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103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well the time draws near when I can get a VW. It's about that time. My current care is giving us more of a hassel than its worth and is trying to drain us of more money. So... my parents are about ready to say good bye to it, but getting the car I want and selling my current is all my responsibility. So I want your help gathering information with me, plase. I plan to type this up in a paper for my dad, he likes facts, and he'll be the one to ok this. So here is the information I have or am trying to get.

-Car that I currently want: MK2 Jetta or Golf/GTI
-Transmission: 5 speed
-Why I want a 5 speed : (I need good reasons here)
-Probable repair cost : (how much does it cost to repair a Mk2 VW since they're Euro Cars)
-Why I want the 16V 2.0L Engine : (I have a Eurotuner with this in it, but I might need more reasons)
-Possible cost of car: $1500-3500(or correct me please)
-Sorces of VW facts(I have many sites, but list some if you will)

And any other information you might think would be helpful. Thank you much guys. I'm getting to work on this ASAP.... while reading my new and first EuroTuner ever 8 ).

[ March 01, 2004: Message edited by: OneManLan ]

8,124 Posts
First off i'd go for a 90-92.
Price: Spend more now and save yourself, 3000-4000$ for a car in solid condition.

You need a 5spd, because, well everyone should know how to drive one, and why the hell not? They are better in the snow, and keep your aettion more on driving instead of getting distracted.
Expect to replace the starter/alt/clutch sometime, they always need replaced eventually when buying a used car. Try to find a car with a printed history, best if you can buy a car from a fellow dubber, soemoen who knows the car and loves it.
Repair cost isn't to high, if you can do some of the work yourself (or are willing to take on trying to do some of the work yourself) the parts are not to expensive.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>All watercooled VW's prior to 1986 were some variation of an 8v, none were larger than 1.8 liters. The Scirocco 16v was the first to recieve the 16v in 1986.5 (partway through '86 model year), followed by the GTI and GLI.

'85-'87 GTI/GLI

Prior to the 16v the GTI and GLI's were equipped with a high compression 8v engine which put out around 100-105+hp. These engines used CIS-e (KE jetronic) which had a knock sensor and control box to manage "pinging." All were 1.8L

'85-'88 base/CL/GL

The non GTI/GLI engines were low compression which usually put out around 90 HP. These engines were managed by CIS (with o2 sensor aka Lambada) All were 1.8L, some early "GX" engines had smaller valved heads and put out 85hp.

88-92 8v

Any engine that isn't a 16v that came stock was a 1.8 liter 8v. These put out 100 hp, unless the engine has a dual downpipe and exhaust manifold. These engines put out 105hp and more torque, they usually came on Jetta Carats or 90-92 8v GTI's. Engine management was controlled by Digifant II, this was VW's first "electronic" fuel injection. Some people refer to this as "digifart or digif*#^", it isn't a bad fuel injection, but it can be no fun to work on if you don't know it.

87-89 16v

GTI's and GLI's had these, they put out 123 hp. Controlled by CIS-E

90-92 16v

90-92 GLI and 91-92 GTI 16v's (not all GTI's were 16v from 90-92). These put out 134 HP and engine management was accomplished by CIS-e/Motronic. This was VW's first chippable (or easily chippable, digifant II can be chipped) FI.


