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What to look for in a Jetta VR6?

400 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 have a 94, VR6. Had it since 30K miles, I now have 113K on it. The clutch went at around 87K (I am hard on the clutch), shocks go around the same time. If you are going to upgrade to better shocks I highly recomend it. The car can use stiffer springs too. You do not have to go too tight on those. The car has a chain and not a belt for timing. You can easily go to 150K on it. The only oil leak I had on mine was a small O ring on the oil cooler ($5.00 and 10 min to change). The starter went at around 90K, got it rebuilt for $60 and it is ok. The pasanger side axel started acting up (cv joint) at around 106K. The fix is not too bad and the part can be rebuilt. Expect to change brake pads all around (you would do that with any car). One last thing that went bad was a secondary water pump. The plastic on it broke and had to be replaced.
If you check compression on that engine and you do not see leaks, you will have nice set of wheels.
good luck.
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