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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

As with all great cars, I wasn't surprised in the least to come across an owners forum. I've been a member of a few vehicle-specific online groups in the past and will hopefully become a fixture here, should I wind up with a beetle.

My girl and I are looking for a used car just to commute the few miles to work and back. It probably won't see many long roadtrips (the other car is for that), but I'd nautrally want to have faith in the car's long-distance abilities.

We've only ever owned American cars (and a DeLorean which can be seen as Italian/Irish/American), but never a piece of fine German engineering/Mexican assembly that I've heard so much about.

First, I've always heard that you can drive the wheels off of Hondas, Toyotas, and VWs upwards of 3 or 4 hundred thousand miles. A lot of the used beetles that I've been looking at are hovering around the 70k/80k mile range. I tend to think of this as mid to high mileage, but would be interested in this group's opinion in reation to these cars specifically.

Secondly, I'm starting to catch onto the various trim levels and engines. From what I understand, if the beetle has no trim indication, it is a 1.8L 4 cylinder. GL and GLS are 2.0L 4 cylinder, and the TDI is a 2.0L 4 cylinder diesel. How close am I?

And lastly, are there any year/engine configurations that are generally less reliable than others, ie, "The 2002 TDI had a major leaking problem", etc?

Thanks all, and hopefully I'll find myself in a bug sometime soon!

-Christian
San Mateo, CA
 

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70-80K is a good time to start thinking about changing the timing belt (expensive service, and fairly cumbersome, often why you see the for sale sign pop up right around there).

Honda's & Toyota's are very trouble free for the most part. I would NOT put them in the same group as VW's. VW's take attention to keep running nicely. I haven't had many drivetrain issues, it's the little things really. The Check Engine Light WILL come on in your first year of ownership, I'm pretty positive about that. VW's service departments are notoriously under-knowledged and under-qualified. ... If you're not a do-it-yourselfer I wouldn't really recommend it. It'd get expensive fast.

your trim levels are a little off here's more explaination.

- if it has a pop-up automatic spoiler above the rear glass, it's got a 1.8t.
- if it's a GLX, it's a 1.8t.
- if it's a Turbo S it's a 1.8t.
- if it's a New Beetle Sport it's a 1.8t.
- if it's a color concept it's a 1.8t.
- if the door's are black plastic (not tan or grey) it's a 1.8t

GLS could be any of the motors.
GL is a 2.0
98-99's didn't have trim levels.

TDI isn't a trim code, that's the engine code. TDI's and PDI's are diesel.

I forget what the inline 5-cylinder has for displacement, but that option's out there too.

(Europe I believe also has a 1.6L option, and maybe a non-turbo 1.8L option, but I could be mistaken on the later)

Deffinately ignore any NB's older than 2000. If you plan on tuning it up and turning it out, ignore 1.8t's older than 2001.

Heh; that's the short version.

Btw: Mine's currently got 133K. I drag race and autoX it regularly. Lovin' every minute.
 

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Where is home ....
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Hi there!

Im not sure on the longevity of the beetle ... mine has 40,000 miles and is working great! My sister has a 2002 Turbo with 65,000 miles ... going strong ... needs a new catalytic converter tho.

Of course with all cars there are the wear items. So, a car with higher milage does probably need *something* fixed.

As for the engines ...

GL - 2.0L - 115 HP. There are a FEW 2003 or 2004's with the 1.8L Turbo. Hard to find tho.

GLS - comes in 2.0L, 1.8L Turbo (150 HP), AND the TDi (90 & 100 HP depending on year). The GLS had more options than the GL. Color concepts are GLS's (colored leather seats - see my Zoomer).

GLX - only available in the 1.8L Turbo.

Turbo S - 180 HP. Available from 2002 - 2004 (I think). 6 speed manual trannies only. Different bumpers. Special gray/black leather sport seats (like Zoomers but gray instead of blue). 17" Delta Wheels ... and ... Im sure other things.

You can tell the difference between a Turbo and a 2.0L and diesels because the turbo will have a speed activated spoiler above the rear window.

Good luck! And have fun!
 

