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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

Looking to pick up an older mk4 for an occasional daily driver, probably less than 5k miles a year. Having owned a 2003 GLI VR6 from new to 70k miles gives me some good familiarity with the platform. I'm mainly hunting for a clean, but fairly high mileage VR6 GTI or Jetta, but I'm not opposed to a 20th AE / 337 / 2004.5 GLI. How do the 1.8T engines hold up? Turbo replacement mileage? Common issues? Anything? I just don't know the 1.8T that well due to never owning one. Thanks for any insight.

Former and current cars:

The old mkIV:


Loved that car! Since then I've had a mkV GTI:


A mkVI GTI:


And still have an R32 in the garage:
 

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A lot of it comes down to maintenance history. I have 140k on my 1.8T and its doing well. Got it tuned around 129k from stock to Stage 2 and its holding strong.
 

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I bought a 2004 1.8T mostly for parts because it had a bad manual tranny in it (appears to have been a bent shift fork for 1st gear). It doesn't look well cared for, but runs great and has over 205K miles on he clock. I'm fixing it up (tranny swap in progress) and either going to drive it for a work car or give it to my buddy's kid who is soon to be a licensed driver. It did have a TB replacement sticker under the hood that showed that was done at 150K ish, so maybe the major stuff was taken care of.
Take care of them and run full synthetic oil, I think they will go a long ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh I agree maintenance is key. I'm okay with fixing smaller issues, as I've got access to tools and a lift.

Any common issues with the 1.8t to look out for though?
 

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Oh I agree maintenance is key. I'm okay with fixing smaller issues, as I've got access to tools and a lift.

Any common issues with the 1.8t to look out for though?
the 1.8t is a good engine but can be touchy if not well cared for. some of the issues are MKIV related and not engine specific.

in a high mileage example youre looking at possible vac/boost leaks, probably doing the clutch if it hasnt been done. timing belt every 60k, turbo dying depending on mileage, coil packs (ive yet to have a problem with these but others have), window regulators, and hoping your SAI doesnt **** out.

also, door lock module may also go out eventually causing the doors to lock randomly and sunroof drains if it hasnt already been done... i know im forgetting some, im sure others will chime in.

it really comes down to maintenance...it is paramount. :sly: if youre decent enough at wrenching and keeping up with it, it shouldnt really be a problem though.

get a manual trans if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
the 1.8t is a good engine but can be touchy if not well cared for. some of the issues are MKIV related and not engine specific.

in a high mileage example youre looking at possible vac/boost leaks, probably doing the clutch if it hasnt been done. timing belt every 60k, turbo dying depending on mileage, coil packs (ive yet to have a problem with these but others have), window regulators, and hoping your SAI doesnt **** out.

also, door lock module may also go out eventually causing the doors to lock randomly and sunroof drains if it hasnt already been done... i know im forgetting some, im sure others will chime in.

it really comes down to maintenance...it is paramount. :sly: if youre decent enough at wrenching and keeping up with it, it shouldnt really be a problem though.

get a manual trans if possible.
Manual trans is the only option for me, I won't consider an auto, no matter the price. As far as sunroof leaks, not so concerned as it'll probably rarely see rain.

Good info on the other stuff, thanks!
 

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My GTI has 201K miles and counting. I bought it last year with ~197K.
It had the original clutch in it, though it was starting to slip badly.
I removed the original turbo, only because I upgraded to a hybrid K04. The original turbo is still quite tight in the bearings with minimal shaft play. I'm toying with the idea of porting it and messing with the wastegate to see what it can do.
The engine itself is still very good with not a ton of visual wear (I didn't bother mic'ing anything when I had it partially disassembled to clean off the road grime).
The PCV system was completely rotted out so I replaced it with a silicone setup.
The original coilpacks were starting to misfire under boost so I upgraded to 2.0T coils for less than 2 stock coils.
A few of the coolant lines were super dry so I replaced any that weren't in great shape.
Aside from that the car hasn't had much done to it and hasn't given problems apart from problems caused by something I did.
 

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Bought my 03 Jetta 1.8t in November 2013 with 151k miles. I just hit 179k miles today actually and its still running strong. I replaced the timing belt/water pump last October, also had to do the coolant flange last fall as well. My cars idling a little weird right now, but I will be changing the valve cover gasket and doing the 2.0 coil pack upgrade in the next week or so. Other than that i've been pretty lucky. Still on the original clutch and its not slipping thankfully. I'd say doing less than 5k miles a year you will be fine. I do 500+ miles per week.
 

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I just picked up a 1.8t gli here in Vegas for what I call dirt cheap. The car head been neglected care wise (washing, dents, dings, and just general cleanliness) but was mechanically maintained awesome. The car fax showed regular oil changes and the shop in town that he used provided me with excellent service history. To include the timing belt being done twice with only 112k miles on the odometer.

The trans had a nasty whine on deceleration, but with a quick search i found that it only needed a shim to fix. I pulled the valve cover last night to change the seal and the valve train looked awesome. I have not done a compression test or anything but per the obd scanner and the torque app it is pulling 20 inches of vacuum and holds over 9 psi of boost.
 

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I have a 02 1.8T Jetta. 195K. I've owned it since new. Dino oil only and changed every 5K. I've done the the timing belt and water pump 2 times now. Car still runs and looks great. I've done lots of rear brake jobs, and the AAP axles are crap so I've done them about 4 times on each side. All the rubber parts in the front end have been replaced as well as the starter/alternator, shocks/struts, as well as lots of other little/wearable parts. Overall, I'm very happy with this car. It owes me nothing and still continues to give me 30 mph on the highway.
 

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