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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 December 6th, 2018, 19:14   #1
Clevenger
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Default Blown injectors or burned up valves?

Hey guys, my car broke again. I have started troubleshooting but don't know what to do next.

I drive a 2002 Jetta TDI with 380,000 miles on it. I do most of the maintenance and repairs myself. We will find out if that is a good thing or not

Short version: I think the engine was starved of fuel and broke stuff. Please help!

(Skip to the bottom for the questions if you don't want to read the story)

Long Story:

I filled up while on a trip. 34 miles later I started getting black smoke and loosing power. I pulled off at the first exit and checked all fluids. Everything checked out. I pulled out my VAG-COM and computer and checked my timing (within spec) and also not showing any codes.

I limped it 5 miles to the next town and it kept getting worse. Now I realize I really should have just stayed on the side of the road but at the time I didn't realize how bad it was going to get. By the time I got to the shop I was doing 20 MPH with the pedal on the floor, it was running super rough and a fair amount of white smoke. The smoke appeared to be white diesel smoke and not oil smoke. I got to a shop but he was too busy to help so I did some troubleshooting myself. Checked all vacuum lines, actuators, and solenoids. All appeared fine. Only one engine code for under boost. It didn't come back when I cleared it.

At this point the engine was running very rough and misfiring. I called it a day and got a rental car for the 400 miles back home. A couple weeks later I managed to tow it back home again.
I suspected the gas I had purchased so I called the station (well know large chain). They responded promptly and investigate. They had not other complaints and their sensors said that here was nothing wrong with the fuel.
So I started troubleshooting.

First thing was the fuel, so I hooked up some clear lines to the injector pump and primed and ran the engine on some fresh diesel from a place down the road. the engine immediately ran differently. Much more stable but still loud and rough. At this point I was able to hear a clacking sound that I am not sure what it is. Also go an engine code for misfire on cylinder 2. Deduction: fuel or fuel supply was part of the issue.

The next thing I did was tear open the fuel filter. It was quite new as I recently replaced it. There was a fair amount of waxy residue in the filter, not a massive amount but enough to probably clog it. So fuel supply may have been severely inhibited. At the time I was running a summer additive, not a winterizer additive (I live in Texas).

Next thing I tried was running some LM Diesel Purge to see if that would help any. It smoothed the engine out some, but not much. Still loud, running rough, lots of smoke, low power, clacking/ticking/banging sound coming from the engine block. Using a long screwdriver I listened at the injectors and it sounds like there is a physical problem inside the block.

Here is where I hope your wisdom and experience can help point me in the right direction. Also, if there is a thread that I missed, I apologize and please just point me at it and I will go there.

- Can running an engine lean raise EGTs high enough to burn up the valves or pistons?
- How can I test if the valves are shot?
- What else can I test?

I am afraid I may have totaled it this time.

Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks,
Clevenger
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Old December 6th, 2018, 19:29   #2
AndyBees
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Assuming you checked the Anti-Sudder Valve, I'd take off the valve cover to inspect the Cam and Followers. If one of the Intake cam lobes and follower have worn out to the point that the valve is not opening, this may explain the rough running, smoke, etc. key word "may."

Lean fuel would result in slow engine. Fuel and air is what the diesel lives on. Cut back the fuel and the engine slows down. Cut back the air and normal fueling, engine will smoke white and be low on power.

Any time you let up on the accelerator, the fuel is shut-off, regardless of engine speed... down to idle (903 RPMs).
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Old December 6th, 2018, 20:10   #3
Clevenger
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I did check the ASV. It was wide open while running.

I recently had the valve cover off when I was changing my timing belt. That was about 1000 miles ago. I did not see any unusual wear on the lobes, it looked like they had worn through the surface finish toward the edges, but they were smooth to the touch and I didn't see anything that stood out. I can look again though.

Before starting to troubleshoot, I started the car and while it did run, there was no throttle response at all. I could mash the padal to the floor and the RPM would remain constant. That feature went away when I was feeding it fuel directly.
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Old December 6th, 2018, 20:23   #4
Fix_Until_Broke
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Clevenger - I don't believe you have a a fuel problem. It is impossible to run a diesel "lean" - they run over 100:1 AFR at idle and light load conditions so you can scratch that off your list of possible issues.

