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Ive been looking at beetles for a 2nd vehicle gas saver to drive around locally I have a full size truck and the mileage kills me. I have found lots of the 2.0 engine beetles in the $2500-$3500 range with around 150,000 miles. Are these good engines? Any known problems or ones I should stay away from? I've heard some people say stay away from these cars when they tear up they are costly to fix. I live in a small town and the nearest VW dealer is 2 hours away. I've also found some TDI beetles what kind of mileage is high for these engines? Saw one with 300,000 miles that has been serviced regularly is it done or have some life left? I would really like a 5 speed I've heard to stay away from the automatics.
 

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I would suggest the 1.8 as it seems to be better than the 2.0 as it seems the high mileage ones use oil. Also 5 speed is a must the auto tranny never had a service interval by vw so the fluid in most of them were never changed and the auto tranny is always having problems. Also synthetic oil used in these engines is what I would look for on service records. I don't own a tdi but I have a friend who does its a 1999 or a 2000 but his has ran great other than the vw electrical issues which is a hit or miss. I personally purchased a 2001 sport model with 91000 on it for $3800 just look around and good luck finding your NB
 

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5/23/10 <3
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I had a 2.0 and it was a really great little engine. I had 0 oil consumption. Its a much simpler engine and cheaper to keep up. It also takes regular gas. Its not super fast, but its peppy enough. I had the car for 6 1/2 years. If it wasn't wrecked by a Pruis, I'd still have her today. Coupled with a 5-speed, its by far the cheapest and easiest combination you'll find. It also can last a good long time.

The 1.8T is pretty nice though if you want some speed. I have a 180hp version in my GTI (which is the same one you'll find in a Turbo S NB). I love it. But it does require 91 octane or higher and synth is a must. Plus, you have a turbo and all the associated components to worry about. Its not the cheapest option. But its still a great engine. I've had my GTI for 11k now and its running like a top at 123k.

Hubby has an '01 Jetta TDI. Same engine as you'd get in a NB. Its also a nice engine. Diesels get better fuel economy for sure...we have yet to see below 43mpg on ours, and have gotten as high as 52mpg on the highway. Now, the TDI is a picky engine. You NEED to keep up on maintenance. The correct oil is important, timing belt services MUST be done on time, if not early (a thrown belt 99% of the time means at least a rebuilt head, if not more). Fuel filters need to be done every 20k. They are different animals for sure. If you aren't a diesel person, I'd suggest you research a lot before picking one up.

There are plusses and minuses to each engine. I've enjoyed all 3 motors so I can't really recommend one over the other. If you aren't driving a lot or do a lot of city driving, a TDI isn't a good idea. They thrive on highway driving and lots of miles.

Where are you located? You may have a VW shop near you that isn't a dealer (and most are cheaper and better than a dealer anyway). If you don't have one nearby and you aren't a DIY type, then a VW may not be for you. You can't skimp on maintenance, and yes, they can have some electrical gremlins. They aren't for the faint of heart. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my VW's. Of the 5 cars we've had, only 1 wasn't a VW. We have 3 in our driveway now. But we have a boatload of tools, a nice big garage and aren't afraid to get our hands dirty. We also have an array of good local shops to give us a hand.

That's my .02.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are the 2.0's slow? I won't be on the interstate alot just around town. I found one last night with 150,000 miles 5 speed 2.0 that has just had the timing belt replaced, $2500 will buy it. What kind of electrical gremlins are we talking about? what should I look for? What kind of mileage can I expect with the 2.0 5 speed? I'd like to stay away from a turbo and I'm talking myself out of a diesel. I just drive about 10 miles to work each way but end up making multiple trips. I'm mechanically inclinded and have restored cars from the frame up and I have the tools and garage to do about anything but don't really want to buy a lemon. Just looking for something that will run awhile with basic maintance. Thanks
 

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5/23/10 <3
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I'd say the 2.0 is a good option for you then if you want a VW. As I said, its not fast, but its peppy enough for the car. I had no problems getting around and keeping up with traffic. I got 21-22mpg around town, 28-30 highway, but I drove a little aggressively. I also didn't have cruise control on my car (base model GL trim - no cruise, no fogs, no sunroof, no power windows) so my speed would vary on the highway. I'm sure you could see over 30 with cruise. I had 102k on my Bug before my accident and she was running strong. My goal was to see 200k with her, which is a pretty easy feat so long as you keep up with maintenance.

