New member, relatively new owner, first big project!

Discussion in 'VW Mk4 Jetta, Golf, New Beetle, Passat TDI forum' started by hjsigmon, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. hjsigmon

    hjsigmon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Car:
    2003 Golf GL
    I got my first tdi car (2003 Golf) in August of 2010 and have owned a, '82 VW diesel pickup for a few years as well. I'm the third legit owner of the Golf as it was stolen from the original owner, not found for about a year, salvaged, and finally came to me at ~135k miles. Besides finding broken glass in odd places around the cabin when I first got it and having a really bad moldy smell (culprit sunroof drains - fixed under recall) it has been great, until this past Friday. It started burning a small amount of oil in january, so I have checked it a couple times a week and topped it off only once or twice with ~half a quart. Then friday we headed out for a short 45 mile drive (unluckily without me checking the oil before leaving) and lost power going uphill after about 20 miles. I looked in the rear view to see a huge cloud of gray/black smoke and immediately pulled over. I checked the oil and it was below the tip of the dipstick, but half a quart brought it back up to reading barely and another quart to the middle of the bend. Started back up (probably a dumb idea) and it sounded fine until we got back on the hill and it blew smoke again. I determined this meant I blew the head gasket as this happened years ago on my first car (buick electra) with the same result, except this time no radiator issues. Took it home, drained the coolant, and sure enough a little rainbow of oil was present. Not much, but it hadn't been much more than 12 hours since the incident. No oil was leaking other than that either.

    So, I found a friend who was willing to let me use his garage for a couple days, ordered a head gasket kit from IDParts as well as timing belt kit and special tools, and started my project Sunday night. I finally got the head off yesterday (Monday) and took it in to a machine shop. Today I dropped off some valve seals as the guy said the head was extremely sooty and dirty and was going to do a valve job, but other than that things looked good.

    First question - he said he usually compresses the oil out of the hydraulic lifters before installing and lets them self fill as he has a hard time keeping track of what engines require what as far as lifters go. He warned me it might sound bad at first, but would ease up after lifters filled - anyone that has an opinion there I would love some input! (Disclaimer - I haven't read the 1000 questions part about taking apart the head and putting it back together).

    Also, I'm to the point of having taken the timing belt and all tensioners off and am ready for Part two fo the timing belt tutorial. It has been a great help along with the Bentley manual so far with the timing belt and removing the heads, not the mention recommending IDParts.

    I'll keep everyone posted as my job progresses.

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  2. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    21,555
    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    CT
    IIRC, TDI lifers are installed full and then bleed down after about 1 hour. That is plenty of time to install the parts back on the engine. They'll fill up again once engine runs anyways.

    FYI, the EGR cooler and oil cooler are other places the oil-coolant can mix. The smoke can also be a turbo exhaust or intake leak. The loss of power might be related to the head gasket, might not.
  3. hjsigmon

    hjsigmon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Car:
    2003 Golf GL
    Sorry about the eroneous placement of my first post - had I waited for the welcome email it could have been prevented.

    I am starting to wonder a little about my diagnosis of a head gasket issue, especially because the gasket itself doesn't show much in the way of damage. The main reason I thought head gasket issue was that with the loss of power and smoke was the a really rough engine sound, pretty much a severe tapping/knocking. When topped off with oil and allowed to sit, it started up and sounded fine after a little smoke. I assume this is because some oil filled in where the gasket had been compromised and held that compression until load was seen and compression went up. Then it acted the same as the first time with the smoke, loss of power, knocking, etc.

    I did have between half a pint and a pint of oil in the turbo intercooler line, not to mention some in the intercooler itself that didn't come out immediately, but it hadn't been opened up probably since the last timing belt job, the date of which is unknown.

    I'm starting to worry since I'm not totally sure my diagnosis was correct, but getting the head all cleaned up and valve seals replaced was definitely need as was the timing belt change, so if I put everything back together and get the same issue I'll be looking for other causes...
  4. rmchambers

    rmchambers New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Messages:
    73
    Car:
    2003 Jetta GLS
    Mods:
    Panzer Plate, FMJ, Block coolant heater
    If you have a lot of oil accumulating in the intercooler you probably should have a real good look at the turbo. It would explain the amount of smoke escaping (seals in the turbo aren't like O-rings they are floating metal to metal seals (due to the high temp and high RPM's) but if they leak oil into the exhaust you get smoke, if they leak oil into the intake you get smoke and potential run-away too.
  5. hjsigmon

    hjsigmon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Car:
    2003 Golf GL
    So I got my engine back together with a rebuilt head and new timing belt, water pump, etc, drained the rest of the old oil and put in new (changing the filter also), filled with distilled water instead of coolant for a test run, primed my injector pump, and started the car up. It smoked a little out the exhaust at first and ran a little rough for a few seconds which I had been warned about and expected, then was running fine. I turned it off after letting it run for 2 minutes or so because it was still in the gargage, let it down off of the jack stands, checked the oil again to make sure it didn't need topping off, and started it up again. Pulled out of the garage fine, then let it run for a minute while I packed my tools up (using a friend's garage) then started slowly out of the drive way. It's a bit of a hill, and as soon as I broke 2000 RPMs or so it started smoking like crazy, surged a little, then starting making the same sounds I had heard before and determined to be a head gasket issue. Turned the key off and it quit immediately, then checked the oil and the stick came out completely dry...

    Now I am convinced when I get back home today and remove the lower intercooler hose I'll find a good portion of the oil there - probably the rest of what wasn't combusted. I assume that means a definite turbo problem. Talked to a fellow at IDParts that pretty much said the manufacturer didn't sell rebuild kits or even recommend refurbishing, so that will mean a new turbo.

    So, looks like rmchambers was right about the turbo problem. Besides a new turbo, does anyone think I have any other issues that I might need to worry about? I could test compression to make sure my engine block and its components are sound, but with it running fine at idle I assume I'm alright there....

    I have to admit that I don't think I could have gotten this far without this web site! Thanks!
  6. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    21,555
    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    CT
    So did you find a good portion of oil there? If so, clean out the intake so there's no puddles.
  7. hjsigmon

    hjsigmon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Car:
    2003 Golf GL
    I did find a good portion of the oil in the intercooler and lower intercooler hose. Got my new turbo and put it on without too much trouble. Took a bit to get the car to start which was due to the timing not being perfect. Also, I blew an amazing amount of oil out of the exhaust the first time on the highway and it smoked a LOT. Got oil all over the back of the car and actually got pulled. Cop said that driving a car that is smoking for more than 30 seconds is against the law, but he let me go when I convinced him it was because there was oil in the exhaust from a failed turbo that I couldn't really get out any other way... Funny thing is by the time I pulled away most of the oil had worked its way out and I wasn't smoking anymore...

    I paid someone here in Raleigh NC to do the timing (Import Autowerks) and had a great experience there. When I told him that my turbo had failed he asked if I was around 160k and I'm at 161k! Guess it was bound to happen sooner or later...

    Anyway, car starts right up now and is driving better than it has since I owned it!

    One thing I wish I had done differently was that after I mounted the new turbo exhaust manifold to the cylinder head and tightened the one-time use nuts down I realized that the turbo bracket at the bottom that bolts to the block wouldn't fit right. Ended up widening out the hole for the part of the bracket that bolts to the head to get it to work. So, I would recommend getting the bolts for the bracket started before tightening the manifold nuts (probably obvious to most, but a learning experience for me...)

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