What to look for when buying an MK2

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR> 1) Look for RUST. that includes bubbled paint. replaceable panels okay, unit-body bad.
- a) cowl (around front windshield)
- b) B/C pillars (around side windows on body)
- c) strut towers (rear and front. Open trunk/hatch, open hood.
- d) wheel wells (towards the back, where the tires will throw water)
2) walk around the car.
- a) kick the wheels at the top, front and back. any movement?
- b) are the tires nice and evenly worn down? believe it or not, bald tires are your friend, as that means the suspension/alignment are good enough to wear em out. Watch out for any uneven wear patterns, or brand new tires when everything else looks neglected.
- c) look at the door, hatch and hood seams. Are all the body panels lined up, or have they been pulled off and rehung (out of perfect factory square)?
- d) is the paint basically all the same color? Generally one side will have faded slightly more than others, so a gradual fade pattern is okay, but keep an eye out for individually resprayed panels, or other signs of accident repair, particularly if the owner claims it's never been in an accident.
3) Look under the hood.
- a) any big oil drips?
- b) if not, does it look steam cleaned? i.e. is it TOO clean, like someone's covering up a leak? ideally you want to see signs of maintenance having been done.
- c) open the coolant reservoir. nice and green/red/amber? any metallic stuff?
- d) pull the dipstick. Oil topped up? either clear-amber or black? any milkiness? Feel it. nice and slippery, or at all gritty?
- e) open the oil filler cap, same question.
- f) grab the clutch cable. slight slack? grab the lever it's attached to. come up to level, then get firm?
- g) how do the battery cables look? any corrosion?
- h) any signs of repaired cables, hoses, etc?
4) Head inside.
- a) sunroof? any hints of water inside?
- b) headliner? It's often falling off. Realize that if it's falling off at all, it's going to finish falling off. you'll nee to remove it and scrape all the foam off before you can spray new adhesive to reattach.
- c) clutch pedal. can you feel the engagement point? does it move straight in and out or wobble side to side a bit? how's the brake pedal feel?
- d) shifter. is the pattern clean or are you making spaghetti? (cheap quick fix, but good bargaining point). Stick it in 3rd, any side to side movement? any back and forth slop?
- e) shifter again. Is reverse lockout working or can you shove it straight over? (cheap not quite as quick fix, better bargaining point.)

Drive test:
1) insert key. wiggle. loose or snug?
2) turn to run position: did you hear the fuel pump run and then shutoff?
3) try to start the car. should fire right up. Any clouds out the tailpipe at start? Any slightly sweet smells? Fuel smell?
4) let the car idle a bit. nice and stable? right around 1000rpm? oil and alternator lights go out pretty fast? (the rest should have gone out as soon as you started it).
5) blip throttle to 3000rpm and let it drop. Any puff of smoke out the back?
6) start driving. go into first okay? did it grind when you went for second gear? Make sure to go through all gears. was 5th harder to get into/wanting to pop out/making horrible noises? Any whining noises up front while moving? Any clicking noises when you crank the wheel all the way left/right?
7) temp gauge moving up yet? Does it get off the bottom/cold engine section?
8) is the heater working? If it has A/C, do you get cold blast of air?
9) take it up to speed. Listen for changes in sounds. Also, as you get up to higher speeds, any shake/shimmy/rattling coming from either front or back end?
10)brake. hard. Any shimmy/shake? Any clunking noise?
11) end drive. leave engine running and pop the hood again. Coolant hoses firm, but not bulging at the ends? Any funny noises/smells? Is the idle still at normal speed?


Vortex MK2 FAQ's

210 Posts
repairing an mk2 is actually pretty cheap cus all the cars (well almost all depending on you fuel injection and engine type) have interchangeable parts. Almost all the engine parts are interchangeable being golf, gti, jetta as long as it's the same engine (1.8, 1.8 16v etc, and the injection setup CIS Digifant). A lot of the interior is interchangeable as well and the fact that a lot of the parts are the same makes the parts cheaper because more people buy them and are pretty easy to get.

