• Server migration complete
    In the early morning of September 26, 2020, our migration to new servers was completed.
    Things seem to be working as expected, but if you notice any issues including not receiving email notifications,
    please vistit this thread for more details

Blew up my new ALH TDI! Help!

Q5Quint

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Location
NC
TDI
2002 Jetta Wagon TDI
Somehow the compression tester showed up right when I got home from work even though it wasn't expected till next week. The closest harbor freight is about an hour away so I assume they made an employee drive it up themselves, that or support your post office folks.

*drumroll*

#1 310psi
#2 290psi
#3 250psi
#4 220psi

Tried each cyl a few different times. Same results. That was 10-15 cranks each. 7-8 cranks gets a few puffs lower. So we are clearly out of the 400-450ish spec quite a bit AND right at or below the 275psi wear limit on 3 out of 4 cylinders AND a 100psi difference between them... well...

RIP little tdi. We barely knew each other. I thought you would love your turbo, I thought it would bring us closer together, I just didn't even know what signs of abusive oily turbos to look for. I'm so sorry.
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Definitely sounds like a few bent rods. I'm sure if you pulled the head, if the thatch markings look fine, get ahold of Frank at Frank's TDI's, he could hook you up with a set of balanced stock rods/pistons and get you back on the road. Other than that, you're definitely going to need VCDS or equivalent to turn that iq down, or you'll be back to square one. Here's to hoping you fix it. It can all be done in chassis.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
The biggest problem with these vehicles as they age is that their "book" value gets to be near or below the cost of repairs if something like this happens -- at least to do it correctly -- and especially so if you're not doing the labor yourself.

People often bring this up. Not sure why it matters.
Because vehicles are not investments but rather expenses.

Expense per unit of utility matters. If you don't have unlimited funds, and few do, it can matter quite a lot, especially over decades.

The fact is that a vehicle provides a certain amount of utility. The ALH vehicles, especially the wagons, tend to have an outsized utility value given their cost. But this is not unlimited by any means, and as technology has improved over the years (and 20 years is not a small amount of time!), especially when one considers that what was a parity or even BENEFICIAL situation with diesel .vs. gas 20 years ago that has now turned into a serious deficit (often by 20% or more; that is, diesel is now MUCH more expensive than RUG) the value proposition has changed quite a bit.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Yes, cars are expenses, But repair costs as a percentage of the car's value isn't a good way to judge whether or not the repair is a good idea.

Here's a real-life example. My son has an '02 Golf TDI. Two years ago he was moving to Wisconsin to go to grad school. The car had some issues. I wanted it in the best shape possible before he left, even though we have an excellent TDI guru near him in Wisconsin. Repairs, which included a timing belt service, replacing shocks for warranty, replacing rusted front fenders with ones from a wrecking yard, new intercooler, and some odds and ends, totaled a little over $2K. Before the repairs the car, with 360K on it, was probably worth $1,500 or so, maybe a little less. So the repair costs clearly exceeded the car's value.

However, he has driven the car for two years with almost no issues, including several trips back to MA for visits. He's needed tires, a wheel bearing, and two oil and filter services. Car now has 395K on it. If he had walked away from the car two years ago, use the proceeds as a down payment on a newer car, and financed the balance, he may have had payments in the $250-300 range. So he would have made at least $6K in car payments over that two year period, his insurance (liability only on the Golf) would have been more expensive, and since at those costs he'd be getting a used car without a warranty, he may have still had repair costs.

So even though the repair costs for the Golf were more than its value, it was the less expensive choice.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
Oh absolutely. One thing that IS somewhat-different with these vehicles is that deferred maintenance in certain areas, specifically the timing system, can have catastrophically-bad outcomes. And one of the unfortunate realities is that when you buy anything used you're relying on the seller to both know and tell you what has previously occurred, and often they either don't know because some other numb-nuts did the work (and did it wrong) or they do and lie by either omission or outright falsehood.

Of course there are other vehicles where this is true as well; there are plenty of gas-powered interference engines out there. And to be fair, as I noted once fixed correctly and reasonably maintained these cars tend to get exceptionally long and reliable service and on-balance are hard to beat in terms of fuel economy returned and driving dynamics for the money spent. There are an awful lot of vehicles out there that are ticking time bombs drive-line wise once they get into the triple digits on the odometer, where 300-500k miles is frequently clocked on these. I'm quite-impressed with the longevity of OE mechanical parts.

