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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 September 30th, 2014, 14:27   #1
brandonkraemer
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Default Intercooler Cleaning

I've read lots of opinions on this topic and I'm about to look into this on my car.

Question #1: What to use as cleaner?

Soap/Water? Kerosene? Carburetor Cleaner Spray?

I've heard any are ok... but short of drilling a drain, what is the best way to get the liquid back out?


Question #2: Drill a drain or no?

I'm really hesitant to go poking holes in the boost system. Sounds sketchy. Better alternatives?


Question #3: Mod and add a catch for the oil?

What is the best way to do this or am I asking for issues by modifying the CCV system even in this slight way?
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Old September 30th, 2014, 14:58   #2
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Remove the lower hose fitting and have a look to see what/how much oil is in it first.
The only thing that should be in there is some oil, and unless you have been driving very conservatively for a LONG time and/or the turbo seals are about done, there shouldn't be much more than a few oz in it. Remove the IC and pour it out the bottom opening if there is an accumulation, or make a small drain plug if you want. I've never had a reason to put cleaning liquids of any type in the IC, nor have I ever emptied them.
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Old September 30th, 2014, 20:02   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jettawreck View Post
Remove the lower hose fitting and have a look to see what/how much oil is in it first.
The only thing that should be in there is some oil, and unless you have been driving very conservatively for a LONG time and/or the turbo seals are about done, there shouldn't be much more than a few oz in it. Remove the IC and pour it out the bottom opening if there is an accumulation, or make a small drain plug if you want. I've never had a reason to put cleaning liquids of any type in the IC, nor have I ever emptied them.
I like this advice and will follow it and see what i find. Its not invasive and reasonable.
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Old September 30th, 2014, 20:18   #4
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One more reason to stomp on it once in a while. My turbo seals do leak a considerable amount, about 3qt every 10,000 miles, but I don't bother cleaning the IC.
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Old September 30th, 2014, 20:20   #5
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Never use any type of combustible fluid to clean out ic. Any gets trapped and starting the engine afterwards can result in damage.its quite difficult to get it all out.

I found cleaning it out won't make the slightest bit of difference because 1 hour later it will be covered in oil again. As with guys above I've had a check to see what mine was like, two tablespoons of oil was all that was in there.pipe back on and feel better knowing your car is fine.

If you really, really want to clean it- use Laundry detergent powder and hot water. Cheapest degreaser that won't blow your engine up , just make sure all rinsed out and completely dry
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Old September 30th, 2014, 20:20   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmtman View Post
One more reason to stomp on it once in a while. My turbo seals do leak a considerable amount, about 3qt every 10,000 miles, but I don't bother cleaning the IC.
I stomp on it a fair amount... but I'd consider losing 3qt per 10k a WHOLE LOT of oil.
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Old September 30th, 2014, 20:22   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyboy View Post
Never use any type of combustible fluid to clean out ic. Any gets trapped and starting the engine afterwards can result in damage.its quite difficult to get it all out.

I found cleaning it out won't make the slightest bit of difference because 1 hour later it will be covered in oil again. As with guys above I've had a check to see what mine was like, two tablespoons of oil was all that was in there.pipe back on and feel better knowing your car is fine.

If you really, really want to clean it- use Laundry detergent powder and hot water. Cheapest degreaser that won't blow your engine up , just make sure all rinsed out and completely dry
So... with the lower hose off and being able to visibly see oil in there... would vacuum pumping it out be feasible or do i need to remove the bumper in order to un-mount the IC to drain it? This is on a 2003 mk4 jetta.
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Old October 1st, 2014, 04:41   #8
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What I do may not be an approach others could take. Generally, if I'm attending to the InterCooler, I'm changing oil, doing a TB job, fixing a stubborn fan, replacing a fan control module, etc. In other words, most likely doing a bunch of other things that will keep the car up on stands for a few hours.

So, first thing, I remove the IC lower hose and tie it back out of the way. Next, I either insert into the bottom of the IC a piece of twisted cotton cloth or a number of twisted paper towels long enough to hang out and down. Then, I set a pan under it or lay several layers of old newspaper on the floor. By the time I am finished with the other work, the vast majority of the oil in the IC has migrated out and into the pan or onto the newspapers..... works in a couple of hours ,,,, longer is better!

If I remove an IC, I use something like Awesome with Dawn dish washing liquid to breakup the oil.... let set for an hour or so..... then lots of water via a pressure washer! Of course, you need a place that all the flying bits of oil are not problematic! This procedure can be followed with a blast of brake cleaner ............... it will evaporate!
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Last edited by AndyBees; October 1st, 2014 at 04:43.
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Old October 1st, 2014, 20:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmtman View Post
One more reason to stomp on it once in a while. My turbo seals do leak a considerable amount, about 3qt every 10,000 miles, but I don't bother cleaning the IC.
Another qt and a half you might as well have changed the oil over the 10k. That thing most smoke like a mother trucker
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Old October 1st, 2014, 21:43   #10
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It doesn't smoke after it is warm. Just uses a good bit of oil. 222 Gallons of diesel to .75 gallons of oil in 10,000 miles might make it sound different
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Old June 3rd, 2020, 14:28   #11
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I have a 2006 TDI bug with a no start problem I took the hose off of the turbo down to the intercooler and it starts fine but blows oil out of the dipstick which never happened before apparently the intercooler is clogged with carbon or a dead animal I’m not sure which how do I clean that out to get airflow through the intercooler
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Old June 3rd, 2020, 16:27   #12
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/300ml-Bille...EAAOSwtp9eEvXC


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Side-Mount-...cAAOSwHZ1Zyp9E


First step, install a catch can. Then one of the above. Problem solved,
and you'll be amazed at the increase in air flow, or at least I was.
After close to 20 years on my original, I'm sure the interior was gunked to
hell and gone.


For a couple hours of work and mebbe $130 worth of materials with some
hose and clamps, and you're done. Keep the catch can empty and you'll
never have to worry about it again.


Your turbo will love you. And delete the EGR while you're at it, or at least
detune it as much as possible.
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