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#4639863 - 01/19/18 11:57 AM Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper
HawkeyeScott Offline


Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 787
Loc: El Oeste
I'm probably going to look at an early 2000s 2.0 Jetta this weekend as a possible cheap commuter car. It's advertised as a "mechanics special" because it's had some issues. After paying for some ignition work that didn't fix the issues, the seller says a mechanic has now told them it's an oil pump issue. The people selling it appear to have little or no mechanical know-how or interest in investing anything in it. I've done research and it looks relatively cheap and easy to replace (under $100), IF that's what's actually wrong.

I'd only pay a little money if I were to pull the trigger on this, just because of the potential risk. My worst-case is that the engine has been starved for oil because of a failed pump.

Is there anything I should look for while checking the car out that would give me an idea of 1) if this really is a failed oil pump; and 2) if so, what kind of damage may have been done?

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#4639867 - 01/19/18 12:00 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4894
Loc: Houston, Texas
It's usually not an oil pump that's worn, but the tolerances in the engine are worn to a point where the pressure is low.
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#4639873 - 01/19/18 12:07 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12740
Loc: NE,Ohio
If they are saying oil pump be prepared for needing new engine.

if it just needed a 100$ oil pump they would fix it.
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2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2.0T

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#4639878 - 01/19/18 12:11 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
jeepman3071 Offline


Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 4316
Loc: Storrs, Connecticut
Stay away from these, especially since the previous owners sound like maintenance is not their thing. These were some of the worst cars VW ever made. My sister owned a 2001 2.0 auto Jetta and it was trash by 100k miles. VW makes some good cars but the MK4 Jetta was not one of them.
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#4639880 - 01/19/18 12:12 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
ruhroh Offline


Registered: 12/11/16
Posts: 112
Loc: NC
Always expect the worst. And when it comes to 00s VWs, also expect to add in a lot of cursing and anger to replace anything.

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#4639887 - 01/19/18 12:17 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10312
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I hope he's paying you to come pick it up, and not the other way around.
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#4639900 - 01/19/18 12:27 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
JustN89 Offline


Registered: 06/27/17
Posts: 499
Loc: DFW
I'm with the general consensus here, if it was an easy fix, the mechanic would've told them so when he looked it over. Instead, he probably gave them a list of possible causes, they decided that they didn't want to deal with it/spend money on it, and they listed the cheapest and easiest fix as the recommended fix in their Craigslist ad. I'd keep looking.

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#4639902 - 01/19/18 12:30 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: ruhroh]
Gimpy1 Offline


Registered: 08/24/17
Posts: 118
Loc: Displaced Texan in Mexico City
Originally Posted By: ruhroh
Always expect the worst. And when it comes to 00s VWs, also expect to add in a lot of cursing and anger to replace anything.


This VW has also had a TON of issues with their automatic transmissions. If you do buy the car get an xtool VAG 401 scanner or something similar that reads VW codes, ordinary scanners don't do squat and you will be doing alot of work on the car. VW is a PITA when it comes to fixing them, my wife's 2008 new beetle has been just that, countless issues, [censored] VW has redesigned the brake light switch three time and still hasn't gotten it right. Want a reliable daily commuter buy a honda or toyota. VW suxs, I've had to do more on a 08 new beetle than on my 05 GTO. Also watch out if the car has an Aftermarket radio, improper installation will cause the OBD2 port to fry scanners, that's why most shops don't touch VW with A/M stereos, just Google K-ine issue and you'll see

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#4639930 - 01/19/18 01:07 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
rooflessVW Offline


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4340
Loc: North Carolina
What is the actual problem with the car?

Pretty clear to me that their "mechanic" has just been guessing. If the car is mint cosmetically and a 5 speed, buy it - only a few hundred bucks though. I'd cap at $500 without seeing it.

There's little risk. A used 2.0 costs pennies.
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#4639934 - 01/19/18 01:10 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
rooflessVW Offline


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4340
Loc: North Carolina
And FWIW, there are a couple TSBs that solve most of the "horrible issues." But dealers don't know what they're doing, right?
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#4640078 - 01/19/18 03:00 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
Chris B. Offline


Registered: 03/16/03
Posts: 3489
Loc: Colorado
Save yourself a lot of trouble and skip the VW. Nothing but junk! Get a used Honda or Toyota, they are much better built and much more trouble free overall.

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#4640243 - 01/19/18 05:04 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: rooflessVW]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32775
Loc: ME
Originally Posted By: rooflessVW
What is the actual problem with the car?

Pretty clear to me that their "mechanic" has just been guessing. If the car is mint cosmetically and a 5 speed, buy it - only a few hundred bucks though. I'd cap at $500 without seeing it.

There's little risk. A used 2.0 costs pennies.


If it were a 5 speed though an "enthusiast" could have formerly owned it and screwed it up six ways to sunday vs "Buffy" who bought the automatic b/c she thought it was "cute".

I'm with the others, though, skip this one.

If you already have a same-body style VW and know the foibles, maybe. If you want a project, get a shoddy copy of whatever you're driving now.

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#4640248 - 01/19/18 05:08 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
dlundblad Offline


Registered: 09/30/13
Posts: 10205
Loc: Indiana
I would buy it assuming the price is right.

I'm a gearhead and like projects I guess. hide
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#4640320 - 01/19/18 06:19 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: dlundblad]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 896
Loc: Toronna
I'll bet 90% of people bashing VWs in this thread have never owned one. The Mk4 2.0 is one of the hardiest and cheap cars currently available. Even here in Toronto, I see TONS of pre 2003 MK4 2.0s still on the road because their only weakness is the auto trans, rear beam bushings (pre 2003) and the inner fender rust.

Most noobs will fear VWs of that era because of the 1.8T which is why you can pick up 2.0s cheap. 2.0s are a simple SOHC 8v design dating back to the 80s. I am biased because my first car was a 2000 golf 2.0 5spd but they are excellent cars and very fuel efficent.

I currently have a 2003 Jetta 1.8T that went 200000km on original auto trans fluid, suck on that VW haters!
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03 Jetta AWP/09A 200k kms
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#4640350 - 01/19/18 06:46 PM Re: Tips for kicking tires on a fixer-upper [Re: HawkeyeScott]
c502cid Offline


Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1009
Loc: Elizabeth. Colorado
Not sure I'd buy anything on Craigslist that has "easy and cheap fix" in the ad lol.

I get tired of the "buy a used Honda or Toyota" bull sheet that flies on websites like this. They have a ton of issues too, they aren't all easy and cheap to fix either. I know and have owned enough of them. Working on 2 Civics now and about over it. Hopefully they stay together since they are going to be my kids rides.
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