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New to MK4s? Here is some info..

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  • New to MK4s? Here is some info..

    Ive posted this a couple times on different pages when someone states they are new to vw/just got a mk4 and are looking for some basic thinks to look out for. I have been told it was very helpful so I want to share it with you all. While typically I make it engine related (or try, lol) below is the more "general" list and hopefully someone will find some use of it :)

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    Things to look out for

    Engine timing: the VR6 motors using timing chains while the 1.8, 2.0, and TDI use belts. Each is a little different but the premise is the same. If you have no record of it ever being done, or recently, I recommend you do it. It isnt hard, especially considering there are DIYs for every motor on the Vortex forums, but considering the youngest MK4s are turning 13+, and the timing intervals tend to be in between 60k and 80k miles, I highly recommend you do. Always use OEM. Many people talk about Gates belts and blahblahblah. Ive read threads and heard of some horror stories of people using them having issues. IMO, OEM or bust.

    You have a tranny side, engine side, and a lower engine to subframe bushing called a dog bone. I recommend you get AT LEAST new dog bone poly bushings. Can be had for about $20. Gives your engine a good feel and helps stop back and forth movement. Typically your other mounts are stock and old, so do them if you want. Whenever you do mounts ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use new bolts. VW uses ONE TIME bolts. Do not reuse them. Your flex pipe will thank you too as itll no longer be getting the snot beat out of it by a rocking engine.

    When you pop the hood, look at your strut towers. You will see the top of your struts, the "cup" If there is a huge gap in your cup and tower, at bare minimum replace the bushings. Considering you have to remove the strut to do so, I recommend you just replace your suspension. You can buy a nice Koni cup kit (springs and struts) for $400-500 thatll give a good 1.5" drop. You can buy coils but you will get entry level "meh" coils for that price. Personally I have been using a Koni cup kit for 2 years and it still feels and handles great. When you do your suspension, look at your bushings for your control arm, ball joints, rear beam, etc. Probably worn out. "Heavy duty" R32 bushings and Cupra R rear beam bushings seem to be the OEM+ go to with MK4 owners looking for more performance-centered parts.

    Brakes are basic, just like any car. Brakes are easy to do, but when compressing the rear caliper NEVER use a c-clamp. VW uses threaded pistons so always use the tool. Can be rented or bought at any store that sells auto stuff. Rockauto has ceramic pads too. Powerstop, 10/10

    The coolant system is pretty fine too. If you ever have to do your water pump, get an OEM plastic impellar. Due to the metals used in the engine and the coolant, introducing new metals and stuff causes "electrolysis" and can break down certain things. Again, some people say metal impellar is better. IMO, OEM or bust again. Be safe, stick to plastic. Its oem for a reason. ALWAYS USE vw coolant, nothing else. Pentafrost SF is actually oem as well. Pro tip: it can actually be cheaper at a dealer. Thats where i get mine. G12 OR G13 coolant only!!!!! G12 is for our cars, G13 replaced it and is backwards compatible. Never use basic coolant.

    Other than that, youll learn as you go. Regardless of what people say, VWs are great and when you TAKE CARE OF THEM, they return the favor. For the love of god, if you get a check engine light, scan it and fix it. As funny as you think it is, people will love you way more with no CELs vs a dash that looks like a f**king christmas tree. (o tannenbaum, o tannenbaum...)

    If you plan on doing ANYTHING yourself, invest in two things. Honestly, just these two things are 110% worth every penny and will save your ass, and save you money because youll be able to do your own stuff, even as a noob.

    1: Bentley Manuals: ~$80
    2 hard cover manuals from bentley publishers. List EVERYTHING you need for your car. You can literally build a mk4 from them. Torque specs, diagrams, etc. Sometimes you can get them used online. Ive seem them for about $40 before. Haynes manuals dont cover our cars fully, they leave some motors out, and the ones they do cover are NOT nearly indepth. You will find EVERYTHING in a Bentley. I call it the Bentley Bible for a reason.

    2: ROSSTECH/VCDS/VAGCOM: ~$300
    This is a OBD2 dongle that plugs into your laptop and works with windows. It is made by rosstech and is basically a dealer diagnostic tool. Find codes, log data, etc. A must have and worth it all! Some knock off Ebay ones dont work fully, if at all. Do yourself a favor and purchase an actual Rosstech cable from Rosstech. 110% worth every single penny.

    Also, do yourself a favor, bookmark the Vortex forums, and MIVE. Always check them first. There are thousands of mk4 posts, FULL diys with pics, and threads on everything. If pics dont show up, there is a google chrome patch :)

    Hopefully this helps! Happy Dubbing!
    1.8T: Euro R32 DSG Intake, Forge008 DV, Tacotaco SMIC, "Ultimate Delete" minus EVAP, USP 3" DP w/ HF cat, MF Catback

    Just crusin along to smell the fahrvergnugen

  • #2
    Great info! Though Poly dogbones have their advantages, they also make the car vibrate like crazy at idle!!
    My sunroof frame is now loose and I need to pull the headlier down to loctite/re-torque the mouting bolts :-(
    -Luke
    '83 GTI, '05 1.8t Jetta Wagon, '10 JSW 2.5 (hers)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MKIFiend View Post
      Great info! Though Poly dogbones have their advantages, they also make the car vibrate like crazy at idle!!
      Thanks!

      For the poly mounts, replacing all BUT the round bushing on the dogbone helps with the vibrations

      1.8T: Euro R32 DSG Intake, Forge008 DV, Tacotaco SMIC, "Ultimate Delete" minus EVAP, USP 3" DP w/ HF cat, MF Catback

      Just crusin along to smell the fahrvergnugen

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jkonzy View Post

        Thanks!

        For the poly mounts, replacing all BUT the round bushing on the dogbone helps with the vibrations
        That's the one that mounts on the underside of the transmission and uses a stretch bolt, right?

        I might have to order a fresh OE bushing/bolt and swap that one out!
        -Luke
        '83 GTI, '05 1.8t Jetta Wagon, '10 JSW 2.5 (hers)

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        • #5
          Sure is

          From tranny to subframe.
          1.8T: Euro R32 DSG Intake, Forge008 DV, Tacotaco SMIC, "Ultimate Delete" minus EVAP, USP 3" DP w/ HF cat, MF Catback

          Just crusin along to smell the fahrvergnugen

          Comment


          • #6
            Sonofab....It looks like VW doesn't sell that bushing separately? You have to buy the whole dogbone assy?
            -Luke
            '83 GTI, '05 1.8t Jetta Wagon, '10 JSW 2.5 (hers)

            Comment


            • #7
              No, the dogbone bushings are sold on many sites like urotuning, usp, and so on
              1.8T: Euro R32 DSG Intake, Forge008 DV, Tacotaco SMIC, "Ultimate Delete" minus EVAP, USP 3" DP w/ HF cat, MF Catback

              Just crusin along to smell the fahrvergnugen

              Comment

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