Hard Start / No Start - Is your intercooler frozen? Check Here!

jesus_man

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Location
North Dakota
TDI
2005 Jetta (gone), 2002 Passat (gone), 2009 JSW (VW bought), 2010 JSW
I did not elect to get the VW kit, instead did some tuning to eliminate EGR. Unfortunately, I still am getting condensation. And with the temps here beginning to stick below freezing, my drain isn't functioning as designed. I think it may improve soon when my car will be able to spend the daytime in the garage, but for now, I am counting on the few days it warms up to blow out the water.
 

prsa01

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2000
Location
mpls,mn usa
TDI
14 jsw 6m, 96 B4v, miss my a4 :(
Grill covering ?s

In the past I used the pipe insulation method of lower grill covering (a4 & a5). This year I happen to have some closed cell foam rubber squares and so instead have about the same amount of radiator covered, but, right in front of the rad instead of in front of the grill.

My lower grill has 2 small cutouts on the passenger side which is where I believe the intercooler is. Also some small air holes in the cover to the passenger side and ahead of the radiator that I also expect passes some air to the intercooler.

I did block the one behind the grill but not the 2 small lower grill holes on passenger side.

Any thoughts on what should/shouldn't be covered to hopefully avoid the icing but not cause other issues?

Thanks
 

Matt927

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Location
Northeast
TDI
several
I have always covered the lower/center grille on CJAA equipped Golfs and Jetta Wagons. With or without the intercooler "fix." If you have a front license plate you will need to cut part of the license plate mount. Drive with the covering in temps up to 65 without any spike in coolant temp or codes thrown for inefficiency.

I still have the two upper grille covers from the ID Parts kits but have never used them on any TDI, only the lower. You can see the three covers from ID Parts site.

 

DDTDI

New member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Location
Port Coquitlam BC
TDI
2013 Golf
Hello everyone. Do we know what is causing this? How do we stop this water in the inter cooler issue from happening? I live in southern British Columbia and it’s wet here. Had my first 2012 TDI for 140,000 km with zero issues. It got tossed in a rear ender about 4 months after got the Emissions fix. Then I picked up the same car but a 2013 has the fix, but the thing has this issue. Is it emission fix related? or am I just an unlucky person like some of you? Love the car, but I seems it’s having major water in the inter cooler issue. Drain it every 3,000 km and we are getting over a cup of water out of it. So keep it and fiddle fart around? Or dump it like a bad habit? Car only has 42,000 km on it. 🤬
 

Wilkins

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Location
British Columbia
TDI
05 Jetta Wagon 5sp, 10 Sportwagen 6MT
Some cars seem to have major problems, others don’t. Before the fix I had maybe one instance per year of a stumble after starting or a rough start. It was repeatable, happening after longer periods of slower gentle driving. Despite the title I don’t think it needs freezing conditions to happen, usually I had problems above 5C.
After the fix it got much worse, to the point I thought the car was unsafe. It’s not fun to have the engine die while merging in front of a truck.
I understand the problem is related to the low pressure EGR which returns water vapour to the intake since water is one of the combustion products, and the fix increased the EGR in order to lower combustion temperature so less NOx was produced. My thinking is that at low power levels EGR is fairly high, but boost level is low so the temperature in the intercooler is low enough to condense the water vapour. At steady low rpm the lower part of the intercooler fills with water until the air velocity in the remainder of the intercooler is high enough to keep the water entrained or maybe that part of the intercooler stays hot enough to stop more water from condensing, or a bit of both. If power and rpm is suddenly increased, air flow and temperature goes up, more water, either vapour or droplets, is sucked out of the intercooler which results in a significant power loss and can even stall the engine.
If the engine is shut off the water level in the intercooler could go up and even block airflow, preventing the engine from starting. I had one instance where the engine wouldn’t start, then the starter was struggling and could barely crank. While checking the battery terminals I noticed the stream of water running out from under the engine. I had drilled a drain hole in the charge piping and it was doing its job. At least a cup of water came out, after which the engine cranked normally, started and ran roughly for a moment then seemed fine.
Malone seems to have fixed the problem for me. I wouldn’t have gone that route but an engine that dies in critical situations is not acceptable.
 

jesus_man

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Location
North Dakota
TDI
2005 Jetta (gone), 2002 Passat (gone), 2009 JSW (VW bought), 2010 JSW
Malone seems to have fixed the problem for me
I am glad to hear that. Just after I installed my tune, I had one more episode, but it was at a time when I wasn't driving the car much and the temps had a huge flux that day from 60's to below freezing. Since then, there was one other time it ran rough, but I don't know that it was due to the water as I didn't get the tell tale plum of steam out the tailpipe.
 

Porch

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Location
Asheville, NC
TDI
2011 jetta sportwagen tdi 6spd
I just had a hydro-lock scare(no-start in cold weather) in the Denver area, had car towed to a local shop, then to vw of Boulder, and they just got back to me with the good news that they sprayed some silicone somewhere and the car started right up. It apparently needs a new ecu at vw's expense, but whatever.

