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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking hard about getting rid of my 2000 Passat wagon and getting a new (used) car of similar vintage with an eye toward keeping my cost of ownership very low over the next few years.
My Passat has been solid so far, but I currently have 80,000 miles on the odometer and I'm starting to face some expensive repairs. I need a new clutch right now, which will run me $900 if I don't need a flywheel, another $500 if I do. I have a small crack in the oil pan that I can live with for now, but would cost about $400 to fix if I were to repair it (something I would do if I keep the car). The rear brakes are almost gone. What future costs might I be facing if I keep this car another 3-4 years (60,000-80,000 miles)? Turbo replacement? What else? My concern is that the maintenance costs on this car will be signigicantly higher than, for instance...

A 2000 Crown Vic interceptor with 65,000 to 100,000 miles. I can pick one up for $5000 to $7500, sell my Passat for $7500-$10000, and perhaps save a lot of money in the long term. The cost of the clutch has really got me concerned. $900? Isn't that high? I know this is apples and oranges, but I had a new tranny intalled on my 1971 Impala (since sold) last year for $650. I have a feeling that repair/maintenance costs on the Crown Vic will be very low. Am I right in this assumption?
I've also been looking at '94-'96 Roadmaster Wagons. All came standard with the LT-1
, and most are quite luxurious. Plus I love wagons. They do seem a bit more pricey than the Vics. I can get a '94 right now in LA with 73K miles for about $6000. This is not the actual car.

I'm trying to find something big and fun, reliable, cheap to own, and a real highway cruiser for my regular jaunts up from LA to Bakersfield. Does it make more sense to drive the Passat to death, or to get out while I can?
I'd appreciate the guidance I might receive from the wisdom of the car lounge elders.




Modified by Baron at 10:37 AM 1-13-2004
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (Baron)

buy a new car when the wheels fall off of your current car, and the chassis splits in two.
obin
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (Baron)

$900 for a clutch is an awful lot. Have you gotten multiple quotes for that same price?
And I agree with the others here - keep it. You'll save in the long run.
And 80,000 on a car is not a lot.
-Jason
 

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Re: (B12Teuton)

Quote, originally posted by B12Teuton »
One more point. $900 is how much more you'll spend every year in extra gas that those other boats will suck down.

Umm... no. I'm guessing his Passat requires premium while the others run on regular. Also, the Lt1 is quite thrifty at cruising speed. Dump the VW and get the wagon. I'm looking to get rid of my Jetta for an Lt1 Caprice right now, and the gas mileage is quite similar between the two cars.
 

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Re: (B12Teuton)

Quote, originally posted by B12Teuton »
One more point. $900 is how much more you'll spend every year in extra gas that those other boats will suck down.

Also, figure in the 30k AT service (flush & filter). You'll need at least 5 of those in the time it'll take you to burn out a new clutch ... assuming you can get 150k out of a clutch ... I know I can get 200+ out of mine

If you own your Passat outright, it's always cheaper to repair than to replace. Keep it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: (f1forkvr6)

A couple of points. My clutch is gone at 80K miles. I'm not sure that I could do much more to make it last longer. The gas is not really an issue, for both of the reasons mentioned.
I know that it's usually more economical to keep a car forever, but in this case, considering the cars I'm looking at, is it still the case? I'm basically trading cars of the same age with the same miles, for about the same price, if not actually trading into a cheaper car. And can I assume that the Passat will require more and more expensive maintenance than a retired interceptor or an LT1 Buick (or Caprice, for that matter).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (JerseyFreeze)

Quote, originally posted by JerseyFreeze »
$900 for a clutch is an awful lot. Have you gotten multiple quotes for that same price?

Indeed that's about right. I did research on the Passat boards and that's what people are paying, give or take. And a lot of people are replacing clutches at mileage about like mine, which makes me worry about continuing maintenance costs over the next few years. Not that any car with 80,000 t0 100,000 won't require regular maintenance. I'm just concerned that a European car will COST a lot more to maintain than an American car.
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (Baron)

These large cars you are speaking of will also need upgrading just as yours will, don't fool yourself. You will get low resale value on your Passat if it needs lots of maintenance. Personally I'm not a fan of huge tanks, when I see people put them in reverse just to realign the behemoths into parking spots, looks so clumsy and ineffective. I have underground parking facility and these things are despised by all cause they are so stupidly big.
But, if you just want change of pace, then definitely sell and buy a monster car.



Modified by okanagan45 at 1:19 PM 1-13-2004
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (okanagan45)

If you pay 900 for the clutch you're overpaying but a ton! vwparts.com has a new OEM clutch kit for a 2000 A4 1.8t quattro for 326 bucks. You mean to tell me they are chargin 600 in labor? If so that is absoltely insane.
Go to the regional forums, find a local tech shop whatever. Don't pay more then 3-400 in labor. Also while you're in there having the clutch done do the waterpump and the timing belt. If the t-belt snaps the top end is shot and on 1.8t's over 80k your pushing your luck. The waterpump is cheap and access is easy when you're doing the t-belt.
Basically do all this maintence stuff now. Your car will run for 150k easy until it needs more maintence. As long as you keep up with oil changes the turbo should be fine. So the short but expensive list would be
clutch
timing belt and tensioner
waterpump
At 100k I'd probably do a tune up as well as a fuel filter
For parts try http://www.vwparts.com or http://www.ecstuning.com
Mike
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (okanagan45)

