How noisy is your car after all these years?

kennethsime

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
My first Mk4 was a 2003 ALH which I purchased in 2010 with 140k miles or so. I drove it to 255k or so before it was totaled. One thing I really appreciated was how quiet it was - the interior was well-insulated from road noise.

It's over 10 years later, and although my 2004 BEW hasn't quite hit 140k yet, it's definitely a lot noisier than my last VW.

Some things I think I hear:
  • Uneven tire wear. I'll know for sure when I replace the tires.
  • Lots of little interior rattlings. The dashboard vibrates a bit, the fan vibrates at 2 or higher, etc.
  • I think the engine mounts are probably original, though it doesn't seem like they're too worn.
  • Ball joints might be original, replacing those might help.
  • Roof rack makes some noise, I'm sure.
  • Belly pan is missing. Going to replace that with a skid plate soon.
  • Front valence is missing.
My question is, for those of you who have been maintaining your cars over the past 20 years or so: how noisy is your car? Will I ever be able to get back to that nice, quiet interior on the highway if I throw enough parts at it? Or should I just settle in to acceptance that my beloved 18-year-old car has seen better days?
 
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Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2014 A6 TDI, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Some things I've noticed is it depends on where it was made. Sedans were I think exclusively made in Mexico, and they're definitely a lot more rattly. Wagons were made in Germany, and every single one I've ever driven were certainly a lot less rattly.
Golf's were made in Brazil, only ever driven one a few times, so don't really have a basis for them.

Just my two cents.
 

kennethsime

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
Some things I've noticed is it depends on where it was made. Sedans were I think exclusively made in Mexico, and they're definitely a lot more rattly. Wagons were made in Germany, and every single one I've ever driven were certainly a lot less rattly.
Golf's were made in Brazil, only ever driven one a few times, so don't really have a basis for them.

Just my two cents.
Funny, as my ALH was made in Mexico and my BEW is made in Germany - the latter being the noisier of the two. I think time (along with wear + tear) is the greater factor here, though.
 

Diesel Fumes

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Location
Creston, bc
TDI
2003 alh tdi 5 speed
My Mexican made mk3 tdi felt like a brand new car and it had a long life. My current alh is ok. I get a pulsating hum noise on the highway. And it has straight pipe exhaust and its also a manual swap so the dash is a bit rattly. Overall not bad but nowhere near as nice rising as the mk3 was.
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2014 A6 TDI, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Lol, maybe where the car is made doesn't matter then. I know my dad's 2000 alh is rattly to all hell, but the only thing that rattles in my 03 wagon is the front passenger seat buckle.
Course I'm also used to rattles, since I've been dailying my Samurai for the past few weeks....
 

irvingj

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Location
Etna,NH
TDI
2005 Jetta Wagon TDI (PD/BEW)
My 2005 BEW wagon is still surprisingly --and refreshingly-- quiet. Only have about 160K on it now. The only thing that really bothers me, and this is only when it's cold out (and before the car's heated up inside) is the glove box door. Rattles. I've added foam here & there but still have not been able to quiet the %$#ed thing. Oh, well...

So how do I tell where mine was made? Is it on the door plate?
 

Diesel Fumes

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Location
Creston, bc
TDI
2003 alh tdi 5 speed
My 2005 BEW wagon is still surprisingly --and refreshingly-- quiet. Only have about 160K on it now. The only thing that really bothers me, and this is only when it's cold out (and before the car's heated up inside) is the glove box door. Rattles. I've added foam here & there but still have not been able to quiet the %$#ed thing. Oh, well...

So how do I tell where mine was made? Is it on the door plate?
If the vin starts with 3 it's made in Mexico. If it starts with w it's made in Germany
 

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 Wagon has probably gotten louder, but keep in mind that newer cars are quieter, so the goal post has moved. Coming from an Audi A4 into my Wagon, I never thought it was particularly quiet. And most of the noise my car made over the years were mod related: exhaust, intake, more fuel, bigger turbo. Now that it's somewhat back to stock, it's quiet enough for me (especially compared to my B4 Passat) but it's not a quiet car.

The glove box and console rattle, which bug me .The General tires I've settled on for my cars are quiet, which is a part of why I chose them. But the 215s on my Wagon make more noise than the 195s on the Golf. No suspension noises. The PD150 intake in my Wagon is definitely louder than the stock intake in my Golf. But the Golf has slightly more wind noise (not sure why) and a couple of dash rattles I continue to chase. They're better than they were, but not 100% The dash in that car has been out 3 times, which I think doesn't help.

All the covers are on my cars. I put new sound deadening in the top engine covers, and have deadening on the side skirts. My mechanic believes the accessory drive pulleys make noise on these cars. I tend to agree. Both my MKIVs are assembled in Germany, and yes, I do think it matters, but only in small ways.

I don't fret about the noise in the Wagon. At 437K I really don't feel I can complain. And it's not bad. However, I do wear noise cancellation earbuds on long drives. :)
 
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Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
If the vin starts with 3 it's made in Mexico. If it starts with w it's made in Germany

And if it starts with a 9 it’s made in Brazil. Someone posted a chart awhile back that showed the code breakdown on where cars were made/assembled, matching the letter or number to the country.
 

