Diesel Car owners. Wanna know your experiance.

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May 7, 2004
I've been Diesel Crazy lately. After test driving the VW Jetta Diesel, reading up on the Jeep Liberty 4 cylinder Diesel and the Mercedes Benz E320D Diesel.. i've been crazy about them. At the local used car lot I found a 1997(?) E320D with 120,000 miles and it was in perfect condition.. I want to know your experiance, adventure, MPG etc..
Diesels would seduce them with their low end torque, unlike gassers, they don't need to be revved, however, it takes time getting used to that. The good diesel engines easily outlast gassers due to their inherent design character like heavy bottom end, better thermal efficiency, etc. They do need good quality diesel rated HDEO, either mineral or synthetic and also proper maintenance procedure like timely valve adjustments if needed and regular filter change.
I had a jetta diesel with 220,000 miles was still delivering 47 mpg on a 50 city 50 rural commute. Have a 3/4 ton truck with 5 speed that gets 19-21 mpg on that same use, 17 mpg towing a 4000 lb trailer in hilly terrain (500 to 600 foot climb and then back down). The torque is wonderful. If you are thinking a mercedes, there is a internet site that has a lot of info on diesels, some of the diesels had long rod problems so you might want to check that out. mercedesshop.com/shopforum i think and then look for the diesel forum.
I had a 1980 Audi 5000 diesel 5spd for a few years in the late 80s. I liked it a lot (but I would have liked it more as a turbo-diesel). But I eventually wanted something newer, and then there really were no diesels to choose from. Like with any car, you'll need to like everything about it. So if you already like the equivalent gasser, you might like the diesel even more. Diesel becomes kind of a state of mind. In Europe, the Audi A4 for example is available with 4 diesel (and 5 gas) engines. That's what I call choice. (I suppose the choice of only two engines in the Camry and Accord, for example, is what helps keep US car prices down.) And if I were serious about a new diesel, I would look at the requirements of importing one of these.
If you have a long commute each morning then a diesel is the way to go. I drive about 120 miles each day in my VW TDI and love the fact that I can drive 750 miles on a tank of gas. I also like the fact that I'm averaging 47 mpg with 80 mph highway speeds. If I could get traffic around me to slow down so I could drive 70 mph, I'd get 51 mpg. City driving fuel economy is not that great, about 40 mpg with A/C on.
Had a '78 Mercedes 240D. Loved it for a few years. Got tired of it in year 4. The niggling electrical and AC failures and high parts prices annoyed me. Finally got rid of it due mostly to boredom, also partially due to the difficulty of mergining in urban traffic. The little 62 horsepower motor was fun. I got to floor the gas every day, and almost never got tickets except for ONE night on a windy country road when a bum State Trooper decided to take the less travelled road back to his headquarters. Did I mention how much fun the stick added?
I have been driving diesel cars and pick-ups for over 20 years. They are great until it gets to -10F. Then it depends on how winterized your fuel is (it is winterized by the suppliers at the fuel station) and whether your batteries and glow plugs are in good shape. I wish more diesels were sold here. In Europe, about half the new cars put on the road are diesels. The new ones have a lot more go than the ones from 25 years ago.
First diesel was a BJ42 SWB Landcruiser...3.4L naturally aspirated. It was very sedate, and when the glow-plugs were on the way out, you knew it. Nearly double the petrol engine's mileage, but you sometimes felt that you were rowing it. Modern turbodiesel 4 door utility that I currently own has averaged 11km/l, heaps of poke, and I'm thoroughly enjoying
So what I hear is VW make't one of the best diesel cars that gives you good mileage and ok preformance. My wife loves her Sonada but it only gets around 23 in town and 26 on the highway. It seems to me you could soup up the VW diesel and still get good mileage. I am sure the market has taken notice to the diesel cars and trucks as a way around high gas prices. I too may start looking soon before everyone see's that gas is just going to keep going up. VLO stock has went up $30 a share in a very short time and I sold it cause I thought Bush being a OIL man would keep a lid on prices.I hope the 50+ mpg cars come back like they did in the 70ies.The gas electric cars @#%& and the ones that run on 4 cyl at higher speeds are more trouble than there worth. I say keep it simple if a diesel can give you what your getting from a gasoline powered car then buy some ear plugs and do it. [Eek!]
I bought the wife a new VW TDI back in 2001. By 2002 I was ready to dump it. Electrical gremlins and then drivetrain issues were almost non-stop. They have made a few improvments, but are still having issues. If you REALLY need a VW and are looking used, get a 2004. Previous years are BIG trouble. New, I would get the Passat TDI. Diesels are neat, but I would just get an efficient and reliable gas or gas/hybrid car.
People get into these diesels and most learn on the fly. They cost a lot more upfront as trannys need to be beefier to handle torque. Maintenance can be higher as more oil is usually in sump and not every body has tools or skills for diesel repairs. Fuel quality varies WILDLY from place to place. Driving in cold areas with a several year old diesel can be a real challenge. Your electric bill will be higher because of block heater. Keep your ears tuned in a large parking lot and listen as an older FORD Powerjoke tries to crank-over as all the fuel has drain out of pump and has to crank 40 secs. on a 70F day. A full-size F-350 extracab gets 15.5 MPG on highway. Diesel fuel used to cost 10 cents cheaper than Un-leaded, now it's comparable with Premium. Synopsis; Unless you drive over 30,000 miles a year or tow an extremely heavy trailer( at least 5,000# over 2,000 miles per year) you are wasting your money!People tend to exagerate mileage claims for some unknown reason(must make them feel smarter than everyone else). Flame suit is on and YES it is a real one!
H2GURU, Glad I don't have a powerstroke diesel. I have none of the cold weather problems that you do with my VW. I have not had any problem with fuel quality even during long cross country trips. Occasionally, I'll get some fuel that smokes a little when I stop on the accelerator pedal. I have taken my TDI to -20F in the dead of winter in the Colorado mountains and didn't have problem with fuel or vehicle. I do, however, add powerservice to each tank of gas during the winter to ensure it doesn't gel on me. I wish I were exaggerating my fuel economy, the fact is I wish the 47 mpg on the highway was higher like the non-PD TDI's that seem to easily break 50 mpg. I can't complain, mny fuel economy is much better than my SUV that I traded in when I bought my VW.
I would agree that if one was interested in a diesel the VW would be the most cost effective way to go in the passenger car route,however, my post was intended for the prospective buyer to make sure they have all the FACTS correct as this is probably a major purchase and not be seduced into claims of high mileage. The 30,000 mile rule still stands for larger vehicles. {Want that DURAMAX?-Don't forget to budget an extra $5,000 for the ALLISON to handle the shifting.)
My dad had a 1980 300td MB. he loved it and still talks about it years later. the only reason he sold it is it was starting to deterorate from age, seats falling apart, strange rattles etc. diesel fuel was not an issue but you have to keep an eye out for it on trips. it was slow and heavy, but it made an ecellent car for trips or city driving. he never had any problems with the engine but the transmission had quite a few goofy problems.
Following the lead of Europe would make cents: Now wake up because that perfect world of a clean, cheap and high-performance engine is almost here. In fact it is here, but you have to go to Europe to see it in action. It's diesel. And, for a couple of thousand dollars more, these engines get the same amount of horsepower with 30-percent better fuel economy and arguably lower emissions. The European continent has fallen head over heels for diesel engines. In many areas, gasoline can run $5 to $6 per gallon, pushing consumers to look for other options. In fact, some 50 percent of new cars sold in Europe these days are diesels, up from 17 percent in 1992. From looking at resales they are really holding their resale value too. [Smile]
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