Where to stop?

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
My 03 Jetta has ~170k miles on it and has served me very well over the last 8 years, but it's starting to show it's age and need some work

Shocks/Struts/Mounts - Original and tired
Ball Joints - Loose
Tie-Rod Ends - Loose
Motor Mounts - vibrates and moves a lot
Headlights - really hazy
Antenna base - radio all fuzzy most of the time
Cabin Fan motor - makes noise when below ~10F

I figured I'd probably put springs in it while the suspension was apart.

By the time I'm done with all of the above I'll have ~$1500 and 2-3 full days in it.

I spent this last weekend doing my research and putting my parts lists together at various vendors, but have not ordered anything yet.

So, on my way home tonight from work, crusing along at ~50 MPH in 5th and go from 25% throttle to ~35% throttle and it accelerates normally for about a second and then stops accelerating....wierd....back off the throttle and get back into it and it accelerates but definately has a different "note" to the engine.

Pull into a parking lot under a light, white-ish smoke coming out the exhaust, engine running on 3 cylinders shaking like hell, remove the oil fill cap while the engine is running and a geyser of smokey mist shoots all the way to the hood and pushes my hand out of the way. Put the cap back on, close the hood and get back in the car. I'm 8 miles from home at this point - may as well go for it.

It was a calm night with minimal wind so the car looked like it was on fire at stoplights it was smoking so much - sounded like a WRX when taking off from the lights on 3 cylinders :).

Get it home, pull in the garage, rip it apart and find this in hole #3...


The bore looks spectacular in #3


There were some wierd marks on the cylinder walls of the other pistons as well - This is #2 - both sides of the bore. You can't feel anything in these areas, but it sure looks like the wristpin was sliding along the cylinder wall.



This is #4 - The rusty looking radial marks about halfway down the cylinder are in both #4 and #1.


They don't wipe off and you can't really feel them with your fingers at all - do the bores ever crack and seap water?

So, I need a piston at the minimum - most likely a set.
Stock ALH pistons? Coated? Deeper valve reliefs? Lower Compression?
May as well do rings and rod bearings as long as it's apart...
Do I put main bearings in?
Do I put aftermarket rods in?
There's really no cylinder wall damage - a few passes with a hone will clean it up (assuming there's no cracks or anything in it).
Should I pull the whole engine or try and do this "in car"?
Anything else I should do while it's apart?
Is it worth repairing?

Any thoughts as to why it cracked a piston? It's been a couple thousand miles since I pulled a trailer with it - it didn't run any differently before/after this, but it was definately a workout - sustained high loads and temps.

I would like to significantly improve the power in the 1000-2000 RPM range

Maybe I continue to look at new cars like I did a couple weeks ago...though I could do a lot to the Jetta with only a years worth of car payments....

So, back to the original question....Where do I stop?
 

rowingdude

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2011
Location
Sault Ste Marie, MI
TDI
2002 VW Jetta TDi
In this case, I think you should strip the block down and test it for leaks. If the block is bad, buy a new short block and rebuild the motor. I don't know if these are sleeved or not (someone more knowledgeable will), but to answer your question:

"You don't"

Not knowing your habits or anything, this is an opportunity. Now you can build a monster, rebuild the motor with the best internals you can afford, add a large snail (turbo) and some custom tuning, with all the support hardware (FMIC, 6spd, LSD, High Flow Injectors, so on and so forth)

... least that's what I'd do.
 

saab9turbo

Veteran Member
Joined
May 29, 2011
Location
norway
TDI
golf mk3 tdi syncro 3door;)
I would rebuild, how much would a new car cost? Use some of that money and build a monster:) and replace the tired front end yourself, aint that hard:) just get a garage to align tour front end:)
 

JFettig

Vendor
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Location
Blaine, MN
TDI
B5 Passat, 2010 Jetta
Ouch.

Are you running W/M?

