Cost-Effectiveness and Fun Factor of an ALH TDI?

Diesel Fumes

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Location
Creston, bc
TDI
2003 alh tdi 5 speed
I've owned multiple MKIV cars for the past 20 years, driven well over a half million miles in them. Some lowered. Never broken an oil pan. It's not a flawed design, it's a user problem.
I mean you should know your vehicle clearance and drive accordingly. People will say "aluminum pan, it's the low point of the motor, etc". Smashing your steel oil pan isn't ideal either. There was a logical reason the tdi has aluminum pan, but I can't remember. Rigidity with the bell housing or something?

It is what it is. Fact is lots of tdi engines have met their maker after having the pan smashed. If you don't shut it down asap, it's going to drain its oil. Of course you know this. It's just less forgiving than other cars.
 

Andyinchville1

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Location
Virginia
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
https://forums.tdiclub.com/index.php?media/tent.138133/
2" of lift, stock turbo, .216 injectors and tune. Enough power to pull a small toy and gear. Still gets 47mpg highway, not sure how much towing affects mpg. I have 205/70/15 Geolander AT's, great on gravel and dirt roads, fair in the snow. Better tires for traction can be found, but it travels mostly the road. Handles two tracks good, but gearing is kinda high for sharp curves and whoop de do's in the woods. I Never leave home without a skidplate, on any of my vehicles.
That said, it just wasn't quite good enough, some places I go just require 4wd.
https://forums.tdiclub.com/index.php?media/fe6e3d2a-f74d-42c1-8f36-fccf88bdcc5b-jpeg.145427/ So I kept it, but added this
Cool swap! what kind of MPGs do you get with it typically VS max highway?

Thanks
Andrew
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Cool swap! what kind of MPGs do you get with it typically VS max highway?

Thanks
Andrew
Lowest tank I recorded was 32.5 and the best was a trip to Chicago and back, 36.6, over the course of about 12,000 miles.
 

Andyinchville1

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Location
Virginia
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
I don't really do any hardcore trails, in fact the hardest trail I've done was Stony Pass up on Colorado, rated around a 6/10 on OnxOffroad and other apps.
I'll have to see if I can find pics of what a 6/10 trail looks like ....

As a courier driver, I have done some deliveries up driveways that were so steep that I had to keep momentum up lest I stop and end up spinning out in loose gravel possibly never to get going again in the forward direction (or at least very difficult to get going again)....

I've also been on gravel drives where following the existing tire tracks might have me rubbing my skid plate if I straddle the "crown" ... NOT a good feeling risking tearing up a daily driver.

I'm thinking a slightly raised Jetta w/ bigger tires can get you through most "reasonable" things and maybe even some slightly crazy things on occasion ... if you want to go a little further a Wave Trac would be nice because that could help even on snow in more normal driving and for performance driving on smooth surfaces

Andrew
 

nicklockard

Torque Dorque
Joined
Aug 15, 2004
Location
Arizona
TDI
SOLD 2010 Touareg Tdi w/factory Tow PCKG
Nah, I think he should swap an ALH into a lifted Super Beetle on off-road tires.
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
Mk4’s are pretty solid
 

PakProtector

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
AnnArbor, MI
TDI
Mk.4 and the Cummins-es
I have no issue with anything but the off-roading bit. Tuning for that kinda gets in the way of other stuff. Hit as many of the important ones you can, and get another toy for what it can't... :) B5.5 BHW/5sp in an S2 Esprit anybody? LOL

Douglas
 

Sadsack_24

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2022
Location
Northwest Arkansas
TDI
none as of now
They work well for camping though, and sustained use on moderately rough dirt roads etc.? My thought is to sell the Land Cruiser, buy a nice ALH, and then save up for another single cab Tacoma for bush-bashing.
 

afterthisnap

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Location
Mountain West
TDI
Jetta wagons, ALH/CJAA
OP, it sounds like you may be letting remote hypotheticals develop into disproportionate purchase anxieties.

Speaking from experience (jeeps and tube truggies/wheeling in NC,TN,UT), the cheapest thing you can do long term is just to drive whatever vehicle you have now regardless of MPG- especially if you expect to "save into" another project just by having a different daily. Unless you rack up an uncommonly large number of miles a year, the savings just won't be realized. Ever.

Try using any number of online cost of ownership or dollars per mile calculators and see how much you'll be saving over your intended ownership period. Then estimate that with current trends, a crapbox stock Tacoma will be valued somewhere around eleventy trillion dollars on the used market by the time fuel prices come down enough that you're considering selling your temporary TDI/Subaru/Tercel.
 
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Sadsack_24

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2022
Location
Northwest Arkansas
TDI
none as of now
OP, it sounds like you may be letting remote hypotheticals develop into disproportionate purchase anxieties.

Speaking from experience (jeeps and tube truggies/wheeling in NC,TN,UT), the cheapest thing you can do long term is just to drive whatever vehicle you have now regardless of MPG- especially if you expect to "save into" another project just by having a different daily. Unless you rack up an uncommonly large number of miles a year, the savings just won't be realized. Ever.

Try using any number of online cost of ownership or dollars per mile calculators and see how much you'll be saving over your intended ownership period. Then estimate that with current trends, a crapbox stock Tacoma will be valued somewhere around eleventy trillion dollars on the used market by the time fuel prices come down enough that you're considering selling your temporary TDI/Subaru/Tercel.
If I'm getting a TDI I'd want to have it long term. For a short term beater I'd just get an old Prius or Camry.

Just last year I sold my 98 Tacoma because of frame rust; they're notorious for rotting from day one. I took a big loss on that and had to start over with the Land Cruiser. Camrys are great but for some reason Toyota 4x4s always seem to be total moneypits.
 
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