80k mile maintenance?

recently hit 80k miles on the jetta (80k miles free of repair) and feel that it is time to check out the overall health of the engine and tranny. I no longer have the Volkswagen free tune up deal.

First thing in my mind is the timing belt, which looks surprisingly good (no cracks, no stiffening of the rubber etc)

Any suggestions or lists of what needs to be checked and updated on my trusty 2.0L I4? Transmission?

The best suggestions are those made by the manufacturer. Simply refer to the maintenance schedule that came with the car.

It is fine to ask for suggestions, but some well-meaning members of this forum might neglect to include a vital maintenance procedure, so the ultimate authority is VW. If you want to do more than VW recommends in the maintenance schedule, that is fine. However, be sure that you do no less than what is listed in the schedule.

Incidentally, a timing belt can look pristine and can snap–with no warning–the next time that you start the engine. This is a perfect example of why you need to adhere to the maintenance schedule, bearing in mind the elapsed time factor, as well as the odometer mileage factor.

Sounds good to me. I’ll get out my manual and my 01 jetta guide book thing.

Then I will take the head off by myself and fiddle with the valve springs, things like that.

I am not going to do that, just kidding.

I advise you do what the manual says. Plus change, not flush, some of the fluids more frequently as cheap insurance.
Auto trans fluid and filter every 30K
Brake fluid and power steering fluid every 3 years.
“Long life” coolant and thermostat every 4 years.
Remove and check spark plugs every 30K, reinsert with anti-seize on the threads.

I would recommend doing what the owner’s manual says with one exception.

If you have an automatic transmission, ideally you would be doing your second transmission fluid change now. If it has not been changed, I would do it now. This likely is not listed in your owner’s manual. But do it anyway.

Don’t fall into the theory that changing fluid causes failure. While it is true that many transmission fail shortly after having their transmission fluid changed, the real reason for the failure is do to a delayed change and the only reason it was changed is because it was starting to exhibit problems and someone who should have already changed it many miles ago, was hopping that a change now would fix what they were fearing. It is often a case of closing the barn doors after the horses are out.

I’m always worried about the tran, such a complex fragile thing it is

Well I appreciate the advice everyone.

Now its time to find out which of these can be done by me and my grandfather who was a chevy mechanic. There are a lot of areas in the jetta and many german cars that are ridiculously hard to access conveniently.

"First thing in my mind is the timing belt, which looks surprisingly good (no cracks, no stiffening of the rubber etc) "
You do know that the exposed belt is not the timing belt. The timing belt is behind a cover. The exposed belt is the accessory drive belt.