I'd much-rather have an ALH-engined VW Wagon than one of the newer common-rail sportwagons. One of those will never take up space in my garage simply because I've identified far too many "you're screwed" points of failure that are outside your reasonable control or worse, have a planned service life that comes with a big price to replace.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I'd much-rather have an ALH-engined VW Wagon than one of the newer common-rail sportwagons. One of those will never take up space in my garage
Funny, I've got a '15 GSW that's doing exactly that right now, taking up space in my garage, while I continue to drive my '02 Wagon. I've driven the '15 14K since purchase new in '17. However, I'm glad I have it because I know that my ALH Wagon won't last forever. At my current rate of use it'll hit 500K in 4 years. I have to accept that it just may not last forever. And if an accident takes it away from me I can take comfort that I have a small diesel powered wagon with a manual transmission at the ready. But for now it sits in a corner of my garage on a battery tender.
 

Q5Quint

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Location
NC
TDI
2002 Jetta Wagon TDI
Thanks diesel friends! I will get the thing pulled apart with carnage photos asap.

Lucky for me I have other daily drivers so this is a side project for now. I hadnt thought of the saving or spending more with the old car vs new car thing in a while, so you folks have inspired me a bit here to try and record for posterity where our little bent rod boi will land. Added some numbers from previous vehicles experiences.

Note lowest possible per month is about $25 for insurance for an old grandpa like me, and a free vehicle that has had/needs no repairs. I am not including gas milage because I don't actually drive that much but you might want to if you do, as it could be $50-$100 a month easily. Most of these were over 5-10 years of ownership.
*Not including labor, go-fast parts, tools, fuel mpg etc. etc.*

Old:
honda shadow: $40/mo
300sd benz: $50/mo
Jeep xj: $55/mo
bmw e30: $74/mo
vw jetta tdi: ? lets say I can get this bendy rod issue fixed for $1500, and $1k more goes wrong over the next 5 years which is reasonable, 4k cost +1.5k insurance = $5,500/60 = $91/mo. Over 5 years keeps dropping this lower. Curious what other folks have spent.
dodge 12v: $120/mo

Newish: (using a edmunds.com calculator may be off a bit)
$10k car: Looks like a 10k car i can finance for 60 months $180/mo, plus $100/mo full coverage insurance, $280
$15k car for $305/mo + $100ins = $405
$20k car for $400/mo + $100ins = $505

Brand new:
No

Anyway, even with a $1500 repair we will still be below $100/month if we stretch it over 5 years without more major issues, and thats ~3x cheaper than a newish $10k car. Some napkin assumptions obviously.
 

rrgrassi

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Location
Royse City, TX
TDI
'06 Jetta, '03 Golf Two Door 5 speed
TDI fuel mileage still beats the RUG drivers, even if RUG is a bit cheaper. Even my 90 Dodge, 12v Cummins gets 24 mpg, mixed city/highway. Better than the Aluminum F150 eco boost.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
My dad's F150 gets ~25 MPG, and that's a Supercab and 4WD, and still the 6sp slushbox (the new ones are 10sp). I wouldn't try to challenge a diesel to a tug of war, but it gets along pretty good when empty, too. We pulled about 4k pounds of oak flooring on a tandem trailer with it.... it for sure felt it back there, but it wasn't having any problems moving it. I'm sure the MPG tanked hard for that, though.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
The progress made in the last few years is pretty astounding. I have a mid-size sedan (2015 Mazda 6) that can break 40mpg on the highway if I keep my foot out of the loud pedal, and even without being "nice" it gets into the 37-38mpg range. On RUG. On a dollars-per-mile of fuel basis it's the equal of my TDI Jetta that gets close to breaking 50mpg on the same highway driven the same way -- and unlike the Jetta, which is considered a "compact" sedan the "6" is by today's standards a "mid-size" sedan. Being normally-aspirated and with a timing-chain driven set of valves it has less complexity and maintenance requirement associated with it too. I've got over 200k miles on it and have had zero in the way of problems (yes, it's a stick.)

