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Day 1

While driving on the PA TurnPike (cruise control on - speed set at 72) the car just lost power. No noises, nothing odd, all electronics were still on, the engine simply shut off. I coasted to the side of the road and tried to restart the engine, it turned over but wouldn't start. Sounded like after you change the fuel filter and there's no fuel in the lines. So I called for the hook (bed?) to pick it up and drop it off at the VW dealer for diagnostics.

Being a geek I grabbed my VCDS (formally Vag-Com ) and scanned the car. That scan turned up two errors for 01 (Engine) and they were 008213 - Intake Manifold Flap Position Sensor (Bank 1): Implausible Signal and 000305 - Oxygen (Lambda) Sensor B1 S1: Signal too Low.

At the end of the day the dealer called to inform me that I needed a new engine. They had found pieces of aluminum in the oil pan and the engine wouldn't turn over.

Day 2

After sleeping off the shock of being told I need a new engine, the next morning I stopped at the dealer. The car was on the lift with the oil pan removed. They had removed the oil pan because when they decided to do a compression check the engine stopped rotating and now only turned part way before it stopped.

I took a trip to the shop with my service advisor and was able to see the small pieces of aluminum about the size of a pencil eraser in the oil pan. In addition he placed a wrench on the crank and I watched as the engine partially rotated before stopping. Finally he showed me the glow plug from cylinder #3, the tip was missing.

With only 57,xxx miles on the engine it was (just) within the 60,000 mile warranty so a case was opened with VW America for a warranty replacement. The engine was scheduled to ship the following week with the exchange scheduled for two weeks out. Since the engine and transmission needed to be removed I ordered a 3rd party clutch kit to be installed during the swap.

Day 13

On my way to work I dropped off the new clutch kit because work hadn't started yet and the car was sitting outside.

Day 14

On my way to work I decided to stop and see how far they had gotten. The first thing my service rep told me after walking in was "I was going to call you this morning. I have some bad news". You can imagine all kind of thoughts were going through my head. But after being told I need a new engine I figured how bad could it get?

It turned out that while the dealer was towing the car into the shop to begin the engine exchange they hit a parked car with my car.
WTF ??? .

Day 15

Again I stopped at the dealers to check the progress along my way to work. The old engine was out and work hadn't begun yet to move parts onto the new engine.

You can click any image below this point for a larger version!

Day 16

Of course I had to stop at the dealers on my way to work and see how things were going.
The new engine was on a stand with all the components from the old one switched over.

The VW rep had been in the shop the day before and they decided to remove the head. (Notice the old block and head in the background of the above picture)
The images below are close ups of the removed block and head.

You may notice that the exhaust valve for cylinder #3 is missing. Here it is in my hand.
Yes I still have it. I kept it as a souvenir.

Day 20

Stopped at the dealers (again), this time to disassemble the old head in an effort to find the root cause of this failure.
My initial hunch was that a valve dropped, but as the following photos show there was no evidence of that.
The lifter wasn't damaged or collapsed, the valve shaft was still in place as were the retainers.
The root cause doesn't seem to have been something in the head.

A few things I noticed, each of the fuel injector lobes had begun to develop a groove in them just before the top of the lobe.
Each of the exhaust lobes were developing an 'odd' wear pattern on them.

To see the original (full size) of any image below you MUST select "Open" from the Google docs page!

Cylinder 3

Cam - Cylinder 1

Cam - Cylinder 2

Cam - Cylinder 3

Cam - Cylinder 4

Exhaust Lifter - Cylinder 3

Exhaust Lifter - Cylinder 3

Exhaust Lifter - Cylinder 3

Cylinder 3 Cam Bearings - Top

Cylinder 3 Cam Bearings - Bottom

Exhaust Lobe - Cylinder 3

Exhaust Lobe - Cylinder 4

Exhaust Lobe - Cylinder 4

Day 22

After 2 trips to the body shop (paint was cloudy) my service rep informed me the car was done but didn't seem to drive right.
He felt the turbo wasn't making boost until almost at red line but the car ran fine in the other gears.
They wanted to run some tests and will update me later.

Day 24

The dealer was unable to find any problems and requested I stop and drive it.

Day 27

I stopped and drove my car. To my disappointment the rep was correct, the turbo isn't making boost until almost red line and the car is a DOG.
So the car stayed at the dealer for further research.

Day 30

The dealer called and told me they have been unable to find anything and are contacting VW for help.
Something new in the mix besides being down on power, it throws black smoke out the tailpipe.
I pointed the service rep to all the 'low power, black smoke' threads on TDIClub (hey it can't hurt).

Day 34

The dealer called and told me they have been working with VW but are still unable to locate the problem.
They have tried a new EGR valve, Air Flow Sensor and Air Intake valve. Cleaned the intercooler (looking for blockage).
Tested the turbo, wastegate and ran a lot more tests. Everything checks good....
At this rate my loaner car will be due for service before I get mine back.

Day 36

My service adviser called to tell me that although none of the turbo tests failed, the VW regional rep has authorized a new turbo.
The rep feels this will resolve the smoke & lack of power issues.
I won't complain about a new turbo and have my fingers crossed this fixes it.

Day 38

My service adviser was on vacation, but another called to tell me that the new turbo fixed the problem!
They asked to keep it another day to 'button things up' and run some final tests.

Day 41

Took my loaner in today and picked up my car. The dog / boost issues are gone and it runs great.
The invoice is here for review. I haven't had chance to review the part numbers yet
because I leave for vacation tomorrow.

====< INFORMATION >====

FYI: I do all my own maintenance at approx 1/2 of the VW recommended mileage. That's why at 57K I've already replaced the timing belt, water pump, etc.

For the warranty claim I had to provide receipts for filter and oil to prove the proper items were used.

VW is honoring this as a warranty claim at no cost to me.

====< THE CAUSE >====

VW feels the failure was caused by a stuck injector that resulted in cylinder #3 hydro locking the engine.

My current guess (there have been many) is that the wear of the cam / valve assembly caused the valve head to be weakened from hitting the valve seat and finally snapped off.
With the engine running at highway RPM’s the valve head bounced around in the cylinder causing the visible head and piston damage.
Finally the valve head found a home smashed into the piston (red circle below), cracking the piston (yellow arrows below) and sending aluminum pieces into the oil pan.
While bouncing around the loose valve head damaged the glow plug. Not enough to break it off, but enough to weaken or crack it.
That would explain why the glow plug didn't fail the VCDS scan (performed along the road).
But the action of being loaded on & off a roll back then drug into the dealers shop it failed their scan.
Fnally the tip broke off while removing the glow plug to do a compression test.
This would explain why the engine turned over when the dealer pulled it into the shop then suddenly stopped turning 360 degrees.

You can stay updated by following my thread on the TDIClub forum.....

This page last updated 9-August-2010

Jetta Home Page
Catastrophic Engine Failure - BRM (2010)
Rear Brake Pad Replacement (2008)
Parking Lamp Bulb Replacement / Repair (2008)
Winter Tires & Rims (2007)
Safe Driving Tools & Red Sox Support (2007)
New Wheels, Euro Plate, Smoked Side Markers (2007)
Accident Photos (2007)
Winter Photos (2006/2007)
Summer Photos (2006)
Clear Bra Install (1 of 2)
Clear Bra Install (2 of 2)
Back & Run Accident
Engine & Boost Gauge Photos
Improved Storage Photos
VAG-Com (Programming) Changes & Tweaks
20K Mile Service Photos
VAG-Com (Programming) Services

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