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Old June 13th, 2018, 06:10   #1
KCCats
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Default ALH or BEW?

I wonder which engine over all is better?
I know the BEW has issues with the cam.
But over all longevity and fuel eco?
I own both but wonder which is the keeper?
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Old June 13th, 2018, 07:56   #2
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Keep which ever you want and have the most knowledge, tools and spare parts for. This is like a Ford vs Chevy argument. They each have there advantage.

The BEW is a little bit newer so less years on the body (which can equal to less rust depending on where you live). Cams - so you throw one in every 150-300k. So that means a cam or two? How much is resealing an injection pump and doing injectors on the ALH?

Fuel economic - comparable - you own both so you should be able to see that. I have never own an ALH but have owned 4 BEW's and still have 3 of those with 2 running. I won't do the ALH for my knowledge, spare parts and tooling. Not that the ALH is a bad engine but ONLY because of the 3 things I listed.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 08:04   #3
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I'd say BEW, just cause it's newer. But you have 2 cars, if they're both in the same state, I'd stick with the ALH wagon ,only because the unit injectors are so expensive.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 08:10   #4
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That is like choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream....

[although we all know Superman is the best.]
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Old June 13th, 2018, 08:50   #5
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The BEW cam issue is way overstated.

If you use the correct oil, it will go for hundreds of thousands of miles.

If it does happen to wear out, it takes a leisurely four hours to swap it out, and a new one is not prohibitively expensive.

My brother bought a brand new 2003 ALH about six months before I bought my brand new 2004 BEW. His car is on its second injection pump. My car had it's original cam up until about six weeks ago when the timing belt failed. I just replaced the entire head for simplicity, but the cam would have gone for a lot longer still. It had a small amount of wear, after 276,000 km.

An ALH injection pump is not cheap. Neither are four Pumpe Duse injectors. They cost about the same. The difference is you can replace one bad PD injector. The ALH injection pump must be replaced or rebuilt as a unit.

I don't know what all the panic has been about over the years with the BEW cam. It's right there at the top of the engine under the valve cover. It's easy to swap out, but even if you don't want to do it yourself I wouldn't expect it to cost too much at a shop. Four hours labor would be generous in a properly equipped shop. I had mine out last Friday after work, just to check the state of the lifters (they were fine). I started at 6:00pm and was done before 10:00pm. That includes locking the crank and cam at TDC, un-tensioning the timing belt, removing the belt from the cam sprocket, removing the injector rockers, removing the cam, putting it all back, adjusting the injector rockers correctly, tensioning the timing belt again, setting the cam timing with VCDS, putting back all the stuff that was in the way (ducting, side skirt, etc), cleaning up, putting away my tools, etc. Complete and thorough job, setting correct torque values on everything, no corners cut. I did that in less than four hours working in a condominium parking space. If a shop charges more than four hours for a cam swap they're overcharging.

The BEW cam is nothing to be afraid of, and the injectors are nothing to be afraid of.

What does that leave to worry about? Just the timing belt. That's the weak link in the system because when that fails, perfectly good parts get trashed. Inspect it regularly, and replace it whenever there's any question about it's condition. That should keep the BEW going indefinitley. Same goes for the ALH though (with regard to the timing belt).
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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:28   #6
oilhammer
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This question gets asked, and answered, quite often.

My take is they are both pretty good, they both have pros and cons. One thing the BEW cars have going for them that is not even the engine is the rest of the car: by the time the BEW came to us in 2004, that platform had gotten a lot of improvements. Better ABS, better SRS, better radio, better brakes, heck even the cupholders were better. Granted some of this was a phase in over the '99-2003 model years, but the BEW cars got it ALL.

Also, the BEW got bolted to a FAR superior automatic option, either the 5sp Jatco in the Golf/Jetta or the 6sp DSG in the NB (although these early DSGs often had some shift quality that is not always great, I'd still take one over the POS 01M from before).

I know the PD injectors are expensive, but I've never once had to deal with one... ever... in a BEW. And I service a LOT of these cars (one is here today for its 340k service). But it has been at least two years since I have had an ALH in here that had its original intact injection pump in place. They either have all been rebuild/replaced, or are leaking fuel all over and/or clicking.

I can also think of a half dozen other items that are likely to need attention on the BEW before the cam does. Use the correct oil, good filters, by the book, and those hold up just fine. The above mentioned 340k mile car has never had its valve cover off, and I have done every single service on it since new.

BEW tends to use a bit more fuel, and probably not enough to justify the 10hp increase. But they are still plenty efficient, and they are even more responsive to tuning as there is more available fueling potential with the stock injectors.

Bottom line: take good care of all of them, and they'll all be good back.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 19:21   #7
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HMM ok anyone know where I can get the 6 sp manual conversion for the 04 Wagon?
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Old June 14th, 2018, 05:17   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCCats View Post
HMM ok anyone know where I can get the 6 sp manual conversion for the 04 Wagon?
http://www.forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=434593

Frans
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Old June 14th, 2018, 05:18   #9
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Just ask yourself, what will you really gain? And is that worth paying what will probably be a substantial proportion of the car's worth if not all? Seriously?


OK, if your ego really needs the boost, then check out the vendor for sale threads and find the guy shipping from Netherlands. Probably your best bet. Or there's another guy in UK. Sorry I don't have names... having a senior moment.... they seem to come more frequently these days.... sigh....

Yup, that's it. JDSwan beat me to it.


Cheers,


PH
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Old June 14th, 2018, 09:22   #10
coalminer16
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The BEW does have a little taller 5th gear over the ALH FYI.

I at one point was hot on someday doing a 6 spd when I had to drive 3 states to visit family over faster interstate roads. Don't see the need now. I am fine with my 43/44 average on both of my tuned BEW engines. One is stock other then the tune. The other has a turbo, cam and exhaust upgrade. Same mileage basically but one is WAY more fun. I could get much better MPG on either if I didn't drive them for fun when I am driving them. That is what a manual is for.
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Quote:
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I really had no idea that VW dealerships were so awful to go to, they sound like undertakers cos everything that goes in there winds up dead.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 15:10   #11
KCCats
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LOL A Senior moment I understand!

Well I guess If I thought it threw I would not have done everything to my ALH!
But the 04 is a nicer car!
I am looking to build or find? a highway car to cruise with.
Perhaps a Passat wagon?
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Old June 15th, 2018, 14:25   #12
coalminer16
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No manuals unless converted - but from what I understand a nice car. Less parts available since the bug, golf and jetta share parts but the passat doesn't.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmchambers
I really had no idea that VW dealerships were so awful to go to, they sound like undertakers cos everything that goes in there winds up dead.
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Old June 16th, 2018, 03:57   #13
KCCats
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Well another question then,
What year was the best TDI? of all of them?
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Old June 16th, 2018, 05:08   #14
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ALH is the simplest modern electronic tdi to own. easier to work on, to diagnose, to maintain... no in tank fuel pump, no cam sensor, no injector harness, no tandem pump, no O2 sensor, better fuel economy (10% on average) ... cams last longer, injector upgrades are cheaper, fuel filters last longer (no black tank schmutz) ... i do currently own a 2005 golf BEW with 395k miles, original cam, rarely do i break 40mpg... planning to swap for an ALH soon, i've always preferred the sound, the feel, and the look of an ALH over a PD... EDIT: about the only thing easier to do on a BEW is the timing belt
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Old June 16th, 2018, 05:10   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCCats View Post
Well another question then,
What year was the best TDI? of all of them?
imo, 2000-2003 best TDI's ever built, for simplicity and longevity and upgrade-ability
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