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Digifook.
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723 Posts
My Jetta did that, If it was ideling up to temp it would happily go to the middle, the fan would come on and it would drop a little. If I was moving it was barly a 1/4 up to temp. Made for a dreadful winter drive, and lots of foggy windows.

Mk3 temp guages dont move as much as mk 1 or 2 ones do. Their more of an "Oh **** its hot" guage. Start it and hold the revs at 2000 with a screw driver in the throttle body stopper to see if it comes up to temp and if you get hot air inside. Ideally youd use a propper engine temp guage.

My first place to check would be the thermo. It could be failing, prematurely opening, or its the wrong temp rating. Thats super common in VW's. The other thing to consider here is that unless the temp in the head is at least 90deg C you are not getting good fuel milage. That engine should have a 92c thermostat in it and pink G12 coolant.
 

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Digifook.
Joined
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723 Posts
Thermostats in those cars are a pain in the ass, Ill agree to that! And yes, and air pocket will keep you cold. A good tip tho when you do that is once its initially filled up to the line or just past is to hold the revs up at 2000 untill the fan has come on and off a couple times. Shut it off and top up when its cool. Then go for a drive with some steep up and down hills that you'll have some good rpm at the same time. Im fortunate that I live near the mountains. Works great.
 
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