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Old 05-12-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
Dagofast OP
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1995 VW Passat? Good? Average? Run away?

Here's the deal: This really is the proverbial little old ladies car. My almost 80 year old mom has hit the stage where she has decided she is done driving. She has offered to sell her beloved little sedan (for a VERY reasonable price) to our almost 18 year old son who will be a HS senior next fall.

It has a whopping 43k miles on it, and has always been garaged except for the last 2 months at her new adult retirement community where transportation vans are provided that she much prefers. It had 35k on it when she moved from Vegas to southern Oregon 9 years ago, so she obviously isn't going to be exactly missing the open road.

My sister lives nearby and has texted me down some requested pictures. Cosmetically, the car is almost perfect. The tires look good, but they have date codes going back to 2001, so new rubber will be on the list before we even attempt to drive it anywhere but the nearest tire store. The battery is flat from sitting for the last 2 months but that's a cheap & easy fix. It has a normally aspirated 2.0L 4 cylinder (NOT a TDI!? ) with an auto trans that mom initially hated since all her previous cars had sticks. She did grow to accept it as she got older as being the right choice. That is also the only feature the boy isn't wild about, bless his evil little heart.

Insurance will be cheaper than the 177k mile '99 Suburban he has been driving since he got his permit. Needless to say, so will his gasoline bill.
Two plane tickets from PHX to MFR will run about $225. So far, I'm not seeing any reason NOT to jump on this.

Anyone know of a reason to take a pass? There isn't a whole lot of information out there on models this old, but VW's in general wouldn't be my first pick due to some of the bitching I hear from friends that have had one or even here on ADV where it seems only love/hate opinions exist. I've heard window regulators drop like flies at $250 a pop, door latches are made of cream cheese and that electrical gremlins can rival an old english sports car, but the motors and trans are solid. Are parts still readily available from VW for a car this old?

What say the collective?
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #3
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Tires will be an odd (225/50R15) impossible to find size.

other than that, I've hit nothing.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:55 PM   #4
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what's not to like


ANything in that range would be a gamble at some level- better the devil yo know

SOunds like a good road trip
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:27 PM   #5
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I had a '96 Passat TDI (same platform) that I drove for about 30k miles in 9 months, then foolishly sold. Different drivetrain (TDI and manual), but I had zero problems with the car. The places to look are vwvortex.com (I assume they have a B4 forum) and on TDIClub.com - I'd bet that a much higher percentage of TDI's from that platform (96 and 97) have survived than the gassers, and the guys there know the problems better than most.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
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Unless it has been documented as already being done, make sure the fluids and timing belt get changed, along with everything the TB touches. they may have not many miles, but the car does have almost 20 years...

Other than that, Fly and Drive!
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neanderthal View Post
Tires will be an odd (225/50R15) impossible to find size.

other than that, I've hit nothing.
This one is a GLS and has 195/60/14's on it. Still not exactly a popular size, but there are enough to choose from.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:15 PM   #8
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the 2.slow is bullet proof. typical issues would be things like window regulators. Not a big deal really. The timing belt if it hasnt been done, isnt a big deal to change. Nothing a couple hours cant fix.

I owned a 96. Some small problems but nothing that kept it off the road. I wish I hadnt sold it I put a stage2 supercharger on it, coilovers, and a whoopass stereo. sigh.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagofast View Post
I've heard window regulators drop like flies at $250 a pop,
We have a '94 Golf GLI, my son drives it. It has done short distances all its life and is now up to 190000km. It has been pretty good, but is now slowly falling apart. Not a speck of rust on it, though.

It has had the window problem, but from what I could tell, it's a little plastic clip that breaks. Each time its done that, I went and wrapped some fine wire around it, to hold it in place. It's been going for a few years like that. Oh, the air-conditioning has died years ago. The compressor shat itself and contaminated the system.

It's basically a solid car and I have no regrets.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:12 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the feedback!
Dagoboy has decided he must have it. Airline tickets booked...the adventure will commence on Memorial day.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #11
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Passat

I don't think you will regret it. My 96 Passat TDI wagon was the best car I have ever owned.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:35 PM   #12
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Make sure all the electrics work, VW's of that generation can be hit and miss in the wiring department.

I don't think you'll find anyone who will have something good to say about VW slushboxes. It might be ok if the previous owner was religious about fluid changes.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:46 PM   #13
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If it has a sensor in the coolant reservoir then unplug it and check for antifreeze. It will eventually fill the wire harness with antifreeze. If it is good, then cut a weep hole in the seal do it does not do more than kill it's self.

Check the struts and CV joint boots, some of the later German rubber is NOT good.

If it has a fuel filter change it along with all the oils and flush the brake fluid. Be sure to stomp on the brakes hard, the rubber brake lines can also be bad, see comments on German rubber above.

And timing, Serpentine or V belts as already stated OE is made of German rubber, see comments above.

Then enjoy a bonding drive with your son. Make it fun.

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Old 05-16-2013, 02:14 PM   #14
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VW over five or six years old? No thank you.

They just aren't made of quality components, and soon enough - even without the miles on them - things will start going wrong (like wire insulation flaking off, etc.).
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mambo Dave View Post
VW over five or six years old? No thank you.

They just aren't made of quality components, and soon enough - even without the miles on them - things will start going wrong (like wire insulation flaking off, etc.).
My mom has had 2 and had decent luck with both. Of course she isn't exactly normal with the low miles she drove them both. She would still have the first one if a drunk in Vegas hadn't totaled it.

I hear you though. An old german car of any brand would normally be verboten in my book. BTDT, and don't want to do it again. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed this one remains a trouble free car for the kid.

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