1990 1.6Td died while driving

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Hi folks, just waiting for a tow as i write this.

1990 Jetta, 334kms. Appears to be stock 1.6TD motor, just picked this car up yesterday and was driving it back home.

Car ran pretty well, would smoke white a little during tartup and make have under accel, power felt ok.

Yesterday eve the temp light was flashing but the temp gauge was ok so i kept driving. Died suddenly, turns over ok but doesnt sound the same, nothing clunky just seems like its missing compression? Good but of oil in the coolant reservoir.

Heater core is also bypassed...not sure what the story is here, maybe they were too lazy to change it.

Getting it towed to a diesel shop outside of Edmonton here but Id like to tell them as much as possible...what is the most likely culprit here?

Seller isnt getting back to me :)

Any help greatly appreciated.
 

Vince Waldon

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Location
Edmonton AB Canada
TDI
2001 ALH Jetta, 2003 ALH Wagon, 2005 BEW Wagon
Could be lots of things, but a flashing temp light generally means low coolant. If it happens suddenly it generally means a sudden leak like a ruptured hose.

Unfortunately, If the coolant level gets low enough quickly the temp gauge will be misleading because there's no coolant flowing past the sensor.... meanwhile the engine overheats and goes boom.

Fingers crossed for ya that it's something else, someone will have to look under the hood to diagnose further.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD

What are the chances the head is toast, from your experiences?

But this wouldn't explain the high temp issue, would it? ..is the water pump gone, hence normal temp gauge but flashing temp light?
Oil in reservoir is most likely oil cooler? Or head gasket for sure?

Ive asked the mechanic to slip a new belt and check compression but even if all that checks out there seems to.be another problem here..
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Could be lots of things, but a flashing temp light generally means low coolant. If it happens suddenly it generally means a sudden leak like a ruptured hose.

Unfortunately, If the coolant level gets low enough quickly the temp gauge will be misleading because there's no coolant flowing past the sensor.... meanwhile the engine overheats and goes boom.

Fingers crossed for ya that it's something else, someone will have to look under the hood to diagnose further.
Reservoir was low but i topped it up with distilled water and it didn't take much to top it off. I didnt see any leaks but also didnt look very hard. I suppose the mechanic will be more enlightening when i hear back Monday.
 

Vince Waldon

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Location
Edmonton AB Canada
TDI
2001 ALH Jetta, 2003 ALH Wagon, 2005 BEW Wagon
It's an interference engine, so some of the valves and lifters are toast and the head has to come off. Should you chose to repair, with the head off you can investigate the head gasket, head warping, and other reasons which may help you understand the coolant light flashing. Again hard to tell over the interwebs.

The bottom end will be ok (some dents in the pistons) and the head may be fine once the broken bits are replaced. One thing to check out is parts availability... 1.6 TD stuff is getting pretty rare.

The other question for your mechanic to investigate, of course, is why did the timing belt break? Age? Object in the timing belt path? Crank snout worn/loose sprocket bolt -> sprocket spun?

Ruling out a spun crank snout is probably pretty important, because good 1.6 TD cranks are becoming very rare. Easy to do, the mechanic removes the 19mm bolt from the crank, pulls the sprocket, and has a look-see.

I personally would not crank the engine over at this point, new timing belt-wise, for fear of further mashing up parts.
 
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torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
It's an interference engine, so some of the valves and lifters are toast and the head has to come off. Should you chose to repair, with the head off you can investigate the head gasket, head warping, and other reasons which may help you understand the coolant light flashing. Again hard to tell over the interwebs.
Thanks for the excellent info.

He's a diesel mechanic and told me he has seen broken timing belts where they ran fine with a new belt but maybe he meant different motors..is it POSSIBLE at the time of the break the cams were perfectly aligned to save the valves? Like is there a non-interference position in the cycle. Also if some of the cam lobes were not directly over the lifters (and other cam lobes were not starting to lift) that the spring pressure wouldve turned the cams to close the valves and get them out of the way?


Anyway, assuming head is toast:
I can do all this work myself, issue is the car is 3500kms from my garage. Do I look for a rebuilt head and get it shipped to him so he doesnt have to bounce around between machine shops, etc? Hes quoted me $2500CDN minimum for parts and labour including head work (replacing damaged items only) and decking it. Includes a replacement oil cooler and full timing kit.

What parts would i have trouble finding?

But yeah, all in all, holy cow.
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
Problem is that the valves likely hit pistons straight on - the engine could start and run fine with a new belt - only to drop a valve and trash the entire engine shortly after.

if you can find someone with a borescope small enough, remove an injector or two and inspect the tops of the pistons for impact.

Another way is to remove the valve cover and inspect the lifters for fine cracks in the surface that touches the cam.
 

Vince Waldon

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Location
Edmonton AB Canada
TDI
2001 ALH Jetta, 2003 ALH Wagon, 2005 BEW Wagon
There's no no-interference place for the cam to be that doesn't have valves pushed down, unfortunately, and they will be damaged if the engine's being turned over slowy by hand, never mind at speed.

Usually a minimum of two valves get pranged, and as Windex points out, although they may not break at the time the valve head mushrooms against the stem and can break apart at any time afterwords... at which point they can really make an expensive mess to the bottom end as well and/or the block, if enough pieces go flying around inside.

