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are Volkswagens off-topic?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by John Larkin, Jul 1, 2006.

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  1. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Well, my 93 Golf finally refused to transport me, for the first time.
    I was about to come to a stop at a stop sign on a downhill (I *do*
    stop at stop signs) on Diamond at 29th, and it felt like I'd run into
    a boulder... it absolutely jammed. The engine and clutch worked, it
    shifted, but it moved like it was welded to the Earth, ie, not a mm.

    So I called the tow truck. Luckily, the location is high and green,
    breezy, with a nice view of downtown, so the wait was pleasant, even
    though the car was in the middle of the street. I got a few dirty
    looks and 5 offers of help, a pretty good ratio.

    The tow-truck driver asked to try it himself before he towed it away.
    It was still locked solid, but he put it in reverse and it backed
    right up! Going forward, it locked again in a couple of feet; backed
    once more, and it was fixed. Smart guy! I drove it to my repair guys,
    they pulled the tranny pan, and of course they found a gear tooth.

    This car has 62K miles on it, and I drive mostly on hills, and I must
    shift 20 times per mile, so that's a million or two shifts so far, so
    I guess I can't bitch too much. The synchronizers had been getting
    soft lately, so the gears have taken a beating.


    1) Should I keep driving it for a week or so, until I get a new car?
    There's no audible nastiness, so I must have just knocked off the top
    of a tooth.

    2) Should I get another VW? The 5-cylinder 2.5l looks interesting.

    3) Manual or automatic? Shifting keeps me amused and feels macho, and
    an automatic would make me feel like a little old lady, but these
    hills are hell on clutches and manual gearboxes.

    And why did they call them Rabbits in the first place, then call them
    Golfs, and now call them Rabbits again?

  2. Guest

    62k miles? You've been changing the gear oil and differential oil
    regularly, yes?

    Hoo boy...

    If you want reliability, IMHO nothing beats a Camry.

    Then again, at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, they have this new Ford "Five
    Hundred", which doesn't seem too bad. 'Course, it was a new car. I
    annoyed my co-workers on the trip by ripping into Ford (Fix Or Repair
    Daily... Found On the Road Dead)

    I just hope they don't have a plastic intake manifold, like GM likes to

    Recommend you just do some research on Consumer Reports before you buy.

  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello John,

    A friend had that happen on an Opel (Vauxhall) once. Took the tranny
    out, onto a kitchen table (this was back in college...), changed the
    gear and the tranny shifted better than new ones did. No idea why as we
    emptied a whole crate of cerveza while at it. What puzzled me was that
    the gears of "modern" cars are awfully tiny compared to the one I had in
    my 60's Citroen with much less horse power.

    After 62K? That's early. Does anybody else drive that car and maybe
    doesn't know how to shift correctly?
    If they took the tooth out maybe you'd luck out before the next one
    flies off. But when that happens on 101 during rush hour, oh boy...

    I was very happy with my big Audi station in Europe. Never let me down.
    Sold it to my former neighbor and when he was over here he said it's
    running just fine despite it's age of nearly 20 years now. He does long
    hauls to Sweden, pretty impressive.

    Japanese cars are very nice as well. Both of ours never let us down in
    10 years and some of the roads out here aren't exactly "roads". IMHO a
    Corolla has the same Fahrvergnuegen as a Golf or Jetta.

    In S.F. I'd side with Jim who advocates automatics in urban areas. Of
    course, in Germany they call that "Rentnerschaltung" (retiree tranny).

    No idea. In Europe they were always called Golf.
  4. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    62k miles is next to nothing for a modern car. You should at least get
    double the milage out of it. My previous car (Toyota diesel) had over
    200k miles before its engine started to produce some extra noises.
    Why do you need a 2.5l engine? Just more wear and tear and stuff that
    can and will break. Any Japanse car with at least a 1.6l engine will
    do just fine.
    Depends on the automatic gear box. Sometimes I drive around in a VW
    Passat with an automatic gear box, but it really sucks. It never gets
    it into the right gear at the right time.
  5. I have driven manual transmission vehicles exclusively since 1970, and
    never had a problem with a transmission. Clutches, yes, and a broken tooth
    in a differential once, but never in a tranny. I have had a 1965 Chevy
    Malibu, 1961 and 1966 Ford vans, 1972 and 1977 Toyota Corollas, a 1982
    Toyota pickup, a 1986 Isuzu Trooper, and presently a 1997 Saturn SW1 and a
    1998 SL1. Most of these vehicles had over 200,000 miles when I sold or
    junked them, generally because the frames were rotting away. I never
    changed the tranny lube. I have never owned a VW, but they seem to have a
    good reputation. It is possible that a manufacturing defect could have
    caused the broken tooth, but your comment on the synchronizers makes me
    wonder if there was another problem. Usually when my vehicle has had
    problems shifting, I have found problems with the clutch, causing poor
    disengagement and harsh shifting. If your vehicle is otherwise in good
    shape, and you like it, I would suggest getting a used or rebuilt tranny
    (and a new clutch). It would be a good idea to disassemble those components
    to see any other clues to their demise. In general, I would rather give
    money to a hard-working local mechanic than buy a new vehicle from
    manufacturers who refuse to offer high efficiency vehicles, and insist on
    pushing their zoom-zoom-zoom mentality.

