Break-in Period

iluvmytdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Location
Memphis, TN
TDI
2003 Jetta, Platinum Grey
Forgive me if this is in the FAQ, but I didn't see it. Is the break-in period for the Jetta TDI different than a regular Jetta? The owner's manual seems to cover all Jettas and not specifically TDI.

I plan to make a 5-hour interstate trip next weekend, at which time my odometer will be approx. 400 miles. So--am I good to go or what?
 

Drivbiwire

Zehntes Jahr der Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 1998
Location
Boise, Idaho
TDI
2013 Passat TDI, Newmar Ventana 8.3L ISC 3945, 2016 E250 BT, 2000 Jetta TDI
Updated 10/2012

New generation TDI's with Common Rail/DPF/SCR and those with DSG transmissions

Rules that apply for the life of the car
-When the engine is cold (below the first 3 white marks at the base of the temp gage) rev the engine to at least 2,500 rpms.
-When the engine is warmed up (above the first three white marks) Rev the engine to no less than 3,000 rpms.
The reason for this is to keep the turbo on boost, clear the VNT guide vanes and apply firm pressure to the rings for optimal sealing against blow-by gasses. The rings need the boost to seal since its a turbo charged engine, babying the engine is detrimental and will lead to issues with compression if done so for very long.
-Keep rpms as close to 2000 rpm as possible when driving at a steady speed. This promotes optimum temperatures for the DPF and keeps the engine in the middle of its most efficient rpm range (1800-2200 rpm).
-Allow the DSG or automatic transmission to determine the optimal gear and engine rpm. It knows better than you... Provided you have it trained to be biased to the sport mode the engines shift points will occur at the ideal ranges.


Redline is defined as the maximum rpm allowed by the engine, in the case of all TDI's it is 5,100 rpm. The maximum physical limit of a TDI engine due in part to it's short stroke is approximately 8,800 rpm (this is when you will throw a rod or damage a piston, this rpm is not possible unless you force a downshift into 1st gear while driving 80mph)

The instrument cluster shows a red BAND starting at or around 4600 rpm, most owners will find that very little power resides beyond this point due mostly to the ECU reducing fueling to respect the smoke map.

Adaptive Transmissions (DSG), "adapt" based on how you apply the power with your foot. Over time they will modify shift patterns with a bias to a "Sport" mode. Train the transmission to shift as close to the recomended rpm ranges below.

When your engine was first produced the motor was placed in a test cell and "Run-in" by a computer run dyno. The motor after the run-in was DRAINED OF ALL ITS FLUIDS (Oil, Coolant etc), the filters were replaced and a unique break-in oil was installed to promote a proper break-in once installed in the car as well as to protect the engine from corrosion during shipping to final assembly.

The "Break-in oil", YES VW does use a specially formulated "Break-In" oil formulated under an internal "TL" specification and produced by Fuchs. The oil is a group IV synthetic 5w30 formulated to comply with the LowSAPS VW507.00 requirements as well as the TL specifications for break-in. The oil is intended to allow a controlled rate of wear while protecting the engine and allowing the internal parts to seat proplerly during the engines first 10,000 road miles.

First 1,000 miles
Keep rpms below 3,800. Avoid steady rpms. Frequent firm (75%) application of power is strongly recomended up to a maximum engine rpm of 3,800. Avoid the use of cruise control so that you naturally fluctuate the power with your foot.
DO NOT CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL UNTIL 10,000 MILES!

1,000-5,000 miles
Use the full 5,100 rpm power range. THIS DOES NOT MEAN DRIVE AROUND AT 5100 RPM! This DOES mean to find the rpm range where your cars best power resides. Most owners will find that the best engine operating range to be between 2000rpm and 4200 rpm for the purpose of acceleration. At all costs avoid using full throttle below 2000 rpm the ECU will attempt to prevent you from applying full power in this range, work with it and don't request it with your foot.
Continue to avoid steady rpms and avoid the use of cruise control. occasional application of full throttle (100%) is recomended to help seat the rings. City driving is ideal for breaking in a TDI due to frequent stops and acceleration. DO NOT CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL UNTIL 10,000 MILES!

5,000-10,000 miles
Use of the cruise control is ok at this point since most of the initial break in has occured. Continue to use occasional full throttle accelerations to continue to seat the rings. You will notice the engine become slightly louder during this phase due to less friction from the engine breaking in (normal for a diesel to become louder under lighter loads). If your going on a long drive and you are using the cruise, every so often step on the peddle to accelerate up about 20 mph then coast back down to your preset speed.

