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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old October 25th, 2014, 07:36   #1
SaltH2OHokie
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Default Wife hit a deer...to fix, to part or to just let her go...

Wife hit Bambi two mornings ago. Per the insurance company, Bambi won and they're totalling it.

Looking for advice. Wife wants me to fix it. I'm not a body man. Hood is smooshed down, passenger headlight smashed, passenger fender dented/pushed back. Radiator, condensor, etc. appeared unharmed.

Reckon it'd be worth the relatively small buy-back amount to try and fix it, figuring if I feel overwhelmed I can part it?

Other choice would be look for a donor body/shell, but the odds of finding one similar enough (TDI, 5spd, 99-03), close by, for not a ridiculous amount of money seem low.

Or, just let her go into the great blue yonder of insurance co. auctions and take the payout and go TDI hunting...but I like that option the least. Just did timing belt/water pump/etc, put panzer plate on, nozzles, etc, etc...

Thoughts, brilliant ideas, or other nuggets to consider?
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Old October 25th, 2014, 07:48   #2
Smalls
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What color/model is it? I have a guy local to me who has a ton of jettas and golfs. Sheet metal may be easy to come by. If the car is solid mechanically, I'd fix it. Start dismantling and see what you need.

Have any good detailed pictures? We can give you armchair advice.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 08:11   #3
Corsair
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Given the damage described, sounds like possible easy bolt-on fix.
(Was the passenger fender pushed back hard enough to damage front edge of door?)
I'm not a body man, either. But you'd be surprised how much can be taken apart pretty easily regarding front clip on these cars. For instance... the front bumper cover comes off with just a few fasteners and don't forget to disconnect the side marker lights. Takes maybe 30-45 minutes for a backyard mech to get the front bumper off. An experienced mech can do it in 10-15! Lots that the backyard mech can do. My guess is one of your biggest problems will be rusted fasteners (due to road salt) that are difficult to get out- use penetrating oil etc. and use anti seize compound when re-assembling.

Depending on the color of the car, you might even be able to find used parts already painted same color. That would save a LOT. Beware if you happen to look for "new" replacement parts such as front bumper fascia- you may be able to find one for less than $100 brand new (primed). But then you're likely to find that shipping cost is more than the purchase cost of the part, and then cost to get it painted locally is more than the sum of the part + shipping it! (Not to scare you away, just more encouragement to seek used parts already same color, even if you have to pay some shipping for them.)

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Wife wants me to fix it.
You're committed, then. She has a 5-speed ALH TDI that she likes. You don't want to sleep on the couch indefinitely, or move into the basement, do you ???
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Old October 25th, 2014, 08:35   #4
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Depending on the laws in your state it could be a pain to get a title for it again. Look into that first. If the insurance company totals it, you'll have to get some sort of branded title. Just something else to consider.

That said, the parts you describe being damaged are easy to replace. It's just tracking down and removing the bolts, then putting it all back together again. The hood is literally only 4 bolts on the hinges, and then you have to line it up again a little so it fits in the hole and looks okay. If your hood and headlight got smooshed, there's a chance the front clip (the metal bit right above the radiator) got bent, but again it's just a few more bolts to remove to replace it. I mention it just because you want to know if you need a new one or not, before putting everything else back together.
You'll totally be able to find matching color parts at a junk yard somewhere not too far away. Look on Car Part Locator to find them. Going and removing them yourself, or at least watching them being removed would greatly help the cause. This project is about a 2 out of 10 on the difficulty scale. Maybe a little time consuming for a novice, but very doable.
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Old October 25th, 2014, 08:40   #5
CopaMundial
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How much is the insurance company offering you?
There are tons of stories on here (including mine recently) where the insurance calculates the value of the vehicle based on 'comparable' cars that were not really 'comparable' (gas engines, auto transmission, different trim level, etc).

If you are able to send them examples of similar cars selling for more than they're offering then you may be able to get them to come to a higher payoff number.

I went through this just within the last month. 03 Jetta GLS TDI, 5sp, 173k miles, with leather. They offered me $4800, which was rediculous IMO. Using examples found on cars.com etc I talked them up to $6k... still less than MY car was worth, but the best I was going to get from them.
Would have loved to save my car, but I just couldn't bring myself to dive into all of that without a good place to work on it. Ended up shopping and finding an 03 Wagon. I paid more for it than insurance offered, but most of that was the price premium that wagons demand.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 15:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
How much is the insurance company offering you?
There are tons of stories on here (including mine recently) where the insurance calculates the value of the vehicle based on 'comparable' cars that were not really 'comparable' (gas engines, auto transmission, different trim level, etc).

