I messed up bigtime. Loosened head bolts by accident.

cjharris02892

Veteran Member
Joined
May 4, 2004
Location
West Kingston, RI 02892
TDI
2000 New Beetle, 2000 Golf and 2005 Jetta MKIV w/BEW
I'm screwed aren't I. I was getting tired and didn't think what I was doing and I loosened the head bolts on my 2005 BEW MKIV. As this point I'm screwed, aren't I? I didn't move anything and put the bolts back in without touching anything, but I think the head gasket released.

I assumed I'm going to have to do a new head gasket now.

Any advice?
 

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
How many bolts did you loosen?
And what were you doing in there that you accidentally loosened bolts.
 

cjharris02892

Veteran Member
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May 4, 2004
Location
West Kingston, RI 02892
TDI
2000 New Beetle, 2000 Golf and 2005 Jetta MKIV w/BEW
timing belt, replace cam and intake cleaning. I had a brain fart. I guess no big deal in the end. Everything else is pretty much torn apart anyway, so I'll just order a new set of bolts and gasket. I don't know where my head was. the torque on those things should have told me something. just way overtired from all the other things i had to do this week. It's a lost cause, i loosened them all before i realized what i had done. Like a horse to the barn, blinders on.

Thanks for the reply anyway.
 

dhangejr

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Joined
Mar 1, 2017
Location
PNW is my home
TDI
mk4 Jetta
Lots of guys swap pd150 head bolts w/o new HG.

So, I think if you just loosened them you’ll be fine. It is imperative to get the proper TQ settings , which if you did not mark them may be impossible given they are stretch bolts.

I’d Maybe TQ em down , give em 1/8 or 1/4 more turn. Drive it a little bit and watch closely.


On my car the head bolts were reused by prior mechanic. Long story short , I’ve been lucky. I expect to change the HG one day, knock on wood ;)
 

pedroYUL

Veteran Member
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Sep 8, 2011
Location
MI, USA
TDI
2004 wagon BEW; 2015 Passat CVCA; 2015 GSW CRUA
Can't just torque them back, those bolts are TTY. You need new bolts, but I don't think you need a new gasket, just bolts.
 

dhangejr

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Location
PNW is my home
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mk4 Jetta
Nah, if you mark them they can be reused. NOT advised, however…mine have been removed (I think) and I’ve got over 20k on em myself.

I’ll try and spare the novel ,pretty sure the shady guy in the VW dealer coat I got my new wagon from did just that


So. the whole car was marked in red pen injector , Turbo, timing belt, and every head bolt. Here’s some some documentation . https://www.myturbodiesel.com/threads/new-here.36998/post-172546

Also, I have a friend who is a VW guru and it is possible to mark them and set them. He said he has done it but never on a warrantied customers car.

Again NOT typically advisable but my car has at least 20k on in this way (I have replaced every timing component , the cam, turbo, ect ect but not the head bolts)

Guess this is the reason I got a rust free 5speed tuned BEW wagon for 3k with 168k
I even drove it as is for 10k before having camshaft issues before I cracked the cam cover and took a look. I am lucky. The timing belt was replaced as he said but the wate pump started weeping it was original as was the tensioner I believe. But now I have a 7k car with an LSD (trans doff blew up)
 

dhangejr

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PNW is my home
TDI
mk4 Jetta
Having re read the post , he has everything torn down already. Why not swap it …I’ve got some pd150 head bolts sitting on my bench cuz I’m too chicken **** to swap em and I don’t believe I need them boosting at 25psi
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
Nah, if you mark them they can be reused. NOT advised, however…mine have been removed (I think) and I’ve got over 20k on em myself.
well, they can be reused once if you use the factory torquing procedure and they'll hold mostly okay

Next time you go through one of these guys use a bending-beam style torque wrench while you're doing the final two 90s
you'll notice that twice reused bolts end up with about 90ft/lb after the second 90 degree step
third time reusing them you're not gonna even hit 70ftlb as they're just pulling apart at that point.
All of this is with the ALH and its slightly shorter head bolts though. The longer PD bolts are likely yielding slightly less.

When I reuse headbolts I'll just torque them 40-80-90-100 ft/lb without any degree increments afterwords. If one starts levelling off before it hits 100 ft/lb, I'll set the rest of the bolts to whatever torque that weak one was holding, then go back through the pattern and reduce the rest to that torque value afterwords.
 

dhangejr

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2017
Location
PNW is my home
TDI
mk4 Jetta
Yeah the guru said the same thing , when reusing TTY bolts just use TQ value w/o the stretching procedure. This prevents over stretching which makes them snap.

I do prefer to error on the side of caution and replace them tho
 

Mozambiquer

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Mar 21, 2015
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Versailles Missouri
TDI
1998 VW Jetta TDI. 1982 VW Rabbit pickup, 2001 VW Jetta TDI, 2005 VW Passat wagon TDI X3, 2001 VW golf TDI, 1980 VW rabbit pickup,
I would not reuse the bolts. They're cheap.
The head gasket *should* be replaced as well, but some people don't and it may work if the head isn't actually disturbed.
 

