congratulations on the 'new-to-you' car. maintenance is definitely first, but maybe splurge and get a front valance sometime soon
Sorry for the poor photo, but it's the only one I have handy at the moment. It was taken the day I got it, while waiting for the salesperson to get some paperwork ready.
On July 8th, I was at a red light in my 2000 Corolla CE, waiting for it to turn green, when a black 2002 Dodge truck lost control and T-boned me in the driver's side, spinning me counter clockwise 90* and pushed me into a drainage ditch. He got away with barely a scratch on his bumber. The Corolla, however, was totaled.
After weeks of searching and test driving -- 2003 Chrysler 300M (liked the big 3.5 L engine, but the car felt too big for me), 2002 Dodge Neon (was under-powered and just didn't feel right), 1999 Passat (I really wanted this to be the one, but it was junk), and looked at countless other -- I started to get desperate.
I eventually spotted "Greta" (that's what I'm calling my Jetta until I come up with a better name), my 2002 VW Jetta GLS 1.8t at Bentley Chevrolet in Florence, AL. They wanted $6900 for it, which I thought was too high, so I offered $5000. Thinking they would reject my offer, I continued searching, but on July 24th, 2012 (exactly a month ago today), the anniversary of my wife and I's first date, while eating dinner, the dealership called saying they would accept $5000 + taxes/fees.
So that night, we went to check out the car in person and take it for a spin. While test driving, we took it up the street to AutoZone to get the codes and after presenting them the KBB and Edmund's values and pointing out the check engine light (codes P0171 and P0420), I offered $5000 out the door and they accepted. Later, I realized how much needed to be fixed and realized that I probably could have gotten it for less.
It's not much right now, but it gets me from A to B. All that I've done to it so far is fixing it up -- took out the broken armrest to either repair it or delete it, stripped off the soft touch coating where it was getting gunky, removed the dealership's die-cut label from the trunk, took off the front licence plate frame and plan on filling in the holes, did the key fob range mod, cleaned the engine compartment, etc. How exciting, right?
Right now, I've got to get it running smoothly before I do anything else. My wife is having car troubles, too, so right now, it's just doing things that are either necessary or free. What I'd like to do in the future, though, is maybe get some wheels, change a lot of the lighting over to LED, and do minor performance mods. I don't plan on turning this into a high-power beast or anything like that -- just a fun, sporty 'dub for my wife and I to enjoy.
CHECKLIST (what I'd like to do):
GOOD - Pre-Cat. Oxygen Sensor (4/13/12 - Code 17536: System Lean)
REPLACED - Gates Barricade EFI Hose (4/10/13)
REPLACED - Purolator PuroOne Air Filter (4/1/13 @ 133,420 Mi.)
FIXED - Leaking Sunroof Drain (2/2/13)
CLEANED - Throttle Body and Intake Air Temp. Sensor (12/8/12 @ 131,668 mi.)
INSPECTED - Diverter Valve; Suction Good (12/8/12 @ 131,668 mi. & 4/13/13)
REPLACED - All 9 Transmission Solenoids with OEM (12/2/12)
OIL CHANGED - Valvoline SynTech 5w-30 and Bosch Distance+ Filter (12/1/2012)
REPLACED - NGK BKR6E Spark Plugs (10/14/12)
REPLACED - Fel-Pro Valve Cover Gasket (10/14/12)
REPLACED - 034 Motorsports Silicone PCV Hoses (9/27/12)
PAINTED - Body Color Rear View Mirror (9/18/12)
PAINTED - Side Mirror Caps (9/14/12)
LOW LEVEL - Coolant Nearing "MIN" Mark
TEMPORARY FIX - Vacuum Line from Intake Manifold to Brake Booster
RECALLED - Ignition Coils (Eligible for Recall)
PENDING - Install New Timing Belt (Have Kit)
TEMPORARY FIX - Removed Broken Arm Rest
QUESTIONABLE - MAF Sensor (Code 16486 - Signal Low & 01166 Engine Torque Signal)
QUESTIONABLE - Tiptronic Switch (Works w/ Code 01045)
QUESTIONABLE - Multifunction Switch (Works w/ Code 00293)
QUESTIONABLE - 18032 MIL Request Signal Active (Check TCM for errors too!)
