60+ days in the shop, still no diagnosis

snakeye

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
Montreal, Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta and Wagon, GLS 5sp
My bet is new lift pump fixed the problem, but in the process the mechanic damaged the fuel lines. Btw that part was $10 on clearance a few years back, ffs.

If you don't SEE a fuel leak coming from the pump, as in, it's not dripping onto the ground, I doubt it's taking air in. It physically can't without leaking and even a small leak and a few drops of diesel usually aren't enough to prevent the car from starting.

I think the pump is sucking air from somewhere. This is easy to see by priming the pump and fuel lines and then keeping an eye on the clear fuel line. If bubbles start forming, usually it's the fuel sender or the valve on the filter.

First thing I'd do is to go see my car, pull the rear passenger side seat up, unscrew those 3 large phillips screws under the carpet flap, take a picture of what you see down there and post it here. Takes 2 minutes max, and you'll get a good idea of what's going on down there.
 

snakeye

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
Montreal, Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta and Wagon, GLS 5sp
As of this morning, he says the air leak seems to be coming from the tank so he's taking it out and looking for hairline cracks. He also ordered a new sending unit to test and see if that is causing problems.
I'm confident he won't find ****, and also, throwing parts at the car without actually being able to diagnose and specify the problem is a sign of incompetence. I would take the car back asap and do the work myself with the help of experienced tdi owners here. Everything besides the pump can be easily changed with a few tools, which if you don't have, will cost you less than the mechanic not fixing your car.
 

Keystoner16

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Location
Eugene, OR
TDI
2011 Golf TDI 2.0 CR, 2004 Golf TDI 1.9 PD
It's been noted that cracks in the fuel tank would not result in air in the fuel lines.

However, even if one was wanting to check the tank for cracks a smoke test would be far more efficient than removing the tank.
 

snakeye

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
Montreal, Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta and Wagon, GLS 5sp
It's been noted that cracks in the fuel tank would not result in air in the fuel lines.

However, even if one was wanting to check the tank for cracks a smoke test would be far more efficient than removing the tank.
The fuel sender is in the tank, which is probably what the mechanic is looking at. Let's not assume he's looking for a hairline crack in the tank itself, that'd be completely absurd lol.
 

Keystoner16

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Location
Eugene, OR
TDI
2011 Golf TDI 2.0 CR, 2004 Golf TDI 1.9 PD
"he says the air leak seems to be coming from the tank so he's taking it out and looking for hairline cracks"...
Is exactly what was stated by the OP, not sending unit, not lift pump. TANK.
I thought the whole reason this thread even exists was due to the absurdity of the technicians the OP is dealing with.
My bad.
 

snakeye

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
Montreal, Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta and Wagon, GLS 5sp
"he says the air leak seems to be coming from the tank so he's taking it out and looking for hairline cracks"...
Is exactly what was stated by the OP, not sending unit, not lift pump. TANK.
I thought the whole reason this thread even exists was due to the absurdity of the technicians the OP is dealing with.
My bad.
You're right. I think I'm in denial; I don't want to believe such a stupid or malicious person is actually working on the OP's car.
 

gearheadgrrrl

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2002
Location
Buffalo Ridge (southwest Minnesota)
TDI
'15 Golf DSG, '13 JSW DSG surrendered to VW, '03 Golf 2 door manual
IIRC the first two people to work on this car were "mobile mechanics". There are no doubt exceptions, but with the opportunities available for auto techs today, I suspect "mobile mechanic" is a term for someone with a drug problem whose mechanical skills barely extend beyond changing tires and batteries... And better check for loose lug bolts and connections afterward!
 

Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
Just recently ran through some similar problems.

Loss of prime after shutting down, no start condition
Air in clear fuel line going into pump
General wetness look going on around the lift pump

I added the Mr. Gasket 12d inline pump just upstream of the fuel filter and it reversed what were vacuum leaks, into leak leaks.



Turned out to be my injection pump head O-ring which I just changed this morning. No leaks all good.

Description of the video details everything I tried before the head oring.

Side note: Having the little pump in there made priming everything back up pretty easy
 

turbodieseldyke

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Location
Free Mustache Rides
TDI
98 jetta
IIRC the first two people to work on this car were "mobile mechanics". There are no doubt exceptions, but with the opportunities available for auto techs today, I suspect "mobile mechanic" is a term for someone with a drug problem whose mechanical skills barely extend beyond changing tires and batteries... And better check for loose lug bolts and connections afterward!
lol my dad had some light body damage on his car parked on the street, and one day a mobile repairguy with a bad stutter stopped by and said he could repair it. So he agrees, leaves the cash with the wife & kids. Guy does the "repair", wife looks at it from across the street, ok looks repaired, and pays him.

Dad gets home, looks it over, and is unimpressed with the piss-poor bondo work done. So he calls the guy every day demanding he come back and fix it, and every day it's "Oh-hhh -uhh-uhh ah-ah-ah-ah'm sss--s--orry i'll ccc-c-cc-ome over fffrrst chanccccce", every day.