When diesel was at parity with RUG or even cheaper on a per-gallon basis it was a whole different game; then the TDI won handily on a cost-per-mile basis and I laughed at all the RUG drivers and their operating costs, even with the somewhat-greater maintenance requirement over longer periods of time (e.g. timing belts, etc.) and higher acquisition cost due to the more-expensive engine. I still like the pre-CR TDIs but while much of the technology advance has simply made vehicles more-expensive to own (check the cost of overhauling that 10sp automatic -- sit down first) there are times when manufacturers use the march of technology in ways that I actually appreciate.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
The 10R80 10sp transmissions in the F150s (depending on engine) list price for around $3500 from Ford.... so about on par with most slushboxes. A little less than a lot of them, actually. I forget what the 6sp are, we usually do those in the Transits, in which case the awful labor costs and all the stuff you have to cut and hack to get them out usually ends up making the whole job in excess of $8k. It is quite ridiculous.

We've only so far done one of the 10R80s, and it was in a well used, well abused, commercial fleet truck that had been beat on and driven hard since new, and it still managed 130k miles and had never been serviced, and that was behind a V8 (the 5.0L). I know they've had some updates on them already (as is normal for anything new).

I'll keep my old stuff, though. It is simpler, tougher, cheaper to own (insure, license, taxes, etc.) and I can even mix some good used parts in here and there from part outs and such.

A lot of the newer cars are just fragile garbage... or at least parts of them are. The 1.4L turbo engine GM uses in the Trax and other models for instance. That thing is a piece of crap. The crankcase pressure regulator fails, meaning new valve cover. The pressure valve in the intake manifold blows out, meaning new intake manifold. The turbo housings crack, meaning new turbo. And all that is before 75k miles in many cases and even all that cannot help the engines' rampant blowby and oil burning from wiped out piston rings before 100k miles. No idea how something so horrible made it to the showroom floor, but we see it every day. And now the newer 2.5L GM engines' intake manifolds are falling off. LMAO.... Literally, you can reach back and wiggle the whole thing as it flops loose on the head. And don't even get me started on the ChryCo Pentastar engine... I swear every time we think there is no more Fail modes to be had, we stumble across another one.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
Oh there's a LOT of garbage out there from all the manufacturers. I have an '02 Suburban that may not be the most-efficient vehicle on the road but the 4L60 gearbox has about a bazillion of them in service, if you blow one up you can get a strengthened one at reasonable cost that will never fail again unless you wildly abuse it and while there are a few "you'll swear -- a LOT" things that you might need to work on in general it's been a very respectable vehicle -- provided you didn't get one of the piston-slap engines due to bad tolerance stacking at the factory (likely the dudes on the line smoking bong hits between picking and stuffing pistons.) I moved the contents of my house with it and a twin-axle 7x16 trailer; a BUNCH of 500-mile one-way trips, loaded right to gross with a Reese W/D hitch system. No problems but 10mpg with that sort of load (and air resistance) behind it. Oh well. Biggest issue I've had with the truck is that GM used uncoated Chineesium steel brake lines and routed them where you can't see them between the frame and body; one blew out without warning. That got a bit sporty; when I replaced them I used CuNi line -- which will never corrode through. It was not a fun job.

VW has built plenty of junk over the years too. Gen 1 and (especially) Gen 2 EA888 anyone? All the sludge-prone Audi engines?

Then there are the infamous Ford 6L diesel problems with EGR and oil coolers, which are related and lead to engine failures. There are retrofit kits that resolve this permanently but they're NOT cheap. Of course they're cheaper than an engine, so...... yeah.

The ALH and BEW/BRM engines have a few soft spots but not many if properly maintained. The basic design is good, which is nice. Mazda appears to hit the sweet spot with the SkyActiv engines as well; if we ever see the HX in the States it will be interesting to see if they managed to avoid turning an excellent engine into a hand grenade in their quest for compression-ignition gas-fueled power.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I've replaced more 4L60s than I can count, LOL. If someone says they can make one that never fails again, I've certainly never seen it. Shoot, the 115hp 2.2L lump in the late S10s could slay one. ROFL But yeah, they are cheap and usually easy to replace.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
Well stock, yeah. On the other hand I'll tell you why a lot of them fail -- on a LOT of the Chevy Trucks the only way to get the pan off is to remove the bracket for the shift cable, and the bolts for it are on the top. On a 4x4 this means you have to disconnect the front driveshaft first or you can't get to the bolts. Oh, and they're Torx bolts too which means if you don't pay attention and sideload the slot you can strip them and then you're in a LOT of trouble as there's no way to get at them to solve that problem without dropping the gearbox.

