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I've been sweating through a long and seemingly unending repair process on my 06 TDI, affectionately known as Jetta Jameson (what can I say, she's a cheap, dirty girl who gets around). She had 197K miles and it was time for a timing belt. Easy enough, until I inspected the cam. I really caught the cam just in the nick of time. Frank helped me with a replacement.

I'm now $1475 into repairs.

Couldn't time the engine. Cam position sensor was dead. That would have been a lot easier if I didn't have the timing belt in. Still, it was pretty fast. Just a matter of waiting on parts.

Add another $50.

The intake flapper motor was throwing codes too. Fast, but another $100 gone and a few days for the parts.

VCDS showed me that my cylinder to cylinder idle stability was pretty marginal. I should have pulled the injectors and had them serviced while I was there. Crossing my fingers on the success of Diesel Purge in cleaning them.

Decided to fix the A/C with a new solenoid valve from Polar King. $70 plus $130 to discharge my system. Using the A/C again showed that my blower motor was failing. (by the way, the Polar king fix worked great!)

And oh yeah, the serpentine belt tensioner was weak so I needed a new one of those. $75 for a new tensioner. It didn't take too long, but again, would have faster if I'd just done it with the timing belt.

Here's where Rockauto came in. Reading Rockauto's web site only directs you to two (manual or auto temp control) types of blower motors. But there's a catch. Some auto temp controls have male electrical connectors and some have female. Better take yours out (amazingly easy) and check before ordering. Make sure you look at each option and check the pictures. Rock auto will not pay the return shipping if you choose the wrong one. There's no way that I've found to talk to a human there anymore.

Add $95 by the time you include three shipping charges (to get the wrong one here, to return it, and to get the right one here).

Commence with the brake work. After 197K miles, the friction material came off the inner pad on the right front. It was there 50 miles ago because I checked it (need to pull the wheel for the timing belt so I checked the brakes). Yes, the original brakes! I ordered pads and rotors front and back (not from Rockauto). The rear brakes dragged and got hot. Order two new rear calipers.

Add another $400.

Flushing the fluid killed the master cylinder. Pedal drops quickly at a stop light. Back to Rockauto for new master cylinder. Again, if you read the descriptions, it looks like there are only two types: with and without stability assistance. Looking at my master cylinder, I could see the brake lines come out tilted upward at about a 45 deg angle from level. So I ordered one that matched that picture. But wait, there's more... There's two styles of those. One has an electrical connection on the bottom right hand side of the master cylinder. You can't see this until you start taking the car apart (unless maybe you knew to look for it).

The beauty of the Rockauto parts pictures is that position that picture was taken from blocks your view of that connection. So even if you knew that you needed the one with the connection, you can't confirm it with the picture. There is one item that has the right view to confirm that I should have ordered that part. No notes or descriptions to warn the buyer "Make sure your system has/does not have... You can check this by..."

I'll have $90 in the master cylinder by the time I'm done.

So what's my point?

1) I'm seriously reconsidering the use of Rockauto anymore. If you can't give sufficient descriptions to customers to allow them to select the correct part for their car, then you either shouldn't be in the business or you should be very generous with returns. Even then you're not respecting their time.

2) If you need to replace your blower motor or master cylinder, consider taking the car apart before ordering parts.

3) If you're around 200K miles and you need to change the cam on your BRM, think long and hard about what you're working with. Seriously consider getting your injectors rebuilt while the cam is out. That timing belt and cam change are expensive. Our cars just aren't that valuable anymore.

4) If you're going to do the cam change, get VCDS hooked up BEFORE you begin the process. It will help inform your decisions.

5) If your at $200K miles and doing a timing belt, buy the serpentine belt tensioner.
 

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So why were you buying important engine parts from Rock Auto?? You might as well go buy O'Reilly's chinesium parts. What important decisions will VCDS help you make when you replace the cam?

When you change the T/B you should also change the water pump, tensioner, idler roller and the Torque To Yield bolts.

http://www.idparts.com/jetta-tdi-brm-high-mileage-timing-belt-kit-038109119p-p-5139.html
or
http://www.idparts.com/jetta-tdi-brm-timing-belt-kit-038109119p-p-931.html

Dubs have an undeserved reputation for reliability because folks scrimp or use low quality parts and/or do not follow the maintenance procedures correctly.
 
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