Why do You Still Have Your MK4 TDI?

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
The amount of money put into them does add up to the point where one wonders when to stop. But they do keep running and so far have been a good bargain for basic transportation thats hard to beat.
And if I were to go out and buy a replacement car it would make the money spent on my Wagon look like nothing. I've adopted the attitude that at 18 years and 400K miles everything in the car is beyond its service life. I can't complain if a part fails, regardless of what it is.
 

Hwycruiser

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2014
Location
DFW, Texas
TDI
2002 Black Golf GLS
If you replace a part, as you well know it has a new service life. So eventually, replace enough of the parts reliability is improved and the car gets newer. Since these cars are lasting so long, you are selling us a new car one part at a time. Kinda like that old Johnny Cash song were getting our new cars “One piece at a time”. But we are paying for our parts Johnny had a plan to get his for free!
 

gforce1108

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Location
Newburgh, NY
TDI
04 Jetta GLS BEW, 03 Jetta Wagon ALH
This is a great thread! What has kept everyone from "upgrading" to the newer TDIs? They are pretty cheap right now, relative to what they used to go for. I've debated on getting one myself but I still like to cruise around in this one AND it's paid for! =)
Several things:
the newer 6M trans won't hold up to the vibrations from a SMF
Same 6Ms have been having the throwout bearing/slave cylinder failing way more often than the prior cars (trans has to come out)
Emissions "fix" ruined the economy numbers (non DEF cars - the NMS and all 15s faired much better)
"fix" has caused a rash of clogged heater cores - the passat already had this problem, but the others are now as well (increased EGR seems to be the problem). Only getting covered if it causes a check engine light (EGR cooling system performance code)
Many many DPF failures to the point they are on backorder and people are waiting months for a replacement.
Increased EGR causes condensation in the intercooler which then causes hard starts / no starts (freezes) and hydrolocking. Known problem - cold weather retrofit available - good luck getting it covered under warranty now.
The best (and nearly only) "good" newer one (if you care about MPGs and extended warranty) is a 2015 with DSG. Still great MPGs - great trans (whoda thunk the auto would be the more robust choice!).

The 2015 Audi A3 sedan (one year only car I believe) would be a sweet ride
 

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
Several things:
the newer 6M trans won't hold up to the vibrations from a SMF
Same 6Ms have been having the throwout bearing/slave cylinder failing way more often than the prior cars (trans has to come out)
Emissions "fix" ruined the economy numbers (non DEF cars - the NMS and all 15s faired much better)
"fix" has caused a rash of clogged heater cores - the passat already had this problem, but the others are now as well (increased EGR seems to be the problem). Only getting covered if it causes a check engine light (EGR cooling system performance code)
Many many DPF failures to the point they are on backorder and people are waiting months for a replacement.
Increased EGR causes condensation in the intercooler which then causes hard starts / no starts (freezes) and hydrolocking. Known problem - cold weather retrofit available - good luck getting it covered under warranty now.
The best (and nearly only) "good" newer one (if you care about MPGs and extended warranty) is a 2015 with DSG. Still great MPGs - great trans (whoda thunk the auto would be the more robust choice!).
The 2015 Audi A3 sedan (one year only car I believe) would be a sweet ride
Some of these items are significant, some I don't think are. DMFs have about a 200K mile service life so you MAY have to replace it once during your ownership. And both DSGs and manuals have DMFs, so the DSG isn't any better in that regard. Slave cylinders do fail, and the transmission does have to come out if it does, but that's not any worse than, say, cam failure on a MKIV BEW. Or the BEW turbo that has no actuator available, causing owners to replace a working turbo when the actuator fails.

My point is every car has its problems. The issues with the emissions systems on CR TDIs are more expensive and frequent than other cars, but I maintain the rest of the car is as good, or better than, its competition.

And a good mild tune with emissions intact will significantly lengthen service live of emissions components (and the heater core). A winter front seems to prevent intercooler icing. And FE comes back to reasonable levels.

