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Old 03-08-2010, 02:50 AM   #1
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Default Rate this possible new beater for me

So I found a 1983 vw jetta 5 speed DIESEL. It runs great, needs some minor body work and a control arm bushing to pass inspection, but think it's worth $500? I want to use it just to drive back and forth to work. How much of a slow POS will this thing be? What kind of MPGs should I expect for all around driving? Anybody have experience with vw early 80's diesels?
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:01 AM   #2
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I think someone in the TX crew (johnwag maybe) has one that has like 300k on it and still going strong.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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If it's non-turbo, it will be **** slow. That's OK, though. If it runs and can be made roadworthy for under a grand (sounds like that won't be a challenge) it's a fantastic deal. Go buy it. Now. Then bring it to spring dyno day.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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I've got to say hell yes....

The VW turbo is fun, the non-turbo is slow but not unpleasant to drive as a beater.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:50 AM   #5
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I had a diesel rabbit, and yes it was slow, but the novelty of the old diesel was pretty cool. I liked the puttering sound it made. Great mileage.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:32 AM   #6
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Old *** vw's like that are fairly reliable and it will get 50mpg...slowly of course.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:46 AM   #7
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I loved my old A1s, I had 4. Even when beat they are reliable. I drove from VA Beach to Upstate NY in my A1 with 5th gear rattling around in the transaxle. It was howling by Jersey, but it got me home.

The problem areas were everything surrounding the drivetrain. One car had a habit of dropping the driver's window off the track and into the door, many times with the expected result of shattered glass. All of them went through at least 2-3 alternators each. They were always very fun cars, someone should replicate them today, at least in terms of lightness.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:00 AM   #8
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Too slow - you're gonna hate it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_man View Post
If it's non-turbo, it will be **** slow. That's OK, though. If it runs and can be made roadworthy for under a grand (sounds like that won't be a challenge) it's a fantastic deal. Go buy it. Now. Then bring it to spring dyno day.
It'll be the diesel jetta vs your Saturn. I wonder what the 1983 non turbo diesel will throw down? I'm thinking if it makes 70 hp I'd be suprised. Time to google search!
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:16 AM   #10
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Too slow - you're gonna hate it.
Your probably right, but as a work commuter car only, I don't need speed. Everytime I buy a beater car I spray paint it somehow. My vw scirocco was light blue and I painted white racing stripes on it. I had a burgandy ish dodge shadow once and I painted it the starsky and hutch look, but I used the only can of paint I had, "bumper chrome". 1983 vw jetta diesel rattle can color? I have it planned right now...leaves+masking tape+tan and green spray cans= real tree camo. See the whole concept of me buying a beater is that I will be the last owner of the car, cause it either gets wrecked real bad, or I drive it till the wheels fall off, then I put new wheels on it, and drive it somemore till it breaks in a way that I don't want to fix it anymore.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:22 PM   #11
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My friend has one that he drives back and forth to work, he fills the tank once a month. IIRC he said he gets around 50mpg. Get it, it will pay for it self in no time.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:03 AM   #12
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Get it, My dad had one, and i loved it. It had 312k and was still going strong. Plus, i love the way under the hood of diesels smells.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
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It'll be the diesel jetta vs your Saturn. I wonder what the 1983 non turbo diesel will throw down? I'm thinking if it makes 70 hp I'd be suprised. Time to google search!
I could bring out the 190D (non-turbo). Or just for fun I could bring out my diesel 1-ton.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:12 AM   #14
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When my car was down for 4 weeks I was looking at a lot of econoboxes, and eventually got down to a nice $1400 Metro.

I would have much rather had one of these.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:16 AM   #15
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I have a '95 Jetta Diesel beater and it's slow, very slow. I set my WG to 20psi and turned up the fueling as far as I could and it's still slow. I have never changed the oil and I'm waiting for a catastrophic failure so that I can get a new car, but the thing keeps going.

teeter totter. I think that was Hustler wearing the tights.


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Old 03-09-2010, 10:48 AM   #16
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Your wastegate? This one doesn't even have a wastegate, because it's non turbo.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:02 AM   #17
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Ah yeah, forgot about that. I'm not really into VW. I got this as part of a trade that I wasn't able to resell.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:40 PM   #18
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Best beaters ever. Get it.

Turboing it would be stupid cheap too if you ever want to cause a fun catastrophic failure in the trans. IIRC the exhaust flange on the head will accomodate a later model TDI mani. The fun of diesel is that the more air you put to it, the cooler/safer it runs, and no ignition to worry about which means 'knock' is not realy an issue unless you do something incredibly stupid with your fuel timing.
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