Engine trouble after deer strike

bigjake

Veteran Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Location
Charlottesville, VA
TDI
2005 Jetta MKIV, 1.9 BEW with 09A
Hey guys,

Two weeks ago, I was driving down the interstate. It was night time in an unlit area, so rather dark out. I was in the right lane and was rolling up on a tractor trailer driving slow in the right lane. So I merged left to pass him. As I was passing him, I looked right to see how much further until I finished passing him and to see if anyone was ahead of him. Right when I looked forward at my lane again, there was an adult deer carcass in the middle of the road. By the time I saw it, there was nothing I could do. Even if I had time to react, swerving would have meant running up under the tractor trailer or diving down a ravine and I did not have anywhere near enough stopping distance to avoid this. So, with no choice, I ran over the deer going somewhere between 70-80 mph. It was an awful banging sound as I felt the car slightly rise up and over the deer. However, the car kept driving normally. The temperature gauge read normal and I wasn't getting any notifications on the panel. I then merged over in front of the truck and used its headlights to see if I could see any fluids in the roadway. I saw none. Everything seemed completely fine, so I kept driving. However after driving about another 1/2 mile, my headlights began to dim and I started losing power. Temperature gauge was still normal and still no notifications yet. I stepped on the gas a little to see if I could maintain speed and all it did was cause the engine to violently shake. I then dove over to an exit ramp and the car shut off as I was climbing the ramp. I popped it into neutral and coasted onto a shoulder and called for a tow truck. As I waited for a tow, I looked under the car. I had no fluids leaking that I could see. I had a lot going on so it would be a few weeks before I could have a look at it.

Fast forward to today. I checked the dipstick and the oil level was right in the middle of the normal zone. I checked for codes. I did have a two codes, but they were old codes I've had for awhile related to the thermostat temperature being low and then some weird code regarding the turbo actuator wiring. Both of which are old codes that I've had for years now. So, no new codes. Coolant level was fine. Turbo plumbing was fine. I looked up under the car and saw no damage whatsoever except for lots of deer hair everywhere. The last two times my car cut out on me without throwing engine codes, it's either been the crankshaft position sensor or the fuel system. The CPS and related all wiring appeared fine. Hell, all of the wiring on the car appeared fine. Out of curiosity, I was wondering if maybe a fuel line on the undercarriage got severed or kinked as a result and wondered about fuel starvation. When I looked, all of the lines underneath appeared fine. but when I started disconnecting lines up top, the fuel intake lines were bone dry. I pulled the thermostatic T off of the fuel filter and it was dry. Whether this was the result of sitting for 2.5 weeks or mechanical, I didn't know. But It was odd they weren't primed. I checked the lifter pump under the back seat. I popped the intake line off of the pump and it was dry. I cycled the key (including trying to start) and I heard the pump wind up, but saw no fuel coming out of the pump. So I started to suspect maybe the impact somehow killed the lifter pump?

I decided to see if the engine would even run before I started looking more into the lifter pump. So I popped off the intake and return lines off the fuel filter, put some diesel in a cup and then primed the lines using a Mighty Vac. This is the same process as when you would run Liqui Moly through the system to clean the injectors, so it should work. I've done this several times in the past and the car always started between 1-3 cranks. I cycled the key 7 or 8 times and it would not start. Eventually, the oil light started beeping and flashing at me. I checked the dipstick again and it was considerably below the safe zone. Probably about 1/4 inch or so.

Do you guys have any suggestions? The motor sounds a little rough when I try to start it but it doesn't sound super terrible. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some kind of a fear that maybe some sort of internal oil leak happened and the motor is trashed.
 

DivineChaos

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Minnesota
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
Hey guys,

Two weeks ago, I was driving down the interstate. It was night time in an unlit area, so rather dark out. I was in the right lane and was rolling up on a tractor trailer driving slow in the right lane. So I merged left to pass him. As I was passing him, I looked right to see how much further until I finished passing him and to see if anyone was ahead of him. Right when I looked forward at my lane again, there was an adult deer carcass in the middle of the road. By the time I saw it, there was nothing I could do. Even if I had time to react, swerving would have meant running up under the tractor trailer or diving down a ravine and I did not have anywhere near enough stopping distance to avoid this. So, with no choice, I ran over the deer going somewhere between 70-80 mph. It was an awful banging sound as I felt the car slightly rise up and over the deer. However, the car kept driving normally. The temperature gauge read normal and I wasn't getting any notifications on the panel. I then merged over in front of the truck and used its headlights to see if I could see any fluids in the roadway. I saw none. Everything seemed completely fine, so I kept driving. However after driving about another 1/2 mile, my headlights began to dim and I started losing power. Temperature gauge was still normal and still no notifications yet. I stepped on the gas a little to see if I could maintain speed and all it did was cause the engine to violently shake. I then dove over to an exit ramp and the car shut off as I was climbing the ramp. I popped it into neutral and coasted onto a shoulder and called for a tow truck. As I waited for a tow, I looked under the car. I had no fluids leaking that I could see. I had a lot going on so it would be a few weeks before I could have a look at it.

