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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 February 15th, 2011, 22:13   #1
DaveLinger
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Exclamation ARP2000 ALH Head Stud Install (trying to stop a coolant leak)

So as some of you may be aware based on my other posts, I have a coolant leak. I figure there's a good chance that it can be fixed simply by swapping my existing head bolts for the new ARP2000 set because:
  • It only leaks under high boost/high RPM situations. If I drive it real easy, it won't leak. That leads me to believe that the head gasket is in good enough condition to be fine if it was torqued down enough.
  • When I bought the car, the owner told me it had a "new head gasket" and "ARP head bolts". The car had a bad actuator, and only made half as much boost as it should have (til I fixed it, when it started leaking) That leads me to believe the bolts may have never been torqued down as much as they should, but he never saw a problem because the low boost levels never required the bolts to be torqued properly to not leak. Not to mention, the old (chrome-moly) ARP bolts are well-known (based on what I've read) for being mediocre for TDIs. Also the fact that the head gasket was recently replaced adds to my idea that it's probably in okay condition.
  • Kerma TDI advertises the ARP2000 head stud kit can fix a leaky head gasket situation.
  • It's been leaking for months, and has been getting worse a little at a time. This might not immediately sound like a good thing, but the way I see it - if my head gasket was fractured or damaged, my leak would come on all at once and would stay the same. In my case, however, it started very small and has gotten worse over time, leading me to believe that my bolts are stretching, loosening, or something like that, which can be fixed by replacement.

Some people say this will probably work, some say it might work, some say there's no way it will work. This thread will serve as my experience for future drivers with leaky head gaskets.

And worst case scenario, it doesn't fix it - but the studs can be re-used when I do a full head gasket job - so no money wasted.

--------------------------

So I ordered the studs. I also ordered a 12mm triple-square bit from Metalnerd, and a 14mm 1/2" drive socket for the ARP nuts.



My valve cover bolts were overtightened, and removal was a *****. All but one stripped the hex into a round. I ordered a new set from Metal Man Parts, and continued when they came in. I was able to remove the stripped bolts by hammering a large torx into the soft aluminum heads of the bolts.


New and Old valve cover bolts


Valve cover removed


Head Studs, nuts, and washers coated with ARP high torque lubricant. I did not lubricate the lower half of the threads on the studs (the threads that go into the block), because the instructions said to insert the studs into the block before the instructions say to apply the lube. That, and the studs bottom out in the block, so they don't need lube because they won't move when torquing. I found that the included pack had just enough to liberally coat everything that needed to be. I wasn't worried about using too much cause I figure it'll just get squeezed out.

I started by removing the bolt labeled "1" on the included ARP diagram, which is the middle-rear bolt. I had no problem breaking the bolt loose with just my ratchet, so I'm guessing they really were not torqued down as much as they should have been. There's a little suction sound when an old bolt is removed.

I then inserted one of my lubed studs and screwed it in. There is slight resistance as air is being pressurized below the stud. I could hear it slowly bubbling out as I continued. The slight resistance disappears once the pressure equalizes. It's obvious when the stud bottoms out, so I just snug it up with a hex key (per instructions). Then on with the washer and nut. Torqued it down to 80 ft-lbs.

I continued in the order specified on the ARP paperwork, working from the middle outward, one at a time. Once I finished stud #10, I tightened them down to 100 ft-lbs in the same order, waited a few minutes, then tightened down to 125 ft-lbs, per instructions.


This is what a finished, torqued ARP head stud looks like. The gray goop is the excess ARP lube.

I went to dinner and, all told, waited around about 2 hours, then torqued each nut to 125 ft-lbs again. Most nuts got NO additional rotation. 2 or 3 of them got just a few degrees.


Cleaned up the surface where the valve cover gasket sits (also cleaned the valve cover gasket).


All done! Note the clean new valve cover bolts in place.


New valve cover bolt

Finally, I topped up the coolant, oil, and washer fluid, and re-adjusted my turbo actuator to OEM spec. (I had lengthened it beyond OEM spec to isolate an overboost issue, but the only change was the car was sluggish - still overboosted. I have installed a dawes device to last me until i figure out the real issue)

The car seems fine - it's quieter for sure, but that could be due to lots of things - the actuator, most likely.

