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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD)

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 August 12th, 2018, 18:37   #1
Nuje
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Default ALH Head swap or engine swap?

Guy snapped the timing belt on his 2003 Jetta, so we went looking for a good used head. Found a long block with all the accessories for reasonable price, so...

Easier / better option to replace the head on the snapped timing belt car? Or pull the whole engine and replace top to bottom? Just from looking at them, the engine in the donor car (rear-ended / totalled) looks like it was better taken care of.
(e.g., green coolant in the recipient car; pink in the donor)
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Old August 12th, 2018, 19:10   #2
WildChild80
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I have bought 2 broken timing ALH cars, the first one was in great shape and the second had a terrible score down the #4 cylinder wall so after showing up with a junk yard head I realized I needed the rest of the engine...long story long...I replaced every seal on the engine and the oil pump chain and tensioner, now it's finding the time and place to swap the heavy parts...

Less work in my opinion to just do the head but by the time you get the head off you're a good ways to just dropping the engine and depending on mileage and maintenance you may well be better off swapping the long block. If the AC isn't charged or you have a recovery machine you can pull the crash bar off and drop engine and trans together and pull it out the front. It's only 6 bolts after you get the bumper cover off

It's way easier to do a timing belt on an engine stand too...I just hope I interpreted the timing marks on the crank pulley right but I'll check it when I get the trans screwed to it.

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Old August 12th, 2018, 20:05   #3
wonneber
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If you have any bent rods you need the bottom end anyway.
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Old August 13th, 2018, 20:34   #4
WildChild80
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Honestly, if you know for a fact that the donor short block is near perfect as in no bent rods and rings and bearings look good I'd say swap the bottom end too and know what you've got vs not knowing and hoping for the best

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Old August 14th, 2018, 02:52   #5
turbocharged798
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swapping the bottom end is a LOT more work and is likely nothing wrong with it.



I would personally recommend sending your current head to Franko6 and have it gone though.
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99.5 Red Jetta TDI. Saved from the crusher. 270K
04 Jetta TDI .MFA cluster, reverse light mod, bilstein TCs 200K.
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Old August 14th, 2018, 08:25   #6
Nuje
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Like, how much more work is it?
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Old August 14th, 2018, 08:30   #7
WildChild80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuje View Post
Like, how much more work is it?
Cooling lines and 6 bolts per CV axle and 6 or 8 bell housing bolts...drop your power steering lines off and let your AC compressor hang. Most of the work is stuff connected to the head...oh and the 6 motor mount bolts between 3 motor mounts. I just dropped an engine and transmission last weekend for the transmission.

Oops fuel lines...

Pop the head off and check your bores and piston protrusion and go from there...head swap is less work but you're more than halfway once you get the head off.

I also second having frank06 rebuild your head if you have room in the budget

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Old August 14th, 2018, 08:37   #8
Nuje
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Yeah - that's kinda what I was thinking it was...for all the hassle of getting at all the head bits, it doesn't feel exponentially more work to pull the whole thing.

Two questions:
Leave the transmission bolted to the block to pull it, right?
And what do you mean by "drop your power steering lines off"?

Last edited by Nuje; August 14th, 2018 at 10:25.
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Old August 14th, 2018, 08:42   #9
WildChild80
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You can take the lines loose or you can pull the pump, either is my least favorite...

I think it's easier to drop both together since there isn't any support to speak of to hold the trans in the car. You'll need your car in the air on jack stands to make it a little easier

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Old August 14th, 2018, 09:18   #10
BobnOH
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Seems prudent to evaluate engine #1, if the lower end is still good, do a head refresh.
If not I would evaluate engine #2 and if it's good, drop it in.
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Old August 14th, 2018, 09:25   #11
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Seems to be a no brainer! Swap the entire engine out with the Junk Yard find.

If you go that route, dropping the tranny with the engine is best. Otherwise, you'll be wrestling with the bolts that hold the bell housing to the engine as well as figuring out a way to support it (transmission) or support the engine while moving the tranny away from it. Either way, you have to have a means to support one or the other (and both while unbolting) ..... way easier to pull them out together.

The PS lines are a web of a mess.... easy to remove them. Sure, there'll be lots of oil to deal with, but they need to be out of the way. Seems at least one of them is bolted to the transmission on the front side.

Tip: If you have to splice the #3 Injector connector from your wiring harness to the new engine #3... do not solder! Twist and use shrink tube. Otherwise, you'll get a DTC from time to time as well as a hiccup from the engine due to the ECU not liking the solder splice. EDIT: You could move #3 injector from your engine to the new one. But, there may be some difference in injector balance..
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Last edited by AndyBees; August 14th, 2018 at 09:27. Reason: Add comment
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Old August 14th, 2018, 18:25   #12
turbocharged798
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I have done both, I can R&R a head in a day. Pulling the engine/trans is a massive project that requires blowing the whole front of the car apart. Its a several day job for me. Just saying, I have done both and that has been my experience.
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99.5 Black Jetta TDI; DLC1019 nozzles, G60/VR6, ASV .5mm pistons, EGR delete, ASR/EDL, bilstein TCs MFA cluster.. Beater car. 365K miles and climbing.
99.5 Red Jetta TDI. Saved from the crusher. 270K
04 Jetta TDI .MFA cluster, reverse light mod, bilstein TCs 200K.
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