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So I am a lover of the VW cars but I am worried about reliability. Is there a non-VW engine that can be dropped into a new beetle?
 

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Probably MIA
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VW engines are generally rock solid when properly maintained. Use the right oil and change the timing belt (and all associated parts) on time and you won't have any issues.

There is no simple swap that would be worthwhile, but anything is possible with the right amount of time, skill, expense and effort. But it would be far cheaper and easier to just take care of the stock engine.

My opinion is to go with a TDI. No coil packs or other things to go wrong like those silly sparky cars. :p They get great mileage and run forever when taken care of. There are several guys I know who have between 300k and 500k miles. The engine can easily outlast the rest of the car.

VW's in general are very reliable cars. They just get a bad rap because the dealer service is horrible and many other independent shops just don't know what to do with them because there aren't as many on the road compared to your Fords, GM's, Hondas and Toyotas. But there are many good VW shops out there, and if you are able and willing these cars are fairly easy to work on. Plus, the community is strong and there are a lot of excellent resources available for DIY'ers.

Sent from my DROID2
 

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if you take care of them they last a long time, what you don't hear about when they do go is that those 1.8t or whichever you like are being driven by 17yo kids who don't know how to keep the rpm's under 4k and have no clue what an oil change is. I have a 98 2.0 golf with 250+k on it, and a 00 new beetle tdi with over 200k on it, and both are still going strong so exactly what about those numbers make vw's unreliable?
 

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if you take care of them they last a long time, what you don't hear about when they do go is that those 1.8t or whichever you like are being driven by 17yo kids who don't know how to keep the rpm's under 4k and have no clue what an oil change is. I have a 98 2.0 golf with 250+k on it, and a 00 new beetle tdi with over 200k on it, and both are still going strong so exactly what about those numbers make vw's unreliable?
I have 160+k miles on my 1.8T and it is the most fun car to drive. It's peppy and puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. :D
 

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I know somebody that has a 350 LT1 in his bug. Pumps a cool 330hp.
Yeah, right! :rolleyes: There is no way an LT1 will fit that tight engine bay and even if it did what type of tranny is it hooked into? The engine isn't the only problem the rest of the drivetrain would be a whole different story. Weight distribution, struts, suspension issues, power transfer, differential, etc, etc.

If this person actually did this the cost would have been pretty astronomical.
 

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I agree with DZLBUG, it would work out a lot more cost effective taking care of the stock lump rather than try to fit another. In this day and age most new engines are only as reliable as the owner with the exception of the Renault Clio.

Seems to me that the only real issue is with the older auto box developing problems the owners can not foresee or do anything about. Apart from the modern day plastic issues, the Beetle is almost bullet proof but not idiot proof :)
 

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VW engines are generally rock solid when properly maintained. Use the right oil and change the timing belt (and all associated parts) on time and you won't have any issues.

There is no simple swap that would be worthwhile, but anything is possible with the right amount of time, skill, expense and effort. But it would be far cheaper and easier to just take care of the stock engine.

My opinion is to go with a TDI. No coil packs or other things to go wrong like those silly sparky cars. :p They get great mileage and run forever when taken care of. There are several guys I know who have between 300k and 500k miles. The engine can easily outlast the rest of the car.

VW's in general are very reliable cars. They just get a bad rap because the dealer service is horrible and many other independent shops just don't know what to do with them because there aren't as many on the road compared to your Fords, GM's, Hondas and Toyotas. But there are many good VW shops out there, and if you are able and willing these cars are fairly easy to work on. Plus, the community is strong and there are a lot of excellent resources available for DIY'ers.

Sent from my DROID2


I totally disagree with the VW part. VW engines are craps and even if under good maintenance they burn oil after 300k miles while others don't. And the worst thing is you don't know when it will fail because the electrical parts fail at any time! I've heard a lot of people stranded on road because of bad engine speed sensor. It's not only about oil and timing belt change. Also timing belt change interval is not for sure either. I can change timing belt on a Honda at 120k miles no matter how many years on it but I can't do this on VWs.

