And Now for a Totally Different Idea! : )

cage

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 25, 1999
Location
lakewood, ohio
Well, these stories tell it all. We own these cars not only for the practical reasons but also because of the emotional attachment. I was reading a Popular Science magazine back in '97 and saw a little blurb about what VW was planning for the next 5 years. They had a picture of the New Beetle and said that it was expected in '98. Well, I flipped out! I read on,,, "available engines, 2.0, 1.9 turbo diesel." I just stared and stared at the thing for days. I then fanticized driving the car and feeling happy. Then I started thinking of the clatter of a diesel under the hood. (I always admired the uniqueness of german diesels in the US) I then cut the picture out of the magazine and mounted it on my refrigerator. That was my goal. Regardless of price I was going to own a New Beetle. As I told people about my "next new car" I mentioned wanting a diesel. The reply was always "WHY A DIESEL? YUCK!" After comming within a 1 zillionth of an inch of giving up on the diesel idea, I decided to go to the VW dealership and test drive a TDI. I drove a Jetta. Yeah it was louder than a gas engine but it was not loud. I felt that it had perfectly fine power. While I didn't floor it, I could easily tell that I had driven gas cars with less power. At that point I wanted the TDI again. A few months later I heard that dealerships were taking orders for Beetles. I went to the dealer and put $2,000 down on my Beetle. While talking to the salesman, I said that I wanted the TDI. He said that might delay my order because they didn't know if the TDI would be out with the initial production. I agreed to take a 2.0 and signed the papers. I went home grabbed the picture off of the fridge and flopped around on the floor all excited about my New Beetle. Well, the next day, and the next day, and the next day I kept thinking about the TDI engine making the Beetle complete as my "perfect car." I finally came to my senses and called the dealership requesting a TDI. It turns out that my wanting the TDI got me in the Beetle months earlier as everyone was waiting for gas engines. This car has been everything I could have hoped for. It makes me happy, I love driving it, and it is fun! 5.5 year later it is still like new and I plan on keeping it many more years. TDI's and VW's rule!
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
[ QUOTE ]
cage said:
I finally came to my senses and called the dealership requesting a TDI. It turns out that my wanting the TDI got me in the Beetle months earlier....

[/ QUOTE ]

thank goodness you snapped out of the 2.0 stupor...that sounds lile a close call. /images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

McBrew

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Location
Annapolis, MD
TDI
2003 Golf GLS TDI, 5 speed, Silver/Grey
The only NEW cars that my parents owned were diesel VWs -- four of them. A diesel rabbit, two jettas (A1 and A2), and a Quantum. Ever since, my family has been pro-diesel. My father moved on to diesel Mercedes. When I was 16, I bought a beautiful silver 240D. I owned two more W123 chassis diesel Mercedes in the next 11 years.

A friend of mine bought a TDI Jetta (A3), and let me take it for a spin. I was hooked! Unfortunately, I was broke, too /images/graemlins/crazy.gif.

Well, a few years later (and business doing rather well) I ger a call from my brother. He's at the local VW dealership looking at a new TDI. He's gotten them to knock off a few bucks on the one he wants, a mojave beige 2003 Golf GLS TDI that's sitting on the lot. "You want to come down and see what kind of deal they'll make on two?" he asks. 15 minutes later I'm at the dealership /images/graemlins/cool.gif. I knew I wanted a Golf GLS with Monsoon. No black, no white. Well, they didn't have it /images/graemlins/frown.gif. After a bit of searching, they found one in Delaware that matched. They could have it in a couple of days. WOOHOO!!!

So, my brother picked his car up the next day (it had just arrived the day before and wasn't prepped). About 5 days later mine arrived, but without heated seats /images/graemlins/frown.gif. We searched some more, but the combo I wanted just wasn't available at the time. I was told that it would be two months. And I think we all know what two months means in a VW dealership -- 6 to 8 months! So, they knocked off a few more bucks and I drove it home that day.

Now it's been 15 months and 32k miles. I've gotten between 44 and 54 MPG, averaging 46.5 MPG. My 300D would take me 500 miles on a 20 gallon fill-up. The Golf takes me 750 or more on a 16 gallon fill-up. It's quieter, more spirited, and handles much better. I love having airbags and ABS, too. These cars may be a bit quirky, but riding in my cousin's Honda the other day reminded my of why I love driving the TDI so much!
 

Keli_OR

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2003
Location
West Linn, Oregon
TDI
'15 black Sportwagen SE, '01 silver Jetta GLS, '00 green Beetle
My story-

My first two cars were bugs. A '66 and then a '67. Drove them into the ground. I was too young and too poor to take care of them properly.
I then went on to a series of crappy cars. But in the back of my mind was the quirky joy of my first two cars. Especially the second one which had an exhaust leak into the cabin of the car. I once drove 700 miles round trip in the winter in that car with the heat on full blast and the driver's side window rolled all the way down so I didn't asphyxiate myself.

Anyhoo, my last car was a 1990 Subaru wagon. I liked the simplicity of it but it was starting to get a little rattley and had a major oil leak. Mechanic told me that every gasket in the engine needed to be replaced. Since it was paid off, I started looking for something else to buy. Looked into another Subaru, but couldn't believe that the newer models got worse mileage than my old clunker!
I'd heard about the diesel VWs, mainly by doing a Dogpile search on "best mpg cars". I had never checked one out in person.
I was in the breakroom at work and got into a conversation with a coworker about cars and diesel VWs. He said he had a Jetta TDI. I asked him how he liked it. "I love it," he said "but I have to sell it. My wife and I are having another baby and I need a bigger car." I asked him how much and he quoted me the price to pay off his loan. I went home and looked it up based on the information he had given me and found it to be about $2500 below Blue Book. A couple of days later he drove it to work and my husband and I took it for a quick test drive. I instantly fell in love!
It was by far the nicest car I had ever considered buying and got the best mileage. At that point, I considered a car upgrade to be something with intermittent wipers and a sunroof!
By the end of the week I had gone to my credit union and worked the deal.

