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My '02 Jetta has been having a front fender rust issue for some time now. It is rusting at the top of the wheel for a different reason (another topic someday), but a couple of years back, rust started appearing at rear of the fender, at the rocker panel just ahead of the front door. Not much body rust anywhere else on the car which is good for a 17 year old car living outside in New York.
Jetta Fender Rust 042719.jpg

Well, earlier this year, the rust got so bad that the sheet metal just deteriorated and I saw dirt under the rust. I started digging and found about a baseball sized clod of dirt, rotted leaves, pine needles, etc inside the fender on both sides. Sorry, but I forgot to take any pics. :banghead:

Fast forward a couple of months and I was thinking about where the "things" that fall in the space behind the hood, under the windshield wipers goes. Answer, it goes behind the fender!! Water probably just goes through the seams at the bottom between the plastic fender liners. But there isn't enough open space for solids to go through, so they clog the seam and just sits there, wet, causing rust.

So I decided to check behind the fender liner on my wife's '05 Suby, and this is what I found!
Suby Fender Dirt 042719.jpg

Luckily she doesn't have any rust-thru yet. When it gets warmer, I'm going to throughly wash out the area with a hose, and then treat with some rust preventative.

I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but I have never done this cleaning before. :dunno:
Maybe because I haven't kept cars as long as I do now.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Certain year the MKIV Jettas had a recall for the front fenders rusting. Don’t know exactly what years but you may fall into that. But I’m sure you are out of the recall window now...

Edit to add - I learned of the junk collecting in that spot on the TDIClub forum some years ago. I happened to have a Jetta at that time. Opened up that area and like yours, it was loaded with junk.
 

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Certain year the MKIV Jettas had a recall for the front fenders rusting. Don’t know exactly what years but you may fall into that. But I’m sure you are out of the recall window now...

Edit to add - I learned of the junk collecting in that spot on the TDIClub forum some years ago. I happened to have a Jetta at that time. Opened up that area and like yours, it was loaded with junk.
Thanks, I did find out about that recall for the top rust ... but I was too late, car was 15 years old and the dealer said that was beyond the "window". I didn't pursue it. I also didn't see anything the dirt collection issue.

But, yesterday I got the Jetta inspected and NYS now tells you of pending recalls on your car. I have a brake light switch recall that I haven't done yet, because it still works, and the dealer is too far away to be convenient. Now that my fenders are rusted through badly, I'll think about driving it to the dealer to have the switch replaced ... and maybe leave it parked in their lot for a couple of days to show off to prospective VW customers :laugh:

In any case, we're probably going to sell the TDI this year anyway.
 

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Coaltrain beat me to it. I think VW warrantied the front fenders for up to 10yrs after the OEM warranty expired, they were that notorious for rusting out. Thankfully someone had them replaced on the '02 I picked up.

Now i gotta go clean my rears out. Thanks for that bit of info.

Super fun cars to drive, especially with the 5spd manual.
 

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It’s pretty much normal for any vehicle that’s more than 5 years old to have rust holes where I’m from. It happens more with vehicles that don’t get the underside washed very often. By the time a vehicle is 10 years old I almost expect to find some rust. Road salt is very very corrosive and they use lots of it here.
 

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Warranty was 12 years from date of service of vehicle. Only covered rust-thru. And it wasn't a recall, it was a TSB on the fenders. Furthermore, ALL VW products have a 12 year rust-thru warranty (except the Routan since it was a Chrysler)

Once a year, pull the inner fenders, clean all debris and drains, spray with fluid film, reassemble. Remember your windshield drains there on most cars.

Worst part is it ruins your rocker panel before the fender shows it...

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Wow that is more rust then on my whole 79 Chevy Pickup? My 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 does not have any rust except under the drivers door. I think the hinge pin has some slop it has drug on the opening tin and took the paint off. That has let it surface rust some. They use way more sand then salt where we live. Salt is only used to break up a real bad road ice build up sometimes when the temps are just right. I would be real upset and a bunch of others having their vehicles ate up by road crap to only get rid of ice!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Warranty was 12 years from date of service of vehicle. Only covered rust-thru. And it wasn't a recall, it was a TSB on the fenders. Furthermore, ALL VW products have a 12 year rust-thru warranty (except the Routan since it was a Chrysler)

Once a year, pull the inner fenders, clean all debris and drains, spray with fluid film, reassemble. Remember your windshield drains there on most cars.

Worst part is it ruins your rocker panel before the fender shows it...
I bought my '02 Jetta TDI used, didn't even know about the 12 year rust-thru until after it had past ... I don't think I saw rust during that time period anyway other than surface rust from rock dings. So be it, when I called the VW dealer that's what they told me too.