With that short of a commute, I'd definitely say a gasser is better for you. A diesel would barely heat up in 10 miles. Short trips aren't good for diesels.

The biggest electrical gremlin that's an issue is the microswitches in the doors. But its a very common problem and you can fix it pretty cheaply. It takes a lot more time to get into the door to the switch than to fix it. There are plenty of threads on it. I'd say just look around here. Yes, its more "xyz is wrong with my car" but that's just because that's what people post about! But its easy to find out the more common problems. Ignition coils are a weak point on the 2.0, but mine never failed on me.

But if you really just want a car that is cheap to maintain and doesn't take much maintenance, I may suggest a Honda or Toyota. VWs need you to stay up on the maintenance. 2.0's are the easiest, but still require more attention. We had a 2000 Accord while I had my '99 Beetle. I definitely put more maintenance time into my car than my husband did on the Honda.
 

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Concur with Smileybug - if you want cheap, reliable, maintenance freeu driving buy a Civic or a Corolla. I have 2 HOndas and my Daughter's 2003 1.8t NBC. I work on hers every week - constant maintenance, adjustments and troubleshooting. I have never had to even think about the Hondas - just take them in for scheduled maintenance.

However, I like tinkering with the bug - most things are 'fixable' and the forum is priceless when it comes to help. And my daughter smiles every time she gets in her bug...that's priceless too.
 

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Ive been looking at beetles for a 2nd vehicle gas saver to drive around locally I have a full size truck and the mileage kills me. I have found lots of the 2.0 engine beetles in the $2500-$3500 range with around 150,000 miles. Are these good engines? Any known problems or ones I should stay away from? I've heard some people say stay away from these cars when they tear up they are costly to fix. I live in a small town and the nearest VW dealer is 2 hours away. I've also found some TDI beetles what kind of mileage is high for these engines? Saw one with 300,000 miles that has been serviced regularly is it done or have some life left? I would really like a 5 speed I've heard to stay away from the automatics.
I love my Beetle but they are a lot higher maintanence than other cars in it's class. I agree with the others if you are looking for just cheap transportation perhaps a Corolla or a Civic may suit you better. Personally, I don't like Toyotas or Hondas. I did own a Civic and an Insight and was not impressed.
Beetle's are fun cars and get attention on the road especially if they are clean and look nice. They don't get the best gas mileage in comparison to the competition. My 1.8 does average about 24-25 mpg. Results may vary depending on the condition of the vehicle and your driving style.
If you are looking for economy then a TDI can't be beat. Those things go on forever and have less maintanence issues. You still have to get the timing belt service done on regular intervals but overall there is far less to go wrong with a diesel than a gasser. Fewer parts to wear out. I have a friend with a 2001 Jetta TDI with 397k miles on it and it gets 48 mpg average. She never had any major items fail on her. She did have the battery replaced, the timing belt service done a few times and the exhaust replaced. Tires and brakes but that is about it. Car is still going strong and looks great. I am a total fan of Diesel cars. I just wish there would be more of them on the road. In Europe Diesel is about $2.00 a Gallon cheaper than regular Gasoline plus they get tax and insurance incentives if you drive a Diesel. For them it is a No-Brainer so that's why there are tons of Diesel cars on the road compared to a handful in the US. Diesel here is close to Premium Gas which you need to run if you get a 1.8 or any Turbo Gasser. But Diesel gets you close to double the gas mileage so even if it is a few cents higher than Regular Gasoline it is well worth it in the long run.
 

