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What to look for in a Jetta VR6?

398 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  flakybandit
Hi everybody... I'm a certified RX-7 and Corvair junkie, but I'm looking for a MKIII ( 93-98 or so is MKIII, right? ) Jetta VR6 for me and the Mrs. Gotta be a 5-speed.
What should I look out for? What are the weak spots or things to check on? I'd like to stay in the $5k range price-wise, so I'm probably going to be looking at 95ish, 100k+ cars. Here's some stuff I'm wondering:
How are the clutches, trannies?
Do the VR6s use a timing belt or chain? What's the change interval and how critical are they?
Any weak spots in the VR6... headgasket, anything like that to look out for?
How are they to work on? I do all my own work and I'm not afraid of doing engine swaps, clutch replacement, and stuff, but it would be nice if it wasn't horrible to work on (see: Hondas).
How soon will I be replacing suspension (shocks, bushings) on a 100k car?
I don't know much about these cars, so any info or FAQs you can point me to would be great!
1979 RX-7 GS - Daily Driver
1984 RX-7 GSL - parts car
1966 Chevy Corvair 4-door - current resto project
1965 Chevy Corvair 2-door - future resto project
1965 Chevy Corvair convert. - future resto project
1987 Honda Accord - POS that won't die
1976 F-150 - gotta tow stuff
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Re: What to look for in a Jetta VR6? (ArmenB)

I was in your spot last year, I got rid of my Golf for a Jetta GLX. As far as trannies, you gotta watch for the 2nd gear grind. They are notorious for bad synchros and VW doesn't like to replace them. Be sure all 4 windows and the sunroof are operating properly and quietly, VW could learn a thing or two about power window reliability. You also want to be sure the coil pack is good. Mist it with some water and keep an eye out for arching, this part runs $200+. I think those are the biggest issues. As with any used car look that is has been maintained, with records of it preferably. Also spend time talking to the owner, it won't take you long to see if they actually cared for the car, or if they just 'gas and goed' it.
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