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    Thread: >>>Would being one tooth out of time cause overheat??? REALLY URGENT!!!!

    1. 05-25-2010 05:30 PM #1
      Hi again guys. Got all of my coolant issues solved by looking at another possible issue.

      It totally slipped my mind before, but would a car run hot if an engine slipped one tooth out of time?

      I have a pretty wide duration cam (268 TT)...so the idle is never perfectly flat...in fact, it's actually kind of choppy with the larger injectors and head porting (and so on)...but would one tooth slipping out of time be enough to cause the car to overheat under a load (AKA acceleration) but allow for a more-or-less regular idle when stationary?


      I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but after replacing every damned thing in the cooling system..it FINALLY crossed my mind that MAYBE it wasn't cooling at all!!!!

    2. 05-25-2010 09:09 PM #2
      Could this be a timing issue?

    3. Member
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      05-25-2010 09:55 PM #3
      Doubtful. Is this car STILL overheating? Exactly what is it doing now?
      1998 GTI 2.0T
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    4. 05-25-2010 10:47 PM #4
      It's still overheating, but substantially different than before. Still no sign of head gasket failure, still no leakage of coolant. The car fires right up without issue. It will idle forever and stay below 190 degrees. The moment that I take her out for a quick drive, the gauge begins to climb. It's got every earmark of a failing pump and/or thermostat...but they've both been replaced, tested and retested. It's got a very light ping under load of acceleration, but nothing like you'd expect from a car out of time.

      I just happened to recall the actual event when all of this started. Basically, I had a vacuum leak, not a big one by any means, but a vacuum leak none the less. I was sitting at a light and felt the engine begin to stall. I kept doing roughly 1,000 RPM revs to keep her stable until I could get off the road. I had to cross two lanes of traffic to get out of the line for the stoplight, and I kind of popped the clutch a bit hard...so I thought that might have been somethine substantial.

      I popped the hood and found the vacuum leak (basically a connector had slid off, but no failure of hoses or hardware). I drove her slowly back home while she only mildly ran hot...between 190 and 230. I shut her down and let her cool off before digging into the repairs. That's when I replaced everything systematically to get to where I am now. I'm pulling out what little hair I have left.

      Thanks for the replies and keep the ideas flowing.

    5. Member vdubbugman53's Avatar
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      05-26-2010 03:23 AM #5
      what did the water pump look like that you replaced? was is broken?

      have you tried to run it with out a T Stat?

      was radiator new/ cleaned?

      have you checked if it is 1 tooth off or are you guessing.

      can you get the coolant to boil? if not and gauge still says "Real Effing Hot" i vote coolant temp sensor or the sensor for that gauge
      Last edited by vdubbugman53; 05-26-2010 at 03:25 AM.
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    6. 05-26-2010 08:51 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by vdubbugman53 View Post
      what did the water pump look like that you replaced? was is broken?

      No, it wasn't broken at all, but it appeared as though the resin/plastic from the factory pump had slid slightly away from the rear of the bearing housing. Just for the record, VW confirmed that the 1997 MKIII Trek had a resin impeller instead of the more resilient metal version.


      Quote Originally Posted by vdubbugman53 View Post
      have you tried to run it with out a T Stat?
      Yes, but no difference whatsoever.


      Quote Originally Posted by vdubbugman53 View Post
      was radiator new/ cleaned?
      The dealership ran a very quick "flush solution and then used the Airlift to refill the system.

      Quote Originally Posted by vdubbugman53 View Post
      have you checked if it is 1 tooth off or are you guessing.
      Honestly, I'm guessing, but the timing was modified from the factory spec when we renewed the distributor, used the sport cam and did all of the valve work...and since I'm unable to verify the timing shift (the designer passed away), it's more of a shot-in-the-dark as nothing else has made sense.

      Quote Originally Posted by vdubbugman53 View Post
      can you get the coolant to boil? if not and gauge still says "Real Effing Hot" i vote coolant temp sensor or the sensor for that gauge
      Tested them all first with a Fluke meter and did external tests with boiling water to verify the on-car result.



      Basically, I think my car has just decided to be a "See You Next Tuesday" because she wants attention. I don't know what else to fix. I'm hearing some chatter about a head gasket "breach" which wouldn't allow fluid exchanges, but I've been driving Dubs for years and years and I've never seen anything like that. I just need to get this hammered out so I can get back to work.

