NewBeetle.org Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello - I am a lurker here and am in need of immediate advice. I am on vacation in the beautiful city of Asheville many states from home (Orlando, FL). My head gasket blew while here. I had just had my radiator replaced and a new fan switch and had been repeatedly asking my mechanic if my head gasket was ok based on what I read on here. He said I was fine for travel. Now I am stuck, just me and my 5 year old daughter, in a cabin with no cell reception and sitting on top of a mountain that I am not sure a tow truck could get up (dirt road running along a steep drop) - I could just coast down I guess.

Anyway, I took my 99 beetle to a local mechanic with a very respected reputation. They diagnosed my worst fears and estimated the repair to be $1750 including timing chains. I have sent an email request for estimate to the local VW dealer (who I would go with even if more expensive just so I am covered in my area with a warrantee - I assume this is wise). My questions are, is it worth repairing? I love the car and have already replaced what seems like the rest of the parts....would it be problem free for a while (best guess)? The cost of a rental home about $500 for the one way and to cover the rest of the trip so I figure the repair would be 1250 over the cost.

What are the thoughts of the more experienced beetle owners here? How many miles can you get out of this car? I am at 110K and would hope I can get 200. If I can realistically get 2 more years out of the car with no major repairs, I think it might be worth doing.
 

·
Catch me riding s00ty!
Joined
·
3,981 Posts
Hello - I am a lurker here and am in need of immediate advice. I am on vacation in the beautiful city of Asheville many states from home (Orlando, FL). My head gasket blew while here. I had just had my radiator replaced and a new fan switch and had been repeatedly asking my mechanic if my head gasket was ok based on what I read on here. He said I was fine for travel. Now I am stuck, just me and my 5 year old daughter, in a cabin with no cell reception and sitting on top of a mountain that I am not sure a tow truck could get up (dirt road running along a steep drop) - I could just coast down I guess.

Anyway, I took my 99 beetle to a local mechanic with a very respected reputation. They diagnosed my worst fears and estimated the repair to be $1750 including timing chains. I have sent an email request for estimate to the local VW dealer (who I would go with even if more expensive just so I am covered in my area with a warrantee - I assume this is wise). My questions are, is it worth repairing? I love the car and have already replaced what seems like the rest of the parts....would it be problem free for a while (best guess)? The cost of a rental home about $500 for the one way and to cover the rest of the trip so I figure the repair would be 1250 over the cost.

What are the thoughts of the more experienced beetle owners here? How many miles can you get out of this car? I am at 110K and would hope I can get 200. If I can realistically get 2 more years out of the car with no major repairs, I think it might be worth doing.


Sounds like you never replaced your timing belt and it snapped...

Yea, when that happens, you have to replace the belts and waterpump and also get headwork.

I really dont think you will get a much lower price as the price of a timing belt change at most places is usually $800 PLUS $1000 for the labor on the head rework.

Just pondering how many miles you have? Since we have no clue where you are now, you should see if any of these places are near you and they can do the head work. It going to be pricey and anything under $1000 would be a miracle at this point.

Sorry this happened during your trip :cry: We ALL would have told you to have that belt replaced before your trip as there really isn't a way to tell when they will snap. I wouldn't place blame on your mechanic, as these belts need to be changed and that is pretty much the single most important piece of rubber on the car.

EDIT: Just reread your post... 110K on your timing belt??? :jawdrop: That thing is recommended to be replaced around 80k! Even the manual says 105k and even then is kind of late, especially on an older model car like yours. Now maybe i think you should question your mechanic on why he didn't tell you to replace that belt while you're at 110k miles! :rant2:
 

·
5/23/10 <3
Joined
·
10,967 Posts
You could certainly get 200k out of it if maintainted. Is it a 5-speed or auto? If its an auto, you'll probably be looking at a new transmission at or before 150k though. 5-speed, you should be fine, aside from maybe a new clutch.

Local mechanics, if they are any good, should give you a warranty of some kind. Also, your 2.0 doesn't have timing chains, just belts. Did you have your water pump replaced before? A timing belt/water pump service shouldn't run you more than $600 for a 2.0 (unless done at a dealer). I had mine done for $450 at a local shop in Raleigh, which also included an oil change and a new air filter. A VW dealer is not always the best solution. Just because they are a dealer doesn't mean they do the work well or correctly. Now, that mostly applies for TDIs, but really, I would be wary of a dealer unless they have a really good rep. What dealer is out there? I only know of the dealers in NC from Raleigh to Charlotte. And I know that some of them, I wouldn't dare let touch my car. Others, seem to be well recommended by VW enthusiasts, even those that heavily mod their cars.

