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I am trying to determine whether I got a Monday car or if these are common problems. While driving the car on three occasions over one year the car would start to miss and then die. The first time, the dealership found nothing. The second, they rebuilt the engine to the tune of $5,600.00.jaw drops The third time they found that the fuse would not seat properly and had to change its position it the fuse box. They graciously fixed the real problem for nothing.

Now, I am not a mechanic or technician, as they call them these days. When this happened the third time I asked them what methodology they used to come to the conclusion that the engine needed to be rebuilt after the second episode. They stated that the car started when they tried it so they did a compression test and found two of the cylinders low and the turbo "peeing" oil (their term, not mine). Up to this point I had no oil consumption issues.

My car has 190,000 kms (approximately 118,000 miles) on it and I have been very meticulous with the maintenance. I am not sure that my car needed an engine rebuild. When I used to tinker with cars (some time ago!) and cars used to stall you went after the obvious things first, spark and fuel. Obviously spark is not an issue in this case but I can't, for the life of me, understand what would bring a shop to check compression for a stalling problem that occurred on three occasions in a one year timeframe. Regardless, the dealership is insisting that this had to be done. I have nothing to show otherwise.

I have talked to Volkswagen Canada and they have stood firm on the fact that it is out of warranty so I am on my own. I have owned two previous VW's prior to the two I presently own but I doubt I will by another one. They don't stand behind their vehicles. I am not finished with them yet! I would like to compile a list of other TDi owners who might have had the fuse problem or had to have an engine rebuilt prematurely, preferably the 2006 model year.

On the other hand I may have to resign myself to the fact that I bought a Monday car.:eek
 

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I agree, the engine rebuild does not sound normal. I would ask for records of the compression test. What fuse was replaced? Was it done after someone removed the battery shelf? If so, the stalling may have been caused by them. A power cable has to be removed to remove the battery shelf, they could have forgotten to put it back.

I would have been skeptical when presented with a $5,600 bill. The dealership should not have billed you if it didn't fix the issue. What was included in the engine rebuild? I know that dealers like to replace the entire cylinder head if you have camshaft wear (common problem). I could see that being a $3000 CDN bill.

Either way, your dealer sucks. Here is one recommendation for a mechanic from another site, I don't know anything about him or your area.
Andes Auto
(604) 270-1318
Richmond, BC
 

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my 2006 jetta tdi has 230,000 miles on it and going strong... never rebuilt. Just replaced a great looking timing belt for the first time and also just replaced the clutch for the first time. (5 speed manual)
 

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Thank you for your response. The problem with the fuse was that it would not seat properly. I may have failed to mention that it was the fuel pump fuse. A rather important point. The molded plastic top end of the fuse was deformed from heat. There are pit marks on one leg of the fuse where it was arcing. They couldn't do anything with the fuse saddle itself so they rewired the fuse block for this fuse only so the fuel pump fuse could be put into an empty saddle position within the block.

The engine rebuild consisted of compression rings, shot peening the top of the cylinders, a new (after market) head and a rebuilding the turbo. The explanation I was given is that the compression rings were gone allowing water to enter the cylinders. When I asked where the water came from they could not supply and answer. I have had no leaks from my coolant that I could see. Supposedly the water left some rust on the top of the cylinders, all of them. They originally wanted to replace the whole engine to the tune of $12K plus. I looked at the brownish film on the top of the cylinder and I was not convinced it was rust. It looked like some kind of deposit as a result of improperly burned fuel because there didn't seem to be a lot of pitting but I am not expert on the matter. I asked for the compression readings and was told eight bar in one and four and four bar in two and three. Now I am thinking that this doesn't show that those were the actual numbers but they were low enough to justify the action they took. At one point the service representative stated that they reason the engine was stalling was because of the compression. My response was that the engine actually did run, other than the three occasions when it stalled and would not restart, and the fuel economy had not changed so they needed to look somewhere else. I think I was viewed as a thorn in their intention to tear down the engine.

They told me the head had to be replaced because of the way it was designed. The fuel injection system is mechanical, not electronic. As the cam comes around to actuate the injectors the contact, over time, causes an elongation of the port that the injector sits in. This then causes loss of compression because the port starts to effectively facilitate a blow by condition. When faced with a "pay me now or pay me later" situation I felt that doing it now when the engine was all in pieces would be less costly than putting the engine back together and replacing it later.

The piece de resistance was the starter motor. They phoned me to tell me that my starter motor needed to be replaced. My best guess is that, after they rebuilt the engine, they couldn't get it to start. They burned out the motor because the engine was not getting any fuel because of the aforementioned fuse problem. They, more than likely, continued to crank away when it didn't start and eventually burned it out.

At the end of the day I agreed to the engine rebuild. I didn't think I had much choice. I have talked to them and told them I wasn't pleased and then filled in a customer survey where I was less than complimentary about their ability to deal with problems like this one. I was not rude, just less than complimentary. I then sent an e-mail to Volkswagen Canada. I have not heard back from the dealership on the customer survey and the customer "advocate" at VW Canada toed the company line where, because it was out of warranty, I am on my own. Very frustrating because it isn't easy to find a dealership where the technical folks can go beyond what they read from the computer relating to problems with the vehicle. If the computer doesn't say "Look here" they appear to be lost.

A customer at this dealership is left without many options in a situation like this. The engine is in pieces, and one assumes that they know what they are talking about. My lesson in this is to have more faith in my perception of common sense related to things like this. I will continue to bring my car back to the dealer for oil changes only because of the hassle factor of getting it to another dealer that is located much farther away from me. Anything more complex than that will have to go elsewhere.

Thank you for the ability to vent a bit here. My advice to anyone out there that is facing a major bill for repair work, if the car is still drivable, is to get a second opinion. The :BSposition of "We don't know what is causing this problem so the next thing is to tear the engine apart" should not be tolerated. I certainly wouldn't tolerate it again.
 

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Personally I wouldn't be happy returning to the scene of the crime. If you are being accurate in things like "8 bar compression", the either miscommunicated, flat out lied to you, or are totally clueless.

One example, the minimum spec for a TDI engine is 19 bar. It will have a hard time starting by that point and power will be low. Healthy TDIs have around 34 bar. The figure they told you, 8 bar, is low for a gasoline engine.

If the rings are gone you get major piston blow by. Water contamination is not a result of worn piston rings.

Sorry friend but unless there's more to this story you were robbed.
 
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