Cadet57
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96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:40 am

Im considering purchasing one as im sick of filling up my Lumina and have always liked the Jetta. First, how are these cars maintnance wise? Any major problems? And if somethin goes wrong are parts wicked expensive? Also hows the 5 speed tranny in the '97? Also, whats the difference between the GL and the GT?

Thanks.
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airxliban
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:58 am

I had a '99 and a '00 both of which were Mark IV jettas.

Maintenance wise - they ain't BMW expensive, but they ain't cheap. They were built in the Puebla, Mexico plant which isn't well known for the quality of its construction. Build quality isn't amazing, things do break. In general though, the drivetrain is pretty solid, at least in my experience.

My '99 had the old tech 2.0 litre four banger with 115hp which I suspect any Mark III non-VR6 model that you'd buy would have. Early on the coil pack broke but was fixed under warranty. Otherwise no problems at all with the engine. Though to be fair I didn't have the 2.0 as long as I had the 2000 model VR6 for.

The engine has a fair bit of torque down low and has a decent sound to it but it's not ideal for passing at freeway speeds. Did manage to get around 30mpg out of it.

5-speed tranny in the '97 - no personal experience but in general my understanding is that the transmissions themselves are pretty solid. It'll depend on how many miles it's been driven and what kind of a driver operated it. Make sure you figure out how recently the clutch was replaced. If I'm not mistaken, clutch replacement on the Jettas are quite complicated and need the entire assembly including the flywheel to be replaced as well (an estimate on my VR6 was about $1200 from the dealer) and the dealer also said that a mechanic charging you much less would only be replacing the clutch, which is not the proper procedure.

In regards to shifting, the gates are well positioned and the shift action is quite smooth and precise. Certainly better than the equivalent Japanese competitor's manual gearbox, imho.

All in all the only thing I would urge you to think about is the maintenance. It's not cheap, and the Jettas aren't built like Civics.
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
Sabena332
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:13 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Thread starter):
96-98 Jetta

Almost new, buy it!

Signed,

UTA_flyinghigh
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canuckpaxguy
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:27 am

This was Smurfette, a 1998 VW Jetta K2 Edition.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

If I recall, the K2 was simply the GT package with a few upgrades like Recaro seats, the winter package and a sunroof. It also had a fancy gearshift knob.

I bought it used and the owner before me drove it HARD. She was a great car in terms of gas, roadholding, quality etc., but I had major problems around 110,000 kms with brakes, A/C, ignition, muffler (one thing after another) and then with the electrical system. I ended up replacing her with a brand new Jetta (2003 at the time) since I just didn't have time to replace everything.

I come from a long line of VW owners, so I would always recommend a VW. That being said, make sure you find a mechanic who loves VWs and knows what they're doing. If you're mechanically inclined yourself, even better. VWs are an odd breed, you either get a complete lemon, or an indestructible work of art with great longevity.

G
 
Cadet57
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:32 am

Quoting Canuckpaxguy (Reply 3):

Nice looking car. And thanks for the help. As for me, Im taking a '98 gt for a ride tomorrow. As for maintnance, I know my way around a car, along with my dad, but we've never done imports, but luckily a kid I graduated with's dad owns a garage that just does euro imports. So i'll talk to him about looking the car over too.
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
JAGflyer
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:46 am

Paging CaptainGomes. He's the resident Jetta expert.
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AirframeAS
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:00 am

The 2000 Jettas were really cool, expecially the blue speedometer lights were really awesome! Wished all cars had that.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
canuckpaxguy
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:38 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 6):
expecially the blue speedometer lights were really awesome!

Like this?
Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

G
 
airxliban
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:07 pm

Here's are a couple shots of my 2000 Jetta GLS VR6:

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b174/airliban/Jetta/DSC00938.jpg

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b174/airliban/Jetta/DSC00778.jpg
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
AirframeAS
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:56 pm

Quoting Canuckpaxguy (Reply 7):
Like this?

Yes!!!!!!!  Silly

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 8):

Thanks for the awesome pics!!!
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
Cadet57
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:48 pm

Ok, just drove a 1997 Jetta GT, auto. OMFG sweet friggin car.. I love it. That little 2.0 has a lot of spunk and the suroof is sweet too. Plus, i looked pretty fly  Wink in it.

Ps, where is the bloddy tranny fluid dipstick?....

