Longevity and Power Upgrade options

Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
Hello, first time poster here, first time VW diesel owner.

Recently picked up a nice commuter for my 70 mile/day round trip to work

An elderly man owned 2003 Jetta TDI with 277k miles on it.

I'm looking for tips and pointers for what to look out for on this thing. As well as tasteful upgrades to get a little more power. The previous owner said it had a new clutch and EGR valve installed about 50k miles ago, but could not provide any maintenance records. Mechanically, it sounds, starts and drives fine. Doesn't leave any oil spots on the ground which is good.

For longevity purposes, I have a few questions.
1. Should i be taking off the intake manifold and cleaning the gunk out?
2. How often to the turbo vanes need to be cleaned?
3. Do diesel fuels additives help with any of the above?
4. Kerma has a timing belt kit 100k miles. Is this a good kit to go with?
5. Is there any common fluids leaks i should be looking for? (coolant, oils, fuel)

I also want to get a little more pep out of this thing. My previous vehicle was a LBZ Duramax truck that had a lot of aftermarket support for adding power. Was wondering if that is possible with the ALH TDI?
Disclaimer, I am a Cali resident so any tuning will have to leave the readiness monitors on.

Power upgrade questions:
1. What power upgrade did you guys do first?
2. For tuning, i have heard of Malone and Kerma. Do their tunes leave the readiness monitors active? (pass cali smog)
3. At what HP above stock do i have to worry about the clutch burning up?
4. Is there a new intake manifold i can buy that's CARB legal that i can swap instead of cleaning the OEM one?
5. I've heard of .216 injectors, do they gain HP with the stock tune?
6. If i take my turbo off and find that the parts are worn, what turbo would you go with and why?

Appreciate any advice you guys can give thank you!
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
Hello, first time poster here, first time VW diesel owner.

Recently picked up a nice commuter for my 70 mile/day round trip to work

An elderly man owned 2003 Jetta TDI with 277k miles on it.

I'm looking for tips and pointers for what to look out for on this thing. As well as tasteful upgrades to get a little more power. The previous owner said it had a new clutch and EGR valve installed about 50k miles ago, but could not provide any maintenance records. Mechanically, it sounds, starts and drives fine. Doesn't leave any oil spots on the ground which is good.

For longevity purposes, I have a few questions.
1. Should i be taking off the intake manifold and cleaning the gunk out?
2. How often to the turbo vanes need to be cleaned?
3. Do diesel fuels additives help with any of the above?
4. Kerma has a timing belt kit 100k miles. Is this a good kit to go with?
5. Is there any common fluids leaks i should be looking for? (coolant, oils, fuel)

I also want to get a little more pep out of this thing. My previous vehicle was a LBZ Duramax truck that had a lot of aftermarket support for adding power. Was wondering if that is possible with the ALH TDI?
Disclaimer, I am a Cali resident so any tuning will have to leave the readiness monitors on.

Power upgrade questions:
1. What power upgrade did you guys do first?
2. For tuning, i have heard of Malone and Kerma. Do their tunes leave the readiness monitors active? (pass cali smog)
3. At what HP above stock do i have to worry about the clutch burning up?
4. Is there a new intake manifold i can buy that's CARB legal that i can swap instead of cleaning the OEM one?
5. I've heard of .216 injectors, do they gain HP with the stock tune?
6. If i take my turbo off and find that the parts are worn, what turbo would you go with and why?

Appreciate any advice you guys can give thank you!
1. All of them, DLC1019 nozzles S7 turbo, 2.5 charge pipe, 3 inch turbo back exhaust (not smog legal), kerma tune, colt cam south bend stage 2 daily...I always leave out some of the mods.
2. For tuning, Rocket Chip or Malone, I'm not going to get into why...
3. Anything past stage 1 will probably cause slippage
4. Dunno
5. Don't know office size
6. It's cheaper to just do it all at once but it ain't cheap. Meaning sometimes you can get a little price break if you buy a hp kit aside from combined shipping and re tunes

Use IDparts, Peter is a member here on the forum and will take good care of you. they have descent prices and the good German parts you should use. Before Covid, they would have my package to me in 3 or 4 days

When it comes to timing belt kits, I prefer the Hepu metal impeller water pump, have 3 of them and no issues yet.

