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I recently came into possession of a 204 Jetta, in need of an unknown amount of work. I'm looking for a good forum to learn about the various vehicle parts a repair guides. I am not very knowledgeable about this subject right now, but I am capable of learning, as I have replaced the thermostat and water pump on an 05 ford ranger. I've already hooked up the vehicle to an obd2 reader and determined that the engine is throwing a few codes, so I know that there is going to need to be SOME amount of work. Can anyone recommend a good source of information for a beginning mechanic?

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This site is very useful for asking specific questions, so as you identify each problem, ask them here. If you want a wider view of becoming a mechanic, that would require books, or a course at college etc. - too broad for this site. –  Rory Alsop Oct 14 '13 at 9:46
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closed as too broad by Gabriel Mongeon, Nick C, Rory Alsop, vlsd, cinelli Nov 21 '13 at 8:48

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

As far as general mechanic info there's a ton of good information on here, and all over the web. I've found a lot of instructional YouTube videos on many of the things I've done myself.

For Jetta specific information there's a good group of people over at the VW Vortex forums that can probably help you figure out anything you'd need to know.

Most of the VW cars will require a special diagnostic tool in order to set/change codes in the computer on the vehicle. If you're looking to be able to get some solid diagnostics out of your vehicle I'd highly recommend looking into a Ross-tech cable. They're available from http://ross-tech.com/. There are knockoff cables on Ebay for much cheaper, but from what I've read they're very hit or miss with the ross-tech software. I've actually used my VCDS table to do a number of non-standard modifications, such as turning off seatbelt chimes and changing how the headlights turn on when the vehicle is unlocked.

Finally, a good idea for anyone that wants to do their own repairs is to get a user repair manual for you vehicle. I know for some of the VW models Bently makes repair manuals you can buy, but I think most late model versions will be on their website, which you have to buy a subscription for. It looks like you might be able to just purchase the 2005 Jetta manual though

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Philter, thank you for the detailed response I appreciate it immensely. I purchased an ELM327 bluetooth obd2 module and using torque for android I was able to read the error codes from the engine. It looks like the EGR system needs some work, so my next step is going to be research and probably buying the manual you mentioned. –  rvorderm Oct 18 '13 at 0:05
    
+1 for the Ross-tech mention. Also a note -- if you go with a one-off brand, Ross-tech tries very hard to make sure that you must have a genuine cable in order to use their software. Additionally, the VCDS forum at VwVortex will only assist users that own verified Ross-tech cables. One last note, those things have a very high resale value, so it's difficult to get a used one for a huge discount. Best you'll do is 50-100 bucks off retail. –  Lynn Crumbling Oct 18 '13 at 18:13
    
No problem. One other thing, I just noticed you tagged your post with a diesel flag. A friend of mine also owns a Jetta TDI and he gets many of his parts cheap from ID Parts which specializes in VW TDI parts. –  Philter Oct 18 '13 at 20:44
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Have the vehicle in question have a Condition Report by a local garage ,or a visiting vehicle inspector. Otherwise you could end up spending big money on a 10 year old heap. No workshop manual ever written can take the place of a trained and experienced technician.

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