Welp, I think my VNT-17 bit the dust.

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
Purchased the "white unicorn" that's been floating around the forums for years about a month ago. If you search "2003 Bora highly modified" you'll find it. But here are the specs that are relevant to engine stuff:

2003 GLS TDI ALH, approx. 296k miles.

VNT-17 turbo
Boost valve
PowerPlus 520 injectors
11mm fuel pump
In-tank PD lift pump
Old man intake
Front mount intercooler
Mishimoto catch can
EGR and cooler deleted
DieselGeek race pipe
Full stainless Kerma exhaust
Kerma tune w/ immobilizer delete

Had the timing belt done at 295k, the week after we picked it up, by a reputable guy I've used before for my Golf.

This past weekend it seemed a little smokier than usual out the exhaust. It had been blowing some nice coal in boost previously, but this was white and more than usual. Started out just with acceleration, so I put some Power Service in it thinking it was some bad fuel. Then it started smoking even at idle. Watching the boost gauge, it would go into boost fine up to about 22PSI, but then drop like a rock. Great... Checked the oil and it was low. Pulled the lower intercooler line (missed the pan too lol) and had a nice puddle of oil form. Also noticed oil blew out the tail pipe. I attached some pics of the carnage.

So I'm guessing it's a pretty open and closed case I need a turbo... Thankfully it didn't run away on me.

I'll be doing some research over the next few days, but is there anything unusual I should be aware of replacing it? It'll be me and my husband working on it and first time doing a turbo. We're pretty handy and have worked on my Golf ourselves, and fortunately I also have a couple good diesel mechanic friends I can call for help, if needed. I plan to clean out the intercooler at well, especially if the impeller is shredded once we get it out.

Also: Should I consider something other than the VNT-17? It lasted about 200k by my approximation so I feel fine putting another one in. Just wanted to ask for options.

Thanks!


 
Last edited:

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
It would be easier to put in another Vnt17 since it's already tuned for it. Or you can drop in something else with some fab work, but you'll need the tune redone to match. I already know others will suggest to "get away from the ancient tech of the Vnt17" lol
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
It would be easier to put in another Vnt17 since it's already tuned for it. Or you can drop in something else with some fab work, but you'll need the tune redone to match. I already know others will suggest to "get away from the ancient tech of the Vnt17" lol
Very true, probably the best option. What are your thoughts on having the turbo rebuilt?

I'm not sure of the details on the tune, I wonder if I reach out to Kerma they would give me info.
 

Owain@malonetuning

Associate Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jul 1, 2016
Location
Vancouver
TDI
335d, 05 jetta wagon, 84 jetta td
X2. More complicated and expensive parts, that aren't available off the shelf from a ton of US distributors, and wouldn't allow you to limp it home on a vnt15 from a wrecker in a worst case scenario, aren't always ideal for a daily.

You also have just enough fuel to max out a 1749vb, so not much point going larger. Turbo will have some core value as well since it shouldn't be too bad to rebuild if the wheels are in good shape.
 

KERMA

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Location
here
TDI
99 beetle and 04 jetta
Very true, probably the best option. What are your thoughts on having the turbo rebuilt?

I'm not sure of the details on the tune, I wonder if I reach out to Kerma they would give me info.
Gratz on 200k miles of service out of a "lowly" VNT17. Now build it better stronger faster than before. :cool: 17 plus

please contact info@kermatdi.com or 877-537-6283 and mention your personal details and this thread.
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Very true, probably the best option. What are your thoughts on having the turbo rebuilt?

I'm not sure of the details on the tune, I wonder if I reach out to Kerma they would give me info.
If you have the time to allow the car to be done, find a good vendor to have it built. Me, I'm too lazy/impatient for that so I'd just get a whole replacement.
 

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
Hmmm those pictures look familiar. That looks exactly like mine when the turbo went. Oil in the intercooler, oil out the tailpipe, oil everywhere.

