best b4 modification?

stormb4

Member
Joined
May 11, 2023
Location
NYC
TDI
B4 Passat TDI
Just wanted to ask this as a way to see what you guys feel the best thing you have done to your cars is. I want to see what was your best quality of life fix, maintenance, upgrade, etc. Curious to see where people feel the best upgrades are.

I think for me, it would have to be between an audio upgrade and shift bushings. Audio upgrade consisted of out all the factory speakers and and tweeters, and replacing them with upgraded Rockford Fosgate units in addition to a sub in the trunk. Definitely wakes the car up and made me realize how ineffective the 30-year-old speakers were. Shift bushings made the shifter not shake like it was in neutral while being in gear. Definitely a huge QOL fix that was long overdue.
 

JordanTr

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Location
Kimberley, BC
TDI
1996 B4V x3, 2006 Dmax, 2005 Allroad, 2005 BHW
Fresh exhaust to keep the diesel stink out of the cabin.
Get iq and pump timing on spec.
I put mk4 seats in mine.
To come (hopefully this year), VNT turbo/tune/injectors/clutch.
Ventectomy for faster fills!
 

HardToHandle

Active member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Location
Washington State
TDI
1996 Passat wagon 1z
The best modification you can do to a b4 is to go over the car with a fine-toothed comb to find any of the previous owners screw ups

I found a missing lower control arm bolt on the right side, thankfully the threads for it were good

A broken off bolt (that luckily spun out) from the front of the power steering bracket

And loose inner cv axle bolts - all of them. One side had one that was completely missing one bolt which, as it turns out it was broken off in the flange. I drilled it out and tapped it, then installed all of the axle bolts with 6 new dog bone washers and blue loctite.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
My B4 sedan is very close to stock, save the aspherical driver's side mirror and Euro headlight switch. In fact I just swapped a stock ECU in to replace the tuned one: I like how it drives better stock. It does have a .71 5th gear, which I do like: 75 MPH is 2500 RPM. Not a big change, but enough

Right now I have a set of Corrado steelies in my car with new 195/60-15 Nokian Ones on them that will go on the car tonight. That should bring the speedo error to zero.

But I agree with HardToHandle: Make sure the stock car is 100%. They're nice that way.

My new to me B4V has a full GLX interior: that's a nice mod. Those seats are considerably more comfortable than the stock cloth. It also has e-Codes, which is a great upgrade. The DOT lights are pretty awful.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I liked the RC2 in my B4, but it was a bit smokey when pushed... amazingly it didn't get a dirty butt, despite being white.

I would say the only "upgrade" it really needed was the switch to proper European headlights and switch, and ditch the stupid DRLs. Mine was a pretty nice driving car to me. The back seat was huge, and the fuel tank was immense... the range of those cars is incredible.

BUT.... today, in 2024, just keeping it in good order stock may be challenge enough. I think these cars are better garage queens now because of that.
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
I don't own it any more, but the #1 improvement on my B4V (now ownedby @Abacus), is changing the shifter linkage over to the later mk4 02J linkage.

So much better than the stock ljnkage, even with new bushings.

Other notables:
Bigger G60 front brakes from an Audi 90
Tune with nozzles
Heated leather seats from a GLS
8L washer fluid tank from a GLS
Clutched alternator pulley
GLS cluster modified to TDI faces with oil temp, trip meter etc
Euro Tuning 6th gear add on for the 02A
Hella E code headlamps to replace the crappy factory plastic lenses...
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
It makes me kinda sad to think about how many VR6 B4s, and really VR6 anything, that have been junked over the years because of some catastrophic chain fail that the owner was unable or unwilling to fix. Or for that matter, all the 096/01M equipped cars that suffered a similar fate. I've probably personally seen 500 cars hauled off like that. Most recently was a nice, looked like new, 2012 Jetta GLI that blew its EA888 chain. Lots and lots of Tiguans, too.

But... can't save 'em all. I try to, though. Mostly ALH/BEW/BRM/BHW cars. I have a 410k mile B5 wagon here now that needs engine work, calling my name...
 

HardToHandle

Active member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Location
Washington State
TDI
1996 Passat wagon 1z
I don't own it any more, but the #1 improvement on my B4V (now ownedby @Abacus), is changing the shifter linkage over to the later mk4 02J linkage.

So much better than the stock ljnkage, even with new bushings
I drove a mk3 vr6 golf with an 02a for a bit, the 02J linkage is worlds better. Not to mention it's so much easier to adjust
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I have MKIVs and a B4 I drive fairly often. I love the original shift linkage on the B4. Sure, the throws are a little long, but it's very smooth and easy to operate. When it wears out I'll probably replace it with an newer linkage because I won't be able to get parts, but I wouldn't swap it out before then.

I did swap out my '99.5 Golf to an 02J linkage because the original one was shot.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
My experience has been the early A4 shifters were worse than the A3/B4 shifters. At least they seem to wear worse, and the stamped steel box would crack and fall apart. My '99.5 Golf's literally came off the body, it was so bad.

