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    Thread: 24v VR6 crack pipe and thermostat (t-stat) housing DIY

    1. 10-26-2008 12:44 PM #1
      After doing the crack pipe and t-stat housing on my car, I found the 12v and 24v were different enough that it might be worth it to some to have a 24v-specific DIY. The biggest difference is you don't have to mess with the SAI pump - it's not in the way at all on the 24v

      Based on my experience, I'd suggest either working with the car on the ground (if you can get under it enough to disconnect / reconnect the lower radiator hose. If not, put it on jack stands at the lowest possible height - you don't need much access underneath, and you won't have much flexibility to maneuver the lock carrier once you have it freed up. After doing the 12v last year and 24 this year, the 12v definitely had more flexibility to swing the lock carrier out of the way. The lower you are to the ground, the better you can maneuver it.

      That said, I didn't do all these steps in the order presented, but if I were to do it again, I would follow this process:

      Step 1 - Follow the lock carrier DIY (Extreme Version) - props to darisd for the DIY

      Note: At step 7, the 24v (or at least mine) did not have the drain valve near the lower radiator hose. You will need to remove the splash guard, which runs from about the lower radiator hose to the control arm. It is secured by two snap rings and one torx screw. Also, instead of removing the lower rad hose as shown in Step 7, I simply pulled the hose connection - much easier than the connection shown IMHO. I also used a plastic under-bed storage bing (with wheels) for a large catch area for spillage - it works very nicely for keeping the mess to a minimum.

      Note: At step 14, you will also need to disconnect the clip around the lower coolant line. This clip is at the approximate center of the bumper - I didn't realize it was there until I went to pull the carrier It's most easily seen in this picture:

      Now that the lock carrier is down, it's on to the remainder of the job:

      Step 1: Disconnect the air hose (yellow arrow) running along the side of the intake manifold and remove it from the clip (red arrow).

      Step 2: Disconnect hoses the hoses from the t-stat housing. You will have more spillage with each one, so position your drain pan accordingly. It'll go all over no matter what you do

      Step 3: Disconnect the hose from the crack pipe to the oil cooler. The spring clip on this hose was a huge pain to get at because of the orientation it was installed at from the factory. It was between sizes, or I would have put a screw-type hose clamp on it. I used a slip-joint plier to get in there, and that worked OK. For most others (lock carrier portion and step 2) I used arc-joint pliers.

      Step 4: Disconnect the CTS (Coolant Temp Sensor / Green top sensor, or black if it's still the OEM sensor and somehow hasn't failed ). It's not has hard to get at as it look from this pic:

      Step 5: Unscrew the two (2) long bolts securing the thermostat housing and bracket to the engine block. The bracket is the same one you unclip the air hose from in Step 1. Both bolts are 5mm hex head, and have a relatively short threaded section. After you remove those bolts, work the bracket out through the maze of hoses and wires.

      Step 6: Unscrew the third 5mm hex bolt from the rear of the t-stat housing. It's short and it's buried in there, so you'll need a long extension. This one is much shorter.

      Step 7: Pull the thermostat housing straight out off the block (more spillage will occur - position your drain pan beneath it). Most of the resistance will come from the o-ring at the end of the crack pipe, but it's not too bad.

      Step 8: The alternator wire runs along, and is actually clipped to the crack pipe in two places. One is on the block side (see pic below) - you'll need to remove that clip in order to be able to pull the pipe through, so pull the wire out and remove the clip. The clip is secured to the pipe with a "peg" on the pipe - dislodge it from the peg and it'll rotate around so you can remove it. Don't worry about these clips or that wire - it does not need to be clipped to the pipe when reassembled.

      There is a similar clip near the other end, next to the nipple for the oil cooler line) - just pull the wire out of it, you can pull the pipe through with the clip in place. Sorry - couldn't get a pic of that, but you'll see it.

      Step 9: Pull the pipe out - it'll be REALLY tough to pull, but a bit of rotating while you pull will help. You can use the nipple for the oil cooler line for a little leverage in rotating, but it's somewhat fragile. I didn't break it this time, but I did on the 12v

      Step 10: Check the hole in the block for corrosion or scale that might damage your new o-rings. It's a tight squeeze to reach back there, but you can do it. If there is, hit it with a little sand paper and follow up with a clean shop towel or rag.