That being said, my dad calls me and says his friends daughter is selling a 1999 passat with less miles... oh decisions decisions....
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
airxliban
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:23 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 10):
That being said, my dad calls me and says his friends daughter is selling a 1999 passat with less miles... oh decisions decisions....

That sounds good. What are the specs? At the very least it'll have the 1.8T with 150hp and it'll be built in Germany as opposed to good ole Mehico...
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
Cadet57
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:31 am

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 11):
What are the specs?

Not sure yet. My father is going to talk to her father tomorrow and he'll get the scoop on it. But as of now, thats all I know.
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
columba
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:41 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 10):
That being said, my dad calls me and says his friends daughter is selling a 1999 passat with less miles... oh decisions decisions....

If the price is right go for it !!
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
N1120A
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:43 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Thread starter):
Im considering purchasing one as im sick of filling up my Lumina and have always liked the Jetta

You are making a smart move

Quoting Cadet57 (Thread starter):
Also hows the 5 speed tranny in the '97? Also, whats the difference between the GL and the GT?

The 5 speed is great. While VW gear shifting has always been a bit ropy, the transmission shifts positively and efficiently. As far as the difference between the GL and the GT, the GL is the base model which comes with a good compliment of standard equipment (all have A/C and power steering) while the GT is a step up with a nice cosmetic spoiler, upgraded suspension/wheels/tires and a nicer interior. I drove a 1997 Jetta GT for almost a year before getting my M3 and it was an excellent car.

Quoting Cadet57 (Thread starter):
First, how are these cars maintnance wise? Any major problems?

No major problems. They are actually quite reliable and moreso than the Jetta IV's that came after them.

Quoting Cadet57 (Thread starter):
And if somethin goes wrong are parts wicked expensive?

Contrary to what Airxliban said, VW's are actually more expensive to get parts for than BMWs. BMWs, even the most modern ones, can be pretty easily worked on by any number of specialist mechanics outside and are pretty straight forward in their construction. VW's are more complicated and getting parts outside the dealer setting, even for a car dealer like my father, is nearly impossible. Now, the Jetta you are looking at will be easier and cheaper than the newer ones, but the parts can be a drain on the wallet. My advice would be to just keep it well maintained and not worry about things breaking

Quoting Canuckpaxguy (Reply 3):
but I had major problems around 110,000 kms with brakes, A/C, ignition, muffler (one thing after another

None of those things are really "major" problems, with the exception of the starter. Brakes wear, A/Cs have issues and mufflers are available anywhere.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
koad
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:54 am

From own experience I can say that if you buy an used Jetta and keep it in good condition while you own it you may get almost the same money back after some years if you want to sell it.
Passat does sound good too though...
 
N1120A
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:05 pm

Quoting Koad (Reply 15):
Passat does sound good too though...

While Passats are nice cars, they don't have the resale value that Jetta's do. Passats are historically a much harder sell on the used market than Jettas
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Cadet57
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:13 pm

Well the Passat is out cuz she isnt selling anymore... And the Jetta I drove turned out to be an accident rebuild.... So im testing two more today... as well as a subaru outback and a ford focus...
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
N1120A
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:22 pm

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 17):
as well as a subaru outback and a ford focus...

Outbacks are good for your neck of the woods because of their all wheel drive traction. Ford Foci are much better than the Escort they replaced and actually have very high resale these days though their fit and finish won't be as good as a MKIII Jetta. Also, the Jetta should be cheaper than either of those.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Molykote
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:30 pm

Quoting Cadet57 (Thread starter):
Im considering purchasing one as im sick of filling up my Lumina and have always liked the Jetta. First, how are these cars maintnance wise? Any major problems? And if somethin goes wrong are parts wicked expensive? Also hows the 5 speed tranny in the '97? Also, whats the difference between the GL and the GT?

Thanks.

The Jetta isn't a bad car but in this vintage you're going to be looking at small and annoying hardware problems (door handles, interior switchgear, exterior trim, etc). The powertrain is fine.

The 5 speed feels ok but not great.

I think you are on the right track going with the 4 cylinder with this car. It's a good handling front drive car but if you're going to pay for a V-6 I'd just as soon pick up a used 3 series from the mid 1990s and expect the same minor problems with a better driving experience. If you have any mechanical inclination the 3 series is easier to work on and could end up having an equal or lesser operating cost (not to mention being a "real" German car - both in terms of build location and driving experience).