I still can't believe that such a sexy car is mine! I feel like I need to dress nice just to drive it. I love the purr of the engine. Not a kitty cat purr, it's the purr of a lioness. It's a fuel sipper, and it drives like a rocket.
I love to just drive it around for no particular reason.
The practical side of me says I really should be driving a wagon, but the fun side of me says "the hell with it!". I'm almost 40 and I deserve a sweet car after all of the crappy ones I've had.

I'm a true TDI fan.

Keli

2001 silver Jetta GLS.
Sunroof, premium stereo, heated seats.
 

gern_blanston

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2002
Location
PNW
TDI
Golf, '03, Silver
My dad had the first diesel Rabbit in Oregon back in '78. He ordered it like a year before it was available after reading a story in Popular Mechanics. He sold it with 300,000 miles on it, having done a valve job and replacing one C/V joint. He then bought a '98 Jetta TDI which he drives to this day (100,000 miles.) My brother bought a '98 Jetta a couple of months after Dad bought his, and drove it until about 4 months ago when an idiot pulled out to pass an oncoming car and hit him head-on. The driver being passed said that the guy was doing 50 at impact. My brother had slowed down to about 30, thinking, "Jeez, this guy's gotta' see me and pull back into his own lane!" for about 10 seconds. The Jetta didn't even look like a car when the dust settled. My brother was held overnight for observation and released. One helluva' car.
So I guess I may be genetically programmed to drive a VW diesel.
Got my wife hooked, now. Her desire for a TrailBlazer has been dampened significantly by the prospect of an '04 Passat TDI!
 

TDIinRI

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2002
Location
NOT in RI
TDI
2003 GOLF silver
Hmmm.......My best friend Sylvia's father decided to get her a new car because she was driving between Providence and Boston daily. Being the dictatorial Croatian (eastern european) engineer that he is, he insisted that she get a Jetta diesel. "Germans make the best cars. Nothing is better than a german diesel," said he. I drove her car and really liked it. It was peppy, fun, and handled pretty good. So, when my dad(another like-minded Croatian father) realised that I could get $4000 for my 89 BMW 325i which was shortly due for a clutch, timing belt, water pump, and a major tune-up which probably would have cost $2000, he suggested that I sell it and get a new car. I loved the look of the Golf and as I was driving about 20,000 miles a year 50mpg sounded GREAT. After all, I really liked Syl's Jetta and the two are almost the same. So I got my 2002 Golf. It turned out to have a wheel vibration that no VW dealer could fix so I got a 2003 under lemon law from VW. Even though I hate VW (dis)service and stealers as Dieseldorf says, I still preach the TDI gospel which explains why my significant other drives a Jetta TDI. He bought his b/c he drove 30,000 miles a year at the time and had just totaled his Chevy Blazer!! (GOD did I hate that thing.) /images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
[ QUOTE ]
... I once drove 700 miles round trip in the winter in that car with the heat on full blast and the driver's side window rolled all the way down so I didn't asphyxiate myself.

[/ QUOTE ]

WOW, does that bring back memories. While I never owned a Beetle, my sister did so I borrowed it occasionally if my car was off the road...so to speak /images/graemlins/crazy.gif. The heat was either amazing or you couldn't use it due to the exhaust leaks. I remember I lost my plastic coffee cup in the car and found it 2 weeks later. It had rolled to the back of the car and parked itself in front of one of the heater outlets where it melted down into a big glob of plastic. That heat was hot! /images/graemlins/blush.gif OUCH !



[ QUOTE ]
... I love the purr of the engine. Not a kitty cat purr, it's the purr of a lioness.

It's a fuel sipper, and it drives like a rocket.



[/ QUOTE ]




Keli, that's a nice story and sounds like a deal that worked out well for both parties. I know I still sneak out occasionally to just drive the car. I enjoy them that much.
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
Tommy, your story remains one of the only great victories in the battle against VWoA we have heard this year. I still think you're lucky to have been granted a brand new TDi courtesy of VW. How do you beat that!


Hope the new car is working out well for you.
 

Stealth TDI

Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 13, 1998
Location
Newport News, VA
TDI
2017 GTI APR Stage 3 (395 hp/376 lb-ft)
Hi,

I just thought I'd mention that my site still hosts copies of a few of the original TDI articles, including the C&D article above and an article that appeared in the 1997 VW Flyer, "And Now For A Totally Different Idea." Feel free to take a peek at http://www.stealthtdi.com/Reviews.html.

Take Care,

Scott
 

Howler

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2000
Location
Planet Earth
TDI
'10 Touareg TDI
Careful using StealthTDI's link above. The period at the end of the link needs to be removed.

In 1985, I bought one of the first fuel injected 77 VW Vans with the Porsche engine. It seized one night, so a $1500 rebuild later, it was back on the road. A year later in Alaska, the thing went kaput, so being that my girlfriend and I were both engineers, we disassembled the whole wiring harness, only to find out it was dirty battery terminals! But we got some hilarious pix towing it by hand. It died again w/broken valve ring and became a 4 wheel storage shed, eventually being taken to auto recycler in Everett.

FFWD 15 yrs: Working in San Jose, I like my little rice burner, but it wasn't much for crash-worthiness with all those bigger car drivers on cell-phones. So, I found a 96 Passat TDI in Gilroy @ 86k that needed a new timing belt. Bought it, put in a TB, and imported it to Oregon (sorry TDI driving Californians), where it is now owned by my neighbor.

Now on TDI #2 96 Passat B4V and #3 02 Golf TDI. Not the end of the story.
 