What kind of boost levels?

how much timing advance? Do you have logs? - going to look through your SDI/ALH manifold thread, I think there were some in there. - nope
 
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Ski in NC

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Location
Wilmington, NC USA
TDI
2001 Jetta ALH 5sp stock
Thermal stress. Must be lots of heat getting on that piston crown.

Check other pistons for beginning of cracks in the same area. A dye penetrant inspection is cheap and easy and good for this situation.

Scuff marks on cyl wall could be from hot pistons too. See what pistons look like when removed.

Measure protrusion before pulling pistons.

Go with a light cyl hone, new rod shells, and drop and inspect shells main caps. The load is on the lower shells so if they are ok, the top shells will be ok too.
 

Keebler145

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Location
Niles, Ohio
TDI
Jetta MKIV 2000, 2003, and MKV 2006 PD DSG
Over heated for sure, I've been there. Twice. The stock alh pistons don't have enough of a crown to take a lot of heat. IMO if you aren't getting a bigger turbo, don't drop your compression. It looks more like a heat failure. Get the pistons checked out or measure them yourself to see how "round" they still are/are not haha.

I feel your pain man, I really do. Check the rods for straightness if they are fine and you don't plan on making more power just reuse them, get a set of ASV pistons from bora, have them ceramic coated and put the thing back together. I really don't think the motor needs to come out of the car on this one. Looks pretty straight forward.

Just do like MAXRPM did, get a ball hone and clean the walls re-ring and rod bearing it and be done. Mains I can almost bet are fine, I've probably not ripped as many blocks down as Frank or Whitbread, but I've seen quite a few and none of the mains were ever bad or out of spec when I plasti-gaged them.

Rosten Rods are nice but considering you don't abuse your car like some, aka me, (or atleast from what I've see) I think they would be overkill for you. I vote personally, you just get some pistons from Frank and put it back together and sell it. Go get yourself a PD or a CR ;) that's where the fun is at anyway, or atleast that's what I hear =P


Edit: If you want to keep power in the 1000-2000 range definitely don't lower compression or get a bigger turbo. You won't lose a lot, but you will lose a little. I guess it kinda depends how big you go, I wouldn't say a 2056 or 2256 is huge, but they may get you better flow and keep the EMP and EGTs a little more in check :)
 
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kiva822

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2010
Location
Chico, CA
TDI
'03 Wagon, '03 Golf
man, that's terrible. Any idea what EGT's you were running when towing that vehicle?

What sort of sustained EGT's would do this? Ugh.

Hope it fixes up nice..
 

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
Sorry to see this. I wonder if it's the high load at lower RPMs that contributes to the heat, and you were running some pretty big nozzles at one point, too. Makes me wonder what the inside of IBW's engine is like, but I'm not lookin'.

No matter what you decide it's worth more assembled than not running. And it seems that stock rods and pistons (ASVs are pretty much all that's available, and I would go for ones with cooling galleys even if you can find ALHs), are going to suit your needs, and you won't have a lot of money tied up in it if you do sell.

I'm in a bit of a refresh mode with IBW as well, after two years of nearly nothing but filters and fluids (and tires). New snows, headlights, clutch, and it needs a timing belt soon. But then it should be good for a few more years. Repairs seem to come in waves.
 

TDIMeister

Phd of TDIClub Enthusiast, Moderator at Large
Joined
May 1, 1999
Location
Canada
TDI
TDI
Fix it up, F_U_B. Those wear items must be expected after the years and miles on the car. You're not going to find a comparable pre-owned car whose history you know inside-out like your own car. Freshen up the engine, upgrade parts that need to be replaced, consider a water injection system.

Or sell the car cheap to me. ;)
 

JFettig

Vendor
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Location
Blaine, MN
TDI
B5 Passat, 2010 Jetta
TDIMeister - do you you think this has anything to do with too much timing advance causing pre-detonation or something similar?

