GL TDI 4dr Sedan
2003 Volkswagen Jetta Specs
|Front head room||39 "|
|Rear head room||37 "|
|Front shoulder room||54 "|
|Rear shoulder room||53 "|
|Front leg room||41.5 "|
|Rear leg room||33.5 "|
|Luggage capacity||13.0 cu.ft.|
|Maximum cargo capacity||13.0 cu.ft.|
|Body width||68.3 "|
|Body height||56.7 "|
|Ground clearance||5.2 "|
|Gross weight||4,012 lbs.|
|Fuel tank capacity||14.5 gal.|
|EPA mileage estimates||42 City / 49 Hwy|
|Base engine size||1.9 liters|
|Base engine type||I-4|
|Turning radius||17.9 ''|
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MkVI, Mark 4, A4, Mk6, NMS….ALH, BEW, BHW, CJAA – The many VW engine and model codes can be confusing. In this article we’ll help you sort through it and determine which model you have.
You’ll hear VWs referred to by chassis (A1, A3, B4, etc.). This code refers to both the size of the platform, with A being the smallest in the US, B the next size, and there are also larger platforms (like the Phaeton) that are not TDIs here. The number refers to the generation of the car, 1 being first generation, 2 second, and so on. So an A1 is the smallest platform sold in the US and the first generation. This was the 1975-1984 Rabbit.
VW has sold a lot of platforms and generations here, but only a few with TDIs. Here’s a guide to the platforms and engines in VW TDIs in North America. There are two basic engine types, rotary pump and PD (Pumpe Deuse). The engine codes for each platform are also listed below.
VW A3 Platform
- Jetta TDI in model years 1997, 1998, and first half of 1999.
These are all rotary pump cars, mostly with engine code AHU. Some early A3s (1997 only) have a very similar engine with the code 1Z. With the exception of some internal engine parts the AHU and1Z engine components are interchangeable. All have manual transmissions.
A4 Platform – Mk4 Jetta, Golf, New Beetle
- Jetta sedan TDI from model year 1999.5 through the first half of 2005
- New Beetle from 1998 to 2006
- Jetta Wagon TDI from 2002 to 2005 (2006 in Canada)
- Golf TDI from 1999.5 through 2006.
All A4 models switched to Pumpe Deuse (PD) engines from model year 2004 on.
- 1999.5-2003: Rotary engine code ALH
2004-2005 Jetta, 2004-2006 Golf and New Beetle, Pumpe Deuse engine code BEW.
A5 Platform – Mk5 Jetta
Models & Engines:
- Jetta Sedan from 2005.5 – 2006, Engine Code BRM (1.9L “Pumpe-Deuse”)
- Jetta Sedan 2009-2010, Engine Code CBEA or CJAA (2.0L common rail)
- Sportwagen 2009-2010, Engine Code CBEA or CJAA (2.0L common rail)
The A5 was produced in 2005 and 2006, had a special including special ‘diesel’ edition Jetta in late 2006. Some of these cars are actually 2007 model year cars sold as 2006s. The 2005.5 and 2006 cars all have Pumpe Deuse engines with code BRM. There were no TDIs sold in the US in model years 2007 or 2008. The 2009 “Clean Diesel” is a Common Rail engine with code CBEA or CJAA.
VW Mk6 Golf & Sportwagen
The MkVI Golf was introduced in 2010 though it was largely a refreshed A5 platform Jetta and Rabbit. It is instantly recognizable by its new front-end and headlights design. This front end is shared by the 2010 and up Sportwagen as well, although it wasn’t until 2011 that the Sportwagen moved its platform up a generation.
- 2010+ Golf TDI, Engine Code CJAA (2.0L, “clean diesel” common-rail TDI)
- 2011-2014 Sportwagen TDI, Engine Code CJAA (also referred to as the Jetta Sportwagen)
VW Mk6 Jetta
In 2011 VW introduced an all-new Jetta on a modified A5 platform. One highlight of the 2011+ Jetta was the reintroduction of a single rear-beam suspension rather than the independent rear suspension on the original A5 Jetta. Later on in 2013 VW upgraded the rear back to IRS.
In 2015 the Mk6 Jetta received a facelift and an engine upgrade.
The 2011 Jetta TDI was available with the same 2.0L common-rail, “clean diesel” TDI (engine code CJAA) as the MkVI Golf.
- 2011-2014 Jetta TDI, Engine Code CJAA
- 2015+ Jetta TDI, Engine Code CVCA
MQB Platform – Mk7 Golf & Golf Wagon
The 2015 Golf and Wagon were the first models to be introduced that used the new VW “MQB” platform. Read more about the MQB Platform. The Mk7 Golf is lighter and stronger than the outgoing Mk6 and also came with the new EA288 series engine that was more powerful, more efficient and used AdBlue Diesel Exhaust Fluid.
