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TDI Power Enhancements Discussions about increasing the power of your TDI engine. i.e. chips, injectors, powerboxes, clutches, etc. Handling, suspensions, wheels, type discussion should be put into the "Upgrades (non TDI Engine related)" forum. Non TDI vehicle related postings will be moved or removed. Please note the Performance Disclaimer.

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Old December 12th, 2011, 21:51   #1
Fix_Until_Broke
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Default Where to stop?

My 03 Jetta has ~170k miles on it and has served me very well over the last 8 years, but it's starting to show it's age and need some work

Shocks/Struts/Mounts - Original and tired
Ball Joints - Loose
Tie-Rod Ends - Loose
Motor Mounts - vibrates and moves a lot
Headlights - really hazy
Antenna base - radio all fuzzy most of the time
Cabin Fan motor - makes noise when below ~10F

I figured I'd probably put springs in it while the suspension was apart.

By the time I'm done with all of the above I'll have ~$1500 and 2-3 full days in it.

I spent this last weekend doing my research and putting my parts lists together at various vendors, but have not ordered anything yet.

So, on my way home tonight from work, crusing along at ~50 MPH in 5th and go from 25% throttle to ~35% throttle and it accelerates normally for about a second and then stops accelerating....wierd....back off the throttle and get back into it and it accelerates but definately has a different "note" to the engine.

Pull into a parking lot under a light, white-ish smoke coming out the exhaust, engine running on 3 cylinders shaking like hell, remove the oil fill cap while the engine is running and a geyser of smokey mist shoots all the way to the hood and pushes my hand out of the way. Put the cap back on, close the hood and get back in the car. I'm 8 miles from home at this point - may as well go for it.

It was a calm night with minimal wind so the car looked like it was on fire at stoplights it was smoking so much - sounded like a WRX when taking off from the lights on 3 cylinders .

Get it home, pull in the garage, rip it apart and find this in hole #3...


The bore looks spectacular in #3


There were some wierd marks on the cylinder walls of the other pistons as well - This is #2 - both sides of the bore. You can't feel anything in these areas, but it sure looks like the wristpin was sliding along the cylinder wall.



This is #4 - The rusty looking radial marks about halfway down the cylinder are in both #4 and #1.


They don't wipe off and you can't really feel them with your fingers at all - do the bores ever crack and seap water?

So, I need a piston at the minimum - most likely a set.
Stock ALH pistons? Coated? Deeper valve reliefs? Lower Compression?
May as well do rings and rod bearings as long as it's apart...
Do I put main bearings in?
Do I put aftermarket rods in?
There's really no cylinder wall damage - a few passes with a hone will clean it up (assuming there's no cracks or anything in it).
Should I pull the whole engine or try and do this "in car"?
Anything else I should do while it's apart?
Is it worth repairing?

Any thoughts as to why it cracked a piston? It's been a couple thousand miles since I pulled a trailer with it - it didn't run any differently before/after this, but it was definately a workout - sustained high loads and temps.

I would like to significantly improve the power in the 1000-2000 RPM range

Maybe I continue to look at new cars like I did a couple weeks ago...though I could do a lot to the Jetta with only a years worth of car payments....

So, back to the original question....Where do I stop?
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Old December 13th, 2011, 06:07   #2
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Holy crap batman. Sorry can't help-free bump. Do you have an EGR gauge by chance and if so what were the temps you ran up to.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 06:13   #3
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In this case, I think you should strip the block down and test it for leaks. If the block is bad, buy a new short block and rebuild the motor. I don't know if these are sleeved or not (someone more knowledgeable will), but to answer your question:

"You don't"

Not knowing your habits or anything, this is an opportunity. Now you can build a monster, rebuild the motor with the best internals you can afford, add a large snail (turbo) and some custom tuning, with all the support hardware (FMIC, 6spd, LSD, High Flow Injectors, so on and so forth)

... least that's what I'd do.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 07:51   #4
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I would rebuild, how much would a new car cost? Use some of that money and build a monster and replace the tired front end yourself, aint that hard just get a garage to align tour front end
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Old December 13th, 2011, 07:52   #5
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Ouch.

Are you running W/M?

What kind of boost levels?

how much timing advance? Do you have logs? - going to look through your SDI/ALH manifold thread, I think there were some in there. - nope
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Old December 13th, 2011, 08:08   #6
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Thermal stress. Must be lots of heat getting on that piston crown.

Check other pistons for beginning of cracks in the same area. A dye penetrant inspection is cheap and easy and good for this situation.

Scuff marks on cyl wall could be from hot pistons too. See what pistons look like when removed.

Measure protrusion before pulling pistons.

Go with a light cyl hone, new rod shells, and drop and inspect shells main caps. The load is on the lower shells so if they are ok, the top shells will be ok too.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 09:30   #7
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Over heated for sure, I've been there. Twice. The stock alh pistons don't have enough of a crown to take a lot of heat. IMO if you aren't getting a bigger turbo, don't drop your compression. It looks more like a heat failure. Get the pistons checked out or measure them yourself to see how "round" they still are/are not haha.