NewJettaGuy

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2003
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
TDI
'04 Passat Sedan
My $.02 worth:

My first VW was a '65 Bug I bought on my first military tour in Germany. It would not go over 60 MPH. Period. Not even downhill with a 50 MPH tailwind. I paid $75 US /images/graemlins/smile.gif for it and it cost me $300 US a year to insure it /images/graemlins/crazy.gif. Drove it until some schmuck hit it and tore the front end off while it was parked on the street /images/graemlins/mad.gif.

Next came a 'yellow '72 Super Beetle /images/graemlins/cool.gif I bought before going back to Germany on my second tour. Traded the SB straight up with someone for a '68 VW Bus that, for some undetermined reason, I just could not keep a clutch in. I had to change the clutch so often; I resorted to putting wing nuts on the bolts that held the engine to the transmission. I got so much practice that I could do it less than an hour from the time I pulled into the garage until backed out of the garage. Sold the Bus for a tidy little profit and after my family returned to the States, I bought another ’65 Bug for $10 US for the last three months I was in country. I sold it for $100 US /images/graemlins/smile.gif the morning I got on the plane.

Then came a succession of American made and rice burners over the next 15-20 years L. My next VW was my first Jetta TDI (’02 GLS with leather, AT, etc) I bought in June ’02. Traded that for my ’03 Jetta TDI (GLS with leather, center console cup holders, 5-spd) after a year.

I have less than 3 ½ years until I can retire /images/graemlins/grin.gif and if I do decide to retire at that time, I plan on keeping my TDI as my daily use vehicle.
 

sportsguy

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Location
Seattle-ish
TDI
2014 Beetle DSG TDI
Bringing back an OLD thread - great thread, though.

I'm loving my first TDI experience - it's been a great car for the short time I've had it - the folks I meet are great and this place is very helpful.

I still think everyone should own a TDI.
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
thanks, sportsguy. I think there are far more satisfied TDi owners than we realize. They're just the silent majority - - we only hear from those having their latest crisis.
 

sportsguy

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Location
Seattle-ish
TDI
2014 Beetle DSG TDI
Same old same old - we run 16 websites here at my company - rarely do we get an e-mail saying what great work we're doing...but have one score not update and man, the e-mails flood in...LOL

Human nature at work I suppose.
 

Y2KBuggy

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Location
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri area
TDI
New Beetle, 2005, gray; 2000, yellow
In early 2000, I was looking around for a new car because the old commuter was on it's very last legs. Wanted great mileage, safety, and preferably a diesel (longevity). And not outrageously expensive! I looked at all the American cars and couldn't find anything that would fit all of these criteria
. I looked at the Asian cars and none of them fit all the criteria, either. Someone told me that VW made diesels, so I looked... decided I wanted a TDI Golf... looked at all the dealerships within 150 miles of the house... decided I liked Dean Team Kirkwood's service department the best (so I would reward them with the purchase)
... I was saving pennies so we could pay cash in the summer. Well, I managed to kill the old car (not resurrectable) by putting stop-leak in the oil (I had purchased oil stop-leak and radiator stop leak the same day)... it was dark, cold, and I was tired...
In retrospect, this was a good thing because of the premium being charged for the TDIs that summer (sharp increase in gas prices).


Sooooo... went to the dealership... sat in the Golf... didn't like the big blind spots
... so I sat in the Jetta... couldn't see out the back
... went back and forth between the 2 cars, trying to decide which of the two visibility issues was easier for me to deal with. There was a NB in the showroom and it "called" to me.
I figured I'd go sit in it just for the heck of it (I still thought of bugs as being like the old bugs)... plus I really didn't like the design
. Well, I sat in the bug and I could see!
And it wasn't like the old bugs!
As long as I could get the TDI, cruise control, a sun roof, 5 extra keys (besides what normally came with the car), yellow, and a real flower for the vase, it was a done deal.


In spite of "all" the "problems" I've had, I still <font color="red">love my TDI NB </font>
. And when I consider just how many miles are on it 280,000
), it has been an extremely reliable car (and probably will be for the next 720,000+)
. I love it so much and it has been so good that my husband is still %&#*@! off that we cannot get a TDI pickup, so are buying a small, Asian gasser... but I am already planning for the day that the gasser dies and I can justify putting a TDI in it. Or better yet, when VW builds a small TDI pickup and I can trade the %#*&$!@ gasser in.
 

Audi5000td

Banned
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
TDI
2005 passat Wagon Northern Green
Whew! Nice, nice stuff here.

Lemme see here, I think my first car was a '67 Beetle, after my dad brought a 64 beetle over from Rotterdam, NL. It was one of the first vw's to have a metal sliding sunroof here in CA, and was very expensive option back then. The '67 got me through college until some uninsured low life rear ended me. Unfortunately, every accident I've been in here in Los Angeles has been by them... Grrr.

Anyways, it was '82, I had a good job, and my friend had bought an 81 Accord Honda. Nice car, so I went down to the dealer and was looking at Jetta's. They were about 8.5k back then in gas. It was late at night, the office was getting close to closing, and I wanted a test drive. They had all the gassers stacked up deep inside the lot, getting ready to close, so the salesmen throws me the keys to a diesel. Nice car, kind of a rattler/shaker at idle, but I'm 6'5" and this one had a sunroof. Too tight on the head space. I called around for about 2 weeks, finally located an 81 coupe, a 2 door, with no sunroof but had ac instead.

Sold! Great car, I remember being blown away after driving it one summer and seeing 52, 54, 53 mpg on consecutive tankfuls of fuel, with the ac going. Sadly, that got totaled also, a 16 year old boy ran a stop sign and did her in with only 110k miles on her.