Thus, even at the stealer, you get wall jobs on fluid and filter changes. And there's another problem related to that -- the valve body bolts like to back out over time; they need to be retorqued when you do the fluid and filter and are into aluminum so "guess" isn't acceptable. Which of course you can't do without removing the pan. If you don't, and the valve body starts bypassing at the valve body to transmission interface then the line pressure at the clutches goes out of spec and under load the clutches will burn up. If you see one of these that shifts slow or only seems to go halfway into gear on a cold start at first after sitting for a couple of days I can virtually guarantee that's what's going on and if not caught quickly just buy another one 'cause it's going to be all toasty and full of friction material inside ;)
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Genesis, I like how you hold up your Suburban as a reliable vehicle and then describe how the transmission, some engines, and corrosion resistance are lousy. Not sure how to read that.

Mechanics tell me that the 1.8T sludge problem was caused largely because owners and dealers didn't follow the TSB and switch to synthetic oil when VW discovered the problem and that synthetic would prevent it. Not sure that's entirely true, but I do know that the few times I had my TDI dealer serviced I had to fight for synthetic oil.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
Oh I guarantee you that a huge part of the sludging problem in many engines is due to oil choice, and most of the root cause is the EPA and emissions specs. To meet 'em they've had to move the top compression ring up closer to the fire deck to reduce dead space. This makes it run hotter. That in turn means dino oil can't handle it, and when it deteriorates the products go everywhere and plug up the smaller stuff first. If it gets bad enough it'll plug up the pickup screen in the oil pump and destroy the engine if it doesn't plug an oil passage to something else that's important first. If you don't run a full synthetic in any modern engine you're asking for trouble and are likely to get it; the quick-lube places and even the dealers will often put "ordinary" oil in if you don't spec and pay for the full-synthetic.

Same problem with VE and PD engine vehicles to a degree; put the wrong oil in them and they eat cams for lunch. Likewise if you have a 50k interval for transmission fluid and don't do it or only do half the job, well who's fault is that? It's like not doing a timing belt on a TDI and then being pissed off that you munched the cylinder head.

But the issues with timing chains stretching (likely a bad tensioner design from what I've been able to determine) or the infamous Ford 6L oil cooler/EGR problems can't be evaded with proper maintenance. That's just garbage design up front. Ditto with valves hanging up on GDI engines; that's not an improper maintenance issue, that's crappy design. Even the ALH which likes to sludge the intake rarely causes valves to hang and blows the engine up as a consequence; it just seems to not make all the power it should when the usable size of the intake is down to the diameter of a pencil. :)

I'm not sure how you argue with an '02 sitting in the driveway that has all of its OE parts in it (other than the brake lines), just like it's pretty hard to argue with the '03 ALH that likewise does, other than the A/C compressor, when one accounts for ordinary service items like belts, tires, batteries, etc. The TDI still has the factory Sachs CLUTCH in it!
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Genesis, I currently have 3 ALHs sitting in my driveway. Two have right around 400K on them, one just under and one a little over. So I'm familiar with their durability. The original clutch on my son's '02 lasted 313K. That car has never had the head off, has original turbo, IP, axles, everything. It just goes and goes. And for what it's worth, I've never had a problem with intake clogging on any of my TDIs. My son's car is bone stock and the intake had never needed cleaning. Because he knows how to drive it.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
I've only cleaned my intake once, and neither I or my kid "baby" it... love the bigger nozzles ;-)

I DID turn the IQ up (power down a bit) when I gave it to her in an attempt to evade having to do a clutch job on short term; it was just capable of slipping the stock clutch in 5th gear. That was over 100k miles ago and she learned how to drive a stick on the car and thus far it's been successful. Maintenance is what it is and staying up with what has to be done is almost always cheaper than fixing a blow-up after the fact. I do have a great appreciation for VW's engineering on these things; they did a really nice job on the drivelines and from my point of view not a bad job on anything else either. Fortunately mine has always lived away from the salted-road monster; there's not a lot you can do if you live somewhere like the lower half of Michigan.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I'm on my third set of fenders and have had the rockers repaired and the tailgate replaced. But after 18 New England Winters that's not bad. The rest of the car is remarkably rust-free. It is garaged, I wash it frequently, and I have a great detailer who keeps it well waxed. So that seems to work out.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
I have to give VW credit there....