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      05-26-2010 12:42 PM #7
      This sounds simmilar to what im going through with mine, i have no explanation for why my car is overheating.

    8. 05-26-2010 12:47 PM #8
      II hate that it's happening to more than me...but I'm glad to not be alone to some extent. At least that rules out witchcraft.

    9. 05-26-2010 01:14 PM #9
      I don't see it posted here but, are the fans working?

    10. Member MecE2.0's Avatar
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      05-26-2010 01:23 PM #10
      timing isn't going to cause an over heat, and if you haven't cleared the blockage in the head yet you should get on that before doing anything else. the pinging you're getting could just be from heat sink. have you ensured you have no other vacuum leaks? have you deleted any emissions equipment?

    11. 05-26-2010 01:50 PM #11
      Yep, fans are working as well as changing speeds. That doesn't necessarily rule the fans out as a problem, but the work fine while I'm able to see them under the hood while sitting still.

    12. 05-26-2010 01:58 PM #12
      Actually, the clog still exists in that tiny port on the head, but short of dismantling the head I'd prefer to try as much as possible before I head down that path. Is there a chemically derived fluid that can be used as a flushing agent...preferably one stronger than the Prestone "flush" stuff?

      I wonder if there could be some kind of pollutant that was introduced to the flow that hardened to cause the problem.

      I'm not crazy, honest...but I am literally so close to doing an entire engine swap just to start over.

    13. 05-26-2010 03:04 PM #13
      So the water pump, and thermostat have been replaced and the fans are working correctly? Coolant level seems like it is at the correct level.

      I'm interested in one thing. If you leave the vehicle standing still the temp remains normal but once you put it into gear and start driving thats when it starts to overheat?

      Also, it doesn't sound like there's any smoke or anything, have you felt the engine after its been run to see if it is overly hot?
      Last edited by supremesb122389; 05-26-2010 at 03:06 PM.

    14. 05-26-2010 03:44 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by supremesb122389 View Post
      So the water pump, and thermostat have been replaced and the fans are working correctly? Coolant level seems like it is at the correct level.
      Yes, yes and yes. However, the coolant will top-off, but it has quite a lot of back-pressure that compounds the longer I leave it running. If I run her up to operating temperature, and then let her cool completely before adding fluid. There's no "leak" anywhere, but the overflow tank lives up to its name. When I open it to add fluids, it bullies it's way out of the overflow tank...cool or not. That's indicative of air-pressure build up.


      Quote Originally Posted by supremesb122389 View Post
      I'm interested in one thing. If you leave the vehicle standing still the temp remains normal but once you put it into gear and start driving thats when it starts to overheat?
      That's correct to a degree. If I start it cold, like first thing in the AM, I could let it run all day without issue, but if I use the throttle to push the motor the heat gradually climbs, but never more than about 205 degrees. If I floor it and rev the water pump, it cools down momentarily, but then heats up further upon stopping the higher RPMs.



      Quote Originally Posted by supremesb122389 View Post
      Also, it doesn't sound like there's any smoke or anything, have you felt the engine after its been run to see if it is overly hot?
      No smoke anywhere and nothing that would otherwise say "head gasket". The engine does seem very hot, but the proof is the fact that my oil filler tube will release a small wisp of smoke (not water, but oil-based) and the oil seems to look stressed with tiny oil bubbles, again NOT water based bubbles.

      Do you suppose that you could use a coat hanger to get an idea of how far in that port goes on your car? That port on the side of the head is showing to be blocked at only 1 1/2" into the head...where it hits something solid, unless it curves around out of view. It seems solid and doesn't allow for the passage of any fluids nor air seemingly.

      Thanks again...


    15. 05-26-2010 04:02 PM #16
      Yep, MK3. NEVER any problems until this.

    16. 05-26-2010 04:04 PM #17
      sorry man im running an mkiv

      It really sounds like a thermostat or water pump but you've replaced all of that. and you've tested all of fuses and relays/ I'm at a lost
      Last edited by supremesb122389; 05-26-2010 at 04:06 PM.

    17. 05-26-2010 04:05 PM #18
      I might be in the very near future....

    18. Member MecE2.0's Avatar
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      05-26-2010 06:21 PM #19
      keep plugging away. i have to do some work on one of the cars this weekend so while i have things apart i'll do a depth test on the expansion port to see how far in i can get a hanger. hold in there, the problem is likely something simple thats just been overlooked. oh and as far as flusher's there are some pretty caustic radiator/CS ones out there.