Many people with broken timing belt issues just find a replacement motor... but again, 1.6 TDs are getting pretty rare... and you might still want to tear a used one down anyways just to make sure everything is up to scratch. At the very least the crank snout needs a careful check, which means pulling the timing belt.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Alright, ill just tell him to pull the head. The oil/heat issues still have to be addressed even if the valves are magically ok. Ive looked into towing the car back myself, there are no economical options, might as well just get it done.

Will he know what a crank snout is? He drives an mk4 tdi.

Anyone know someone with a good used or fully rebuilt 1.6td head? 😀 sounds like 'yeah, right'

What's the labour involved in fully rebuilding the head? Also what if the cracks between valves are there...people still use them like thst right?

Ill get him to take some pics.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
The body's is surprisingly good shape. Passenger fender has some rust but its still solid. One spot around rear wheel well. Nothing around windshield, all the jack points and pinch welds are solid, i think i might want to keep it. Dash is cracked and tach doesn't work but im going to portugal this summer haha
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Here are the options for drop-in heads.

Hans
I know Mr. Hans has a rep for not exactly having the finest of things - would it be a OE head with off brand valves, lifters, precups, etc here?

Bought from here before, they seem good, but dont know enough;


Brand new aftermarket AMC brand head appears to be Spanish company:

I feel like shipping a complete drop-in head to the mechanic is the simplest option.
 
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Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
C'mon man - why'd you link that Hans/Prothe garbage? Even if it was the best head (doubt it), I wouldn't support that garbage human being by purchasing from him.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
C'mon man - why'd you link that Hans/Prothe garbage? Even if it was the best head (doubt it), I wouldn't support that garbage human being by purchasing from him.
Edited. Sorry I dont have much experience with him, just heard about his quality issues. Anything youd like to share?
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
He has a history of:

Padding his ebay auction #'s with BS low value product (postcards, shrink tubing, electrical connectors etc) which many suspect he just buys from himself with shill accounts.
selling substandard "critical" parts such as timing belts, which don't last long and tend to cause damage far greater than the value of the part (which he guarantees, but will not cover any damages caused by said parts.
causing many an uninitiated TDI owner to come to these forums seekign help when had they just bought from a reputable supplier, the damage could have been averted.


Eric Rothenbacher (Prothe, Hans auto parts, and a host of other pseudonyms he uses to avoid accountability) is a general all round garbage human being.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Thanks for the insight, think I'll steer clear.

So I need a head. Partsplace seems like the only viable option ATM, they have stock, although folks on Samba have them into question as well since that business was sold ~2009 and they have started to outsource.

Im going to call Giles tmrw since he's up the road from me, and I have Brother's VW in Ontario, Cali as well as Blackline in Utah to reach out to as well. Apparentyly Rimco is just a name now.

Just looking for reliable stock motor.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
In terms of getting the head rebuilt - does the shop expect the head without cam and lifters? Would the mechanic assess these? Do they usually go bad when pistons make contact with valves?
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
Most automotive machine shops are fine to do a head rebuild with the cam and lifters. Just discuss with them what they are able to do. If the valves hit, there is a very good chance that the lifters are junk, the cam will be suspect, and that the valves and guides get replaced.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Spoke to the go-to option in town, they would prefer not to get the cam and lifters. Do most mechanics have the tools to inspect and assess condition?

Question on head rebuilds in general - is it typical to re-use components that measure within spec? If so, how do you account for fatigue or heat cycle induced stress over time?
 

Mozambiquer

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Location
Versailles Missouri
TDI
1998 VW Jetta TDI. 1982 VW Rabbit pickup, 2001 VW Jetta TDI, 2005 VW Passat wagon TDI X3, 2001 VW golf TDI, 1980 VW rabbit pickup,
Edited. Sorry I dont have much experience with him, just heard about his quality issues. Anything youd like to share?
Before I knew any better I got some parts from him... My brother got a 1.6td head from him, and I had a couple of cars that had his heads on them when i got them... Notice I said *had* one was cracked, another was warped, and my current car I have that I got with a Hans head still sits not running yet... The quality is really bad. My brother's 1.6 TD one wore the lifters out in about 40k miles.
 

Mozambiquer

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Location
Versailles Missouri
TDI
1998 VW Jetta TDI. 1982 VW Rabbit pickup, 2001 VW Jetta TDI, 2005 VW Passat wagon TDI X3, 2001 VW golf TDI, 1980 VW rabbit pickup,
Anyone have experience w the AMC heads? Part no for 1V/ME/MF is 908133..its looking like the most likely option ATM.
AMC is hit and miss.. They're a decent option if you can't get anything different. Honestly, I'd get yours fixed. The oe head material was the best.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
AMC is hit and miss.. They're a decent option if you can't get anything different. Honestly, I'd get yours fixed. The oe head material was the best.
I would have to find a new cam and lifters though, correct? Im just worried that they'll pass 'inspection' and ill have issues. I just dont know the process of how folks assert these parts after timint belt failure. Ive spoken to the local machine shop over there and they seem confident but if they want the head w/o cam and lifters...so its upnto mechanic to replace anything that's been compromised...i just don't know what's involved as ive never been through this before.
 

Vince Waldon

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Location
Edmonton AB Canada
TDI
2001 ALH Jetta, 2003 ALH Wagon, 2005 BEW Wagon
If it's a concern you could have your shop price out all new OEM valves/lifters/cam. You may find it's on par with an entire new head but now you have OEM quality throughout.
 

torquefoot

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Location
Toronto
TDI
1990 Jetta 1.6TD
Anyone have links to turbo oil drain and supply kits? The supply i can probably have made up from braided but the drain is tougher. He had to cut both to get the turbo off.
 
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