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2002 VW Beetle GLS 2dr hb
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello once again everyone. It’s been a while since I last posted on here about my 2002 Beetle. I took it to the VW dealership for a bumper to bumper inspection and they gave me a full list of things that needed top be done to the car. I was wondering if anyone knows if any of these things on the list are things I could possibly manage to do myself?

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So out of this list, I already have someone doing the spark plugs for me as well as the air filter, so everything else still needs to get done. I really appreciate any replies! Thank you!
 

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With the exception of mounting and balancing 3 tires everything can be done by the average driveway mechanic in the driveway. About 10 minutes for each job listed except the fog lights and of course the tires. However if you have to ask about replacing light bulbs you’d better hire some one to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With the exception of mounting and balancing 3 tires everything can be done by the average driveway mechanic in the driveway. About 10 minutes for each job listed except the fog lights and of course the tires. However if you have to ask about replacing light bulbs you’d better hire some one to do it.

Haha! I wasn’t really asking about the lights. I’m pretty confident I can do those myself. I was mostly wondering about the coolant tank needing replacing and coolant flush. I also thought maybe the brake system would be something best left to a mechanic or is that something I could also manage? Lastly, the hood latch issue is that the tab won’t pop out when you pull on the lever so I was wondering if that’s something I could fix myself too.
 

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Haha! I wasn’t really asking about the lights. I’m pretty confident I can do those myself. I was mostly wondering about the coolant tank needing replacing and coolant flush. I also thought maybe the brake system would be something best left to a mechanic or is that something I could also manage? Lastly, the hood latch issue is that the tab won’t pop out when you pull on the lever so I was wondering if that’s something I could fix myself too.

Since the coolant needs to be changed, you would need to drain the system by taking the upper and lower radiator hoses loose and removing the thermostat housing and thermostat. With all the coolant drained the expansion ball removal is two Phillips head screws and two pressure hose clamps (screwdriver and pliers). Run some water with a garden hose through the coolant system till it becomes clear and put everything back together, refill with the proper g12 or g13 vw oem fluid.

Brakes would be best done with a mity vac ($40 at auto zone), or motive brake bleeding system ($100), but you can do it old school with a helper.

Several vw coolant related videos ,keep in mind that the golf and Jetta are almost the same a few things were repositioned under the hood because of the beetles shape. Like the power steering resivor.



Fog lights are available on rock auto and probably other vendors like fcpeuro and ecstuning.
They are pretty much 3-4 screws and a wire connector plug.
 

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A question for you is how many miles on the car and when was the timing belt/water pump last done? Coolant should be changed with that job since it all has to be drained. So it should have been done if the job was done recently. And if the job hasn't been or you don't when it was done, I'd wait get it done soon and just flush the coolant then - every 60k or 7 years is what I tend to follow.

They note that the coolant is "filthy". What color is it in the bottle? Have you mixed coolants in the past? There could be a bigger issue there potentially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since the coolant needs to be changed, you would need to drain the system by taking the upper and lower radiator hoses loose and removing the thermostat housing and thermostat. With all the coolant drained the expansion ball removal is two Phillips head screws and two pressure hose clamps (screwdriver and pliers). Run some water with a garden hose through the coolant system till it becomes clear and put everything back together, refill with the proper g12 or g13 vw oem fluid.

Brakes would be best done with a mity vac ($40 at auto zone), or motive brake bleeding system ($100), but you can do it old school with a helper.

Several vw coolant related videos ,keep in mind that the golf and Jetta are almost the same a few things were repositioned under the hood because of the beetles shape. Like the power steering resivor.



Fog lights are available on rock auto and probably other vendors like fcpeuro and ecstuning.
They are pretty much 3-4 screws and a wire connector plug.
Gotcha, I’m wondering if I would actually be able to do all this myself… this would be my very first time doing the coolant and brake flush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A question for you is how many miles on the car and when was the timing belt/water pump last done? Coolant should be changed with that job since it all has to be drained. So it should have been done if the job was done recently. And if the job hasn't been or you don't when it was done, I'd wait get it done soon and just flush the coolant then - every 60k or 7 years is what I tend to follow.

