[Vwdiesel] 1985 1.6TD Jetta recently acquired

MLightner mikel at buncombe.main.nc.us
Wed Nov 29 18:58:40 EST 2006

James Hansen wrote:

> Welcome to the diesel list Mike.


> Home of the smarter and better looking.

Well, I came to the right place then  8^)

>   but the owner didn't keep any of the receipts or know for
>> sure what all had been replaced, other than rings and bearings. 
> then assume it got only rings and bearings. NO intermediate shaft 
> bearings, no head work.  File this info in the top drawer for future 
> reference if problems begin to arise later.  It will serve to make 
> diagnosis easier.

Hmm,  intermediate shaft bearings sounds serious - for that matter, a 
head with 190k paired with
new parts doesn't sound that great...

> It
>> supposedly developed a slight exhaust leak after about 2,000 miles 
>> that the rebuilder 'couldn't hear' and so wouldn't fix.
> Is the underhood area and backside of head covered in soot, or clean? 
> If clean, it was only leaking a tad, and someone was going to fix it, 
> started, and gave up.  If covered in black soot, it was driven like 
> that for some time.

The underhood area is not soot covered, but the back side of the engine 
and the firewall shield  both had a good bit of soot.  Also the inside 
of the timing belt cover had quite a bit of sooty  deposits in it , much 
more than you would think would get in there in 2k miles.

>> 1).  I found a half container of Valvoline 10W-30 oil in the trunk, 
>> it's a non-diesel rated  oil;
>> if this is what the PO was running in the engine for its first 2,000  
>> miles, is there any thing that could or should be done to correct any 
>> problems that may have caused? ( I changed the filter and put in some 
>> Shell Rotella 15W-40)
> Only by running the correct oil, as you have done.  Since he was 
> running the cheap stuff, assume that he treated the rest of the car 
> that way in your future repairs. Detergents in the shell should fix 
> and remove any leftover goo from running the wrong stuff.

Well, that's a relief to hear (except for the part about how he treated 
the car, but you're probably right about that)...

> What really distinguishes a diesel oil from a gas oil is the soot 
> handling ability.  Diesel oil can hold a lot more soot in suspension 
> than a gasser oil can. So, gas oil tends to deposit soot inside the 
> motor rather than keeping it suspended so it leaves when you drain the 
> oil. Running the right oil will fix this, with the caveat that if it 
> had tens of thousands of miles on the wrong stuff, with long drain 
> intervals, the crap inside the motor gets pretty extensive...not 
> pretty if you see it.
>> 2).  Since I don't know whether the head was ever re-torqued, would 
>> it be wise to do so before I start putting any miles on it?  Could I 
>> possibly cause any problems by doing so?
> I would suspect it was.  He obviously had it back about the exhaust 
> leak, so must have been back for that I would hope.  There's no way to 
> check if it has been done or not??... unless you can get in touch with 
> the original rebuilder, or the previous owner remembers.  if it hasn't 
> been done, it will leak.  Then I guess, you will know for sure... :-)

I'll definitely be looking into that - maybe his memory has improved a 
little now that he no longer is trying to sell the car. 

> Retorquing it again if it has been would run the risk of bolt breakage 
> on the torque to yield fasteners.

Hey, this list is great, I'm learning a lot fast...

> One way to circumvent this and end the speculation would be to install 
> Raceware  or ARP studs.
> They can be installed by doing it one at a time, so you don't lose 
> head sealing.  I would suggest this if you want to do it.  I prefer 
> studs anyway... since I detest the stretchy bolts with a passion.  You 
> should not lose a head sealig over a single overheating event... which 
> you do with torque to yield fasteners. As soon as the motor overheats 
> (the aluminum head gets hot and expands faster than the steel bolt), 
> they get stretched when the force on them exceeds their elastic 
> limit.  studs give you some elbow room, and you can retorque them 
> whenever you choose with no damage.

Good to know I have an option instead of just waiting to see if it leaks 
or not  ; )  Actually,  I think I have heard a slight bit of a whisper 
from the coolant resevoir a time or two after letting the engine run 
till it's up to operating temp, I guess I better try to see where 
exactly that sound is coming from..

>> 3).  Judging from the reading I've been doing, the timing belt seems 
>> to be properly tensioned, and
>> doesn't seem to be showing any overt signs of impending failure, 
> Timing belts rarely ever do show signs of overt failure, that's why 
> the maintenance interval.  They go from a nice little belt, to one 
> that is good except for the missing teeth around the crank sprocket 
> area.  It's quite a dramatic outcome over a few teeth.
> is it
>> possible that the belt could
>> have 'plenty of life left in it', assuming that it was replaced 
>> during the rebuild? 
> Assuming, of course, that the guy that was too tight to buy the right 
> diesel oil won the lottery and sprang for a belt.  I can hear it now; 
> "Hell no Sam, that has plenty of life left in it, just put it back on, 
> I'm selling it anyway."

LOL, I think you may have this guy pegged...

>  I guess there's no way to tell for sure, but thought I'd
>> ask in case there actually is a way.
> If the belt is new, with 2000 miles on it, it will still look new.  
> No, make that it will still look BRAND NEW.  You should be able to 
> read the numbers, and manufacturer's insignia clearly, they should be 
> hardly disturbed in 2000 miles at all.  If it looks worn in the 
> slightest, assume it is ready to explode tomorrow.  Replace both the 
> tensioner and the belt.  I would bet real money that the tensioner is 
> OEM original to the car, and has spun for 190000miles.  By this time, 
> the tensioner is ready to go, usually a quarter way into the belt 
> replacement interval. If you don't get curious soon enough as to what 
> the goofy noise by the timing belt is, the belt gets eaten, and the 
> valves crash when the tensioner dies, and your next post to the list 
> is entitled something like "My timing belt just died, what now?"

Great information, thanks; it sounds like you've been into this subject 
much more than the average vw-diesel enthusiast ...

>> If you got this far, thanks for listening, and thanks in advance for 
>> any insights / advice any of you may have to offer.
> Friends don't let friends use *spit* Fram.
> know it. live it.
> -james
I used to use Fram before I knew better - I never had any problems with 
'em, but I've sure heard of a lot of other people having probs. 

Thanks for your reply,


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