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  #1  
Old 05-31-2007, 03:16 PM
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2003 VW tdi versus 99e300 - Reliability?

Love my '82 sd but am going to let my gf drive it and get rid of her three series bmw . . . in the meantime, I keep changing my mind regarding puchasing a '99 e300 or buying a 2003 VW Jetta tdi. Both cars have their own unique manufacturer issues, but really wondering which one will be more reliable in the long run and less costly to repair? I do a lot of my own maint. and repair, but I keep reading horror stories about e300's and the plastic fuel line issue seems like a big PITA and am wondering about how I am going to like my new "plastic" Benz? Any advice, opinions? VW's are pretty plastic too but the tdi powerplant seems to be reliable and economic if a little less classy with less mass. This new purchase will be the last car I purchase for quite some time so naturally I want to make a informed choice. Any tdi owners out there who also drive e300? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2007, 03:56 PM
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the tdi will be cheaper parts/labor, and will also need fewer repairs, but that is mostly due to the fact that it will be much newer.

this is not a good place to get unbiased opinions on a VW (or anything non-Mercedes).
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:15 PM
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I'm partial to my E300's size, luxury and power. Don't think the TDI compares on any level.

The E300 fuel leaks are easily dealt with by replacing an o-ring generally. TDI's also rely on a lot of o-rings I believe.
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  #4  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:22 PM
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Get the Mercedes.

From someone who owns both, you'll love the Mercedes much more. The engine will run forever, the car will last forever (perhaps unlike the TDI...made in Mexico..), and you'll continue your joy of owning a quality Mercedes.

The E300 will whoop the TDI's a$$ off the line, at the top end, and everywhere in between. I do like my Jetta's manual transmission, it's great for blasting around town, but the TDI's low power (let's all admit it) somewhat spoils the fun. The TDI has a great VNT turbo that spools immediately, unlike the E300 which will have some lag.

The interiors of the two cars, while similar in quality, are worlds apart. The TDI will make you feel like $50k, whereas the E300 will make you feel like $500k. The wood, the quality of the seats, trim, and switches, the overall spaciousness...they all add up. The E300's Bose system is much better than the TDI's Monsoon system.

Fuel economy. If your TDI is a stickshift, you'll see 50 mpg. My E300, driven somewhat aggressively, achieves 32-34 mpg. The way I look at it, on the highway my E300 is still getting better mileage than pretty much everything out there--save the TDIs and Priusucks. I think the E300's lower fuel economy is worth the rewards of owning a Mercedes.

In my years of experience with the OM606, it is extremely reliable and easy to work on. Granted, the intake on a turbo model is a PITA to remove, but removing it becomes a mastered skill. Glow plugs require some patience (and luck) to avoid breaking, which I have experienced once. Fuel leaks can be common, but are easily tracked down and fixed. My one piece of advice upon becoming an E300 owner is to buy a battery charger--purging the fuel lines requires the engine to be cranked.

I'm not trying to put down the TDI--it's an excellent car--I just think that if you're going from a Mercedes to a TDI, you'll feel somewhat let down. The E300 will make you feel so much better.

Now, if your girlfriend gets the SD while you're buying yourself a nice speedy E300....there may be some problems there
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:38 PM
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Jetta== electrical problems
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  #6  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:39 PM
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Thank you for the informative post, many good points! I run the sd on highly filtered veg oil (gold and clear) Any thoughts on running an e300 on veg oil (WVO) Bio is great, but I do not wish to make my own bio but prefer to modify engine versus fuel, my neighbor's tdi runs great on WVO. Come up to Napa sometime and show me your e300!

Best,

James
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  #7  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BioPOWER View Post
Get the Mercedes.

From someone who owns both, you'll love the Mercedes much more. The engine will run forever, the car will last forever (perhaps unlike the TDI...made in Mexico..), and you'll continue your joy of owning a quality Mercedes.

The E300 will whoop the TDI's a$$ off the line, at the top end, and everywhere in between. I do like my Jetta's manual transmission, it's great for blasting around town, but the TDI's low power (let's all admit it) somewhat spoils the fun. The TDI has a great VNT turbo that spools immediately, unlike the E300 which will have some lag.

The interiors of the two cars, while similar in quality, are worlds apart. The TDI will make you feel like $50k, whereas the E300 will make you feel like $500k. The wood, the quality of the seats, trim, and switches, the overall spaciousness...they all add up. The E300's Bose system is much better than the TDI's Monsoon system.

Fuel economy. If your TDI is a stickshift, you'll see 50 mpg. My E300, driven somewhat aggressively, achieves 32-34 mpg. The way I look at it, on the highway my E300 is still getting better mileage than pretty much everything out there--save the TDIs and Priusucks. I think the E300's lower fuel economy is worth the rewards of owning a Mercedes.