The relevant part to this thread is, the guy at vw told me that if the intercooler had hydro-locked the engine and caused subsequent catastrophic damage, that vw would've been on the hook for all the repairs under the extended emissions warranty, which I'm still under for a few thousand more miles.
 

jesus_man

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Location
North Dakota
TDI
2005 Jetta (gone), 2002 Passat (gone), 2009 JSW (VW bought), 2010 JSW
That is correct. People have gotten engine replacements under this warrant from hydro-locking engines.

I'm out of warranty now, so hoping the mods I did will mitigate the chances of this happening.
 

joesaiditstrue

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Location
Illinois
TDI
2013 Jetta Sportwagen 2.0L DSG
So should anyone with these mk6 tdis be drilling that hole into their intake if they live in cold weather environments?
 

KITEWAGON

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Location
Seacoast, NH
TDI
2014 Touareg Exec, 2014 JSW
It definitely takes some specific weather conditions to trigger this issue. My car stalled out right after starting when trying to leave work and then ran little rough for a minute and needed a little throttle to keep it going last week. This is my 3rd winter with this car and never had an issue before. But it was a very humid, foggy morning and near freezing temps. One other data point is that I had not installed my ID Parts winter front yet which I always have used, but was late on. So that is on now. I've also just gone Malone Stage 2 so I'm hoping that cuts down the EGR and I never see this issue again.

On our old 2011 JSW we only had the issue once or twice as well over the course of 5-6 years and 120k miles.
 

five6four

Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Location
Philly area
TDI
2011 JSW
so I had this happen to me today. went to start the car, nothing. thought it was the battery because I hadn't driven the car in 3 or 4 days, so I put the battery charger on it, tried again, it started to turn over but then died. so I jacked the car up, took off the belly pan, and loosened the intercooler hose clamp to drain it. cant say exactly how much drained out since I wasn't catching it, but id say about a cup, maybe more. took a couple tries to get it to fire up, had to give it a little throttle while cranking to get it to fire up, held a little throttle for a minute at first to make sure it would stay running. there was a lot of smoke coming out the exhaust, let it idle for awhile, drove it around for a half hour or so, seemed to run fine, no CEL, but I don't have a diagnostic tool so I don't know if there were any other codes.

Temps haven't been all that cold here recently, although a couple weeks ago I did drive to/from Cincinnati (8hrs each way) but even on that drive temps were at or above freezing.

Now my question, I am supposed to drive back to Cincinnati tomorrow morning, do you all think its safe to make the drive? Also is there any problem with making the drive both ways with the belly pan off? simply out of pure laziness and not wanting to put it back on in the cold and dark.
 

akjdouglass

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Location
Jefferson City, Missouri
TDI
2012 Jetta w/premium (sold to VW); 2014 Jetta Value Edition; 2015 Jetta SEL
Safe to drive once it's running. The real danger is trying to start it when it's hydro-locked. Water on top of a piston will not compress, and the starter is strong enough to cause damage.

The best thing to do when this happens is to immediately stop and drain the intercooler hose, pull the glow plugs, disconnect the fuel pump, place a towel over the glow plug ports (prevents mess) and turn over the engine several times to blow the water out. You can be up and running in an hour or less.

For me, it has been much less hassle to do this myself instead of having it towed to the dealer and letting them take care of it.
 

Sanny632

New member
Joined
Dec 31, 2020
Location
Northwest Indiana
TDI
14 Jetta sportwagen
Ok hello everyone ... wife has a 14 sportwagen

a few weeks ago it had a hard start situation ....almost seemed flooded ... I knownow it was this frozen intercooler .... car was fine since then I never thought to google the issue ....

Yesterday it wouldn’t start at all I found this forum and pushed this **** box into the garage and pulled belly pan .. the passenger side inter cooler pipe is frozen solid .... I mean solid .. so I’m melting it down and staying water .... her car has 63000 w an extended vw warranty ... will they replace this piping w the new one ... thanks in advance back to melting
 

Porch

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Location
Asheville, NC
TDI
2011 jetta sportwagen tdi 6spd
Ok hello everyone ... wife has a 14 sportwagen

a few weeks ago it had a hard start situation ....almost seemed flooded ... I knownow it was this frozen intercooler .... car was fine since then I never thought to google the issue ....

Yesterday it wouldn’t start at all I found this forum and pushed this **** box into the garage and pulled belly pan .. the passenger side inter cooler pipe is frozen solid .... I mean solid .. so I’m melting it down and staying water .... her car has 63000 w an extended vw warranty ... will they replace this piping w the new one ... thanks in advance back to melting
Yes, the intercooler is one of the main parts of the warranty. Mine just got done in Denver.
 

Sanny632

New member
Joined
Dec 31, 2020
Location
Northwest Indiana
TDI
14 Jetta sportwagen
Did you have to have it towed in? Or did you just take it in ? I wanted to remove it all and just drive it in ... but wasn’t sure if vw would claim that it’s fine
 

Matt927

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Location
Northeast
TDI
several
Every dealer is different. Some will replace at the hint of symptoms while others will require the car be towed and and the problem replicated.

