I bought this car last year (Feb. 24, 2008), and it’s been a pretty good vehicle — starting with low miles (about 40k) — smooth ride. Hard to get used the acceleration of a small diesel engine, especially compared to my previous 99.5 2.0… Anyway, 49mpg and 700 miles on a tank are fantastic. The $380/month price tag is a little tough, but you’ve got to have reliability right?
Well reliability started going to hell at about 58000 miles (a few months ago). I had some major shuddering going on — turned out it was only in need of a fuel filter and air filter, but in the meanwhile a grinding started occurring that I could feel in the clutch pedal. When it first happened, it made a very loud noise — almost like a piston went out.
The car ran fine though, and eventually the grinding went away — ironically the instant I took it to the dealership to have them listen. (I’m not kidding — I shut the car off at the dealership, and it never made the noise again.)
Anyway, on Friday (Feb. 20, 2009) on my way home, I pressed the clutch in to coast, and I could feel a knock in the pedal about 2-3 times a second. When coasting in gear, the knocking picked up based on RPMs. I knew something happened in the clutch.
So, I drove the car home, knowing full well those 15 miles or so would likely cause more damage, but the car was running, no knocking while I was driving, so I figured I’d take the risk. I made it home, no issues.
I had the car towed to the VW dealership who told me the DMF (dual mass flywheel) broke, taking the clutch disk, pressure plate, and throwout bearing with it, and they want $1610 to replace it. They also charged me $99 to tell me all this.
Fair enough, I’m sure that’s pretty accurate, but they also told me they could replace my fuel filter for $110, and replace my broken brake light for $30.
So, as it turns out, you can replace the crappily designed DMF with a much more solid, less complicated, more reliable SMF (single mass flywheel). Found the parts at MJM Autohaus for $324.95. I will update this post, hopefully with a howto and results of the undertaking of installing the clutch myself.
I’m stuck with my car — probably not a bad thing, but it’d be nice to lose that payment … BUT, the warranty is through, so I can mod it however I like now … maybe I can tweak a lot more than the 49mpg out of it.