Nero, can you chime in as to Cali emissions.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
For longevity purposes, I have a few questions.
1. Should i be taking off the intake manifold and cleaning the gunk out?
2. How often to the turbo vanes need to be cleaned?
3. Do diesel fuels additives help with any of the above?
4. Kerma has a timing belt kit 100k miles. Is this a good kit to go with?
5. Is there any common fluids leaks i should be looking for? (coolant, oils, fuel)

I also want to get a little more pep out of this thing. My previous vehicle was a LBZ Duramax truck that had a lot of aftermarket support for adding power. Was wondering if that is possible with the ALH TDI?
Disclaimer, I am a Cali resident so any tuning will have to leave the readiness monitors on.
Welcome to the diesel commuter world, you're gonna enjoy. I have a late 04 Cummins with the NV5600 that's mildly tuned and built (I like to call it "tastefully"), so I know a bit of where you're coming from. Although, my car is mainly stock, for now. It's one of those things like when it's time to replace the appropriate things, I'll upgrade them to make the car a bit more peppy.

You say you want to get a bit more pep out of it, but you should verify first if everything is working correctly...ie no vacuum leaks or anything as that controls turbo, etc and can make these things feel like a dog when they're in limp mode.

But for your questions:

1) Yes, absolutely. You can pop off the tube to your ASV (and remove) and get an idea of what your intake manifold looks like. They are common to clog and build up, a google search will render you lots of pictures of the issue. You can do the "redneck" cleaning yourself, but I opted to bring it to a machine shop (specifically auto) that has a sonic cleaner that was willing to drop the thing in there for $30 and clean it out.

2) Turbo vanes really need to be checked, well, when you have an issue. You can diagnose by pulling vac on them and making sure they are adjusted properly and open/close at the correct vac numbers. Off the top of my head I don't know what they are. Most don't really do this though until they've gone into the definitive limp mode and are troubleshooting the vac system.

3) Additives are one of those things, that you know from being apart of the truck world, are debatable. Until there's evidence, it's one of those things where it's not going to hurt anything, but you may be throwing money away. But if it makes you feel better because protection for the pump, then go for it. I ran 2SO in the truck in the car for a while. It's not as critical in the TDI pumps for the lack of lubrication as I'd say it is for the CP_ pumps that we were running. I switched over from ashless 2SO on the truck to a Hotshots product because in the long run, it was cheaper per oz. Truck seems to like it fine, but I'm not running anything in the car anymore.

4) There are a few reputable vendors that are a part of this forum that all sell high quality TB kits. That being said, I agree, a metal impeller waterpump is the better way to go. It's probably worth it to do the TB even if it was done recently. It's a good way to get to know your car if you plan on doing it yourself. There are a few guides though that are a MUST to follow, to the T, since these are interference engines. The mark and pray method doesn't work with these because of how everything is timed together. As well, get yourself a VCDS cable if you plan on doing your own work. It's got everything you'll need for diagnosis, troubleshooting, and setting timing, etc.

5) Fluid leaks...all depends on the car. you didn't mention manual or auto...but here we go.

  • Valve cover
  • CCV puck and connections
  • vac pump
  • Oil pan
  • Turbo inlet/outlet
  • Coolant glow plug flange (manual)
  • T-stat housing flange (because it's plastic, likes to warp or become brittle)
  • Coolant hard pipe into block (underneath t-stat housing)
  • Waterpump
  • oil filter housing to block gasket (a bit more rare, but I just did this)
  • There's probably more I'm missing at the moment, others will chime in

Go through the front end for typical wear...ball joints, control arm bushings, TRE's, wheel bearings, sway bar links, sway bar bushings, etc.

The 1.9 is a super reliable engine and will treat you well if you do the same to it. Welcome to the club, lots of very knowledgeable people on this forum!
 
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Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Welcome to the forums!
I agree with everything that both WildChild80 and KrashDH have said.

If you're looking for an alternate intake manifold for it to breathe better, you could look into a pd150 intake, it has the studs for the EGR cooler mount, you'll just need to get the EGR valve adapter from Malone. I have a BRM intake, which is very similar in design, and it's amazing.

