[Vwdiesel] Found 1989 Diesel Jetta

Doyt W. Echelberger doyt at buckeye-express.com
Fri Jun 11 15:43:47 PDT 2010

Yesterday I brought home a 1989 Jetta n.a. diesel 5 speed, showing 99k 
miles. The owner decided to sell his house and most of his belongings and 
go live in Arizona in his motor home, so he bought a new Ford Focus to pull 
behind the motor home, and sold me the Jetta that the Focus replaced.  I 
think he wanted a car with a new air conditioning system, to survive the 
Arizona summers.

In the glove box I found the entire maintenance record with dealer stamps 
going back to 1989. It went 20k in 1989-90 and then went to Florida and did 
2 or 3k per year down there until 2002. Then it came back to Ohio and 
became a spare car that they towed behind a big motor home. Still has the 
towing fittings and electrical connections in the front bumper (Not pretty, 
but professionally done).

Runs good, nothing wrong with it except AC isn't very chilly. Original 
Heidelberg radio with cassette player. Interior, headliners and seats are 
like new, door cards, steering wheel and dash flawless, the grey paint is 
shiny, and the PO put new tires, brakes and exhaust system on it about a 
year or two ago. Doesn't have a sun roof.

The underside of the car has zero rust. It looks new. To a guy like me who 
lives in Ohio (heart of the rust belt) this is amazing in a 21 year old 
car. The color coat is in good shape, and seems to be applied over a very 
thick undercoat of what looks like white epoxy. I'm just guessing at the 
epoxy part, but I never noticed such thick armor plate paint on any of my 
other VWs. Probably a millimeter thick.

I'm cleaning it up and checking every detail in the process, by touching 
everything, and so far have discovered an unsettling feature....when I open 
the driver door, a relay on the fuse board plays an alert that doesn't stop 
until I close the door. I think it is associated with a seat belt buckle-up 
warning, but I think in theory it should be quiet when there is no weight 
in the seat. Gotta trace that down. To stop the annoyance, I just unplugged 
the relay.

PO said he got 40-50 miles per gallon, and the speedometer is 10 mph 
slow....he checked it against a GPS. Starts easily, no smoke, certainly not 
a hot rod, but I'm having lots of fun puttering around with my new toy. It 
replaces my 1985 Jetta TD, which I parked last fall when it developed an 
exhaust gas leak into the coolant.
So, now I can consider the 85 a parts car. Anybody know of any 
incompatibilities between 85 and 89, other than hydraulic lifters vs 
solid?  Do the door handles swap? I think the 85 has front vent windows and 
the 89 doesn't.

I may even swap the turbo and exhaust from the 85 to the n.a. 89, and put 
in an exhaust gas temperature sensor like Loren mentioned earlier.  I would 
have to swap the air intake components also, because the 89 has the air 
filter above the valve cover, and the turbo has it very close to the 
passenger headlight. And I think the oil filter assembly and the oil pan 
also have to be swapped. Loren mentioned I could probably get by using the 
N.A. injection pump, with some fine tuning.

So, I'm sort of excited about diesels again.

Doyt Echelberger

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