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    1. Senior Member
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      07-11-2019 02:28 PM #101
      Quote Originally Posted by Maximum_Download View Post
      The newer Mk4s are undoubtedly better, and might not be worthy of the criticism, but any 99.5 - 2001 is almost always a pile around here.
      Some of the common failure items were superceded by newer versions (some replaced by recall, others not). Examples:

      * Window regulator clips.
      * Mass airflow sensor.
      * Brake lamp switch.
      * Hazard switch / turn signal flasher.
      * Door latch / open-closed detector.
      * Brake pads that wear out very quickly and leave lots of dust.
      * Coolant temperature sensor.
      * Stereo with volume control problems.
      * Coil packs (1.8T engine).
      * Short life timing belt (TDI engine).

      So a surviving a4 car may have the newer more reliable versions of these common failure items, because the newer versions were available when the original parts failed. On the other hand, they could still be subject to other issues:

      * Peeling soft touch interiors.
      * Oil burning (2.0L engine).
      * 4-speed automatic transmission unreliability.
      * Some maintenance items are a lot of work (TDI timing belt).
      * Glow plugs and glow plug harness (TDI engine).
      Last edited by tjl; 07-11-2019 at 02:37 PM.

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    3. Senior Member
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      07-11-2019 02:29 PM #102
      Quote Originally Posted by Aw614 View Post
      Didn't the mk4 2.0 have the piston ring problem and oil consumption? I take it those motors may consume a ton of oil, but even starving it, it won't die?
      They did, it wasn't really getting fixed until after I left vw but they we're fixing tons according to friends still there. I forget if it was just rings or pistons and rings.

      My dad's mk4 2.0 drank a ton of oil, my 1.8t was apart for a bit in 02ish so I was commuting 120 miles a day in his and I was topping off once a week, oil light would ususally come on Friday as I hit the NJTP exit 8a ramp... Nothing like warning lights once you've committed to a turn. He traded it in before there was a fix.




      The other mk4 problem that most people don't actually know about is the soft rear pads on early cars. They put super soft rear pads on to keep the brake noise down. But in just normal Central Jersey stop and go traffic ( or similar places) people were going through pads in 20-30k. There's no pad sensor and the system was meant to use the brake fluid level as a low pad warning, but it only works if the fronts and rears are both worn. So people would come in with trashed metal in metal rotors and wheels that were destroyed from all the burning metal flakes hitting them. We had an asst service manager who insisted all these people must be riding with the parking brake on and refused to warranty them until VW finally did a bulletin.

    4. Member IJM's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 02:35 PM #103
      Quote Originally Posted by Maximum_Download View Post
      Not to pick on you, but the solution is a better car.

      The Mk6 Golf is such a step forward from the Mk4 cars it was the reason I came back to the brand.
      Oh, absolutely. My perspective is a Mk6 isn't much of an improvement from a Mk4 as a track car compared to an M3 or something else RWD would be.

    5. Member vwlifer27's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 02:36 PM #104
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      Glx would have had standard power leather seats and sunroof plus the climatronic and wood grain forget if cold weather was standard or not. Plus the bigger wheels likely factored into a price. 26k sounds about right if you got everything. I completely forget if monsoon was standard on those or not.

      Gls would have had standard cloth with sunroof, cold weather, leather being optional. J think on the sunroof. Maybe it was standard on gls?


      Auto optional on both


      I think sticker on my manual 1.8t cloth with sunroof and cold weather gls was about 21500. So your 23 sounds about right for a similarly equipped vr6.
      Gotcha.

      Mine had the optional leather, cold weather, 5 speed, 6 disk changer in the trunk, sunroof, 16'' alloys. It was around 23 as mentioned. I originally wanted the black leather, but the sales guy talked me into looking at the gray leather which then made the rest of the car two tone ( black upper dash and door cards, gray lower dash and door cards). I'm glad I looked at it and went with it. It was a sharp looking interior.

      As far as problems with mine, mostly plugs/coil packs and O2 sensors. If it was super wet out, the car would have trouble starting and then go into limp mode. Once they put in new coil packs and upgraded plugs, it was perfect. I blew maybe 3 o2 sensors.

      I had a bad wheel bearing around 40k, but I blame that on me for putting adjustable coil overs on it dropping it pretty low.

      My 2004 R32 has been bullet proof minus the typical fan replacement and coolant temp sensor. Those have been the only two items over the past 15 years. Hell, my wiper blades were original until this year.

    6. Senior Member
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      07-11-2019 02:36 PM #105
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      The other mk4 problem that most people don't actually know about is the soft rear pads on early cars. They put super soft rear pads on to keep the brake noise down. But in just normal Central Jersey stop and go traffic ( or similar places) people were going through pads in 20-30k.
      You probably saw at the time many a4 cars with rear wheels covered in brake dust but clean front wheels, right? Though the earliest ones had dusty front pads, so all of their wheels were dusty. Eventually, both front and rear OEM pads were changed to less dusty ones, so any surviving cars are unlikely to show as much dust as they used to.