      Lube the end of your crack pipe/o-ring with a bit of coolant, or with the Gruven crack pipe (AND ONLY THE GRUVEN PIPE you can use WD-40 per Paul. WD-40 on OEM o-rings could result in deterioration of the o-rings, those supplied by Gruven are much tougher and more resistant.

      When inserting the pipe, make sure you have it lined up with the drain valve pointing straight down and the nipple for the oil cooler line oriented appropriately. Push the pipe in, DO NOT ROTATE WHILE DOING SO. If you have it lined up right, it should pop right in.

      Step 11: Prepare your new thermostat housing for installation. I didn't take any pics of this step, but it should be pretty straight forward. I'd recommend installing a new thermostat/thermo stat o-ring and thermostat cover. If you haven't already done so, install a green top coolant temp sensor (CTS). In my case, I already had one, but I got a second and put it in the other hole as a back-up for when the current one fails. All I'll need to do is swap the connector over - no mess

      MAKE SURE YOU USE NEW O-rings and NEW CLIPS - they get brittle and aren't fun to get at once you've put it back together if it leaks.

      The three 5mm hex bolts that secure the thermostat cover to the housing should all be torqued to 8 NM / 6 ft-lbs per the Bentley manual (it's 10 NM / 7 ft-lbs for 12v).

      One last note on this - my original thermostat cover had an angled outlet pipe, the replacement I received was straight. ETKA only lists one part # - not specific to 24v, so I don't know how one would go about getting a proper replacement Unfortunately I didn't realize this difference until I was cleaning up after finishing the install. Fingers crossed hoping it holds - if I were doing it again, I'd re-use my original cover.

      EDIT: for peace of mind, I pulled the housing back out and replaced the t-stat cover with the original. The correct part number is 021 121 121 E.

      Pack the new gasket into the new thermostat housing and make sure it seats flush. Packing it with some RTV sealant isn't a bad idea, as it'll help hold it in place and help it seal when you bolt it up to the block.

      Step 12: Push the new t-stat housing assembly into place. Like removal, most of the force needed will be to get it securely mounted on the crack pipe. Once that's done, grab the bracket and long bolts from Step 5. Work the bracket into position and put the bolt through. It'll take a little work to line them up and get them started. DO NOT TIGHTEN THEM ALL THE WAY YET.

      Step 13: Insert the third bold to secure the rear of the thermostat housing. Once all three bolts are started, gradually work them down until they are all snugged up evenly. Torque spec is 8 Nm / 6 ft-lbs. If you don't do it evenly, it can affect the seal, which is the most important part.

      Step 14: Reconnect the CTS harness before reconnecting any hoses - once this hoses are connected it'll be more difficult to access.

      Step 15: Reconnect all hoses to the T-stat housing. I wish I had more screw-type hose clamps on hand to replace some more of the spring-clamps, but at least when you put it back together, you can leave the clamps such that they are actually accessible.

      Step 16: Reconnect the oil cooler hose to the crack pipe. This especially is one I wish I could have replaced with a screw-clamp, but it was between sizes. I had one up to 5/8", and one down to 3/4". I'd say it's right about 3"4, but I wasn't comfortable using the larger of the two. Again, put it together such that the clamp is accessible.

      Step 17: Reconnect the air hose next to the intake manifold, and clip it back into place.

      Step 18: Lift the lock carrier back into position (resting on the frame rails. Reconnect the upper and lower radiator hoses, and clip the lower coolant line back to the front clip (from Step 14 of the lock carrier removal).

      Step 19: Secure the lock carrier in the reverse of the removal (per the DIY linked above).