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Those things go on forever and have less maintanence issues. You still have to get the timing belt service done on regular intervals but overall there is far less to go wrong with a diesel than a gasser. Fewer parts to wear out.
I disagree. They are decently complex little buggers and there is definitely plenty to fail. Maybe a tad less than a gasser, but not by much. Plus, parts that do fail, tend to be more money, like the injection pump. And you absolutely have to keep up with the maintenance. They aren't easy to keep up really. You have to devote time and money into a TDI to make it see that 300k mark and beyond. They are great little engines, don't get me wrong. I love ours. But they certainly don't have less maintenance issues. Fuel filters are done more regularly, you have an EGR that gets clogged up with grime that needs to be cleaned, etc. You don't get a TDI for a cheap/easy car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I found a 2001 jetta tdi 5 speed with 297,000 miles would you stay away from it? It's had timing belts and is due another soon. Fuel pump has been replaced. $3500 is the asking price it looks good. Dad says no but I don't know how many miles these engines are really good for.
 

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I personally wouldn't buy one with that many miles on it, especially if you don't know diesels well. They can go for 500k easy, but at that high of mileage, you have a very long history that you don't know the maintenance story on. And at that many miles, there are likely more that needs to be done, suspension work, and who knows what else just because of wear and tear. And as I've said before, it doesn't sound like you're going to do a lot of driving to get the car warmed up. That's not good for a TDI. Timing belt jobs are something that if you DIY, you have to follow the instructions to the letter. You have to buy special tools and you need VAG-COM. Not doing the job right can lead to a belt or belt system failure which will cause engine damage.

I would also want to know if the turbo and clutch are original or not, how often oil changes were done and with what oil, has the EGR ever been cleaned...

If you really are interested in a TDI, go read up a lot on TDIClub. There is some good info there on what to look for when buying one.
 

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I personally wouldn't buy one with that many miles on it, especially if you don't know diesels well. They can go for 500k easy, but at that high of mileage, you have a very long history that you don't know the maintenance story on. And at that many miles, there are likely more that needs to be done, suspension work, and who knows what else just because of wear and tear. And as I've said before, it doesn't sound like you're going to do a lot of driving to get the car warmed up. That's not good for a TDI. Timing belt jobs are something that if you DIY, you have to follow the instructions to the letter. You have to buy special tools and you need VAG-COM. Not doing the job right can lead to a belt or belt system failure which will cause engine damage.

I would also want to know if the turbo and clutch are original or not, how often oil changes were done and with what oil, has the EGR ever been cleaned...

If you really are interested in a TDI, go read up a lot on TDIClub. There is some good info there on what to look for when buying one.
Very good points made by Smileybug. The two major things that may cost a lot to fix on a TDI is the Injection pump and the turbo charger itself. At that high of a mileage those two items are suspect if they haven't been replaced already.
Also $3500 is way too much for that car especially if the timing belt service is ready to be done since if you can't do it yourself the dealer will charge you between 1300-1800 dollars to perform this service. You can probably get it done for about $750-800 at a local VW or TDI repair shop but still it's an expense you need to calculate into your total cost of buying a Beetle with high mileage.
I was lucky when I bought my beetle. It had immaculate service records and it had very few issues so far (Knock on wood). I did however perform the timing belt service, replace all the brakes, changed the brake fluid, replaced the struts and shocks, replaced the lower control arms and ball joints and the front sway bar bushings. Also the valve cover gasket and a few other little things like electrical gremlins have been fixed. A beetle is a fun car but you have to expect higher maintanence issues compared to a Honda or Toyota. If you are handy and can perform some of these tasks yourself than you can save a ton of money on labor (average labor hour these days is 100 bucks). If you don't I would think twice about what car you are going to purchase since a Beetle can break the bank fairly quickly.
Good Luck in your search.
 
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