Your first oil change is due at 10,000 miles DO NOT change it early! Oil analysis supports 10,000 miles as being realistic for a first change interval. Wear metals will remain at safe levels during this entire first interval thanks to the initial run-in and flush at the factory before the engine was installed in your car.

10,000-60,000
This is when the rest of the break in occurs. The engine from the factory will check out with about 475psi of compression pressure out of the crate. It will take at least 60,000 miles to reach the peak pressure of 510 psi. For the most part once you get to 10,000 miles your compression will be around 490 psi meaning that most of the break in has occured.

60,000- and for the remaining life of the motor
The owners have followed the advice above and do not have any oil consumption issues. This also means that with the higher pressure the engine is more efficient returning optimal fuel economy and reduced smoke output. I am still of the opinion that if possible use a LowSAPS 5w40 instead of the 5w30 oils ie Mobil 1 ESP 5w40 formula M (MB229.51, .6 Sulfated Ash)

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Older model TDI's 96-2005

Rules that apply for the life of the car
-When the engine is cold (below the first 3 white marks at the base of the temp gage) rev the engine to at least 2,500 rpms.
-When the engine is warmed up (above the first three white marks) Rev the engine to no less than 3,000 rpms.
The reason for this is to keep the turbo on boost, clear the VNT guide vanes and apply firm pressure to the rings for optimal sealing against blow-by gasses. The rings need the boost to seal since its a turbo charged engine, babying the engine is detrimental and will lead to issues with compression if done so for very long.

First 1,000 miles
Keep rpms below 3,800. Avoid steady rpms. Frequent firm application of power is strongly recomended up to 3,800 rpm. Avoid the use of cruise control so that you naturally fluctuate the power with your foot.

1,000-5,000 miles
Use the full 5,100 rpm power range. Avoid steady rpms. Avoid the use of cruise control. Frequent application of full throttle is recomended to help seat the rings. City driving is ideal for breaking in a TDI due to frequent stops and acceleration. Once you get to 5,000 miles change the oil and perform your first service per the manual

5,000-10,000 miles
Use of the cruise control is ok at this point since most of the initial break in has occured. Continue to use occasional full throttle accelerations to continue to seat the rings. You will notice the engine become slightly louder during this phase due to less friction from the engine breaking in (normal for a diesel to become louder under lighter loads). If your going on a long drive and you are using the cruise, every so often step on the peddle to accelerate up about 20 mph then coast back down to your preset speed.

10,000-60,000
This is when the rest of the break in occurs. The engine from the factory will check out with about 475psi of compression pressure out of the crate. It will take at least 60,000 miles to reach the peak pressure of 550psi. For the most part once you get to 10,000 miles your compression will be around 510psi meaning that most of the break in has occured.

60,000-the life of the motor
The engines I have seen so far using a 5w40 oil are maintaining 550 psi of compression pressure with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. The owners have followed the advice above and do not have any oil consumption issues. This also means that with the higher pressure the engine is more efficient returning optimal fuel economy and reduced smoke output.
 
Last edited:

tdiScott

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Location
Northern California
TDI
Jetta 2003 Dark Grey
I also thank you. I'm at 1400 miles and already broke the rules by using cruise. In fact, I probably should not have driven the car from Sacramento to LA at 400 miles on the odometer -- too much consistant speed.

Thanks for tips now, hopefully I'm not too late.

Scott
 

iluvmytdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Location
Memphis, TN
TDI
2003 Jetta, Platinum Grey
So can I make a 6-hour trip with 400 miles on the odometer, just vary my speed and avoid cruise control?
 

tdiScott

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Location
Northern California
TDI
Jetta 2003 Dark Grey
My mistake was using cruise, though I did wait until after 500 miles. During my commute lately, from 1000 miles through 1500 miles I have almost stopped using cruise and I am trying to follow that schedule above.

That appears to be a good guideline - I was babying my a bit much, and I have been more apt to rev it up a bit more lately.
 

B100

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Location
Berkeley, Eastbania
TDI
2003 Golf
So, have people broken in their new TDIs on long trips? Sounds like not the best idea, unless you want to look like a doofus on the freeway, speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, etc.