The only SMALL area of bubbling on mine is on the tailgate -- right at the bottom. But.. other than one winter in MI when the kid had it up there, and only for half of it, it's never been in the winter salt. Funny how people say living on the ocean will hose you the same way. Nope. My truck lived OUTSIDE on the bay, 100' or so from open salt water. Corrosion on the frame and body? Near-zero. Now don't talk to me about the paint out there in the sun..... :)

I grew up in the salted road world and dealt with it being what it was. When I moved south I was astonished at being able to get things apart (e.g. brake caliper bolts, etc) without air tools, and that 20+ years in vehicles still had intact body panels.

Drove up to MI a couple years ago in the '03 and ran into an Ohio-plated identical model TDI, same color, in the Pilot getting fuel. It looked like ****. Perforations in the body all over the place, all rust. Sarah couldn't believe it was the same year vehicle, but the tail and headlights told the tale. It was stunning, really -- ours looked great, that one, well, until the subframe or body mounts for the engine disintegrate... drive it, but it looks like Beelzebub had a turn with it.
 

Rob Mayercik

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2001
Location
NJ, U.S.A.
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS, Baltic Green/Beige
I swear every time we think there is no more Fail modes to be had, we stumble across another one.
This sounds like a classic "there's good news and bad news" situation:

The good news: Car makers are still capable of innovation
The bad news: It sounds like too many of them are focusing their innovations in the wrong areas... :rolleyes:
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
You really cannot [completely] blame the manufacturers, though. We've legislated so much nonsense into them, then we want a bunch of nonsense in them, but we want them cheap. Keep in mine, by "we" I mean, the average consumer, not necessarily ME or even those present reading this.

The public seems almost unaware of what has happened, too. I have a coworker here who is starting to want a big pickup. For no reason. He just wants one. He already has a transmission-eating older Dodge Durango (V8, of course), and drives a Kia Forte every day that he got when gas prices spiked a few years ago. Now that gas prices are down... but, he is single. He has no kids. He will always be that way. He is older. He never does anything or goes anywhere. He never hauls anything. He never tows anything. And he'll insist on a big 4 dr V8 truck, and he complains about how much it will be. But when you tell him you can get a lesser trimmed V6 truck for less, he won't hear any of it. Despite the fact that you can PROVE to him that a standard issue V6 in 2020 makes MORE power than the ancient V8 in his Durango, and will use less fuel and cost less to buy. Nope. Gotta have the giant behemoth. I really do not get it.
 

Q5Quint

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Location
NC
TDI
2002 Jetta Wagon TDI
OK so I have a date to pull some rods tomorrow~ I want to make sure my cyl walls are not torn up before making any final re-assembly calls or purchasing parts here. For all we know the block needs a re-bore after all.

Assuming it does not, has anyone had any luck with using a set of used pistons and rods?

On most of my other vehicles this involved removing the engine from the car, but some youtube searching seems to indicate it can happen with the engine still in the car for the vw... in that case I am not as afraid of it as it could still go pretty quick even if I dont find helpers.

*note prices are approxomated based on a quick google search*
Used pistons/rods, ($200?)
new bearings, $30
new rings, $30
new head gasket, $45
new head bolts, $50
new oilpan gasket, $10
new valve cover gasket, $15
new oil+filter $50
cam timing/pump timing tools $40 (is the basic set enough or the one with all the other locking plates the one to get?)
double check that turbo oil seal...

...anything else I need to look out for? The timing belt and water pump look brand new so I don't mind re-using them but if that is incredibly dumb please let me know.