I would not rebuild the old unit, and I would put the same as you already have in there, because as has been pointed out that’s what you’re tuned for. New vnt 17.

Doing the work isn’t that bad of a job the two of you should be able to knock it out in an afternoon, provided you don’t run into problems. You’ll have to remove the intake so it’s a good time to clean that as well as all the boost hoses.
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
Wow sorry to hear that! http://www.xsboostturbochargers.com/ That’s a pretty decent place to get yours rebuild if it is able to. I didn’t fully read above so I don’t know if yours is complete junk or not.
Thanks for the link... I found this:
Is this the correct turbo? It says it's a GT1749V, just want to make sure that's a VNT-17. Seems like a good buy vs. $850+ elsewhere. Thoughts?
Rebuilt garrett turbocharger for the 1.9 TDI used on VW, Audi ,skoda and more
Garrett GT1749V
 

Yourbuddysatin

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2016
Location
Pennsylvania
TDI
2013 Jetta tdi
I’m not sure. Looks like it is comparable though. I think a vnt17 can make more power than that one. I’m not 100% on that though. Probably save some cash though by having yours rebuilt.
 

KERMA

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Location
here
TDI
99 beetle and 04 jetta
you gotta watch those remans. At that price there's probably still the old vanes and unison ring, and actuator.

....aaaaand that is a vnt-15
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
you gotta watch those remans. At that price there's probably still the old vanes and unison ring, and actuator.

....aaaaand that is a vnt-15

Alllllrighty then! Sending you an email now haha, thank you!
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
X2. More complicated and expensive parts, that aren't available off the shelf from a ton of US distributors, and wouldn't allow you to limp it home on a vnt15 from a wrecker in a worst case scenario, aren't always ideal for a daily.

You also have just enough fuel to max out a 1749vb, so not much point going larger. Turbo will have some core value as well since it shouldn't be too bad to rebuild if the wheels are in good shape.

Thanks so much for your input, greatly appreciated! Seems like sticking with the VNT-17 is my plan now.
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
So interestingly enough, we got the turbo out this afternoon and the impellers seem to be in ok condition and don't have any play. Considering the turbo has about 200k on it, it's probably not a bad idea to rebuild it at this point. Is there something else we could be missing that would cause oil to come out the tailpipe and go into the intercooler? Maybe just the seals blew out? Thoughts?
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
No seals in a VNT-17. The impeller floats on a cushion of oil, and equal pressure on both sides of the center of the shaft keep the oil flowing through the turbo. When the turbo loses pressure on one side it'll push oil to the low pressure side. In this case it sounds like that's the turbine (hot) side, which is why oil came out the tailpipe. If the shaft isn't broken you may have galling of the shaft from oil contamination.
 

VWdrummer

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2012
Location
Franklin TN
TDI
2002 Jetta tdi Wagon
Gratz on 200k miles of service out of a "lowly" VNT17. Now build it better stronger faster than before. :cool: 17 plus
please contact info@kermatdi.com or 877-537-6283 and mention your personal details and this thread.
I second this, the S7 turbo they sell is excellent too. Previously, I ran a vnt17 and am now running an S7 and I couldn't be happier.
 

Typrus

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Location
BCS, TX, USA
TDI
2002 Black Jetta Sedan GLS/TDI 5mt
There's pretty clearly oil on both sides.

I've yet to see a turbo without seals. Most use a simple steel ring seal as a rubber seal wouldn't live at the temperatures and speeds they would be exposed to. Some use 2 ring seals, staggered as you would see on a piston.