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I would say... have some faith. The early Turbos seemed to have issues; as did all the pre-01 models it seems. My 2002.5 has been great, hovering at nearly 77k now, and i drive it rather rough. He's a 2.0L, and I get a constant 28, best I ever saw in the early miles was 32. I did throw one CEL to the history of the car since I've had him (2 years, car was dealer car prior). IT was a $6 sensor; nothing majaor. I have a nothrolls GL with hand cranks, and I love it :)

I would say they take love. You must check the oil, you're going to have a plastic switch break or a light blow (headlight likely), and yes it's convoluted in respects ... but it's a safe car, I'd say reliable, and it'll always get a compliment.
 

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180 Degrees out of faze
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So far the car has 151,000 miles on it and counting. Nothing real major has happened. But lots of little things. Like head lamps, window switches, and trim have failed.
The good thing is that Bugformance is a good repair shop not far from you.
It is a fun car to drive, and has never stranded the driver. Which is much more than I can say for the Chevy.
 

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overwhelmed/underpaid
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I am in love with my 2005 TDI. I've driven it to Ohio 3 times in the past 5 months with NO problems. She's got the power, the looks (getting there), and oh yeah...did I mention when you drive an NB, you get a goofy smirk on your face? :)
 

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I have 130k on mine. Few things that went wrong
o2 sensor
wastegate
tires..duh...
headlights(2 each side)
stereo
brake pads
I'm sure there's more but forgotten about cause he's so much fun to drive.I do NOT drive slow.Gotta be the leader (aries thing)Had him up to 125 mph but had to slow down for traffic.I like to see how fast I can go around the curve on the xway ramp.Usual cruising speed is about 90mph. He's stock so I can't speak for chipped cars but def fun to drive!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, a boatload of responses already. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.

My beetle activity has ramped up quite a bit in the last couple days. Tonight, we went and looked at 2 of them.

One had a broken license plate light, broken foglight, misaligned driver's door a pair of large bolts in a plastic baggie in with the spare tire (any idea what these might be?), and an unknown switch laying in the passenger's footwell. And this is just what I was able to see in the dark.

The other car, inside a well-lit used car showroom was in better shape, but I noticed right away that the tow hook at the rear passenger side of the car had flaky paint. I looked closer and noticed that the underside of the floor of the trunk had red overspray on it (red car). The car that I saw in the dark also appeared to have a tint of blue. I could easily believe that both were in accidents and repaired, but wondered if this is normal to have a light, but easily visible spray of body colour on the underside. Oh yeah, I also found some sort of interesting mushroom or fungus of some sort growing against the inside of the rear fascia (under the spare tire cover - but over to the side).

Both were pre-2000 cars, and both had dings, scuffs, and deep scratches all over them. Both were also leaking oil. One had visible drips on the showroom floor and dry oil caked all over the bottom of the engine, and the other only seemed to have the latter symptom. How common is this? Is there a common seal failure or other easy fix?

My girlfriend and I also spent the evening reading the VW TDI FAQ at tdiclub.com (I never thought I'd live to see her read anything but a murder novel). The engine sounds impressive, as well as the obvious gas mileage advantage. While it seemed like a fair and balanced read, pointing out its pros and cons, I wondered if you all might have any additional light to shed on that particular engine. The TDI is definitely they way we're leaning.

I've gotta end this already-too-long post with saying how impressed I was with all the little design ideas that went into the car. The radio knob that pops out, the seats that lunge WAY forward, the way the rear seat double-folds for extra cargo space, the swiveling VW logo on the rear (which I understand changed in later years), the way the seatbelts slide out of the way, the interesting pump handles on the front seats... and I'm sure there's plenty more that I missed. Man, I love good thinkin'.

-Christian
 

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I'd stay away from both those cars.


They sound abused. :(


Yes, some overspray (ON THE BOTTOM) is pretty common I believe, but it's been a while since I noticed.

Oil leak on the showroom floor? haha; no thanks. Why even bother spending more time on it.

Lots of switches laying on floorboards, a spare bolts bag in the trunk? haha no thanks.

