Long Rant - My Lemon?

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by sunkenloot, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. sunkenloot

    sunkenloot Veteran Member Gold Member

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    Just need to tell this story to vent a bit. Seems like I am road blocked everywhere I turn so maybe one of my Nasty brothers have some insight.

    In February this year I was feeling the gas pinch driving a 97 z71 Chevy truck. It was in great shape but would need new tires and a few other minor things before the end of the year. I began looking at smaller cars. I had owned a Honda years ago when I had a couple hundred miles commute. It ran great and never gave me any problems other than being somewhat boring to drive. My wife had always had Volkswagens and had great experiences with them and I was sold when I took her car in for an old change one day. The service department was top notch. So I began looking for a used vw.

    I had never had a turbo car before and new there was a big subgroup of tuners that could really make them scoot. I locked in on the GTI or Golf models.

    As luck had it I was out about an hour and a half away from the house one afternoon for an appointment and had some time to kill so I stopped into a vw dealer. After snooping around at the new cars for a while the salesman asked if he could help me. I told him I was killing time and couldn’t get into a new car right now but had been looking at used GTIs. He tell me they just got in a loaded black 03 GTI 1.8 turbo that hadn’t even been processed yet. I went around back and knew that was the one I wanted. I told him to clean it up service it call me back.

    When the call came I drove the hour and half to the dealer and drove the car. I really liked it but noticed it had a check engine light on. I mentioned this and he had a tech check it out. They told me it was a bad sensor and would fix it. I agreed to purchase the car on condition they fixed the sensor and check engine light.

    Call came again and I once again drove the hour and a half out, did the deal and left with my new car. All was good but once I got home I smelled coolant and noticed it was leaking a bit.

    I called the dealer and explained it was leaking coolant and he told me to bring it in. I agreed I would bring it in a few days on Saturday. A few days went by and on Friday I noticed the transmission began to slip 2-3 gear under spirited acceleration. It also threw a code. Being a bit panicked I swung by a vw specialist close to the house to check the code. They explained it was a “code of death: for the trans and told me that no one would service the trans but the standard procedure was to replace the whole thing with either factory re-man or a used trans. He said it could run from 2-5 K depending on what we did.

    So, I called the dealer and explained the issue. He told me to bring it in they would look at it. Now I had purchased a 100k mile 3rd party warranty with the car but, after reading thru it said it would not cover “pre existing” conditions and would not be able to have acclaim file for 90 days and 5k miles. I was beginning to sweat a bit.

    So, Saturday I drove the hour and a half yet again to the dealer. They told me there was a cracked coolant flange and they would fix it for free. I was happy about this because the cost would have been over $700. They also verified the trans was bad and agreed to put a new transmission in the car. I was super exited; this was the stellar vw service I had seen in the past.

    A week went by and they called to tell me the car was ready so again I haul up to the dealer and pick up the car. He told me the tech had just gotten back from a test drive and it checked out all good. All seemed well and drove fine getting home.

    The next morning I jumped in and took off and holy hell the trans was slipping again! It wasn’t nearly as bad but it was there. I got better as the car got hot but still wasn’t right.

    I called the dealer and he agreed to look at it. They checked it out and agreed the trans had problems. They told me they would put anther one in again at no cost to me. I was terribly frustrated but I was happy the dealer was going to make good. He said the trans had a 1-year warranty and the company would replace it.

    Another week went by and the dealer tells me they got the new trans installed and it turns out it was bad as well and it would be another week before they could get another shipped and installed. At this point I was twisted and began asking him how this could be possible. He tells me the transmissions he is getting are USED and its just luck of the draw what they get.

    This time it took two weeks to get the car back and I was really at a loss for what to think. I got the car home and all seemed well until the next morning. The SOB was slipping again! I would go away totally when the car warmed up but it still wasn’t fixed.

    By this time I was pissed and drove the car up to the dealer on Sunday and let it sit so it would be cold so I could show the tech exactly what the issue was. When Monday came I showed up first thing and had the tech do a ride along. He told me that was normal for these cars and that’s how they act for “performance driving and that I was driving to aggressively. What the hell?

    I had a headed discussion with the serve manger and told him his tech was an utter moron and didn’t know what he was talking about so I drove the service manger around. He also told me he thought this was acceptable operation. I was so hot I was going to get arrested if I went off in the dealer so I asked him what the bottom line was. He said he would contact the warranty company to send out an agent to see if they would cover another trans.

    The serive guy came out and said they would not replace the trans because there was nothing wrong with it. They would not replace it again unless it began throwing codes.

    I took the car to multiple independents and told them my story. I either got “ we don’t want to get involved” “we can’t do anything unless it throws a code.”
    This brings me to where I am now. Lost, frustrated, and at wits end. I have contacted an attorney to see if I have any recourse. I also have another dealer going to look at it on Monday to see if I have any different luck but am not expecting much.