Wow that is more rust then on my whole 79 Chevy Pickup? My 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 does not have any rust except under the drivers door. I think the hinge pin has some slop it has drug on the opening tin and took the paint off. That has let it surface rust some. They use way more sand then salt where we live. Salt is only used to break up a real bad road ice build up sometimes when the temps are just right. I would be real upset and a bunch of others having their vehicles ate up by road crap to only get rid of ice!
I didn't show you the top of the wheel opening, that other rust spot is about 2X of that behind the wheel. Rust through and bubbling paint. Short story, VW put a "sound deadening pad" at the top of the wheel opening, inside. It just kept the spot wet until the rust came through the sheet metal. Both rust spots are on both front fenders.

Had I known/read earlier on TDIClub's forum, that pad and the dirt collection area would have gotten more attention than I gave it. Oh well.

Live and learn... 2 cents.
 

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The old Jetta did well enough for 17 years of service I think.

My wife’s ‘99 New Beetle TDI sits in the barn without a lick of rust on it. The previous owner who had it since new and sold it to us at 4 years old never drove it in the snow. I can think of maybe 3 or 4 times since that we have in its 20 year life.

Planning on a few refurbishing items soon - a suspension refresh plus the turbo needs cleaned. Other than that we still turn the key and go. It’s a shame it only gets 500 miles a year on it since Mrs. C hasn’t been able to drive the last few years.

Hoping when she gets her knee fixed she can get back to driving it. She refuses to sell it.
 

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Wow that is more rust then on my whole 79 Chevy Pickup? My 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 does not have any rust except under the drivers door. I think the hinge pin has some slop it has drug on the opening tin and took the paint off. That has let it surface rust some. They use way more sand then salt where we live. Salt is only used to break up a real bad road ice build up sometimes when the temps are just right. I would be real upset and a bunch of others having their vehicles ate up by road crap to only get rid of ice!
Don't move to Ontario then. During the winter we get more salt than anything put down on the roads here. They also put down something that they call 'Brine', a water/salt solution, on the roads before a big snowfall or forecasted freezing rain. It's supposed to melt snow/ice before it can become a problem for the motorists. The problem with the salt is it also prematurely rusts out the cars and trucks. One other small detail about the salt is that the snow that it melts is transformed into a salty vapour when the cars throw the snowmelt into the air. The vapour is circulated by the wind currents and it kills a lot of the vegetation on the side of the road, and goes up onto the hydro wires and insulators. The salt deteriorates the aluminum conductors and coats the insulators, then when there is a light mist the electricity tracks down the insulator and quite often sets the poles and cross-arms on fire as it tracks to ground. Just a little added bonus.
 

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Wow that is more rust then on my whole 79 Chevy Pickup? My 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 does not have any rust except under the drivers door. I think the hinge pin has some slop it has drug on the opening tin and took the paint off. That has let it surface rust some. They use way more sand then salt where we live. Salt is only used to break up a real bad road ice build up sometimes when the temps are just right. I would be real upset and a bunch of others having their vehicles ate up by road crap to only get rid of ice!
Consider yourself blessed then. Around here Dodge trucks with some age, almost always look like giant rust buckets. Wheel well openings on them rust so bad you could fit 40" tires in there without a lift, and still have normal suspension travel.:laugh: Do they use galvanized panels like GM?


Some TDI porn.....
I keep track of every tank of fuel (satisfies and OCD), this was when the fuel light came on for my very first full tank, drove another 30 something miles before I filled up. My newest thing is I just switched from exclusively using BP bio-diesel, to exclusively using Casey's #2 diesel. Hoping to see a real world comparison of the two over numerous tanks burned up.
 

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Wow that is more rust then on my whole 79 Chevy Pickup? My 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 does not have any rust except under the drivers door. I think the hinge pin has some slop it has drug on the opening tin and took the paint off. That has let it surface rust some. They use way more sand then salt where we live. Salt is only used to break up a real bad road ice build up sometimes when the temps are just right. I would be real upset and a bunch of others having their vehicles ate up by road crap to only get rid of ice!
You are very every lucky. The only vehicles seen from the 70-80s around here were likely brought in from some place like Arizona. I switched from dodge to ford in 2016 because my 99 2500 was getting rather rusty. My brother has a 06 dodge that the box just has major rust holes, the box is close to falling off the truck. I have an 05 Colorado that has rust holes in the frame. Im somewhat surprised it made it through this winter without breaking in two. Unfortunately I have notice a couple of f150s that have rust holes around the rear fenders. I’m not sure of the exact model year of the 150s. I’m guessing they were made just before ford switched to aluminum.

A 5 year rust through warranty seems to be the normal for most vehicles. Rust through between the age of 6-10 is pretty common around here. It doesn’t happen to all vehicles. Some go longer.
 

