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VAG Shite - OMG it may not be that bad....


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First, a bit of background. I have too much shite at my place. I really mean too much. How many you ask? I do not know is the honest answer. At the last count there were 21 Saabs (hence the user name) plus many, many others. These range from a Fiat 500 (proper one) to a Bentley T2 Turbo (been seen here before), a couple of Pre-war Rolls, an AC Cobra, a Chevrolet Astro plus all sorts of other weird stuff. Most have been bought cheaply as they needed work, some have been sorted, others still await their turn, and all the good expensive perceived collectable stuff has been SORNed and put away for the winter. This leaves me with an old Saab 9-3 diesel estate and the mortal remains of a P38 Diseasal as winter cars. The Saab is getting leggy and tired but is still a good reliable old bus. The P38 on the other hand usually breaks every time I use it, though usually gets me home, but needs fixing before I can use it again.


As a result, despite being surrounded by shite, I found myself needing a back up car for the winter, should the Saab decide not to play for any reason. In true AS style I went to see a Volvo 240 estate that had been sitting for 4 years, but the rot had taken hold so for once I made the sensible decision and left it despite it being ideal. I wanted a spare car with a towbar so it could stand in for the Saab or the P38 when it inevitably breaks. Then the AS roffle for the Nippa came along so a couple of randoms were purchased, and true to form, someone else won that one. It did make me think about a small, economical spare car would make more sense, as I am sure* the P38 will behave itself now.


So, a couple of weeks ago, a friend calls and offers me a 2001 Golf 1.4 Petrol, 82k miles, very tidy for a hundred quid. Downside was it had sat for 6 months at a local garage where it had been taken with a running fault and a dead cat had been diagnosed. Now, the only other VAG product I have owned was an air cooled beetle 30 odd years ago, and as a fellow ASer has said to me, you can spot the VAG driver as he is the one who has left his personality in the glove box, but it was only a hundred quid, WCPGW?


A lifetime of avoiding VWs came to an end, and I collected the Golf, on the trailer behind the P38. Of course, the P38 got a tad warm on the return journey, so was parked in its usual spot awaiting attention and the Golf battery put on charge. It poured with rain all the next day, so the battery got a nice 48 hour charge. Of course, after this it was still as flat as a flat thing, so the battery was taken off my Morris Cowley Speedster (very much a summer car) and fitted to the golf.where it instantly, and noisily started, then stopped! The exhaust is completely fubared or disconnected, but I need to drive it up the ramps to see under it. Many retries on starting resulted in an instant start followed by an almost instant stop. Inside, for a search on the great god Google and it appears to be a common problem, with at least a dozen things that definitely cause it! Most common was an immobiliser fault easily cured* by removing and cleaning the connectors.


Now I hate plastic, and modern cars are full of the stuff, but I bit the bullet and removed several acres of the stuff. Eventually located the immobiliser, removed the connectors and cleaned everything in sight, Put it back together (ie threw the plastic on the back seat) and tried again. Instant start followed by the same instant stop. I phoned my local older VW guru and moaned about modern car shite (he pointed out it was nearly 20 years old!) and said I would probably need VAG-COM to sort it. Not having this, I phoned a friend who has a snap on generic machine, and he agreed to come over and plug it in. This stated that the ECU was disabled due to a faulty water temperature sensor. God Google pointed out this is a very common fault with VWs and a faulty sensor tells the ECU it is over heating so shuts the engine down. This made sense to me, so off to the local emporium and a new sensor was purchased. Back to the car, several grazed knuckles later and the sensor is fitted. Turn the key for the moment of truth. Yep, you guessed. No difference. I now hate this car with a passion, having wasted several days over 2 weeks chasing this fault. I will not be beaten, On Friday I ordered a VAG-COM unit and currently await its arrival. This does of course mean the car is no longer so cheap but at least I will have it for future use, though  the liklihood of another VAG product in my ownership was rapidly receding.


Will take a break from typing this shite now to add a couple of photos, watch this space for the next installment....



