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General VW Discussion This is a place for General VW topics (the company, not your vehicle). General topics about a specific vehicle should be posted in the General TDI Dicussion Forum sections for that vehicle platform. A4, A3 & B4, B5, etc.

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Old October 13th, 2018, 21:00   #1
Veteran Member
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Silver Spring, MD
TDI(s): 2000 Golf
Default What VAG products/years/models to stay away from?

TLR; If I were looking for a VAG product (VW, or Audi, or etc) as a project, what would be a really awful decision to pursue?

I very much like to buy and sell cars, and tinker with them in between.
I'm so entertained by my Golf because I picked it up as a cheap project with good bones. No rust, straight body, no missing components, and no major mechanical faults.
My ideal project has a problem(s) within reasonable reach. I love figuring out the solution, and learning about the car/brand while doing it. It satisfies my curious nature, but I also believe it will help me be a more well-rounded engineer for when I graduate.

This Golf is my first VAG product, and I've gained a lot of insight, respect, and understanding towards VW while working on it.
It's been an extremely rewarding project. I bought it with bald tires, extremely rusted rotors (horrible brakes all around), smelly interior, 'soft touch' gummed up and purely repulsive, broken radio, trans in limp mode, engine in limp mode, and broken rear hatch lock. A genuine "ready for the junkyard" (in most people's eyes), scary to drive car. And now I drive it 600 miles a week to school and back with frigid AC, working sunroof, and a great stereo.
New tires, new brakes, cleaned up the interior, sanded & repainted all the gummy interior parts, got rid of smoker's smell, replaced trans sensors, and [mostly] fixed engine problems.
Now it's almost a nice car!

I've got an open slot to buy a vehicle. I'm quite interested in other VAG products. BUT I also know there are some really bad VAG things to avoid.
I'm curious if anyone can offer what exactly to avoid?
I'm tempted to buy some "mechanic's special" Audi and tinker, but I my prior vibe is that Audis were designed poorly until ~10 years ago, and market values would support this.

While I enjoy tinkering, I'm not looking for anything crazy like blown motor, head gasket issues, or anything that involves a signifiant engine teardown. Same with the transmission or AWD system.

What's fair game, and what's just foolish to buy?

For example, there's a 2009 Audi S5 for sale on CL. 120k miles, automatic trans. Asking price is $7500, and says "these cars sell for 13-16k. Selling for half because: Has multiple misfire codes and ignition coil codes."
While it's tempting because the car looks good overall, and there's potential to possibly make a few dollars, I know better... but I'm still curious!
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