I think it would be worth it to fix. How long have you had it? Remember, fixing this car, you know the history of it. If you were to get a used ca to replace it, you could get a car with questionable history and end up shelling out more money to fix that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I live in Orlando and am presently vacationing in Asheville, NC. I went to a local repair shop, but my concern is that should anything go wrong, I will be 600 miles away from the person who did it, hence my considering the dealer. At least with them, the warranty will be valid in Florida too.

I asked my mechanic if the timing chain needed replacing. Explained to him what I have read on these boards. I bought the car at 90K and am guessing that they didn't do it or did it at 50-60K. I don't know the history of this car, but at least know what I have done to it. I truly love my tweety bug and until the past month or so, it has been a great car. Thinking once I get through with all of this, there isn't much more that would need to be done. Hoses are all included as well. I will probably have to add in a fan motor as mine is coming on sporadically.

I also aske dmy mechanic (who I now think is the biggest dunderhead ever) about my water pump. Explained they were plastic and the propellers often break and to please check it. He said it appeared to be fine. Who in this economy doesn't try to get as much work as possible? Geesh

I think replacing it is better than throwing the car away. Also would rather just put the cost of a rental into this car instead.
 

·
Catch me riding s00ty!
Joined
·
3,981 Posts
I live in Orlando and am presently vacationing in Asheville, NC. I went to a local repair shop, but my concern is that should anything go wrong, I will be 600 miles away from the person who did it, hence my considering the dealer. At least with them, the warranty will be valid in Florida too.

I asked my mechanic if the timing chain needed replacing. Explained to him what I have read on these boards. I bought the car at 90K and am guessing that they didn't do it or did it at 50-60K. I don't know the history of this car, but at least know what I have done to it. I truly love my tweety bug and until the past month or so, it has been a great car. Thinking once I get through with all of this, there isn't much more that would need to be done. Hoses are all included as well. I will probably have to add in a fan motor as mine is coming on sporadically.

I also aske dmy mechanic (who I now think is the biggest dunderhead ever) about my water pump. Explained they were plastic and the propellers often break and to please check it. He said it appeared to be fine. Who in this economy doesn't try to get as much work as possible? Geesh

I think replacing it is better than throwing the car away. Also would rather just put the cost of a rental into this car instead.

I think you may be better off taking it to that shop if they're a vw repair shop.... It'll be MUCH cheaper in the long run. Plus if anything happens, i'm sure they'll work something out with you. Communication is key! Plus i'm 90% sure that that shop will give you a waterpump with the metal impellar. I think the dealerships still give out the plastic ones.... If that is the case, that could be another possible area of concern in the future.

I'll hand it to them, MOST vw shops (that i've been to anyways) do seem to know what their doing and will most likely give you all the correct things you need PLUS try to tell you what else is coming down the pike. All of this for a reasonable fee. Plus a lot of them warranty their parts so if something does happen, they'll work a deal with you and possibly do it free. You never know.

But if you're more comfortable taking it to a dealership, i completely understand. Also note that

And if your mechanic said the plasic waterpump was ok, its time to get a new mechanic, bud.... He can't check the waterpump without taking out the timing belt! If he would have checked it, you would have seen how bad of shape it was in... As many others have said, the plastic waterpump's plastic bits fall off more as it's removed and kind of crumbles into pieces in your hand..... If he took it off, he would have saved you all of this trouble right about now.... :rant2: The Nerve of that guy!

Yea, i'm getting mad for you thinking about it... You should REALLY look into getting another mechanic..... Specifically for a VW specialist.
 

·
5/23/10 <3
Joined
·
10,967 Posts
Well, you can check the pump without taking the belt off. You just have to take the thermostat off and you can feel the pump impeller.

So did your timing belt snap? If not, I would be more inclined to say the water pump went which caused the car to overheat and damage the head gasket.
 

·
VW Junky
Joined
·
1,032 Posts
Jeez,I've changed a t-belt here and there,even on another Nb before I ever did mine,110k later,my pump went out(last thursday),so my first t-belt change was at 110k,its a '99 too:p


I'd get the head,belt,pump,tensioner taken care of at the lowest cost possible,unless your in a good,safe place,I'd think about gettin' me and my daughter outta there and back to home asap and worry about the bills afterwords.

Good luck and I hope for the best!
 

·
Catch me riding s00ty!
Joined
·
3,981 Posts
Well, you can check the pump without taking the belt off. You just have to take the thermostat off and you can feel the pump impeller.

So did your timing belt snap? If not, I would be more inclined to say the water pump went which caused the car to overheat and damage the head gasket.

Hey you know what, thats also a possibillity!

