Saturday, January 25, 2014

Flash Lives again

Well, that was interesting.  Two days after that last post, Flash the Jetta broke.  I'll cover that today, more than anything else.

Putter... sputter... sput
It's funny.  I was looking back on a posting from about a year ago (How Diesel Gets Expensive) when Flash stopped working because of a dangerously low coolant level which led to rebuilding injectors, the IP and a timing belt change.  Back then, the driver of the Jetta was my step-son, and oddly enough when Flash suddenly stopped running on Allen Blvd, it was him again, but again, not his fault.  For the third time in a year, I had to have the Jetta towed home.  Enter a plug for AAA.

Attempts to start the engine were not fruitful.  I checked for codes, and got a P1248 (Injection Start Control Deviation).  Concluding there was a fuel delivery problem, I checked the case relief valve in the IP first.  Since the pump was just done, I didn't expect anything unusual, and it was all together like it should have been.  Sometimes, those valves get gummed up and slip out so the pump can't create pressure.  Not the problem.  Then, I swapped out the fuel filter.  After priming the lines and the filter, it still wouldn't start.  I concluded the timing of the IP was off, like the code was saying.  Enter Justin.

Diagnosis Negative
Justin stopped by mid-week after a regular workday to just peek into the situation.  Inside a minute, he spotted a flash of copper/bronze behind the timing belt tensioner, telling him that the tensioner was trash.  Concerns about the timing were spot on, but the timing of the IP was the least of our immediate concerns; one of the valves could have been struck by a piston, turning my TDI engine into a paperweight.  We got the valve cover off, and after a careful inspection, Justin concluded the valve train and pistons were probably okay.  Still, we needed to do a timing belt job.  He ran that through today.

Belt and Suspenders
Turns out the effort to pull off the old belt, replace the tensioner and put a new belt on is pretty much the same as doing a complete job.  So, while Justin started tearing down Flash, I went digging through my deep files to see what parts were replaced when Johnny did the belt as part of the IP swap-out.  I remember the receipt had all kinds of tings on it, but I never found it.  I did find the receipt for when I got towed into Bay City (Bay City Blues).  Ha.  So, in the interest of being safe, Justin and I agreed that a complete timing belt change was the best plan.  As Justin removed rollers and the coolant pump, it became increasing clear that we'd made the right decision.  Even though we only put 10k miles on the belt, an incorrectly installed belt will prematurely wear the parts it touches.  In a few hours, the belt was on, the timing was set and we'd taken a test drive to set it in.  Flash Lives.

Daily Driving
The broken Flash created a force to try driving Hapy to work.  After suffering a dead battery on the attempt on the first day, he responded very well every day after that.  I even ran errands in him one day this week.  He's been starting right up, idling a little high on the colder days, but settling down into the low 900's for idle after a few minutes.  It has been a great pleasure.  I do need to adjust the shifter a little to left to improve the gear selection in/out of 1st and 2nd.  I hope to find time to do that Sunday (tomorrow).

I think that's it for today.  We now have more working cars than drivers for the first time in months.  So, as I look forward to Monday, I have to make a decision about which TDI to drive to work.  Ha!  Thanks for following along, and for those who like the pictures, I'm sorry I didn't take any photos of Justin's labors.  I'll take pictures of the removed parts and update this posting later.

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