1995 VW Passat? Good? Average? Run away?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Dagofast, May 12, 2013.

  1. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    Here's the deal: This really is the proverbial little old ladies car. My almost 80 year old mom has hit the stage where she has decided she is done driving. She has offered to sell her beloved little sedan (for a VERY reasonable price) to our almost 18 year old son who will be a HS senior next fall.

    It has a whopping 43k miles on it, and has always been garaged except for the last 2 months at her new adult retirement community where transportation vans are provided that she much prefers. It had 35k on it when she moved from Vegas to southern Oregon 9 years ago, so she obviously isn't going to be exactly missing the open road. :deal

    My sister lives nearby and has texted me down some requested pictures. Cosmetically, the car is almost perfect. The tires look good, but they have date codes going back to 2001, so new rubber will be on the list before we even attempt to drive it anywhere but the nearest tire store. The battery is flat from sitting for the last 2 months but that's a cheap & easy fix. It has a normally aspirated 2.0L 4 cylinder (NOT a TDI!? :eek1) with an auto trans that mom initially hated since all her previous cars had sticks. She did grow to accept it as she got older as being the right choice. That is also the only feature the boy isn't wild about, bless his evil little heart. :evil

    Insurance will be cheaper than the 177k mile '99 Suburban he has been driving since he got his permit. Needless to say, so will his gasoline bill. :lol3
    Two plane tickets from PHX to MFR will run about $225. So far, I'm not seeing any reason NOT to jump on this.

    Anyone know of a reason to take a pass? There isn't a whole lot of information out there on models this old, but VW's in general wouldn't be my first pick due to some of the bitching I hear from friends that have had one or even here on ADV where it seems only love/hate opinions exist. I've heard window regulators drop like flies at $250 a pop, door latches are made of cream cheese and that electrical gremlins can rival an old english sports car, but the motors and trans are solid. Are parts still readily available from VW for a car this old?

    What say the collective? :ear
    #1
  2. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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  3. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    Tires will be an odd (225/50R15) impossible to find size.

    other than that, I've hit nothing.
    #3
  4. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    what's not to like:dunno


    ANything in that range would be a gamble at some level- better the devil yo know

    SOunds like a good road trip :deal
    #4
  5. Ursa Major

    Ursa Major Bemused

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    I had a '96 Passat TDI (same platform) that I drove for about 30k miles in 9 months, then foolishly sold. Different drivetrain (TDI and manual), but I had zero problems with the car. The places to look are vwvortex.com (I assume they have a B4 forum) and on TDIClub.com - I'd bet that a much higher percentage of TDI's from that platform (96 and 97) have survived than the gassers, and the guys there know the problems better than most.
    #5
  6. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    Unless it has been documented as already being done, make sure the fluids and timing belt get changed, along with everything the TB touches. they may have not many miles, but the car does have almost 20 years...

    Other than that, Fly and Drive!
    #6
  7. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    This one is a GLS and has 195/60/14's on it. Still not exactly a popular size, but there are enough to choose from.
    #7
  8. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    Timing belt! :yikes Thanks for reminding me why I hated those things. I'll have mom check her service logs. She thinks she had a major service done about 2 years ago. Hopefully, the belt has been changed.
    #8
  9. vwboomer

    vwboomer Buffoon

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    the 2.slow is bullet proof. typical issues would be things like window regulators. Not a big deal really. The timing belt if it hasnt been done, isnt a big deal to change. Nothing a couple hours cant fix.

    I owned a 96. Some small problems but nothing that kept it off the road. I wish I hadnt sold it :cry I put a stage2 supercharger on it, coilovers, and a whoopass stereo. sigh.
    #9
  10. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

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    We have a '94 Golf GLI, my son drives it. It has done short distances all its life and is now up to 190000km. It has been pretty good, but is now slowly falling apart. Not a speck of rust on it, though.

    It has had the window problem, but from what I could tell, it's a little plastic clip that breaks. Each time its done that, I went and wrapped some fine wire around it, to hold it in place. It's been going for a few years like that. Oh, the air-conditioning has died years ago. The compressor shat itself and contaminated the system.