VWs are NOT RELIABLE AT ALL!!! Remember that!! It's not only the dealer service horrible but also their car designs are horrible. Compared with Toyota and Honda, a Toyota run 150k miles just needs regular maintenance but what about VWs? Lots of people who has experience with VW cars will tell you that running a VW over 100k miles is a nightmare or money sucker. Sometimes their car appears some wierd problem that the dealer spend $2000 but can't figure out what's going wrong. And VW engineers are not thinking about how to improve their vehicles instead they are thinking about how to prevent customers from servicing their cars by themselves and ask their customers to take their cars to dealers.

You are right on TDI part. Although I like diesel I have to say diesel cars are more loud and switching to diesel require lots of work including gas tank.

Swapping is not easy. However I would try after I buy a house and have a garage.
 

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Although I haven't done this, I'm thinking about giving it a try some years later:p maybe not on NBs but I want to make a Knight Rider Replica(82-89 firebird trans am) with a Hybrid! But before that I have some ideas(just guessing...)

First of all swapping with non-vw engines is not impossible but several facts you need to notice.
1. What transmission are you going to use? I would suggest you swapping both engine and transmission because they are mounted to the engine differently. Then you have to calculate the final gear ratio which requires you to have some engineering knowledge. I'm a MS in engineering and going to get a PHD this is not a big deal to me but I know it's not easy to most people.
2. Engine mount and transmission mount can be made but they are different. I know that Toyota and Nissan has similar designs on small engines to VW that they use 4 mounts(including trans mount) too at similar positions. Honda is completely different that their engines are mounted on left and rotates counter-clockwise. Ford and GM tend to use 3 mounts instead of 4.
3. Then comes to control side. gas pressure is the first concern. You either change fuel pump or use another regulator to regulate the pressure down. I know that Toyota use a low pressure of like 20psi.
4. Another problem is the power steering. I'm sure the VW PS pump can't be mounted on other engines but other PS pumps are not compatible with VW PS fluid, while the VW Steering Rack can only be used with VW PS fluid...Also the pressure from PS pump are different too.
5. You have to redesign the exhaust.
6. Driveaxle is another concern if you decide to swap transmission together with engine.
7. Here comes to the last part but the most difficult. The NB engine compartment is strictly limited so you have to pick up an engine that fits this small space. A 1ZZ-FE 1.8L engine from Toyota might be good. It has 125-130HP compared with the stock 2.0L AEG 115HP or 1.8T APH 150HP. It won't be a power increase but at least it can provide you better gas mileage and save you a lot of time on repairs. However a Toyota 5S-FE 2.2L engine might not fit in this car. The idea is like this: For 4cyl engines under 2.0L, balance shaft is not required which makes the engine very small. But over 2.0L balance shaft will be required and makes the engine big.

After all I have to say it's not worth doing that. If you wanna do it you may try swapping it with a 2.5L+DSG or 2.5L+6sp tiptronic.
 

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I totally disagree with the VW part. VW engines are craps and even if under good maintenance they burn oil after 300k miles while others don't. And the worst thing is you don't know when it will fail because the electrical parts fail at any time! I've heard a lot of people stranded on road because of bad engine speed sensor. It's not only about oil and timing belt change. Also timing belt change interval is not for sure either. I can change timing belt on a Honda at 120k miles no matter how many years on it but I can't do this on VWs.

VWs are NOT RELIABLE AT ALL!!! Remember that!! It's not only the dealer service horrible but also their car designs are horrible. Compared with Toyota and Honda, a Toyota run 150k miles just needs regular maintenance but what about VWs? Lots of people who has experience with VW cars will tell you that running a VW over 100k miles is a nightmare or money sucker. Sometimes their car appears some wierd problem that the dealer spend $2000 but can't figure out what's going wrong. And VW engineers are not thinking about how to improve their vehicles instead they are thinking about how to prevent customers from servicing their cars by themselves and ask their customers to take their cars to dealers.

You are right on TDI part. Although I like diesel I have to say diesel cars are more loud and switching to diesel require lots of work including gas tank.