Our build date is March 14, delivery by end of month. I am hesitant to take it on a trip to Flagstaff and back, I'll get better break-in just leaving it here and then driving it in the City and the hills, hills, hills. OTOH, I can find a route from here and back that has the least amount of Interstate and favors the kinds of backroads I would usually take with the motorcycle. Any comments?
 

iluvmytdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Location
Memphis, TN
TDI
2003 Jetta, Platinum Grey
Oh well I guess I'm going to look like a doofus. My family is 6 hours away and I haven't seen them in a month. I wanna go home, and I wanna go in my TDI! It's my TDI and I'll break it in on the interstate if I have to. Not exactly ideal conditions, but the first 400 mi. have been all city, no highway. That's gotta count for somethin', right... Right?
 

lojasmo

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2002
Location
Rochester, Minnesota
TDI
'12 JSW
Just like you said iainiah. Take the back roads, you'll be fine. OR just go ahead and look like a doofus Just make sure nobody's around when you do you 60-100 runs.
 

MITBeta

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Location
Boston's Metro South-West
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI, 2004 Sprinter CDI Passenger (Mid/High), former: 1996 Passat TDI Variant
When I took long highway trips during the break-in period, I varied my speed around the average, so if the average speed was 70, I'd go from 60 to 80... I also used the above mentioned downshifting technique at the lower speeds to get the tach up to 3000 or so for a few minutes...

I, too, used cruise control coming home from the dealer (only for about 10 miles...) before reading the manual. But I don't think you'll find anyone who's had any problems due to improper break-in technique... but then again it might not show up for 250k miles...
 

Jimbo70

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Feb 18, 2003
Location
New Milford, CT
TDI
VW free for the first time in 24 years
This is great info, and definitely NOT covered like this in the owner's manual (which someone in a different thread berated me for asking and not reading). I've been "babying" the car, keeping revs below 3000 RPM as much as possible. Luckily I just broke 700 miles, so its not too late.
 

OneBadBug

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
TDI
New Beetle
Moto GS,
I would definately take the TDI by way of backroads more suited to motorcycling. Who who would want to drone on and on down the interstate in ANY vehicle?

It's all about the journey, man, not the destination.
 

fallingwindows

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Location
CO
TDI
2013 Sportwagen
There was a very interesting article in Cycle World a few years back about breaking in engines. They bought 3 identical brand new sportbikes and broke them all in differently - one completely by the book, one they beat on hard from start one, and the 3rd I can't remember. After a number of miles, they tore apart all 3 motors. Upon microscopic inspection, component wear was essentially identical among the 3. Granted, these are high-strung, high-revving tiny gas motors, but it was a very interesting article....

That said, I'm still looking forward to my next TDI, the 136hp 6 speed A5, brand new, and I'll be by the book for the first 10k! It'll just satisfy my OCD so much more....
 

cagduc

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Location
Oregon
TDI
Jetta, 2003, Blue
If the break-in period were truly as complex as drivbiwire makes is sound, we'd all fall short of the glory! First of all, if ring seating took 60,000 miles, why does the factory recommend using 100% synthetic oil out of the box?? Seating would be much more rapid using conventional oil with more frequent oil changes (say, at 1,500 miles, 3,000 and then 5,000). His recommendation of varying speeds to 5,000 miles is a sound one. However, unless you are planning to drive your TDI all the way to heaven, don't fret over driving the nirvana schedule laid out by drivebiwire. The factory owners manual break-in recommendation will get you to 200,000 miles, and beyond, just the same.
 

Davin

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 4, 2001
Location
L.A.
TDI
2001 Golf GLS 5spd blk/blk
First of all, if ring seating took 60,000 miles, why does the factory recommend using 100% synthetic oil out of the box?? Seating would be much more rapid using conventional oil with more frequent oil changes (say, at 1,500 miles, 3,000 and then 5,000).
Synthetic is required for other reasons... namely the high piston ring positions and it helps out the turbo as well. True, a conventional oil may break the engine in quicker, but that's not the whole story on what type of oil should be used.
 

Drivbiwire

Zehntes Jahr der Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 1998
Location
Boise, Idaho
TDI
2013 Passat TDI, Newmar Ventana 8.3L ISC 3945, 2016 E250 BT, 2000 Jetta TDI
First of all, if ring seating took 60,000 miles, why does the factory recommend using 100% synthetic oil out of the box?? Seating would be much more rapid using conventional oil with more frequent oil changes (say, at 1,500 miles, 3,000 and then 5,000).
Conventional oil must NOT be used in ANY A4 TDI under any circumstances. The temperatures of the top compression ring will coke the oil (220C well above ANY conventional oils threshold for heat) This will lead to jammed rings or deposits also leading to reduced compression or worse scoring of the cylinder bores.