In my years of experience with the OM606, it is extremely reliable and easy to work on. Granted, the intake on a turbo model is a PITA to remove, but removing it becomes a mastered skill. Glow plugs require some patience (and luck) to avoid breaking, which I have experienced once. Fuel leaks can be common, but are easily tracked down and fixed. My one piece of advice upon becoming an E300 owner is to buy a battery charger--purging the fuel lines requires the engine to be cranked.

I'm not trying to put down the TDI--it's an excellent car--I just think that if you're going from a Mercedes to a TDI, you'll feel somewhat let down. The E300 will make you feel so much better.

Now, if your girlfriend gets the SD while you're buying yourself a nice speedy E300....there may be some problems there
I can't avoid this one. Not all VWs are made in Mexico. Some are from Canada, some are from Brazil, some are from Germany, some are from Slovakia, some are from Portugal. In terms of quality, I think it's unfair to point fingers at production facilities and say "see, it was made in X, therefore it is crap". Anyway though, talk about pot calling the kettle black, can a Mercedes person really point at VW and say "look, they have poor quality/reliability issues"?

It really all boils down BioPower's last comment. Why are earth would you give your girlfriend a 25 year old car while you get a nearly new one?? Bad call.
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:45 PM
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gf has a three series that she cannot afford along with car payments and fuel costs. She can sell her car and pay off debt, drive my car free and get free fuel and if she wrecks my sd (which by the way is a very beautiful sd) at least she ruins a five thousand dollar car versus a much more expensive model. Some women (not all) are just plain clueless around mechanical issues and my gf in particular is rough on cars. My reasoning on gf driving the sd (sd may prove to be much more reliable, the verdict is still out)
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warmblood58 View Post
gf has a three series that she cannot afford along with car payments and fuel costs. She can sell her car and pay off debt, drive my car free and get free fuel and if she wrecks my sd (which by the way is a very beautiful sd) at least she ruins a five thousand dollar car versus a much more expensive model. Some women (not all) are just plain clueless around mechanical issues and my gf in particular is rough on cars. My reasoning on gf driving the sd (sd may prove to be much more reliable, the verdict is still out)
All the more reason for her to drive some more modern that doesn't need care and maintenance. I wouldn't feel comfortable handing the keys to my TD over to somebody who doesn't understand the importance of watching the gauges and immediately stopping if something is wrong.

Just my two cents on your dilemma.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:54 PM
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Sorry about pointing fingers...my Jetta has an extremely high build quality, but some things, such as interior rattles, make it questionable. I am also aware that not all VWs are made in Mexico. I've seen Golf TDIs from Brazil, and anything Passat-size and bigger is made in Germany.

Regarding WVO, any TDI made before 2004 will run well on it. While I do not recommend using it, the E300 will run well on it too. The ALH engine (1.9 TDI 99-03) uses a mechanical injection system similar to that used by Mercedes, while the BEW (1.9 TDI '04-05) uses the "Pumpe-Deuse" electronic injectors which will be damaged by WVO. There is plenty of material online about using WVO in an ALH.

The BEW can, however, be run on biodiesel, like I am doing.
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Last edited by BioPOWER; 05-31-2007 at 04:59 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:57 PM
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She is just too destructive, again, if she wrecks the sd, my loss is minimized (by wreck, I mean drives with a blown coolant hose etc., if she gets in a wreck, she is still safe in the sd . . lots of metal around her) I might get another e300 for her in a few years but first she has to prove that she can take care of the sd (a diesel trainer for her) My thoughts, just not into having a expensive car ruined from the get go by someone who I know to be a careless driver . . .
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2007, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by warmblood58 View Post
She is just too destructive, again, if she wrecks the sd, my loss is minimized (by wreck, I mean drives with a blown coolant hose etc., if she gets in a wreck, she is still safe in the sd . . lots of metal around her) I might get another e300 for her in a few years but first she has to prove that she can take care of the sd (a diesel trainer for her) My thoughts, just not into having a expensive car ruined from the get go by someone who I know to be a careless driver . . .
Yeah I guess I see your point. I'm just looking at it from the "a 25 year old car is a classic and should be cared for" perspective.

I just purchased an 87 TD for cheap because this guy's wife drove it while it was overheating and basically ruined the car. It's a shame for that guy because he could have sold the car for a lot more money if it wasn't ruined, it's also a shame that such a rare car could be taken off the road and nearly end up in the junkyard because of stupid behavior.
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2007, 05:31 PM
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IF you're a DIY'er, then get the benz. Water-cooled VW's are a PITA to work on.
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