Prairieview

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Jul 9, 2017
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Too close to Sturgis 'ithole
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Two 2000 Beetles, 2002 Jetta, 2002 gas avh Jetta, fleet of older 1.6 turbo and non's
Well, look at the "bright" side. You may well get the opportunity to do the job TWICE. How wonderful.

Do it intelligently NOW.
 

cjharris02892

Veteran Member
Joined
May 4, 2004
Location
West Kingston, RI 02892
TDI
2000 New Beetle, 2000 Golf and 2005 Jetta MKIV w/BEW
The head was not removed or shifted. I loosened ALL the bolts, but only pulled 1 one from its hole when I realized the "oh Sh!t" moment and I immediately tightened them all back up to try and prevent coolant from migrating into cylinders. I hadn't drained the collant yet. I did not torque any of them, just tightened them back down.

So, if I get new bolts and retorque the head, is the consensus that i should be ok? I wouldn't restart the car without turning it by hand a few times and turning it over a few more times with injectors disconnected. Wouldn't want to hydrolock the thing.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
The head was not removed or shifted. I loosened ALL the bolts, but only pulled 1 one from its hole when I realized the "oh Sh!t" moment and I immediately tightened them all back up to try and prevent coolant from migrating into cylinders. I hadn't drained the collant yet. I did not torque any of them, just tightened them back down.

So, if I get new bolts and retorque the head, is the consensus that i should be ok? I wouldn't restart the car without turning it by hand a few times and turning it over a few more times with injectors disconnected. Wouldn't want to hydrolock the thing.
yeah it'll prolly be fine
if you do lift the head and put in a new gasket a lot of times the new gasket won't seal too well without decking the head because of how the fire rings wear into the aluminum over time
 

pedroYUL

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MI, USA
TDI
2004 wagon BEW; 2015 Passat CVCA; 2015 GSW CRUA
Don't pull the injectors, or they'll need new gaskets. Pull the glow plugs and crank the engine
 

Franko6

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May 7, 2005
Location
Sw Missouri
TDI
Jetta, 99, Silver`
Far be it for you being the first to do this. I've had 20-year+ mechanics unintentionally remove head bolts. It's not the worst thing you can do.

You have done the right thing to retighten the head bolts. Although I've seen people try reusing head bolts, that is a fool's bet. If the block or head have been heat-warped, the head gasket probably popped loose when the bolts were removed. And if you are one of those that say, "It never overheated.", you have to keep in mind the temperature gauge on the dash is a liar.

So, you might buy a new set of head bolts (about $45), and the engine starts leaking water or pressurizes the coolant system. So, there is no guarantee. You might get lucky; might not. But you won't make that mistake again...

If the old head bolts have been retightened, get the new bolts, remove the old bolts, one-at-a-time, and install new head bolts. Oil the head bolt washers and the threads of the bolt with 30 wt oil, or whatever is handy. Start at the center of the head, working in an X pattern, tighten each bolt to the second pre-load number; 44 ft lbs (60nm), removing each old bolt, and tightening in the new one. Then, proceed with the two 90 degree turns, again, working in an X pattern, tightening from the center to the outside.

There are a lot of turns and it's easy to 'get lost', especially on the final two TTY turns. Once the pre-load is set on the head bolts, I mark the top of each bolt with a yellow paint stick, at the 12 o'clock position (manifold side of the head bolt). Then you can easily see the 1/4 turns to 3 o'clock and finally, to the 6 o'clock position. It's best to use a long breaker bar for the final turn. It is up around110-115 ft lbs.

If the any cylinder loses exhaust into the water jacket, you will have a overflow tank that will pressurize. You may see oil in the overflow. Your coolant level may go down. If any of these issues happen, the replacement head bolts did not work and your head gasket broke loose and will have to be replaced. In spite of some reusing a head gasket, that's absurd... I would say you also probably should affirm that both the cylinder head and the block are truly flat. One mention of the head gasket embossing the head, that would be normal, as it is aluminum, but that embossing also happens to the block, and that can cause the assumption the block is flat when it is not.

The other 'common cure' is to use either higher torque head bolts or ARP studs, which personally, I have fallen out of favor with. The problem with doing a 'bandaid patch', is although the ARP, RaceWare, or the Opti-Torque I am currently using; although you can get bolts that cost more than 4 times as much to clamp the head down, the extra torque will also distort the block so the rings no longer fit correctly in the top 1" or so. Attempting to make a cylinder head flat by pure brute force can do more damage than good. Also, there is the incident of cracking the block's bolt holes, which is the death of the block.

I would try the simplest, cheapest fix. New stock head bolts. If that fails, you have to remove the cylinder head, rework the head and make sure the block is flat.

If I can be any additional help, cylinder head work and the particulars of these TDI's are my skill set.

Good luck.
 
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