You're definitely not going to get anywhere near the power levels as your duramax, but something to keep in mind, once you start getting close to 200hp, you're going to need to start to upgrade internal components. The list of mods WildChild80 listed will get you close and in a safe longevity range. Good luck!
 
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Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
1. All of them, DLC1019 nozzles S7 turbo, 2.5 charge pipe, 3 inch turbo back exhaust (not smog legal), kerma tune, colt cam south bend stage 2 daily...I always leave out some of the mods.
2. For tuning, Rocket Chip or Malone, I'm not going to get into why...
3. Anything past stage 1 will probably cause slippage
4. Dunno
5. Don't know office size
6. It's cheaper to just do it all at once but it ain't cheap. Meaning sometimes you can get a little price break if you buy a hp kit aside from combined shipping and re tunes
Use IDparts, Peter is a member here on the forum and will take good care of you. they have descent prices and the good German parts you should use. Before Covid, they would have my package to me in 3 or 4 days
When it comes to timing belt kits, I prefer the Hepu metal impeller water pump, have 3 of them and no issues yet.
Nero, can you chime in as to Cali emissions.
Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
Which tunes do you recommend for good stage 1 tune? You mentioned you did Kerma. Im trying to decide between Malone or Kerma. I think a stage 1 tune and the PD150 intake will be all i do. But i would like to know if the Tunes are detectable by smog technicians when they plug in.
 

Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
Welcome to the forums!
I agree with everything that both WildChild80 and KrashDH have said.

If you're looking for an alternate intake manifold for it to breathe better, you could look into a pd150 intake, it has the studs for the EGR cooler mount, you'll just need to get the EGR valve adapter from Malone. I have a BRM intake, which is very similar in design, and it's amazing.

You're definitely not going to get anywhere near the power levels as your duramax, but something to keep in mind, once you start getting close to 200hp, you're going to need to start to upgrade internal components. The list of mods WildChild80 listed will get you close and in a safe longevity range. Good luck!

Where is a good source for the PD150 intake? On my Duramax, ditching the cat was a must. Would i benefit from blank piping my cat?
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
Which tunes do you recommend for good stage 1 tune? You mentioned you did Kerma. Im trying to decide between Malone or Kerma. I think a stage 1 tune and the PD150 intake will be all i do. But i would like to know if the Tunes are detectable by smog technicians when they plug in.
There's a few members on here that are in CA and at least one had a tune I know for sure but I am not certain if they can see it or not, usually not...

If I had it to do over again/when I get another tune, it'll be a Malone tune or a rocket chip tune.


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Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
In Oregon, I still have to run my TDI through emissions, but all they check for is readiness set and codes. No visual. I'd pass one anyways though, my EGR valve is present and functional, along with my cat.

I personally went with Malone versus Kerma for a few reasons. Reading what others have posted as results I've found Malone was a bit more modest with their tunes, up the power but within safe limits for the installed hardware. Kerma is a bit more aggressive in tunes, but in my opinion, push parts more to their limit, the less they'll last. I've also dealt with Kerma's tuner helping another member out. I wouldn't recommend them based on my personal experiences. But others have had good experience with them, so just take it with a grain of salt.

Where is a good source for the PD150 intake? On my Duramax, ditching the cat was a must. Would i benefit from blank piping my cat?
Edit, instead of making another post....

Ryanp on the Vendor/Group buy is a good source for them, sometimes you can find them from other members under Private/for sale. As for gutting the cat, no you won't benifit from it unless it's plugged. Gutting is only really beneficial if you're running your car on a track with a stage 5+ tune. But at that point it's not really a longevity build.
 
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WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
In Oregon, I still have to run my TDI through emissions, but all they check for is readiness set and codes. No visual. I'd pass one anyways though, my EGR valve is present and functional, along with my cat.

I personally went with Malone versus Kerma for a few reasons. Reading what others have posted as results I've found Malone was a bit more modest with their tunes, up the power but within safe limits for the installed hardware. Kerma is a bit more aggressive in tunes, but in my opinion, push parts more to their limit, the less they'll last. I've also dealt with Kerma's tuner helping another member out. I wouldn't recommend them based on my personal experiences. But others have had good experience with them, so just take it with a grain of salt.
To add to why/why not kerma, I've had mixed interactions with them, the lastest came when I wanted to swap parts and tune to another car...same build just different car, they wanted me to pay for another tune minus 50 bux...I just swapped the computers and all is good.

