I am sure a lot of guys will get a good laugh out of my naiveté, so enjoy!
One of my tenants was behind on his rent. Not super behind but enough where I had to stop by in-person to see what was going on. While I was there he was telling me how his car needed work and he couldn't afford it and yada yada. He said he was tired of dealing with it and wanted to junk it for a couple hundred bucks. Well my niece is almost 16 and the car didn't look terrible, had just under 100k, so I told him I would take $400 off the money he owed me in exchange for the title. He said the brakes were locked up, it had a check engine light, so I am thinking no big deal, throw some calipers/pads/rotors on there, bleed them, replace an O2 sensor, good as new. Haha, got ya.
This f'ing thing has been a nightmare. I have been wrenching on cars since I was 15 - but never VW's. This will be the last VW I ever own.
First, I got the car in my car in my garage and jacked it up. Oh great, a unibody. Fun. Anyway, I finally get it up and see the rear end of this car looks like it's been sitting in saltwater for the last 10 years. The thing is rusted to shit. I guess VW uses brake shields on all four corners and they were almost completed rusted off. Calipers, hubs, shocks, springs, all rusted to hell. I spent months grinding off all rust, POR15'ing it, etc. Discovered that the previous owner ran the rear brake pads down to the metal of the metal. I've never seen brake pads come out in 3 rusted sections before. The driver side rear caliper was a bitch to get retracted, but I eventually got it. The pass side parking brake mechanism had to be completely removed it and cleaned up, lubed, and reinstalled. Oh and it had to be adjusted as well because from the factory VW didn't adjust it properly. Total pain in the ass. Sway bar bushing housing almost completely rusted off, total pain to replace as I ordered the wrong part about 3 times and eventually just made the one I ordered work. You have to remove the hub to replace the brake shield (great design there), so I just replaced the hubs. The springs came out in three pieces due to the rust. Fun times.
And this reminds me...I had to buy a decent amount of special tools for this POS. Triple square can kiss my ass. Also, ordering OEM parts can kiss my ass. VW uses different parts on almost every different model and year it seems. And they have 20 different models of the same car...Jetta GLI...Jetta S...Jetta value edition...Jetta 2.5...VIN K....VIN Q....on and on it goes.
So I get the rear done, move up to the front. Replaced the front calipers, lines, rotors, pads etc. One axle was bad, found a used one cheap on online. Corrosion was so bad in the hub it was an absolute bitch to get it seated, but front hubs are expensive and I am already about a grand into this thing. The check engine light was a coil misfire and a MAF error, replaced all coils and the MAF. Removed and cleaned the throttle body. Ran much better but still threw the MAF light. Meh, not too worried about it as it ran much, much better than before. Eventually finished it up, thought I was done. Haha, got ya again.
Went to bleed the brakes - VW has a strange order for bleeding them, but I followed it. The brake fluid came out lime green (?!) and I noticed the pedal still felt mushy afterwards. After doing some research, I found out that you have to have a special program activate the ABS pump to truly flush/bleed the brakes. Awesome, had to take it to a VW specialist shop for this job, which not surprisingly it took me a week and a half to get an appointment. I am sure they are never lacking for customers. Only cost 100 bucks for the flush, but still. More money and more delays. When I took it there, they informed me that the driver side rear caliper was seized. Great, I should have known, my mistake. I ordered one and told them I would replace it. The caliper came surprisingly fast from parts geek and I replaced it only to notice the brand new, OEM brake shield I installed like 4 months ago is already rusting in a few dime sized spots. wtf. I por15'd the spots, bled just that caliper, and the brakes are finally good. After replacing just about everything and giving a shop 100 bucks to bleed/flush the mutant brake fluid.
In Maryland you only have to get a vehicle inspected when the title changes hands. I take it to get inspected...what a disaster. At this point I have only driven to the VW specialist shop (2 miles) and to the inspection station (1 mile) from my house. They call me the same day...uhh we have some issues. The flex pipe is cracked, which is why it is still throwing the code. The pass side rear door harness is bad and the door won't lock. And apparently, it developed an oil leak at some point. All of these are very well known MKV Jetta issues, well maybe I should have done some damn research before dumping all of this time and money into it. I'm too far down the rabbit hole at this point, so I ordered brake vacuum pump delete kit (for the oil leak), made an exhaust shop appointment because I don't feel like welding on my back, and I'll have to figure out the door issue. Apparently the safety inspection says all doors must work or something.