I'm not trying to talk you out of this era Jetta (it's actually my favorite Jetta that VW has produced) but you might be in for a number of small nagging issues like half of the people I know who own one.
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N1120A
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:44 pm

Quoting Molykote (Reply 19):
It's a good handling front drive car but if you're going to pay for a V-6 I'd just as soon pick up a used 3 series from the mid 1990s and expect the same minor problems with a better driving experience.

Other than the power window controls, E36 3-series have no problem with fit and finish at 10+ years old. Also, they don't have V-6 power, rather the more reliable and balanced Inline 6 power. Further, they are rear drive, not front. I own an E36 3-series and love it beyond description but I have one thing to say about it. It absolutely hates snowy, icy roads. After they have been salted down for a day, it is fine, but on that first day the thing is near useless. The Jetta is a better choice given that you live in Hartford. If you were to go BMW, I would definately invest in snow rubber.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Molykote
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:01 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
Other than the power window controls, E36 3-series have no problem with fit and finish at 10+ years old. Also, they don't have V-6 power, rather the more reliable and balanced Inline 6 power. Further, they are rear drive, not front. I own an E36 3-series and love it beyond description but I have one thing to say about it. It absolutely hates snowy, icy roads. After they have been salted down for a day, it is fine, but on that first day the thing is near useless. The Jetta is a better choice given that you live in Hartford. If you were to go BMW, I would definately invest in snow rubber.

No need to sell me on the E36.

One of ours was a 5 speed/I-6/sport package and probably one of our favorite cars we've ever owned. At one time in the late 1990s we had late model 3, 5, and 7 series vehicles in the driveway but the 3 was always the car the car missing from the driveway.

N1120A is correct about the reliability as well - Few if any serious mechanical problems exist for this chassis. The only significant issue coming to mind is a water pump that is prone to failure at 70k (due to a plastic impeller) - the replacement pump comes with an improved metal impeller. Radiators are another BMW weak point. Neither of these problems are catastrophic if you can read your temperature gauge.

If you've got crappy roads and drive hard you'll probably replace suspension bushings more often than you'd like too - then again, you asked about the Jetta in the first place so I'll let the E36 talk rest!
Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
 
Cadet57
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:04 am

Ok. Today I drove a 98 subaru outback. a 02 focus and a 99 jetta GL. of the three, the outback was the quickest and roomiest, but is the worst on gas. In second came the jetta due to features and gas sipping ability and last was the focus due to a very uncomfortable seat and weird controls and console design.

Well folks. Pending my friend buying my car on friday, I will be the owner of a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta  Smile
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PositiveClimb
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:25 am

Well, congratulations!

Hope you will get your new car and that you will have lots of fun with it! Should be a very nice ride Big grin

By the way: a '99 built Jetta is the newer one which looks like the one pictured in reply 7 and 8, right?!

Best regards,
Fabian/PositiveClimb Big grin
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Cadet57
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Thu Jun 22, 2006 3:25 am

Quoting PositiveClimb (Reply 23):
Well, congratulations!

Thanks. But i'll save it for fri. That is the day where my friend decides to buy my car or not. The whole thing hinges on him  Wink

Quoting PositiveClimb (Reply 23):
By the way: a '99 built Jetta is the newer one which looks like the one pictured in reply 7 and 8, right?!

Nope. Those started in '00. But for a car with only 65k. Im not complaining. Its power everythin, a working a/c and alloys. And I'll have the newest car in the house  biggrin 
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PositiveClimb
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Thu Jun 22, 2006 3:45 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 24):

Nope. Those started in '00.

Ah, I see. Well, seems to be a very nice car nonetheless! Hope your friend decides to buy your current car - I'll keep my fingers crossed  Wink

Best regards,
Fabian/PositiveClimb Big grin
A380 - love at first flight!
 
N1120A
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RE: 96-98 Jetta

Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:24 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 24):
Quoting PositiveClimb (Reply 23):
By the way: a '99 built Jetta is the newer one which looks like the one pictured in reply 7 and 8, right?!

Nope. Those started in '00. But for a car with only 65k. Im not complaining. Its power everythin, a working a/c and alloys. And I'll have the newest car in the house

In Germany, the '99 Jetta was the Jetta IV but the US still saw Jetta IIIs for part of the year. It was actually possible to get '99 models of both versions.
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