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Tomfive;3246764So I decided to check behind the fender liner on my wife's '05 Suby said:
https://www.greentractortalk.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=683468&stc=1[/IMG]

Luckily she doesn't have any rust-thru yet. When it gets warmer, I'm going to throughly wash out the area with a hose, and then treat with some rust preventative.

I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but I have never done this cleaning before. :dunno:
Maybe because I haven't kept cars as long as I do now.
Just my 2 cents.
I notice the same thing last summer on our 2015 Forester. I opened the front door and had myself a good look inside below the door hinge, out came the water hose.
 

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I was a TDI driver for quite a few years. We had a 09 Jetta TDI (one of the cheaters :laugh:) that we bought new in Sept 09 and I drove for a little over 90K miles until September or November of 2016 when they bought it back from us.

In this pic if you look at the front fender you can see where the paint was missing because of rust.



I had taken it in for something else, a recall I think and asked about the paint which was sometime in the winter of 2015 I think. They told me it was covered by the 10 year warranty so I was thinking cool I will get it taken care of. Well I went to set things up and they said to drop it off and said it might take up to a month because not only did the front panels need to be replace but also the trunk, rocker panels and rear quarter panels. Being it was winter a lot of body shops are slammed with all the car accidents so they get back logged. I said that was fine, when do I pick up a loaner. They then said that it was covered under warranty but they will not provide me with a loaner, maybe the body shop would that they farm the work out to. I contacted them and they said no. I cancelled the work because I couldn't be without a car for up to a month. If I did it in the summer at least I could drive a summer vehicle or my motorcycle. A Corvette doesn't do well in a foot of snow. Around that time the emissions cheating news broke. While waiting on that buy back to get sorted out I ended up buying a Subaru WRX for a replacement. Since the TDI was sitting at that point I called them up and said hey, I want the warranty work done. They asked if I was doing the buy back. I said yes but I don't care, fix the car. Rather than it sit in my driveway for the next month, it can sit at the body shop. So they took the car, spent something like $8-9k on fixing the car which went into a local business. Then it was bought back and most likely crushed.

While there were fixes for the earlier DPF cars, I don't know if they fixed the older higher mileage one. I don't remember the exact odometer reading but something like 93K. Just about due for the timing belt, water pump and other stuff. I will say the car was very reliable. I replaced tires, did oil changes and there was some sensor that went out that cost me $40 to replace. I had a VCDS so I could do the adaptation myself to program it. Oh and my drivers seat belt sensor went out. I just disabled the seat belt check with the VCDS as I always wear it anyhow. I don't think I had any other issues other that rust.

I want to say part of the issue with the fender rust out problem had to do with some block of foam that was in the fender to cut down on resonance or a vibration. Well the block of foam turned out to be more like a sponge than foam so it would soak up water and that would sit on the fender rusting it out from the inside kind of like what happens with the mud and dirt. I know GM trucks have this same issue with the beds.

The TDI wasn't a bad car. I miss the MPG. I went from filling the 14 gallon tank every other week to every week on the WRX. The WRX is way more fun to drive though and simply a blast in the snow. These vehicles are mainly winter cars for me as I am on my motorcycles this time of year most of the time.

 

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How did you go about finding about the fender repair? I also have a 2009 Jetta, although with the 2.5m liter gas motor and the driver's front fender looks like that. I had a local body shop fix it once 3 years ago, but it has come back. My body shop guy says that he sees them like that all of the time.

My 05 Silverado DMax appears to be the poster child for corrosion. It spent almost 4 months in rehab, where a new to me box was installed, new front fenders, rocker panels and cab corners, fuel pump and transmission oil cooler, new rear frame cross member. And this doesn't count the brake line replacement, fuel line replacement, But a new DMax was $75,000. :banghead:

Dave
 

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How did you go about finding about the fender repair? I also have a 2009 Jetta, although with the 2.5m liter gas motor and the driver's front fender looks like that. I had a local body shop fix it once 3 years ago, but it has come back. My body shop guy says that he sees them like that all of the time.

Dave
It's actually a rust "warranty" and it's ONLY on perforation and ONLY on original (non messed with) panels. It's also at their will whether or not they want to warranty it or not.


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How did you go about finding about the fender repair? I also have a 2009 Jetta, although with the 2.5m liter gas motor and the driver's front fender looks like that. I had a local body shop fix it once 3 years ago, but it has come back. My body shop guy says that he sees them like that all of the time.

