Author Topic: BUYING GUIDE ...cover's all Mk3 models (Mostly gti & vr6)  (Read 18646 times)

Offline boneybradley

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heres a simple buying guide for everybody wanting a mk3...The guide will be added to over time and if you know something I've missed pm me the details and I will be ammended the thread accordingly...

The MK3 Golf did not deliver class-leading performance in terms of how it drove, but it was the most desirable car in its class. This is mainly thanks to build quality and finish.
Handling is well balanced (allthough far too soft for a gti) with plenty of grip in the corners giving plenty of confidence.
ABS brakes were standard on Gti & VR6 models and optional on all others. A driver's airbag was fitted from 1994 onwards, whilst a passenger airbag was optional. An immobiliser was fitted from 1994 onwards.

Engines range from the underpowered 1.4, through to the adequate 1.6 and sprightly 1.8. The GTi models had a 16v 2.0 litre unit whilst the VR6 model boasted a 2.8 litre V6. A number of 1.9 diesel units were also fitted, but the non-turbocharged versions are pitifully slow and have just 64bhp.

Engine Size 2792 cc
0-60 mph 7.4 s
Power Output 174 bhp
Torque 235 Nm    173 lb-ft
Top Speed 140 mph

Engine Size 1984 cc
0-60 mph 8.0 s
Power Output 150 bhp
Torque 180 Nm    133 lb-ft
Top Speed 134 mph

Engine Size 1984 cc
0-60 mph 9.8 s
Power Output 115 bhp
Torque 166 Nm    122 lb-ft
Top Speed 123 mph

The golf engine's are strong and will last 200'000+ miles if looked after and serviced.. that dosent mean they don't break down! Do the normal engine checks and ensure you hear the engine from cold.
if you have chance get the car connected to vag-com and see if any thing show's..but I must add any previous faults will show logged if the ecu memory was not erased..

If you can go on a longer test drive check for the 'cutting out' problem. Mine does it on warm up after about 78'C oil temp (check MFA works while you're at it!). May happen when coming up to junctions. This could be a good old Relay No. 30!!!)or could be a distributor (if hall sender knackered).
If the car does have any cutting out issues you will need our friendly cutting out thread...

Gearbox and clutch
The 8v came with an 020 box with cable clutch and all 16v and vr's had the 02a box with hydraulic clutch.

The 020 8v box seems to be the weakest and it should not wine or feel over notchy... The clutch should feel light without creak's and should not slip.. the clutch on these are different to normal car's as the flywheel covers the clutch (not the other way as normal). A recon 020 box is around £300 + fitting and a clutch will be about £80 + fitting..
The 02a box is stronger but still wear and again should not wine or be notchy.. the clucth is hydraulic and check for leaks and feel if the pedal is smooth and dosent drop to the floor as leaks can create air locks..


Gereally the mk3 should be well built and benefitted from a galvanised shell from 1995 model year build.. But they are an old car now and if they havent being looked after well all of them including late models will rot fast!

look around the front screen as badly replaced windscreens seem to cause dreadfull rust problem's...
look for rust on the sills under the car and also lift the door deal rubbers (but look at the jacking points especially as careless jacking kills them).
check the doors close easy as the hinges drop due to the door weight..these can be cured simple by rehanging the door or new hinges!


If only everything was as reliable as a volkswagen!! Well the mk3 electrics don't seem to agree with that.. the only good thing is the common faults are simple regualtor issues or worn wiring in the door opening.

On startup, check the VW immobiliser is not playing up - will sometimes cut out a second after starting, usually when already warm after an earlier drive.
Check opperation of all the electric windows and the sunroof, try them a few times each - on a dry day if possible to see if there are any regulator or motor probs. A common problem nowadays but cheap and fairly easy to fix...

Gti and Vr's have good brakes (280mm until 95 and then 288mm front discs)

Make sure that the ABS is working . There is a panel to the right of the headlamp switch . The ABS light should iluminate for a couple of seconds then go out when starting the engine. also check it stays out. but beware as some naughty people cut the ABS light when it doesn't work, thus showing no fault..If the light dosent illuminate at all beware!
Earlier mk3's had the same rear calipers as the mk2 and the handbrake mech seizes (especially when its freezing!) and either require a good clean and oil or later calipers fitting..


Honest john...
A guide to the gti/vr6
Online printable checklist

Wanting to buy one.. check this thread and see whats on offer
« Last Edit: 07 February 2012, 20:24 by boneybradley »
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Offline boneybradley

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and heres some information from another old thread....

If the car has aftermarket suspension, make sure it was professionally fitted.  When people fit suspension kits at home, they often neglect to get the wheel alignment re-set or replace the front strut top mounts. Bad wheel alignment or dodgy mounts will cause the tyres to wear unevenly.  And decent tyres aren't cheap.

Unlike the Mk2, most Mk3 Golfs are standard so checking out mods probably won't be an issue, but check for uneven tyre wear anyway.  Uneven wear on the front tyres means that either

a) there is a problem with the suspension geometry
b) the car has been ragged.

Neither is good.

Leather seats, air conditioning and a passenger airbag were all available as options throughout the production run.  All are desirable things to have, especially the leather.

Virtually all Insurance companies will insist that you have a Thatcham-approved immobiliser fitted to a VR6 before they will insure it.  If the car already has one of these (with a fitters report), this is a bonus.

Finally, the vw engines are very reliable engine, but they requires regular oil changes to remain that way.  A full service history is fairly essential. 

The incredible reliability of the golf means that its a target for clockers.  Check the service history and any old MOT certificates (good owners will keep them as proof of mileage) very carefully.

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Offline eddi beech

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Also, check that the car goes backwards a long distance without jumping out or reverse or making too much noise, this is quite common and costs £500 to fix.  New box!!