My next vehicle was an Audi 5000 Td. Far and away the best diesel I've ever owned. Sunroof, leather seats, power everything. I put 254k on that vehicle, it was very well built, never had an accident in it.

Somehow, I want another TDI now. I realize I want an older car that's stock, and with my 6'5" height, the littler models built on the A frame are a little too tight, so if anyone has a B4 sedan for sale that a tall old fart could fit in, give me and email or a PM... green with tan in a sedan would suit me to a "T", box stock is fine also,I just need a driver that needs a little TLC, that's mechanically sound.
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
I had been thinking about starting this same sort of thread, but dieseldorf beat me to it! LOL!
I would have titled it something like "What was it that finally made you get a TDI?" or something like that.

My story tells about the final straw that made me get my first TDI and started my conversion into a DIESEL-head. This is a MONSTER of a post, probably my longest ever, but it's all relevant to the story.

I had known about VW TDIs for a while but shied away from them and all VWs in general because of past quality issues plus I was of the Japanese car mindset back in the 1996-2002 timeframe. I've owned several Hondas over the years, including 2 Acura Integras. I've loved every car I've owned but I'm also tired of trading cars every couple of years. There's always been something about them that eventually makes me want out of them and into something else. I have sort of a split personality when it comes to cars. There's a part of me that want a fun, fast car. And there's also the practical side of me that wants a utility vehicle. I was also interested in VWs because of the cool fun factor they have plus their longevity.

My first VW was a 2000 Golf 2.slow gasser. I shied away from the GTI/VR6 and 1.8T gassers because of the horror stories I've heard about them and the 2.0 gasser was known to be a solid engine. I was previously driving a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder SUV. Great SUV, but what a gas guzzler! My commute also got longer as I had changed jobs in late 1999. I loved everything about the Golf but later traded it for a 2002 Subaru WRX when the WRX first came out. I fell victim to the WRX hype and simply had to have one. The WRX was great and I thought I could live with a slight MPG penalty that comes with the WRX's performance. The Golf gasser averaged 27MPG and the WRX averaged 22MPG. That's still better than my Pathfinder's 16-17MPG average, so I was happy at the time. Meanwhile, my commute became longer still as a result of another job change, so the WRX was costing a bloody fortune to run. I also found there were a number of things about my Golf that I really missed in the WRX, so I was getting the itch for another VW. I had thought about getting a TDI back in 2000, but was unable to find one due to their scarcity on dealer's lots. So I was open to considering a TDI again.

Meanwhile in March of 2002, a high school friend of mine bought an old phone company microwave "bunker" facility atop a mountain in Enfield NH. He owns a 2-way radio shop in the Lebanon NH area and bought the site to use for his business. We're both into ham radio (hence my N1DAS callsign) so this was also a cool site for ham radio use and there's a 70cm (440MHz) ham repeater already there. The facility is an old Western Electric "Ma Bell" point-to-point microwave relay facility that was part of the backbone of the old phone system of the 60's and 70's and through the 80's. This facility was built in the mid 70's. The tower is 100 ft. tall and can support up to 4 large microwave horns. The pair of horns on the tower are 25 ft tall and weigh several tons. The tower is 24 ft wide at the base. My TDI parked near the base of the tower (see pic) gives it some scale.



Here's a pic of the top of the tower:


In 1993, the facility was taken out of service as phone network traffic was switched over to fiber optic lines and handled by other facilities. It still served as a backup system on standby status in case of a major network outage in the area. In 1996, the site was officially decommissioned and shut down. The obsolete microwave radio equipment was dismantled. The site was sold to a tower company and then to a ham radio operator who worked for that company and managed to buy it dirt cheap. He later sold it to this friend of mine dirt cheap compared to what it's worth on the market. It's a perfect site for future wireless services plus the cell phone service providers have approached him about renting tower and building space for their equipment. Last I heard, the going rate in the wireless industry for rent is around $2500.00 a month! I know he'll be a cellular landlord someday. Very cool!



Generator Discovery:
--------------------
The microwave site has two buildings: One built by AT&T in the 70's and the other built in 1984 as result of the breakup of AT&T. The newer building was owned by Verizon up until about a month before my friend bought the site. When he became the new owner, he was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Verizon building also had a 45kW generator ("engine alternator") set, driven by a 6-cylinder VW-Audi diesel. I eagerly volunteered to check it out and see if I could restore it to service. We knew it had been abandoned and hadn't been run at all since 1996. We had no idea of its condition or if we would be able to fire it up. This became my summer of 2002 restoration project.

Generator intake/exhaust chimney outside building:


Here's the genset inside the building:


When we checked out the genset for the first time, we found it to be a VERTICAL alternator set, with the engine on top and the 45kW alternator below it. The engine is a 6-cyliner VW car engine modified for vertical operation. This engine literally stands on its flywheel! The vertical setup was used to save space inside the building. The generator was set up to replicate the 240VAC 225Amp service coming into the building and sized to carry the full building load during commercial power outages. It's designed to automatically start up upon interruption of commercial AC power and operates the building's AC tranfer switch. Upon restoration of commercial AC power, the genset runs for an additional 30 minutes before switching the building back to commercial power and shutting down.





General information:
--------------------
* Genset Manufacturer: Morrison-Knudsen Co., Inc. Power Systems Division. Custom manufactured for Western Electric in the early 80's. The genset even has the old classic Western Electric "Bell System" logo and "Guardian" name on it.

* Model: KS22344, 40kW version. The alternator is actually rated for 45kW. There is also a 28kW version, using a 1.9L IDI NA engine that looks VERY similar to an A3 VE (non-PD) TDI engine. I've only seen drawings of this 1.9L IDI NA engine in the service manual.

