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Volkswagen TDI Models

Does anyone have any advice on buying a Volkswagen Station Wagon diesel?


  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    They are making one? I didn't think they were...
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    You bet VW is making the Jetta TDI Wagon. It is available in the US only right now so that is making some of the Canadians very angry. I have some regret that I purchased before the Jetta Wagon was available, but I really enjoy my TDI even though it isn't the wagon.
    The Jetta TDI Wagon is made in Germany as is all of the Jetta Wagon versions, this seems to be important to some but I have seen no evidence that shows better assembly quality for the Germany vs. Mexico vs. Brazil debate.
    The first TDI Jetta Wagons arrived in my area in November of 2001. They are sure scarce at the dealers, the rarest of all current VW's, Eurovans are even easier to obtain.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I bought my 2002 1.8T Jetta right when around the time the turbo wagon came out. I would have gotten one of those (more room in the cargo area and a rear wiper too), but I didn't. :(

    However, I LOVE my 1.8T Tiptronic sedan. It has 7200 miles since bought new (at 119 miles) on 11/3/01.
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 101
    Hi Vocus... Is the new 1.8T still snappy with Tiptronic? I'm looking for my 2nd VW and am torn between the TDI Beetle (600 miles on a tank!) or a 1.8T GTI (have always wanted a GTI).

    The GTI will cost a little more, handle better and of course be quicker, but the TDI folks sure rave about their cars.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I was torn between the 1.8T and the TDI (both automatic) as well. I drove both at the dealer. When I hit the gas in that 1.8T, I was hooked! :) It does use a little more gas, but I didn't care. It's alot of fun to drive. And on a windy road, it's fun to use the Tiptronic feature to shift the car coming out of a corner. Nothing like hitting 6700 rpm coming out of a corner for a rush that literally pushes you back in your seat. :)
  • jabildajabilda Posts: 47
    My Jetta Station Wagon w/ TDI is due in the States approx mid-March. Any feedback? For example, anything special I should know about driving the TDI? This is what I've been told / read:

    1) Definitely use the fuel additive below freezing.
    2) Keep the RPM's low (don't rev it up).
    3) There is some kind of 'check' light for the glow plug that I have to make sure lights before starting.
    4) The fuel filter has a water separator on it that needs to be serviced regularly.
    5) Use Mobil 1 / equal synthetic in it.
    6) Not too sure about chips, but I understand you can increase MPG / HP by having one installed, although the warranty may be affected. (anyone know specifics about this?).

    That's all I can think about right now. Any comments appreciated. Motorweek gave the diesels a good recommendation. What's the best mileage on a TDI motor w/o a rebuild (anyone know)?

  • twig93twig93 Posts: 38
    I've had my Jetta TDI for almost 2 years now. I live in PA. There is NO need for the fuel additive for cold temps. As long as your station carries winterized diesel fuel, your car should always start. The TDI is not like diesels of the past.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Golf GLS TDI with Lux and Cold Weather package.

    Can't wait for the car to arrive.
  • I've had my 2001 Jetta GLS TDI for about 10 months. I am finding that the maintenance costs are very expensive. In my calculations my service costs equal the fuel cost. VW wants the timing belt changed on the automatic at 64,000 km (40,000 miles) at a cost of $700.00 ($450.00 USD). The oil changes run about $115.00 ($75.00 USD)and the 20,000 mile service costs about $355.00 ($229.00 USD). If I had known that there were so many hidden costs I would have probably bought the gas model.
    I have also had quite few defects that have needed to be repaired. 10 In total ranging from a lose door hinge, rear brake rotor, alarm system, power window failure as some of the examples.
    I love the car, but I am disappointed in the overall build quality and the maintenance costs.
    Has any body else had any of the same concerns and problems? PS I live in Canada, so that is why I have shown the miles vs kilometers and the Canadian dollar conversions
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    The maintenance is free on a 2001 in the US up to 24,000 miles (not Canada?). The cost for an oil change is less than $20 for synthetic oil and oil filter is $6.00, this is the parts cost. You are getting ripped off if you are being charged $75 US, WOW. The TDI only requires oil change every 10,000 miles which is longer interval than many gas models. The timing belt on an automatic requires change at 40K miles, but the good news is that there is a new timing belt and tensioner that is used for both automatic and manual TDI and the interval is 80,000 miles before it requires change. If your 2001 has engine number 500,000 or later it already has the improved belt. The belt is standard on all 2002 TDI. For the 20K service there is an oil change, new air filter and brake fluid change required. A gas VW requires the same service at 20,000 miles.
    Other than the timing belt issue, the fact is that you would have had approximately the same cost of maintenance with a gas model.
    What are the "hidden costs"?
    There is just no excuse for the 10 defects you have experienced, I would be very disappointed if I had that experience also. I have a TDI 2001 and I have had to have one window regulator replaced and the glass in heated mirror replaced.
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 101
    Are you positive the timing belt change on an '02 TDI Automatic is now up to 80k miles? That's great news if it's true, as I'm picking up a new TDI Jetta GLS tomorrow.

