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Frank Hovis

Car Servicing That's Not In The Manual

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I was looking for the cambelt interval change and found this on Honest John:

Another problem of 2.0TDI PD 140s and 170s is failure of the oil pump. The oil pump is driven from a balancre shaft via a short hexagonal shaft. The peaks of this hexagonal shaft locate in six corresponding but minute grooves machined within the otherwise circular-bored oil pump drive shaft. Thus, the oil pump drive relies entirely on an interference fit of little more than 0.010" along the peaks of the hexagonal shaft. After about 50,000 miles, the shaft can round off, resulting in a totally destroyed engine and turbo, plus a bill of up to £9,000. If the danger is known and the oil pump is removed by the garage in good time, a new replacement pump will cost over £500, plus the labour etc to remove and refit it. However, it is also possible to save the old pump and modify the drive at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Many local machine shop already have numbers of these pumps in for such rectification, the drive shaft of each having been on the point of rounding off.

This is a VW engine found in Audis, Seats, VWs post 2005.

So I will be replacing my oil pump shortly as I'm over 50k. Are there any other unpublicised but essential changes (to any car) out there that should be done before the engine goes pop? As I say I found this by chance, my main dealer garage hasn't mentioned it.

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I was looking for the cambelt interval change and found this on Honest John:

This is a VW engine found in Audis, Seats, VWs post 2005.

So I will be replacing my oil pump shortly as I'm over 50k. Are there any other unpublicised but essential changes (to any car) out there that should be done before the engine goes pop? As I say I found this by chance, my main dealer garage hasn't mentioned it.

In the 1.9 the water pump was supposed to be done at the same time.

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In the 1.9 the water pump was supposed to be done at the same time.

The water pump gets done when the cambelt gets done as a matter of course because of the ease of doing both together. Or so I used to think. A friend was being quoted by a Renault garage on just cambelt replacement, when I said to ask about the water pump they said they might look at it!

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Its madness. Is technology going backwards or something. My 2002 TDI 130 has now covered 203000 miles and has had the cambelt and water pump changed 3 times, a new turbo at 160k miles, but never anything else engine wise. On your later model it should do 200k miles without any of the above. Cams should be gear driven or go back to an improved pushrod design. Or are they really just doing this to make money on the maintenence bills?

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I was looking for the cambelt interval change and found this on Honest John:

This is a VW engine found in Audis, Seats, VWs post 2005.

So I will be replacing my oil pump shortly as I'm over 50k. Are there any other unpublicised but essential changes (to any car) out there that should be done before the engine goes pop?

Dozens of them. Some of the Volvos from when Ford took over (2001) have crap throttles and electronics that fail ever 20k or so. Not good when you car stops in the middle of a major roundabout.

MGFs, and Freelanders and any other car with the 1.8 K-series engine have serious head gasket problems.

These are just the models I have owned. In both cases the manufacturers deny the existence of the problem, but anyone who owns one or a mechanic who isn't a VI knows better.

As I say I found this by chance, my main dealer garage hasn't mentioned it.

Why would he give up £9000 of work for £500?

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There are other instances of essential maintenance that is conveniently missing from service schedules or known problems that are not mentioned. I hope your car isn't a six speeder, as they have a reputation for disintegrating when hooked up to the more powerful diesels. I read it on HJ, then it happened to a friend.

On the 1.8 20v petrol that VAG used extensively in the late nineties/2000s (it may still be going for all I know) for example in the MkIV Golf GTI and various Audi TTs, the water pump was not commonly changed at cambelt service time, despite being driven directly by the cambelt. If the water pump bearings failed(and I believe they are not good quality) they could throw the belt off and that's end of engine.

Also, 'sealed for life' torque converter autoboxes from Volvo. Car has FVSH, but that means auto fluid never changed, box may break sometime over 100k miles. A massive waste of parts.

Car manufacturers' response to much of this is that "We design our car to last 7(or so) years". Pretty poor imo.

Edited by cheeznbreed

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My local garage changed my water pump along with cam belt on my 99 1.9tdi vw

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Older VWs (and a lot of older BMWs) - when you change the water pump do NOT buy a VW one - they have plastic impellers. The aftermarket ones are mostly brass and not as bad.

