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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 January 3rd, 2009, 21:09   #1
validius
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Default Dont forget to check your oil cooler seal!

In the past 3 months i have seen several failed oil cooler seals. The failure modes varied from a slow seepage to an instantaneous loss of 4 quarts in 8 miles. This is an extremely easy to service seal. It requires that you remove the oil filter and the oil cooler retaining nut. After that proceed to disconnect the oil cooler colant hoses as necessary to remove the cooler from the hollow shaft that it fits over. The seal can be found between the oil cooler and the flange on the block. The old seal should be carefully and completely removed. The new seal will fit neatly into the top of the oil cooler which can then be reinstalled.

Should you suffer a catastrophic failure of this seal oil will spray ALL over your engine bay. This means your coolant fans as well which will proceed to put an anti-corrosion coating on every surface in your engine bay.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 21:19   #2
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It should be noted that the A4 cars have this seal too, as do the old turbo IDIs. The one on my ECOdiesel had failed, the one on Matt98AHU's 98 TDI failed, the one on a friends 97 Passat failed, one on another friends 97 Jetta failed completely and he ignored the oil buzzer till the engine froze, just helped someone with a 95 Cabrio with the same failure... the thing pumped out a quart of oil in 90 seconds of running! Thankfully she didn't ignore the warning light...

On the ones I've replaced the old seal is very hard and often stuck to the oil cooler. On the Cabrio it was so stuck it required a lot of carefull prying to remove it (in several chunks!). The cooler itself required a light tap to break it free as well. New seals have little tabs that hold it in place while you install it.


Image from WorldImpex

If you are changing your water pump or have the coolant otherwise drained I would reccomend changing this very important seal, you end up loosing some coolant when you disconnect the lines going to the cooler to get it out. The part is ~$5, the number is 038 117 070 A. The nut holding the cooler in place is 27mm, a 1" socket works too.

If you look in the parts catalog you'll see this part has been used from 1981 to the present!




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Maybe I should pay MYSELF to do bad work on my car!

Last edited by compu_85; January 3rd, 2009 at 21:26.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 13:30   #3
catmandoo
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you do not have to remove the heater hoses on an a4 jetta.my seal started leaking all at once,the only reason i caught it was i backed out of the garage one day and forgot something inside and went back in the garage and saw a big puddle on the floor and as i looked back at the running jetta there was a big and getting bigger puddle.ran out shut it off and opened the hood.the oil was gussing out of the seal.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 15:58   #4
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I had Metalman do mine when he did TB in 07-just be careful when removing the coolant hoses you don't tweak the flange,especially if it's original.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 13:56   #5
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Hey guys, I think I will have to take a picture but I my cooler (I think) is leaking but there is an oil coating on the cooler starting from what looks like #3 on that diagram. If it is the #19 seal I would imagine you wouldn't have any oil residue above it?

Edit: What engine is that diagram from?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 18:11   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislamb
Hey guys, I think I will have to take a picture but I my cooler (I think) is leaking but there is an oil coating on the cooler starting from what looks like #3 on that diagram. If it is the #19 seal I would imagine you wouldn't have any oil residue above it?

Edit: What engine is that diagram from?
You'd be surprised at how oil travels with engine vibrations and airflow...
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Old January 15th, 2009, 18:25   #7
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Hi yes I was thinking the samething actually after posting. The good news is that I am not currently losing any oil after my 100km round trip to work. The oil looks the same as it did last night... having said that I am still going to order the two seals to be on the safe side. It doesn't look like a big deal to replace them. I have now read both 33mm and 27mm socket to remove the bottom retaining nut.. which is it?
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Old January 16th, 2009, 10:05   #8
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Another way to do this is to remove the hollow stud and leave the coolant hoses connected. With the stud out you can move the cooler enough to remove the seal, clean the cooler and re install.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 10:36   #9
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Hi guys, so I have cleaned the oil cooler and just for some info it appears my retaining nut is a 32mm (2000 New Beetle). Now, since cleaning the oil cooler I have ran the car in the driveway for about 5 minutes with not a sign of any leakage. I am going to do a drive and get some 'gas' and see if any leaking starts up. IF I don't have a leak after this drive what would you suggest? I went out and purchased the seals but I don't really want to rip it apart if its not leaking. I did read that there is a pressure relief valve in that area for the oil system.. is there any chance this may have releived some pressure during some spirited driving? I have never had any oil warning lights of any kind just for informations sake.

In terms of oil lost it has not been much... a very light coating on the skidplate (now cleaned for later inspection purposes), and some light coating on the entire oil cooler itself some of which seemed quite old when I was cleaning it. There was what appeared to be fresher oil on the drivers side of the oil cooler. Suggestions?

(as an aside I think the hollow stud and retaining nut housing are all one peice on my car.. it appears that way in the diagram but I suppose I will find out for sure if I have a leak and take it apart.)
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Old January 16th, 2009, 13:48   #10
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By getting "gas" I assume you're going out for some fast-food?

Have the engine up to temp and see if you have any leaks. I wouldn't do anything until I found the leak. That's just me. Still trouble-shooting a darn blinking oil-pressure light a month after it started.....
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Old January 16th, 2009, 14:33   #11
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well I have cleaned it and test drove it with no leak in sight. About 20 km total and some hard accelerations at the end... nothing to show for it. I am of course happy not to have to fix it in the cold but wondering where the oil came from. Oh well I will keep my eye on it At least I have the parts to fix it should something happen.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 06:37   #12
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Thanks for posting this validius. I was living with the slow leak on mine until I read your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spulen81
Another way to do this is to remove the hollow stud and leave the coolant hoses connected. With the stud out you can move the cooler enough to remove the seal, clean the cooler and re install.
I also left the coolant lines connected as Spulen suggested. A few tips for anyone doing this on a 1Z/AHU engine. A 27mm or 1 1/16 socket with a universal joint makes removal and retightening of the nut fast and easy. I've read in older posts where some people have grabbed the end of the threaded shaft (#16) with vice grips and were able to loosen it from below. Mine was way too tight to do this without damaging the threads. So, after I removed the nut, I tapped the cooler loose and was able to drop it down about one inch from the housing. I was then able to grab the shaft with 7" channel locks through the gap between the cooler and housing and remove the shaft without damaging threads. A dental pick is very handy for removing the old seal. Should only take about a half hour to change if you have all tools on hand - it took me longer because I went and bought a universal joint after struggling to loosen the nut.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 11:00   #13
Donny O.
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I jsut had to do this yesterday on my wifes Gas NB. I figured who knows when her coolant had been changed last anyway so pulled the lines and removed it and jsut replaced the coolant(yes with the correct stuff). I wish I had seen this before hand it would have taken me less time and I would have anticipated this when i went looking for an oil leak. luckily I have a neighbor with a heated garage!!!
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Old January 30th, 2009, 23:30   #14
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clean all around the flange and the oil cooler before you start. This way it will be easy to tell if you have a new leak. also check the sensors in the flange for weeping.

If it is still leaking after you replaced the seal i would take everything apart again. clamp off the coolant lines and install the seal on the bench. make sure the sealing surface is clean on both the cooler and flange side. be absolutely certain no parts of the oil seal are still attached.

remember to purchase the seal with the locating tabs. the tabs assist in holding the seal during the reinstall.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 06:17   #15
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Is anyone putting any RTV between the oil cooler and flange? I read somewhere, I think in the Bentley, to put a small amount of RTV on there.
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