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TDI 101 Got a simple/basic TDI question? Are you a newbie (new to the forums). Feel free to post your question here.

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Old February 16th, 2006, 21:07   #1
SPDMarine
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Default Engine Braking?

I checked the FAQ and couldn't find an answer to this question, so here goes: I'm wondering if it's okay to use engine braking with a 1.9L VW diesel. The engine is in a 2001 New Beetle TDI-GLS... just got it last night. Very fun to drive! I have a coworker who owns a 2002 Jetta with the same engine, and he cringes every time his RPMs go over 2000. He also advised me to never use engine braking. I'm wondering if that's good advice.

Thanks in advance,
Sean in Richland WA
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Old February 16th, 2006, 21:43   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPDMarine
I checked the FAQ and couldn't find an answer to this question, so here goes: I'm wondering if it's okay to use engine braking with a 1.9L VW diesel. The engine is in a 2001 New Beetle TDI-GLS... just got it last night. Very fun to drive! I have a coworker who owns a 2002 Jetta with the same engine, and he cringes every time his RPMs go over 2000. He also advised me to never use engine braking. I'm wondering if that's good advice.

Thanks in advance,
Sean in Richland WA
Fortunatley for your cow-orker, Oldpoopie will soon be on the correct side of this continent and he will be able to clean the intake manifold and help him with the turbo that is getting sooted up from those driving habits.

As to the engine braking, why does he say not to do it? What is he basing it on? What will be the consequences of engine braking? Ask him these questions and if the answer to all of them is something along the line of, "I dunno, it's just what *** told me", then don't get any more car advice from him.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 23:09   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPDMarine
I have a coworker who owns a 2002 Jetta with the same engine, and he cringes every time his RPMs go over 2000.
Congratulations on your new-to-you TDI.

I let my sister drive my Golf a year or two ago, and I cringed when she ran it up to 4500 rpm before shifting.

But I don't cringe when I do it myself. (4000-4200 is really my normal top rpm.)

Your co-worker is not doing his engine any favors by babying it. TDI engines are pretty tough, but they need regular exercise.

Engine braking is not particularly effective with TDI engines, but I do it all the time. It's one of the many reasons I prefer a manual transmission. I suppose if I had an automatic, I'd downshift manually.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 00:25   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoRed
Engine braking is not particularly effective with TDI engines
Indeed - you get a lot less than with a petrol engine. It wasn't what I was expecting at all - I expected the higher compression ratio would give good engine braking, but it seems that the lack of a throttle more than offsets that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPDMarine
he cringes every time his RPMs go over 2000
That's the advice of somebody who really doesn't understand his engine, and thinks he's driving an old fashioned tractor. Please ignore him, for the sake of your engine! Follow his advice, and your engine will give you no end of problems and ultimately have a short and unhappy life. Modern diesel engines are designed to be high revving - once the engine is warmed up you should have no qualms about taking it all the way to the red line, although the useful power drops off rapidly after 4000 rpm.

Seriously, these engines really do like to be exercised. I notice that mine drives much better after it's been driven hard with a heavy load in the car.

On the subject of whether you should use engine braking - the answer is "sometimes", although the answer has got nothing to do with what's good/bad for the engine. When slowing down, you shouldn't go down through the gears because it's not necessary. The brakes are more than capable of slowing the car by themselves, so let them do their job. Leave the car in gear, with the clutch engaged, and only declutch when the revs get too low. Going through the gears forces you to keep taking your hand off the wheel, which compromises your control of the car (albeit only slightly).

However, when going down a hill it's very good driving practice to be in a low enough gear so that the car isn't constantly trying to run away from you - it's simply about keeping the car under control with minimal intervention from the driver. A good rule of thumb is that you should go down a hill in the same gear that you would go up the hill - I'm not talking about revving the hell out of it! Having said that, the TDI often doesn't quite give enough engine braking to keep the speed fully under control down a hill, so small dabs of the brakes will often be necessary.