I had to order a part to fix the flex pipe, because the exhaust shop said they can't use a universal piece due to the design of the exhaust. Typical. Replaced the vacuum pump with a delete kit, and noticed this morning it's still leaking a very small amount of oil. Not residual either as I cleaned the area very well after removing the vacuum pump. Google fu tells me it's likely the rear main seal. Awesome. And as of this post, I still have troubleshot the damn door. I am about done with this thing.
TLDR - If you ever have a chance to get a used VW, no matter the cost, tell the seller to light it on fire and drive it off a cliff.
Posts: 2451 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: October 22, 2008
In all sincerity and with absolutely no malice; and in spite of your considerable investment of time and resources I suggest you save a ton of frustration and cash by junking it now. VWs are great as long as they're running and everything works. Once shit starts...well, you already know.
___________________________________________________________ Your right to swing your fist stops just short of the other person's nose...
Posts: 328 | Location: Outinthesticks | Registered: October 08, 2016
I wouldn't dream of every even considering one of these vehicles. A good friend of mine had a VW sedan of some sort. He had problems with it even though it was a fairly new car. One day, he heard something funny outside his front door and went out to find the car totally engulfed by fire. He didn't need the cliff.
He was a happy camper and bought a Nissan.
I'm sorry if I hurt you feelings when I called you stupid - I thought you already knew - Unknown ................................... When you have no future, you live in the past. " Sycamore Row" by John Grisham ................................... Liberalism is a failure to find pathways to intelligence in your brain. - David Lawrence
Posts: 2074 | Location: Kalispell Montana & Florida’s Emerald Coast for the Winter | Registered: December 24, 2013
Sounds like a Jetta an old roommate had. There was never a month in the nearly 2 years we roomed together that I didn’t have to pick him up from the dealer. It was only a couple years old so nearly everything was warranty work. He said it was a great car the first year then it just started falling apart.
Posts: 11914 | Location: Shenandoah Valley, VA | Registered: October 16, 2008
My stepson's girlfriend has a VW sedan of some flavor with ~100k miles, and it has had nothing but problems over the last year. She finally got tired of playing "whack a mole" with the various issues, and is trying to sell it, but hasn't had any interest. Seems most folks have heard to avoid them. She may have to end up selling it to a salvage/parts yard.
The last VW I owned was a new Passat, back around 1994 or thereabouts. It was a great car to drive, when it was drivable. I bought it new and for the few years that I owned it, it spent more time in the shop than it did in my possession.
Everything was fixed under warranty while I drove dealer loaners, but it was one thing after another. Mostly, but not all, electrical system problems.
The month before the warranty expired I realized that I would not be able to afford to feed its maintenance appetite once I had to start paying for it, so as soon as everything was working, I traded it.
A mind is a terrible thing.
Posts: 21590 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010
Originally posted by Oldrider: In all sincerity and with absolutely no malice; and in spite of your considerable investment of time and resources I suggest you save a ton of frustration and cash by junking it now. VWs are great as long as they're running and everything works. Once shit starts...well, you already know.
Honestly once the exhaust is fixed it will be gtg. The oil leak is very minor. I'm going to give it to my niece then my sister can worry about the future maintenance!
Posts: 2451 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: October 22, 2008
The brake fluid became contaminated with moisture and corroded the copper in the hard brake lines. (Yes, steel brake lines contain copper; look up "Bundy tubing.") Unlike most American makes which are silent on the matter, VW specifies a brake fluid flush every so often. This is good for any car every, say, five years. In fact, a lot of this particular car's problems - the rust for one - seem to have stemmed from neglect. Trashy people have trashy cars. I agree with your general premise that many repairs on these cars are needlessly difficult.
Posts: 22583 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012
Too bad Nissans are also big piles of dog excrement. My last Altima I had spent more time at the dealer than I had it. Actually had a rental car when I traded it in for an Accord that lasted 8 years and 160k miles before it got totalled.
Originally posted by mcrimm: I wouldn't dream of every even considering one of these vehicles. A good friend of mine had a VW sedan of some sort. He had problems with it even though it was a fairly new car. One day, he heard something funny outside his front door and went out to find the car totally engulfed by fire. He didn't need the cliff.
The new VW's are no better. My friends girlfriend bought a new convertible, the one with the hardtop that folded into the trunk. It too was in the shop about as often as she had it. She too got rid of it right when the warranty was up.
Originally posted by jimmy123x: The new VW's are no better. My friends girlfriend bought a new convertible, the one with the hardtop that folded into the trunk. It too was in the shop about as often as she had it. She too got rid of it right when the warranty was up.
The family across the street from me bought one for their daughter. They asked my son if he would change all 4 brakes. I told him not to get involved as VW seems to be a never ending repair vehicle.
Living the Dream
Posts: 3320 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: December 06, 2010