Buying a 9n3 should I look out for?

Chat about your facelift 9n3 Polo - Including the 9N3 Polo GTI!
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Bepis
Bronze Member
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:19 pm
Drives: 9n3 Match 1.4 16V (BUD)
Location: Cheshire

Buying a 9n3 should I look out for?

Post by Bepis » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:41 pm

My current 9n has had many issues and I've decided to throw in the towel and get a new car. My budget is £2500-£3000 so the 9n3 SE/Match fit that budget quite well.

I believe the 9n3s share most of the common faults with the 9n (console bushes, coil packs, and the same rust hot spots). I currently own a 1.2 e with the AZQ engine and I'm looking at moving to the 1.4 BBY or BUD engine as they have a timing belt rather than a timing chain and seem to have fewer issues than the AZQ engine.

Also found this handy website that seems to cover most of the known faults that I'm aware of:
http://www.dchopkins.co.uk/car/index.php

My questions are:
Are there any common faults with the BBY/BUD engine? For example, the AZQ is known for having the timing chain jump.
Are there any warning signs that the door electronics are on their way out as they seem to just fail without warning when they do?
Is there anything else I should look out for?

I do have VCDS which I will be using to check for faults or if the ECU fault codes have been cleared (I believe you can tell if they have been cleared if the readiness tests have not been completed but I'm not sure about that). Other than that is there anything specifically I should check with VCDS?

RUM4MO
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:12 pm
Drives: B8 S4 & 6R/6C1 1.2TSI 110
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Re: Buying a 9n3 should I look out for?

Post by RUM4MO » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:38 am

That list of woes for the 2002 VW Polo 1.4 16V BBY engine rings true for my wife's 2002 bought new in September 2002, a factory order to our spec so an August build date car.

It had oil burning issues, but after too long I tracked it down to the oil separator assembly which I eventually replaced when it was almost 10 years old and 85K miles, we traded that car in August 2015 at 105K miles for a new factory order VW Polo 1.2TSI 16V 110PS SEL.

Really these cars, well especially the first version of this "new shape" ie 9N were really nasty little wallet wrecking turds, when you think about it, it should come as any surprise when you understand they are just Skoda Fabia with slightly better set of clothes.

I've ranted on in the past about my initial thoughts that VW for good and honestly engineered cars, then I bought a new factory order, actually personally imported VW Passat 4Motion - I'd love to been able to justify an Audi A4 B5 quattro, but as this Passat was really just mainly an Audi B5 in slightly poorer clothes, I grabbed one of them - and was very well satisfied with it and I thought that it confirmed my thoughts about VW design and build qualities. A couple of years later I imported a 2002 VW Polo 1.4 16V 75PS SE for my wife to replace her Fiesta 1.6Si 16V, that was not my best plan as she went from 90PS in a light car with amazing road manners to a 75PS in a heavier car that frankly was a slug, but it was a new slug with lots of factory fitted options! By the time it was 5 years old it had nicked probably £2000 out of my wallet in repairs and I found that frankly shocking, and so reassessed my thoughts about VW's qualities and came to the conclusion that my 2000 Passat was only a good car because it was based on an Audi A4, the Polo on the other hand was a terrible car mainly because it was based on a Skoda Fabia - every time I had to take things apart, it was a nightmare as all the Skoda sourced supplies of fixings were made of inferior metals and caused me real problems. I had, by that time, been taking Fords and a very nice GSI 4X4 Cav to bits now and again and had never ever had as much trouble taking things apart as I had with that Polo, as I said, nothing more than a turd!

