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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old July 14th, 2006, 15:30   #1
ken.fresno-tdi
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Unhappy repairing Passat B4 crack in block

Well, I've got a real problem. I bought a 97 Passat TDI with only 58,000 miles sight unseen from an auto auction a few months ago. I soon found the 5 speed transmission to have serious problems, so I found a new (used) one to replace it. I thought I was in the clear. When I was replacing the tranny, I got way under the car and found 'The Crack.' There is a crack in the block where the engine and tranny meet on the very bottom of the engine. The previous owner tried to 'fix' it with some JB weld. Perhaps it held up for a while, but I am not planning to continue with that 'fix'. So I am now in a quandry. I have a good car with otherwise very low miles, but with a bad block. I really don't have 2 or 3k for a new block, plus the rebuild time. I am wondering about the option of welding the crack. I know it is not ideal, but I am wondering if it is even an option. If I remove the pan, is it possible to weld something like this? The block is intact - i.e., the crack does not leak oil or water. The crack is on the corner of the flange where the bolt that connects the engine to the transmission is located. I posted a picture at:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ken_fr...4BsLFBF0MzNtoY

What to do? Can anyone lift my spirits, or am I destined to have a failed B4 in my garage for months to come?
Ken
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Old July 14th, 2006, 16:06   #2
tditom
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It appears to be a crack on the outside and doesn't go into the crankcase. Why can't this be properly welded?
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Old July 14th, 2006, 16:15   #3
ken.fresno-tdi
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Good question - My friend called a bit ago after having talked to several shops (and shown the block to them). They've said it can't be welded without taking the head off and the pistons out. I don't know enough about the temperature effects of welding a Pasat block to know why this would be necessary, but my friend took it to two or three shops and they all said the same thing. I don't know if it is the type of welding that is the problem, or the block itself...
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Old July 14th, 2006, 16:25   #4
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The proper method for welding cast iron involves preheating the area of the weld. Ideally the block would be brought up to temperature (glowing red, IIRC) and kept at that temp while it is being welded, then allowed to slowly cool.

Not cheap, quick, or easy.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 21:01   #5
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Default Lock And Stitch

What about a lock and stitch?

There was a problem on some of the Brazilian Cummins ISB blocks that cracked in the water jacket on the side of the block (IE: 53 block).

The crack can be repaired by drilling small holes all along the crack, then inserting small screws to repair the area. Very strong and very effective.

In your case a small drill hole at the top and bottom of the crack may buy you some time until you figure it out.

Here is a link to the Cummins ("Old") problem and the fix:

http://www.stamey.nu/Truck/Cummins53BlockFAQ.htm

There are quite a few pictures so be patient.

If you need more info. give me a shout and I will send you what I can find. A good internet search will probably yield some info. on this too.

AJ
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Old July 15th, 2006, 12:15   #6
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The lock and stitch method is only good for plugging a leak, it does not add structure.

This crack is a structural problem. I'm getting the impression that the transmission alignment is changing due to this crack.

Drilling a hole at each eld of the crack will help keep it from spreading.

The only other option I can think of is to install a bracket to reinforce that tab.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 13:08   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetMore
The lock and stitch method is only good for plugging a leak, it does not add structure.

This crack is a structural problem. I'm getting the impression that the transmission alignment is changing due to this crack.

Drilling a hole at each eld of the crack will help keep it from spreading.

The only other option I can think of is to install a bracket to reinforce that tab.
I have no experience with the product but take a careful look at the catalog @ http://www.locknstitch.com/FT%20pdf%...Cat%202007.pdf

They have a lot of products and literature that state pretty clearly that this type of repair is well within the intended application range for this product.

Looks like a great product to have in your bag o tricks....I definately bookmarked the page....
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Old July 16th, 2006, 09:31   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetMore
The lock and stitch method is only good for plugging a leak, it does not add structure.

This crack is a structural problem. I'm getting the impression that the transmission alignment is changing due to this crack.
The reason I posted this is specifically for a "Structural" problem. The "Locks" actually Pull the crack together and and strengthen the area in and around the crack.

This method is not just used for "plugging leaks". Although it could be used in that application.

The only down side would be if you are trying to do a repair in an area where it is very round. Or in an area that is hard to access. If the component would have to be removed to do the repair..... It would probably be more cost effective to replace the affected part where applicable.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 17:29   #9
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I havent putzed much with lock n stitch so I wont offer any wise words of wisdom. However... check these repairs out and make the call yourself.
http://www.locknstitch.com/RepairExamples.htm
Ask your local machine shop who does cast metal repairs. Welding that crack as others have said requires way too much labor, heat, and $$.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 19:18   #10
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There is no right way. Take your pix to welding shop..

It is a no win situation, If you bolt up tranny and clean off the JB, then have shop beef up area slowly. Arc welding in short spurts will not warp area. The block is a huge mass.

Again you have a no win situation, and three shops don't want to touch it.

Sorry to hear all this, how could this break other than a crash?
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Old July 16th, 2006, 21:09   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redtdi966
If you bolt up tranny and clean off the JB, then have shop beef up area slowly. Arc welding in short spurts will not warp area. The block is a huge mass.
I agree, this is definitely worth a shot.

I used arc welding to repair a very similar 'tab' on the cast iron handle of a hand-operated water pump - must have been at least 8 years ago now, and when I used the pump tonight the weld looked as good as the day I did it. The repaired part takes a lot of stress since the weld is 1/2" from the bolt hole that holds the pump rod, which in turn lifts water 30'. This is a public water pump, and is used a lot because it's the best drinking water for miles around.

The tab was broken off completely before I repaired it. I have very little welding experience, and had never welded cast iron before. I went to a supply store, showed them the problem, they told me it really should be done while red hot, but sold me some rods to try, said these should work if you use multiple passes and build it up slowly.

If it was my car, I reckon I could do the same thing I did on the pump. You just need to find a welder willing to take a shot at it.

Simon
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Old July 17th, 2006, 08:19   #12
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I take back my statement. I thought it was just another name for the plugs.

The plugs just seal cracks, but the locks add structure..
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Old July 17th, 2006, 08:57   #13
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Find a welder with a good reputation. Welding castings takes a lot of experience. I'd steer more toward a mobile welder with a truck that can come to you since they often are called to constructions sites to do repairs on large equipment that use a whole lot of castings. Ask around your blue-collared neighbors.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 17:21   #14
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have welded a block more than once--set a known straight piece of angle along the bellhousing area--after you take that piece loose--and vee the snot out of it----then clamp that angle across the bell area--and clamp to the broken piece--then have the welder you hire--to weld it with NICKEL rod--not stainless--or use a GOOD cast rod--those blocks are hard!!!!!!! if he welds it slow--and only a bit at a time--then peens the weld quickly before it cools--you wont break that piece off again----been there--want to bring it up here in iowa???? just make sure the piece is in the right place so the dowel pin lines back up!!!!!since the other trans is junk???????? could cut the front half of it off--and use it as a clamp piece--then youd know the alignment was right--------also--it doesnt need preheat this way---and---jbweld--for that stress spot--some people are real winners---
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Old July 18th, 2006, 07:26   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassyrel
jbweld--for that stress spot--some people are real winners---
I have a hard enough time trusting epoxies for port-fills in my two-strokes (which are unstressed points). They're strong, but not that strong.

Good advice on the rod choice--and don't forget to "V" it good & properly. Make it ugly before you make it beautiful.
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