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It's been said before, and I'll say it again.


Mk4 Golfs. Too shit for autoshite.


However, good luck with it! Top marks for perseverance!


Those two photos are amazing, by the way. Shame they're ruined by the big blob of bland in the foreground. :D

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Good luck with a 1400 16v Golf. The only car that has ever properly broke me. Weeks and weeks and weeks of fettling, repairing, replacing servicing and many £££'s getting it 100% for my daughters first car. It lasted a week before the oil pump gave up. That was after a new gearbox,clutch,3 window regulators,2 door locks, a complete exhaust, discs,pads,a caliper and a fancy CD player. I happily scrapped it for 60 quid and smiled when it got loaded on the truck with a HiAB. Fucking thing.post-62-0-17570800-1511376548_thumb.jpg

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I'm going to be a minority here but I have a soft spot on these Golfs. Springy suspension with plenty of body roll means driving around modern pot holed and speed bumped roads isn't too bad. Reasonable interior even by modern standards, decent comfortable seats and generally good fuel economy.


However this is from a man who also likes and has owned the Scenic II, Laguna II and usually picks cars with electrical problems.

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I'm going to be a minority here but I have a soft spot on these Golfs. Springy suspension with plenty of body roll means driving around modern pot holed and speed bumped roads isn't too bad. Reasonable interior even by modern standards, decent comfortable seats and generally good fuel economy.


However this is from a man who also likes and has owned the Scenic II, Laguna II and cars with electrical problems.


Your exploding trousers have arrived from Hartlepool. 

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The slippery slope continues....


So, Saturday morning and no more can be done on the Golf until the unit arrives. It is not raining, so time to look at the P38. Quick check shows water level fine, so I guess it is probably the viscous coupling on the fan that is faulty. Easy way to check, remove the trailer and take it for a test run. Being a Saturday, decided I would go and visit Kinkersaab of this parish for coffee and a look in his compost corner asit meant I could take it over the Cairn O' Mount road with its 1:5 hills and give it a test. Of course, the P38 ran faultlessly and coffee was consumed. The topic of the contents of Compost Corner came up, and the sole occupant was a VW Polo! ANY other make might have interested me, but the experience of the Golf over the last couple of weeks had scratched the VAG itch. A whole heap of prospective customers turned up at this point so whilst he tried to sell them cars I wandered around the yard, as you do. In the far corner, there it was in all its evil. Despite my resolve, I could not resist a look, just to confirm that another VW would never darken the driveway of my abode again.


I was surprised. Roomy for its size, very little rust and 106k miles. A look at the back showed it was a TDI. No. Absolutely not. Walk away, so I did. Kinkersaab was still busy, so back around the yard I went, eventually ending up at the Polo again. Still completely disinterested, but with nothing else to do, I had another look. Goodish tyres with one new one. Cracked windscreen. Stereo removed. Yep, definitely shite. Oooh, the key is in it, wonder if it will start? Bit of pre-heat, and starts straight away, the little 3 cylinder oil burner runs clean and sounds good. No. No way. It is a VW and I hate them.


The victims potential customers had gone by now, so I laughingly enquired on the price of the Polo. Two minutes later I had confirmed my resolve and agreed to buy it. How the hell did that happen? From no VWs to two in a fortnight. Still, the first one had turned out so well* and I agreed to collect it Tuesday. Leaving wondering what I had done, I headed home. Less than 5 miles later the trusty* P38 overheated and went into limp mode. Pulled over and let it cool, checked the water level (spot on) and carried on. Quarter of a mile later, overheat and limp mode. Checked the viscous coupling, and sure enough, it is buggered with no resistance. Let it cool, carry on a bit, and limp mode again. Water level still fine, no boiling noises, but top hose does feel very warm. It had a new water pump and belts less than 8 months ago. Decided to try and limp it another quarter of a mile or so after which I could coast down a long hill and abandon it at my mates and get a lift home. Started it up, temp gauge returns to normal and it drives perfectly the 10 miles or so home. P38 gremlins!