A TDI does in fact take 60,000 miles to break in, how do I know? Simple I sampled about 30 TDI's over the course of 100,000 miles performing comrpression checks First with less than 500 mile on the odometer then at 5,000 and then every 10,000 miles there after until compression topped out at 550PSI. A random sampling of TDI's outside of this group also showed the same compression figures of 550PSI regardless of mileage when using 5w40 oils. (Note: 5w30 showed lower compression figures usually around 520 psi due to viscocsity differences thus decreasing sealing efficiency for the purpose of compression checks).

So yes it DOES take 60,000 miles to fully seat the rings in a TDI. Would you care to elaborate on why it is you feel that it does not?

PS Synthetic is NOT a super lubricant. It still lubricates in the same fashion as conventional oil using the same exact principles. What Synthetic oil DOES NOT have in common with conventional is that it does not break down as rapidly when exposed to heat. Synthetic also requires much higher temps ove longer periods of time to cause thinnning. Synthetic also has different heat absorbtion characteristics that result in better heat transfer to remove heat from within the motor. Synthetic oils due to the more extreme uses such as those carrying the CI-4 rating contain very high levels of additives, some of these additives improve the protection afforded the engine when the oil is run for longer durations such as in the case with extended drain intervals.

DB
 

Drivbiwire

Zehntes Jahr der Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 1998
Location
Boise, Idaho
TDI
2013 Passat TDI, Newmar Ventana 8.3L ISC 3945, 2016 E250 BT, 2000 Jetta TDI
why does the factory recommend using 100% synthetic oil out of the box?? Seating would be much more rapid using conventional oil with more frequent oil changes (say, at 1,500 miles, 3,000 and then 5,000).
TDI Piston from an A4 ALH that had used nothing but synthetic (Group IV to be specific) over the course of 60,000 miles, Despite the discoloration from the extreme heat of combustion the rings were still free in their grooves, had a conventional oil been used the top ring and lower rings would have been damaged



DB
 

vwmike2

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Location
Tucson, AZ
TDI
2003 Reflex Silver Jetta Wagon
This elaborate break-in ritual sounds convincing, but it doesn't agree with the VW manual. Personally, I follow the manual instead of advice I find on the internet. I would recommend others do so too. The advice may be well intentioned but not definitive. I drove my car on the interstate for over 100 miles directly after picking it up. I used cruise some, slowed down some, no-cruise, faster than speed limit, slower than speed limit, etc. Of course, I read the manual before I drove away and the salesman mentioned the break-in period.
 

DallasTDi

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Aug 29, 2002
Location
Dallas, TX
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2001 Silver GLS
"doesn't agree with the VW manual" is stretching it a little. I think the manual is generic in a sense and what was listed in this thread compliments the manual, agrees with it and enhances it by being more specific for the end user. Everyone has to make their own choice, but your "internet opinion" is no more valid than the one you are trying to knock.
 

Davin

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 4, 2001
Location
L.A.
TDI
2001 Golf GLS 5spd blk/blk
My 2001 Golf 5-speed manual says that the timing belt has to be changed every 40k miles. For BOTH transmissions. We know that's wrong, and so does the sticker in my engine compartment that says 60k.

What's my point? The manual isn't infallible and isn't the be-all-end-all.

Besides, I think that DallasTDi makes a good point... this advice enhances what is already in the manual. None of this advice directly contradicts anything in the manual, it just recommends additional procedures.
 

cagduc

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
Location
Oregon
TDI
Jetta, 2003, Blue
I don't disagree with much of what drivebiwire says. I only have a few points: 1) My 2003 TDI Jetta redlines at 4,600 rpm so I'm not sure what he means by "Us[ing] the full 5,100 rpm power range." 2) If you want to drive your TDI in a paranoid manner for the "first" 60,000 miles . . . have fun! 3) He offers no proof that following the VW recommended break in period results in future performance/longevity that is detrimental to the life of your car. Drive On and HAVE FUN!!!
 