Didn't know you could remove the waterpump without removing the belt. I know you have to take the belt off to change the pump, but for checking you're probably right. :dunno:

Also, if the mechanic would have checked the waterpump, he should have saw the belt so he has no excuse there if it was the belt that snapped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I love ths forum!

We are in a very safe place :) Our cabin that we have been planing to rent for months now. Can't get down the mountain, but we are safe here! Can't get home to Florida either.

The guy who referred me to the mechanic I went to mentioned there was a VW mechanic but couldn't remember name or address. Gave me what are a local's direction which is total greek to an out of towner. A quick google and I found him! All they do is VW. I sent them an email so hopefully I will hear from them in the morning. IF they can help me figure out how to get my car there (might start, might not as something popped and I had steam from all areas - unlike anything I have had before) I will have them do the work whether they are slightly more expensive or less. Warranty is worthless as I will be 600 miles away and not able to return to them, but oh well.
 

·
Catch me riding s00ty!
Joined
·
3,981 Posts
I love ths forum!

We are in a very safe place :) Our cabin that we have been planing to rent for months now. Can't get down the mountain, but we are safe here! Can't get home to Florida either.

The guy who referred me to the mechanic I went to mentioned there was a VW mechanic but couldn't remember name or address. Gave me what are a local's direction which is total greek to an out of towner. A quick google and I found him! All they do is VW. I sent them an email so hopefully I will hear from them in the morning. IF they can help me figure out how to get my car there (might start, might not as something popped and I had steam from all areas - unlike anything I have had before) I will have them do the work whether they are slightly more expensive or less. Warranty is worthless as I will be 600 miles away and not able to return to them, but oh well.
Thats great!! Look on the bright side! If you ever need an oil change or something when you come back to this cabin, you know where to go :D

Btw, welcome to the org!! You should keep posting and stop lurking! We dont bite... much :gotme:

Oh, and you know the rules! PICS OF YOUR CAR!!!!!!!!!!!! :rant2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
the heads of these motors are usually good to about 200-250K.
The blocks are stronger, and can get 300-350K out of em.

They just need proper maintenance.
 

·
ElectricHarleyHouseOfLove
Joined
·
1,751 Posts

·
overwhelmed/underpaid
Joined
·
3,319 Posts
hmmm, sounds like you popped a head gasket.

with cylinder heads being so cheap, it's best to buy a new one.

it happens (more often than you think), it just sucks that it happened on a vacation.

wherever you take it, you're gonna pay roughly the same, go where you feel the work is gonna get done right (and get you 600 miles home!).

the important thing is that you're ok, the car can be fixed, and life is good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
if you're looking for options in Asheville, Send a PM to Growler. Alot of .orgers from the mid-atlantic\northeast are take their VWs to him for service.. He's in Ohio so not practical for work at the moment, but he recommended someone from Asheville to me once.. I just can't remember who it was!

( Need VW work near Central Ohio? Im Available Fridays & Saturdays. - NewBeetle.org Forums )
I am guessing he recommended Asheville Vee-dub. He only works on restoration and repair of VW. Nothing else. I emailed him (really cursing the lack of phone now) and am waiting to hear.

Also, I reread the estimate - it includes new head and seals, new hoses, timing belt and tensioner, water pumo, thermostat and thermo gasket and of course, oil change and filter. I am thinking the $1750 isn't that horrible after all. Priced out a rental car and once you add the cash I would need for a downpayment on another car, I am way over the 1750. I have a new radiator (hope it wasn't damaged) so what more would ever need to be fixed? Am I wrong in thinking I would almost have a new car mechanically?

I appreciate all the input more than you will ever know!
 

·
Dubbed Spiderman
Joined
·
2,830 Posts
I would definitely get it done. You are getting the whole top of the engine redone and, yes, it should last you beyond 200K if you keep up with the maintenance. Good luck and hope everything turns out OK.
 

·
5/23/10 <3
Joined
·
10,967 Posts
Do you have a manual or auto transmission?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I am an auto transmission. AAA is on the way now to tow us into town to the mechanic. The one I went to can have it done by Wed and we check out of our cabin on Thurs. The other place said 2 weeks. That doesn't work. :( I am really pleased with my decision. Hope not much more can go wrong.
 

·
5/23/10 <3
Joined
·
10,967 Posts
At that mileage, I would make sure you keep an eye on that transmission. The autos tend to give out at or before 150k miles (usually closer to 100k).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
At that mileage, I would make sure you keep an eye on that transmission. The autos tend to give out at or before 150k miles (usually closer to 100k).
WHOA now. I might just be crazy here and a bit late. But is this statement true? The whole transmission? Im at 71K I believe and I have not had my eye on the transmission.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top