Don't get me wrong, I'm continuing to drive my MKIV cars. But the newer cars, if set up right and maintained, aren't a bad alternative.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
While not diesels, the newer VAG gassers are absolutely awful in most regards. The EA888 is a pile of garbage engine. The VR6 is hot or miss, usually fine for 150k miles, then after that the chain problem is a "going to happen any moment" type of thing (many EA888 4 cyl lunch chains before they even hit 100k miles :rolleyes: ). The later 5 cyl are not too bad overall, but they do have a couple weaknesses: the vacuum pumps all, eventually, start spewing oil. The oil filter housing is often something that can suddenly start spewing oil too (I have one of those here today), and that is a HUGE labor intensive job.

The little 1.4L engine so far seems to be perfectly fine, I am holding out hope that they continue to do well, at least for the time we can still get them.

Somehow my 16 year old 1.8t B5 rolls along just fine, though, 235k miles and climbing, albeit slowly (since 22 MPGs of premium keeps it solidly as an "extra" car, LOL).
 

CStone

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Location
East TN
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH 5sp. . 2012 Passat SEL
I still have my '03. Drive it 200+ miles a day. Love it for the reasons stated by others above. Reliable. Cheap. Simple to work on. I've got 586k and still ticking.

My 16 yr old daughter just bought an '01 Golf TDI as her first car. Told her that if she takes care of it, it'll last her through graduate school and beyond.

My 14 yr old daughter will get an '02 Golf TDI in another year or so. (A family friend has it.)

Yeah, ALH's all the way down.
 

pkhoury

That guy with the goats
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Location
Medina, TX
TDI
2010 JSW DSG, 2013 JSW 02Q, 2014 NB 02Q, 2015 GSW DSG, 2004 Golf 02J, 2005 JW auto, 2003 Jetta 02J swap, 1995 Ford F-450
For what it's worth, I'm eventually looking to sell my 2010 (my first TDI and diesel). But that would have me as a proud owner of an ALH, BEW and CJAA. Best of all three worlds.

I will say this - whenever I need parts, it's soooooo easy getting stuff from the junkyards for a Mk4. Only once did I ever see a CJAA at a junkyard. The day after I spotted it, I pulled the engine, the 02Q, and the wiring harness came a day after that. Unfortunately, it was a sedan (which doesn't help me).

Oh, and insurance. Soooo much cheaper on a mk4. Farmers has a "storage" option on my policy. Comprehensive coverage only, no liability or collision (but it's not intended to be driven on public roads). With a $100 comp deductible, it's $13 a month. I believe my 2010 is about 3.5x that. For a regular policy, a Mk4 is still so much cheaper than a Mk6.
 

jackbombay

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Location
Diesel knows best
TDI
A4 Jetta
A winter front seems to prevent intercooler icing.
I can keep an eye on my intake air temp with my Ultra Gauge, and with my intercooler blocked the IAT, even in mild driving around town, 25 MPH, is about 20 degrees above ambient, if I'm cruising at 45 MPH IAT goes up to about 70* above ambient, plenty warm to keep the IC from freezing unless you are in arctic conditions, -30 or lower. All temps in F.
 

Freeman4455

New member
Joined
Jan 19, 2020
Location
Balkan, Europe
TDI
Mk4, 1.9, 66kW, 1999 (AGR)
My wife often asks me this question. But after a few fails over the past 5 years (new DMF and clutch set, gear changer or how it is called in english, temperature sensor, many parts of suspension, new starter/anlaser) when I purchased it from my father (who bought it new in late 1998.) I concluded that it's price is now that low that it won't fall down almost anymore and that repair and service costs are so low that it is not reasonable to sell it now and put a large amount of money for newer car that can be even more expensive to maintain.
Addition to all of this, my father never misused it, nor did I, and the car has only 232000 km. Americans will be surprised, of course, because you travel every day 200-300 km to work and back. I know that managing the car which passes 12-14 thousand km/year is not as same as one which is 90% of mileage driven on highway/motorway but I still think that this is something that should be kept for some time.
 
