It's been a while since my last post. To update; our 03 NBC is a POS. So far it's eaten a water pump (and plastic coolant pipes in the engine bay) that caused the HG to blow. Since repair 2 years ago, it was down for nearly a year with timing issues, coolant leaks, oil leaks and blowing smoke on start. Got the timing reset by a local shop last year, and fixed the coolant leak, but the oil leak and smoke still persist; it burns/blows about a quart a week if used regualarly. Head was redone last year. After timing, car runs much better, but still smokes when cold; after warming it's ok.
Body looks like butt; scrapes, scratches and a nice dent in the rear bumper cover from a parking lot that also damaged her favorite license plate. Interior is ratty; vinyl trim on all doors fell off (nasty glue fuzz mess ensued), center console fell apart and driver's door check rod broke inside the door. Similar failure to http://newbeetle.org/forums/new-beetle-convertible/52045-driver-side-door-arrester-broken.html but the check rod itself did not fail; the arm that connects the check rod to the door skin actually fatigued and broke at the joint. I bought a new check rod from VW, but that wasn't the issue. The driver's door also has broken mounting tabs on the bottom, and flops when not closed. Basically, every piece of attaching plastic is either damaged or broken. Front door speakers gave it up, and replacement 6.5s suck. Seats heaters only work on BROIL. Broken center vent, missing plastic seat trim, and the list goes on...
This is her primary car, and I need to get it running and looking right again. For some unkown reason, she is emmotionally attached to it, and I can't just sell/trade/torch it, so I'm setting off to refurbish, starting with a new Ebay find center console. Next up is getting the engine squarred away, along with a new cat and O2 sensors.
It's not all bad, though; all but one window regulator replaced so far, and knock on wood for the 4th. Rear window still glued in. All power features still work. Top still works. SRS light was reset for free when the timing was set. Seats look factory new. Stops, steers and brakes like new. And, best of all, we picked the BDC 5speed combo, so repairs should be much easier.