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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old September 12th, 2011, 18:41   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Arlington, TX - DFW metroplex
Fuel Economy: 47 mpg @ 75 mph
Default Marbles...

Does anyone know what causes the exhaust to sound like their are loose marbles bouncing around in there?

A few months ago I was visiting NY and decided it was the perfect time to do a Diesel Purge treatment on my TDI. I spent most of the time with my head under the hood or sitting in the driver's seat revving through the RPM range. When I finished and cleaned up, a friend who had been working nearby commented that at points when the RPMs were high, the exhaust sounded like there were marbles bouncing around inside the metal... So here we are. Is this a sign that the catalytic is going?

What is the physical structure of the catalytic converter? I am somewhat familiar with those on gassers where there is a honeycomb that the exhaust gasses are pushed through. If there are fueling problems and you exhaust too much unburned fuel you can exceed the temp that the catayst can sustain and it can melt, closing portions of the honeycomb and restricting your exhaust usually leading to pretty clear performance issues.
2002 Golf TDI, 5-speed, 2-door
White w/ Tan interior (get the Scotchguard!!!)
47 mpg @ 75 mph
"El Bonbon" - The Marshmallow
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Old September 12th, 2011, 19:29   #2
Bran Diezel
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bristol, Va
Fuel Economy: 50mpg

the brick in the converter can break apart and sound like a bunch of rocks in a tin can. also a loose heat shield can make a rattle sound. a broken hanger can make the exhaust hit the car and sound clunky. put it up in the air and bang on the pipe all up and down the exhaust to locate the noise. if you hit the converter with your fist and it doesn't sound solid then make sure if its inside or the outer shield.

this is for any car. i haven't paid attention to the exhaust on my tdi
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Old September 13th, 2011, 07:43   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, New York
Fuel Economy: 52/48/??

^^ x2. the cat internals is honeycomb "brick" structure. Possible that it could be broken up and rattling, but as above reply mentioned, get under and inspect the heat shield around cat and also hangars etc.
Best Regards.... Corsair....
2002 Jetta GLS TDI 5-spd 325Kmi, 2014 JSW TDI 6M
2006 Audi A4 Quattro Avant 2.0T 6M
2004 Jetta GL wagon 2.0L (gas) 5-spd (sold)
[also had 03 TDI GLS 5spd wagon bought new, sorely missed]
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Old September 13th, 2011, 07:48   #4
Ski in NC
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wilmington, NC USA
Fuel Economy: 48-52 typical

Originally Posted by chromeBuddha View Post
Does anyone know what causes the exhaust to sound like their are loose marbles bouncing around in there?
Did someone sneak up to the car and shoot some marbles up the tailpipe into your muffler??
2001 Jetta TDI 5sp Stock 201k mi
1981 Rabbit IDI 4sp Sold at 339k mi
1990 S-10 4.3 4wd 5sp 154k mi
1986 VW Pathfinder 1.6 45hp Marine 4700 Hrs
2001 Cummins 8.3 420hp Marine 1660Hrs..REFIT DONE!!
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