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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have some good news, I suppose...Following this plan of sticking to "babied" Passats I came across an 02 V6 4-motion sedan for sale by a Subaru dealership with 145k, a trade-in. Just bought it today for $1k. Drives solid, no rust. Still unsure this will end up being a good deal but we'll see I guess depending on how much it needs. I went by the fact that Carfax showed 1 owner and it looked to have an annual mileage of 15-20k, with maintenance records, so most likely a "grocery getter." It did have an odometer discrepancy recently, but at most it would be around 10-20k miles under based on the previous owner's driving habits, so no biggie. I'm guessing the cluster had to be replaced or something. The dealership listed it as a "wholesale car' meaning it was ready to go to auction next. It was selling as a special for $1500 (plus $350 in "dealer fees," not mentioned until I was ready to buy of course.)

They listed the reasons it wouldn't pass inspection as: L tie rod, cracked passenger's side mirror, CEL, Front Pads and rotors, and directional bulbs. I found one of the rear door latches not opening from inside, slack e-brake cable, a whole lot of scratching in the clear coat (can probably be wet-sanded and buffed out) on the rear quarter panel, leaking/smoking cylinder head gaskets, 2 bald tires, and the CEL was for P0491 & P0492- SAI. It's also going to get a timing belt job of course.

After seeing so much crap the last couple of months on Craigslist I was pretty much sold on the fact that the coolant was still G12, the heat blew hot, and the Power steering reservoir was full.

I feel like I finally got something to work with here. Was trying to keep everything under 2k to have a reliable daily and after some needed maintenance it looks like I might achieve that. Although it seems fair there's still a part of me that feels I should have gone lower, wasn't too clear on whether to call it rough condition ($700) or average condition ($1k) with the Edmunds appraisal and they were trying to hit me with dealer fees on a wholesale car which I was of course questioning. Amidst the confusion and my son sitting there wanting lunch while I haggled, I eventually brought it down to $1k and that was with their stupid dealer fee factored in. Comparing this to the previous Passats I'd seen on craigslist with even more issues asking double or triple that, I made out ok I think and definitely didn't spend more than I wanted.

Now I'm hopeful the SAI is a simple fix and not of the needs a new SAI pump variety. We'll see. There's always the junkyard I suppose.

I'll be doing a lot of reading here soon. Thanks.

P.S.-On the test drive I noticed the Cruise Control light was on in the dash, but I've never had cruise control or an automatic car and wasn't really focused on figuring out how to turn it off. Does the illumination mean it's on or off? Could the fact that it stays on or off indicate any problems or would I be able to live with it? On the highway I didn't feel like it was kicking in but I can't be sure.
 

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Why did you seek out the B5 Passat? Do you have prior experience or was it just that these days you can get a lot of car for a $2000 budget if you do the maintenance and repairs yourself? Does look like you knew what you set out to find land hope you found it in the end. Sometimes these deals can bit you.
TomK
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Why did you seek out the B5 Passat? Do you have prior experience or was it just that these days you can get a lot of car for a $2000 budget if you do the maintenance and repairs yourself? Does look like you knew what you set out to find land hope you found it in the end. Sometimes these deals can bit you.
TomK
I had no experience with the B5, but plenty of other VW's. I've always loved this era of Passat, I think like you said I saw a situation where I could potentially get a lot of car for the money if I had a good place to start - solid, safe, awd for the family and that I could save money on by wrenching myself. Crossing my fingers for a smooth coexistence. It'll be good to have a back-up car too since I'm in an 02 Jetta Wagon, which has been pretty great/trouble free while staying on top of maintenance. One thing I've realized over time is when driving older cars it pays to have more than one ready to go.
 

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My thoughts exactly Intro, I have my 2001 Mazda Millenia sitting and waiting (has been a great car, just retired as a commuter). I think the Passat B5 for sure is a good choice for the money if you do your own maintenance and repairs as you do get a lot of car for the money. I was more curious than anything as that is how I got into mine. :thumbup:
TomK
 
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