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So after putting it off for as long as I could decided it was time to do the head gasket due to overheating and misfires. Was also hearing a rubbing noise before teardown sounded like from head area. So after pulling the valve cover I found my noise. How necessary is it to replace it or can I get by without it. I know part is only bout 60 to 70 bucks but that would pay for the beer on this job lol. Looks also like engine had been severely overheated in the past. I've only put about 300 miles on since buying it and have already had to do a ton of work on her.
 

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I'm sure you could run it without it there but vw put it there for a reason, just replace it. Since its melted, i would definitely have the head checked out or just exchanged for a rebuilt one.

Looking online, there seems to be less expensive aftermarket version, from febi, jp group, etc and used genuine vw versions on ebay for about $25,

What part number is the oil deflector?
 
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