* Engine: VW-Audi 2.4L NA 6-cylinder IDI diesel. This engine is a 6-cylinder version of the old 1.6L 4-cylinder IDI engine used in the old VW Rabbit diesel. This 6-cylinder engine is the exact same engine that Volvo sourced from VW and used in their cars in the 1983 timeframe. Volvo called it the D24 engine. The turbo version was the D24T. The genset manufacturer bought the basic engine from VW and customized it for vertical operation. Custom crankshaft, oil pans (side and bottom), remote oil filter, modified injector pump, engine-driven fan and lift pump, prelube system, and more. Some parts look an awful lot like what's in our TDIs!


* Hour meter reading: 401 hours. That's nothing for a diesel! It now has around 480 hours on it.

* Oil change interval: 250 hours. Uses 15W-40 dino oil and holds 16 quarts. I bet this engine has only had one or two oil changes in its lifetime before I started working on it.

* Fuel consumption: 2.4 gal/hr at no load. 3.6 gal/hr with a 40kW load.

* Compression Ratio: 23:1 (and I thought my TDI's 19.5:1 ratio was high!)

* Equipped with oil and coolant heaters (1 kW total wattage). The coolant heater looks VERY similar to a TDIheater! It is a KiM Hotstart heater.

* Governed engine speed: 3600 RPM. It really roars when running! The radiator fan is belt-driven by the engine and also cranks at 3600RPM. As soon as the oil pressure comes up at startup, the governor slams it at WOT to get it up to 3600RPM ASAP. It often belches a huge cloud of cold start smoke at startup. Exhaust is clean afterwards with occasional light traces of smoke. It has a prelube system to prevent dry starts and oil starvation at startup.

* TWO Fuel filters: 25-micron main filter plus a 5-micron water seperator filter.

* Also equipped with a backup manual run kit to manually run the genset in case the main control system fails or is inoperative.

* Engine DOM: November, 1983. Genset installed mid-1984.

* Original new price of genset in 1984, listed on building inventory sheet: $33,000.00.

* The old fuel tank was a 275 gallon oil tank, mounted on a cement slab outside the building. That tank is long gone and a 22-gallon drum was being used as a temporary tank. we don't know what happened to the tank.

* Dimensions: 9 ft tall (includes ductwork) x 4 ft wide x 4 ft deep.

* Shipping weight (in crate): 3000 lbs. Installed weight: Approx. 2000 lbs. Engine: 400 lbs. Alternator: 700 lbs.

More pics:









The Hunt for Information:
-------------------------
Before starting any restoration work on the genset, I surfed the internet to try to find more information. I didn't find much except for somebody in Australia advertising 10 of the 28kW versions for sale, still "new" and in their original shipping crate, stored in a warehouse, for $45,000.00 each. The genset manufacturer (Morrison-Knudsen) appears to be out of business, so that turned up a dead end. However, through my surfing, I also found TDIclub! (I found it by googling "VW" and "DIESEL") I instantly became a "lurker" on TDIclub.com from that point on. I downloaded and gave the TDIFAQ a thorough read and surfed the forums.

I also found that believe it or not, the old "Ma Bell" Western Electric is STILL in business! They manufacture and sell a few specialized vacuum tubes that semiconductor devices never replaced. There's still just enough replacement demand for these vacuum tubes worldwide to keep them in business and still manufacturing these tubes!

Western Electric's homepage.

Fortunately, we did manage to find and recover the service manual for the genset. The manual also included the notes to a VW Diesel Engine Training class, which I studied thoroughly.


The Restoration:
----------------

We found the pair of batteries in the system to be totally dead. Not surprising after sitting unused and with the charger turned off since 1996. The control system electronics and engine system is powered by a pair of 12V deep-cycle marine batteries. We scrounged up a pair of used batteries to use. They were not in the greatest shape but were healthy enough to use. We later replaced these batteries with new ones we picked up at Wal*Mart.

The first thing I did was check all fluids. Oil level was totally FULL and the oil was BLACK. This was my introduction to the normal ink black color of oil in a diesel engine. The radiator above the engine was totally empty, as all coolant had evaporated from the system. However, the engine block still had coolant in it. I did a full drain and replacement of the coolant. It took 4 gallons of Prestone in a 50/50 mix. No signs of coolant leaks anywhere.

Before trying to crank the engine, I decided to take out each glowplug and attempt to crank the engine over by hand. I only managed to get 4 of the 6 glowplugs out. The #5 and #6 glowplugs were inaccessible as they were behind the injector pump. I squirted some penetrating oil in to each cylinder where I had taken out a glowplug. I expected piston rings to be rusted solid to the cylinder walls. It turns out that the engine wasn't siezed at all! However, it still wouldn't turn by hand. Something was still locking the engine. Since I could only move the engine a couple of degrees, I couldn't tell if a piston was kissing valves or if it was something else.

I poppped the timing belt cover off and carefully inspected the TB. Looked perfect! Still like new. When I tried to crank the engine by hand, I found the TB tightening up on one end and loosening on the other end, around the waterpump pulley. The waterpump had totally siezed up from corrosion over the years. Good thing I didn't try to crank the engine with starter via the backup manual control system! It probably would have snapped the TB and done other damage and then I'd be totally SOL.

Note in the pics that the engine has TWO timing belts. The main timing belt is at the top end and also drives the waterpump like in the old 1.6L Rabbit diesel and like our TDIs. The second TB is on the bottom end of the camshaft and drives the injector pump. The top TB looked like it was in perfect shape. No cracks or dry rot at all. However the bottom TB driving the injector pump is totaly oil soaked and has been that way for several years. If the pump belt fails, at least it won't take out the engine with it. I decided that it was best to not touch either timing belt at all.

