need it short-term (although I was thinking a year or so...) and had the chance to buy an '07 for under invoice. They typically get close to MSRP for them which worked to my favor a couple months later. Also keep in mind how many miles you drive will calculate into your decision. If you only drive 12k miles a year, the difference between 35mpg and 45mpg is only $200.
  • Hey,

    I have a 2004 Jetta TDI that had the same issue. They changed the same cooler and the leak stopped so far. It's been over a month. The Thermostat was stuck part way open which was just ducky, too. The issue started about 120 000km.... just as the warranty ran out. Cool stuff eh?
  • vwinvavwinva Posts: 71
    Get the TDI. I bought one used from a small dealer (not VW) in 2003. 46K on it. Did a complete service on it right after I bought it to bring everything up to standard. Still driving it, now has 183K on the odometer. I expect to get 300K out of it. The fluids and filters you can do yourself. Read through the FAQ at TDIclub.com to get an idea of how to do it. TDIparts.com is a good source for what you'll need. Timing belt is the one item you will need done by a mechanic who knows what he is doing.
  • vwinvavwinva Posts: 71
    One other item I should mention. Fuel additive. I use Powerservice Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost. 4oz in every tank. Available at Wal-Mart. Not expensive and well worth the cost. If you are in an area where the temperature goes below 20F you'll want to use Diesel Supplement. Diesel will gel below 20F, DS has an anti-gel in the blend. If Powerservice not available, check auto parts stores. They should have something comparable.
  • inlarryinlarry Posts: 13
    I've noticed that over the last few month my '05 TDI (old body) has been very sluggish at RPM's above 2000. I have almost 0 passing power. I tried using fuel additives, which helps but only short term. I've also experimented with fuel from different sources, also with no help. I've got an appt. with the dealership for next week, but just wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar and what possible causes there could be.

    The car has just over 30,000mi on it, and I've kept up on oil changes (with 505.01 approved oil) and even changed the air filter 2 times in the last 20k miles.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,941
    leisure suit inlarry, fuel filter? Seems like the 20k fuel filter interval is a bit optimistic - one half-crappy batch of fuel my 06 has no power on the highway, and maybe stumbles too. (is yours stumbling or very smoothly having no power?)
    some TDIs were prone to MAF issues that would give the symptom you describe. a test for that is to unplug the MAF - if performance improves than a new MAF is necessary.
    also, sounds like your car is under warranty - why not let the dealer have an actual mechanic try diagnosing? :shades:
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,165
    Yes I would agree!! Let the dealer do it under warranty. Let us know what they find out.
  • inlarryinlarry Posts: 13
    Oh, I intend to let the dealer find out the problem, I was just wondering if any other TDI owners had experienced similar issues. I've never had a car with such issues at such relatively low mileage...I mean my '89 Benz with almost 200k miles is still smooth as silk with plenty of power and has had nothing major replaced that I'm aware of.

    As I mentioned, I tried some PowerService DieselKleen additive, which helped, but only short term (which was confusing). As for the question about the performance, the car is smooth until I hit ~2000RPM and remains smooth as long as I don't depress the pedal past maybe 1/4....at which point there is no power, the car feels like it does a bit of light jerking, etc. I can't even max out the tach with the car completely out of gear...completely in neutral the engine tops out 500RPM below redline and declines further from there (to up to 1500RPM below redline during the few seconds I was willing to test that theory).

    The other reason I'm asking for info from other owners is I want to know somewhat of what to expect from the dealer...mine seems to have a habit of "oh sorry, looks like we can't find an issue" or "well looks like there's been this done elsewhere, sorry but we can't help. Take it back to the other shop" syndrome.
  • had the timing belt an all related parts replaced dec 27 2007....15 days later
    the tensioner roller spring snapped off......(back side of factory part looks cheap)
    so ..had the factory part replaced jan 15....same part broken again jan 26..
    its a great car...but high maint...im now checking for after market tensioner.
    any comments welcome
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    Hmmm, one tensioner I can believe going bad even though it's rare. Two? Almost sounds like an install problem or other issue. Is this a dealer? They're not usually the best at timing belts on TDI's.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,165
    As stated before, if I had to guess, it would be the MAF. In addition anyone one anywhere anytime can get a batch of bad fuel.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I would put my bet on the possibility that the tensionor was INSTALLED INCORRECTLY. There are several websites which discuss that the possibility that the tensionor can be installed in such a way that the spring is overwound. This has resulted in the type of failure which you describe.