Keep lookin' there's some nice bugs out there for good prices; keep up the hunt.
 

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Delightfully Tacky
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orbit said:
Wow, a boatload of responses already. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.

My beetle activity has ramped up quite a bit in the last couple days. Tonight, we went and looked at 2 of them.

One had a broken license plate light, broken foglight, misaligned driver's door a pair of large bolts in a plastic baggie in with the spare tire (any idea what these might be?), and an unknown switch laying in the passenger's footwell. And this is just what I was able to see in the dark.

The other car, inside a well-lit used car showroom was in better shape, but I noticed right away that the tow hook at the rear passenger side of the car had flaky paint. I looked closer and noticed that the underside of the floor of the trunk had red overspray on it (red car). The car that I saw in the dark also appeared to have a tint of blue. I could easily believe that both were in accidents and repaired, but wondered if this is normal to have a light, but easily visible spray of body colour on the underside. Oh yeah, I also found some sort of interesting mushroom or fungus of some sort growing against the inside of the rear fascia (under the spare tire cover - but over to the side).

Both were pre-2000 cars, and both had dings, scuffs, and deep scratches all over them. Both were also leaking oil. One had visible drips on the showroom floor and dry oil caked all over the bottom of the engine, and the other only seemed to have the latter symptom. How common is this? Is there a common seal failure or other easy fix?

My girlfriend and I also spent the evening reading the VW TDI FAQ at tdiclub.com (I never thought I'd live to see her read anything but a murder novel). The engine sounds impressive, as well as the obvious gas mileage advantage. While it seemed like a fair and balanced read, pointing out its pros and cons, I wondered if you all might have any additional light to shed on that particular engine. The TDI is definitely they way we're leaning.

I've gotta end this already-too-long post with saying how impressed I was with all the little design ideas that went into the car. The radio knob that pops out, the seats that lunge WAY forward, the way the rear seat double-folds for extra cargo space, the swiveling VW logo on the rear (which I understand changed in later years), the way the seatbelts slide out of the way, the interesting pump handles on the front seats... and I'm sure there's plenty more that I missed. Man, I love good thinkin'.

-Christian
where are you located? and how much are you looking to spend?
 

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jazzcat said:
where are you located? and how much are you looking to spend?
He's in the California Bay Area, San Mateo. (San Bruno native, here!)

I concur with noR. Stay away from the two NB's you looked at. They don't appear to have been loved. :(

Don't fret, 'tho. The right one is out there. Good luck to you! :)
 

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Delightfully Tacky
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dnyed said:
He's in the California Bay Area, San Mateo. (San Bruno native, here!)

I concur with noR. Stay away from the two NB's you looked at. They don't appear to have been loved. :(

Don't fret, 'tho. The right one is out there. Good luck to you! :)
rock on...


well then i ask again :D how much is he looking to spend? the two listed in my sig are available for the right price(the 02 is an automatic with ~44xxx on it and the 98 is a 5 speed with ~77xxx on it-water pump and timing belt were just replaced and am working out the rest of the little things with it)

lemme know if you are interested in either car
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh, no, I wasn't considering either of those two! I just know that the more beetles I look at, the better informed I'll be and I'll be able to recognize a really great beetle when I come upon it.

I'm guessing then that there isn't a common "worn this" or "loose that" item that frequently causes oil leaking.

My budget is floating right around 10k.

dnyed, we just moved our office from San Bruno. I already miss Artichoke Joe's. Alright, not at all... :)
 

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I think I looked at about 8 or 9 beetles before I found the one that called out to me :)

I had a small oil leak when I bought mine (didn't know it til a month later) but it was the oil pan - had a very tiny hole in it. Try looking around there if you can get your head underneath? The more love you give the NB, the more it loves you back!
 

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Beetles are horrible long distance cars, soley because every ten feet you gotta stop because someone wants to check out how awsome your new beetle is.

Beetles Rule!!!!!!
 

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Ruby Red New Beetle
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Yeah, Beetles to rule and I can't wait to find the one right for me. I can feel that it will be soon or I am just being hopeful. :)

MistressM
 
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