    I remember seeing oil change pricing of $69.95 USD at my dealer. The first oil change is at 5k, then 10k and every 10k afterward (20k, 30k, 40k and so on).

    I guess dealers use a 5w-40 Castrol Syntec that is VW approved for TDI use? Otherwise I understand there is a Shell Deisel oil at WalMart that also meets the requirements, does this sound right?

    It seems like a great engine to me, and I'm looking forward to many happy miles with it. It joins my 1.8T Jetta in the garage (his & hers).
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    I am positive. 100% certain that the timing belt is installed on all 2002 TDI and that the interval is 80,000 miles for BOTH automatic and manual transmission. This new belt and tensioner will be installed on my 2001 as soon as I reach the mileage requirement. The Castrol Syntec is OK but I would not use it in my TDI unless it was free. There is Rotella Synthetic at Walmart and it is better than the Castrol, what I really recommend is Mobil 1 Delvac. As far as I am concerned $69.95 for oil change for the TDI is robbery.
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 101
    Do Jiffy Lube type of places carry deisel-specific synthetic? I want to use the right stuff and not take shortcuts, but saving money is great if I can do it.
  • mdecampsmdecamps Posts: 115
    Where did you get your info regarding the 80K timing belt change? I have a 2001 and I'm going to look at the engine # to see when I need to do mine. Is it expected that you always do the tensioner w/the timing belt?


  • You really don't need diesel-specific oil. It helps, but any number of weights will do, especially if you use synthetic. I drive a TON (800 miles a week or so), so it doesn't make much sense for me to spend for diesel-specific oil. If you drive less frequently and want the extra protection, you can get the diesel oil and bring it to the Jiffy Lube and have them use that instead of their stuff. :)
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    For more info. on TDI in general and in detail try Timing belt can be found here and here . I found out about the timing belt at tdiclub, the dealers sadly had incorrect info.. The number for the engine should be on sticker on top of timing belt cover and should read ALH XXX,XXX. The tensioner does not need to be changed every time if you are using the old interval of 40K or 60K miles but MUST be changed to the new style tensioner when using the new 80K belt.

    I highly recommend using diesel specific synthetic oil in the TDI. Recomended oils are: Mobil Delvac 1, 5w40 (full synthetic, a reformulated version of Mobil 1 which is intended for diesel engines)

    Chevron Delo 400, 5w40 (full synthetic version)

    Shell Rotella T (full synthetic version, not to be confused with Rotella SB synthetic blend or regular Rotella T non-synthetic)

    Amsoil Series 3000, 5w30 (full synthetic, CH-4 rated)

    Amsoil High Performance, 10w40 (full synthetic, CH-4 rated)

    Amsoil semi-synthetic 15w40 (CH-4 rated and high quality, but almost as expensive as the full synthetic, and higher viscosity at low temperatures)

    Redline, synthetic version (make sure you get the type meant for diesel engines, with the CG-4 or CH-4 rating).

