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Old March 6th, 2018, 21:04   #1
datoldjetta
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
TDI(s): 1999.5 ALH
Default My ALH died, what do I do?

Background:
I like Mk4s. It's probably a disorder of some kind. But they really do make great beaters. I got back to the US and picked up one at a towyard for 1700 (1500+battery). Did the belt down in LA, pump head was cracked (oops), few boost hoses needed replacing and readjusting and the CCV replaced with something more smog-able than a rubber hose with tape (sorry previous owner, I love the spirit). It's not all bad though - big ol' fancy rims and wide tires on it, oversized turbo and an old rocketchip tune so you can REALLY give her the beans. It's also the 99.5, so no worrying about windows or any other fancy stuff to fail.

What happened:
It used to just burn a little bit of oil over time (3 quarts / 5000 miles? Maybe less) and sometimes start a little harder than it should when cold, despite the battery being perfect. Got an irregular idle rattle that I figured was the DMF. Run it at high boost too long and it goes temporarily limp (pump the gas again and it's back).

Serpentine tensioner started making noise a while ago so we replaced that (it also pushed a little bit into the TB housing, but not after fixing).

Then one sweet day, I'm driving on the highway and the oil pressure light comes on. I figure it's just been eating faster than usual and let it coast out to the offramp and a nearby gas station (oops, wouldn't have done that if I knew it was serious this time :P ). By the time I get there (less than 2 minutes) it's sounding very odd, has basically no power and is almost completely stalling out every few seconds. I turn it off the moment I hear that and push it the last few feet.

Being stupid, I figure it's still just more-rapid loss of oil not catastrophic loss of pressure, so I go dump 4 quarts of fresh oil in. It starts again, but the oil light comes on after a few hundred feet. So I don't **** around this time and just have it towed.

The diagnosis:
My regular guy who is more willing to go on misadventures and not worry too much about liability is still gone for a few weeks, so I call a shop. They come back a few days later and tell me I indeed do not have oil pressure, that it does indeed sound like **** and that looking any harder than that will be 500 bucks. I thank them very much for their insight and limp my scrap-to-be the 2 miles to home.

It has no turbo at all, the vac&break booster is barely working at all when it's on and the top of the engine is bone dry (duh). It sometimes starts when it's nice and cold.

The question:
1. Sell it for scrap after yanking the IP and get another beater?
2. Replace oil pump & chain & tensioner ?


Landlord won't really be happy if I just go to town on it, so that's unfortunately not an option. But having my regular guy muck with it might be, if a sort of estimate of costs for #2 and what else could be wrong is possible.

Please help me Dr. Drew.
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Old March 6th, 2018, 21:37   #2
pudman2003
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Wa
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Find a good used motor, or let it go to scrap.
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Old March 7th, 2018, 05:17   #3
Powder Hound
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Location: Conkud, New Hampshiyuh, USA
Fuel Economy: pretty freakin' good.
Default

What he said. ^^

I'd offer you a good used motor, but I'm a little too far away. Oh, well.

Cheers and good luck,

PH
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Old March 7th, 2018, 08:21   #4
belome
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Fuel Economy: 47'ish
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At least you learned a valuable lesson from it... the oil light means SHUT THE CAR OFF IMMEDIATELY... do not pass go... do not collect $200.

Catastrophic engine damages starts as soon as that light comes on.
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Old March 7th, 2018, 14:07   #5
datoldjetta
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
TDI(s): 1999.5 ALH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powder Hound View Post
What he said. ^^

I'd offer you a good used motor, but I'm a little too far away. Oh, well.

Cheers and good luck,

PH
I'm in CA now, but that's probably still too far away unless you got a fantastic throwing arm
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Old March 7th, 2018, 16:01   #6
Mongler98
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Northern MD
Fuel Economy: Race: 12mpg, Gandma:65mpg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datoldjetta View Post
What happened:
It used to just burn a little bit of oil over time (3 quarts / 5000 miles? Maybe less)
HOW on earth would you classify this is "a little bit of oil"?, half a quart for every oil change is typical, but this, on a TDI is a sure means of, well you learned the hard way, DEATH.

Sorry for your loss. now you know.


My advice, take a few things off you can sell easily or for high value. take the IP, nozzles, headlights, tail lights, and anything you can easily take off that you can stor for 6 months at no additional cost, sell them local or on ebay or here, sell the car for $150 more than what the scrapper will buy it from you if you take it in yourself and move the heck on, your not in a position to pull an engine with a landlords eye on you.
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Old March 9th, 2018, 00:01   #7
datoldjetta
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
TDI(s): 1999.5 ALH
Default

It was a mess full of tape with places to blow oil out when I got it. I thought it was a little high on oil loss, but uh... yeah. I can't understate how much boost pressure this thing made and how many places to leak it had. I really figured it was just blowing that stuff through.

Current diagnosis is oil pump failure by chain snapping or tensioner failure. That would mean replacing most of that stuff and maybe just using marks to keep the timing halfway right?

But yeah, I'm with you on your plan. Going to talk to a few locals and see how costs for a new beater versus cheap labor shake out. I really liked ma TDI
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Old March 9th, 2018, 05:14   #8
belome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datoldjetta View Post
That would mean replacing most of that stuff and maybe just using marks to keep the timing halfway right?
No, it means replacing your entire motor and turbo. You can't drive a car with no oil pressure. The motor is junk.
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Old March 10th, 2018, 05:39   #9
Mongler98
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Northern MD
Fuel Economy: Race: 12mpg, Gandma:65mpg
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Oil pump failure? no thats not what caused it, bad turbo or other leaks, caused it, ran the pump dry enough to chew it up and spread metal though the engine causing failure.
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