Before this latest stunt, their support 3 or 4 years ago was actually good, although the 2.5 charge pipe was backordered, wasn't mentioned on the phone as I placed the order and week after week it was "next week". I had an issue with the mid pipe where the resonator had cracked and they sent me a replacement under warranty.

Hills and valleys...my kerma tune runs good although I don't have anything to compare it to but it'll hold its own against some cars that surprised me.

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rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
Which tunes do you recommend for good stage 1 tune? You mentioned you did Kerma. Im trying to decide between Malone or Kerma. I think a stage 1 tune and the PD150 intake will be all i do. But i would like to know if the Tunes are detectable by smog technicians when they plug in.

Here's how I did it. Rocketchip Stage3+ at 100K, plus EGR delete prep. That simply means the EGR functions normally, but in the lowest duty cycle percentage possible. And if it were to be disabled entirely, no CEL. That gives you options. Drove the car another 100K, just the tune, bone stock otherwise. Ran great, no issues. Did all the other mods in my signature right at 200K. Now it has 305K, and still running a good as ever.

RT
 
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Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
In Oregon, I still have to run my TDI through emissions, but all they check for is readiness set and codes. No visual. I'd pass one anyways though, my EGR valve is present and functional, along with my cat.
Edit, instead of making another post....
Ryanp on the Vendor/Group buy is a good source for them, sometimes you can find them from other members under Private/for sale. As for gutting the cat, no you won't benifit from it unless it's plugged. Gutting is only really beneficial if you're running your car on a track with a stage 5+ tune. But at that point it's not really a longevity build.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/PD150-PD-V...=1239581701405b9b9a7db7e642079c18032a5c917e33
Im looking at this intake on ebay. Is there any difference between this one and ones bought here thru vendor/group buy?
Also, is this the part youre refering to so i can adapt my EGR valve to this intake?
https://malonetuning.com/products/item/brm-intake-adapter-for-alh-and-similar
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
That is the PD150 intake and that's the adapter, but you might want to fire off an email to Malone, unless someone else chimes in, to make sure that adapter works on that intake. I've never had my hands on a pd150 to see if the egr flange is similar.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
The existing intake is plenty big enough for Stage 1 or 2. Some vendors offer an exchange deal so you don't have to deal with cleaning. Plus it may be fine as is, have a look see.

A tune is all you need for a bit more power, I would go with Malone or Rocketchip. Communicate with the tuner to be sure it will pass inspection, won't be a problem.
 

Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
The existing intake is plenty big enough for Stage 1 or 2. Some vendors offer an exchange deal so you don't have to deal with cleaning. Plus it may be fine as is, have a look see.

A tune is all you need for a bit more power, I would go with Malone or Rocketchip. Communicate with the tuner to be sure it will pass inspection, won't be a problem.

Thank you everyone for the input. I've been in communication with Malone about their stage 1 tune. I will be going with them for the tune and the flashzilla module so i can switch back to stock if needed.

I agree with Bob, i dont know if i absolutely need the PD150 intake. I believe the stage 1 tune will give me enough pep. I will be taking off my EGR here soon to see the condition of my intake sooting
 

sriracha

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Location
805
TDI
2005 Jetta Wagon 5mt, 1982 Rabbit truck (gas)
Just wanted to add to the conversation that I live in CA. My BEW is visually stock, but I am running a Malone Stage 1.5 tune and recently passed CA smog, with the tune installed.
I’m happy with the tune performance. I am intrigued by the PD150 intake but in CA, we need to pass visual inspection. Curious about the PD150 intake and how things might be visually different or the same and if it would be an issue with CA smog inspection.
 

Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
Just wanted to add to the conversation that I live in CA. My BEW is visually stock, but I am running a Malone Stage 1.5 tune and recently passed CA smog, with the tune installed.
I’m happy with the tune performance. I am intrigued by the PD150 intake but in CA, we need to pass visual inspection. Curious about the PD150 intake and how things might be visually different or the same and if it would be an issue with CA smog inspection.

