I've had my '84 190D for just about 6 years. In that time we've driven it just over 40,000 miles which realistically isn't all that much. Since we've had the Jetta I've been driving that a lot and the poor 190D has sat. Angie drives it some but when compared to the other vehicles in the fleet its really slow and sadly it handles poorly. A 190D thats correctly set up is quite spritely and handles nicely, mine never has done that even after replacing all the rubber components in the rear end.
So since neither of us really liked the car and since the tin worm was really getting its claws into the car I decided it was time to move on. My first step was to email Tom who sold me the Jetta. He runs a program for troubled teens and gets cars donated, because they didn't pay for the car and because they have no history I can generally get a really good deal. Tom had a 2005 Golf TDI with "a transmission problem." that nobody really knew anything about. We agreed on a price and the 190D went onto a UHaul trailer.
The minimum tax deduction I'll get from the car is just slightly less than the amount I would have asked for the car but its much easier to just haul it down to Tom than to have a parade of tire kickers come to my house and offer me their sympathies but no money. Also it'll help Tom's program do their good work so I feel good about that.
Then we returned with a Golf:
Its actually both better and worse than I'd expected.
Good tires, perfect interior, good running 150,000 mile engine, very little rust
Bent/rusted front fenders, bad transmission
The transmission is the really bad part. When we picked it up I backed the car up about 4 feet and the transmission locked completely. Fred thinks its probably the output shaft bearing on the transmission which has failed and is causing the transmission to lock when torque is applied, if the car is out of gear it rolls nicely. I hauled it directly to KMH Motors in Lowell and let Keith have his way with it. He's going to put in a new transmission, clutch and flywheel. These cars came with a dual mass flywheel (DMF) that is known to fail prematurely so we're going with a single mass flywheel (SMF) instead. This might give some clutch chatter but its probably a good choice, its cheaper too.
You might wonder why we're doing a clutch. As far as I know theres nothing wrong with the one in there but since the engine has to come out anyway this is quite an inexpensive time to do the job. He's also going to replace the rear main seal on the engine, again something smart to do while he's there.
At the other end of the engine he'll replace the timing belt and water pump. On a diesel engine if the timing belt fails the engine is junk. Since we have no history on this engine I don't want a failed timing belt to ruin the engine after putting all this work into the transmission. The water pump is driven by the timing belt, if it seizes it will ruin the timing belt and the engine and its another one of those things that should be done at this time since 90% of the labor is already taken up in replacing the timing belt.
The front fenders will want to be replaced, I need to get a price from a shop on this before I decide if I'll do it myself. Fortunately the parts are relatively cheap. If I had a shop do it we'll use new fenders, if I do it myself I'll get used fenders. My worry doing it myself with brand new fenders is that they won't fit correctly and I don't have the proper skills to get them just right. With luck I'll be able to get the right color in used fenders but even if I can't they should be relatively easy to paint.
Anyway I'm excited about this car, its engine is the Pump Deuse type which makes around 100hp stock compared to the Jetta's 90hp so it should be a little quicker than the Jetta at the cost of a little fuel. For about $300 I can raise that to 124hp just with a computer upgrade which will make the car even faster and might actually get a little of the fuel economy back. Making more power generally means raising efficiency which generally results in increased fuel economy, especially if I can keep from driving too fast. Once more into the breach!