Andyinchville1

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Location
Virginia
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
Hi

I must have gotten somewhat lucky to have a fairly quiet rattle free car.

When I say fairly quiet I mean it's factory quiet except for the things I've done to it

I think the greatest contributor to noise on my car that I've done is the 034 engine mounts .... there's supposed to be Street density but when you shut the car off you realize just how much extra noise it's contributing .... even more than the straight pipe in my opinion.

Matter of fact the next timing belt go round I'm going to have the engine mounts change back to stock... I may keep the dog bone though because I could change that out easily enough later on myself if your engine mounts don't do the trick.

The only other annoyance I have on my car came after I had my front windshield tinted.

My guess is whoever did the tinting had to push hard on the dashboard or did whatever they did to force the film down between the windshield and a dashboard because now I have a rattle in the area of the dashboard in front of the center vent but behind the windshield

I thought about taking tissue paper and wedging it in or maybe some cardboard and wedging it in between the back of the windshield and the dashboard but that seems like a crude way of solving the problem ( although it should be effective because when I push a hand in there the rattle stops).

Anybody have any ideas how to solve the problem short of wedging in some cardboard or foam?

Thanks

Andrew

Ps - this may be helpful to others but when my previous set of tires wore down towards the wear bars they got much noisier even though they were wearing evenly and smoothly ( i.e. properly ....no unusual cupping or Feathering excetera).

My old worn tires seemingly got to the point of generating noise to where I thought a wheel bearing was going bad. However when I change tires two new tires of the same brand just bigger size the noise went away and my car was quiet again. I have read other posts where Worn tires generate more noise than new tires and my experience seems to bear that out so if you want a quiet ride it would probably be helpful not to drive for tires down to the wear bars but possibly maybe only drive them down to 1/3 tread left put new ones on and sell the tires that were old as used before they become too worn to be used by others.
 

burn_your_money

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Location
Missouri
TDI
99 Beetle, 96 B4V, 05 Passat wagon
Air intrusions are going to be one of the biggest contributors to noise on an old car, assuming everything else is mechanically sound. I’ve heard of inserting thin wall tubing into door seals to puff them up again. Replacing worn window seals will help a lot too. All body plugs, especially in the firewall are critical to noise reduction.
 

irvingj

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Location
Etna,NH
TDI
2005 Jetta Wagon TDI (PD/BEW)
Hey, Andy, that's interesting -- I just had new tires put on, and I know the old ones were cupping & wearing on the insides (due to often carrying a lot of tools in the back), but I had that same thought: that old tires get louder as they wear. Thought I was getting batty....
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
I drive my golf on a lot of bumpy back roads, so when I get out on fresh pavement I thought about this question yesterday and took a listen. Yes I do have a couple of minor occasional squeaks and during cold weather I have a rattle in my dash till the car is warmed up. Overall it is surprisingly quiet especially for a vehicle that just rolled over 417k miles.
 

Nevada_TDI

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Location
Reno, sort of...
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI
I notice more noise going over cracks in the highway than anything else. My engine cover self-destructed somewhere over 50k ago, so she is a bit noisy at idle. I have thought about Dynamat or the equal to deaden the sound. If I think about it a large percentage of the noise come through the doors. I have never had good luck when removing the door cards, I either break the clips or pull holes in the backing. At 318k I really can't complain.
 

PakProtector

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Location
AnnArbor, MI
TDI
Mk.4 and the Cummins-es
Air intrusions are going to be one of the biggest contributors to noise on an old car, assuming everything else is mechanically sound. I’ve heard of inserting thin wall tubing into door seals to puff them up again. Replacing worn window seals will help a lot too. All body plugs, especially in the firewall are critical to noise reduction.
With a manual swap underway, I am missing the foam insert around the shifter. Right below this( the bottom of the shifter box ) is a very fine 'speaker cone' in the form of a thin sheet metal stamping. Right below that is the heat shield and right below that is the road...with tires rolling noisily along it. There are whole gangs of folk at the OEM dedicated( or perhaps more accurately tasked), with reducing noise intrusion. Wind noise is a big one.

I did a cab swap on my first 1st Gen. Things got late for my appointment with the windshield guy, and I drove it across State College with no hood and no windshield. It was a revelation. Lurch is a noisey SoB anyway....LOL This was a whole 'nother level.
cheers,
Douglas
 

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
Back when I was in high school and college I owned several VW Bugs. First one was a '57 that I bought from the original owner. One of the best things I did to that car was replace the door seals. It both made it much quieter as well as stopped rattles. After that I did the same for subsequent Bugs I owned, a '64 and '67.

On my '99.5 Golf, after I had it painted I noticed it had a lot more wind noise at highway speeds than my Wagon. I realized the paint shop had removed this trim piece:

Made a big difference. Sad thing is weather stripping for these cars is EXPENSIVE.
 

Stupendous60

Veteran Member
Joined
May 18, 2019
Location
.
TDI
.
Engine wise all sound about the same. Quiet/hum/little growl@3000rpms-and up. Squeaks and rattles? Given the "quality" of interior parts, I no longer pay attention and the radio covers most of it.
 
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