AndyBees has a good suggestion to pull a valve cover and inspect the cam/lifters. If those check out good - pull a lower intercooler pipe and see if you get a lot of oil out of it. Might have a blown oil seal on the turbo. Engine oil smokes white out the exhaust.

Third thing to try is pull the injectors (in pairs - leave 2 in the engine). Start with a visual inspection of the tips (are they still there - do they look the same?). Reconnect the injectors to the tubes, but rolled back so they're pointing in the air outside of the engine. Crank/start the engine - do they spray well? Repeat for the other 2 injectors.
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Old December 6th, 2018, 20:27   #5
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Did it run ok on the IV setup for the purge or was it still rough? I ask because there’s a ball valve in the tank pickup that sometimes causes fueling issues, you can drill it out.
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Old December 6th, 2018, 20:30   #6
Clevenger
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That is a really good point about the throttle cutting off fuel. I know EGT is a complex subject. Is there a way that the air/fuel ratio can damage the engine?

Another piece of information that may be important. One of the things I had to do to limp to the shop was disconnect the turbo return. I had pulled the flexible tube off while on the side of the road to check the ASV and EGR valves and I noticed that it ran better when it the turbo was disconnected. So I left it disconnected for the final mile. Later during testing when I would reconnect the turbo, it would begin misfiring and running even worse. The Turbo appeared to be running fine though.
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Old December 6th, 2018, 20:36   #7
Clevenger
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I didn't see the above two posts before my latest response. Sorry.

Fix_Until_Broke - I checked the inter-cooler and I only had a couple of drops of oil come out of it. The turbo spools normally and sounds right. I can pull injectors on monday and test them out. Is this kind of failure normal for injectors?

KyleMillione - It ran pretty rough even on pure Diesel Purge. When increasing RPM it shook really bad around 2200 rpm and sounded like there was a mechanical clacking sound in the engine.

Thank you guys and AndyBees for your quick responses!!
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Old December 6th, 2018, 21:08   #8
Fix_Until_Broke
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It might be safer to start with a compression test. A mechanical clacking is never good.

Did you check the timing belt/tensioner?
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Old December 6th, 2018, 21:22   #9
burn_your_money
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Be very careful testing the injectors as described above. The diesel is exiting the nozzles with enough pressure to penetrate your skin and be injected into your blood. It can kill you.



Which flexible tube did you have off? The one on the EGR valve or the one going to the hard plastic tube that goes to the turbo?
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Old December 7th, 2018, 07:20   #10
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Nasty mechanical noises are never good. I'd check the mechanical timing and everything under the timing belt cover first. If you have a problem there you may as well stop screwing around as you've got plenty of work in front of you.

A serious misfire could POTENTIALLY be one injector that's not working at all, but how that happened and what collateral damage it did is where things get tricky. R&R on the injectors isn't hard but does require new copper sealing washers and a cleanout of the bores or they may not seal properly. If there's a tip missing or similar it should be instantly obvious on inspection and that's entirely possible. However, if there's a tip missing the tip went SOMEWHERE, and the "somewhere" often does cylinder, valve or turbo damage on the way out. As noted just above be very, very careful about having injectors fire out of the engine -- the pressures involved are VERY high and if you manage to have the spray penetrate your skin (yes, it's easy to have it happen) it can cost you a finger or, in an extreme circumstance, your life.
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Old December 7th, 2018, 10:37   #11
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Where in Texas are you located?
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Old December 7th, 2018, 11:11   #12
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I dont want to appear too critical here but you have a high mileage car and by your own admission you might not be the best mechanic out there. You say you changed your timing belt 1000 miles ago........ your symptoms to me sound like skipped timing. Have your timing checked by an experienced guru.
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Old December 7th, 2018, 11:14   #13
BobnOH
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Like the ideas to check compression, evaluate valve train. Also possible the IP is busted.
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Old December 7th, 2018, 11:39   #14
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A bad injector tip will let it overfuel and cause very poor running with stumbling. The clacking noise might be due to the misfire. All this could be related to a leaking valve.

Getting a compression test and/or leakdown test is needed. You need to also investigate for physical damage in the valve train as been recommended.
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Old December 7th, 2018, 11:53   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miningman View Post
I dont want to appear too critical here but you have a high mileage car and by your own admission you might not be the best mechanic out there. You say you changed your timing belt 1000 miles ago........ your symptoms to me sound like skipped timing. Have your timing checked by an experienced guru.

Could the cam sprocket have slipped on the cam?
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