My next and current car was/is a slightly used 2011 Audi S4 and its build quality seems to be okay and as a car it is the equal and maybe more of my old 1997 VX Cav GSI 2000 16V 4X4, so in quality and drivability, I'm back to 1997 levels/standard. My wife's next and current car is an August 2015 VW Polo 1.2TSI 16V 110PS SEL, really stuck with VW as how could they still be so bad, and what is the alternative, plus as a VCDS owner since it was launched back in 2001/2002, I felt the need to stick with VW Group as I had the scan tool to support these cars. So far that Polo is okay, VW Group moving back to the 6N type front suspension design was a very good idea, the 1.2TSI 16V 110PS has proper front brakes, the same as my 2000 VW Passat 4Motion 2.8V6 had! Fuel economy is very good, but many of the original 9N parts are still being carried over and that will annoy me when I need to replace the front springs! (I've already done that job on my older daughter's previous car, a late 2009 SEAT Ibiza - and that work was certainly a lot easier to carry out on that car than it was on the 2002 Polo back in 2005 in winter time!).

So, what does all that mean, well if I were you, I'd try to aim to get a Polo with the later front suspension - ie without these console bushes, I'm not sure when the change over date was, the later 1.4 16V engines should not cause you much of a problem.

Have you never thought about defecting to SEAT? A very early 6J ,ie newer shape Ibiza with the 1.4 16V 85PS engine should now be within your price bracket, my daughter had a late 2009 Ibiza 1.4 16V SC SE, ie the 3 door version and it was as light as a feather - all these later, like that version of VW model were a lot lighter and so more agile than the 9N etc cars. If I were you I would not be dismissing that idea without looking into it. It will probably mean changing forums to SEATCUPRA.NET though!

Edit:- actually, by comparison that late 2009 SEAT Ibiza was kept by my older daughter until August 2019, and all that it needed repair wise was, a new alternator in 2014, same Bosch item as VW would use so just a random failure and a broken front spring, which all cars will suffer from. It did have a BCM S/W issue that the dealership would not accept, I got that sorted eventually by another dealership - it lead to a discharging battery when not in use, this also affected similar aged Polos it seems and most of these cars if in regular use would not exhibit that issue so were never submitted for an update, leaving many used car buyers with a very annoying situation as by now most VW Group dealerships have forgotten about this issue - so deny it every happened!

Bepis
Bronze Member
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:19 pm
Drives: 9n3 Match 1.4 16V (BUD)
Location: Cheshire

Re: Buying a 9n3 should I look out for?

Post by Bepis » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:10 pm

9N were really nasty little wallet wrecking turds
Pretty much sums up my 9n. I think a lot of my issues came from neglect from prior owners as the only common faults I encountered was a rear door that would fill with water, a very rusty spare wheel well, rust on the inner lip of both front wheel arches and oil consumption. Given the neglect, it still got to 127K on the clock at 18 years old.

Last week I picked up a late 2008 9n3 Match with a very good service history with the revised 1.4 16V BUD engine. The only obvious issues it needing tyres as it had a different tyre on each corner, front discs and pads and a cambelt as there was no record of it being replaced. Other than that it was serviced every 6-10K with one being a flexible service at 10K in 2 years and a few minor paint defects.

Hopefully, I will have a lot fewer issues in the 3-4 years I plan to own it before it will hopefully be replaced by a 6c GTi.
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RUM4MO
Bling Bling Diamond Member
Posts: 4794
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:12 pm
Drives: B8 S4 & 6R/6C1 1.2TSI 110
Location: Mid Lothian

Re: Buying a 9n3 should I look out for?

Post by RUM4MO » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:29 pm

Good enough, so your new car will not have the old console bushes - just vertical bonded mounts at the rear of the front.

One other thing about my wife's mid 2002 Polo 1.4 16V, when it was traded in, it needed 4 new discs and pads, a new back box or maybe more of the exhaust and a new battery, I noticed that it did not get past its year14 MOT, so I rec'd it was "finished" by the time it was 14 years old. Compare that with my old old mid 2000 Passat 4Motion which passed its recent, end of May MOT with no issues reported, so it made it to 20 years and still going strong.

Edit:- certainly it would be a smart move to body swerve a 1.4Twincharger 6R Polo, amazing engine I think, but possibly a wallet emptier.

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