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Discussion Starter #1
1998 T4 1.9 TD ABL 170000 miles.
New head at 163000 miles after major overheating event. Pistons and rings also replaced.
New turbo at 168000 miles as it blew. New cam belt and water pump and refurbished fuel pump fitted. Head removed again and gasket replaced as signs of exhaust gas in coolant. EGR blanked off where it bolts to exhaust manifold, and EGR bits removed from fuel pump.
New oil cooler in case old one was porous and allowing oil into the coolant.
The problem: exhaust gases pressurising coolant so that some is lost and some blown out when expansion tank cap is undone to release pressure. It has done this since the new head was first fitted but is now worse. Coolant now very discoloured. Engine running well otherwise.

Questions:
can this be caused by anything other than blowing head gasket? As I said it is a brand new head and the second new gasket to be fitted so I am doubting it can be the head. Could this be caused by a crack in the block somewhere? If so can this be diagnosed without stripping the engine?

Could these symptoms be caused by the way I blanked off the EGR valve?

Update: I thought I posted this on 24 February but it seems to have disappeared!? I didn't get any responses last time I looked anyway.

Has no-one any thoughts? As a last-minute desperate attempt to mend it last weekend I used a bottle of K Seal straight into the top hose, but no joy of course - would have been too good to be true I guess...

One more thing, there is now mayo round the top of the oil filler tube but dipstick oil looks fine.

Help!

Lee
 

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Probably a warped engine block or another failed cylinder head/gasket...Stop trowing money on the windows, get a 1.9 tdi golf mk3 and swap the lump and wiring loom...
 

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check freeze core plugs leaking on the back of the engine block, i had same symptoms, coolant system was open to atmosphere, pressured the system, kept getting air locks in system. the k seal could have sealed them up :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi again. So the story of woe continues. I stubbornly refuse to give up on this and in addition am stuck with a van I can't really sell in this condition.
I took the head off - again - and this time had it pressure checked and skimmed for good measure. All OK. Meticulously rebuilt it with Elring gaskets, ran it on the drive until up to temp, coolant stayed clean, no bubbles, no pressurising or sign of exhaust gases. Ran it on road for 30 miles, pressure! AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

MoneyPitT4, I didn't check the core plugs, but surely if they are letting air in I'd see coolant leaking out? what do I need to look for?

adamss24, I have to say that I'm leaning towards the TDi conversion now but I have some questions for you, and anyone else out there who can help. First, a couple of you have mentioned that the block might be at fault. Certainly the overheating event that was the start of all this was fairly major with heat damage to all the pistons, especially no 2 which resulted in some scoring of that bore. On that occasion I replaced the cylinder head with a new AMC item, but it's not been right since. So now the head checks out, I'm suspecting that the block became warped or cracked when it overheated. I have spoken to a specialist in Yorkshire who says he can pressure test the block and guarantees to find any sort of leak it might have, from a pinhead hole to a cracked liner to a warped mating face, and for a very reasonable cost of £80. He can also replace liners, true it up and generally fix the problem. So, questions:

Has anyone else stripped an ABL down to the bare block? If so can you give me an indication of the cost involved in new bits? My thinking is that the engine already has a new head, a new turbo, new pistons and rings, a reconditioned injector pump, a new oil pump, a new oil cooler and reasonably new water pump and cambelt (1000 miles). Is it worth stripping and testing and repairing the existing block? I would then have essentially a new engine which should theoretically outlive me! Or am I being naive in thinking that would fix the problem?

So, if there's a universal thumbs down on the above plan because we are all keen on a shiny new 1.9TDI conversion, my searching so far for donor cars either yields very high mileage or expensive options. How am I to know whether the engine I get is good or not, especially if the vehicle is a non-runner for other reasons? Also the very helpful threads on here list the ALE, AHU, 1Z or AFN codes as the most suitable donors, but try finding a vehicle for sale listing that quotes the engine code! It's a minefield! I don't mind admitting that I'm somewhat at sea here. Other questions are, what do I do with the leftover carcass of the donor? Pay a scrapyard to take it away I guess. It all seems much more costly with no real guarantee at the end of it that I will have a decent runner.

Basically, can anyone point me in the direction of good donors in terms of vehicle make, model, year, what to look for and what to avoid, and what sort of mileage is still acceptable?