About $500ish here seems like the absolute cheapest and slight gamble of a method to get this ole girl back on the road I can figure.... Keep in mind ive never driven this thing while it was working correctly so even if we fix the compression issue there could be a host of other things that pop up next. This is cheap compared to ~$2k or so for a full rebuild but that's just an internet price i've found.

Thanks!
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
First, shop quality, then shop for price. I have no idea what brands those parts are, but I'd beware of something that seems too cheap (or anything from prothe/hans/rathenbacher/etc.)

The ALH uses two size groups of pistons, you need to know which size you have before you consider used ones (most of them are the same size group, however). VAG does connecting rods in batches, and are etched on the bottom with a two digit number. So long as all four are the same number, you can use any rod.

There is no oil pan gasket, just sealant. There is not a separate valve cover gasket (it is part of the cover). The ones sold by themselves are likely Chinese.

You also should replace the rod cap bolts. I would also throw a new oil pump chain and tensioner on there (and the crank bolt and seal that has to come off).
 

Mozambiquer

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Location
Versailles Missouri
TDI
1998 VW Jetta TDI. 1982 VW Rabbit pickup, 2001 VW Jetta TDI
OK so I have a date to pull some rods tomorrow~ I want to make sure my cyl walls are not torn up before making any final re-assembly calls or purchasing parts here. For all we know the block needs a re-bore after all.

Assuming it does not, has anyone had any luck with using a set of used pistons and rods?

On most of my other vehicles this involved removing the engine from the car, but some youtube searching seems to indicate it can happen with the engine still in the car for the vw... in that case I am not as afraid of it as it could still go pretty quick even if I dont find helpers.

*note prices are approxomated based on a quick google search*
Used pistons/rods, ($200?)
new bearings, $30
new rings, $30
new head gasket, $45
new head bolts, $50
new oilpan gasket, $10
new valve cover gasket, $15
new oil+filter $50
cam timing/pump timing tools $40 (is the basic set enough or the one with all the other locking plates the one to get?)
double check that turbo oil seal...

...anything else I need to look out for? The timing belt and water pump look brand new so I don't mind re-using them but if that is incredibly dumb please let me know.

About $500ish here seems like the absolute cheapest and slight gamble of a method to get this ole girl back on the road I can figure.... Keep in mind ive never driven this thing while it was working correctly so even if we fix the compression issue there could be a host of other things that pop up next. This is cheap compared to ~$2k or so for a full rebuild but that's just an internet price i've found.

Thanks!
Yup, as OH stated, you'll need a few more things than that. I am in the last stages of a rebuild on my ALH, and I got the lower end kit from Frank for $700 or so. That was with sputtered bearings, and the oil pump upgrade. That didn't include pistons though, I already had a set that came with the car. I had to send my rods off to get refreshed ($200) and got the crank ground, polished and balanced ($150) I had gotten a high mileage timing kit from someone here on the forums, and it included some of the other parts like the oil pump sprocket, crank seal and etc, which I now have duplicates of (PM me if you're interested in some of those bits for a good price)
You'll thank yourself for not cheaping out later! My build is not stock anymore, I put main studs and head studs, as well as a few other upgrades.
 

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
First off before you go buying all the stuff pull the head and see what the cylinder walls are like. If there’s no deep scratches and it isn’t trashed then you’ll need a ball hone to deglaze them.

Pull your oil pan and remove the connecting rod bolts and pull the pistons out fron the top and number them.
Throe away those bolts as they are one time use.

Get ahold of member Franko6 ( that’s an o. Not a zero ) and mail him your pistons and rods.
He will match lengths and balance them and clean ups and inspect the pistons, if any need replacement he has used good ones he will swap out.
He will also sell you the bolts, piston rings , oil pan gasket material and new bearings for the connecting rods.
I had to do this on an engine I have that had two bent rods.
His service was great , very reasonable price and I had my rods and pistons back about a week after he started on them.
he found two had slight bends, one was way over weight and two pistons.

If you go that way after install of pistons measure the protrusion, then get your head gasket.
I would at this time install ARP studs......
I personally didn’t do the oil pump chain nor the front oil seal as it wasn’t leaking, if it was leaking than I would have done it , engine has 169;xxx miles on it.

You will also need a piston ring compressor to install back into the block.

The car runs beautifully now.....
 
Top