So I have a 2001 VW Jetta 1.8t 5spd, 200,000 miles. For the past couple months, I’ve been getting some serious cold engine issues. Starts fine, idles fine (at 1000rpm on a cold start like it should), back out of my garage is fine, turn around and go down my driveway is fine, but when I get to the road, the problems start. As soon as I give it some gas and try and accelerate, it bucks and jumps and I go nowhere fast. I can floor it and the boost builds, but there is no acceleration to be found. So I’ll be going down the road at like 10mph, turbo screaming, but holding the same speed, and there there is a loud pop (in the exhaust), and all of the sudden the full boost pedal to the floor kicks in and I go flying. Shift, have full power, but as soon as the clutch catches, back to no power until the exhaust pop and I go flying again. By the time I hit 5th gear, the engine has warmed up a little, all is good the rest of the way to work; no problems whatsoever.

So then when I leave work hours later, start the car, all is well. But then I get to the stop light before turning onto the main road, and the idle calms down, and it makes taking off a pain in the butt. I’ll get moving 20 or so feet, then turn on the road, and now I have no power and am just coasting along, again, turbo screaming, until it decides to pop and tires screeching and shooting off like a rocket.. until I shift again. Once I get to the highway and it’s warmed up for a couple minutes, all is well again for the rest of the drive.

What could it be? My MAF has acted funny in the past so it’s been unplugged for a good 15,000 miles, so that’s probably not it. Plugs replaced maybe 10,000 ago. The clutch slipped for the first time today on the highway, so now that needs replacing, which makes this issue even worse since I have to slip the hell out of it to get going properly with the issues it’s having. Any ideas? Forums are getting me nowhere.