I'm no expert and probably have terminology wrong
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
When pulling the trailer heavy it will run 1200F-1400F EGT's steady state - Light trailer will run ~1000F. I've done about 4000 miles of heavy trailer pulling and ~8000 miles of light trailer pulling. Self imposed 20 psi boost limit when pulling the trailer, the tunes run 24-26 psi max.

No drugs

Dynoed ~135HP/250ft-lbf with RC5, RC6 and TDTuning tune - I've been running the TDTuning tune for the last 9 months or so. I'm not suspecting the tune(s). MPG's have been good (typically low/mid 50's)

It's had a 17/22, PP502's, 11mm Pump, and the higher level tunes for most of 100k miles - the car/engine has 170k miles on it.

I don't think I have logs of the TDTuning timing, but I do have them for the RC tunes - they were line on line requested/actual, but I don't remember the numbers off hand.

I'd do all the work myself (always have). I do a rough alignment with a tape measure then drive to the alighment shop. I can do cylinder heads and engines, just don't have access to the alignment equipment.

One other thing I didn't mention is that the transmission has trouble downshifting into 4th - Have to go 5th, push toward 3rd then pull to 4th - works ok otherwise, but has been doing this for the last 6 months or so. Another $1500 or so for that with a limited slip and 3.17 R&P.

Even with all that it's still cheaper than a new car...
 

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
Continuous high load with that fueling level is gonna make heat. I had to go to PP520s with a similar setup for track days because EGTs got too high with PP502s. I also bumped the IQ up to 6.0.

So if you plan on similar use in the future I'd suggest taking some fuel out, either in the tune or mechanically. And downshift. ;)
 

kooyajerms

grocery getter
Joined
May 5, 2004
Location
Pomona, Southern California
TDI
97 B4V (mine), 11 x5 35d (hers) 04 V10 (that one you want), 2014 Q7 (mom's) 74 Shasta 1400
Pretty low egts. *redact statement, I know diddly about what sustained egts do to the engine*

If your tune matches temporaptors stage 3, timing would be 8btdc@2000rpms and 16btdc@4000rpms. (Obviously just a vnt15, but just thought I'd throw the number out there)
 
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Keebler145

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Location
Niles, Ohio
TDI
Jetta MKIV 2000, 2003, and MKV 2006 PD DSG
yeah 1,400 is leaning towards the max for the internals, though, especially sustained. EMP and EGT, the heat has no where to go, the heat stress fatigues the pistons. After ruining a set of alh pistons and then warping another I just went to the PD150 pistons and rostens, looking back I think I should have went rostens and ASV with ceramic coating to keep my compression.

Either option, fix cheap and sell, or fix and build to keep are good options. More of do you want to keep your car or get something new/newer?
 

john.jackson9213

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Location
Miramar, Ca. (Think Top Gun)
TDI
1996 B4V
When pulling the trailer heavy it will run 1200F-1400F EGT's steady state - Light trailer will run ~1000F. I've done about 4000 miles of heavy trailer pulling and ~8000 miles of light trailer pulling. Self imposed 20 psi boost limit when pulling the trailer, the tunes run 24-26 psi max.

No drugs

Dynoed ~135HP/250ft-lbf with RC5, RC6 and TDTuning tune - I've been running the TDTuning tune for the last 9 months or so. I'm not suspecting the tune(s). MPG's have been good (typically low/mid 50's)

It's had a 17/22, PP502's, 11mm Pump, and the higher level tunes for most of 100k miles - the car/engine has 170k miles on it.

I don't think I have logs of the TDTuning timing, but I do have them for the RC tunes - they were line on line requested/actual, but I don't remember the numbers off hand.

I'd do all the work myself (always have). I do a rough alignment with a tape measure then drive to the alighment shop. I can do cylinder heads and engines, just don't have access to the alignment equipment.

