VW Beetle Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all- I don't currently have a project Beetle, but I often see Beetles (cheap) with blown head gaskets. I'm a pretty accomplished DIY shadetree mechanic, often think about a winter project Beetle.

I was wondering if a headgasket job (1.8, 2.0) is usually a matter of stripping off enough that you can get to the block, cleaning off all traces of gasket and debris from block and head, maybe a bit of careful block sanding, applying the new gasket, (correct torque and sequence of course) and putting everything back, or does it usually involve stripping the head, machining, new valves etc?

Just wondering, seems like $4 or 500 bucks could buy a pretty nice Beetle...with a bad headgasket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hello all- I don't currently have a project Beetle, but I often see Beetles (cheap) with blown head gaskets. I'm a pretty accomplished DIY shadetree mechanic, often think about a winter project Beetle.

I was wondering if a headgasket job (1.8, 2.0) is usually a matter of stripping off enough that you can get to the block, cleaning off all traces of gasket and debris from block and head, maybe a bit of careful block sanding, applying the new gasket, (correct torque and sequence of course) and putting everything back, or does it usually involve stripping the head, machining, new valves etc?

Just wondering, seems like $4 or 500 bucks could buy a pretty nice Beetle...with a bad headgasket.
I just did this, I am in @ $600 for the engine work, including a reman head. 2.0L AEG engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
Timing belt, timing chains and tranmission failures; are what are taking many new beetles off the road, these days (many going straight to the junkyard). As with anything; you need to "count the cost" and see if it is a cost effective repair, to end up with a car you actually want to own.

The 2.0L is cheaper to repair; than a 1.8T (heads cost more), 2.5L (timing chain; requires trans removal). or 1.9L TDI. As for transmission choices; the autos will fail, need repairs but the standard 5/6 speeds are more reliable/durable. If you can drive with a stick; get a manual transmission car, it will be more reliable in the long run.

Here are some threads; discussing the process and cost of repairs:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/1-8-liter-turbo/35490-bad-timing-belt-need-head-rework.html

On the older cars; it maybe cheaper and less hassle, to get a good condition and running car, as the prices have drastically come down from new. Keep in mind; as most cars are over 100k, many other things will likely need attention and replacement (front end refresh, new clutches, brakes, auto trans valve bodies, turbochargers, interior repairs, etc. etc). Things typically; are more worn and need "shaken out", to see everything that needs repaired, then first thought.

We all love these cars but buying a 15+ year old car with over 100k+ miles; takes time, money and effort, to get them to a reliable daily driver condition. You have been warned! :) After you get one; we are here to support you and help, in any way we can!

Welcome, to the world of New Beetle and the work it takes, to keep them on the road! One the plug side; once they are fixed up, they are fun cars to drive! :flipper:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
head gasket

Well we already have an 03 NB 1.8T, with the 5 speed. It's got high miles, but runs well, generally everything works (except the passenger side window, but that's another story). Been quite reliable really.

I was just wondering if sometime in the future I were to buy something that needed a headgasket, is it generally assumed that it's gonna need cylinder head work and engine work, or is replacing a headgasket just...well, replacing the headgasket?

I've always assumed a bad headgasket means warped cylinder head. Every time. Is that true? Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
Well, most stories here; have been positive, people have had the head thoroughly checked out by a machine shop: (rebuilt, pressure tested/checked for cracks, checked for straightness, machined if necessary), got a good used one or purchased a rebuilt advanced exchange head.

Ultimately, you don't know; what the damage is, until the head is removed. A borescope inspection; could help see if there is anything worse like actual broken off valves in the cylinders. Most of what we have seen around here; is valves making contact with the pistons, some will sand the marks a bit and install a good or rebuilt head with positive results. All this assumes; you do everything correctly, replace the correct parts and the rest of the engine is ok.

Here is a example; where the borescope inspection, showed damage and a valve broke off, causing more damage.

VWVortex.com - 2000 1.8 Engine Issue

Of course, there are the rest of the engine's health to consider; any sludge, is the oil pickup tube clogged, compression, oil pressure, chain tensioner is good, bottom end bearing wear, etc. etc.

There are just so many unknowns; until you inspect and tear things down, do some testing.... you just don't know! Having said that; timing belt failures are pretty common and we have had many members successfully repair their cars with this issue. Each VW engine; has it's own unique problems, so that is something to consider and decide what engine you decide to work with. In general, VW engines seem to be durable if maintained correctly; when ignored, catastrophic failures are primarily timing belt/chain failures and oil lubrication issues (sludge).

I still say, you need to think long and hard; about cost effectiveness, of your planned project. Research cars for sale in your area; you might just be able to find a New Beetle, properly maintained in great condition, for a great price and spend similar or just a little more money than a bunch of major repairs will cost you in the long run. Just consider, after all the repairs and labor you put into the car; what condition of a car you end up with. It doesn't take very long; to spend more in repairs/parts, than a older New Beetle is worth. Most of the time; it isn't making strict financial sense but many of us, are keeping up with repairs, because we love our cars. For major repairs; that possibly outstrip the value of the car; you just have to weigh the cost and decide what you are willing to spend on a older car, to keep it on the road.

For me; if I was going spend money on repairs of a broken New Beetle.. look for something unique, like a Turbo S! :D These are fun to drive and the six speed; is great on the highway. (This coming; form a totally biased Turbo S owner).... :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
head gasket

Billy- yeah, I guess the repair could be easy (cheap) or really expensive. It's quite a gamble I suppose...Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
I don't mean to be a kill joy; just want to discuss what might be the best bang, for your buck and the best car to buy, that will last the longest into the future! Let us know; what kind of deals you find in area and what kind of car you are looking for. Many New Beetles; are coming up for sale, even on this site and places like Craigslist. The deals are out there; you just need to decide, which specifics you want in a New Beetle and how much you want to spend. Good luck and let us know; how things work out and what things you are looking for. :)
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top