I would think it hard to tell the difference to an average smog tech. They both have a "factory" look to them
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
In case you were curious what it'd look like, this is my BHW intake with the Malone adapter installed. A little call to eyes that it's modded due to the extra shiny bit, but that's it.
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
In case you were curious what it'd look like, this is my BHW intake with the Malone adapter installed. A little call to eyes that it's modded due to the extra shiny bit, but that's it.
You could sand blast it or paint it silver and it might blend in some more, or just put the engine cover back on and call it a day

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UhOh

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Location
PNW
TDI
2000 & 2003 Golf GLS
Brakes and suspension first! These are safety components. Go faster with crappy brakes and suspension and it could really cost you.


Stage 2 tune for any meaningful performance gains. And this will require a better clutch. Unless you know you've got a better-than-stock (holding power) clutch in the car you can expect to kill it in no time. I have direct experience with this!


DLC520 nozzles (some will say DLC1019s, but I wouldn't go with them unless I was going to aim for a Stage 3 [have this setup in the wife's car] and, for better results a larger turbo for more air). You can get these to run with stock w/o too much issues (maybe a slight change in IQ- kind of depends on how the injectors are set). My car is averaging 51.1mpg for something like 85k miles now: and I find ample reasons to stomp the Go pedal.



BEFORE you attempt to upgrade engine performance you need to ensure that everything is working correctly. If the intake manifold (and perhaps the intake ports in the head- have done two cars, which tacks on an additional 4 hours of work!) needs cleaning clean it. Drive these things as they ought to be driven and there's next to zero concern for ever having to do this cruddy job again.


These aren't race cars. Best you can hope for is something that can get out of its own dust. Yes, they can go, but they're economy cars first.


I'll say it one last time: brakes and suspension FIRST! I enjoy driving my car because the suspension is very crisp. A sloppy handling car, no matter the power, ain't enjoyable. And, well, if you can't stop...
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
................................snip............................
BEFORE you attempt to upgrade engine performance you need to ensure that everything is working correctly........................snip............................
bares repeating
 

Ez2typethis

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Location
California
TDI
2003 Jetta ALH
Brakes and suspension first! These are safety components. Go faster with crappy brakes and suspension and it could really cost you.


Stage 2 tune for any meaningful performance gains. And this will require a better clutch. Unless you know you've got a better-than-stock (holding power) clutch in the car you can expect to kill it in no time. I have direct experience with this!


DLC520 nozzles (some will say DLC1019s, but I wouldn't go with them unless I was going to aim for a Stage 3 [have this setup in the wife's car] and, for better results a larger turbo for more air). You can get these to run with stock w/o too much issues (maybe a slight change in IQ- kind of depends on how the injectors are set). My car is averaging 51.1mpg for something like 85k miles now: and I find ample reasons to stomp the Go pedal.



BEFORE you attempt to upgrade engine performance you need to ensure that everything is working correctly. If the intake manifold (and perhaps the intake ports in the head- have done two cars, which tacks on an additional 4 hours of work!) needs cleaning clean it. Drive these things as they ought to be driven and there's next to zero concern for ever having to do this cruddy job again.


These aren't race cars. Best you can hope for is something that can get out of its own dust. Yes, they can go, but they're economy cars first.


I'll say it one last time: brakes and suspension FIRST! I enjoy driving my car because the suspension is very crisp. A sloppy handling car, no matter the power, ain't enjoyable. And, well, if you can't stop...

I feel like the suspension on mine could use some TLC. What joints and bushings should i pay attention to?

I have an issue when i suddenly brake hard, i feel a hard clunk. I suspect a lot of the suspension parts are worn but do not know where to start.
 

ToxicDoc

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Location
Virginia, US
TDI
2001 Jetta, S7, .216
FYI I asked Malone tuning about their adapter and they told me it would NOT match up to the ALH EGR. I just finished having a custom adapter made.

This is the copy of what he wrote:

"The dimensions on the pd150 length wise are different from the BRM, wouldn't be transferable.

Thanks,
Owain"
 
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