One other thing I didn't mention is that the transmission has trouble downshifting into 4th - Have to go 5th, push toward 3rd then pull to 4th - works ok otherwise, but has been doing this for the last 6 months or so. Another $1500 or so for that with a limited slip and 3.17 R&P.

Even with all that it's still cheaper than a new car...
That last line tells the whole story. Cheaper than a new car.

BUT, is. cheaper the main issue for you? If it is, rebuild.

Good luck.
 

Ski in NC

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Location
Wilmington, NC USA
TDI
2001 Jetta ALH 5sp stock
When towing a heavy trailer, use a lower gear and let engine rev. If it takes say 80hp to pull the trailer, you are better off doing it at say 3200rpm than at 2400. Piston temp is lower with the higher revs.
 

silverbox

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Location
Halifax Nova Scotia
TDI
jetta wagon 2003 silver
Sorry to hear about your motor troubles.
I vote that you fix the ALH, but partly for selfish reasons. You have been incredibly helpful and thorough in your experimentation, always sharing information on this forum. I would not want to see you leave the TDI forums.
 

Ben Dur

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Location
Pensacola FL
TDI
2000 VW golf tdi
in the classifieds theres someone breaking 5 engines for their cranks... everything but the cranks are up for sale and th prices are reasonable... if your just looking for some cheap parts. but with rc5, 6 and custom TDT id go with some upgrading personally...

if the car is paid for free and clear. Id fix it even if it means a personal loan. a couple grand in repairs and keeping a rainy day fund is alot cheaper than another car.

and alot more fun
 

mech644

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2007
Location
Blue Hill, Maine
TDI
'00 Golf, '14 Touareg
Fix it and drive it. Although I am very much attracted to the new CR Golf. Your financial status is NOMB but for most people going into debt for a depreciating asset in these times is not so wise.
Only 170k, that car has lots of life left in it.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
Ok - lots of comments to address here...

All of the other things that the car needs (suspension and such) are definately needed and way beyond overdue. Then combining the engine repair/replacement now and everything associated with that, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't "polishing a turd" here. The overwhelming consensus is that it should be fixed and I agree with that. This car has done everything I've ever asked of it, thousands of miles pulling trailer, my dependable daily transportation, excelllent mileage (52+ MPG average over lifetime). I know what this car is/is not and buying something new/used would start that learning curve over and besides that I like the car :).

That said, now to decide how/what to repair this thing. It sure seems that lowering the compresion would help keep peak cylinder pressures and piston temps down. Lower compression will generally loose thermal efficiency but might prevent this from happening. ~18.5:1 would be about as low as I'd want to go to insure good starting in the winter. Any opinions on a thermal barrier on the tops of the pistons - Maybe keeping the 19.5:1 CR for good starting and a thermal barier would make the pistons live? I'm aiming to improve power in the 1000-2000 RPM range so this is the time to make any changes/improvements to support that.

I'm assuming that this failure was due to thermal stress on the pistons, most likely from towing and resultant operation at continuious high loads for hours on end. If I get it apart and find the oil squirter plugged on #3 pistion or some other evidence of another cause of the piston failure, I'll let everyone know. EMP's during the heavy trailer towing are equal to boost and IAT's are ~50F over ambient. A larger oil cooler would probably be a good idea (no oil temp gauge, but will be getting one).

My trusted mechanic is adamant that the block should be bored/trued up and that it's probably not round and would have trouble sealing the rings if it was just honed. I'm going to try and get a 3-4" micrometer and bore gauge to see if the cylinder is true enough to hone or not. Given the marks on cylinder 2 in particular it could be either way.

What about a complete engine swap? A PD150 and 6 speed from across the pond?

Are there any 16 valve motors that will more/less go in?

A CR without all the emissions stuff would be cool as well?



I guess all the statements I've made about "Well, it has not blow up yet" are no longer valid :).
 