I hope you documented everything with pictures/video or had the car towed...
 

Porch

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Location
Asheville, NC
TDI
2011 jetta sportwagen tdi 6spd
Did you have to have it towed in? Or did you just take it in ? I wanted to remove it all and just drive it in ... but wasn’t sure if vw would claim that it’s fine
I had to have it towed in, car wouldn't start.
 

simmer

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2015
Location
Chicagoland
TDI
2013 JSW
The best thing to do when this happens is to immediately stop and drain the intercooler hose, pull the glow plugs, disconnect the fuel pump, place a towel over the glow plug ports (prevents mess) and turn over the engine several times to blow the water out. You can be up and running in an hour or less.

For me, it has been much less hassle to do this myself instead of having it towed to the dealer and letting them take care of it.
Any tips for getting the wires off the top of the glow plugs? Not much space for a hand to grab the plastic boot and pliers easily shattered the top ring which was apparently very brittle.


-Jeff
 

akjdouglass

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Location
Jefferson City, Missouri
TDI
2012 Jetta w/premium (sold to VW); 2014 Jetta Value Edition; 2015 Jetta SEL
I use a pair of 90 degree needle nose pliers. One of mine is broken, too. There are pliers like Matt927 mentioned that probably work much better.

I take the harness out of the plastic tray it's snapped into and loosen anything that will give me more room to pull the wires off the plug. The one closest to the battery seems impossible, but it will come off if you've slackened things up a bit.
 

simmer

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2015
Location
Chicagoland
TDI
2013 JSW
Do you have a pair of hose grip pliers? Twist and pull.
I use a pair of 90 degree needle nose pliers. One of mine is broken, too. There are pliers like Matt927 mentioned that probably work much better.

I take the harness out of the plastic tray it's snapped into and loosen anything that will give me more room to pull the wires off the plug. The one closest to the battery seems impossible, but it will come off if you've slackened things up a bit.
Thanks for the help! I found a set of hose grip pliers at Harbor Freight and those worked relatively well. The amount of force required to remove the wires was pretty surprising.

Needless to say, first time with hydrostatic lock in 180k miles. About 3 cups of water and sludge came out of the intercooler and a mist of water/sludge came shooting out of at least one of the cylinders. Once everything was put back together, it's all purring like a kitten. Will add draining the intercooler as step to the oil change routine. Glad this thread exists!

-Jeff
 

akjdouglass

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Location
Jefferson City, Missouri
TDI
2012 Jetta w/premium (sold to VW); 2014 Jetta Value Edition; 2015 Jetta SEL
I should've mentioned that you should be very careful removing and reinstalling the glow plugs. There's a couple YouTube vids of MKVI TDI glow plug replacement. Apparently the threads can strip or the plug can break, especially if they've been over torqued.

I think the correct torque is 10 or 11 ft/lbs?

Intercooler icing happened occasionally before my 2014 Jetta got the dieselgate fix. Post-fix it became a predictable, regular occurrence. Driving in freezing temps, followed by a subsequent cold-start in above freezing temps practically guaranteed a no-start. Didn't happen to my wife's 2012 Jetta one single time in 112,000 miles (all pre-fix) driving in the exact same conditions.

In think my new exhaust and stage 2 tune have properly made the icing issue a thing of the past for me. Not an issue in wife's 2015 TDI that replaced the 2012, either.
 

06bluebeetletdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Location
Middlesex, NC
TDI
'14 Passat TDI SEL and '13 Beetle TDI
I had to tow mine twice, first time under the cpo warranty leading to cold weather kit installation, second time under dieselgate warranty, i had drained the water and unknowingly killed the battery (bug wouldn’t start just made a horrible noise), dealer charged the battery, checked the intercooler kit and off i went. Now as shown above, it has a winter front and i drain the hose every 5,000 miles.
 

austinroepke

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Location
Illinois, USA
TDI
2012 Sportwagen
Just a heads up for those in North America; the intercooler kit listed in the TSB is back ordered for all of North America, apparently. If you are covered by CPO, the fix might take a while.

Edit: Cold Weather Kits are back in-stock.
 
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MrCypherr

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2012
Location
Ontario
TDI
Mk6 Wagon
Two questions;

One, With doing a DPF/EGR (Hi&Lo) delete, I know the EGR is the cause forthis and that deleting it helps alot. Should I still do the cold weather kit? Does it affect MPG in anyway possible?

Two, Ive heard on your airbox, if you take the part that goes from your grille to the bottom of your airbox off and tape it off, it helps. But i was thinking, isnt that just blocking air off and affect power/MPG?
 

jesus_man

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Location
North Dakota
TDI
2005 Jetta (gone), 2002 Passat (gone), 2009 JSW (VW bought), 2010 JSW
Since I have tuned out the EGR and unplugged it, I am not noticing any more drippings from the drain I installed. I do not have the cold weather kit, but when it was -20 or colder, I wish I did.

Sounds like a bad idea to block the air your engine requires to run. I could see that adversely affecting fuel mileage. Turbo Diesel require roughly 8 times more air then their NA counterparts.
 
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