Seats, that is. The girlfriend has always really liked the plaid seats in Mk5 and up GTIs and Jetta GLIs. There was a lot of talk about how if we ever got another Mk5 (had a 2006 Jetta TDI previously that I sold a couple years ago) or Mk6, we’d either buy one that already had plaids (meaning it must be a GTI or Jetta GLI) or we’d have to find one in the junkyard and swap it into the car we get.

How prescient was the timing of this article by Kristen Lee telling us about the woman who came up with some of the quirky VW interior details that some of us have come to love so much.

Literally the next week, I see that there’s a Mk5 Jetta GLI at a Pick n Pull about an hour away. Gotta go check it out! I also can cheat with VWs now. I paid for Partslink24 access, just to better help me track down part numbers and order parts from the local dealer. I’m that guy... I will literally look up the part number myself and just call them with the part numbers, doing half of their job for them. Cuts down on getting the wrong parts drastically. But anyway, the reason I mention it is I can plug in a VW or Audi’s VIN number and it will give me all the PR codes of what exactly the car was equipped with from the factory, down to the fabric and pattern on the seats... And this one GLI turned out it indeed did have plaids, so hell yes, we’re going for it:


The fabric is in pretty decent shape overall. There were shards of glass from a broken driver window that we had to vacuum off, but otherwise good shape. The lumbar adjust on the driver’s seat is sadly inop for the moment. I may take it back out of the car to address that at some point.

Image of the rear seat. Since her Jetta has the light grey, some of the parts clash a little. I should have grabbed these little plastic pieces while I was at the yard too, but spaced on it not realizing how much lighter her interior color is and that these silly plastic pieces are color matched to the seats. Oh well. Can get those some other day.

More about her Jetta: I bought it for $1,000. It’s a 2006 Jetta TDI a lot like the one I sold a couple years ago. Instead of being midnight blue with anthracite interior, it’s dark grey exterior with light grey interior. Similarly equipped. Originally with the pleather heated seats, non-MFA cluster, no steering wheel buttons, no nav. That reminds me, the plaids are sadly NOT heated, but for the most part with cloth, it won’t be missed too much in our climate.


The car had about 170,000 miles on it when we got it this summer. My now former shop neighbor (sold his business and is now semi-retired) basically made the deal. It was his niece’s car and before he officially left, he made sure it got towed down to the shop from where it was 250+ miles North of here. After I looked it over and assessed what it needed (worn camshaft, new timing belt, transmission service, filter service, a thorough cleaning and a passenger rear door that was tweaked and making a fair bit of wind noise among some other minor body damage) we made a deal and away we go.


My first look at the camshaft... badly worn lobe and a lifter with a hole in it.

Sound familiar? Check my V10 Touareg project posts for the same failure mode... PD TDIs for ya. Only got them here from 2004-2006 (well, through 2008 in the case of the V10) and they’re all generally prone to this, sadly. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 1.9 or 2.0 4 cylinder or even the 5.0 V10. All the 2V/cylinder PDs are very prone to this no matter what oil you use (despite popular theories stating otherwise).


But, it’s fixed up now, new camshaft installed, new timing belt, caught it up on all the services, runs much smoother, no more MAF implausible signal code, with shitty traffic it’s been averaging 37-38 MPG on her commute, but more importantly, it has an automatic transmission.

Both of us love our manuals, but when it comes to grinding through traffic, she in particular would rather not with a manual. I do it and don’t mind so much. Difference in technique I suppose, but even then there are some days where it does get a bit tiring just having to ride the clutch in shit traffic for an hour or more at a time.


Long story short. We like buying cars for next to nothing that need work, putting some work into them, upgrade them with OE parts that we know we like--if we find them at a pick n pull for cheap, that is--and then just drive the crap out of them.

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