    Oil in diesel engines needs to be able to suspend the soot that diesel motor creates and I am not going to trust a non-diesel specific oil.
  • mdecampsmdecamps Posts: 115
    Do I have to take the top engine cover off to get to the timing belt cover? My car is just now going out of warranty and I'm not real familiar with everything under the hood yet. I just want to look and see which engine number I have. By the way, thanks for all the great info. I am currently using the Mobil Delvac 1 in my car. I plan on doing an oil analysis this time around...

    Thanks again
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 101
    Anybody have experience with the TDI chip from Upsolute? My TDI with AT is beautiful on the highway, but I'm thinking another 25HP and 40 ft-lbs of torque would be a blast. The price is very fair IMO at only $325.
  • did the chip void your warranty? I'm thinking of this but will not if warranty is voided. Also, who performs the work?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    The Upsolute chip or any other chip that alters the ecu program does have the effect of voiding your warranty on any component that could be affected by the changes the chip causes. This is the reality if you have a component failure and VWoA decides to play hardball. Also a reality is that the Upsolute chip is proven in the TDI and it is not going to cause any component failures. And as natescape stated the chip is difficult to detect and some dealers are friendly to chipped cars.
    So the bottom line is that chipping your car will not affect reliability, will give you increased performance without decreasing mileage, is the most cost effective way to increase performance on the TDI, and does involve a very small amount of risk should you happen to have a blown engine, turbo, injection pump or etc and VW uses the chip as a scapegoat.
  • I have heard this before - why doesn't VW offer the chipped-up version in the States? Is there some type of EPA limit they violate by chipping the car? (I.e. - the chip sounds 'too good to be true'.) I have read this along these threads and appreciate all of the info. I'm just a little leary about it. Are there any horror stories w/ using the chip and / or any difference in maintenance from adding the chip?

    Thanks, again, I appreciate the info.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    VW Germany offers many, many choices in Europe than are denied to US buyers. Who knows why? VWoA certainly is not offering any info..

    The Upsolute chip is very popular in the TDI so it has a history. Other than a small increase in soot and sizable increase in power, it requires no difference in maintenance, and there really are NO horror stories. Wait, there is one thing, if you have a manual transmission and you chip the car you will likely experience some clutch slippage. The increase in torque and HP does shorten the life of the clutch. A clutch upgrade is available .

    Some people do not experience clutch slippage, it really depends on how hard you drive your car.

    I do not have my TDI chipped, but do have plans to do so some time in the future.
  • Most folks experiencing clutch slippage have the chip AND box, or injectors, or other mods. From what I gather, you have to drive it pretty hard to get slippage with just a chip.

    Thankfully, my Passat has a monster clutch (that can handle the v6) and I've never had any slippage.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    natescape and I are going to have to agree to disagree on the clutch issue. You will have to talk to owners with just the chip and read info. at and see for yourself that there are plenty of people that have JUST the chip and have clutch slippage.

    There is a new box out from for TDI that is $450 (a little high$) that claims 30HP and 45lb-ft torque, it is new in the US so I don't have much to say about it, but it can be easily removed before going to dealer.
  • That's cool. Like I said, I have no real experience with slippage, so everything I read is second-hand. Since I don't have a Jetta/Golf/Beetle, I probably don't follow the details of slippage stories as closely as moparbad does. I just speak from a general sense of what's up, which could easily be wrong. ;)
  • I really appreciate this banter - I'm considering the chip - maybe I'll wait for the 4yr / 50k because it's on me, then anyway.

    Thanks again.
  • bluewolfbluewolf Posts: 101
    I will chip my '02 TDI Jetta, it's just a matter of when. I've already talked with my nearest Upsolute dealer, and it's a 7 hour drive, but that's okay, I think it'll be worth it!
  • Definitely worth it. I drove from Mass to NJ to get mine chipped (6 hours) and have not the faintest inkling of regret on the decision. You're gonna love it, especially in a new car.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I'm trying to wait until 10,000 miles to get my TDI chipped. Maybe I'll do it after 5000 miles or so.
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