For a low cost of ownership, you can't beat a full sized domestic body on frame car liek the Caprice or Crown Vic. Would you consider a Caprice 9C1? Best police interceptor package ever built. LT1, 700R4HD tranie with cooler and shift kit, HD suspension, HD brakes, handling package. And the crack about gas mileage...BS, the Caprices with the LT1 and 700R4 tranie typically get 25-27 on the highway. Try getting that with any V6 or V8 powered VW or Audi. Plus they love 87 octane gas... http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif

Now, I have to admit that the CV interceptor just looks meaner, almost badass:
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (VWMike81)

A good plan, IMO, is to find a car coming off of a one- or two-year lease, a lease that included basic maintenance or a car that you can determine was treated well.
Let the other jalamo take the hit on the huge first-year depreciation.
Finance as little as you possibly can. A car that's paid for is a car that every month's potential payment sits in a bank. Shy of an extraordinary repair, most work can be done for less than two or three month's payments. Plus, repairs on a car that you're paying for is money above and beyond the monthly payment that still comes out of your pocket, in many cases.
However, there is a point that you need to dump a car before it drags you into a hole. That point really depends on the car, the needed repair, and the owner's loyalty to, and enjoyment of, the car. That becomes a personal decision.
Drive it til the wheels fall off.
BTW, $900 for a clutch job does sound like alot. Based on the previous post, a $600 labor cost means they're taking, what, 8 hours or so to fix the car? If a mechanic is taking 8 hours to do a clutch job, they're losing money or might not know what they're doing. Get a few more estimates first.


Modified by DonL at 4:50 PM 1-13-2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (VWMike81)

Quote, originally posted by VWMike81 »
If you pay 900 for the clutch you're overpaying but a ton! vwparts.com has a new OEM clutch kit for a 2000 A4 1.8t quattro for 326 bucks. You mean to tell me they are chargin 600 in labor? If so that is absoltely insane.
Go to the regional forums, find a local tech shop whatever. Don't pay more then 3-400 in labor. Also while you're in there having the clutch done do the waterpump and the timing belt. If the t-belt snaps the top end is shot and on 1.8t's over 80k your pushing your luck. The waterpump is cheap and access is easy when you're doing the t-belt.
Basically do all this maintence stuff now. Your car will run for 150k easy until it needs more maintence. As long as you keep up with oil changes the turbo should be fine. So the short but expensive list would be
clutch
timing belt and tensioner
waterpump
At 100k I'd probably do a tune up as well as a fuel filter
For parts try http://www.vwparts.com or http://www.ecstuning.com
Mike

Ok, I was exaggerating. I got a $900 quote from a shop, but I have found that $326 price online, and I was planning on using an upgraded aftermarket clutch from Spec for $372. My labor quote is about $400. I am worried about the flywheel, as I hear that it's difficult to resurface dual mass flywheels properly. A new flywheel is $400-$500. So say about $800 for the clutch, give or take, plus possible a new flywheel. I'm probably exaggerating to rationalize the switch. I actually like the Passat, but I'm itchy for a change and I've always love big, V8, American, auto-tranny road hogs.
I have been maintaining the Passat very well. I've already done the timing belt and tensioner, and the car got it's full scheduled tune up at 80K. If you're right about not having to worry about more major expenses up through 150K, then I'd feel OK about keeping the Passat and putting off future car purchases until money is less of an object.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (duandcc)

Quote, originally posted by duandcc »
Would you consider a Caprice 9C1? Best police interceptor package ever built. LT1, 700R4HD tranie with cooler and shift kit, HD suspension, HD brakes, handling package. And the crack about gas mileage...BS, the Caprices with the LT1 and 700R4 tranie typically get 25-27 on the highway. Try getting that with any V6 or V8 powered VW or Audi.

I certainly would. It's just that they're so much harder to find in great condition than are the CV's. And they cost more for what you get. Considering I can get a 2000 CV for $5000 to $7500, and a 1995-1996 Caprice for about the same, I'm not sure if its a wise buy. And the CV's do look pretty damn evil in black, with black steelies and full tint. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (Baron)

Sell your passat, buy cheap big American. Not cool, but showing now with well over 1ooK on these cars that they are reliable. My Dad had a Roadmaster, 93 model. Got a consistent 25 mpg, and got about 275K on it before the trans went. He sold it for about $1500. He just got his second one.
 

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Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (duandcc)

Quote, originally posted by duandcc »
And the crack about gas mileage...BS, the Caprices with the LT1 and 700R4 tranie typically get 25-27 on the highway. Try getting that with any V6 or V8 powered VW or Audi.

My VR6 gets 27-30 mpg on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: Long Term Ownership costs - drive 'em to death, or get out while you can? (f1forkvr6)

Quote, originally posted by f1forkvr6 »

My VR6 gets 27-30 mpg on the highway.

Downhill with a stiff breeze in your back? My 1.8t gets about 25 in mixed driving, mostly highway. My friend's 2.8l V6 in a GLX Passat gets 18-20. You must be awfully light on the left pedal.
 
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