The big nasty problem was how to get the waterpump freed up. I squirted some penetrating oil into the weep hole, expecting the seal(s) to be glued to the shaft and the bearing siezed. I let it soak overnight. It still wouldn't budge with a pair of vice grips on the pulley hub. I ended up having to get a big pipe wrench on the hub and give it close to 90 ft-lbs (!) of torque to get it to move. It moved with difficulty and slowly at first as I was also cranking the engine via the timing belt. I was worried that I might be shearing the shaft instead of cranking the pump. I won't know until I free it up and get the engine started. After a couple of turns, it broke free!!!! It cranked around perfectly and didn't break anything! I then got a big screwdriver on the weights on the crankshaft's harmonic balancer and cranked the engine around several revs, a quarter-turn at a time. I very carefully inspected the timing belt as it went around to verify that it was in good shape. The timing belt looked as good as new. After cranking the engine around several revs by hand, I knew that it wasn't kissing any valves and it was safe to crank the engine with the starter. I then reinstalled all glowplugs that I had taken out earlier.

The next problem was to figure out the control system and try to get it working. I replaced the pair of batteries, carefully noting how they hooked up. One battery is for engine starting and glowplug operation, just like in a car application. The second battery ran the control system electronics. The control system also has an automatic battery charger powered by commercial AC power to maintain the batteries. After replacing the batteries, the main control system and backup control system came alive! The main control system wasn't fully operational yet, as I later found it needed to have a pair of circuit breakers replaced. However, the backup manual run kit was fully operational and was able to be used to crank the engine.

Using the backup manual run kit, I turned the main switch to ON, and it came alive with an alarm indication. I held up the manual glowplug switch and the glowplug light came on for about 15 seconds and then went out. I turned the main switch to START while holding the glowplug switch up....it cranked and after a second or two, it sputtered to life and ran for about 5 seconds and then stopped. Success!! It fired on the penetrating oil I had used earlier plus 6 year old diesel fuel that was still in the injector pump. The genset belched a huge thick 30ft diameter mushroom cloud of smoke when it ran briefly. I didn't keep cranking it but instead worked on getting the fuel tank hooked up to it. At this point I knew there's a good chance I can get this engine up and running if I can get some fresh diesel fuel to it.

I had to make a trip to Home Depot to get some copper tubing plus some fittings needed to get the fuel tank hooked up. I dumped in 5 gallons of fresh diesel fuel plus several ounces of PowerService Diesel Fuel Supplement (white bottle). I also filled up the main fuel filter and the water separator filter. On the first try...after about 15 seconds of glowplug heating....crank-crank-crank-crank-crank-SPUTTER-SPUTTER-CLATTER-CLATTER-CLATTER-VAROOOOMMMMM! It came to life and stayed running! WOOHOO!! SUCCESS!! It belched a huge cloud of startup smoke. Needless to say, no mosquitoes bothered us that evening. It ran a bit rough for a few minutes with the governor pegging the injector pump at WOT. It was running a bit rough and at somewhere around 25000RPM and putting out a bit of grey-white smoke. The governor was keeping the pump pegged at WOT, trying to get it up to 3600RPM. After about 2 minutes of running, it unexpectedly went VAROOMM again, with the revs shooting way up, belching a cloud of black smoke. It was a bit scary and I thought it was over-revving. Out of panic, I hit the emergency stop button and shut it down. Everything seemed OK though. No signs of trouble. I restarted it and the revs took off again and leveled out, but this time I saw the green "60 Hz" light illuminate on the backup run kit. SUCCESS!!!! It was now running at its governed 3600RPM! It did not over-rev earlier like I had first thought. It had ben running rough at first and then started running properly. It caught me totally by surprise when it suddenly accelerated at WOT to governed speed. Whew! While the engine was runing at 3600RPM, you could see the governor linkage occasionally wiggle and move up and down slightly as it maintained 3600RPM. It ran smoothly with no misfires at all. The exhaust was clean with occasional traces of light smoke.

I let the genset run for about a half hour before shutting it down. The radiator water temp came up to it's normal 190 degrees, so that told me the waterpump is OK. No signs of coolant leaks anywhere. A small amount of coolant came out throught the radiator overflow tube and then stopped. That told me the cooling system is up to its normal pressure. Also no oil leaks except for a minor leak from the lower camshaft seal.

The last problem area was with the control system electronics. I could start it and run it with the backup control system, but not yet with the main system. I also found the main system would intermittently lose power, so I checked around for loose connections. Turned out it was due to a pair of circuit breakers that were making intermittent contact. I researched the circuit breakers and found exact replacements for them (made by Airpax Corp.). After replacing these, the system is now capable of automatic operation when commercial AC power fails.



Remaining problems:
-------------------

1. The injector pump's shaft seal has dry-rotted and leaks. In the vertical orientation of the pump, this causes the pump to lose its priming and often result in a no-start condition after sitting for a couple of days. I have to loosen the center bolt in the output section and crank the engine until fuel pees out around the bolt to reprime the pump so the engine will start. From looking at the maintenance log for the genset, Ma Bell limped along with it in this condition from 1992 to 1996. The pump appears to be still in good shape otherwise. This pump is a one-of-a-kind pump because it was modified internally for vertical operation plus it has electronic governor linkage for the control system.

2. The main control system fails to operate the glowplugs when an auto-start sequence has been initiated. It will wait for glowplugs to heat without actually heating them and then cranks the engine. It often cranks and cranks without starting, and automatically times out after 30 seconds if the engine fails to start. The glowplugs operate when I operate them using the backup manual control system, so I know the glowplugs and relay are OK. The automatic system fails to operate them before cranking the engine. This is a troubleshooting project for when I get some time to work on it.

The biggest problem is the injector pump seal leak. I'm looking for Bosch shop than can rebuild this pump. It's a one of a kind pump, so I need to find a Bosch injector pump expert. If anybody has information, please pass it on to me.