SWAP - Center Console with Cup Holders
REPLACE - Missing Front Valance
REPLACE - Cracked Windshield
REPLACE - Oxygen Sensors (Code 17536 - System Lean)
BAD - SAI Problems (Code 16795 - Incorrect Flow)
Last edited by tjjoiner; 04-15-2013 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Added Checklist
Use a PVC cap that fits in the tip with the maf removed, drill it and fit an air line fitting, and hook it to a pancake compressor bled down to 20 psi.
This will pressurize every vacuum line, and all charge piping under the Hood; making finding those impossible vacuum/boost leaks easy.
I already know where at least one [very large] leak is. I've read a couple of how-tos on DIY leak-finders. No compressor, though, except for one of those emergency ones you plug in the cigarette lighter.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 10:29 AM.
OK, so I'm driving home from seeing my wife on her dinner break, about to pull out onto the road, when my battery light comes on and my steering goes stiff. It also felt like I lost some engine power. This is the 2nd time it has done this to me. I took it to Advanced Auto to have them test the battery and alternator. Battery was in great condition and the alternator was putting out 13.8v with no load and 13.7 under load. So if it's not the battery or alternator, what could it be?
Also, while I was there, I got a little bottle of Duplicolor touch-up paint (Tornado Red, VW 02037, LY3D). I've got some rock chips and license plate holes to fill and cover.
UPDATE: After looking through a few search results (yes, I do search), I found that a few others have had similar battery light/power steering issues and that it's due to either serpentine belt slippage or wearing out. This morning, before heading out for a few errands, I popped the hood and inspected the belt the best I could. It looked to be in good condition -- no cracks that I could see and it didn't look glazed -- so I started the car and watched it spin for a bit. Again, I didn't see any wear or anything unusual. I'm going to attribute the incident to the fact that it was rainy yesterday.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:49 AM. Reason: UPDATE!
Touched up a few spots in the paint and fixed the rear licence plate. There were apparently once plastic screws holding the licence plate, before I bought the car. Said plastic screws apparently suck as it looks like one of them broke off into the screw hole. Well, I drilled it out and dug through my jar of random screws and found a 6mm screw (I don't know the thread pitch) from my wife's Ford Escort that fit perfectly.
Is it blasphemy that I've got a Ford screw holding my licence plate on?
UPDATE: I've since gotten a pair of zinc-plated 6mm x 1.0 pan head screws from Lowe's to hold the plate. I wanted something in stainless, but they didn't have the right size in stock.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:40 AM.
I took a couple of photos since the only one I had at the time was one taken with my cell phone at the dealership. Also did some cleaning (wiped down the interior with Meguire's). While doing so, I explored and pulled out the center vents just to see how they were removed. I figured as long as they're out, I might as well see how the vent buttons are removed and swapped. Don't mind the missing dash panels to the left. I did the key fob antenna mod and haven't reassembled things yet because I'm thinking about switching the wire I used. And no, I'm not planning for one of those Greddy setups that fit in the blank button spaces.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:41 AM.
Front valance, yes?
Also thinking black rub strips (the wheels are WAY down the road).
I'm borrowing a pair of jack stands from work to [maybe] drain and replace the transmission fluid over the weekend. I've been having the infamous cold start, no upshift problem, which I've read is due to sticky solenoids. I plan on replacing those as soon as bills get paid and money isn't so tight, but I figured in the meantime, it couldn't hurt to replace the transmission fluid as I don't know when it was done last or if it's ever been changed (and it probably hasn't).
I've read all the threads regarding ATF fluids and know there are some here who will chastise me for not using the OEM stuff, but I've decided to try Valvoline Full Synthetic Import Multi-Vehicle. At $6.49 a quart, it's a lot more affordable and it supposedly meets the 990 spec, at least according to the back of the bottle (see photo below).
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Added Photoshopped image with black rub strips.
I tried to drain and fill my ATF this morning. So far, it's not going so well.
I'm doing this in my parking spot in front of my apartment. The thing is, I'm on an incline that goes up from the driveway to the apartment, so what I did was I parked backwards (front facing down the incline). That way, when I jack the front of the car up, it will be level with the back.
