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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the market for a used Jetta TDI. Based on what I've read, I'm looking for a 2005.5 or 2006 with the DSM transmission. I've narrowed it down to this model for two reasons....1. I like the newer body style and 2. I need an automatic for the stop and go traffic in my commute.

First off thanks for all of the info on this site regarding the quirks of these cars. It's much more helpful than the "I hate my VW because it broke again" comments found on edmunds. With your help, I'm fairly confident that I can sort out a new purchase with a careful pre-buy. The two issues that seem to stick out for the cars on the market (80-100K miles), seem to be the timing belt and cam shaft. In regards to both of these issues, I have a couple of questions.

1. Will VW release the service history to a potential buyer? If not is there a method for telling if the timing belt has been replaced outside of a dealer saying "Trust me, it's been done ;) ".

2. If you took the car to a VW dealer for a pre-buy inspection, would they know what I'm talking about if I asked them to inspect the cam? How much would you expect to pay for that inspection? Is this something that I should do myself?

Thanks,

Dave
(An air-cooled VW guy looking for a TDI)
 

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welcometomyturbodies
1. I'm pretty sure that you can ask the dealer to look up what has been serviced at VW dealers, don't know much more. There's no way to easily tell if the TB has been serviced unless it was recently changed and looks new. After the rollers are removed, they have a manufacture date stamped on them which gives a rough idea of when the roller was installed. No point in removing the belt just to look at the rollers.

2. They should but they probably won't be much help because they often deny cam damage. You could pay them to take the valve cover off and slowly spin the cam while you look at the lobe tips. It's easy to remove the valve cover if you know the trick on how to position the camshaft hub: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/multi/camshaft-inspection-replace-vw-tdi.htm This isn't something that most people would do during a pre-buy inspection but there's no harm in asking. Replacing the camshaft isn't too hard if you're also replacing the timing belt at the same time.

With the DSG transmission you also want to listen for knocking flywheels. There have been a number of DSG flywheels going bad which results in poor shifting and idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Chitty,

From what you're saying, I'll have to rely on dealer records for the timing belt and a careful ear for the cam/transmission. Your post leads me to believe that the above problems with the cam/transmission are possibilities, but not something to expect with most cars?

Dave
 

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To be honest, I don't know. If you look at online forums you see only problems. Some experienced mechanics hate the failure rate of DSG flywheels but I was personally looking for a DSG car until I found my current manual car. Then again, I can fix cars so I also have a skewed outlook on how inconvenient a repair might be for most users. If the car drives and shifts fine, I wouldn't worry about it until a problem comes up.
 

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It shouldn't take over 1 hour to inspect the cam.

Drive more worry less. But always have some money for emergency repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just an update.

I bought an 06 with 101,000 miles this past Saturday. I did do a carfax check which revealed some of it's history, but found that the VW service department had a much more detailed list of the service history. They even checked another car's history at another dealer when I provided them with a VIN. I went over the car and was very happy with it's condition for the amount of miles on it. The deciding factor for me though was the dealer's 30 day warranty on the drive train. I plan on having the DSG and TDI inspected next week by another service department to reveal any hidden problems while the warranty is in effect. With any luck, I'm hoping to see 300,000 miles out of this vehicle.

Thanks for the write ups and tech advice,
Dave
 
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