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pkhoury

That guy with the goats
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Location
Medina, TX
TDI
2010 JSW DSG, 2013 JSW 02Q, 2014 NB 02Q, 2015 GSW DSG, 2004 Golf 02J, 2005 JW auto, 2003 Jetta 02J swap, 1995 Ford F-450
Similar things are happening at an astounding pace in the tractor segment, as John Deere is finding that they are now competing with themselves: the newer stuff gathers dust while the older stuff demands premium prices at farm equipment auctions not seen ever before. You think Porsche 911s hold their value.... holy cow, 1970s through 1990s JD stuff is crazy. JD's decision to keep the engine managements systems proprietary and not allowing the owners to fix them in the field themselves has not been good, plus the fact that they even NEED fixing constantly doesn't help either.
Yep, sometimes older IS better.
Trust me, I know! I've seen this when tractor shopping in the past. Almost bought some model of turbocharged Deere, and opted instead for a Ford 3400 Industrial from a friend (where I bought my other tractor, a Ford 5900). Both tractors, for what I paid for them, are somewhat comparable to original cost. The 5900 is probably cheaper than original cost, but when you factor in the depreciation, it's NOTHING like how a car depreciates. And of course, both are 100% mechanical and I can (and have) worked on both myself. Only regrets? I wish the 5900 were turbocharged (which would've meant a 6000 series I think). But it does the job.

And newer tractors in general are a joke. It's amazing what newer 20-30HP tractors cost. Then I look at the 3 point on the back, see class 1 linkages, and think "how cute..."
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
An ALH MKIV car is the Mercedes 123 of the early 2000's. Well, maybe not quite the build quality, but simple, reliable, cheap to maintain and repair. Currently pushing my 03 450-500miles a week, a whisker away from 300K on the clock. Justifying it is simple. It's paid for, and has been for a long time. Not worth much on the open market either. $1500 in fuel a year, maybe @$1000 average per year in maintenance? I can do any and all the work myself. I like basic, simple transportation. I despise touch screens and electronic doodads. They break, and cost money to fix. A guy a work bought a '15 TDI. A load of bad fuel did $5K in damage to the fuel system. No bueno. Now way am I rolling the dice with a fuel system that is that spendy. Currently looking for a nice rust free Southern ALH car to hold as a back-up.
 

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
An ALH MKIV car is the Mercedes 123 of the early 2000's.
I totally agree with this. I have always wanted a W123 240D, but the fact is that car is too old and slow to drive in modern traffic. The ALH is 20 years newer, and in stock form can run in the left lane. And with a few mods it can do better than that. I think of mine as a modern 240D.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
I totally agree with this. I have always wanted a W123 240D, but the fact is that car is too old and slow to drive in modern traffic. The ALH is 20 years newer, and in stock form can run in the left lane. And with a few mods it can do better than that. I think of mine as a modern 240D.

I purchased a beautiful 84 300D with a cracked head, well, almost 20 years back now. Replaced everything rubber on the car, replaced the head, etc. then put 200K more on it. The only thing I didn't like about it was the Climate Control and the automatic. I was able to tune the automatic to the point where it was acceptable, but the CC always annoyed me. I sold the car as it was simply too nice to have to use in the winter, and at the time I couldn't justify a hobby car.

I have thought that a grey market 5speed non-turbo, manual HVAC and sunroof, Euro 123 WITH a swapped turbo engine would be the best thing ever.
 

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 this guy:

Just under 200K miles, I'm the second owner. Local car that wintered in FL most of its life. I don't drive it much but it's so clean I know I won't find another like it. It's got enough power to run happily at 80 MPH.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
I have this guy:

Just under 200K miles, I'm the second owner. Local car that wintered in FL most of its life. I don't drive it much but it's so clean I know I won't find another like it. It's got enough power to run happily at 80 MPH.

Pretty sweet! Older MB diesels are getting harder and harder to find in good shape. Keep that away from the salt!

RT
 

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
Amazingly it's rust free. Sits in the IDParts warehouse. Registered and insured, but I rarely drive it. Not sure why: it's really nice to drive.
 

