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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old March 5th, 2018, 16:59   #1
crustodd
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Default Wagon Hunting, Uhuuuhuuhuuhu!! Elmer Fudd Ref.

Hello All TDI'ers
I'm needing a group opinion. I run a delivery route, about 150-200 miles a day. I currently drive an '01 Subbie Outback wagon. I like the sure-footedness of the AWD, but...the fuel economy is stink-bug, avg. 25mpg mixed city/open road. Also, my youngest is almost 18 and I'd like to give her a safe, fairly reliable first car.

Sooo...I'm looking at either -

1996/97 B4 Passat wagon

2000-2004 Jetta wagon

I know the Jetta choice would be either the ALH or the BEW. The Passat is the AZ? I'm aware that the Jetta is Mexican built? and the Passat is German built. Does one of the two hold up better under regular use?

For longevity, upgradability, and DURABILITY (45K+ p. yr.), which is best choice? This will be my work(mainly), personal, play vehicle.

I intend to have the car VERY long term and am FULLY aware and willing to maintain, replace, hotrod, etc... to make it last. I will use German parts, unless the replacement is of better design and quality. I'm in Oregon, SMOG isn't a primary hurdle where I'm at and the cars listed run 4-7K to buy.

All info is appreciated. I need to make the first choice the correct one. I deliver meds and supplies to adult foster care homes and CAN NOT miss work.
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Old March 5th, 2018, 17:08   #2
turbodieseldyke
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Passat engine is 1Z. You'll probably have better luck getting spare parts for a 2003-4, than a 96/97.
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Old March 5th, 2018, 18:54   #3
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Yeah, I'd kinda' thought the newer Jetta would be easier to get parts for. Is the ALH all-mechanical?
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Old March 5th, 2018, 19:05   #4
tdijim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crustodd View Post
Hello All TDI'ers
I'm needing a group opinion. I run a delivery route, about 150-200 miles a day. I currently drive an '01 Subbie Outback wagon. I like the sure-footedness of the AWD, but...the fuel economy is stink-bug, avg. 25mpg mixed city/open road. Also, my youngest is almost 18 and I'd like to give her a safe, fairly reliable first car.
Sooo...I'm looking at either -
1996/97 B4 Passat wagon
2000-2004 Jetta wagon
I know the Jetta choice would be either the ALH or the BEW. The Passat is the AZ? I'm aware that the Jetta is Mexican built? and the Passat is German built. Does one of the two hold up better under regular use?
For longevity, upgradability, and DURABILITY (45K+ p. yr.), which is best choice? This will be my work(mainly), personal, play vehicle.
I intend to have the car VERY long term and am FULLY aware and willing to maintain, replace, hotrod, etc... to make it last. I will use German parts, unless the replacement is of better design and quality. I'm in Oregon, SMOG isn't a primary hurdle where I'm at and the cars listed run 4-7K to buy.
All info is appreciated. I need to make the first choice the correct one. I deliver meds and supplies to adult foster care homes and CAN NOT miss work.
Eugene, Craigslist and the for sale forum here on the web site.
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Old March 6th, 2018, 09:26   #5
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And the A4 Jetta wagons were still made in Germany if I recall - Jettas and Golfs were Mexico / Brazil.

I'm partial to The B4V, and still miss mine. For all of your criteria above, I would search out a MK4 Jetta wagon with the least amount of rust possible and set about bringing all of the maintenance up to date.

As an outlier, consider a B5 TDI wagon - not quite the same fuel economy, but a much more refined car with a ten-year-newer chassis and better parts availability.

Would need to find one already done, or get one cheap and convert to manual and delete the balance shaft module.
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Old March 6th, 2018, 10:14   #6
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Do you want a manual or an auto? If you want an auto and a Jetta then make sure you get a 2004 or 2005 wagon. You should avoid the ALH Jetta with the 01M automatic transmission.
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Old March 6th, 2018, 22:41   #7
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Yes, I saw that one. I'm gonna go check it out, tdijim. Thanks
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Old March 6th, 2018, 22:43   #8
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A b5 is the newer Passat, the rounder one? That's an auto only car, yes? I'd be ok, with an auto, but it seems like the reliability is questionable?
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Old March 6th, 2018, 22:45   #9
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Old March 6th, 2018, 22:46   #10
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The A4 wagon is 2000-up, or 20004-up?
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Old March 7th, 2018, 03:54   #11
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Keep in mind that most ALH Wagons you'll find are going to have north of 200K miles on them, maybe more. it's true that these cars can last if properly maintained, but at 45K/year you'll be way up there in total miles pretty quickly. And although MKIV parts are still readily available, the newest of these cars are now 13 years old and parts won't be around forever.

If i needed a reliable car for work and high mileage use I'd go for something newer, perhaps a leftover '15 or a bought back '10-14 Sportwagen. You can find a car with far fewer miles, and it includes a great emissions system warranty which includes most of the expensive engine and exhaust components.
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Old March 7th, 2018, 06:20   #12
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Every choice is fraught with compromise. The newer A7 wagons are nicer, but have much more complex emission systems, as well as a track record of less-than-optimal HPFP reliability.

Every car will have plusses and minuses.

The B5 TDI wagons were only 2004 and 2005, and yes the autobox can fail, but had reasonable reliability if maintained well and was not abused.

When the auto in a B5 does fail, many of us have gone the route of converting to a manual transmission. Frans can get you a complete kit with an EU TDI 5speed for a reasonable price (less than a cost of a proper autobox reman).
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Old March 20th, 2018, 10:40   #13
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I have a 2002 TDI Jetta wagon for sale in Moab, Utah. It is an automatic and only has 87k on it! Not sure if you are still looking....
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Old March 20th, 2018, 19:21   #14
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Details on the 2002?
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Old March 21st, 2018, 10:56   #15
nomorotors
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Quote:
I deliver meds and supplies to adult foster care homes and CAN NOT miss work.
If you enjoy your free time, I would absolutely stick with a Subaru wagon.
If you're looking for a time consuming hobby that regularly involves troubleshooting and servicing your delivery wagon...buy a TDI.

-Jason

Last edited by nomorotors; March 21st, 2018 at 10:59.
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