    Good luck,

  6. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest


    62K??? My Q45 has 133K on it and can still outrun about everything

    Buy a Nissan product with automatic tranny.

    ...Jim Thompson
  7. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Sure, but the Golf was 14 years old, and all of the miles were city
    driving on some pretty steep hills. It's probably been shifted 1e5
    times. One hard failure in 14 years ain't bad.
    Too late, I just picked up a new manual-tranny Rabbit. It's
    impressive, actually a little too spohisticated for my rude-and-crude
    tastes. I know that it's impossible to perfectly balance an inline 4,
    and inline 6's can be made very smooth, but this inline 5 is
    phenomenal... I keep hitting the 6k redline limiter in first and
    second gear before I notice any drama. The mathematics of balancing a
    5-cylinder engine must be nasty. The sucker can sure climb hills.

    There are lots of 10 and 15% grade streets around here, and one 24%
    nearby, but it's one-way downhill. First couple of winter rains,
    you're guaranteed to slide through the stopsign at the end of the

    This ain't it:

  8. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Oops, correction: that block of 22nd street is a 31.5% grade. I should
    have bought a tractor.

  9. I've been thinking of getting the Rabbit, how is the handeling? 3000lbs is
    pretty heavy for a hatchback.

  10. Heh heh !!
    I was waiting for 'Dirty Harry' to come over a crest trailing car parts
  11. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    John Larkin's 72K would be equivalent to 133K if you flattened it out.


  12. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Have you ever been to San Francisco? I'm surprised he got that many
    miles out of a manual, especially if he's as easy on the clutch as he
    seems to hint. ;-)


  13. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Dunno... I've only driven it a few miles, so I don't know how it'll do
    when pushed. The bhp/lb is about 20% better than the old Golf, so at
    least it goes. It does feel German, everything tight and quick.
    Toyotas are better machines, but they just feel too American for me.

    It's amazing that the dealer had Audis that aren't very different,
    really, but cost 3x as much. Why would anybody pay $62K for a car?

  14. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello John,
    They put the five cylinder in there? My father had that engine in his
    Audi. In a Golf that'll make it a rocket.
  15. Steve Sousa

    Steve Sousa Guest

    You just bought it new and are already pushing it to the redline
  16. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    I did that a few times on the test drive before I figured it out. And
    why not? Breakin rules have changed a lot; most everybody now
    recommends that you don't run for sustained periods at constant RPM
    for the first 1000 miles, but they don't say to avoid high revs or

    Considering how much technology and how much electronic crap they keep
    adding to cars, it's paradoxical that they keep getting more reliable.
    Electronic instruments seem to follow the same trend, more complexity
    and more reliability.

  17. Mike Monett

    Mike Monett Guest

    I had the same qualms about babying the engine when I bought my second
    plane, a Piper Malibu, N4360V.

    In order to get off the ground, you have no option but to run at max power.
    Then, for cruise, you throttle back to 75%, or 65% if you want the greatest
    endurance. I don't recall any limitations on power setting during the
    breakin period. About the only thing different was the recommendation to
    use pure mineral oil for the first 25 hrs.

    The engine was designed in the 1930's and changed very little over the
    years. They usually ran 2,000 hrs to major overhaul, which is about the
    same as 400,000 miles in a car. (200mph * 2,000hr = 400,000miles)

    So, except for speeding tickets, you should be OK at redline:)


    Mike Monett
  18. Jeff L

    Jeff L Guest

    The only transmission I ever had a problem with was when I had my 5 speed
    1985 MPFI Camaro, at about 220,000 km's. I drove the *crap* out of that car
    (stuff like kicking it to the floor in 1st and doing a burnout, 0-100 km/h
    in about 5.5 seconds, sometimes a little better if the fuel injection was
    just right for the weather and could quickly hit 100 km/h in 2nd gear, wide
    open launches where everyone in the car is slammed to and glued to the seat,
    etc), and eventually 2nd gear's syncro went bad (sheared the 8 or 10
    alignment pins right off of it!). When the syncro went bad, trying to get it
    in second gear, probably too quickly a few times, I smashed the tips off the
    shift fork! This caused shifting into first to be progressively unreliable,
    and finding second was getting rare (but going from 1st to 3rd was no big
    deal, as the car had enough power to not need second at all, unless the
    extra performance was wanted). Being on a low budget at the time (student) I
    took a syncro and a shift fork from an S-10 transmission and fixed it. The
    newer transmissions went to a Borg Warner T-5 "World class", from the
    standard T5, which were built stronger, and used better 3 piece sycros.
  19. I test drove a 4dr today, Im very impressed. Its got spunk, but seems to
    only come in black or silver for the 2dr in 06'. Seemed nicer than the
    civic, less road noise too. I also liked the steering more than the new
    civic, it has a smoother and more controlled assist.

  20. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Around here, you literally see blocks of parked grey, silver, and the
    occasional black car. Most of the cars are the same color and albedo
    as asphalt, and basically camoflage themselves against the roadway. I
    tried to get the flaming red Rabbit, but they couldn't find one, so I
    had to settle for the blue, 4-door. Maybe I'll see how much Julio
    would want to paint it red.

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