They note that the coolant is "filthy". What color is it in the bottle? Have you mixed coolants in the past? There could be a bigger issue there potentially.
the car has 115k miles on it. I’m not sure when exactly the timing belt was done on the car. The previous owner told me he had already gotten it replaced and my friend checked it and said it still looked good. As for the color of the coolant, I don’t know honestly. I took the car straight to my friend’s house from the dealership so I didn’t go and check it myself. And no, I have not mixed coolants in the past.
 

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Smiley raises a valid point, if the coolant is green/brown or otherwise nasty looking it needs to be changed. If the previous owner said the timing belt was replaced but failed to provide documentation assume he's lying and get it done asap. That would also be an opportune time to flush the coolant. OEM VW coolant should be pink (G12) or violet (G13) while you can mix G12 and G13 you cannot mix either with any other antifreeze of any kind regardless of what the bottle says. The VW coolant mixed with other kinds forms a nice brown/nasty jello that tends to clog coolant passages.

Checking a timing belt is like checking a light bulb. You can't tell a thing. I've changed belts with 100k on them and they still looked great but since I changed the belt before I knew exactly how many miles were on them. 100K or 7 years on a diesel is the end of life for a timing belt, and a similar life expectancy for gas engines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Smiley raises a valid point, if the coolant is green/brown or otherwise nasty looking it needs to be changed. If the previous owner said the timing belt was replaced but failed to provide documentation assume he's lying and get it done asap. That would also be an opportune time to flush the coolant. OEM VW coolant should be pink (G12) or violet (G13) while you can mix G12 and G13 you cannot mix either with any other antifreeze of any kind regardless of what the bottle says. The VW coolant mixed with other kinds forms a nice brown/nasty jello that tends to clog coolant passages.

Checking a timing belt is like checking a light bulb. You can't tell a thing. I've changed belts with 100k on them and they still looked great but since I changed the belt before I knew exactly how many miles were on them. 100K or 7 years on a diesel is the end of life for a timing belt, and a similar life expectancy for gas engines.
I’ll have to ask my friend about this then. He currently had the car with him since he was fixing up a couple things on the list. Is changing the timing belt something someone could do themselves or best left to a mechanic?
 

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I’ll have to ask my friend about this then. He currently had the car with him since he was fixing up a couple things on the list. Is changing the timing belt something someone could do themselves or best left to a mechanic?
If you have to ask the answer most certainly is no. If you don't have to ask the answer is probably still no, ha. But seriously, unless there are receipts , consider the TB not done.
 

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I’ll have to ask my friend about this then. He currently had the car with him since he was fixing up a couple things on the list. Is changing the timing belt something someone could do themselves or best left to a mechanic?
if you mess up the TB, the engine is toast
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you have to ask the answer most certainly is no. If you don't have to ask the answer is probably still no, ha. But seriously, unless there are receipts , consider the TB not done.
gotcha! I’ll talk to him about taking it to his mechanic friend to get it done. Thank you!
 

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These are interference engines. Which means that if the timing is off the valves and pistons will make contact and require at least a rebuild of the head and at worst a new engine. Timing belts can be done, I have done a dozen or so on the 1.9 Diesel engine but never on a gas engine. Doing the belt on a diesel requires some special tools which will lock and hold the engine at top dead center, I assume that special tools are also required on a gas engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
These are interference engines. Which means that if the timing is off the valves and pistons will make contact and require at least a rebuild of the head and at worst a new engine. Timing belts can be done, I have done a dozen or so on the 1.9 Diesel engine but never on a gas engine. Doing the belt on a diesel requires some special tools which will lock and hold the engine at top dead center, I assume that special tools are also required on a gas engine.
I see, well it looks like it’s best left to a mechanic for me. I don’t really have any tools for the job and I would much rather not ruin the car just to try it out haha
 
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