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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

what do you think of a 1999 TDI Beetle?
Is it true that the engine of the first few years often suffered from various problems?
I could get one with 130k miles for about 3500 USD.
Don't know about the age of the timing belt. I guess I could change it by myself.
Is the car worth the price or would you better go for a later model? Anything I should watch for when buying the 99er?


Thanks

desert_beetle
 

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Engine no, automatic transmission YES. If you can't find a 5sp manual, or cannot drive a 5sp manual I would recommend not to purchase the TDI.

The timing belt, I wouldn't assume it is good, I would assume it is bad and needs to be replaced. a TDI timing belt job is harder than a gasoline engine, so make sure you read up in advance and determine if it is actually something you can do with what you have in the garage.

I would also assume that almost every other belt, plastic, rubber, metal, glass component on that vehicle could fail at any moment. A full rigorous detailed inspection of the vehicle should be done.

Just so you know what you could be in for my Beetle hasn't had much involuntary work done since 2010 and I've spent almost $10,000 in parts and god knows how much time fixing up the bug.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would also assume that almost every other belt, plastic, rubber, metal, glass component on that vehicle could fail at any moment. A full rigorous detailed inspection of the vehicle should be done.
Is there a list what "A full rigorous detailed inspection" includes for the TDI Beetle? (It is a manual)
 

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I would look on tdiclub.com and see if there is a trusted mechanic near you that can check it out. do not go to a vw dealership they are mostly idiots, if not all idiots. The timing belt unless you have a vcds and specialty tools have someone else do it. clean your intake manifold. Make sure it is a manual.

those are my thoughts
 

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I watched some movies about the TDI belts. Are those locks required or is it okay to just take care, that the crank shaft etc don't rotate, and watch the marks?
That won't work, which is why the tools are needed. I've seen people advertising they rent the tools.
 

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That won't work, which is why the tools are needed. I've seen people advertising they rent the tools.
This. The tools are necessary. There is very little tolerance in the TDI engine with the high compression. People do use the "Mark and Pray" method without the tools, but rarely does it end well. The tools aren't that expensive, especially compared to a damaged head due to a failed timing belt job. Its not a hard job, you just need to follow the directions closely. We've done the belt on our TDI, as well as our '84 IDI turbo diesel (which has even higher compression I believe). Never any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
retrofiting ABS?

I figured out that the belt and the pump have been replaced not so long ago.
The bad thing about this specific 1998er is, however, that it doesn't have anti-locking brakes.

Is it possible, to retrofit ABS? Okay, I assume it is, but how pricy is this, what components are needed? Is it worth the effort? The car is nice apart from that.
 

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another thing about the timing belt is besides needing locking tools you really need a vcds to set it after you get done.

as far as retrofitting abs, i can only imagine it would be a royal headache.

also seriously check out the intake manifold, one that old will have buildup in it.
 

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another thing about the timing belt is besides needing locking tools you really need a vcds to set it after you get done.

as far as retrofitting abs, i can only imagine it would be a royal headache.

also seriously check out the intake manifold, one that old will have buildup in it.
I echo this.
 
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