Finally after 2 weeks, guy answers the phone "Huhuhhhelooo?" (this is before caller ID), dad says "Yeah its me again", and like magic, the speech impediment vanished and he says "Look bub, it ain't gonna happen. Just give it up" and hangs up. Dad still has that jerk's business card taped to the wall next to the phone, as a reminder. 30 years later.
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
IIRC the first two people to work on this car were "mobile mechanics". There are no doubt exceptions, but with the opportunities available for auto techs today, I suspect "mobile mechanic" is a term for someone with a drug problem whose mechanical skills barely extend beyond changing tires and batteries... And better check for loose lug bolts and connections afterward!

Nailed it. I laughed at this when I read it. Though I think there are several of us on here that would fly/drive out and help this poor lady if circumstances allowed. Making us “mobile mechanics”.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
It really is frustrating to read stuff like this, when you KNOW it is something simple. It has to be, as the ALH is simple. It is easily, by far, the simplest engine management system working one of the simplest engines of its era. Always amazes me how so many people struggle with these.

I had a guy with a BRM car call us up a few months ago, some place in Indiana right across the Illinois border. His car had been to three shops, they'd replaced "all kinds of parts", and it still ran like crap. One of those "parts" was the turbocharger. I told him if he could get it to me, I would take a look.

He loaded on a trailer and brought it here finally a couple weeks ago. Before he got it off the trailer, I told him I wanted to quick look at it. I got in the car, started the engine, shut it right back off. Cam and lifters bad, holed a lifter. He was standing there dumbfounded. I told him to give me five minutes... I took the valve cover off and sprayed some brake clean in there to clean the oil away and shined a flashlight down on the cam and lifters, which were clearly wiped out. The guy had already spent nearly $3k on this car trying to fix it.... and nobody had even thought to look under the valve cover.

Now I didn't do anything special, and anyone who knows these cars knows what they should sound and run like, and know where to look for things that are not right. And that is why, to the OP, you really just need to get the car to someone who actually knows the car. I realize that good techs are leaving California like roaches from under a refrigerator in a crummy apartment, but certainly SOMEONE in a state of ~40 million people knows how to diagnose and fix a lowly ALH Jetta. Not everyone there is a rich billionaire or homeless pooping-on-the-street squatter. Has to be something in between.
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
lol the tank is vented……its always gonna have air🤣🤣
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
For the purist at heart, the tank can't pump air into the fuel system, it is just a container. Just like a glass of water, it's either going to contain water or air.
I know…..just couldn’t resist….😉
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
It really is frustrating to read stuff like this, when you KNOW it is something simple. It has to be, as the ALH is simple. ...................snip..............And that is why, to the OP, you really just need to get the car to someone who actually knows the car. ...............snip
That's about all there is to this thread. You have our deepest sympathy, but we are at our limits to help interweb wise. Maybe try some local VW enthusiasts group for leads on a decent mechanic.
 

cowgirl007

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Location
Santa Ana, CA
TDI
2003 Jetta GL 143k miles Original Owner
I finally got the car back. Apparently the air in the fuel system was coming from the new sending unit that had been replaced by the dodgy mechanic.
 

cowgirl007

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Location
Santa Ana, CA
TDI
2003 Jetta GL 143k miles Original Owner
It definitely needed the injection pump reseal. The dealership diagnosed that and quoted me $6,500 to rebuild it. It was shooting fuel out of the injection pump. They fixed that first but it was still getting air in the lines and losing prime. It took the most recent mechanic from December 13 to today to get it fixed.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Alls well that ends well? They did put you thru the wringer. Keep your eyes peeled for a good mechanic for next time. Be aware of Misogyny, even in the 21st century there are still a lot of cave people out there.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Stafford Virginia 22556
TDI
96 glx variant tdi
Unbelievable, but if you'll excuse me I'm going outside while I laugh at this start to finish mess. Assuming the pump did need to be resealed, then from there to the tank was just a step by step diagnostic, check and see type thing. No matter who says what, this was not a complicated repair.
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
Wow......just wow.......
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
It definitely needed the injection pump reseal. The dealership diagnosed that and quoted me $6,500 to rebuild it. It was shooting fuel out of the injection pump. They fixed that first but it was still getting air in the lines and losing prime. It took the most recent mechanic from December 13 to today to get it fixed.
Glad it's sorted. The shop coulda read my thread and had it done much sooner :)
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
I doubt the opportunists are giving male customers better treatment.

True that, a customer comes in to get his car fixed and he just left his office where his degree in nuclear physics is hanging on the wall, but he cant tell the difference between a hex head bolt and a piston. He is at the mercy of whoever is fixing his car and male or female it doesn’t matter.
 

Keystoner16

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Location
Eugene, OR
TDI
2011 Golf TDI 2.0 CR, 2004 Golf TDI 1.9 PD
Taking your car in for an oil change is a good way to "audition" a shop to see how good they are at things like basic customer service, communication, hitting delivery times, quality of workmanship, etc. before your car is broken and you're at their mercy.
Just my .02. as you search for a decent mechanic.
 

terrydtdi

Veteran Member
Joined
May 16, 2006
Location
Charleston S.C.
TDI
2000 MK4 TDI Jetta 5spd
The pump got resealed. It is no longer shooting out fuel from the back but it is still sucking air from somewhere.
Do you know if they resealed the pump head, or just the seal on the injection quantity housing? If they never replaced the pump head seal then it will never start if that seal is bad.
 
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