I drove it around real easy for the rest of the day, 2 complete warm-up/cooldown cycles. Tomorrow I'll do it again, and at the end of the day, pull the valve cover again and do a final 125 ft-lb torque check. THEN, I will really get on it to test if I can make it leak. Fingers crossed. I'll update tomorrow!

If everything turns out okay, I'll run a can of diesel purge through it and change the oil and that will be it!
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Last edited by DaveLinger; February 15th, 2011 at 22:20.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 15:40   #2
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Thank God this thread was saved - I did NOT want to have to type it again after the crash!

Anyway, I really stomped on it yesterday and did not get any immediate leakage. This morning (once it had cooled down completely), I opened the expansion tank cap and got only a very tiny hiss instead of a big loud one like I did before the swap. That's definitely a good sign.

Right now I have the valve cover pulled again and I'll wait until late to ensure it's bone cold, and will re-torque to 125 a final time - I will report in if I get any additional rotation.

So far so good. We'll see how much coolant I have after a week.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 19:19   #3
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Okay, once the car was as cold as it could get, I re-tightened the nuts. I got an additional few degrees of rotation on each nut - seemed to be the same on each - which to me, says that it was a good idea to drive the car a bit and then re-torque, considering I didn't get ANY additional rotation after I torqued to 125 the first time and waited a few hours before re-torquing.

Put the valve cover back on and ran a can of diesel purge through it. The car has 140,000 miles and has never had this done, but I did not notice any differences after.



Again, I will update again after a week or so with any new findings.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 11:19   #4
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Diesel-Purge update: As it turns out, the engine is way quieter and smoother at highway speeds now.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 05:15   #5
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Thanks for posting this process. I've been wanting to install these studs for awhile my Golf.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 10:00   #6
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New update: It's been a week, and I just got home from doing an italian tuneup. Hasn't leaked a drop of coolant since I swapped the studs. My assessment: total success. I would recommend anyone with a leaky head gasket try this first - even if it's been leaking for a while.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 13:37   #7
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I'm glad it worked for you..... I tried the same thing and it was fail.... I lost significantly less coolant but it still leaked... head gasket was shot... had to replace.... threw in a colt stage 2 cam and new lifters while I was in there. No more coolant leak.

Definitely worth trying the head stud kit first before you remove the head and change the gasket.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 14:05   #8
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Wow, that engine has some serious sludge going on. My ALH has double that milage and looks 10X better inside.....

Edit: here's a pic at 250K:
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 20:29   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbocharged798 View Post
Wow, that engine has some serious sludge going on. My ALH has double that milage and looks 10X better inside.....
I was thinking the same thing, but about his engine bay
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 20:49   #10
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Phil, not everyone cleans their engine bay so that it is shiny. only you do,

but I do agree about inside the engine.. do you you synthetic? it should be almost shiny inside.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 18:46   #11
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I also have a pressurized coolant tank issue on my 2003 jetta. I think it is the head gasket but it was recently replaced. Has anyone else had success with this? I really don't want to pull the head on this car. i have only had it a few weeks. I love this car but it is already costing me more than my 89 nissan pickup.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 18:53   #12
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wow, if your profile is right, and you are only getting 32.8 mpg with an '03. you have other issues. you should be getting mid to high 40's easily...
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Old March 8th, 2011, 18:54   #13
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Yes, I use Rotella T synthetic. Granted I was due for an oil change while this work was being done. My plan was to swap the studs, run a can of diesel-purge, and change the oil (which I did).

But yeah, mine looks like a horror show compared to 798's. Granted who knows what the PO did.

Still no leakage though!
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Old March 8th, 2011, 23:08   #14
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Dave,

I thought guys were replacing the bolts in reverse order: 10, 9, 8, 7.....

But you replaced them in the normal order?: 1,2,3,4,5,6......

Since the head would be tightened from the center out towards the ends, I'd think you'd start at the ends and work toward the center (reverse order).

TIA for you reply,
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Old March 8th, 2011, 23:54   #15
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I saw a thread in which the guy replaced the bolts in reverse order, but I don't know why you would want to do that - so yes, I replaced them in the normal order. Starting at the middle and going out.
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