    It's basically a solid car and I have no regrets.
    #10
  11. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    Thanks for all the feedback!
    Dagoboy has decided he must have it. Airline tickets booked...the adventure will commence on Memorial day. :clap
    #11
  12. longwallman

    longwallman In the Dark

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    I don't think you will regret it. My 96 Passat TDI wagon was the best car I have ever owned.
    #12
  13. Commuter Boy

    Commuter Boy Long timer

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    Make sure all the electrics work, VW's of that generation can be hit and miss in the wiring department.

    I don't think you'll find anyone who will have something good to say about VW slushboxes. It might be ok if the previous owner was religious about fluid changes.
    #13
  14. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    If it has a sensor in the coolant reservoir then unplug it and check for antifreeze. It will eventually fill the wire harness with antifreeze. If it is good, then cut a weep hole in the seal do it does not do more than kill it's self.

    Check the struts and CV joint boots, some of the later German rubber is NOT good.

    If it has a fuel filter change it along with all the oils and flush the brake fluid. Be sure to stomp on the brakes hard, the rubber brake lines can also be bad, see comments on German rubber above.

    And timing, Serpentine or V belts as already stated OE is made of German rubber, see comments above.

    Then enjoy a bonding drive with your son. Make it fun.

    Rod
    #14
  15. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    This morning my sister and her hubby went over to mom's to pick up the car and take it in for an oil change and a new battery. After they jump started it and my bro in law drove away in it, mom started to cry. :cry

    Sis asked her if she wanted to change her mind, said it would be okay with us if she did. Mom said no, it's just hard to give up your independence and the possessions you worked hard for your whole life. Giving up her piano was really hard too.

    Getting old sucks ass. :deal
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  16. discochris

    discochris Long timer

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    Normally, I'd tell anyone looking at a 1990's era VW to get their head examined twice, but since this was your mom's car and you know the entire history (and the miles are freakishly low), it's probably a pretty good deal for a kid car.
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  17. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    I hear you. Interestingly, I've heard the same sentiment about early 2000 era VW's too. I'm wondering if VW somehow manages to create new legends of unreliability every decade yet somehow stay in business? There must be a hardcore group of loyal owners that keep them going. :deal

    We made arrangements for new tires yesterday. We have to go about 200 miles north to Eugene to find a Discount/America's Tire but its worth it since we buy all of our tires from them here in Phoenix and their warranty and service are excellent. Dagoboy was beside himself with joy at finding out Oregon has no sales tax! He felt like he was really sticking it to the man! :lol3 Plus we can check out the U of O campus when we are there and check that off our potential colleges list.

    We hit our local VW dealer yesterday to see if they had a record of a timing belt change for that VIN# and they were spectacularly unhelpful. He never even touched a keyboard, saying only warranty repairs were on computer records. When I inquired about the cost of a timing belt change, he cavalierly tossed out $1250+tax, again without consulting a book or a computer. Needless to say this car will NEVER roll on to their lot.

    I'll be calling around for some quotes for getting the timing belt change done in Medford at some independent shops today. Just for giggles, my sister is going to call the Medford V-Dub dealer to see what they would charge. Her daughter has a Tiguan that they take there for service and she says they seem nice enough.
    #17
  18. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

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    You're doing it wrong.

    The part you've done right: getting a teenager a cheap car. Looks perfect for him. The bad: he needs to learn how to do some maintenance!

    Make the boy change the belt himself so that he can learn what hell he is putting some poor mechanic through when he puts down a boat load of his own money the next time the timing belt needs changing.:lol3
    #18
  19. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    amen, amen!
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  20. Dagofast

    Dagofast Full giggety ahead.

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    Oh, trust me when I tell you I've tried to mentor the boy on how to fix bicycles, motorcycles, cars or you name it. This kid has little mechanical aptitude and even less interest in working on cars. If it were my car and I could pack enough tools on the plane to do the job myself, I would. But its his car, his money and his choices that he has to live with. Time is also a factor, we need to be back in AZ by Friday. He has the SAT test on Sat and starts summer school on the following Monday.

    It's looking like the Medford VW dealer has their stuff together. They quoted $762 to install a new factory belt, water pump, tensioners and both pulleys. All covered by their 3 year 50,000 mile warranty. The local independent quoted $625 to change the belt and water pump only using aftermarket parts. He kept insisting the tensioner and pulleys were fine with that low of miles, but if we insisted on a new tensioner, then add $100 to the price.

    I know who I'd go with. I'm waiting to hear from the kid on his decision.
    #20