    19. 05-26-2010 06:50 PM #20
      Warped cylinder head? Combustion gases leaking into the coolant? They sell test strips that you can dip into the coolant to check for combustion gases.

      I dealt with an overheat problem on a 01 beetle with 2.0L N/A motor that had a warped cylinder head. Customer overheated the car and drove on it for a little bit to get home. Initial cause was a broken waterpump impeller that was replaced with aftermarket parts. After replacing everything with OEM parts at the dealer the vehicle still overheated. Thermostat tested okay but was replaced as a precaution and still had the overheating issue. The car could idle forever without an issue but as soon as it was driven it would start to overheat. Pulled the cylinder head and warpage was out of spec. Replaced the cylinder head and associated parts and the car ran like a top after that.

      Also being one tooth off timing wise should not cause an overheating issue.

    20. 05-26-2010 06:55 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by VDubGTi08 View Post
      Warped cylinder head? Combustion gases leaking into the coolant? They sell test strips that you can dip into the coolant to check for combustion gases.

      Also being one tooth off timing wise should not cause an overheating issue.
      I actually did use the strips from Napa and they came out negative for petroleum and combustibles. That's what I was thinking was going on in the first place, but there would be some kind of sign elsewhere, especially when this car is so cherry.

      The timing thing is about the last hope for me. If I can't figure out what's causing the issue, I'll have to "go big" and have the head removed, shaved/planed, re-studded and rebuilt....by then, I'll be unemployed and on the bus. I'm dying over here...

      Thanks just the same...

    21. 05-26-2010 09:34 PM #22
      So youre saying there is a clog but you dont think thats the issue? Because at idle it doesnt overheat?? Maybe there is just enough flow coming through that it doesnt get hot enough until you jam on the gas then all bets are off as the engine needs much more flow to cool itself off. I would say if there is a clog its that. In terms of clearing it out I would get the strongest flush and clear that biootch out! :p

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      05-26-2010 09:35 PM #23
      amen to that

    23. 05-26-2010 09:47 PM #24
      I just thought of something. I know you said there is also a ping not very loud but have you tested the fuel air ratio? I would suppose a lean condition bad enough to make your ride overheat would be sounding like monkeys humping a cymbal in your motor but with your issues I would check everything that doesnt involve blowing it up. Then blow it up!

    24. 05-26-2010 10:16 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by rabbidGTI View Post
      So youre saying there is a clog but you dont think thats the issue? Because at idle it doesnt overheat?? Maybe there is just enough flow coming through that it doesnt get hot enough until you jam on the gas then all bets are off as the engine needs much more flow to cool itself off. I would say if there is a clog its that. In terms of clearing it out I would get the strongest flush and clear that biootch out! :p

      I was just made aware that the "metal wall" I'm unable to breach is the #4 cylinder sleeve. Holy hell! I'm glad I waited for a clear perspective. You guys are all incredible just for putting up with this mess.

      I was made aware that the flush will not change anything if none of the solution can get to the point of the clog itself. As sad as it is, I can only go IN through that port and will not actually get to the point of the clog...apparently.


      Quote Originally Posted by rabbidGTI View Post
      I just thought of something. I know you said there is also a ping not very loud but have you tested the fuel air ratio? I would suppose a lean condition bad enough to make your ride overheat would be sounding like monkeys humping a cymbal in your motor but with your issues I would check everything that doesnt involve blowing it up. Then blow it up!

      Auto-Meter kindly does that for me at every start. It's running a tiny bit lean, but puckers up when I get on the throttle. My FPR and fuel pump are designed for higher volume flow, but there has never been an issue with this in the last 6 or more years. No monkeys under the hood, and the tap doesn't seem to get louder as I roll, throttle or shift.


      My gut is telling me that I might need to plane my head off a tiny bit...and that sucks because I just went out and bought a nice used Kinetic turbo set-up that will not get used until this is solved.

      Thanks again guys!

    25. 05-27-2010 01:58 PM #26
      Anything else?

      What is the STRONGEST flushing agent you can buy over-the-counter without causing severe scoring or casting damage?

    26. Member 2pt. slo's Avatar
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      05-27-2010 03:13 PM #27
      Are you sure all the air bubbles are out of the cooling system, after doing a waterpump/thermostat it takes quite a bit of time to get all the bubbles out of the system. Do both the top and bottom radiator hoses get hot when the vehicle is to temp? if not try taking the cooling cap off with the car running, make sure you take it off when the car is cold. Massage the hoses to try to get all the air out once the vehicle is up to temp. If air is still in the system then the car will overheat because of the air being the blockage.