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
Of course. But part of why I keep it is I don't think those cars have much value. Kind of like B4s. Got a pretty nice one of those, too. :)
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
Of course. But part of why I keep it is I don't think those cars have much value. Kind of like B4s. Got a pretty nice one of those, too. :)

There isn't value based on any traditional model. None of these cars are "collector" cars. They were just transportation. And as such, once past 5 yrs, neglected, traded in, etc. Then the second owners got them and limped them along with minimal maintenance. Most MKIVs are pretty clapped out by now. Particularly the TDIs. I know very few people running an almost 20yr old car as a primary daily commuter for serious miles. Most people want new, with all the ridiculous doodads, and an "affordable" payment. IMHO, that is a jail sentence financially. I own nothing with less than 150K on it, and I can fix anything that does break. I know well that is not the norm, not by a long shot. Thankfully there is a brotherhood of like minded people, and a forum for any vehicle you can name, and we all hang out on these boards and keep these forgotten mechanical gems alive.

And now we are truly off the rails from the original post....

RT
 

TornadoRed

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Location
Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
TDI
2003 Golf GL 5-spd, red; 2003 Golf GLS 5-spd, indigo blue; 2003 Jetta TDI wagon, Candy White
There isn't value based on any traditional model. None of these cars are "collector" cars.
But they are cars that people seek out, even when they know they might have to sink several thousand dollars into one in repairs and neglected maintenance. Not "restore" in the sense that one restores an older Jaguar or Bentley, but return to reliable driving condition for the longer term.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
But they are cars that people seek out, even when they know they might have to sink several thousand dollars into one in repairs and neglected maintenance. Not "restore" in the sense that one restores an older Jaguar or Bentley, but return to reliable driving condition for the longer term.
That's my point. The market for an old TDI, or MB diesel, etc. attracts a very specific person. Highly skilled/experienced mechanically, but understands that mechanical things should be used, and they use them, repair to better than new, and upgrade as needed. Fairly significant sums of money can be invested, but knowing that doing so is cheaper than buying new, and the comfort of knowing what was done was done correctly.

It's a very different thing from the restoration "drive on sunny Sundays" crowd. The cars we turn our attention to are cheap to buy, cheap to fix, and easily replaceable. If I want a rust free car, it's a simple matter to jump on. SouthWest flight and go get one. Or ship it in.

There's not that many of us, compared to the supply of good used vehicles that are also in relatively low demand. It's a good time to be TDI people. 10yrs ago was a great time to be Mercedes 123 enthusiasts. They have largely dried up, supply-wise. I give MKIV TDIs another 5-10 years before parts and decent used cars become difficult to find.
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
That's my point. The market for an old TDI, or MB diesel, etc. attracts a very specific person. Highly skilled/experienced mechanically, but understands that mechanical things should be used, and they use them, repair to better than new, and upgrade as needed. Fairly significant sums of money can be invested, but knowing that doing so is cheaper than buying new, and the comfort of knowing what was done was done correctly.



It's a very different thing from the restoration "drive on sunny Sundays" crowd. The cars we turn our attention to are cheap to buy, cheap to fix, and easily replaceable. If I want a rust free car, it's a simple matter to jump on. SouthWest flight and go get one. Or ship it in.



There's not that many of us, compared to the supply of good used vehicles that are also in relatively low demand. It's a good time to be TDI people. 10yrs ago was a great time to be Mercedes 123 enthusiasts. They have largely dried up, supply-wise. I give MKIV TDIs another 5-10 years before parts and decent used cars become difficult to find.
The used parts/salvage yard finds are already drying up down south, that's ironic if you ask me...the rust belt has tons of these cars, most don't make it to the worn out stage before rust takes them...

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

j_martell

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Location
Centre Wellington, Ontario
TDI
Reflex Silver 2006 Jetta GLS TDI Wagon
I've kept my wagon because it hasn't let me down.

I hit the key, it starts. Stops and steers just fine too.