I feel your pain man, I really do. Check the rods for straightness if they are fine and you don't plan on making more power just reuse them, get a set of ASV pistons from bora, have them ceramic coated and put the thing back together. I really don't think the motor needs to come out of the car on this one. Looks pretty straight forward.

Just do like MAXRPM did, get a ball hone and clean the walls re-ring and rod bearing it and be done. Mains I can almost bet are fine, I've probably not ripped as many blocks down as Frank or Whitbread, but I've seen quite a few and none of the mains were ever bad or out of spec when I plasti-gaged them.

Rosten Rods are nice but considering you don't abuse your car like some, aka me, (or atleast from what I've see) I think they would be overkill for you. I vote personally, you just get some pistons from Frank and put it back together and sell it. Go get yourself a PD or a CR that's where the fun is at anyway, or atleast that's what I hear =P


Edit: If you want to keep power in the 1000-2000 range definitely don't lower compression or get a bigger turbo. You won't lose a lot, but you will lose a little. I guess it kinda depends how big you go, I wouldn't say a 2056 or 2256 is huge, but they may get you better flow and keep the EMP and EGTs a little more in check (:
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Old December 13th, 2011, 09:54   #8
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man, that's terrible. Any idea what EGT's you were running when towing that vehicle?

What sort of sustained EGT's would do this? Ugh.

Hope it fixes up nice..
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Old December 13th, 2011, 10:54   #9
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Sorry to see this. I wonder if it's the high load at lower RPMs that contributes to the heat, and you were running some pretty big nozzles at one point, too. Makes me wonder what the inside of IBW's engine is like, but I'm not lookin'.

No matter what you decide it's worth more assembled than not running. And it seems that stock rods and pistons (ASVs are pretty much all that's available, and I would go for ones with cooling galleys even if you can find ALHs), are going to suit your needs, and you won't have a lot of money tied up in it if you do sell.

I'm in a bit of a refresh mode with IBW as well, after two years of nearly nothing but filters and fluids (and tires). New snows, headlights, clutch, and it needs a timing belt soon. But then it should be good for a few more years. Repairs seem to come in waves.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 11:10   #10
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Fix it up, F_U_B. Those wear items must be expected after the years and miles on the car. You're not going to find a comparable pre-owned car whose history you know inside-out like your own car. Freshen up the engine, upgrade parts that need to be replaced, consider a water injection system.

Or sell the car cheap to me.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 11:14   #11
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TDIMeister - do you you think this has anything to do with too much timing advance causing pre-detonation or something similar?

I'm no expert and probably have terminology wrong
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Old December 13th, 2011, 11:24   #12
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When pulling the trailer heavy it will run 1200F-1400F EGT's steady state - Light trailer will run ~1000F. I've done about 4000 miles of heavy trailer pulling and ~8000 miles of light trailer pulling. Self imposed 20 psi boost limit when pulling the trailer, the tunes run 24-26 psi max.

No drugs

Dynoed ~135HP/250ft-lbf with RC5, RC6 and TDTuning tune - I've been running the TDTuning tune for the last 9 months or so. I'm not suspecting the tune(s). MPG's have been good (typically low/mid 50's)

It's had a 17/22, PP502's, 11mm Pump, and the higher level tunes for most of 100k miles - the car/engine has 170k miles on it.

I don't think I have logs of the TDTuning timing, but I do have them for the RC tunes - they were line on line requested/actual, but I don't remember the numbers off hand.

I'd do all the work myself (always have). I do a rough alignment with a tape measure then drive to the alighment shop. I can do cylinder heads and engines, just don't have access to the alignment equipment.

One other thing I didn't mention is that the transmission has trouble downshifting into 4th - Have to go 5th, push toward 3rd then pull to 4th - works ok otherwise, but has been doing this for the last 6 months or so. Another $1500 or so for that with a limited slip and 3.17 R&P.

Even with all that it's still cheaper than a new car...
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Old December 13th, 2011, 11:35   #13
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Continuous high load with that fueling level is gonna make heat. I had to go to PP520s with a similar setup for track days because EGTs got too high with PP502s. I also bumped the IQ up to 6.0.

So if you plan on similar use in the future I'd suggest taking some fuel out, either in the tune or mechanically. And downshift.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 11:35   #14
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Pretty low egts. *redact statement, I know diddly about what sustained egts do to the engine*

If your tune matches temporaptors stage 3, timing would be 8btdc@2000rpms and 16btdc@4000rpms. (Obviously just a vnt15, but just thought I'd throw the number out there)

Last edited by kooyajerms; December 13th, 2011 at 11:57. Reason: i'm dumb
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Old December 13th, 2011, 11:49   #15
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yeah 1,400 is leaning towards the max for the internals, though, especially sustained. EMP and EGT, the heat has no where to go, the heat stress fatigues the pistons. After ruining a set of alh pistons and then warping another I just went to the PD150 pistons and rostens, looking back I think I should have went rostens and ASV with ceramic coating to keep my compression.

Either option, fix cheap and sell, or fix and build to keep are good options. More of do you want to keep your car or get something new/newer?
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