    27. 05-27-2010 04:23 PM #28
      Yeah, that's what I've been told. The fact is that with that head port clogged, the only way I can bleed the air out of the system is to run it with the cap off.
      Obviously, having the cap off makes it very hard to push the fluid in and let the air out. I'm certain that the trapped air is making the system run hotter than normal, but I'm just so tired of trying to do guesswork when it's obviously over my head. I think that I'm going to go to a 16v head anyway as I want more NA breathing power before I go to a turbo set-up.

    28. 05-27-2010 09:24 PM #29
      Well before you take it apart why not use a flush you can easily find and see what happens? Also what about taking it to a professional shop and have them blast the shizz out of it??

    29. 05-29-2010 12:31 AM #30
      Okay, guys! I've figured it out, and it'll drop you on your ass to know the root cause.

      First problem, the impeller on my old water pump (from the factory mind you) was a hardened resin. It's not plastic, but not really any better. At lower RPMs, the pump spun and pumped fine, but upon acceleration, it apparently expanded and lost it's connection to the spindle...in essence making my "water pump" a metal rod in boiling water. Replaced it.

      Problem two, my radiator fan switch was shorted out by the signal it was getting from the fan controller module. Instead of coming on when it reached temperature, IT SHUT OFF THE FANS!!! Total cluster f_ck because you can't hear or see them when you're rolling around. Replaced the switch and added an insulator resistor as a surge protector of sorts.

      Next problem, the FCS was going bonkers because the water was boiling over and out of the overflow tank. Who ever came up with the idea of putting an electronic component under a tank of water that will leak directly on to said electronics should get a nut-shot from a Brahma Bull.

      Next problem, the coolant in my car, ALWAYS G12 and distilled water was at the perfect concentration, consistency and values when I checked the pH and overall acidity levels while at rest or while under the "hot" marker. Once I tested it with the car nearing the 230 degree mark, the acidity went off the freaking chart...literally. A side "benefit" or G12 coolant is that it has a molecular bond that is altered by heat. At this point, you have got to be thinking "holy sh_t"...I know I was. I drained, flushed, cleaned and flow tested the entire set-up and refilled with the proper coolant to spec.

      Next problem, I found that my overflow cap had lost the washer that helps maintain pressure in the cooling system. Simple fix, BUT WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ALL ABOUT? A car goes apes_hit because of $.25 rubber ring? New cap, new washer...fixed!

      Finally, there's the doozie that I will forever call "the cluster f_ck that is a Volkswagen random s_it goes wrong cooling system". Apparently, this was a singular issue, but it was compounded at each turn because I was always a step behind. In a last ditch effort, I took the car (via trailer) to a guy who offers something he called an "acid honing". It sounds terrible, but basically it's a low concentration of hydrochloric acid that is "washed" back and forth inside the block and head for about 2 minutes. He removed all of the sensors, plastic bits, piping and anything else that could be damaged by the acid and plugged of every single orifice with either a proper bolt or a "plug tap" which consists of a piece of rubber sandwiched between two steel washers that swells to fill an abnormal void when you turn it...kind of like a plumbers seal you'd find in home plumbing. Once it was all prepped, he hit the switch and you could hear the thing swishing around the fluid like it was gargling mouthwash. Two minutes later, he drained the entire solution and what came out was like something out of a f_cking sci-fi movie. A sludge made of rust and some kind of Jello-like goop poured out and it was putrid. He reassembled everything and ran a standard cleaner flush through next for about a minute at operating temperature. He drained it again and the fluid was damned near spotless, save for the few straggler rust bits. One more rinse with tap water and a blacklight dye of some kind to check for seepage or leaks. We filled her up, drove her around for a few minutes and I can honestly tell you that there is nothing like having the cooling system in your car working as if were brand new. I'm getting better slightly fuel economy, a very stable temperature gauge and I run my A/C full-freaking-blast and sit in the car for an entire day without it so much as blinking.

      So, for those who cam to my aide, you guys are absolutely the sh_t! And I mean it! I'm heading out on a weekend trip in the AM and will be wishing you all a great weekend!

      Thanks so much!

    30. 05-29-2010 02:21 AM #31
      All I can say is thats the true meaning of cluster fluck! Glad we could help good thing you got that chunk of gelled up doo doo out of the way.

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