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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
on the fence on my next project toy. thinking about a beetle, just curious if there are certain years to stay away from, or trim levels to stay away from, and what, if anything special i should be looking for when im test driving. this is a lower end budget under 4-5k, because this isnt a daily driver, but a weekend cruiser.
 

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Styling wise I like the 2000 - 2005. bang for your buck would be the turbo I guess, If you want reliable you can't go wrong with the 2.0 and five speed. Mileage wise go with the diesel. Interior is a fail with these cars - all of them have issue with the coating VW puts on their plastic 98 -10. AVOID the automatics period.
All cars are a pain, it takes a special person to own a VW though, you will spend time under the hood as maintenance is key. I told my son, I love my VW'S but you have a temper and are impatient, not sure if one is a good fit for you.



I did find a pic that suits your thread title :)
 

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Wife's 01 1.8T mechanic
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1. No automatic
2. Do you have a good tool set?
3. Are you a capable home mechanic?
4. Do you have scanning tool capability?
5. Do you like fixing issues on a vehicle frequently?

If you answered NO to any of 2-5, a New Beetle is not for you, unless you are rich and like paying someone to work on a car. A timing belt service will cost you 1/3 to 1/2 of your purchase price.

I'd pass on a 2.0. 1.8T is a decent driver, requires premium gas, though. With a manual, it will get you close to 30MPG. A TDI will get you 45-50MPG. Both engines require timing belt service at the proper interval. If your seller doesn't have an itemized receipt for the work (with the proper parts, not just the belt), add $1000 to your price (if you are paying to get it done, about $300 for the kit if you are doing it). You can do the 1.8T belt/water pump/idler/tensioner without any special tools, but the TDI needs a few special tools.

To sum up: if you're a good home mechanic (more than oil changes/brake jobs), go for it. If you can't handle trouble shooting and working on tempermental cars, consider something else.
 

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I dunno about the turbo. I was on the turbo forum here and I found one that was overheating and the guy thought it needed a head gasket,guy was asking 1800.00 obo. No one in that forum recommended buying it for more than 800.00. I thought they would hold value but was told to forget it - by the turbo guys. If you want a turbo, make sure it is in great shape bc parts are much more $ If you get into problems.
 

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Wife's 01 1.8T mechanic
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lol, of COURSE you wouldn't buy one that was overheating or needed a head gasket! We told you not to buy THAT one, not to not buy ANY turbo.
 

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I got a cheepie GL 2.0 runs like a top. 5 speed No power windows, sunroof or heated seats , stone reliable. 1350.00 I paid for it, I did the timing belt and in a week or two it goes to my daughter. It all depends what he's looking for. Weekend fun, I would go with a turbo, if he wants a cruiser with no issues, he may be better off with the 2.0. Me, Im thinking a VR in my GLS. To each his own :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks guys, im a pretty capable home mechanic, ive done some googling and already found out about staying away from automatics, ive been a miata guy as of recent, but getting rid of it and looking for more of a slammed cruiser (need the back seats with 2 small kids). never owned a VW before and always been intrigued with the beetle and finally might pull the trigger.
 

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turboturbo

I'm with turboturbo, don't recommend unless you like spending most weekends working on this car.
 

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Yes, VWs do take more care than maybe a Honda or Toyota, but they don't need fixing every week. We've had many VWs in the stable over the years. We've gone a few months recently without having to do anything to either of our dailies. And the stuff that needs doing isn't anything major. (I need a new drivers microswitch, PCV hoses and to clean out the rear sunroof drains). Hubby's TDI needs nothing right now. Its all about maintenance. If you get a car that's been maintained well and keep up with maintenance, you shouldn't be working on it all the time. My Beetle was great - I had it all through college (undergrad and grad school) and of course didn't have a garage for the 9 months I was on campus. Never was an issue and I was never working on it in the parking lot. And it was driven regularly 240 miles round trip once a month at least, and another 180 miles round trip once a month or so as well.

My NB had a 2.0 5-speed - which is a pretty rock solid combination. Not very picky on a lot of things. I had mine from 54k to 102k - 6 1/2 years. A Prius is what took it out, not anything else. Engine was still rock solid - even still started fine after the accident! My GTI has the 180hp 1.8T and 6-speed manual (which you will only find in a Beetle in a Turbo S) and it is crazy fun. I've had mine modified a bit and tuned to a Stage 2 tune and its even more fun (but it was a blast without it just stock). Its definitely a bit more needy (synth oil only, premium fuel, etc) and you have the turbo system to worry about. But I have 136k on mine and its rock solid. Clutch is holding up great, despite the extra power for the last 7k (Granted, I'm not launching it or anything, but I don't drive easy either). Got some minor leaks in the PCV system, but any 1.8T is going to have that. Hundred bucks or so for a silicon hose kit and I'll be set. Hubby has a TDI Jetta and that is a nice beater/trip car. TDIs aren't fast. You can modify them and make them faster, but it won't be a 1.8T. But they are work horses and get great fuel economy. They are probably the most needy for maintenance - right oil must be used, fuel filters changed every 20k, very tight engine tolerances so the timing belt job must be done properly or else you risk damage, etc. Great engine though.

In the end its all about what you want the car for as to what engine you want. Get a car that's been well maintained and you're on a good path for sure.
 
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