If you are able to send them examples of similar cars selling for more than they're offering then you may be able to get them to come to a higher payoff number.

I went through this just within the last month. 03 Jetta GLS TDI, 5sp, 173k miles, with leather. They offered me $4800, which was rediculous IMO. Using examples found on cars.com etc I talked them up to $6k... still less than MY car was worth, but the best I was going to get from them.
Would have loved to save my car, but I just couldn't bring myself to dive into all of that without a good place to work on it. Ended up shopping and finding an 03 Wagon. I paid more for it than insurance offered, but most of that was the price premium that wagons demand.

Last year my truck was t-boned by a 92y.o. woman (shouldn't have been on the road...) and totalled. Same insurance co. They offered me what I thought was ridiculous for the payout. Long story short, there was no convincing them otherwise. In my case I have a late model F350 Lariat, 4wd, 4dr longbed, MANUAL transmission. They represent like 0.007% of super duty's made (the lariat package automatically came automatic...had to custom order the truck to get 6spd and 3 pedals). The insurance co essentially told me that they didn't care, take it or leave it.

All that said, they offered $4,700 for her car, which isn't/wasn't in pristine shape nor does it have anything "special" beyond the sweet motor, so I don't feel compelled to argue given my previous failure.

Her car is black...and the damage I saw was at 0 dark thirty via my truck's headlights. Cleared off my trailer today in anticipation of going to pick it up from the body shop either Tuesday or Wednesday...so I'll post back then...

Thanks!
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Old October 26th, 2014, 16:48   #7
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4700 isn't hateful for an 01'.

See what the damage is and go from there. Hopefully it's an easy fix for you.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 17:08   #8
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No, I was sort of surprised...I figured they'd have said $3,200 and I'd have been upset. When my wife called and said they said $4,700 I told her I was pleasantly surprised, but that we still probably wouldn't find a TDI with up-to-date maintenance for that price. She responded that she wasn't sure we needed a replacement...she thought I could fix it.
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Old October 26th, 2014, 17:15   #9
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Body work is easy, I just replaced both my stock rusty front fenders with clean fenders from a junk yard, already painted the same color, and it took me 3 hours and $80 worth of junk yard parts. And I'm NOT mechanically inclined and have no problem paying professionals to do the work for me. If the damage entered the engine bay, I might reconsider, but it sounds like just body work. Front bumper, headlights, fenders, etc all come off real easy. Looks like they have a Pick-n-Pull junk yard in VA Beach, my local branch has a half dozen mk4's at any given time.
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Old November 1st, 2014, 11:59   #10
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So ... which insurance company is it? I'm shopping our insurance right now and I'm willing to pay a little more each payment for the "privilege" of not playing tug-of-war with them if I ever need to claim.
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Old November 1st, 2014, 18:02   #11
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Its called put the money in the bank and insure yourself and not have to deal with it. Use insurance where its necessary: liability. I can't even fathom paying for collision on a 15+ year old car.

Sounds like the OP's car can be fixed easily in an afternoon and a trip to the junkyard.
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Old November 1st, 2014, 19:31   #12
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Complete coverage vs liability in my case is less than 5.00$ a month....why not?
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Old November 1st, 2014, 19:37   #13
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4 Pick A Parts in Richmond $42 for hood $37 for fenders $24 headlight
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Old November 1st, 2014, 23:33   #14
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pics or it didnt happen
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Old November 2nd, 2014, 07:01   #15
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SaltH20,

I just hit a deer in one of our 2002 golfs...The best one of the three. Hit a big doe broadside at 55 mph. I've got a parts car Golf and a parts car Jetta.

Damage was to the hood, both headlights, grill, bumper cover, radiator support, and passenger side fender. I've got the hood, fender, and radiatory support. I'll buy a pair of headlights. The bumper cover is cracked but can be fixed with Lord Fusor 134 plastic adhesive/epoxy. I'll need to pick up a grill from somewhere.

If it were my car, I'd fix it.

Eric
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