Well, I finally ended up selling this Jetta. A few weeks ago I started having problems shifting into fifth gear, and sometimes downshifting into second and third. I took it in to Legend in Amityville, Long Island, and they basically said it was going to be big bucks to fix it.
The problem was chalked up to an "internal transmission failure" and they also recommended that I replace the left and right front axles (which I found out is a pretty common job around 130K miles). I put it on ebay and eventually sold it to a couple folks from Washington State for $1000. The guy has already bought a new transmission for it, and hopefully the car will go on to have a wonderful second life after he completes all the needed work. On the first Friday of 2004, my wife and I drove the hellish drive through NYC and New Jersey to drop the car off at the auto shippers, and as I write this it should be on its way to Spokane. I'm really going to miss this car a lot. It never left me stranded, and it was always a lot of fun to drive. A real German driving machine. The rest of this is from my earlier page about the car.
Around the time the Jetta hit 50,000 miles I moved out of Queens, NY (from where my 1996 Jetta GL, this one's twin, was stolen) and almost immediately decided to swap out the suspension for a set of Neuspeed SofSport springs and Boge shocks courtesy of Rapid Parts in Monsey, NY. That gave it a nice, firm ride, but not stiff enough to rattle my teeth out on the pretty bad roads of Long Island. Not long after that, the exhaust pretty much rusted off, so I took advantage of the situation and replaced it with a Techtonics stainless exhaust with a DynoMax muffler. I have enjoyed the sweet sound of that setup ever since. The one thing I never did get, but was told would make a big difference, is a chip. I only put 93 octane in the car anyway, so I should probably do this at some point. Now seems like a good time since I"m starting to notice the car doesn't have quite as much power as it used to. For a while, I thought its obvious replacement would be another watercooled VW, but in the past year I have decided that I will no longer give VWoA any of my business.
I have removed my rant about Donaldson's VW in Sayville, Long Island because it's really not worth going into. If you want to know more about it, just and I'll tell you the story. Basically, due partly to poor (I mean REALLY poor) local dealership service and the rest to the poor reliability of the modern VW's, I have decided to stay away from VW's for the time being. My wife and I now own a pair of Subarus (2003 Forester and a 2005 Saab 9-2X, which is basically a Subaru Impreza with Saab body panels & suspension) and couldn't be happier. Minor update: Christian, the stepson, now drives the Forester, while the wife and I have switched to Saabs -- a 2004 9-5 Arc 2.3T Wagon for her, and a Classic 1990 900 SPG for me). When VW decides to step up to the plate and start taking responsibility for their manufacturing defects, maybe we'll consider another VW down the road (assuming we no longer live near Donaldson's VW)... We'll see I guess... I hope that day comes soon because damn if the new VW's don't look and drive like nothing else out there.