Swapping is not easy. However I would try after I buy a house and have a garage.
First: There have been a lot of threads about high mileage VWs. I almost got my 98 TDI Beetle to 280k but ran it into a wall. I walked away from the accident. I'm using the transmission from that car in my 2003 TDI with 140k miles. My coworker has a 98 Jetta TDI with 240k miles, third owner. The second owner had the car from 10k to 165k miles, and never changed the 60,000 mile timing belt. The turbo had failed on it, causing it to drop to 38mpg. When it finally got to a poor 33mpg she got the turbo replaced and the timing belt replaced, a week later the power window failed and she sold it to my coworker. He's replaced a starter, an alternator, it's been totaled (airbags deployed), rebuilt, and still drives. He gets 48-55mpg in it consistently. That's the DIESEL story, there are many 98 Beetles with 250-300k miles on AEG engine. My first watercooled VW was a 2002 that I put 100k on it two years, at 60k miles I had a coolant temp sensor fail, $63 to replace. Very low maintenance.

Second: I have a friend with a Camry that he bought BRAND NEW. It's been in for $1500 in electrical issues in the 80,000 miles he's had it. The power window controls on the driver door don't work, the dash lights don't work most of the time, and the brake light on the driver side decides on a daily basis if it wishes to work. His ONE vehicle has had far more issues than any of the watercooled VWs I've owned. The 00-03 Honda Automatics are also just as failure prone (if not more) than Volkswagens 4-speed auto sold from 98-04. And while we're at it, mom's 130k Focus has had more issues than my last 5 VWs combined.

VW is one of the few companies that has a non-Dealer scantool available. Toyota doesn't, Honda does however, BMW does not, and I know Chrysler doesn't because we tried to find one for our Diesel Jeep Liberty at one time. In fact I'd say Chrysler products are more annoying to work with than VW products. But that's my experience. If you are smart enough to change the belt on a Honda, you're smart enough to buy a copy of VAGCOM and diagnose a german car and follow the $80 shop manual to properly fix it. For that matter, having never done an engine belt in my life, I did a VW 2.0's belt for the first time in a day. So, I do beg to differ the "you have to go to the dealer," outside the suggested fluids and a diesel-specific filter (which I can get at CarQuest/WorldPac) there is very little you cannot acquire for the car from any old parts store. Oil? Not a problem. Oil Filter, Air Filter, Starter, Alternator? Not a problem.

So what exactly makes them so unreliable? There's also the size difference, a 2000 Honda Accord vs a 2000 Jetta... no contest. The Jetta is far better in every way - the Honda doesn't even come with a backlight clock.

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox.

Inherent with any mechanical device
some moreso than others
eventually it all fails
 

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I want to make a Knight Rider Replica.

I'm a MS in engineering and going to get a PHD this is not a big deal to me but I know it's not easy to most people.
Really?????????? Do theses two things even go together.
 

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First: There have been a lot of threads about high mileage VWs. I almost got my 98 TDI Beetle to 280k but ran it into a wall. I walked away from the accident. I'm using the transmission from that car in my 2003 TDI with 140k miles. My coworker has a 98 Jetta TDI with 240k miles, third owner. The second owner had the car from 10k to 165k miles, and never changed the 60,000 mile timing belt. The turbo had failed on it, causing it to drop to 38mpg. When it finally got to a poor 33mpg she got the turbo replaced and the timing belt replaced, a week later the power window failed and she sold it to my coworker. He's replaced a starter, an alternator, it's been totaled (airbags deployed), rebuilt, and still drives. He gets 48-55mpg in it consistently. That's the DIESEL story, there are many 98 Beetles with 250-300k miles on AEG engine. My first watercooled VW was a 2002 that I put 100k on it two years, at 60k miles I had a coolant temp sensor fail, $63 to replace. Very low maintenance.

Second: I have a friend with a Camry that he bought BRAND NEW. It's been in for $1500 in electrical issues in the 80,000 miles he's had it. The power window controls on the driver door don't work, the dash lights don't work most of the time, and the brake light on the driver side decides on a daily basis if it wishes to work. His ONE vehicle has had far more issues than any of the watercooled VWs I've owned. The 00-03 Honda Automatics are also just as failure prone (if not more) than Volkswagens 4-speed auto sold from 98-04. And while we're at it, mom's 130k Focus has had more issues than my last 5 VWs combined.

