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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so I had a 98 TDI beetle for about 8 months. Car was great. Loved it. Wife was driving it to work 2 weeks ago and said the oil light came on and then the car shut off. Had it towed to my mechanic(Just moved to this state and no longer have my own house/garage to work on cars so I'm stuck with using mechanics for the most part) He tried putting oil in it and it ended up right on his floor. Pan shot. Car still cranked. He replaced the pan filled it with oil but the engine was shot. Wouldn't stay running and was making horrid noises. Sold the car for 800 bucks.

Took the ferry from CT where I live to long island tuesday night and picked up a 03 TDI beetle. Wife was driving to work today and said the check engine light came on and the car wouldn't go over 40. Went into limp mode. She stopped by the mechanic and he said the code was boost control fault. I know thats not very specific. He thinks the turbo might be gone. He cleared the code. I took it for a hard drive when I got home and right back into limp mode with the light again. I hope to call the dealer tommorow but any car with over 100K miles I don't think they have to do anything unfortunately. I started reading a lot of articles here and see that it could be the N75 sticking or the vanes sticking or even a vac leak. I am going crazy here these past 2 weeks. We rely on these cars very much (other car is a 11 tdi sportwagen which I love and is great) with an hour commute for each of us for work. Whats the best advice here? Should I try to get the dealer to take it back or does this sound like it won't be too major and I should just try and fix it? Turbo should be fine right?
 

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The turbo should be fine at that milage, I would bet on something else like sticky vanes, vacuum leak etc, I think it'd be worth trying a couple of things first before giving up on it. If you go through the limp mode section in the faq and try some of the stuff in there. I think if it's boost control I would check the actuator and replace the vac lines first, the vac lines are cheap and some places sell the complete kit for fairly cheap and the actuator can be got for about $100 there abouts. It might turn out to be a little gem of a car as a lot of them are, you only hear about the bad stuff because these places are where people come when they have a problem.:)

welcometomyturbodies
 

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vac lines seem ok. Tried cleaning out the n75 valve. Tried lubricating the actuator but I'm not sure how easy it is suppose to move. I could move it by hand but had to press hard. Its not easy so back there in the beetle engine bay. I need to get a vacuum pump to try and see if it will move when I pull vacuum on that line. I would like to pull the c clip and disconnect it from the turbo and see if the actuator is sticking at all. If I have that disconected should I be able to move the lever on the turbo freely Pulling the turbo on the beetle from above must be harder than on the golf/jetta's I'm assuming
 

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With the actuator disconnected the lever on the turbo should be nice and free and yeh I think it probably is from what I've read so far lol.:)
 

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Ok Its been pouring all week so I haven't been able to do much. The CEL is still on. I have been driving the car to work all week. It does feel low on power but I can get it up to 80MPH on the highway. I don't drive at that speed but I did see if I could get it up to that. If it was in limp mode would I be able to hit those speeds? And also I can hear the turbo at the higher rpm's. Whould i be able to hear it spooling if it was in limp mode? I need to get my hands on a windows based laptop. I have a vag com cable but my wife wanted a mac for her new laptop and now I have no was to scan and see the exact cel code. Besides what the mechanic said of control boost fault.
 

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Yes you can hear it spooling if it's in limp mode. Even if you're low on power the exhaust is still flowing through the turbo. I've had limp where it's fine and then power cuts out and you can barely do 70 on a level road.
 

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Ok I hope I have this figured out. Took the vac line off the n75 valve going to the actuator. Put my vac pump on it. Won't hold any vac. Took the line off the end of the actuator and plugged the line. Line holds vacuum. That means the line is good and the actuator isn't holding vacuum. Is that a common thing at all. Is it possible for something in the actuator to be busted and cause it to not hold vacuum? I want to make sure this sounds right before I order a new actuator
 

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Yes, it's common. The actuator has a rubber diaphragm inside and since you've isolated it to the actuator, a new actuator will at least rule out that cause. Read the VNT actuator replacement and testing article for some tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's what I figured. Glad to hear that. Doesn't look to hard to replace. Just tight in the beetle engine bay. We moved to another state recently and now rent a condo with no place I am allowed to work on cars. We owned our last place and I had a garage to do all this in. I actually miss working on my cars. Feels good being under the hood of a car again
 

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Ok ordered the part this weekend. Been driving the car almost 2 weeks now CEL and limp mode all the time. Today I go to drive home and the temperatures have risen, its about 80 outside and I get no CEL and the car has full power. Is it possible that the warm weather could of made the diagphram expand andnot have the vac leak it did this weekend? The part showed up when I got home so I plan on relpacing it tomorrow anyways. Just thought it was really odd to be working all the suden like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I guess this is why the actuator wasn't working



You can just suck air right through it. It is such a pain to change on the beetle, I was able to blindly remove the bolts and vac line but that c clip, man is it a pain. I kept blindly prying at it with a tiny flathead screwdriver but I had no idea what orientation it was in. Finnaly it flew off, then getting that clip back on.....I must of lost it about a dozen times. Weird thing is why the car drove fine the past 2 days with no limp mode and no CEL's. The actuator clearly was not working.

Thanks for everyone's help. Those FAQ's are wonderful and I am doing some more maintenance items next week, fuel filter and some other things. I really want to do the timing belt but the condo association will be pissed if I attempt anything like that and I don't want to bring it to any mechanic around here. Don't trust they will do it right and I can't find any trusted TDI mechanics near me at all.
 

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if you look close at the new actuator, there is vent hole in the metal can on the outside anyways.

the rubber diaphragm inside the unit likely has a pinhole in it.

good job on replacing the unit. how did you go about setting it and did the turbo arm move freely with the actuator disconnected?
 

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First I adjusted it to the same length as the one I pulled off. Then installed it and hooked up the mighty vac and checked where it came on and where it hit the stop. It started moving immediately and was at the stop at about 13/14" of vac. Adjusted it longer until it went to the stop at about 18".

And yes the lever for they vanes moved freely thankfully. Ive been giving the car some nice hard runs on the highway to try and keep that turbo cleaned out the best I can
 
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