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Old 08-27-2005, 03:24 PM
andmoon andmoon is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,182
I am a noob too but have looked at close to 100 diesels in the past year. I'll let the experts advise on the drivetrain.

Vacuum controls lots of things in these cars and although the parts are relatively cheap, tracking leaks is time consuming and frustrating. I now show up to look at cars w/ a mityvac (if you don't have one, buy one as you will need it as part of diesel ownership or brake bleeding).
I start at the firewall by the brake booster. 2 lines going in, I think 1 controls the climate control and the other the door locks. Door locks aren't as important as the Climate may have to take the dash apart to get to certain sections. If the CC holds vac but the center vents don't pass air, you have more than simple leaks.
If the motor doesn't shut down right as the key is turned, you may have a leak in the engine compartment (provided the lines going into the car hold vac. If the car shuts down faster w/ the driver's door locked than w/out, then you have a leak in the locking system.
Vac leaks affect the transmission as well.
I passed on many cars earlier that I should have bought because the seller and I didn't know about Vac in these cars.

I hope the experts chime in to cover rust, suspension, smoke, trans and cruise control (also vac related).

Good luck
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