My 05 Silverado DMax appears to be the poster child for corrosion. It spent almost 4 months in rehab, where a new to me box was installed, new front fenders, rocker panels and cab corners, fuel pump and transmission oil cooler, new rear frame cross member. And this doesn't count the brake line replacement, fuel line replacement, But a new DMax was $75,000. :banghead:

Dave
Hmm, like I mentioned, I was in for something else. A recall or something. I don't even remember as it was probably late 2015 or early 2016. I know it was the winter before they bought it back. I did all the maintenance since I was well out of warranty by then for anything else so I don't know why else I would have been at the dealer. So it had to be a recall or something. Anyhow as the service writer was checking me in I asked about the rust warranty and they wrote it up and sent it to VoA for approval and they gave the green light to fix it. They did fight a bit when I went back like 6+ months later to get the work done because they wouldn't give me a loaner initially but they did honor the warranty. The rust issues were mainly visible in the front wheel well and around the license plate lights of the trunk. However when they were inspecting the car, they spotted the paint bubbling around the rear quarters and rocker panels. Those had to be welded in as they are not replaceable body panels. A benefit of the new trunk was I asked the body shop to not reinstall the lip mount spoiler on the car when they replaced the trunk. They prepped it with 3M mounting tape and then I sold that on Criagslist before turning the car back in to VW. Why not part out some of the dealer installed options that VW wasn't giving me anything for.

It's actually a rust "warranty" and it's ONLY on perforation and ONLY on original (non messed with) panels. It's also at their will whether or not they want to warranty it or not.


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Yes, it was part of the normal rust warranty. I don't remember the details. 10 years sounds right. Not sure if there was a mileage limit though. As far as perforation, I am not sure of that. I don't know that the body panels were fully rusted through as in a hole. Maybe some parts of the front fender but not the rockers and the rear quarters and trunk only had bubbling paint yet they repaired all of that. I do agree that there was some stipulation that only original panels were covered. As in if you got into an accident and damaged a fender, the replacement fender wouldn't have been covered. Not sure how they tell but I had no accidents on my car so they couldn't blame that. As far as at their will, I don't know how that would work. Granted there are always good service writers to the customer and good service writers to the manufacturer. However, if you are in the warranty period, and you have a fault I don't know how they can deny it. Maybe there is some wiggle room in terms of definition of perforation for instance but if something has failed, and they try and deny the warranty claim, maybe because of a modification, they have to prove it is a result of the modification. For instance if you tune the car, they can't claim the tune resulted in your fender rusting out. However if you drilled through your fenders and put fender flairs on, well that might void the warranty for rust on the fender because it is possible that when you drilled the hole that is where the rust started forming because you didn't treat the hold properly. Same goes for replaced (messed with) panels. If you had an accident and a front fender replaced, well is it VW's fault it is rusting out or because the body shop didn't paint it right.


Also another gotcha on the rust warranty. When the body shop took the car in they tried to charge me extra to blend the paint. Not saying this will be the case with everyone but over time paint fades or maybe a paint color on the car isn't quite a match to the official paint code that the body shop looks up. The warranty covered repainting the replaced panels but not blending the paint so it wasn't obviously repainted. They asked if I wanted to pay extra for this blending as VoA wouldn't cover it. I laughed and said heck no!!!! They are buying it back, I don't care what it looks like. If the color code is good enough for VoA when they pay for a warranty repair, it is good enough for me when they buy the car back from me. Odds are the car was getting crushed anyhow. Of course the body shop guy was really confused by this comment and couldn't figure out why I was getting this stuff fixed. I just said it was business for them and they should be happy. I am not paying for it and I don't need the car. It gets the car out of my way for about a month while VW figures out what they are doing with the buy back process. I told them take their time with the project, I am not in a rush. Heck put their new guy on it as I really didn't care what it looked like in the end. I must have been the easiest customer they have ever dealt with other than there was no way they would get me to bite on the up-charges that most people would have considered.

As rough as my tone may sound toward VW with the emissions scandal. I really am not that pissed. In terms of a vehicle and overall cost of ownership it had to have been the best vehicle I have ever owned. It was very reliable, had great mileage, I spent very little keeping up on maintenance. When factoring in what I paid for it and what the buy back amount was I want to say the car cost me about $1000/year or less in terms of depreciation. If I could do that again I would in a heartbeat.

Oh as I am typing this I thought of my one biggest expense with that car. I broke a front spring. I spend close to $1000 on that fix because I also replaced the struts and I had to replace a CV Shaft because a boot was torn and the replacement boot failed. But either way, it was a very inexpensive car in the long term.
 

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I will say this - for someone who likes to keep stuff forever - as far as a vehicle is concerned I couldn’t choose a better vehicle to do so than an older TDI.

While it’s tough to work on for me - the Beetle Bug engine compartment is really packed in there because of the shape of the front end - parts are available from multiple vendors who specialize in this stuff and are’t imported junk.

And the other thing it is kind of unique. There aren’t too many diesel Beetle Bugs around. I get some strange looks at time when buying fuel.....

I’m on a mission now to keep our 20 year old TDI going. A little refresh of a few items and we’ll be good for as long as we keep driving I think.
 
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