    This is one of the MANY reasons it is highly recommended to have a SKILLED, KNOWLEGABLE and EXPERIENCED person perform the delicate task of replacing the timing belt and related components. (Most VW dealships do not fall into this category because they do not work on TDIs very often)

    I would also bet money that you will NOT find an aftermarket tensionor for a TDI engine. The VW-supplied part is very reliable when installed properly.
  • blundyblundy Posts: 15
    2002 jetta TDI with just over 100K. C Timing belt was changed. I drive it something like Mario but somewhere near the posted limits. No issue with power, when it runs. In Wisconsin and colder than a mother in law's kiss but it usually starts, breaths a little smelly smoke and goes right along. Battery went dead as Caesar;s ghost and I had to charge it. Radio security system had gone dead a day before that at a truck stop and I knew it was some bug built in by VW from the factory and I would have to take it to a dealer and pull the radio with special clips which I don't own. After the battery went dead, I charged it, (proper polarity by the way) It charged and all systems looked like they were Go but the immobilizer is now keeping it from running. Starts, runs 1/2 second and no fuel at the rails. All fuses good. Need a code to get it running. I am an hour north of the nearest VW shop. There is now a small yellow light that looks like a coil spring in the driver information panel. No information from the owner manual on what that light means. Any ideas?????
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Let me get this straight... you drive a TDI for 100K miles and you dont know what the "small yellow light that looks like a coil spring in the driver information panel" means?

    Please tell me you are joking that you do not know what the glowplug light is used for!

    BTW: You asked for ideas.... I think you need to start with a new battery. And perhaps re-program the keyfob.
  • blundyblundy Posts: 15
    Sorry I didn't recognize the little yellow spring. I bought this machine last July and it is now well below zero and it is the first time it ever lit. As far as reprogramming the key is concerned, both keys will not work and two VW techines and one foreign car specialist who works on Mercedes, which they say makes the security system for VW, say I need the entire computer re-flashed. They also tell me every time I disconnect the battery for any reason, like buying a new one or if it goes dead for any reason, I need to get it re-flashed. I was hoping the good German techies would not have had such a dream but the techies I talk to tell me they did. This little glitch wil only cost $250. Kind of stiff for a dead battery don't you think? I love my Dodge more every day.
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    I have disconnected the batteries in my 2004 Passat and 2006 Jetta TDI's numerous times and have never experienced the problem you are describing. I know bpeebles knows the older model Jetta much better than I do, but my experience is that after re-connecting the batteries the on-board VW computers reset themselves to the most recent programming prior to disconnect.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Whoever you spoke to is incorrect. Re-programming a keyfob only requires you to stick one in the drivers-door and another keyfob in the ignition. I have never EVER heard of disconnecting the battery affecting keyfobs. However, the radio may go into "safe" mode.

    Lets talk about the glowplug lamp some more... I believe your original complaint was "Hard Starting in cold weather". It is the glowplug lamp which will FIX this problem. You should learn more about the glowplug lamp.

    NEVER EVER try to crank the engine while the glowplug lamp is lit. Not only will your engine be very hard to start... but you may destroy the battery by overloading it.

    Your owners manual should have a section which discusses starting the engine. It would not hurt you to read thru it.
  • Hi, a mechanic replaced the battery on my 450,000km 2001 jetta. The temp gauge and fuel gauge have not worked since. Also the air bag light is on. could he have overloaded the capacitors by charging the new dead battery from a charger while installed in the car? Any ideas apart from checking the electronic control for the gauges? Is it possible to dicharge or dump the capacitors? How do I check to make sure the grounds are functioning as they should?
    Nancy
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Charging a battery while it is installed in the vehicle using a hi-power charger may perminently damage the onboard computer. (and other devices) Lets hope this is not what happened to your car. If your "new" battery was dead and had to be charged up... then you purchased a bad battery. A lead-acid battery which has been discharged to the point of being "dead" will become internally damaged. Its lifespan will be severely reduced.

