This is the official thread for discussion of the fuel pump failure issue that is affecting a small number of 2009 and 2010 4 cylinder VW TDI engines.
This post should still be considered a "beta" version as of right now and will likely be a living document as more information becomes available on the subject.
This document could not have been possible without the help and contributions of the entire community. A big thanks to user gpshumway for putting together an initial version of this thread and compiling the information into one spot and served as a great aide when making this version. Also a big thank you to all involved in the information discoveries that have been made on this topic.
If you have questions or comments on this post or something you would like to see in here, please PM me directly. The thread will remain locked for the time being to keep it clean and easy to read.
What's all this talk about an HPFP and what does it mean to me?
In the context of this forum, the HPFP refers to the high pressure fuel pump that feeds the common rail in the most current VW TDI engine. It's best to gain an understanding of how the fuel delivery system in the VW Common rail engine works:
Fuel is drawn from the tank via an in-tank lift pump. The lift pump pushes fuel to the fuel filter element where fuel is pushed through the replaceable filter element. Filtered fuel is then sent to an electric intermediate pump, which increases the pressure of the fuel being delivered to the high pressure fuel pump (HPFP). The HPFP is operated by the timing belt and pressurizes fuel being delivered to the common fuel rail which makes high pressure fuel available to all injectors at all times. Pressuers in the accumulator (fuel rail) can reach over 1800 bar / 26,000 PSI.
Does anyone have a good diagram of the VW CR TDI fuel system? If so, please send a PM.
A small number of users have reported that their cars have stopped running without warning. After a tow into the dealership, they are told that the entire fuel system is full of metal flakes and all fuel delivery components must be replaced. Some users are also reporting that they have been told that there is rust in the fuel system, most specifically in the fuel filter canister. In all reported cases it's been confirmed that the high pressure fuel pump has destroyed itself and sent this metal throughout the fuel system
Wow, that sounds bad. That doesn't sound like it's inexpensive to fix..
Unfortunately, the cost of this repair is anywhere between $6,900 and about $10,000 once parts and labor are figured in. Normally the fuel tank is dropped and cleaned (or replaced), the lift pump, fuel filtering system, intermediate pump, high pressure pump, fuel rail, injector plumbing, and injectors along with various other parts are replaced.
Ok, that does sound terrible. It's OK though because VW's got my back, right?
This depends. From user experience posted on this forum it seems that this situation is highly dependent on what dealer you go to. When this issue was first brought to light, the owner was told that there was diesel contaminated with gasoline in his tank which was the cause of the failure and the dealer was trying to put the owner on the hook for this repair. After some arguing and dealing with VW's warranty chain of command, he was able to successfully lobby to get vW to cover this repair.
Since the first report of this issue, other users have experienced similar situations. Some dealers are immediately blaming contaminated fuel, others are covering the damage with few or no questions asked. As of this writing (Late June, 2010) the trend is that more dealers are warranting this situation without hassle. Some still put up a fight, and some still refuse at all to believe there was no driver negligence and flat out refuse to warrant this type of failure. As dealers see this issue multiple times, it would seem that they are becoming more accepting of the fact that the fuel system can fail on its own without outside influence.
How is this caused and what can I do to prevent it?
As of right now, there's no known cause of failure. One member reported a failure of the high pressure fuel pump at 3,100 miles, and another user has reported a failure after 50,000 miles. A few causes have been speculated upon and include:
- Water contaminated diesel.
- Gasoline contaminated diesel.
- Varying quality and lubricity of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel in North America.
- Poor pump design - including mechanical design and metallurgy.
A bad batch of fuel pumps.
Member and "Trusted TDI Guru" Oilhammer has gotten his hands on and has posted pictures of a high pressure fuel pump that has suffered failure. The thread containing this discusion is linked below and should be considered the official "Why are these pumps failing" thread, as it contains the most information on the topic:
CR Engine HPFP Analysis
Other threads of interest on cause:
User Bluegrass offers his opinion on why pumps are failing after inspecting a failed pump that was to be discarded after replacement.
2009 2010 CR HPFP Adversely Affected by Lubricity > 460?
Discussion on whether currently available ULSD in America can be leading to premature wear of high pressure fuel pump internals.
HPFP Failure info from Germany
One user who was in Germany states that there was a known bad batch of fuel pumps and that VW maintains a database of VINs of cars with the faulty pump.
