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My first post as a new member. I have a 2002 Jetta TDI with 130,000 miles on it. Car ran perfect until about 2 years ago when my water pump went out. Since then I've had various issues. First it developed limp mode symptoms and I had the intake manifold replaced. The current issue I'm dealing with is very hard starting. Some days it takes upwards of 5 minutes of constant cranking before it will fire up. Then lots of white smoke for a few seconds but after that it runs just fine. Dealer says the wastegate is frozen and I need a new turbo ($2300). Is this plausible? If so, are there any alternatives to somehow fix the wastegate? BTW, in looking at the forums here, I actually thought I had a VNT actuator and not a wastegate. Maybe the terms are interchangeable.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
 

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You're right, it does have a vnt, I've just been helping someone else out with this sort of advice, he spoke to the dealer because of limp mode and the dealer said it needs a new turbo and that restarting the car doesn't do anything, PLONKER! I don't know what it is with dealers and new turbos, they do clean up nicely after all. If you're not sure about your car and aren't to confident at getting stuck in there's a list of mechanics etc on the tdiclub site too that can set you right but if you're the sort of person who likes to fix their own car then get stuck in to the faq and keep posting questions, I've never seen a tdi need a new manifold for limp mode. I think ZoomALH's is on the right track though regarding your starting issue, do you have something to scan for fault codes at all?:)

welcometomyturbodies
 

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I'll take a look but don't recall seeing any in the past. One thing I forgot to mention is that when the car is running I do hear a sucking noise from the engine on the passenger side up near the firewall. I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from. Maybe I have a vacuum leak?? I mentioned this to the dealer but they didn't say anything about it.
 

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Stay away from the dealer and find a good mechanic, it could well be a leak, take off the main turbo pipe going to the inlet manifold and have a look in there, check the anti shudder valve is opening, maybe it's that making the noise and it could also cause the starting issue if it isn't fully open.:)
 

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Welcome to the forum. welcometomyturbodies

Turbos only work when the engine is running so how can the dealer say its a fault turbo stopping it starting?

There are only three main reasons a diesel won't run.

1. Mechanical damage due to the timing belt/chain being broken or lack of compression but that doesn't happen over night.

2. Insufficient fuel being injected or insufficient air being supplied.

3. Insufficient heat in the cylinder to ignite the diesel as its injected, glow plugs or controlling circuit.

The fact that you say you can crank it over for 5 minutes before it does start points more towards the heat problem. As you compress air it heats up the fact that you crank for a long time may heat the cylinder and air up enough for the fuel to ignite. The fact that you say once its started it runs ok points to lack of heat.

Do you have access to VAG.COM/VCDS to give it a scan?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do have access to a VAGCOM and will check it this weekend. Keith - thanks for the info. That's what I didn't understand from the dealer's explanation... how a bad turbo affects the starting? I wouldn't think the turbo would be doing much at start-up.
 

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In my opinion turbo has nothing to do with start-up; if you experience hard starting you should check: the fuel filter (not to be clogged), glow plugs, cylinder compresion and finally the timming belt.
 

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I'll take a look but don't recall seeing any in the past. One thing I forgot to mention is that when the car is running I do hear a sucking noise from the engine on the passenger side up near the firewall. I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from. Maybe I have a vacuum leak?? I mentioned this to the dealer but they didn't say anything about it.
Replace your fuel filter and don't forget the two small O-rings under the clip. What's happening is you are getting "leak back" of fuel in the lines to the fuel tank. As the car ages, the check valve in the lift pump in the fuel tank weakens, or it gets a bit of dirt in the seals allowing fuel to siphon back into the tank when you have an air leak upstream. That air leak is usually the two dried out O-rings on the fuel filter. What this causes is hard starting (lift pump has to "re-fill" the lines all the way back up to the injector pump), a little white smoke, and sometimes rough operation. You can check for this easily. Next time you are driving the car and everything seems normal, shut off the car and immediately pinch off the fuel line at the filter between the filter and fuel tank. Wait an hour or so (or the "normal" interval you are experiencing between shutdown and noticing the hard starting issue), un-pinch the lines, and see if you have a normal start. If normal, you've got an air leak between the pinch-point and injector pump.

Also check for air leaks in your fuel lines at other locations (the "sucking" sound maybe?). If you have an air leak between the tank and where you pinched off the lines, you'll still get leak-back.

I thought I had a glow-plug problem with the hard starting I was experiencing, but it turned out to be the fuel filter O-rings. A fuel filter is cheap compared to a turbo and should be changed periodically anyway. Hope this helps.

-David
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'll try pinching off the fuel line to test like you mentioned. I thought of the fuel filter too and had that replaced (with the O-rings) so I think that's OK. I definitely think I have an air leak somewhere with the fairly loud sucking sound. Just need to figure out where it could be. This may be a dumb question, but would an air leak in any vacuum line cause the leak back of fuel? Maybe I should just replace all the lines to be sure.
 

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once you start it open the oil cap and see if you see any smoke or hear air coming out of it. If yes then you have compression problem.
 
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