VW is one of the few companies that has a non-Dealer scantool available. Toyota doesn't, Honda does however, BMW does not, and I know Chrysler doesn't because we tried to find one for our Diesel Jeep Liberty at one time. In fact I'd say Chrysler products are more annoying to work with than VW products. But that's my experience. If you are smart enough to change the belt on a Honda, you're smart enough to buy a copy of VAGCOM and diagnose a german car and follow the $80 shop manual to properly fix it. For that matter, having never done an engine belt in my life, I did a VW 2.0's belt for the first time in a day. So, I do beg to differ the "you have to go to the dealer," outside the suggested fluids and a diesel-specific filter (which I can get at CarQuest/WorldPac) there is very little you cannot acquire for the car from any old parts store. Oil? Not a problem. Oil Filter, Air Filter, Starter, Alternator? Not a problem.

So what exactly makes them so unreliable? There's also the size difference, a 2000 Honda Accord vs a 2000 Jetta... no contest. The Jetta is far better in every way - the Honda doesn't even come with a backlight clock.

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox.

Inherent with any mechanical device
some moreso than others
eventually it all fails

High mileage story doesn't indicate the design is good. Every car can go to 500k miles with best maintenance. Also 300k is not that high my friend's uncle living in CA had a Honda Odyssey with 470k miles in last summer just with normal maintenance. Don't compare diesel and gasoline they are not comparable. I like diesel cars but I'm now comparing gasoline cars between VW and others. About diesel cars VW, BMW and MB are doing far better than others but on gasoline cars I can only say VW is a mess. What does your "Very Low maintenance" mean? Changed a coolant temp sensor can be considered "VERY LOW MAINTENANCE"? I have a lot of friends driving Toyota and Honda they ONLY DO REPLACE ENGINE OIL, BRAKES and BATTERY the car can serve them for 100-150k miles they don't have to change any of these dumb sensors something.

I don't know why your friend has so many issues with the camry but there are possibilities. Every car has good pieces and bad pieces maybe he has bad luck got the bad piece. Also I've seen some people driving like a beast they certainly can't have a good car. I'm talking about average. People with Toyota and Honda suffer from car problems far less than people with VWs this is the fact. If you pickup 1000 Toyota and Honda owners probably 500 of them will tell you their cars are great no problem but if you pick up 1000 vw owners probably 500 of them will tell you they won't buy vw again. This is the fact.

Scan tool? You must be kidding. I can almost service a Toyota or a Honda without any scan tool or just with a $15 OBD2 reader but can you service a VW with this $15 OBD2 reader? Of course not! Even if for Ford and GM I can do with the $15 OBD2 too. The problem is VW CARS CANNOT BE SERVICED WITHOUT SCAN TOOL BUT OTHERS CAN!!

So, don't show me off your knowledge. I had a 2002 Honda Accord EX and it has a backlight clock and it works great.
 

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BTW, The high mileage I'm talking about is WITHOUT ANY ENGINE REBUILD OR REPLACING HEAD GASKET. Don't tell me any story like you worked out the head and replaced the head gasket or you did engine rebuild once or twice. If any of these work is done, you have to restart the mileage counter even if it still appears on your instrument cluster.
 

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And, you're talking about the Honda 00-03 transmission I want to say something. Yes Honda had bad transmissions between the years 00-03 which is due to they are actually designed by GM. Disregard this, I had a '02 Honda Accord EX with 4cyl and the BAXA transmission. I got this car at 150k miles while the trans was slipping very bad but still drivable. The previous owner was a restaurant owner and the first owner of this Accord and he used all the 150k miles on local delivery and he NEVER changed the trans fluid. When I got the car the trans was still drivable and works great on highway. I rebuilt the transmission by myself and it was very easy just do all cleaning thoroughly, replaced clutches and gaskets with a banner kit and it was like new again! I drove the car from 150k to 165k then sold it. I'm wondering if any VW transmission can do like this: from 0 to 150k miles do local delivery, no fluid/filter change, then rebuild with only cleaning and clutch replacement.
 
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