Fast forward to today. I checked the dipstick and the oil level was right in the middle of the normal zone. I checked for codes. I did have a two codes, but they were old codes I've had for awhile related to the thermostat temperature being low and then some weird code regarding the turbo actuator wiring. Both of which are old codes that I've had for years now. So, no new codes. Coolant level was fine. Turbo plumbing was fine. I looked up under the car and saw no damage whatsoever except for lots of deer hair everywhere. The last two times my car cut out on me without throwing engine codes, it's either been the crankshaft position sensor or the fuel system. The CPS and related all wiring appeared fine. Hell, all of the wiring on the car appeared fine. Out of curiosity, I was wondering if maybe a fuel line on the undercarriage got severed or kinked as a result and wondered about fuel starvation. When I looked, all of the lines underneath appeared fine. but when I started disconnecting lines up top, the fuel intake lines were bone dry. I pulled the thermostatic T off of the fuel filter and it was dry. Whether this was the result of sitting for 2.5 weeks or mechanical, I didn't know. But It was odd they weren't primed. I checked the lifter pump under the back seat. I popped the intake line off of the pump and it was dry. I cycled the key (including trying to start) and I heard the pump wind up, but saw no fuel coming out of the pump. So I started to suspect maybe the impact somehow killed the lifter pump?

I decided to see if the engine would even run before I started looking more into the lifter pump. So I popped off the intake and return lines off the fuel filter, put some diesel in a cup and then primed the lines using a Mighty Vac. This is the same process as when you would run Liqui Moly through the system to clean the injectors, so it should work. I've done this several times in the past and the car always started between 1-3 cranks. I cycled the key 7 or 8 times and it would not start. Eventually, the oil light started beeping and flashing at me. I checked the dipstick again and it was considerably below the safe zone. Probably about 1/4 inch or so.

Do you guys have any suggestions? The motor sounds a little rough when I try to start it but it doesn't sound super terrible. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some kind of a fear that maybe some sort of internal oil leak happened and the motor is trashed.
Did you happen to check battery voltage? Look at your serp belt. For it to dim and die like that, it's charging system related.fyi rour cranking with cold oil that doesn't drain out of the head fast. I bet your oil level is still fine. The light comes on after excessive engine cranking with it not starting.. it's a set perameter.
 

DivineChaos

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Minnesota
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
Also. If you have full coverage. And this happended after a deer strike. Why not call insurance?
 

turbocharged798

Veteran Member
Joined
May 21, 2009
Location
Ellenville, NY
TDI
99.5 black ALH Jetta;09 Gasser Jetta
Your lift pump is dead and likely the deer punched a hole in the fuel lines and the engine ran out of fuel. You need to fix the lift pump first and then see if the fuel line is leaking. Your engine will run for a while with a bad lift pump if the lines are leak free.
 

drucifer

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Location
fredericksburg virginia
TDI
2004 jetta sw tdi pd
Verify there is actually fuel in the tank. The strike maybe cracked the tank itself and tandem pump sucked what was left in the lines.
 

U4ick

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Location
texas
TDI
2003 jetta tdi
This is not a liability claim it falls under comprehensive and if you have comprehensive it should be covered.
Not that it matters, or that it is pertinent to this incident, since he was only carrying liability insurance, but even if he was carrying full coverage it would not be covered if he reported it the way it happened. Insurance won't cover striking objects or debris in the road. I learned this when I filed a claim for damage to my motorcycle after running over a road gator.
If I had reported that while I was passing a truck in the left lane, the tread of a tire slung off into the air and struck my motorcycle, I would have been covered. Or if a deer sprang into the roadway and you struck it, you would be covered. 😉
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
Most insurance in our state (PA) includes comprehensive. Comprehensive is usually available for just a few dollars more per year whereas collision is generally several hundred dollars more. In my rural area I’m more likely to hit a deer than to hit or get hit by another vehicle.

Comprehensive covers weird things like deer hits, road gators, debris such as firewood or rocks and things like that, it will not cover your vehicle in the event of a collision with another vehicle. Perhaps your state is different and any speculation goes out the window if the OP was only carrying liability which is what he indicated.

My thought was that whenever I tell my insurance agent I just want liability on a vehicle they always ask if I want comprehensive also since it’s only $xx extra per year and knowing our area I always elect to add it. I thought perhaps he may have had it and didn’t remember he’d added it.
 

J_dude

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Location
SK Canada
TDI
2003 1.9l “Jedi”
Am I the only one surprised he still has an oil pan after this? I’m sure my car wouldn’t lol.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Most insurance in our state (PA) includes comprehensive. Comprehensive is usually available for just a few dollars more per year whereas collision is generally several hundred dollars more. In my rural area I’m more likely to hit a deer than to hit or get hit by another vehicle.

Comprehensive covers weird things like deer hits, road gators, debris such as firewood or rocks and things like that, it will not cover your vehicle in the event of a collision with another vehicle. Perhaps your state is different and any speculation goes out the window if the OP was only carrying liability which is what he indicated.

My thought was that whenever I tell my insurance agent I just want liability on a vehicle they always ask if I want comprehensive also since it’s only $xx extra per year and knowing our area I always elect to add it. I thought perhaps he may have had it and didn’t remember he’d added it.
I'm in the same boat with both of my rigs as well. Always add comprehensive to my insurance package. Next best thing to full insurance
 
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