    The best battery to buy is one that is stored on the shelf "dry" with no acid in it. This way, it is fresh and truly "new" when the acid is added before installing in vehicle.

    As for capacitors becoming "overloaded".... I am college-trained in electronics and can tell you that the only way to damage a capacitor is to apply too high a voltage... at which point it will explode like a firecracker. I do not think this is your problem.

    Your only real way to diagnose the problem is to hook your car up to a diagnostic computer. (Like a laptop computer with VagCom)
  • Just putting my two cents in re: the re-flashing of the computer after a battery failure/disconnect. If you read the manual in some older TDI's (older as in pre-2004 for sure, not sure how far back you'd need to go but it is mentioned in my '05 manual), the newer radios, etc. will "remember" their vehicle in this circumstance. Older vehicles required you to enter the unlock code when this happened. Not sure about the vehicle completely losing the info though, that sounds like someone wanting to make some easy money.
  • blundyblundy Posts: 15
    Not sure what happened to last message but will try again.
    Thanks to all who responded to my inquiries. I appreciate the advice but none of it sorked so far. I am aware of the glow plug light ...now. However, after reading through the manual 3 or 4 times cover to cover, i cannot find mention of the light. The only thing in the manual about diesel is a 3 page spec sheet in the back. It's like it is an afterthought. I tried the key in the door and one in ght ignition. Nothing. The immobilizer light is blinking to show me the car thinks it is being stolen. No fuel to the engine is an indication the immobilizer is not turning on the pump. Typical of the system.
    It was not a problem of difficult to start in the cold. It has always been a problem of it just not starting at all. The only commonality is that the battery went dead dead dead. Even the little red dash lights would not even glow. I am going to spin a note off to VW techies and see if they have any bright ideas. If I learn anything, I'll post it. Thanks again.
  • blundyblundy Posts: 15
    I think we solved the problem. A few months ago, (6 or 7) I had a new key cut and programmed for the VW. That was because when I bought the car, it had only one key, a flip out laser cut key with the transponder in it. When the battery went dead, I tried my original key and the immobilizer thought it was the wrong key and it was being stolen. When VW put the new codes in my new key, they actually made the second key the master key. So, I put the new key into the ignition and turned it on and left it sit for 20 minutes with key on, not trying to start it, Went in the house for a cup of coffee and came back and the new key started the car and it runs just fine. Then I want back and got the old master key and it runs on that one too now. I have no idea what that computer is thinking but it reminds me of Hal from 2001 space odyssey. I had tried the new key without letting it sit and read itself and no start. I guess that's the VW preferred way of reprogramming the system albneit with the new master.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    It is good to hear that you resolved the problem. It sounds as if you must have tried a lot of things before you get to that point.
  • blundyblundy Posts: 15
    Sure did but thanks to this forum and the advice that the jokers at the dealerships might just be worong, I decided to keep trying every hint I could find. Finally stumbled on it. Watch out, Hall is watching.........
  • I don't know if you have gotten your problem taken care of yet, but when you say it runs smooth up to 2000 rpm, but then no power, and some light jerking when you try to accelerate, it sounds very similar to my past experience which ended up being the fuel filter. The first one was at 18,000 miles. I was surprised when it needed replacement again at 27,000 miles. Only thing I can think of was that I possibly was unlucky enough to have filled my tank right after the station had it's tank refilled, and a lot of debris stirred up from the bottom of their tank ended up in mine.
    Anyway a new filter took care of it.
    If that is what it is, it won't be a warranty item, so you will pay the dealer unless you do it your self, which isn't difficult. Best thing you can do is buy a Bentley service manual for your model. They aren't cheap, but saving yourself one dealer service will more than pay for it, and after that it's all money in your pocket each time you are able to use it to do your own service.

    Good luck.
  • Actually it turned out to be a combination issue...about 90% fuel filter, and a faulty MAF sensor. The dealer's doing the sensor, but replacing the filter myself fixed most of the problem.
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