I must ask, is your crankcase vent flowing properly and oil return unrestricted? You may have had a failure in the turbo that caused simultaneous seal failure but it is unlikely if the shaft is intact, spins freely, and has acceptable play.
High crankcase pressure and poor oil return can cause simultaneous seal failure, it would be wise to rule out both possibilities if you can.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
Northern MD (HAGERBUSH)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress)
Lack of shaft play does not mean that the turbo is still good. 99.9% of the failure with oil like this is from the journal bearing not holding the oil back, some makes it past but most of it like 98.9% of the oil goes to the return. When the journal bearing gets too hot from excess EGT's , heat soaking oil cooking after shut off, the return gets more resistance and the bearing is worn a bit causing excess oil pressure and it seeks the path of least resistance and that sir is your IC pipes. Now when the journal bearings decides to let go for whatever reason, oil will go EVERYWHERE, not just out of the exhaust it will go out the intake and out of the output of the turbo. There are moments of back pressure where oil vapor will make it to the air filter and MAF from the CCV on worn down older TDI's Not sure why but every TDI i have ever worked on or seen all have the same thing, oil mist on the air filter and on the MAF,
SO having oil on the input of the turbo means nothing good but not necessarily bad.

Point is, 200K is NOTHING in TDI miles and your turbo might still be ok.
Oil can comes from CCV, and i mean LOTS of oil if you have excessive blow by and higher than usual RPMS.
Rebuilding the VTN is cheap and i would have that done IIWY
Leakdown test, cold and HOT same with compression test is in your future once it runs again.
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
so update, and not a good one.

We worked with Mike at Kerma, he was great. Got us a turbo and then we ended up needing the intercooler adapter part. Great guy, fast shipping both times. Got the turbo installed and we still have white/blusish smoke and oil coming from the exhaust.

We did prelube the turbo by disconnecting the injection pump harness and cranking the engine with only the turbo feed line installed and saw oil coming from the oil return port. I took off looked at the oil return line and it was fine, can see all the way through it. re used the old return line and installed a new stainless steel braided oil feed line.

we ran it and it boosted good and held the boost. at first we though maybe there was some oil still left in the exhaust from the other turbo. i took off the down pipe and saw oil in there. there was a little dripping from where the downpipe and turbo meet. took off the intercooler side and saw a little oil in there like a small amount. upper intercooler pipes are slightly oily going into intake manifold.

at a loss as to why theres still oil getting into the exhaust side of the turbo.

any ideas?
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
any ideas?
Mishimoto catch can
pics of loop
needs to go back into the intake, post MAF or you'll be breathing backwards no matter what you do as the compressor housing is under negative pressure when not under boost and the crankcase will always be under some pressure from normal blowby

also, guys that run catch cans always seem to run little tiny fittings and hoses where you need something that's 5/8" ID through every port to even match stock CCV flow

also, oil drain hose can fail internally where it blocks flow. cut the ferrules off, toss the old hose and stretch some 1/2" transmission cooler hose over the barbs
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
How much have you driven it with the new turbo? Depending on how the old one failed it can take a LONG time to get rid of oil in the system. If it's running properly I'd go drive it 50-100 miles at highway speeds and see if you burn the oil off. And of course watch the dipstick, and be prepared for a runaway if a lot of oil in the intercooler system gets funneled into the engine. See if it clears up.
 

beckster

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Location
Upstate NY
TDI
MK4 Golf GLS (stock), MK4 Jetta (not stock)
prob taking a break from the car.

the catch can, theres a hose coming from the valve cover into the "in" port of the catch can, then the "out" goes back into the bottom of the intake tube, right next to the air filter box. hoses are decent sized. didnt actually measure but it does seem to be around 5/8ths.

we have only driven less than 5 miles with new turbo. we installed a diesel geek skid plate, which is now interfering with one if the pipes of the front mount kit that came on the car so we have to order a longer coupler to make it work.

also looking into figuring out the smoking issue. any ideas on how to test the injectors/nozzles and the cam to see if theyre fine or not?
 

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
Drive it, if you had oil coming out your exhaust then your exhaust is full of oil. After I put mine back together I had to drive it a full 10-12 miles to burn all the oil out of the exhaust. I stopped three times during the drive to check my oil and make sure I wasn’t loosing any.

If you live in a highly populated area it should be great fun because you will leave a trail of smoke that will be very impressive and repel mosquitoes for at least a week. Your neighbors will thank you.
 
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