ABS module - fails unbelievably often on Mk5 Golf platform cars. VW refuse to accept it for a recall. But do show goodwill if it has VW SH and evidence of brake fluid changes.

BMW - diesels - swirl flaps (break down at arond 100K and break falling into the engine.... if it happens, you need a new engine). Same with the 1.9 VX/Saab/Alfa/Fiat engine..... but on that, also budget for a £1200 inlet manifold at 80K (you might get lucky), a new EGR valve and the like as well. Oh, and on BMW, the rear floorpan on the E46 (1998-2005 3-series) - rusts through. BMW will replace if there's no previous evidence of accident damage.

Almost all modern diesels - the diesel particulate filter will need replacing - at an enormous cost around 120k miles (dependent on manufacturer (4 figures)). Also, most modern diesels have a dual mass flywheel - disastrously poor things that they are. Budget another £800-£1200 to do. Oh, and you might as well put a new clutch in whilst it's out.

Ford - TDCi engines - chocolate injectors. Same with the older Mazda 6 diesels and the 200-2007 VW 2.0 diesels.

Mercedes - mostly sh1te reliability - just woeful. Until the most recent cars. And rust. But many Fords are no better - look at the state of even very recent Ford Kas.

Audi - see VW - and add haldex fluid replacements. And with quattros, woe betide you if you get a puncture when your tyres aren't nearly new - the cost of 4 new tyres will make you cry (rolling radius changes and you can't have a large gap between one wheel and the rest, so you have to change all 4 tyres).

Renault, Peugeot and the rest..... ugh, just ugh, when it comes to electrics and electronics - try changing a headlamp bulb on a modern French car..... (and many Audis) - chunks of the front end have to come off.... which is why about 1 in 3 Peugeots only has one headlamp working. And a common rail Renault diesel - 1.5dci - at 100K plus - no thanks.

Even the Japanese aren't perfect - Honda have masses of problems with the 2.2ctdi, Toyota have the same with their 2.2 diesel, Mazda aren't good, Nissan are using Renault engines these days in a lot of their cars....

Porsche - RMS, IMS failures..... boom. £10K please. Even the 997 wasn't immune .... but the GT3 and Turbo 996 use a different block.... so stick with those :)

Jaguar - not as good as you'd think. Electronics - especially stupid parking brake. And a fair few lunching engines. And the old gearboxes in the TDVi (2.7) are prone to be kaputt at 80K to 120K miles.

Most modern cars have inbult problems - mostly to do with getting mpg up and emissions down.... and the bolt on bits to improve the EU cycle cost a packet for no long term good.

If I didn't have much money and wanted reliability, I'd buy an older, non-turbo petrol manual Japanese car. A Honda Jazz (though one of the shafts in the gearbox is known to go on earlier cars), Civic, Accord, old Mazda 323F/3, Toyota Avensis or Auris or a Yaris 1.3/4......

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Its madness. Is technology going backwards or something. My 2002 TDI 130 has now covered 203000 miles and has had the cambelt and water pump changed 3 times, a new turbo at 160k miles, but never anything else engine wise. On your later model it should do 200k miles without any of the above. Cams should be gear driven or go back to an improved pushrod design. Or are they really just doing this to make money on the maintenence bills?

When cambelts appeared first their major advantage was that they were a quiet way to drive overhead camshafts. Chains were noisy and gears even noisier as well as seriously expensive. The first manufacturer I remember introducing them was Vauxhall and I remember them saying that they had broken a couple of test rigs but no cambelts. However there is a major difference between then, about 1970, and now. In those days it was very unusual for a car engine to do 100,000 miles without serious attention, 50,000 miles would have been considered pretty good. Then at rebuild time the timing chain and sprockets would have been inspected and replaced if necessary. These days people literalisticy expect a couple of hundred thousand miles from a properly looked after engine.

I do wonder how many cambelts actually do fail though? I suspect that it's not that many but as the result is seriously expensive we hear a lot about it.

Turbos have always needed a little bit of understanding and TLC to ensure long life. The fact that they appear on lots of bread and butter cars these days to improve emissions and fuel consumption means that they are probably going to be an on going pain as a lot of drivers will not realise that revving an engine just after starting it and not letting it idle for a few seconds before turning it off is detrimental to turbo life.