Please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers, Lee
 

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if you are thinking of a tdi conversion (the better option (y) ) I'd suggest looking at a few completed vans & talking to owners / converters for the pro's & con's as well as pitfalls....

I'd not worry too much about donor millages...

my '95 t4 is tdi'd, I used a 1995 B4 Passat tdi donor that had 314,000 miles behind it. over the last 7? years it's done untold millage in the van and just keeps going:cool:

the problem with a tdi conversion is NOT the engine but the wiring, suitable donor cars (with 'easily' adapted looms) are getting harder to find whereas the engines were fitted to many other vehicles.

what area are you in? if you're near Swansea / South Wales I can go through these with you

Rich.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
if you are thinking of a tdi conversion (the better option (y) ) I'd suggest looking at a few completed vans & talking to owners / converters for the pro's & con's as well as pitfalls....

I'd not worry too much about donor millages...

my '95 t4 is tdi'd, I used a 1995 B4 Passat tdi donor that had 314,000 miles behind it. over the last 7? years it's done untold millage in the van and just keeps going:cool:

the problem with a tdi conversion is NOT the engine but the wiring, suitable donor cars (with 'easily' adapted looms) are getting harder to find whereas the engines were fitted to many other vehicles.

what area are you in? if you're near Swansea / South Wales I can go through these with you

Rich.
Hi Rich

I am in Buckinghamshire, not all that close to Swansea, sadly. However we have friends and relatives there so have visited often. It was on the M4 just after Sarn Park Services when the van had it's first fatal meltdown in fact! Thank you for the offer, it's very kind of you and we will be heading down as soon as we are allowed, to visit my wife's daughter. Maybe we could have a chat then?
Meanwhile, when you say that the looms can be tricky to modify, how so? Is it a question of plugs mismatching, extra wiring added, or electronic components that are hard to source?
if i go down the TDi route I think that sourcing the donor will involve getting a whole vehicle so that I get the loom and clocks as well as the engine. I would be very interested in talking to you about it.

Lee
 

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Lee, there is a whole thread on TDi conversions.....suggest you read it.
Yes, get a full donor car if you can.....strip what you need, and either hire a trailer or find someone to take it away.
Here in Norway, as long as you have the paperwork, a scrap car is worth 3000kr (you pay that "extra" as a tax, every car you buy here!), there's a guy will come to your house with a trailer, take away whatever is left, and pay 1500kr for it.
I bought and totally stripped a scrap 'velle, (broken engine due to timing belt), kept the auto box and sold as much as I could. (Interior/seats/dash/even steering wheel....tailgate and sliding door.)
Paid 5000 for it, got over 30,000 back in parts.
SCRAP "metal hut", with engine in the back, and even filled the thing with any scrap metal I had......got the 1500kr from him. :D
Not sure if anyone in UK does that.....but park it outside, and it will be gone in the morning.... o_O
 

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when you say that the looms can be tricky to modify, how so? Is it a question of plugs mismatching, extra wiring added, or electronic components that are hard to source?
if i go down the TDi route I think that sourcing the donor will involve getting a whole vehicle so that I get the loom and clocks as well as the engine. I would be very interested in talking to you about it.
you're welcome to pm etc. if you want to chat, if you're in the area then the offer stands (y)

as to looms, B4 passat is almost p&p, mk3 golf need some 'knitting' and Polo / Seat looms can need some wires adding and also have 'extra' lengththat is messy in t4 installations.


the
TDi conversions
section has some good info BUT it's fragmented so needs mant threads knitting togther to make sense:unsure:

I've listed some info around here somewhere....


Rich.
 

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Well, the tdi conversion was vetoed on the grounds of expense, so I reverted to the original plan of stripping the block and getting it pressure tested. Lo and behold, no 3 liner was cracked and pissing air. I guess heat damage. So, 2 new lines (2 was badly scored), and a skim, and I'm ready to rebuild the engine.
Having never done this before and wanting to get it right, does anyone have any tips on this? Should I go for genuine VW parts or are there cheaper but just as good pattern? I'm thinking crank and inter shaft oil seals, the various bolts, gaskets, o rings and bearing shells that ought to be renewed. Is there anything else I should look at before it all goes back together? Clutch, cambelt sprocket, any other bit that may cause trouble? Advice much needed and appreciated guys, and I will keep you posted. Thanks, Lee
 
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