Sunday I removed the fan, to do this I had to remove the two top hoses. Removed the hoses, and no water comes out, despite the header tank being full. Start the engine and after a few seconds water comes out of the hose, obviously pumping fine, so stuck he hoses back on and filled the header tank whilst it was running (it took 3 litres) and all appears good. To be sure, in true AS fashion, I drilled and bolted the viscous unit so that will work fine. Took it for a test run without the fan, and 40 miles later running fine.


Yesterday, I took the P38 (with bolted fan and spanner on the front seat) and trailer over to collect the Polo. Return journey completed without incident so it would appear  that an air lock was the culprit. The Polo came with the bonus of a half tank of fuel, so have been using it the last couple of days. Unfortunately, I am starting to like it, so mixed feelings at the moment. We will see....


Enough drivel for now, this thread is useless etc so here are a couple of pics of the latest shite




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VAG shite is a learning curve (leaning curve?) and, a bit like keeping sheep, the more time and effort you expand the deeper your understanding becomes. When you have finally solved the puzzle you'll be poorer financially but the satisfaction will propel you to sell the working beast at a loss and get another worthless piiece of VAG shite to continue the process. Fuck! you have done that already.




Ein happy VAG (und Nippa) owner

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I like how the VAG 3 cyl TDI sounds like a Kubota mini tractor

The 3-cylinder VM in the Getz sounds not dissimilar too - especially at start-up and shut down.



I am also a Mk4 Golf owner, albeit not voluntarily (it was supposed to have been bought for scrap a month ago).  It's a GT TDI so quite a high spec, and despite all its issues it's not a bad thing to drive, but it's utterly devoid of any personality.

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With the Golf my advice is to cut a lettter box like hole in the cat. Chances are the Ceramic inside has broken up, so remove any broken pieces and weld it back up like I got a friend to do for me. [ Because I can't weld ] If your lucky you might even still have enough left that your pass the Mot like my 406 did years ago!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The VAG hatred is strong in this one! But in true AS style, I am also liking a VAG product.


The Polo has now covered 300 miles, and the more I use it, the more I like it. The noise from the 3cyl lump is quite enthralling, and it does not seem keen to use any fuel. I even visited my hoard and dug out a radio/CD player but fitting it involved a trip to the parts emporium as modern shite has different connections for the aerial.


On Weds afternoon the VAGCOM kit arrived. On Wednesday night, 6" of bloody snow arrived. This meant tinkering on the Golf was cancelled, I am a warm blooded fool, and also meant the super reliable* P38 was again pressed into service, as nothing else would get up my drive. Yesterday the snow started to bugger off, and today I decided to have a play with the Golf. Full preparation was done, ie I watched a few youtube videos, and I plugged it in. Feck me, got something right and it seemed to work. Ran an auto scan, and it came up with loads of faults, immobiliser, ABS, Airbags etc, most of which suggested they had been caused by low voltage, when the battery died with the PO. Reset all codes, scanned again and no faults shown. Yee hah! Tried to start it, it burst into life, and 1 second later, died again. Bastard. No change there then.


Did another scan, and it came up with just the one fault, the one that was top of the list first time, ie


1 Fault Found:
17978 - Engine Start Blocked by Immobilizer
            P1570 - 35-00 -


More googling and it suggests that this can also be caused by trying to start with a flat battery. One site said if it was a Gen 3 system, a code is needed from the dealer. No suggestions were forthcoming if it is Gen 2 which I think it is. Also discovered the immobiliser is part of the instrument cluster, so feck knows what the connection I cleaned thinking it was the immobiliser are actually for! :-)


So, tomorrow I am going to clear the faults again and then I am going to attempt a tow start, see if that will confuse it into running and if the extra voltage from a running engine will reset it (this has been suggested to me by someone who knows lots more about VWs than I do, ie something) and we will see.


Whilst I am quite liking the Polo, I still hate the Golf!

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