      I left it there as I had other work I planned for the next day (today). Comments, critiques, suggestions, and questions welcome. All told, it took about 7 hours of work, and I'm not fast. If you've got skills, It could probably be done in half that As I think of additions or get feedback, I'll update the DIY accordingly


      Modified by Veedub_junky at 7:52 PM 10-26-2008


      Modified by Veedub_junky at 8:22 PM 10-27-2008


    2. 10-26-2008 12:47 PM #2
      Since it didn't show up too well in any of those pics, here's one to show how far out of the way the SAI pump is


    3. Member apstguy's Avatar
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      10-26-2008 03:08 PM #3
      Sweet, thank you for the DIY! It will come in very handy.
      Gone: 2008 VW R32
      Gone: 2002.5 VW GTI 24v VR6 - 180k+ miles

    4. Member Ld7w_VR's Avatar
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      10-26-2008 03:33 PM #4
      nice diy. pretty much the same thing i went through.
      The Elite 24v VR6 Club: Member #268 "Like 6 cylinder of 15 degree sex"

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    5. 10-26-2008 04:50 PM #5
      quality pictures make a huge difference. well done
      '03 Matchstick Red 24v VR6 GTI -- All bolt-ons, suspension, rims.
      '82 Caddy /w 1.9TD swap -- Currently being restored, finished by spring '11
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    6. 10-26-2008 08:28 PM #6
      Quote, originally posted by geetarhero »
      quality pictures make a huge difference. well done

      Definitely agree - I retook several to make sure they weren't blurry. For the most part, if I have a good set of pics showing me what I need to see, I don't need the narrative

      I'll be making some changes/updates in the next few days. I wasn't too comfortable with using the other t-stat cover, so today I pulled the t-stat housing back out (glad I hadn't filled it yet, as I was planning on doing the water pump...) and put my original cover back on. FYI - the correct cover for our cars (or at least mine) was 021 121 121 E. The outlet pipe comes out at about a 30 degree angle, as opposed to nearly level.

      Since I wasn't going to get to the water pump, I filled it up, started, and checked for leaks. All was good, and it was about fully warmed up. I wanted to make sure the thermostat was working, so I gave it some gas. At about 4k rpms I blew off the upper radiator hose and sprayed one quadrant of my garage with coolant

      Irony of it is that I HAD put the clamp on when I finished the housing install stuff, but I had to remove that hose to get clearance for the intake shifter rod while I replacing those bushings. Putting it back together from that is when I screwed up and forgot to move the clamp back where it belong. Oopsy


    7. Member Fundaze's Avatar
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      03-29-2012 11:49 AM #7
      So if I wanted to replace the thermostat can I do this without removing the carrier and if so what problems may I run into by not removing the carrier?

      My issue is I live in Canada and the thermostat is sticking and this is my DD so I need to get it driveable again ASAP. I am unable to get the crack pipe in Canada and need to order it from the US. The only issue is this will take over a week.

      I would like to just replace the Tstat then get in there later and do the crack pipe and water pump and all that.

      Looking for a quick fix termporarly to get the car back on the road. Also if I replace the Tstat, do you really recommend getting new housing and cover if it all looks okay? I am planning on just doing the Tstat and the gaskets.

      Probably in like accouple weeks, I would remove the carrier and check all the pipes and do the crack pipe and probably the water pump.
      Last edited by Fundaze; 03-29-2012 at 11:57 AM.
      VR Alliance #38

    8. 03-29-2012 03:49 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Fundaze View Post
      So if I wanted to replace the thermostat can I do this without removing the carrier and if so what problems may I run into by not removing the carrier?

      My issue is I live in Canada and the thermostat is sticking and this is my DD so I need to get it driveable again ASAP. I am unable to get the crack pipe in Canada and need to order it from the US. The only issue is this will take over a week.

      I would like to just replace the Tstat then get in there later and do the crack pipe and water pump and all that.

      Looking for a quick fix termporarly to get the car back on the road. Also if I replace the Tstat, do you really recommend getting new housing and cover if it all looks okay? I am planning on just doing the Tstat and the gaskets.

      Probably in like accouple weeks, I would remove the carrier and check all the pipes and do the crack pipe and probably the water pump.
      I'm bought my crack locally at Precision Tuning in Toronto (Vortex Advertiser). I give him a call or IM and see if he can help you out.