      Those quick wearing dusty rear brake pads lasted only about 60k in predominantly highway driving with gentle brake use.
      Last edited by tjl; 07-11-2019 at 02:38 PM.

    7. Senior Member
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      07-11-2019 02:43 PM #106
      Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
      You probably saw at the time many a4 cars with rear wheels covered in brake dust but clean front wheels, right? Though the earliest ones had dusty front pads, so all of their wheels were dusty. Eventually, both front and rear OEM pads were changed to less dusty ones, so any surviving cars are unlikely to show as much dust as they used to.

      Those quick wearing dusty rear brake pads lasted only about 60k in predominantly highway driving with gentle brake use.
      Oh yeah you'd walk out to get a car for a 20k and see black wheels on the rear only fingers crossed you caught it in time for pads only and could make another 40 bucks.


      Yeah I think my dad's 99 had both, my 2000 pads just got swapped to something else before they were a problem so not sure what I ended up with. In contrast my 06 a3 with 80k+ still has original rear pads, although it is getting to be time.

    8. 07-11-2019 02:57 PM #107
      Quote Originally Posted by Rockerchick View Post
      It certainly was a rumor at least. I hadn't seen the issue myself in person, but I definitely heard about it and saw the warnings about it over the years. I had one ('99 New Beetle) and had zero oil consumption problems. Ran like a top for the 6 1/2 years I had it. Solid for sure.
      A friend of mine claims his mk4 golf 2.0 had the oil consumption issue when he bought it, apparently the fix was never done on his car (he bought it used), but all he did was make sure the oil was topped off and it ran well. That was the first time I learned of the issue...

      About the brake dust, it always seemed like other german brands from the same era as the mk4 all had horrible brake dust. I don't recall american and japanese cars ever having as much as say a vw, audi or bmw
      Last edited by Aw614; 07-11-2019 at 02:59 PM.

    9. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 03:06 PM #108
      Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
      On the other hand, they could still be subject to other issues:

      * Peeling soft touch interiors.
      * Oil burning (2.0L engine).
      * 4-speed automatic transmission unreliability.
      * Some maintenance items are a lot of work (TDI timing belt).
      * Glow plugs and glow plug harness (TDI engine).
      Don't forget the peeling door upholstery!



    10. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 03:09 PM #109
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      Don't forget the peeling door upholstery!
      Or the waterpump failures.

    11. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 03:11 PM #110
      Quote Originally Posted by UncleJB View Post
      Or the waterpump failures.
      I'd think that would have happened at least once by now. I replaced mine with an aftermarket metal impeller one before it had the chance.

    12. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 03:28 PM #111
      Quote Originally Posted by Rockerchick View Post
      It certainly was a rumor at least. I hadn't seen the issue myself in person, but I definitely heard about it and saw the warnings about it over the years. I had one ('99 New Beetle) and had zero oil consumption problems. Ran like a top for the 6 1/2 years I had it. Solid for sure.
      It was more than a rumor. Most were fine, but if you got one that drank oil, it would continue to drink oil. Sometimes at a surprisingly high rate! I was talking with him when the early cars were new, so it certainly wasn't a wear issue.

      It happens to all brands to a point. Back in '89-'90 I worked at a Mazda dealer. One of the standard gags was that there was a "PDI* kit" for the 626. It included a new ignition switch.


      *Pre-delivery inspection. IE, before the car was sold to a customer.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    13. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 04:44 PM #112
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      I'd think that would have happened at least once by now. I replaced mine with an aftermarket metal impeller one before it had the chance.
      Oh I didn't see the "superceded" part. Mine failed at about 23k miles on my IY.

    14. Member Disgruntled Ziemniak's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 05:16 PM #113
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      Don't forget the peeling door upholstery!
      That alongside the window regulator clips drove me insane.
      Your favorite Ziemniak, hold the gravy.

    15. Member Disgruntled Ziemniak's Avatar
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      07-11-2019 05:18 PM #114
      Quote Originally Posted by IJM View Post
      Sort of. The issue when the car is lowered substantially, the inside of the control arm where it attaches to the subframe is now lower than where the outside attaches to the ball joint. In other words, the control arm slopes upward as points toward the wheel rather than downward. This isn't a big deal when driving in a straight line, but as the outer front wheel's suspension compresses in a corner, the wheel actually gains positive camber and increases understeer. The solution is spindles with lower attachment points for the ball joint (and tie rod). You can use one off a TT, or for even more correction, H2Sport used to make custom ones that fixed the control arm angle issue on lowered cars. This is what I use.
      Yeah, that’s a much better explanation of what’s going on. Is this a common thing with most McPherson strut vehicles?
      Your favorite Ziemniak, hold the gravy.

