Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - Stevieboy
What with winter coming on, we've decided that the better half could do with something a bit more practical during the wet, cold months. Much as we love her LHD 1981 Beetle, it's notoriously bad at steaming in the rain and takes a good 3 or 4 miles before any heat makes its way to the cabin.

As an interim fix we have first refusal on Mk3 VW Golf 1.8GL Petrol 4 Door Saloon. Some of you may know it as a Vento :)

Good news
It's L Reg, 110k, no rust, good tyres, a new CD Player, everything works (I've tested it all) apart from the OSR electric window. Taxed until April, MOT until February. New exhaust too. All fluids look ok, and it's been serviced on a regular basis. Drives well, interior could do with a steam clean but apart from that it's great.

Insurance for the both of us is quite reasonable. Fuel consumption doesn't matter as it'll only be doing 40 miles a week.

Bad News
1) Brakes seem a bit unresponsive compared to my 2002 Focus. Pads and disc's look okay so it might just be needing some new brake fluid.

2) Appears to be on the original timing belt.

3) Clutch slips like a good 'un.

1) Are soggy brakes indicative of a VW?

2) The timing belt looks easy to access, how much should a back-street garage in Hampshire charge for changing this?

3) Is it just likely to need a new clutch? Could it be a seized self-adjuster? What 'extra' parts are worth changing if it does need a new clutch? (eg, worth a new clutch cable, and what's-the-name-of-that washer that's worth changing at the same time?)

4) Anything else I should look out for on this car?

5) What is it worth in it's current condition? Although we have been offered it for next to free (well, a crate of cheap plonk).

Many thanks for all replies!

Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - M.M

You have been offered it at the right price.

Cost out a decent small garage doing the clutch, timing belt and perhaps a medium service....you'll easily get to its trade or private value.

Worth doing though as this 1.8 model is quite nice. No different to a Golf but always undervalued these Ventos.

Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - AN Other
1) Maybe need bleeding through with fresh fluid and new hoses. More likely is that VW kept the cross over bar arrangement to convert the Golf to RHD - don't know for sure. Have a look and see if there's a solid tube across the front of the bulkhed from the master cylinder.
2)Timing belt change should cost about £60 - 80. Not a particularly difficult job.
3) Clutch should cost £140 - 180. Ring round the fast fit clutch places for a quote perhaps. A friend of mine had his done at Swiftfit for around this amount.
4) Apart from all the usual checks, I would look at:
-is the airfilter full of oil? These engines breath heavily sometimes, and it's worth cleaning out the breather system;
-Golfs seem to blow all their hoses around this age and lileage sometimes. Worth checking to make sure you don't get stranded.
5) In good condition, all clean and presentable, I'd see it at around £1000, but I don't get the impression they sell anything like as easily as the equivalent Golf, and you might have to wait a while if you ask more than £750... If you don't mind the lack of hatchback and the rather elderly image though, it's a great car.
Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - Stevieboy
Thanks chaps.

And cheers for the rough estimate of labour costs.

There are solid tubes from the bulkhead to the master cylinder. Infact this did strike me as strange as there was quite a lot of pipework there. The filler for the brake fluid is tucked away into the OS top corner of the bulkhead.

Any more information on what we should get replaced on the clutch side?

E.g. is it worth a new clutch cable, and what is the name of the gearbox oil seal thing that's worth getting done? Is there a 'thrust' bearing or something that can get destroyed if the clutch is too worn out?

I'm not keen on hatchbacks. Give me a Saloon or Estate anyday :)

Many thanks.
Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - RichardW

The clutch itself consists of 2 'parts' - the friction or driven plate (the one with the friction material on it and connected to the gearbox input shaft) and the pressure plate or cover (the one with the springs in it and bolted to the flywheel. The operation of the clutch is transferred from the clutch arm to the pressure plate by the release (or thrust) bearing - this allows the stationary operating lever to bear on the rotating clutch without mangling either. Given the amount of work required to remove the gearbox it is worth replacing all 3 of the above components as they are (relatively) cheap. Where each drive shaft goes into the gearbox there is an oil seal - these should also be replaced as they are apt to leak otherwise. Worth checking whilst the 'box is off that the gearbox input shaft seal (stops the gearbox oil leaking onto the clutch) and the engine rear seal (stops the engine oil leaking towards the clutch) are OK, and change if not - note that the rear seal probably means removing the flywheel which is extra work to the clutch job.


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - Stevieboy
For those that are interested, story continue ...

For new Clutch and Cambelt:
Mr Clutch £280
Local Independent Garage £350
AA AutoCentre £500.

Awaiting call back from a localy recommended one-man-band garage.

I must admit that I am very, very surprised at the disparity of quotations.
Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - Stevieboy
To end the story.

Got the car, had the work done but an Fareham based independent Clutch specialist. Can give details if anyone's interested.

Cambelt, Clutch and self-adjusting Clutch cable (it had jammed, causing the clutch problem) were replaced. Total cost £350.

Cambelt was cracked, would have probably been okay for a little while, but for a few extra quid ... peace of mind.

Spent a couple of hours today with SWMBO migrating her from her LHD habits! (although funnily enough she never once tried to change gear with the wrong hand!)
Possible 2nd-hand car: VW with problems - Colin M
In the same position as you, but with a Golf. Owned by a mate for the last 5 years, the car is a 96N 1.8GL which he was about to chop in at a dealer for £2,200 so I took it off him instead.

Clutch cable is stiff (this is common on RHD Golfs where the cable bends several times between pedal and bell housing). The cambelt is due (68k miles) and he missed the last service. I'm dropping it in at Wheelbase, Hersham next week for a going over. My budget with them is £600 so for less than £3k I'll have reliable transport that won't hurt much at all when I sell in a year or so.

My friend had only ever used a car wash, so half a day with the Autoglym and a vacuum, the car looks fantastic.


Value my car