After some effort, I got the wires out of the way by unplugging the connector from whatever that thing is next to the fill plug (see above photo). With the plug out, I jacked up the car using the factory jack, but with it maxed out, the car isn't quite level. I thought "close enough" and moved on. With jack stands in place and the e-brake engaged, I tried to get the big 24mm plug out, but my socket keeps slipping. It's a 24mm socket, but I think the problem is that it's a 12-point, not a 6.
So this is dandy. I'm guessing I'll need to get a 6-point socket at some point, as well as a more level surface to work on. What I could do is turn the car around and see how level it is parked normally, but that will give me less clearance to work with.
Feeling defeated, I may just as a can of SeaFoam Trans Tune in an effort to remedy sticky solenoid issues I'm having until I can find a better place to work. I'd really like to get some fresh ATF in there, though, because I'm not sure when -- or IF -- it was last changed.
UPDATE: Unable to undo the smaller 5mm hex socket drain plug, I decided to wait altogether. Didn't add ATF or SeaFoam Trans Tune.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Added Photos and Update
I took this photo for reference. Upon inspection of the underside or my poor Jetta, and being a noob, I can't help but feel something is missing or just not quite right here. Firstly, should I be seeing a gear (top left)? Can you guys help me out and identify any problems that you can see from this photo?
EDIT: From other photos I've seen, my question about the visible gear was answered. Yes, this is normal. In other photos, though, they look so clean whereas mine is kinda rusty-looking.
Also, I tried to unscrew the check plug by putting a #5 allen bit in my socket wrench. All I managed to do was strip the plug. What do I do??
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:45 AM.
Finally got the check plug out by running a bead of solder around the end of a 5mm allen bit and giving it a few taps with a hammer into the socket of the plug. Put the wrench to it and it came right out. After that, I had quite the time undoing the larger drain plug but solved that problem with a bigger wrench.
Now I'm looking for replacement drain plugs. ECS has the larger of the two -- Magnetic Transmission Drain Plug (24x1.5) and Drain & Fill Plug (24x1.5) -- but not the 5mm allen plug. Are there any other sources?
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 09:45 AM.
Changed my transmission fluid today. I know I'll have to do it again after I swap out the solenoids, but I figured it was long overdue for new fluid and that it couldn't hurt to change it today and again sometime soon. It was an easy job, to be honest, except for a slight snag. You'll find the details in this thread -- Transmission display PRNDS all on after engine change. -- but basically, my tiptronic might need a new magnet and my gear display (you know, the PRND432 display with the gauges) shows all of the gears highlighted.
NOTE: The EPC and battery lights are no longer on. I resolved those after taking the photo.
EDIT: It's all good now. A few hours after the ATF change, I took some stuff out to the car and drove it around to my usual parking spot. The display was still highlighted, but I don't think it was in "limp mode" because the tip. was working (at least to 2nd). When came back out 5-10 min. later, I started it up and the problem was gone.
There's still a hole in my shifter, though.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 10:27 AM. Reason: PROBLEM RESOLVED
I forgot to mention that when I went to O'Reilly's for transmission fluid, I had them check the engine light again. I haven't checked it since the day I bought the car, so I thought it would be a good idea to check it again to see if there are any more lights... or any less, and there were! Their reader picked up the 0171 code but didn't detect the 0420.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-07-2012 at 10:35 AM.
I decided to go ahead and add a full can (1 pt. / 16 oz.) of SeaFoam Trans Tune to see if that does ANYTHING for my sticky solenoid problem. It has evolved from cold start/no upshift only in the morning to mornings and when I'm heading home from work. I guess after 8 hours of sitting, whether at home or at work, the sediment or whatever collects and causes a problem.
First, I drained 1/2 liter of ATF via the smaller check plug. I was expecting fluid with a reddish tint to it since I did a full drain and fill the other day, but what came out was dark and brown. I then added the full can of TransTune followed by what ATF I had left from the other day. I really don't know if that will help, but I already had the stuff so I figured I might as well use it.
Only time will tell. If not, my wifey gave me the go-ahead to get the solenoid kit. I really don't want to drop $350 on ANYTHING, especially since she's having car troubles (tranny jerking and random stalling), too.