    I wouldn’t feel right selling the car because I know it got problems and I’m getting an ulcer from having to pay for a car they isn’t fixed right.
    From my research I can just about say with certainty it is a sticking solenoid. The car has another odd habit of hunting for a gear after a quick deceleration then back on the gas. Feels like it goes into neutral for a second. I could spend the $400 on a solenoid kit and try and do it myself but looking under the hood of this thing is intimidating to say the least. Not to mention it could void any warranty I may have on the trans.

    Today I dropped by a vw indy and talked to them about doing just the solenoids but for this model trans they say they wont touch it. While I was there they mentioned they did the tunes for these cars to be able to crank up the boost. I was halfway tempted to have them put the hottest tune they could on it to see if I could get the trans to blow but they seems risky at best.

    I know this is a long story but I haven’t been able to share this with anyone ther than who just wants me out of their shop. It sucks hoping my brand new to me car get stolen or burns to the ground. Makes me love my Z so much more.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Odin

    Odin Member

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    I'm sorry you have having trouble but if it goes away completely when warm and only occurs when you get on it then I would just drive it and see what happens during the warranty period.

    Good luck.
     
  3. MichJim72

    MichJim72 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I just got rid of a Jetta in July and it had a 4 sp auto that would do the same thing. After reaching temp the slippage would go away. Had the car 3 years and never touched the trans. I think it may be something inherent to Vdubs.

    One piece of advice, buy a Vag Com scanner. Visit the Ross Tech website, they sell the scanners. It allows you to scan the car when they throw codes. They are somewhat expensive ($300) but they helped me many times avoid trips to the dealer or service station by doing the work yourself. I am sticking kicking myself for throwing mine in with the sale because the guy I sold it to was not mechanically inclined and he was looking at it like it was just another computer cord.

    Oh and as for feeling guilty about selling it, this may comfort you. I bought the Jetta 3 years ago for my son for 4 grand (130k). Put minimal money into it, drove it until it started to need a lot of stuff (155k). Sold it needing the following: AC recharge, power door locks not working, 1/2 key fob missing, thermostat malfunctioning (overheating) low compression (head gasket/water pump). Windshield cracked. First guy to look at it offer me 3k cash. I kept telling everything it needed and that he may not make it home but he didn't care. So if you are so inclined, sell it with no regrets.

    BTW nice car. Looks sweet.
     
  4. Damon23

    Damon23 Veteran Member

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    Good info to know. We are in the market for a car and were looking at Jettas and Golfs, well, I guess we are not anymore.
     
  5. LayZ

    LayZ Veteran Member

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    VW's are great when they are new. Not so hot when they are used. I know a guy had one think it was the 1.8 turbo jetta. Wolfburg or something like that. PIA to tune because all parts had to come from VW germany. That took months to get, then it cost an arm and a leg. Let me tell you a little something about turbo cars, I have a 04 srt-4 I bought new. Keep them stock. I slapped a 50 trim in mine along with allot of extra support mods, bigger intercooler, full 3" cat back exhaust, piggy back ECU smt6 which just took a dive on me and if you don't buy reputable no one can tune the thing. Don't go greedy emanage, nobody will touch that POS. Had to go aem for a new tuner piggy back ecu. That was $800, plus a $880 tune and install.
    If you have trans issues now you will continue to have trans issues. VW's run great till they don't. I kept it american rice for a reason, I didn't have a ton of cash to throw at it, to fix it. You would have been better off with the honda as far as mods and parts. Tons of parts and tons of following with it.
    It does look sharp thou...
     
  6. Joekool

    Joekool Veteran Member

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    Lets see what goes wrong with those cars - there are the trans problems like you are having, very common and $$$, coolant leaks all the time from those plastic flanges, coolant temp sensors always fail (not a lot of $$ for those atleast), MAF sensors fail often (kinda pricey), impeller falling off the water pump (mucho $$ and can be very tricky to diag), CV boots always seem to tear open right around 100k miles, suspension hard on tires and no way to adjust individual camber (only total camber has a minimal adjustment on some models), the oil filter adaptor o-ring always fail and leak oil like an SOB (seen a few engines ruined from that one and the water pump failures).

    Im sure if I sat here long enough I could come up with a lot more problems but these are the ones that I see the most (and hate the most).
     
  7. Knuckle Dragger

    Knuckle Dragger Mayor of Simpleton Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    OK, hijack How do you set total camber on them? Did you mistype and mean toe?
     
  8. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    You have been a victim of ze unpimped auto.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. 78TypeLTCamaro

    78TypeLTCamaro Veteran Member Gold Member

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    i had two vw's, a 92 and a 98, but they were simpler cars compared to the MK4 chassis. I suggest checking out VWVortex.com. Both of my cars had manual transmissions and at the time German automatics were not the best. Good luck
     
  10. Rich Schmidt

    Rich Schmidt Veteran Member

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    I don't know anything about V dubs,but my 2011 Camaro has "torque management" that closes the throttle during WOT shifts,its annoying as heck. Newfangled computer controlled cars are getting weirder by the day. It wouldn't surprise me if it were normal for your car.
     

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