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Hi all, first ever post, want to try to give a little back to the team that gave me some great fix info. Going to put this in bullets for ease of typing/reading.
-Issue: low power - thought was constant, no CEL
-Bought an OBD dongle and tried Torque Lite - got me the P1403 code
-Upgraded to Torque Pro to monitor EGR Commanded vs Actual
-Alas! These two aren't among the sensors reported by my ECU...
-Read a bunch, resigned myself to having to clean the intake manifold/EGR
-Realized at this point I was dealing with limp mode not constant low power, not sure if my dash CEL is out but it didn't come on for the P1403 code stored in the ECU.
-Inspected and found little intake buildup, picked checking the solenoid before the EGR valve based on this
-Checked resistance - 17 ohms (~800mA, seemed about right)
-Checked with external 12V connection, could hear/feel it was moving at least somewhat
-Disconnected vacuum supply hose near the injectors and the output hose at the EGR end
-Wasn't sure if vacuum was transmitted when the solenoid is activated or deactivated - fired it with 12V and tried to suck air through from the supply hose - no-go in both cases (no vacuum to EGR!)
-2x 10mm nuts to remove the soenoid

*Solenoid Repair
Where I live my options were: PartsSource-$350, Davenport-$230 or mailorder from RockAuto-$120 (all approx), so . . .
At this point I'm going to apologize for no pics, occurred to me near the end of the job, I'll do better next time!
The solenoid is two halves; the big blocky coil end and the round end with two of the connections (supply and load/EGR)
Each of these halves has a round flange, and these two flanges mate together and are held by the metal crimp ring
Pry the crimp ring open with a small flat screwdriver on the coil side, try to damage as little as possible, until it can be removed
Separate the two halves, I tried blowing through the vacuum supply port but it was plugged
Inside the solenoid the vacuum supply port comes out the end of a small diameter brass tube in the centre - the end of this tiny tube was visibly plugged
I started with a #70 and worked up to a #62 drill to clean out the tube; due to the small diameter not much air moves through but enough to notice!
Reassemble components and work metal crimp ring back into position
I used two blocks that were taller than the ports end; flip the unit over (ports end down), rest the 'shoulders' with the crimp ring on the blocks and clamp down to a surface - this pushes and holds the crimp ring in position
Use whatever pliers will reach to re-crimp the ring back under the coil-end flange so the unit will remain together
All done - no codes and again have that full 90HP to throw me back into the seat : ))

In all sincerity, many thanks to those who spent countless hours adding to this great site, thanks to you all I'm significantly deisel-smarter now than I was before.

Cheers!!
 

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VAG Error Code: 17811/005123

EOBD II Error Code: P1403

Fault Location:
Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System - Regulation/Flow Deviation

Possible Cause:
Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) faulty.
Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve (N18) faulty.

Possible Solutions:
Check Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR).
Check Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve (N18).
Perform Output Test.

As taken from my new Free EOBD II Error Codes software
 
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