Replace engine on 2002 Jetta 1.8T wagon or not?

Another replace engine question…after a botched repair that left my engine oil-starved, the car (that had 125K miles) has been declared a total loss by the insurance company. I can replace the engine with a used one (2005 engine with 91K miles on it) with a 1 year warranty for about $2200 (not including turbo which may or may not also need to be replaced). This will leave me with about $1700 from the insurance settlement that can be socked away for additional repairs or eventual replacement. If it sticks around until I replace it, it may be useful as an extra car for our teen who is a new driver. Or, I can take the $6400 total and look for a used car (but my initial search is not finding a Jetta or Passat wagon in that price range). Help! The rental runs out tomorrow and we cannot seem to get off this decision fence! Thank you!

You’ll be unable to either swap the motor or find a credible replacement vehicle by tomorrow. Unless you’re far better equipped and have swapped a lot more engines than most…in which case you wouldn’t be asking.

I vote for an engine swap. I should point out that if it’s been oil staved the turbo is unlikely to be salvagable. It’ll need to be swapped too.

I would rather have $6400 and no Jetta…But that’s just me…

Thanks the same mountainbike - I know I can’t get it done by tomorrow (!), but can get along without a car for the next week or so. Just feeling pressured to make the decision.
@Caddyman-thanks for the much-needed smile, but this has been a great car for me and I’m not ready to give her up.

I’m surprised that a 2005 model will swap with a 2002, given how often things change (computer, sensors, etc). Make absolutely sure it’ll work first.

@ texases - how would you recommend I do that?

@ texases - they both have the same (AWP) engine codes

If he does the swap he’ll have both the Jetta and $1700 cash.

It is, however, a tough call without knowing more about preferences, the overall condition of the Jetta, and the OP’s needs.

The recycler/junkyard where you get the engine will have an ‘interchange manual’ that shows this. So if they’ve checked, it’s ok.

There are a few unknowns that would trouble me.
One is will this warranty cover labor and how dependent is it on someone’s interpretation of a problem?
(Meaning will the “new” used engine burn through a quart of oil every 500 miles and you will be told that it’s normal.)
Two is the lack of figuring a turbocharger into this repair. If an engine is oil starved enough to be considered trashed out then I don’t see how the turbocharger could have escaped so I’m with mountainbike on this.

I’m tempted to say take the money and look for another car rather than assume more risk.

I’d go with the engine swap I think. 91K isn’t too much for a 2005. Have your mechanic install new gaskets and accessories (like the valve cover gasket, the water pump, thermostat, timing belt, v-belts, etc) while the engine is out. Those are easy not not very expensive to do when the engine is out, but expensive once the engine is replaced because they take more time to do.

Oh, one more thing. Of course have your mechanic check the condition of the new engine, especially the compression and head gasket viability on the new engine before you buy it.

In what condition is the rest of the car? If the body, particularly underneath is showing signs of rust, then I would take the money and run. Besides the engine, there is the transmission, steering gear, suspension, etc. that are all 10 years old.

I don’t have a feeling about this. For whatever reason did the car need an engine repair to begin with? Are other components up to date on their maintenance. Then if the turbo needs to be replaced, that essentially wipes any leftover money. Add a set of tires and a brake job and you are in the negative. I feel you should take the money and buy something that is less of a headache.

If you replace the engine, put a new rear main seal on the engine and a new front seal on the transmission. You don’t want to have to pull the engine later to replace either one of these.

I agree that this is a good opportunity to thoroughly inspect the rest of the car for structural integrity (i.e., no rust), brakes, suspension, transmission, etc, etc. If the rest of the car is good I’d be tempted to go forward with the swap.

I’d also make absolutely certain a 2005 motor will fit into a 2002 without modification. In fact, wasn’t 2005 the first year of a significant model upgrade? At some point the 1.8T became a 2.0T, which i thought might have been with that model change. The 1.8Ts were so common that I would think you could find an '02 motor pretty easily. There may be some interchangeability between models, too, since the 1.8T was used in 3 different VW models plus a couple of Audis. But again, make certain this is a direct swap.

CCC, that’s what I thought, but the wagon kept the 1.8T for 2005 as far as I can tell. For some reason the Jetta wagon’s a year late in the model changeovers, many times.