It will be interesting to see how well the combination of a turbo and the auto shut off and restart in traffic combination works after a couple of years.:D

Think of it, accelerate away from the lights, get caught at the next red, the engine turns itself off, it restarts when you want to move off again and you accelerate again. That means a short life for a turbo.

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I spend a bit of time on the skoda forum and I was aware of the oil pump problem on the 2.0PD TDI but I have never heard of any preventative remedial work on it. Turbos, DMF and Teves units seem to be more the order of the day of that vintage engine/car. As a SEAT it should be on fixed servicing so hopefully your turbo will be ok. Don't skimp on servicing and always use the right spec oil for PD engines. Not cheap but cheaper than new cams.

Do you have ESP on that? HAs your MK60 Teves unit gone kaput yet? I don't think you can prevent it but at least there is a cheap fix now rather than the £1500 replacement EDIT: This is the ABS module that Rachman refers to above. Also affects other manufacturers like Mazda and Honda, same fault.

Why would he give up £9000 of work for £500?

Why? Well I would be surprised if this happened to a large (>10%) number of engines, there will be tens/hundreds of thousands on the road. And most people would take those odds of a major failure. If dealers recommended a £500 job for a less than 10% chance of failure, they would no doubt be accused of fleecing their customers on unecessary work so they don't.

Easy fix is not to buy one.

Edited by SeeYouNextTuesday

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When cambelts appeared first their major advantage was that they were a quiet way to drive overhead camshafts. Chains were noisy and gears even noisier as well as seriously expensive. The first manufacturer I remember introducing them was Vauxhall and I remember them saying that they had broken a couple of test rigs but no cambelts. However there is a major difference between then, about 1970, and now. In those days it was very unusual for a car engine to do 100,000 miles without serious attention, 50,000 miles would have been considered pretty good. Then at rebuild time the timing chain and sprockets would have been inspected and replaced if necessary. These days people literalisticy expect a couple of hundred thousand miles from a properly looked after engine.

I do wonder how many cambelts actually do fail though? I suspect that it's not that many but as the result is seriously expensive we hear a lot about it.

Turbos have always needed a little bit of understanding and TLC to ensure long life. The fact that they appear on lots of bread and butter cars these days to improve emissions and fuel consumption means that they are probably going to be an on going pain as a lot of drivers will not realise that revving an engine just after starting it and not letting it idle for a few seconds before turning it off is detrimental to turbo life.

It will be interesting to see how well the combination of a turbo and the auto shut off and restart in traffic combination works after a couple of years.:D

Think of it, accelerate away from the lights, get caught at the next red, the engine turns itself off, it restarts when you want to move off again and you accelerate again. That means a short life for a turbo.

Interesting point regarding stop/start and turbos. Maybe a water cooled turbo with an electric pump might be the solution when stop/start is engaged (although how the plumbing for that in conjunction with a normal water pump might work I've no idea). Have manufacturers addressed this potential issue?

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Interesting point regarding stop/start and turbos. Maybe a water cooled turbo with an electric pump might be the solution when stop/start is engaged (although how the plumbing for that in conjunction with a normal water pump might work I've no idea). Have manufacturers addressed this potential issue?

I was not so much thinking about the cooling as the oil supply. You want the oil flowing through the turbo bearings before it spins up and you want the oil to keep flowing through it until it stops. So if you have just used a fair bit of power (boost) and immediately turn off the engine the the turbo is going to keep spinning after the oil has stopped flowing through it.

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ABS ESP pump failed on my Saab over £600 for a new one. After a bit of research on the interweb discovered that a Vectra GSI had the same system albeit with a slightly different part number for the ABS pump. A new vauxhall one was around £200 cheaper.

In the end I paid £40 for a second hand one from eBay, I thought it was worth the punt at that price. It took me 2 hours to replace (worst part of the job was removing the wheels to bleed the brakes) I now have fully functioning ABS and ESP for £40 plus 2 hours of my labour.

Moral of the story, join car model specific forums on the Internet, they are an excellent source of knowledge.

Edited by Mr. Miyagi

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.......join car model specific forums on the Internet, they are an excellent source of knowledge.

I ran an old 1989 Porsche 944. Things go wrong at that age but it was certainly possible to use as a daily driver given regular maintenance and some help from the specialist internet forums.

