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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, I'm new to Volkswagens but I have been interested in them for some time and have been doing my own research on them. The reason I'm posting is that I have been looking to buy a MK4 Jetta, would like to find a GLS with a manual transmission. The thing is, I don't too much about mechanics and whatnot so I was hoping that you could give me some tips on what common problems to look for and anything else that you think could help me in making sure it runs good.

Thanks,
Mitchell
 

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2.0 motor
Timing belt and waterpump. by 100,000 miles you'll want them done (at the very latest). cat converters have a tendency to be an issue on these cars, however there is an open recall for 10 years, 100,000 miles. Other then that I never had any other issues with my 2.0. Extremely reliable motor with excellent fuel economy (28mpg avg was my number) and incredibly reliable. However not a very fun car to drive due to the lack of power. Not an easy (or cheap) motor to modify for extra power.

1.8t motor
timing belt and water pump again. Same deal, by 100,000 miles you'll want both to have been done. Coil packs are notorious for failing on these motors, but once again there is an open recall on them. Very peppy and fun to drive motor. Extremely easy to modify for extra power.

as for the VR6 and the TDi I'm not overly experienced with those motors so I can't really give any info. For the 1.8 and the 2.0 those are the main issues that come to mind, others can chime in on anything else that I missed.

Other than that just give the car a thorough inspection. Pay the $100 or so to have an unbiased mechanic do an inspection for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. Are there simple ways of determining the status of these possible problems, I mean of coarse if I'm on the test drive and it's shifting wierd or the engine is overheating I'll know somthing is wrong but about the things you were talking about, I'm kinda a beginner at mechanics and don't really know what to look for when I'm looking it over.
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I owned a 2.0. Compared to the 1.8 its not very fun :p

Simple way to determine would of course be service receipts. If people can't provide service records for a car I usually walk away from it. However if you're not that picky the timing belts do have an inspection cover you can remove to check the condition of the belt. If it's showing any signs of wear (such as cracks) it needs to be done. Water pump unfortunately there really is no way of checking. And if it was done there's no way of knowing for sure if they used the crappy plastic impeller pump or the good metal impeller pump.
 
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