UPDATE: After the change, I took the car out for a 10-mile test drive (SeaFoam's instructions say to take a 5-mile test drive to work the Trans Tune through the gears). It seems to shift more smoothly, but that may be the placebo effect talking. We'll see how it does in the morning when those pesky solenoids like to stick.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-10-2012 at 07:36 AM.
Good evening, all --
Not much to report tonight. At the moment, I'm waiting for some epoxy to cure to handling strength. My glove compartment developed a crack on the left side before it bends 90* near the radio. I'm also epoxying some tabs that broke in the center console (specifically, the tabs that hold the metal crossbeam that the ashtray snaps into).
I also dug around my miscellaneous bulbs and found two white LEDs that fit in the two interior map lights. They're not as bright as the stock incandescent bulbs, so I may swap them back for now.
Lastly, I started to reassemble the trim under the steering wheel. I took that apart when doing the key fob antenna mod and just haven't put everything back yet.
Post-ATF Change and SeaFoam Trans Tune - Morning 1: No cold start/no upshift.
This morning, I started by fixing my broken shifter plastic as seen in the photo a few posts up. I used plastic epoxy. Once it's cured, I plan on doing some fine sanding to smooth out the seam. After that, I may try trim paint to cover up the seam.
For fixing some of the busted screw holes in the trim, I took the aforementioned plastic epoxy and a used dryer sheet and made new screw mounts. It's like a poor man's fiberglass and resin.
Lastly, I'm in the process of fixing a broken passenger side A/C vent, and yes... I'm using plastic epoxy for that, too. The best thing would probably be plastic welding, but I don't have the setup or the know-how for that.
Photos to come.
EDIT: Here are those photos I promised.
License plate hole plugs and vent repair.
Repairing the center console, waiting for epoxy to harden.
The neighborhood cat ("Poncho") helped put my dash back together.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-11-2012 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Added Photos
Post-ATF Change and SeaFoam Trans Tune - Morning 2: No Improvement.
Personally, and to be honest, I don't think adding SeaFoam to my transmission is going to cure my cold start/no upshift problem. It may work for you and for others, and there is probably someone out there who has used it with success, but I'm not going to get my hopes up. I think only new solenoids are going to be the best solution. That being said, I'd rather spend $10 now and try it out (who knows, it MAY work) before dropping $350 later.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-11-2012 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Added SeaFoam Update
Post-ATF Change and SeaFoam Trans Tune - Morning 3: No cold start/no upshift.
Other than that, nothing new to report.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-11-2012 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Added Title
Post-ATF Change and SeaFoam Trans Tune - Morning 4: Cold start/no upshift.
I pulled the passenger side mirror cap off to respray with clear coat. While cleaning, I stripped off some of the original color, exposing the white plastic underneath, so I'll have to hit with color. Gotta find the closest match to Tornado Red, otherwise have to get some online, but with all the other problems, the mirrors may have to wait awhile.
Last night, my wife and I went out for an after dinner drive and that "no power steering, engine power loss" thing again. This time, however, it wasn't raining, so I can't attribute what may be serpentine belt slippage to the rain. Sounds like it might be time to replace the belt.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-12-2012 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Added Photo
you know i like you.. you take good pics.. you search, and you keep us updated on your progress.. good luck with the tranny and the car.. and if you need bright leds hit me up
For HIDS/LEDS PM Me
If you're thinking of doing a ZKW projector retrofit, you're on heroin. If you're thinking of bolting BMW lights up to where your GTI lights sit now, you're on poor quality heroin.
I've seen a number of so-called build threads -- should I call mine a build thread? It's more like a fix thread -- where, after a handful of posts, the OP vanishes or goes months without any update. And then to make matters worse, the OP only shows before and after photos (or none at all) with nothing showing the actual work/progress. It's like "OK, I see where you started at A and got to B, but how did you get there?" I try to keep the updates and photos flowing not just to help myself keep track of things but also to help others who might be in the same boat, so to speak.
And yes, MUCH further down the road, I would like to put in some interior LEDs. In the past, I've gotten them from Super Bright LEDs, but I'll keep you in mind.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-12-2012 at 12:11 PM.
