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redpoint5 10-24-2015 12:13 PM

My friend wants another VW
My friend bought a 2002 VW Golf 2.0L a couple years ago and now it likely needs a motor as it's missing and continuously fouling a plug with oil. The assumption is worn rings. I know it has a blown exhaust manifold, possibly from unburned gas that ignited in it. I think it only has around 160,000 miles, so it's surprising to have major problems already.

Now he wants to buy a 2010 Golf TDI. From another friends experience with 2 Jetta diesels and 3 motors, I don't think it will go well in the long run. Since I'm the one that fixes everything that breaks, I'd rather he get something more reliable that has parts that can be replaced with normal tools.

He likes the styling of the Golf and needs the ability to put his drum kit in it. He also drives often and far, with 100 mile roundtrip commutes a few days a week.

What are some other options out there that would be fuel efficient and reliable?

Didn't VW issue a Campaign to update the ECU a few months ago to address emissions, meanwhile reducing fuel economy and increasing DPF regens? How would I be able to tell if the car has had this update? Is there a way to reverse the update?

EDIT: Update at this post

spacemanspif 10-24-2015 12:58 PM

Tell him simply that if he buys another VW that he needs to find a new mechanic and see if he still wants one. The Golf isn't that huge, there are any number of cars that can be bought that will fit the bill but you will have to look at hatch area carefully. VW seems to be the only company that makes a 2 door wagon with the Golf whereas other small "hot hatches" are a more goofy hatch design that kills some usability. If this friend isn't concerned with MPG a small crossover might fit the bill if small hatchbacks can't fit the drum kit. Members here have found that the Prius turns out to be extremely useful in moving large objects.

wdb 10-24-2015 01:30 PM

Honda Fit. Problem solved. Reliable and holds a ton of stuff inside.

ksa8907 10-24-2015 02:05 PM

Thats funny, i have a friend who is on her 2nd vw with problems and still admits she likes VW.

Friends don't let friends buy VW.

redpoint5 10-24-2015 03:45 PM

I drive a Prius and it's one of his favorite things to joke about. Maybe a Mazda 3 would fit the bill. I'll have to plant the seed in his mind. In the meantime, we're just about to go out and see this 2010 Vee Dub. He's gonna love it I just know it.

vskid3 10-24-2015 07:09 PM

If you go back far enough (I think late '90s?), TDIs were pretty reliable. Nowadays your fuel savings are just payments for repairs. Maybe start charging him labor?

Fit would be my choice for a good all around hatch/wagon. Focus ST would be my next choice, but for reasons other than efficiency. ;) My friend has a new Mazda 3 hatch and it gets pretty good mileage.

redpoint5 10-24-2015 08:03 PM

On the way to see the Vee Dub, we discussed the Mazda 3, which he said the styling is terrible and I tend to agree, although I place next to no value on aesthetics. He was receptive to the Fit and Focus, but alas, the Golf won him over.

It was clearly well taken care of, but at 64,000 miles, I think it's nearing the timing belt interval. I'm surprised to see the VW warranty is for 5 years and 60,000 miles, which seems shorter than nearly everything else out there. There was a campaign to reprogram the ECU for emission purposes and the car has had the update, unfortunately. Perhaps a 3rd party reflash will undue the MPG hit some people are reporting. I think the update made the car run the same as if it was undergoing smog testing (undid the emission defeat programming) and also increased the frequency of the DPF regens, which will hurt fuel economy.

My friend has all but purchased the vehicle, so it looks like I'll become intimately familiar with how the Mk VI Golf works.

I'll have to research deleting the DPF which will probably require some modification to the EGR, I would assume. With the increased frequency of regen occurring, I suspect there will be many problems with early failure of the emission equipment.

kafer65 10-24-2015 09:51 PM

The dual mass flywheel will explode if it hasn't already at least once. Both of mine were replaced with single mass and survived just fine when I did timing belts. Hopefully, the fuel pump won't gall and take a dump on the fuel system, but honestly though, if he's doing that much driving it may be ok for a few years since its a Golf.

OTOH, seems that the German made two doors may be a bit better. I haven't been there in a while but TDIclub is loaded with fixes that will give you a heads up on any eventualities that might arise. God help you!

redpoint5 10-25-2015 01:13 AM


Originally Posted by kafer65 (Post 497578)
The dual mass flywheel will explode if it hasn't already at least once. Both of mine were replaced with single mass and survived just fine when I did timing belts.

Did yours explode, or did you do it preventatively when changing the timing belt? I'm assuming there is some labor savings by doing it at the same time as the belt?

How is drivability after changing to single mass? Wouldn't the drive axles see more wear since the clutch isn't absorbing as much of the force?

I'm fairly confident I could do the flywheel, but have never done a timing belt before. I'd hate to mess that one up, especially since I understand it's an interference engine.

MkVer 10-25-2015 02:36 AM


Originally Posted by ksa8907 (Post 497518)
Thats funny, i have a friend who is on her 2nd vw with problems and still admits she likes VW.

Friends don't let friends buy VW.

2005 VW Jetta TDI, 300,000 miles and counting with no issues.

Everybody knows somebody with a horror story about one brand of car or another. Most issues can be traced back to owners not taking proper care of their vehicle or taking them to shoddy mechanics. Everybody yells and screams about issues they've had to anyone with an ear but how often to you hear people speak glowingly about their 1992 nissan sentra they had in high school that never once gave them a single issue even though they treated it poorly?

There will always be folks who have horror stories of premature failures but if it was really that big of an issue the NTSB would have stepped in and forced a recall. Case in point; how many people drive Toyotas on here but have never had an issue? Everybody remembers the "unintended acceleration" issues that forced a mass recall. When you make 100,000 of something, a few are bound to have issues.

As for the timing belt, it can be a pain depending on your mechanical abilities but mostly because of the specialty tools required. Most VW's came from the factory with a 100,000 mile timing belt interval but VW has since dropped that to 80,000 miles. Even at 80k that's a few years between changes.

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