Getting my TDI:
---------------

Through my experience working on restoring this genset to service, I kept thinking how great it would be to have a DIESEL car. I became hooked on diesel through learning about this engine and working on it and getting it running after being abandoned for 6 years. I definitely knew what my next car was going to be: A VW Golf TDI! I had planned to keep the WRX and get a TDI after the WRX was paid for. But I was also looking at my fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs, and thinking about which car is better suited for the large amount of driving I do. The more I thought about it the more I was hooked on the TDI. I also came to the conclusion that I really need to get out of the WRX and into a TDI sooner rather than later as the costs of running the WRX were sky high. So on May 15, 2002, I traded out of the WRX and got into my 02 Golf TDI!! I took a big depreciation hit on the WRX but I was still able to wash out of it. I've already more than made up for the hit in fuel savings plus lower maintenance and insurance costs. Haven't looked back at all. Friends of mine thought I was crazy at first, but later agreed with me because of the large amount of driving I do. Now with the recent spike in gas prices, they are interested in TDIs!

My friend who bought the microwave site has ridden with me in my TDI tons of times and likes it, but previously never gave any thought to owning and driving one. Now with the high gas prices, he's interested in a used TDI for his business as a daily driver instead of having to drive his gas guzzler truck. He'll keep his truck and use it when he needs the 4WD capability. Both of us wish Toyota sold a DIESEL version of the Tacoma truck here in the USA.

I started working on the genset in early April, 2002. A little over a month later, I got my TDI! My TDI coveting period lasted about a month while working on the genset. I registered on TDIclub about a month later (June, 2002).


I had previously thought about getting a TDI years ago, and it was this generator restoration project that became the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back and finally made me do it. Had I gotten a TDI back when they first came to the USA, I probably would still be driving it today and not had as many gassers that I've had over the years. I would still have a newer TDI as a second vehicle. I guess it's just another sign that I'm totally converted to DIESEL! No more gassers for me!



~ n1das
 

daBooj

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
TDI
Jetta GLS, 2004, could only find silver
Neat story, n1das! Mine's not nearly so neat, but kinda more of the "things happen when they need to" way my life tends to go.

My dad gave me his 86 mazda B2000 my junior year in college cause he had a subaru and I had been driving the truck forever. He told me, "happy birthday, but it may be more work than it's worth if you keep it for long." A year later we had some fun getting it back down the highway late at night when the alternator died and the cop wouldn't let me sit at the top of the big hill until daylight when I wouldn't need my headlights or battery to drive home. Arg! I replaced the alternator, but should have sold the truck.

A year later I was driving up from school and got broad sided by an 18 wheeler. Let me tell you that you get impressive looks driving a little truck with giant tire marks making a ring on the side. The truck still drove fine, but wasn't going to come near passing the state inspection I had coming in a month. Actually I had been worried about its passing before then. So I had a month to buy something new.

At that point I was moving from apt to apt a lot and had all kinds of things to do with a truck. So I bought a dodge dakota with the v6. Had duel exhaust that sounded SO NICE! and the tannaue (sp?) cover that helped me get about 25-27 mpg.

But I was driving more and more as my girlfriend was looking more like a fiance and was still an hour and a half away. I started looking dreamily at all the hybrids and small cars out there. Didn't like the hybrids much, but sure would be nice to get better milage. I was thinking about trying to pay off the truck and buy a small car too.

Right after I made one of my last moves from apt to apt, point critical came. A friend told me about her tdi golf would go 500+ miles on a tank and a very nice deaf person didn't listen to my horn and drove me off the road and through a steel I beam. I drove the truck home, but it was totalled.

I did a lot of research. Did everything I could to find out why the vw I was craving would be a bad car to own. But I failed. The VW just sounded perfect. So I took it for a test drive. WOW! I hadn't expected it to have any go!

It had taken me a long while to find a tdi, no one had them. But I found one place with two. A jetta that was out of my price range and a golf that I was told was a manual, but was hiding in the back somewhere. On my drive back up to Baltimore that night from VA I had the salesman getting all the paperwork ready for me while I waited in traffic. He then found out that the golf was a triptronic and I told him I didn't want it.

He called back later and offered me the jetta for the same price, I'm not good at haggling so I took it. Especially since I had to give back the rental car the next day or start paying for it.

The amount of driving I had to do skyrocketed immediatly after buying the car. Some of it was because it was so fun to drive the new car, but most of it was necissary. I've got 30k miles on the thing in under a year, far more than previous years travels. My commute to work is about 120mi round trip and I don't yet mind! My milage was up to 57mpg last tank. As soon as we get over the system shock of buying a new house were going to buy another tdi for Kate. I kinda feel like people are going to get annoyed because I keep telling them about the tdi, but they don't seem to be. Rather they start thinking about buying a more fuel efficient car. Well, save the friend who just bought his lotus elise. But that's a different story.
 

PDJetta

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 6, 2003
Location
Northern Virginia
TDI
'04 Jetta GLS TDI Pumpe Duce Platinum Grey w/ Leather
["The biggest problem is the injector pump seal leak. I'm looking for Bosch shop than can rebuild this pump. It's a one of a kind pump, so I need to find a Bosch injector pump expert. If anybody has information, please pass it on to me."]

That's a neat as hell story. About the pump seal: That should not be too dificult for an injection pump shop to replace. I've done two shaft seals on the IDI VW diesel injection pumps and its straight forward like replacing any other seal. I used a seal puller with the pump placed in a vice and was VERY careful not to nick the seal carrier or the pump shaft. The old seals are tight as hell, and the puller actually shredded the metal seal parts upon removal. I drilled a hole in the metal part of the seal to give the puller claw a place to "bite". A new seal from Bosch taps right in using the correct size deep well socket and a mallet. The seal costs about $8.00.