Def check to see if there are any leaks. do as 98a4 said and let it warm up, drive it and then let it sit running after for a few. make sure the fan works (should have 2 speeds, will be on slow to cool a little, then when it's sitting idle for a while the high speed should kick on. also make sure that if you do let the car heat up then turn it off the fan will usually kick on to cool the engine. make sure you don't have coolant leaking at hose connections. little note- all mk2 had a little oil leak from the valve cover, and when i say little i mean little. you usually will only see a trace of where the oil ran and you shouldn't see a lot of wetness. if you do chances are valve cover might need to be replaced (not very hard to replace, pretty cheap as well). buying an Mk2, you will def be lookin to fix a few things just becuase it older, usually nothing major. Def check the clutch and shifting into gear ( alot of times the syncros go and you get grinding into 2nd, and don't let the guy say it just needs adjusting. Usually not the case)see how easily it goes into 1st, if it's kinda hard some redline mt-90 tranny fluid will be a good fix for tranny stuff like that ( def makes the tranny smoother but won't fix the real grinding problems just a lot better lube). also look under the rear mats at the carpet. If they look a little discolored then chances are there was water getting in. (usually from the plastic behind the door panels from factory being shot and needing to put new plastic on (also easy as it's 4 screws (i think) and a couple of clip like tabs to take of the panel). Also look at the undercarriage for rust, and also look at the bottom of the doors (the actually door not the jam), this ia a common place for rust. Also check the trunk for water damagem lift the carpet where the spare is (if there is water the seal for trunk or hatch isn't sitting right and not sealing chances are been that way for a while (this could be a big deterant considering water does a lot of damage)the trunk is also a good place to check the original color for respray or discoloring. More often than not when a car is resprayed they don't go and take out all the carpeting so just take a peak and see what color you have if it matches or not. If you are looking into to getting a golf/gti def check the hatch for alignment. some kind of accident damage and just overall alignment as far as the gaps down the sides go. If it is misaligned, it is almost impossible to fix and will most likely leak because the seal isn't sitting right. Also check that when you are driving all instruments work (especially odometer), they were notorious for just stopping. take it for a good test drive, a descent distance to make sure the mileage does go up. If it is stuck, it could have been that way for a long time and means there is probably alot more miles on it than it says. Make sure fuel gage is semi accurate (ask how much gas is in it, if they have an idea, see if it changes at all when you drive it). Def check temp gauge, most mk2s don't sit right in the middle, just a hair above. Not too high though make sure when you drive it it doesn't go up and it will go up when sitting idle just make sure it doesn't go through the roof. it shouldn't get 3/4 temp or more. The list of things to check can go on. By the list it may sound like a lot of issues, this is overall, just stuff to look out for. I've owned 4 mk2s and you start to see all the different things.

16v 2.0 is def a good way to go. very solid engine also very reliable. at leats that's what i hear, i've never actually had a 16v. I had all 1.8l 8v. did have a jetta gli though... but that's a whole nother story. Just be thorough, and go slow. when you rush you miss things, also if you are taking your time and the seller tries to kinda push things along, chances are they are hiding something and want you to miss it. Also just talk to the seller, make conversation, you can usually get a pretty good feel for their personallity and if they are lying. Ask them about things you def know about the car to see what kind of answers they give, and just ask them up front about accidents/damage and stuff like that to see replies.

I'm sure others will have some other useful info for you as well. Good luck

[ March 01, 2004: Message edited by: Dubsessed ]

2,494 Posts
Excellent write-ups guys!!! Well, you need a 5-speed for the fuel economy as well, especially you would probably be looking at a 4-speed automatic, which decreases fuel economy significantly over a manual. And as Dakota keenly pointed out, you have to pay attention to driving; I can't remember how many times I almost got into an accident in my 89 Prelude because I didn't have to pay attention to what I was doing....

Hey, you could drop a whole new engine into your car for less than it would take to fix minor things on other cars; not bad for ease of maintanence...

Oh, and don't forget you a lot of experts here to help you out with any info. you may need...

103 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hmm... where to start. My dad was being an ass last night for no reason at all. This stupid girl we know wrecked her A4 Audi b/c she looked down to downshift and it a curb. So my dad is trying to use that against getting a 5 speed. My mom likes them, but shes turning back saying their only fun to drive for a while. She told me to look at the drawbacks like not being able to talk on a cell or eat. Which is two things I don't do while driving, and nobody should do. Hopefully my dad will be in a better mood today.

Thx. For your help guys.

BTW my current car is falling a part at a fast rate than expected, so hopefully I'll get a new car soon.

1,881 Posts
Hey, let your dad know that states are making it illegal to talk on your cell while you are driving (it is here) its cheaper to rebuild a manual tranny, there are probably more of them out there that still work right, and most importantly, most people don't have to look at the shifter to change gears.

I have had 3 cars with auto trannys, and two with manual, and I can say that the manual not only keeps your attention level higher, it also teaches you more awareness of speed, I can hold 30, or 45, or 60 based on the vibration and sounds and what gear I have it in, I don't even have to look at the speedometer. As for value, compare the original sticker price on an A2 to the current selling prices, and then go do the same thing with a honda or ford from the same years......

If your dad is really concerned about the cars (most likely from not having any contact with them) I encourage him to go talk to a mechanic at a shop that specializes in German cars, or volkswagens. They can tell him the pros and cons of the cars.
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