Without a good idea of what's causing the issue, there's nothing solid that can be said on prevention. Some of the failure theories don't offer much in the way of prevention, however the theory of low fuel lubricity offers an opportunity to add some type of lubricity increasing additive to your tank. Popular additives are Stanadyne (Available at your VW Parts counter) and Power Service diesel fuel additive (White bottle). Others add a small amount of pure Biodiesel to their tank on each fillup - properly engineered Biodiesel has superior lubricating qualities than its petrodiesel counterpart. VW authorizes the use of Biodiesel in concentrations up to 5% in ALL TDI engines for North America (Rotary injection, PD, and Common Rail).
VW's official position on fuel additives is that they do not endorse the use of additives in the Common Rail TDI, so the use of these additives may have an impact on warranty coverage. Some believe that any way to lower the risk of high pressure fuel pump failure is worth the risk in a warranty situation. Please refer to your owner's manual, your dealer, and VW for official information on the use of additives and Bio fuels.
Use good judgment when choosing a fueling station - buy from stations that tend to have high volume. Keep your fuel receipts in the case that you do have a fuel pump failure that is blamed on fuel contamination, you have proof that you bought Diesel and where you bought it from.
In most cases there was little to no warning signs of a fuel pump failure. The glow plug lamp and the MIL (Check Engine Light) on the dash will light and blink, and the car will run badly or shut down. Engine restart may or may not be possible.
Finding a small amount of small bits of metal in your fuel filter is not a reason for concern, many people have found small amounts of metal and are dieseling on thousands of miles later.
After reading all this, I think I'm going to take a look elsewhere. This TDI thing might not be for me
The common rail TDI engine by VW/Audi is a new design. With new designs and technologies comes growing pains. Keep in mind that Internet forums are full of people reporting issues, however hardly anyone logs on to report that their machine is running well and operating as designed - it's just what we expect so no need for fanfare. As of this writing there have been fewer than 25 first hand accounts of reports. This forum does not claim to have knowledge and first hand accounts of all or even a majority of failures, we do have a fairly large community and these numbers should be representative of the issue, if not a little higher than real-world percentages. The Internet has revolutionized information sharing, and one of the first things we as a society do now is "Google" our troubles. Many reports of failure are by newly registered users who have registered solely for the purpose of reporting their failure. There's nothing wrong with this, however it does lead to the appearance in the forums that failure is rampant and is almost a certainty unless we keep the issue in perspective.
Only you can judge your risk tolerance, so follow your instinct and decide from there. There are users who have been soured by their own experience and the experiences of others and have went so far as to sell their TDIs, and there are other users dieseling on in the '09 and '10 TDIs and loving every mile (or kilometer if you prefer..)
Here are a few threads discussing the issue:
Bye Bye Jetta
One user's story on selling his car due to the fear of an eventual fuel ump failure.
Potential owner - HPFP am I overreacting?
A question by a potential buyer turns into a discussion on the real-world severity of the issue.
Potential Buyer - sitting on the sidelines now
More discussion on how large or small of an issue this might be.
TDIClub Offical Failure List:
TDIClub list of HPFP Falures: Official HPFP Failure Thread
NHTSA Investigation on this issue:
The NHTSA has opened up an active investigation on this issue. The NHTSA issue number for the investigation is: PE10034. A quick Google search of "PE10034" will bring you to the investigation page.
If you PERSONALLY have experienced a fuel pump failure:
We encourage you to post in the Official HPFP Failure Thread
The following information is provided for reference only.
You can contact Volkswagen of America Customer Service at - 800.822.8987
If you feel that this issue has caused a safety hazard, you can report your issue to the NHTSA at: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/
Rules for new posts on the topic of high pressure fuel pump failure
If you have unfortunately encountered a failure of your high pressure fuel pump, please post and give as much information as you feel comfortable with about your specific situation. Please keep posts in that particular thread related to that specific incident. Moderators will try and keep these threads on topic and free of tangents.
This issue has been discussed more than any other since the beginning of 2010. Any information you are looking for is probably out there, please use the excellent search function offered by this forum.
If after searching you can't find your answer, please post and ask questions.
Threads asking questions that have already been answered will be closed.
Threads that are started to incite or inflame will be closed, locked, and moved without warning. (This is a basic forum rule..)