As of the Mk7 generation the wagon version was no longer a “Jetta” or “Sportwagen” but simply the “Golf Wagon”.
- Mk7 Golf (2-door/4-door/Wagon)
Diamond in the Rough: 2003 Jetta Upgrade
Readying an ’03 Jetta for the Next 100,000 Miles
We all love our trucks here at Diesel World, but there is something about having a vehicle capable of knocking down 50-plus mpg that is undeniably empowering. Enter our latest find: an ’03 Volkswagen Jetta TDI GLS model. While not perfect, the MK4 sedans (built from ’99.5-‘03) are great on fuel, simplistic in nature, are reasonably comfortable, and respond well to power adders—making them highly sought after. The ALH 1.9L sports a Bosch VE rotary style injection pump and is known to last well beyond 400,000 miles if properly cared for.
The Right Choice
With the current price of fuel so low ($1.89/gallon as of May, 2016 in central Illinois) the demand for the MK4 Jettas has come down, which means prices aren’t quite as high as they used to be. However, finding a rust-free, well-maintained unit with a five-speed manual transmission can be exhausting. Upper Midwest and Northeast versions are usually riddled with rust (particularly the front fenders), and frankly a lot of the interiors are destroyed. If you’re in the market for one, you have to remember that most of these cars are bought solely to be commuters, so it’s natural for them to have a few miles racked up (especially now that they’re more than a decade removed from production).
It should come as no surprise that our 200,000-mile candidate was a commuter. But, it was lady-driven, came with a stack of service records, and has an interior that is in what we’d call immaculate condition. With doors still completely intact, a glove box latch and hood latch that work, and a center console hinge in good working order, we’ve found a true diamond in the rough. And, for $4,000, we simply couldn’t say no.
To make sure the little V-dub was as mechanically sound as possible, we reached out to a company that arguably knows more about these cars than anyone else: Kerma TDI. They advised us to change the timing belt, water pump, and tensioner as soon as possible (as the 1.9L is an interference engine) and to give their Q-loader programmer a try for a little more oomph. Read on to see the ins and outs of a timing belt change, as well as the other items we tackled this month to keep this TDI a reliable fuel-sipper.
High Mileage Timing Belt Kit $399
Motor Mounts (Street Density line) $327
Beru Glow Plug set $65
2003 Jetta TDI reliability?
Wow that is a real long list of PITA stuff. Your information would in effect TOTALLY negate mine. (ZERO it out so to speak)
Well, "engine" is a pretty big area. But most of us think that the ALH was the last good TDI before the PD came along. My 2003? Glow plug harness went at 30k. (still bad, new one finally on order). DMF+clutch went at around 60k. Turbo went out of adjustment and started overboosting at about 60k. (limp mode). Bad alternator at 75k. Bad N75 at 80k. (I replaced all vacuum lines, and fuel lines, broke a couple of plastic electrical connectors). Bad thermostat at 90k. VNT 15 turbo was leaking oil and ate something at 107k. I have reoccurring CONSTANT bad tail light bulbs. I change tail lights about every two months. Tell me it's a short? I say, why isn't the fuse blowing?
Click to expand...
1. I have had two TSB's (neither were needed, but done by the local dealer). a. rear plastic door lock assemblies were changed to metal b. third tail light (brake lamp) modification was performed To be fair, which in effect gives a plug for dealer maintenance, neither dealer TSB has failed. But then as I said, all was well before dealer's TSB. Cost: $.00 N/A to TDI
2. Early on, the driver side low beam head lamp fail. I really don't know if it fried by itself or had shock issues. I debated about changing both sides (passenger low beam head lamp also) but elected to change just the driver's side. Long story short after 7 years and 135,000 miles, it functions just fine. Even my optometrist can't tell the difference in light levels between the two. Cost : $5.00 N/A to TDI,
3. TB/WP change @ 100,000 miles and 20-25k OCI's. While the EGR and intake manifold were inspected and found "blacken", it was pronounced good to go (guru) to @ least the next 100,000 TB/WP change @ 200,000 miles. The camshaft showed little to no wear and the original tool markings were visible. Cost: $600.00 TDI specific, but at the same time gassers have to have this also??