MileageDude

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
So, have people broken in their new TDIs on long trips? Sounds like not the best idea, unless you want to look like a doofus on the freeway, speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, etc....?
Wrong, simply down shift your engine at the same speed. If you're at 65mph in 5th, drop to 3rd and maintain the same speed +(-) 5mph. When you leave your coffee stop let your rpm in 1st, 2nd and 3rd vary upwards in engine speed ->not your mph travling speed by.

It's actually simple to load the motor and not alter the speeds too much. It's actually a no brainer. I used 4th most of the break-in period at highway speeds. I rarely used over drive and nevr Cruise Control. I also layed off the pedal completely and floored the pedal to activate the vains on the turbo to get the best bang for the buck.

You can also drive around your neighborhood at 30mph in 1st gear too and have the same rpm as if doing +90mph on the freeway.

For what it's worth my break-in is exactly what was wrote in the outline above. I hope for 550psi. I've earned it.

 

MITBeta

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Feb 24, 2001
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Boston's Metro South-West
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2001 Jetta TDI, 2004 Sprinter CDI Passenger (Mid/High), former: 1996 Passat TDI Variant

loggin

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Location
AMD Processor Tech
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Golf-02-Indigo Blue
This elaborate break-in ritual sounds convincing, but it doesn't agree with the VW manual. Personally, I follow the manual instead of advice I find on the internet. I would recommend others do so too. The advice may be well intentioned but not definitive. I drove my car on the interstate for over 100 miles directly after picking it up. I used cruise some, slowed down some, no-cruise, faster than speed limit, slower than speed limit, etc. Of course, I read the manual before I drove away and the salesman mentioned the break-in period.
<font color="red"> uh...ooohhh </font>
this is the TDI forum and all....
 

MOGolf

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underneath something
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2001 Golf GLS TDI Reflex silver, rough road suspension and steel skid plate, 2004 Passat Variant, Candy White, rough road suspension and geared balanced shaft module, and much, much more. 2016 LR RR HSE TD6, 2019 Jaguar I-PACE
Personally, I follow the manual instead of advice I find on the internet. I would recommend others do so too.
Oh what a conundrum you present. To not follow advice found on the internet, or to follow your advice found on the internet.


I wonder what Fred did when he bought his TDI in Toronto and drove it to Vancouver. Not a short trip. Not even for me.
 

loggin

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Jan 17, 2003
Location
AMD Processor Tech
TDI
Golf-02-Indigo Blue
the salesman mentioned the break-in period
yeah, I remember the salesman saying, oh, yeah, cruise control can be used after "300" miles, and the rest etc..." I am sure the "advice/info" given from my salesman was with "good" intentions" yet, he does not own-nor is he "read-up" on the diesel side of things.
I truly am very appreciative that Fred's TDI Site is here.

Just think how many "less" gray hairs you will have now with the help of TDI internet advice.....my .02
 

IowaA4TDI

Active member
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Location
Omaha, NE
TDI
2003 Jetta GL TDI "Reflex Silver"
I'm sure the above mentioned break in period would be great, but it's a tad unrealistic in real world driving conditions. We took delivery of my girlfriend's silver TDI last night, had to drive it 150 miles on I-80 from Des Moines to Omaha, NE. I drove it at varying speeds and did a few "ring seating" accelleration runs... but a lot of the trip was at constant speed.

I am new to this board - love it for info - but having been a TDR member and a Dodge/Cummins owner for 6 years, I find it strange that many of the same people who are so concerned with break-in periods ALSO have let their TDI's idle for warmup?!?!?!? In the POwerstroke, Cummins and Cat forums (which I frequent), it is a tremendous TABOO to let your diesel idle when cold. Two problems: unburnt or partially burnt fuel is abrasive, and will lead to poor ring seal and loss of compression. Cummins includes this same text in their manuals - my John Deere tractor also recommends idling at 1500RPM if required to idle for extended periods, for the same reason. Another issue with Cummins is that prolonged idling causes valve deposits, stuck valves, and bent pushrods. There is a fleet owner who can testify to this on dodge-diesel.org.

It just seems strange to be all bent out of shape on break-in periods, while they let their TDI idle on a cold winter morning to heat it up. Sign up on some other diesel forums and tell them we do that... you'd get flamed immediately...
 

AUMikeT

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Location
Atlanta, GA
TDI
New Jetta, 2005.5, Platinum Grey
I've never heard anyone here say to let your TDI idle to warm up, I always hear the opposite, don't let it warm up.
 
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