Some of us actually like to get stuff done, and photo-documenting every step and holding someone's hand through a step-by-step explanation isn't successful time management, worth the novella to explain it all, or worth getting engine grease all over an entry-level DSLR.
That being said, I think you have good intentions. However, the whole purpose of a build thread is before and after results/pictures, IMHO. There are many, many DIY threads available on multiple forums if you want step-by-step procedures for maintenance/installation/trouble-shooting.
By the way, SLICK car you've got there.
Now I have to ask if your name really is "Philip J. Fry."
Mirror Cap Painting:
Began respraying my mirror caps. After a lot of searching, I bought a can of flame red Duplicolor. Yes, I know it won't be an exact match and that I can get actual Tornado Red in a spray can from several different places, but I'm on a tight budget. I've got one of the mirror caps sprayed and hanging to dry now and will post a comparison photo when finished.
Odd Throttle Issue:
Also, the other day, I first experienced an odd throttle issue. When I'd give it some gas, the car really hesitates and kind of sputters like it might stall. Not sure what that's about, but I'll look into it. Interestingly, it seemed to only do it when I was in tip. mode, 1st gear. If I switched back to full auto, I didn't notice the problem.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-12-2012 at 03:48 PM.
Post-ATF Change and SeaFoam Trans Tune - Morning 5: Cold start/no upshift.
The "Flame Red" used yesterday came out nice and smooth and is a pretty close to Tornado Red. I won't use the word "match" in there because it's not close enough to say it is one, but it's close. Tornado Red is darker than Flame red (compared it to paint in the door sills to adjust for any fading/oxidation), but if you're on a budget and don't care if it's a little brighter, Flame Red will get you by. I don't want to just get by, though, so at some point, I may respray it with the real deal.
All of that said, I do have a little "Tornado Red" 2-in-1 touch up pen/brush from Duplicolor and I have to say that it's spot on. Too bad they discontinued LY3D (and several other colors) in the aerosol cans. I wonder why they downsized their selection so much?
UPDATE: I called my local O'Reilly about mixing some paint for me. They want $60.99 a pint! I also called Sherman Williams and they said they don't mix automotive paint. Here are a few other suppliers that I found, along with current prices:
Paint Scratch - $24.95 / 12 oz.
Automotive Touch-Up - $19.95 / 12 oz.
eBay Seller "spraycansunlimited" - $18.95 / 12 oz.
Halford's (for you lucky Brits) - £6.49 / 300ml (~$10.45 / 10 oz.)
Paint World Inc. - $23.95 / 12.5 oz.
Express Paint - $24.95 / 11 oz.
I Match - $16.95 / 12 oz.
AutoPaint-Touchup.com - $19.95 / 12.4 oz.
Auto Paint Direct / VWColor - $19.95 / 12 oz.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-14-2012 at 09:33 AM. Reason: Added Update & Tornado Red Prices
Post-ATF Change and SeaFoam Trans Tune - Morning 6: Cold start/no upshift.
OK, so I have to revise my review. At first, it looked like the colors were close enough for me, but that's changed. I'm going to have to order some Tornado Red at some point, but not any time soon. Flame Red is NOT as dark as Tornado Red. The two are close, but after touching up the former with the latter, I can really see the difference in color, which I'll have to tolerate... for now. At least the caps don't look faded with clear coat flaking off.
When polishing, I rubbed through the base coat, and having run out of Flame Red -- by the way, (1) 8 oz. can is enough to put 3 good coats on both mirror caps -- I touched it up with the Duplicolor 2-in-1 Tornado Red pen/brush. I tried to get a good photo showing the difference (see photo below).
UPDATE: I popped on the mirror caps. Honestly, the Flame Red doesn't look that different compared to the rest of the car. When you compare on the small-scale, yes, you can definitely spot the difference between Tornado Red and Flame Red, but when looking at the whole thing, the color of the mirrors doesn't stand out at all. Ultimately, my verdict is this: If I had to do this again, I would do it right the first time and order some Tornado Red from one of the vendors listed in my previous post, but for in-a-pinch/on-a-budget situations, Duplicolor Flame Red gets my approval.
Last edited by tjjoiner; 09-14-2012 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Forgot my daily "cold start/no upshift" update.