4. I do go through batteries about every 3 to 3.5 years . In comparison, Japanese oem batteries have lasted 8-11 years. This is not to mention the fact that oem batteries are a purposely weird specification that not all aftermarket vendors duplicate. Needless to say they cost more (70% more- 70 vs 119) and @ (a 2.67 x's) more frequent interval. Cost: $238.00 ($119.00 per *2 ea =) N/A to TDI, but I am not sure
5. Tires changed @ 112,300 miles. This was a VERY pleasant surprise in that the GY LS-H were overwhelmingly (90%)vilified by folks on this and other web sites. In number terms, the average wear per 1/32nd in of rubber material was 15,000 miles (ok 14,973) Cost: $308.00 N/A to TDI,
6. If you are not a curb/pot hole frequent banger, alignments seem to last for a long time. I did not need one when I got one @ 98,000 miles (a vendor @ a GTG offered a special so he made the minute settling adjustments. In contrast a Japanese (04 Honda Civic (MIA made in America) NEEDED three. Cost : $60.00 N/A to TDI,
It runs like the proverbial top @ app 135,000 miles. .
The Ultimate Commuter: ’99.5-’03 VW Jetta TDI
Here at Driving Line, we’re pretty big on drift cars, drag racing, dirt blasting and generally anything that goes fast on-road and off. But, all of us have to get to work somehow, and in most cases, high horsepower and long highway stretches don’t bode well in the mpg department.
For years, budget-minded commuters have turned to diesel powered compacts, sedans, and hatchbacks as a means of saving money at the pump. At the forefront of this trend has been Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI models. For utmost fuel efficiency, solid reliability, and reasonable comfort, the ’99.5-’03 model year Jettas have been (and continue to be) one of the best all-around vehicles to use as daily commuters. The fact that the highly sought after ALH code 1.9L turbodiesel engines utilizes a rotary style injection pump and is known to last well beyond 300,000 miles, make them a standout on the reliability front.
From a fuel efficiency standpoint, these cars get 45 to 50 mpg (highway) in bone-stock trim when equipped with a manual transmission. From a comfort standpoint, they’re no Mercedes Benz, but they do offer a surprisingly pleasant ride for a compact with a cheap price tag. We recently got our hands on the GLS model Jetta shown here for all of the above reasons. Read on and you’ll see why we had no reservations about picking up a 13-year old car with 200,000 miles on the clock.
And, because we know it’s a hot topic right now in the automotive world, we’ll go ahead and answer the question: No, this Jetta is not involved in VW’s recent emissions cheat scandal (that affects cars built from ’09 to ‘15).
Due to high demand and dwindling supply of the ’99.5-’03 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, at this point these cars are nearly collector items. After searching high and low for three months, we finally found this highway-mile gem in central Kentucky. We’re not kidding when we say that our hunt for the perfect Jetta (zero rust, five-speed manual, no performance add-ons, immaculate interior, and the right price) was downright exhausting — so much so that we dread ever having to do it again.
The Most Reliable Engine
The 1.9L turbodiesel (ALH code) engine is as simple as it gets. It’s a timing belt driven, single-overhead cam, 8-valve inline-four that’s mounted sideways under the hood. Being a modern diesel, the injection system is pretty simple, too. Direct injection means fuel is sprayed directly in-cylinder (right into the fuel bowl built into the piston). Two-stage (i.e., pilot and main event) mechanical injectors and the proven VP37 Bosch rotary electronic injection pump are employed, along with no lift pump being relied upon (one less failure point).
For those in the know (and for newbies, just the same), a manual transmission is the only way to roll with a ’99.5-’03 ALH Jetta. The 01M four-speed automatic that was offered in these cars was extremely notorious for failure. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 02J manual transmission is well-known for its reliability and durability. To be sure, all of these cars were built the same way in that the firewall and floorboard provisions are there to easily swap a manual in place of an auto, hence all of the auto-to-manual swaps you see.
The One Weak Link
Believe it or not, most of the problems associated with the ’99.5-’03 Jettas exist in the interior (you can’t have it all, right?). The inner door panels fall apart, the hood and glove box latches quit working, the headliner sags, and the center console hinge fails, to name a few problem areas. Luckily, all of the aforementioned items were in perfect working order for us.
Miles Are Not a Problem
After speaking with several former and current VW technicians, we weren’t afraid of finding a high-mile Jetta. According to nearly everyone we spoke with, it’s not uncommon to find 400,000+ miles on the odometers of these cars.
This is the reason people still buy these things… We drove 586 miles, only needed 11.3 gallons to top off, and spent just $22 on fuel. That hand calculates out to more than 51 mpg! After the first three months of ownership, we’ve seen an overall average of 49 mpg (mostly highway but with city stints mixed in). On a full tank and straight highway driving, we’re convinced it’s possible to go 800 miles without stopping for fuel.
More Power, More MPG
With just 90hp on tap from the factory, a little extra kick is welcomed in the ’99.5-’03 Jetta TDI’s. Luckily, companies like Kerma TDI offer programmers that add as much as 25hp and 60 lb-ft of torque at the front wheels. On top of that, they can further improve fuel economy by an extra 1-to-2 mpg.
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