Not that i haven't had to put some money into it, but at almost 15 years old and 405,500km on it, things are bound to wear out.
 

GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
The used parts/salvage yard finds are already drying up down south, that's ironic if you ask me...the rust belt has tons of these cars, most don't make it to the worn out stage before rust takes them...

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
o ya, we got them with holes you could throw a cat through (no cat was harmed in the making of that sentence!:Dlol). Ive seen ones with only 200k, but the body's are just letting go because of our winters.
I have had to work fairly hard to not let mine start rusting...

As to the original post of why keep a mk4. i do because i don't want a motor that is 96% computer, and you can't do a burn out because it has traction control (wouldn't be bad if it wouldn't rock the vehicles because it can't pick what wheel to drive). i also don't care for having a sensor on every little thing, and up here where our winters are hard those sensors ect. die, then you have to have it fixed on a lot of the newer cars because it won't leave you alone that "theirs something wrong with your car" Even if it's just a code. ahwile back i saw a truck that had this system in it. if your door was open the truck wouldn't drive forward. what? why?? the guy was trying to unload a boat into the water, and couldn't figure out why it wouldn't move. he closed the door and guess what it moved... weird vehicles lol...
I know it was a "safety feature" but seriously ?
 
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Hayden011

New member
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Location
texas
TDI
a3 bkd
To live with an mk4, my friends basicly replaced the whole interior from, retrimed it to be leather, changed the colors on the dash, basicly facelifted the whole cabin, his steering wheel from woodensteeringwheels is also sick.
 

Stupendous60

Member
Joined
May 18, 2019
Location
TX
TDI
2000 Beetle TDI automatic, 2000 Beetle TDI manual, 2002 Beetle TDI manual, 2019 Beetle gas automatic
I bought my 2000 NB 1.9 auto new on January, 6th 2000. It currently has 156,650 miles on it. My wife drove it until 2012 when I took it. The car is fun to drive, love the fuel efficiency. I have maintained it to a fault. In the 20+ years it left me stranded within walking distance of home due to the original 109 relay tanking...I am very disappointed in the plastic interior crumbling however. This January I found a 2002 NB 1.9 manual basket case 195.600 miles, in a guys yard, inquired and bought it for 250.00 not running, got it home primed it and got it running in 45 minuets, fixed almost everything but the ac due to aftermarket drier not mating with aftermarket condenser. Right now it is the best driving/riding one I have. Then, in May, I bought another Forum members 2000 NB 1.9 manual 391,540 miles...ironed out its issues and am enjoying it also (its the quickest). To sum up-I absolutely love driving these cars, the sound, the feel, i.e. Farfegnugen. P.S. all three are Silver.........(HELP ME!):ROFLMAO:
 

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
P.S. all three are Silver.........(HELP ME!):ROFLMAO:
I've had two red Golfs, a 2-door and a 4-door. Also both 99.5s My daughter, who lives in LA and isn't a car person, struggled to understand that they were different cars. And my son started with a silver 2-door Golf, and after that one was totaled got a silver 4-door Golf. When he saw friends after getting the 4-door he would insist it was the same car, and that they didn't remember it was a 4-door.

In his case it also means that the only cars he's ever owned are silver MKIV Golfs, and he's been driving for 14 years.
 

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
I've owned a lot of cars, these are definitely the most efficient of the bunch. With the underbody coating and anodized hardware probably the most rust belt friendly of the bunch also. Nearly 20 years old and outside of one of the dogbone mount bolts to frame, bumper to radiator cradle, and license plate bolts everything comes apart pretty easily. And that little high winding diesel is just awesome. Plus there is enough enthusiasts out there that have figured out all the updates, tunes, mods, and inherent issues that all that is left to keep it going is homework and effort.
 

NewTdi

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 15, 2004
Location
NorCal
TDI
2003 Bora, Reflex Silver
I still love my car after all these years. Just drove 8000 miles in the past 6 weeks. Best tank 54mpg coming back from Phoenix yesterday. Good oil, good maintenance will keep these cars going forever.
 
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