First cable shifted VAG car I ever drove was a brand new 1990 Corrado in the fall of '89, and I thought it was awful compared to the rod-shifted 020s I was so used to. They did not have a counterweight on those early cars, and I think that was why.
 

TDIDaveNH

Left Lane Coal Roller at Large
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Location
North Conway, NH
TDI
1997 Passat TDI x2 1984 Buick Century 4.3 diesel
There are a lot of mods and updates that a B4 needs to be great, too many in fact but if you're willing to make the odyssey, it's worth it. The top 5 I'd say starting with a stock B4 with all maintenance up-to-date would be:
-02J shifter
-braided stainless brake hoses (all 6)
-a modern radio of some kind
-e-code headlights
-leather interior especially the steering wheel.
Once these are done, you're really just getting the car up to where it should have been out-of-the-box IMHO. Now is when it's time to start spending some money and feel good about it for the few dozen mods that are down the road.
 

JordanTr

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Location
Kimberley, BC
TDI
1996 B4V x3, 2006 Dmax, 2005 Allroad, 2005 BHW
Good stuff on this old b4 dreaming thread.
 

GTiTDi

TDIClub Enthusiast, Macht Schnell! Vendor , w/Busi
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Location
3 Spruce st Wareham, gateway to Cape Cod Massachus
TDI
'91 GTI CJAA swap,'02 Jetta wagon ALH swap, '03 GTI 1.8T rally car, '03 Sprinter 3500
Try to find a good front window regulator that actually lasts...or door handles that stay working for any length of time. The best parts of B4s end up in other VWs.
 

Ralphy

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Location
Sherbrooke, Québec
TDI
Passat TDI sedan, 1997, silver, ABS
I did a lot of mods since I bought my B4S new 27 years ago.

What makes it more confortable to drive now on hilly roads/merging situations is the added power/torque from bigger injectors and tune (I have RC stage 3)
Not having to downshift (from 65 km/h and over in fifth gear) even if I need power is giving me a satisfaction that I do not get with my 2.0T CC.

Same with mileage autonomy, B4 are just world best performers on that side.

Also, the convenience module makes the blinkers work like in more modern cars.
The bigger brakes from G60 (280 mm) partially corrected braking performances that were originally poor.

But for me, living in Québec with dirty winter road conditions and cold weather, I particularly appreciate the Espar Hydronic D5 and the headlight washers that I was able to source locally a long time ago, with the enormous 9 L windshield washer tank. I use it frenquently on the highway and the effectiveness is very noticable.

I was able to get E-codes that came with bulletproof film protector, but lighting performance is still borderline (I get a shading effect in front of me when a modern car is following me at night).

Still a good machine that is worth maintaining, to me, even if I'm a joke subject about it since years, in my family and at work. On the other hand, people are starting to pay attention and asking me questions about this car that is now rarer than a lot of exotics.
 
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IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
For sure they are rare, especially in the Northeast. Last B4 I saw on the road was a year or so ago, it was a VR6 Wagon. Looked nice. I haven't seen a TDI in operation for years.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Not had a B4 in here in years, and sadly the last one was an ABA+automatic (super rare, and BARF!).
 

Starion_slider

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Location
CT.
TDI
1996 B4 sedan
For sure they are rare, especially in the Northeast. Last B4 I saw on the road was a year or so ago, it was a VR6 Wagon. Looked nice. I haven't seen a TDI in operation for years.
Hey my green B4 tdi is still my daily driver over 100 miles everyday in CT. 430ish K miles on it. I ***** when i have to work on it but honestly thats like twice a year usually. Its got its quirks but its still hands down my favorite car ever. I order 99% of my parts from you to keep it alive!
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Mine's greeen, too. I've been driving it a bit more lately. Just put on new Nokian Entyres (195/60-15) which make the speedo dead accurate. Mounted them on the Corrado steelies I've had around for a while. I like the look.
 

Starion_slider

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Location
CT.
TDI
1996 B4 sedan
I wish mine still looked that good. Mine needs another 5-6year paint/body refresh. Starting to bubble around fenders and drivers rocker. I’ll keep fixing it as long as it keeps driving and getting 45+ mpg.
 

Chungus

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2022
Location
Vancouver
TDI
B4 Wagon
Everything else aside, addition of the oem keyless entry system makes a world of difference. No more running back and forth between the trunk and driver door
 

Ajlal24

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2016
Location
California
TDI
98 Jetta TDI, 2012 Golf TDI
Everything else aside, addition of the oem keyless entry system makes a world of difference. No more running back and forth between the trunk and driver door
What's the range of the B4 keyless? On MK3s its pretty hit or miss and I had a 0-5ft range on my Jetta's keyless module, but I lengthened the antenna with a 10' piece of copper wire, ran it up the A-Pillar, and now its closer to 20-40ft.
 
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