    16. Member jddaigle's Avatar
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      07-13-2019 02:27 PM #115
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      They did, it wasn't really getting fixed until after I left vw but they we're fixing tons according to friends still there. I forget if it was just rings or pistons and rings.
      IIRC it was rings installed upside-down on some engines so they didn't seal completely.
      - Jeff
      B6 Passat 3.6 & 4motion Resource Thread
      Now: 2008 VW Passat 3.6 4motion Wagon, 2013 Fiat 500 Sport
      Then: 1987 Volvo 745GLE, 1989 Volvo 740GL, 1994 Volvo 940T, 1995 Infiniti G20, 2000 VW Passat 1.8T, 2001 VW Jetta Wolfsburg Ed (x2), 2004 VW Golf TDI, 2006 Jetta TDI

    17. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      07-13-2019 02:35 PM #116
      Quote Originally Posted by jddaigle View Post
      IIRC it was rings installed upside-down on some engines so they didn't seal completely.
      I think even Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers knew that one.

    18. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      07-13-2019 11:20 PM #117
      Quote Originally Posted by jddaigle View Post
      IIRC it was rings installed upside-down on some engines so they didn't seal completely.
      Really? I never heard that one. That explains why some had the problem but most didn't!
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    19. 07-14-2019 12:27 AM #118
      [QUOTE=r_fostoria;113520997]Don't forget the peeling door upholstery!

      And sagging headliner. Dang, gravity.

    20. Member spathotan's Avatar
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      07-14-2019 12:41 AM #119
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      They seem to be generally pretty well rust proofed. The trouble spot is the front fender/rocker area because road debris piles up behind the fender lining and holds water.

      This is still a problem. Every few months I pull out about 3 handfuls of leaves, pinestraw, mud and **** from both sides on my 2013 Jetta. And in that same area the OEM mudflaps have rubbed away the paint down to bare metal.

    21. Member
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      07-14-2019 08:36 AM #120
      "If Mk4 golfs/Jettas were so bad, why so many still on the road?"

      It has a very simple answer. It is because VW had DDDDRRRRAAAAGGGGGGGGGEEEEEDDDD the production of Mk4 production for a very LLLOOONNNNGGG time.

      The Volkswagen Golf Mk4 (or VW Type 1J) is a compact car, the fourth generation of the Volkswagen Golf and the successor to the Volkswagen Golf Mk3. Launched in October 1997, it was the best selling car in Europe in 2001.

      It was replaced in 2004 by the Volkswagen Golf Mk5 in European markets. However, manufacturing continued in South America, Mexico and China for developing markets until 2010.
      You probably won't see any MK4 from China, but there are possibilities that you saw some from South America or Mexico. Also after MK5 debuted in Canada, VW (of Canada?) was selling restyled MK4 as Golf/Jetta City until 2010.



      Please don't think because they are good. They were the VW version GM's Cavalier/Sunfire. (start it bad, but kind of ok because VW keep making them)

      BTW, I was an (lease) owner of a MY2000 VW GTI 1.8T. (1.8T never loose) After the 4 year lease, I know how to replace all the exterior and most interior lights. That POS keep burning light bulbs like firecrackers.
      Last edited by Avus; 07-14-2019 at 08:45 AM.
      “I am not a Mac user unless under duress.” - John Carmack

    22. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      07-14-2019 09:42 AM #121
      Quote Originally Posted by Avus View Post

      Please don't think because they are good. They were the VW version GM's Cavalier/Sunfire. (start it bad, but kind of ok because VW keep making them)
      IMO the MK3 fills that spot. I thought the MK4 was leaps and bounds better than the MK3 personally. That isn't necessarily saying much.

    23. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      07-14-2019 10:01 AM #122
      Quote Originally Posted by Avus View Post

      It has a very simple answer. It is because VW had DDDDRRRRAAAAGGGGGGGGGEEEEEDDDD the production of Mk4 production for a very LLLOOONNNNGGG time.*
      *In Canada. They're still all over the place around here, where production stopped for the 2006 model year. A 7 year model run is pretty standard.

      Please don't think because they are good. They were the VW version GM's Cavalier/Sunfire.
      I'm all for hyperbole, but this is ridiculous. These Volkswagens were on a different plane entirely than the Cavalier, and that's more of a statement on the crappiness of the Cavalier than praise for VW. In fact, I believe the MKIV Jetta was the benchmark car that GM used for the development of the much more refined Cobalt. If anything, they're like the VW version of GM's Buick Century, a car I still see on a semi regular basis.


    24. 07-14-2019 10:26 AM #123
      While random things would constantly break in them, I have a soft spot for the MK4. I would rock a GLX with a 5 speed as a daily.

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