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TDI 101 Got a simple/basic TDI question? Are you a newbie (new to the forums). Feel free to post your question here.

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Old November 17th, 2008, 17:00   #1
marspball
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Default Coolant Leak = Head Gasket problem?

My 2000 beetle TDI has been losing massive amount of coolant. The reservoir keeps on getting empty, especially after driving on highways for about 100km. I took it to a local VW shop and they said that the problem is with the head gasket and that it needs to be replaced. However, this will set me back $800. I've done some searches here and it seems that a head gasket problem can cause coolant loss. But how does it really work? Is the coolant leaking into the cylinders? Is it safe for me to drive the beetle in the meantime as long as I keep on adding the coolant? Are there any TDI gurus in the Vancouver, BC area?
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Old November 17th, 2008, 17:06   #2
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You need to quit driving it until it's found. You WILL damage the car fatally if you keep driving it.

Could be a bunch of other things.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 17:50   #3
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Agreed. DONT DRIVE IT. It probably is the head gasket, but it might not be.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 17:59   #4
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TDIs rarely blow headgaskets. I would be more inclined to think the EGR cooler is at fault.. Those DO fail, and can have similar symptoms.

What needs to be done is for the engine to be COOL, and a pressure tester put on the cooling system and let it sit to see where the coolant is going. I would remove the EGR feed pipe from the cooler to the valve as well as the glow plugs. If the pressure drops, the coolant went somewhere. If it went into a cylinder, you'd see it through the GP hole(s). If it is the EGR cooler, you'd see it pooling up in there.

FWIW, I have never had to replace a failed headgasket on a TDI, but have run across about 10+ leaking EGR coolers, and VW even had a recall on some of them.

However, no way I could do a head gasket on an ALH properly for only $800. That is WAY cheap.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 17:59   #5
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Most of the coolant losses I've seen have been external leaks. Water pump, hose connections, and the most irritating place is where the coolant pipe enters the block on the front side of the engine, down below the injection pump. Provided the car is equipped with VW G12 coolant you'll see tell-tale signs of pink residue wherever the leak is externally (except seeing the water pump leak which requires removal of belt covers unless it is to bad that it leaks out the bottom of the belt area).
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Old November 17th, 2008, 18:06   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOGolf
Most of the coolant losses I've seen have been external leaks. Water pump, hose connections, and the most irritating place is where the coolant pipe enters the block on the front side of the engine, down below the injection pump. Provided the car is equipped with VW G12 coolant you'll see tell-tale signs of pink residue wherever the leak is externally (except seeing the water pump leak which requires removal of belt covers unless it is to bad that it leaks out the bottom of the belt area).
+1

Seen that twice now.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 18:27   #7
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If you pressure test it, crank engine over with glow plugs out before starting it. The coolant can go into a cylinder, cause a hydrolock, and trash the engine. If you crank it over with gps out, coolant will shoot out the hole and you will know where your leak is.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 19:48   #8
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all good advice.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 22:34   #9
Dimitri16V
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sooty film in the coolant bottle = gasket failed between coolant passage and piston

chocolaty coolant and elevated oil level = gasket failed between coolant and oil passages

Pressurizing the cooling system as it was suggested is the best way to find out.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 14:28   #10
BadMonKey
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Just finished getting my EGR cooler replaced $550 so its not cheep, the stupid part cost $500 plus gasket and fluid. Mine never left a mark on the pavement but it left red crusty stuff everywhere. Took longer to clean off than replacing the part.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 14:50   #11
MOGolf
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Keep in mind that the 2000 Beetle of the OP has a different engine and EGR cooler than the 2004 Golf of BadMonKey. The latter engine is known to have EGR cooler problems.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 14:56   #12
rammd
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Check the heater hose at the back of the engine. You'll need to drop the bottom debris shield . The heater hose closest to the exhaust is prone to fail if the heat shielding material has fallen off. My 2005 jetta had this issue last week. It was only leaking under pressure and it was hard to find when the engine was cold.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 15:02   #13
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On the 2000 Beetle of the OP, you can readily see heater hoses from above. The 2005 Jetta is a different engine.
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