The sunroof motor failed and Porsche dealers wanted in the region of £400 for a replacement. Specialist garages offered it up to a £100 less but someone discovered the same motor – badged as a VW spare – was available for £200.

Amidst all the congratulations and thanks, one contributor reported he ran an early 1990’s Ferrari, for which the cost of the sunroof motor was £1700 and yes, exactly the same VW unit but with a Ferrari sticker applied! B)

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ABS ESP pump failed on my Saab over £600 for a new one. After a bit of research on the interweb discovered that a Vectra GSI had the same system albeit with a slightly different part number for the ABS pump. A new vauxhall one was around £200 cheaper.

In the end I paid £40 for a second hand one from eBay, I thought it was worth the punt at that price. It took me 2 hours to replace (worst part of the job was removing the wheels to bleed the brakes) I now have fully functioning ABS and ESP for £40 plus 2 hours of my labour.

Moral of the story, join car model specific forums on the Internet, they are an excellent source of knowledge.

You are wise, and clearly a bit of a mechanic! :huh:

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I had the Rover's cambelt changed last year, cost me 200 quid and they had a look at the water pump and said it was OK....as I expected them to. Those boys have the time to spend sitting around waiting for the parts van to arrive!

Honest John is cambelt/chain mad. He loves cam chains, that's why he loves Korean cars.

I wonder if there'll be any problems with Ford's new 1,000cc motor? Apparently it has a cambelt that runs in an oil bath and is supposed to last the lifetime of the car.

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Honest John is cambelt/chain mad. He loves cam chains, that's why he loves Korean cars.

I believe BMW have gone back to chains, after a period with external belts! Can anyone confirm this? :huh:

I have no particular love of Korean cars, although the ones I saw in Korea look much better than the budget models they sell us! :huh:

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Cam chains are great. My old Alfa has them, and the recommendation is to change them if you have the cams out, and if the car has done over 100k miles. The downside is that the cams need to come out every 24k miles as the tapetts are solid and need shimming. The modern Alfa has hydraulic tappets which self adjust, but the belts need changing every 60k miles - £600 and I haven't yet worked up the courage to do it myself.

I very much agree with the comments about looking at internet forums. Alfa front suspension job - a grand at the dealer, or £300 of parts and an afternoon's getting grubby - courtesy of a well photographed guide on the web. Recently the gearchange became stiff, and impossible to select 3rd - much sucking of teeth at the dealer. A quick look at the web showed this was a common fault that need a pair of bushes (£5.40), and about 30 minutes work with simple tools to fit.

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Cam chains are great.

I very much agree with the comments about looking at internet forums.

Mr Miyagi and yourself are welcome to come round with a bag of tools, and fix the cruise control on my other car!

Actually ALL of my wisdom comes from the Internet! ;)

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Mr Miyagi and yourself are welcome to come round with a bag of tools, and fix the cruise control on my other car!

Actually ALL of my wisdom comes from the Internet! ;)

I have a cam chain too ;)

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Useful thread, cheers.

I agree with the point about why are cars getting more complicated? if they brought in that £3k car ?Renault? were making in East Europe I think I'd buy one, wind-down windows and all.

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Useful thread, cheers.

I agree with the point about why are cars getting more complicated? if they brought in that £3k car ?Renault? were making in East Europe I think I'd buy one, wind-down windows and all.

Frank, I had one of those rear-engined Skodas once. Opening windows in the back were an "option"! :huh:

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Nice quote!

“Well, I still want a basic car. But now I think I’d be happy with just a basic BMW or Lexus.”

Well I quite liked my Lexus, but it wasn't a basic car like the Skoda! :lol::blink:

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I ran an old 1989 Porsche 944. Things go wrong at that age but it was certainly possible to use as a daily driver given regular maintenance and some help from the specialist internet forums.

The sunroof motor failed and Porsche dealers wanted in the region of £400 for a replacement. Specialist garages offered it up to a £100 less but someone discovered the same motor – badged as a VW spare – was available for £200.

Amidst all the congratulations and thanks, one contributor reported he ran an early 1990’s Ferrari, for which the cost of the sunroof motor was £1700 and yes, exactly the same VW unit but with a Ferrari sticker applied! B)

Funny - I posted about Porsche on another thread here yesterday.

I pointed out that Porsche use Audi parts - such as relays. But Porsche charges double for them.

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