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My Cousin in law has a 1999.5 Jetta 5 speed TDI with 142,000 miles on it. He just replaced the clutch and said that he has a dealer reciept for the timeing belt replacement at 90K by the previous owner.
He is only asking $3,800 whicih is a great price, but after looking at the how to article on changing the timing belt it looks like a nightmare to work on these little things. I'm a pretty good Mechanic but on truck not mini cars.
I am pretty sure I am going to get it but I am curious, generaly how much does it cost to have the timing belt changed by a TDI Mechanic? It looks like I could do it my self for about $400 to $450 if I rent the tools. If it cost $1000 at a garage you have to save a lot of gas to make it worth it it seems.
What is this boards opinion?
 

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That's very reasonable miles for the year. A garage might charge that much but someone working out of their garage might charge $300 plus parts. IMHO, do it yourself and learn about the car and you already have most of the tools. There's also FAQ article on buying a used mk4 that has lots more common problems.
 

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Thanks.
It is very tempting. I drive 440 miles each week to work and my 2008 4x4 ram mega cab only gets 14.5 mpg. So the car will pay for it's self pretty fast. I almost always work on my own vehicles and equipment myself but that Timing belt job looks daunting.
 

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Go for it. It looks daunting but just read the instructions a few times and you'll see that it's not that bad. I rent the tools upon request and I rent the one that doesn't require you to remove the valve cover. This saves time and stripped valve cover bolts. Send me a PM if interested. The only tricky things about the job is removing the motor mount and supporting the engine and 2: timing the pump. This is why you need the tools. You also need VCDS to check the timing and adjust if needed. The tools are just to make sure the engine will start and it's in range.

For the price, known history, that is a good price. I would DIY the maintenance since it sounds like you have some experience and another car to drive if there's any complications.
 

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I bought my 1999.5 in may '10 with 154k and changed the tb with a local mech last month at 178k. Dealer wanted $1400 and local charged $700. Compared to my wife's car (30mpg vs 48mpg), the fuel savings paid for the tb. I watched him and he did it in 4 hrs. Also the dealer would have done the 60k mile kit and the local did the 100k mile kit. Keep the Mega Cab for snow dayz.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
$700 isn't bad. I will definetly keep the Mega Cab. It has a lifetime bumper to bumper warranty. it just gets bad MPG.
 

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$1400.00 from the dealer seems a little high to me. We do them in our shop closer to the $700.00 range, and I used to appologise for the high price.

If you have proof that the dealer did a belt at 90K, you can easily go another 90 till it is due. You stated the car has 142K so there should be no neeed to woory for quite a while.

I would insist on a metal impeller water pump too when you do the belt eventually. The plastic ones can break free from the shaft and not pump water anymore.
 
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