Fix_Until_Broke

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 TT TDI
Sorry to hear about your motor troubles.
I vote that you fix the ALH, but partly for selfish reasons. You have been incredibly helpful and thorough in your experimentation, always sharing information on this forum. I would not want to see you leave the TDI forums.
Thanks for the very kind words :eek:

Hopefully I can learn something from this and share it with the community as well.
 

ArturCosta

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2003
Location
Portugal
TDI
Audi A4 Avant 1996 Silver
Those images bring me back bad memories.. still I have no regret of doing the rebuild.
I think I spent more less 2000€ but it was worth it. Now its been 40k kms after it and it runs really nice.

When this happen to me there where at least 3 other topics with same rebuild info.. maybe you should check them. ;)
 

Whitbread

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Location
Johannesburg, MI
TDI
Several
If bores measure up (use a GOOD dial bore gauge, measure multiple locations), put in a set of coated ASV's , rosten rods, and port the head. The rostens are very cheap insurance if you ask me at this point. You're already in there, why not? Then you never have to go in the engine again. You might as well go to fastenal and get some M10x80mm 12.9 capscrews and 3/8" grade 8 SAE washers to put in the for the main bolts. Torque to 53 ft/lbs with oil. Again, super cheap insurance.

Do a dingle berry hone on the cylinders, new rod bearings, new rings, pop pistons back in, swap out main bolts, and call it a day.

For the trans, get a 6 speed kit from ryan p especially since you tow. It's beyond worth the money as it will get you lower gears across the board with a taller freeway gear and 3X the strength for towing.

As others have said, fixing the car up is going to be wayyyy cheaper than buying new or newer used. Besides, can you really say it's treated you badly for what you've done to it?
 
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tothemax

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2006
Location
West Coast
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 Golf, 2016 Q5
X2.... been there... bite the bullet & fix it.. .well worth it in the long run

If bores measure up (use a GOOD dial bore gauge, measure multiple locations), put in a set of coated ASV's , rosten rods, and port the head. The rostens are very cheap insurance if you ask me at this point. You're already in there, why not? Then you never have to go in the engine again. You might as well go to fastenal and get some M10x80mm 12.9 capscrews and 3/8" grade 8 SAE washers to put in the for the main bolts. Torque to 53 ft/lbs with oil. Again, super cheap insurance.

Do a dingle berry hone on the cylinders, new rod bearings, new rings, pop pistons back in, swap out main bolts, and call it a day.

For the trans, get a 6 speed kit from ryan p especially since you tow. It's beyond worth the money as it will get you lower gears across the board with a taller freeway gear and 3X the strength for towing.

As others have said, fixing the car up is going to be wayyyy cheaper than buying new or newer used. Besides, can you really say it's treated you badly for what you've done to it?
 

coalminer16

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Location
Central Wisconsin
TDI
Golf 2004
I seem to remember on the towing thread a few of us warning you on the load while in 5th with your diff and 5th gear mod while on the WI speed limit. But I can relate as a fellow trailer puller coming from a family that does that as well with cars.

That said, builder up better so it can handle even more. I think I have read that it really isn't the heat so much as hot/cold/hot/cold that causes the cracks overtime. I am a voter for keeping it going as you already know your car. Getting a new one is expensive and there is other issues that always have to be worked on with a different car. Glad to see you are planning on fixing.
 

kooyajerms

grocery getter
Joined
May 5, 2004
Location
Pomona, Southern California
TDI
97 B4V (mine), 11 x5 35d (hers) 04 V10 (that one you want), 2014 Q7 (mom's) 74 Shasta 1400
FUB, I agree with silverbox, you're an asset and we would love to keep you.

You've got a way easier road to getting your car fixed, than I ever did. I sent my car to Ohio!!! :eek:

I'd never get a new vehicle I was happy with, with the amount of money I invested (yeah so I said invested, sooo!??!). So I kept going with the wagon after the runaway. I'm lovin' it.



My only other suggestion. Move on over to the GTB1756VK and help drop some of those EGT's.
 
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