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TDI Fuel Economy Discussions about increasing the fuel economy of your TDI engine. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old March 17th, 2018, 21:09   #1
kroy1247
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Default Timing/Economy Question

I recently had a timing belt done on my 2003 Jetta Wagon (manual), by the dealer, and I've noticed a couple of things. The did do injection pump timing as well. They said it was out.

First, power is diminished slightly. Second, I'm not getting the economy I once was. I'm calculating 40 hwy as opposed to about 47-48 before the belt. Third, the idle is a little rougher than it once was, just a hair, but I noticed. And, it's overall just not as smooth it seems, especially at 2k RPM.

I took it back in. They checked just the tension and everything's fine they said.

I know these engines are sensitive to timing. So what I'm thinking is that they may have put everything back to spec, in terms of the ECM settings...idle, timing.

Should I maybe pick up a VAG-COM and make some fine tune adjustments? Could I dial in the idle a bit better and advance the timing electronically, just slightly, to see if there are improvements? Other options? Thanks in advance...
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Old March 18th, 2018, 01:41   #2
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That is exactly what a vcds is capable of doing and one of the reasons so many members here have them.

https://www.ross-tech.com
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Old March 18th, 2018, 02:14   #3
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Even before checking the injection timing with VCDS, I would check to verify if the static timing is and was done properly. Dealerships seem to have a poor reputation of getting things right.
If you are doing the same driving routine and logging your fuel mileage calculations correctly that's a lot of difference to attribute to just the variance of the injection timing "adjustment" window amount.
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Old March 19th, 2018, 09:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jettawreck View Post
... Dealerships seem to have a poor reputation of getting things right...
Which is why I go to dealers - for dealer only parts. That's all.

Dealership mechanics get pushed to flag more hours constantly, hence the real 'standard' they use is best described as 'good enough' rather than as good as humanly possible. Like TDIjarhead says, that's why so many of us get the real thing.

I'd would counsel you to get one and then check the mechanical timing first, to ensure the cam, pump, and crank are spot-on timed to each other. Then you can plug in the VCDS to see where the static timing is on the graph. Once that is set, the ECU won't let you dial in advance as it will retard it back to spec if you try to advance it.

You might want to check other stuff such as tire pressures. Sometimes people think they're doing you a favor when they screw things up.

Cheers,

PH
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Old March 19th, 2018, 10:47   #5
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Thanks all. Further calculations show that I'm in the ballpark of 43, now, but I've really had to change my driving style to get to that point. Something is obviously different.

I'll report back where I land.
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Old March 19th, 2018, 10:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powder Hound View Post
Which is why I go to dealers - for dealer only parts. That's all.

Dealership mechanics get pushed to flag more hours constantly, hence the real 'standard' they use is best described as 'good enough' rather than as good as humanly possible. Like TDIjarhead says, that's why so many of us get the real thing.

I'd would counsel you to get one and then check the mechanical timing first, to ensure the cam, pump, and crank are spot-on timed to each other. Then you can plug in the VCDS to see where the static timing is on the graph. Once that is set, the ECU won't let you dial in advance as it will retard it back to spec if you try to advance it.

You might want to check other stuff such as tire pressures. Sometimes people think they're doing you a favor when they screw things up.

Cheers,

PH

Just to clarify, do you mean that if I want to advance the timing to see if it improves economy, I need to do it mechanically, not electronically?

Last edited by kroy1247; March 19th, 2018 at 13:14.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 08:22   #7
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Another peculiar change in performance, that may illuminate what i'm dealing with....when I stomp on the gas around 2k RPM, there is much more black exhaust than before. Before the timing belt it was much cleaner burning.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 08:43   #8
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If you have the means you might want to pull the timing belt cover and look for tell-tale paint dots that suggest the timing belt was installed using short-cuts. The ECU has control over IP timing but not valve timing, which can cause power and smoke issues if not set correctly.

Or, even better might be to track down the timing jigs, pull the valve cover, and confirm TDC alignment from scratch.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 08:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Waldon View Post
If you have the means you might want to pull the timing belt cover and look for tell-tale paint dots that suggest the timing belt was installed using short-cuts. The ECU has control over IP timing but not valve timing, which can cause power and smoke issues if not set correctly.
Or, even better might be to track down the timing jigs, pull the valve cover, and confirm TDC alignment from scratch.
Thanks Vince. Interesting. I'll take a look again at it. When the service manager and I looked at the belt before the work (I had pulled the cover to see the tension) he pointed out paint dots that had been used before. My impression was that was not the method they were going to use. But, who knows right? I'll pull the cover again and see if I can see any evidence of that, and dig a bit deeper when I get the time. Ugh, I miss that little bit of extra power and the better economy. Although it's not terrible, it is noticeably different.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 09:05   #10
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It's a good sign that he knew to look for paint marks and to point out that they are a bad sign.

Hopefully, no such marks on your brand-new timing belt.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 09:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Waldon View Post
It's a good sign that he knew to look for paint marks and to point out that they are a bad sign.
Hopefully, no such marks on your brand-new timing belt.
Hopefully. He did make a point with regard to the IP timing, with regard to the quote. They weren't sure if it needed to be done. Turns out it did need to be set apparently, and that added to the final bill. I kind of wish they had just left it now...
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Old March 21st, 2018, 16:06   #12
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With VCDS there is a built in injection time checker graph. With the engine warm you launch it. It is the graph from the Bentley. Most feel that mileage is best below the midline, performance better above the midline. Easy (sortof) to change timing: you loosen the 3 bolts on the injection pump pulley, and IIRC put a 22mm wrench on the nut, towards the front of the car advances, towards the rear of the car retards. From the top of the graph to the bottom is maybe 2 degrees of rotation.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 16:17   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kroy1247 View Post
I recently had a timing belt done on my 2003 Jetta Wagon (manual), by the dealer.
Not the best idea.

I'd take it to Rich:

Repairs at Richard's
1571 Keencheefoonee Road
Rutledge, Ga 30663
541-980-1466

and have the car set up correctly. Static timing is important on these cars, as is how the pump timing is set. A poorly set up car will show the symptoms you describe, and it's unlikely you'll get any satisfaction from the dealer.

Chalk the additional cost to fix it as a lesson learned.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 19:14   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kroy1247 View Post
They weren't sure if it needed to be done. Turns out it did need to be set apparently, and that added to the final bill. I kind of wish they had just left it now...
It will be affected by installing a new timing belt so:

- I don't know why this was optional and then "added to the final bill"... it's part and parcel of changing a timing belt
- it was not possible to "leave it alone" and do the belt, so at least you don't need to mourn what you never could have had.
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Old March 21st, 2018, 21:31   #15
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check your camshaft timing

injection timing out far enough to affect how the engine runs will set codes, you've got a few degrees window on mechanical IP timing before it runs out of advance piston travel in either direction, and even then it'll just clip off the upper or lower ends of the timing map, not where you'll notice an economy change.

you also may notice hard starting as the timing control isn't operational until there's case pressure, but cam timing will do that just as well
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