Last edited by DMJWilliams; February 17th, 2006 at 00:42.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 01:20   #5
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Do your co-worker a favour, and send him here to this site. There is an overwhelming amount of information here that should be more then convincing to him. It sounds like he really needs to do some reading before his repair bills start to pile up.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 02:10   #6
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Actually, I wouldn't do engine braking over 3k RPM or so--if you have/had a boost gauge you will notice that it will start "showing boost" as you get over 3k, and even get up to 5 lbs+ at 4k. This I have come to find out causes havoc with the turbo oil seals, which need positive pressure. In any case, I think all my engine braking contributed to some of BlackenedBora's problems. Anything under 3k RPM is fine, but I would consider that the redline of engine braking.
Hope this makes a tiny bit of sense at 2AM--goodnight!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 02:20   #7
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haha! I cringe if I DON'T get my revs over 2000.

I do use engine braking a lot, and with a degree of foresight, you can pretty much bring a TDI to a halt just using the gears (including using 1st ) Can confuse people seeing you slow down with no brake lights though - then they see them come on at the last second.

TDIs are very good at slowing down with engine braking and it eases brake pad wear - Also feels a more natural way to slow down, just sort of coasting in gear, and down the gears.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 04:14   #8
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Have fun with your new TDI.

Don't worry use engine braking as needed. It is safer than always relying on the brakes if you are driving in the mountains.

The only thing with the TDI is you will find you have less engine braking than you would in a gasser.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 05:23   #9
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The responses were right on the money. Diesels for the most part are designed to be used hard. If you are an oil sampler you will quickly find out that if you pull a sample after a long hard trip, that is heavy engine loading either with mountains, weight or speed or a combination of all three your oil sample will be very good. As far as engine braking, not to engine brake is a waste of RPM's .

BB this may be true on the oil seals... think about this for a minute.. a big truck will show the same boost under heavy engine braking, If you read the operators manual you will be told to reach maximum engine braking keep your RPM's close to the red line . Of course this is with a true Jake brake . There are no limitations as far as time or boost. Matter of fact you need to be close to red line and in a gear that will hold you on the grade without using the footbrake. If you don't do this ...giddy up here we go.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 06:23   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devonutopia
TDIs are very good at slowing down with engine braking and it eases brake pad wear - Also feels a more natural way to slow down, just sort of coasting in gear, and down the gears.
With all due respect, that's retarded. It changes the wear from the brakes to the clutch. A brake job is a HELL of a lot cheaper than a clutch job!!

I only compression brake when going down big-long-hills.

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Old February 17th, 2006, 06:38   #11
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TDI SC-

Using "retarded" to show your degree of opposition to something is offensive to some people.

Engine braking, if done correctly, should not reduce the life of the clutch. Quickly releasing the clutch (at an appropriate speed for the gear selected) prevents slipping.

I downshift/engine brake all the time when coming to a stop from >40 mph.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 07:50   #12
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Using "retarded" to show your degree of opposition to something is offensive to some people.
Yep. The sentence would read just as well if the word "stupid" or "whitedog" were inserted.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 12:41   #13
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Related: DSG possition "S" will have much less ebgine braking.
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Old February 17th, 2006, 14:23   #14
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Thanks a lot y'all. I've told my wife to try and keep the RPM's down between 1500 and 2000, but it seems that's not necessary. I also drove the car a few days myself (she was intimidated) and started using the -admittedly limited- engine to brake. It seems a waste to brake with 2nd or 1st gear, but 4th and 3rd do a great job. Based on the years of experience this forum's members are willing to share (thanks a bunch, by the way), I'll let her know it's okay to shift when the RPMs go over 2500, which was the limit my coworker advised. She'll love that since she's got some lead in her foot

In defense of my coworker, he's a very intelligent guy, just conservative. I'm not sure where he learned his diesel driving habits, but I'll definitely point this forum out and see if he chooses to cut loose.

Once again, thanks a bunch!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 14:29   #15
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I am going to add to my comments. There is engine braking and engine braking. Using engine braking when going down long hills or allowing the engine to slow down the vehicle while in the same gear your were already in, is good.

Down shifting at every light or every time you stop is likely to be far more costly in terms of clutches and or transmissions than just using the brakes.

I suspect some of the responses may have been thinking in terms of one or the other use.
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