    9. Member Johny_Blazed's Avatar
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      05-05-2012 08:58 PM #9
      I am doing thermostat, crack pipe, Monday and I am just wondering is this impossible to do without taking the bumper off...I would really like to not take the bumper off

    10. 05-05-2012 11:50 PM #10
      Trust me, you are going to need to set the lock carrier in the service position. If not I guess you could take off the intake mani but its not that difficult of a job
      03 silverstone GTI 24v
      EVOMS CAI, AWE exhaust, C2 race tune, Ultimos, BBS CH 18", h&r spacers, joey mod, black emblems, blacked tails, reiger illuminated shift knob/boot, 2 eclipse 12's

    11. Member 1lowgtisleepr's Avatar
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      07-25-2012 10:50 PM #11
      thank you. major help
      slam.poke.drop.tuck.dope

      MK3 Jetta 2.Slow | 2001 GTI VR | 2003 Jetta 24V | 2002 Mercedes S430

    12. Junior Member
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      08-22-2012 12:08 AM #12
      I just finished the new housing and pipe install on my 12v VR6.. Wow It was epic... 3hrs to disassemble and 4hrs to get it together. Also, I cleaned and painted a few parts as well as took the time to check a few things out while I had everything open. But, man it was epic. There was one mishap.. When I started the car, I noticed that coolant was slowly dripping from the housing/thermostat area. I drove the car for a while, and the leak went away. Perhaps the o-rings and seals had to set themselves with a heat cycle.. Seems to work ok now...

    13. Member 1lowgtisleepr's Avatar
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      08-22-2012 02:47 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by icarusart View Post
      I just finished the new housing and pipe install on my 12v VR6.. Wow It was epic... 3hrs to disassemble and 4hrs to get it together. Also, I cleaned and painted a few parts as well as took the time to check a few things out while I had everything open. But, man it was epic. There was one mishap.. When I started the car, I noticed that coolant was slowly dripping from the housing/thermostat area. I drove the car for a while, and the leak went away. Perhaps the o-rings and seals had to set themselves with a heat cycle.. Seems to work ok now...
      same happened to me, actually it was coolant that leaked and set into some parts that had a little crevas in them (idk if i spelt that right) what happened was coolant set in places that were hard to see and when ylou drive the force and motion of it made it seem like a leak. either way. your running right, im running right. everything is good. def a plus to the homie that made this DIY threa. Winning.
      slam.poke.drop.tuck.dope

      MK3 Jetta 2.Slow | 2001 GTI VR | 2003 Jetta 24V | 2002 Mercedes S430

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      10-04-2012 01:50 AM #14
      i used a rubber mallet to get the gruvenparts crack pipe in the block.

      vice grips go a long way with spring clamps. i reused all of them.

      laying down the lock carrier makes the job way easier.

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      11-15-2012 02:08 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by 02JttaGLI View Post
      i used a rubber mallet to get the gruvenparts crack pipe in the block.

      vice grips go a long way with spring clamps. i reused all of them.

      laying down the lock carrier makes the job way easier.
      i take this back...do not use a rubber mallet to get the pipe in the block. i just had to redo everything because of a torn o-ring/leak. this time i sanded the hole in the block really well with 400 grit and wiped it with coolant, then wet the ends of the crack pipe where the o-rings seat before putting the coolant-soaked o-rings on. i also wiped coolant inside the thermostat housing. with a little twisting and pushing, the pipe went into the block easily. follow the directions on gruvenparts' website and you should be good. i'm crossing my fingers it doesn't leak again... pray for me. lol.

    16. Junior Member Ootchi's Avatar
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      05-18-2013 08:34 PM #16
      I plan on doing this very soon, do I need an oem thermostat, CTS, housing, etc? Or is it fine to just get it from advance or something? Thanks

    17. 09-19-2013 08:23 PM #17
      On my 2004 BDF I did not have to take off / down the carrier. Once you find the two wire clamps clipped to the pipe its possible. I took off the smaller or rear belly pan section and the battery and battery tray. I can not express you stuck on my pipe was. I had to twist the hell out of it to get it off. The pipe cracked twice. When putting in the new pipe cut off and sand down the gates left by the molding processes. Good luck.

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