You'll have to time the camshaft and injection pump after the pump is installed again. The 4-cylinder IDIs use a cam lock plate to lock the cam via a slot in the cam and the plate rests against the cylinder head and a dial indicator and holder are screwed into the end of the injection pump to set the pump plunger stroke in relation to TDC.

One shop I asked about the seal repair told me that the pump must be rebult because what makes the seal fail is a worn pump shaft bushing that causes the shaft to take out the seal. I thought B.S. Although it could be, but in my case the seal was dry rotted and the pump bushing unworn because I was maticulous about timing belt tension (the bushings wear because the T-Belt is too tight). Sounds like your seal is just old and rotted too. The seal I replaced in my pump held tight to this very day and that was about 5 years ago on my 1985 Jetta TD.

--Nate
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
Dave, that's quite a write-up on the genset....I remember when you posted that a while ago. Cool stuff!


p.s. I hope you're taking good care of my Segway
 

n1das

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Location
Nashua, NH, USA
TDI
2014 BMW 535xd ///M-Sport, 2012 BMW X5 Xdrive35d, former 3x TDI owner
Dave, that's quite a write-up on the genset....I remember when you posted that a while ago. Cool stuff!


p.s. I hope you're taking good care of my Segway
My old post lost the images when the image server on TDIclub got upgraded. The old post still exists, minus the images. I don't know what happened to those images. I still have the original images but they're still on my old PC that's crapped out (Windows got corrupted). I can't get to them until I resurrect that PC.

I fired up the genset a couple of weekends ago (4/16-4/17) and that's when I shot new digital pics of the genset and tower site. The snow finally melted away from the site around the beginning of April.

Re: Segway. I'm planning to be at ImpexFest on May 14. I'll have the Segway HT with me and will be giving demos again for anyone who wants to try it.



~ n1das
 

tadc

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 13, 2001
Location
Stumptown
TDI
Golf GLS TDI, '01, Black
If you still want a rebuild shop (and don't mind shipping cross-country), Diesel Injection Service in Portland (Oregon, not that other one!) is top notch.
 

Guttboy

Veteran Member
Joined
May 8, 2005
Location
Colorado at 7500'
TDI
Jetta MkV 2005.5 Platinum Gray/Gray Leather Pk2
THANKS for the BUMP!!!!

Excellent reading! You guys from MA/NH are making me EXTREMELY homesick! I will post my reason for getting the TDI here in a couple of days!

n1das....man I could have found a steal like you guys did!

Great stories!!!!!!!
 

cattlerepairman

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
Ottawa
TDI
none
What a pleasant thread to read!

I remember the generator stoy from when it was first posted. Fascinating! Bringing abandoned machinery back to life has always held a fascination with me.

My own fascination with Diesels started when I was 12 years old (well, probably earlier...boys ARE attracted to things that move an make noise!
).
At that time, I joined the "fire scouts" at our local fire station. 17 years later, I was Captain and in between I had the pleasure to drive and operate some fine examples of Diesel powered vehicles.

Here is a 1960's Mercedes 322 fire engine. It is not "ours" but looks similar. Powered by a 132 hp naturally aspirated 6 cyl Diesel, it had a synchronized 5-speed transmission (unheard of for a work truck in this era). 4x4, but no diff locks and that was a severe setback in some situations.
It was taken out of service in 2001, after 40 years on the job. The guy who bought it ripped off the superstructure, heavily modded it and now uses the truck in off road truck events.

Oh, and it had power steering. Powered by the driver's blood-pressure, that is. Enter a turn too quickly and you find yourself trying to spin that big steering wheel like a madman. No fun.


Since the fire service also plays a role in desaster relief and heavy rescues, we got a Liebherr LTM 1070 off-road crane (in service). It is a 48 ton 8x8 brute, air ride suspension, a 30m (100ft) boom and lifts 50t. Going off road is like driving a tank. The drive engine is a Liebherr turbo diesel with 420 hp, mated to an Allison 6 speed auto box. Just under 1 l per km...not cheap on fuel...but the SOUND!



During my stint in the armed forces I got to drive and ride the two mainstay workhorses - the STEYR 680 in 4x4 and 6x6 versions and the STEYR PINZGAUER 716.
Interestingly, the Pinzgauer has the same 2.4l VW TurboDiesel that is found in the generator set above and also powered Volvo 740, 760 and 940 up to the late 1990'.
The Pinzgauer 716 with this engine was last produced in 2000.


Here is the STEYR 680M (120hp naturally aspirated Diesel).


Oh, the glory days!
Makes me feel old..but I had to leave all of this behind when I moved to Canada three years ago (it is all a woman's fault...don't ask..
).

Now that I am writing all of this, I see that I really had the chance to drive a lot of different types (there were dump trucks, a semi and a large flatbed tow truck that got me through university. Also, a stint on cargo vessels introduced me to the world of marine diesels with pistons the size of your average garden shed).

Despite driving diesels all the time, I never had one of my own until I came to Canada. Back in Europe I owned VWs and Volvos - I never wanted a lame duck and the diesels with the power I wanted were simply too expensive for me at that time. I would have loved a Volvo 850 TDI (with the 2.5l 6 cyl VW TDI, 140 hp). My dad had a 1987 Volvo 740 TD (again, with the 2.4l VW engine).

After test-driving what the local Canadian market had to offer (Grand Ams, Sunfires etc.) I decided that I just could not sentence myself to either one of these and bought a 1999 Beetle TDI. Maybe I just missed the growl and roar of my big diesels?

It had 84k km on the clock when I bought it in 2002. Hard bargaining yielded a sale price of $ 14.000. I have never looked back. Great car, fun to drive, addictive to mod and work on, now closing in on double the original mileage.
 
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