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    Thread: Loss of horsepower. What can it be?

    1. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-26-2011 04:57 PM #1
      Well just a brief history of the car, it's an 01 GTi vr6 that I bought about 5 years ago. When u test drove it and drove it off the lot, I was in awe with how much power it had as it would throw u deep into your seat-even with 5th gear! I was in love.

      Shortly after, little by little the car felt slower and seemed like it was starved of air or fuel of just struggling to accelerate. I took it to the dealership and they couldn't find anything wrong(as usual). I thought if was because I became used to the power and was why it felt slower.

      This is 5 years later and I am totally convinced something is not right. It just feels like it running on 3 cylinders not 6. Last night on the freeway minding my own biz a dodge neon with a rice exhaust kept intimidating me til I finally decided to show him how bad a GTi can smoke him(mind u I don't normally race people). I finally gave in and floored it from 5th gear and he was keeping up with Ke neck to neck! When I first got the car it would KILL anything with 4 cylinders! What gives??
      I haven't vag'ed the car because the dealerships robs u and don't know anyone around me that can but no codes come up when scanned with a reg ODBII scanner. So I've done some research and found a few things it might be such as catalyc convertor clogged or bad, coil pack cracked, bad clutch, dirty bad MAF or spark plugs and wires. I've cleaned my MAF, new clutch last year, changed spark plugs and wires last year and I don't have most of the symptoms of a cracked coil pack such as constant misfires with engine light coming on and off, more frequent misfires in damp/rainy weather, etc. I've also kept up with reg maintenance with fluids, oil and such.

      Is there anything that could be wrong but doesn't cause a code? Because i have zero codes. If the cat is bad or clogged, wouldn't it give me a code? Or if anything else was bad for that matter?

      Please help me get my GTi back to normal! Thanks alot and sorry for the long post.

      Rob

      P.S. If I wanted to change the cat out but remember reading that unless the dealer or someone proves that it's faulty, it's illegal to change it? That just doesn't seem logical but thought I'd ask. I'm in Cali by the way.
      .:Rob

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      01-26-2011 05:21 PM #2
      could be anything.

      first i would try a tuneup (plugs,wires,coils,air filters, fuel filter, maf, 02 sensors, ect), then move on to things. but it could just be general wear and tear on the motor, loss of compression, ect..
      Last edited by 01; 01-26-2011 at 05:25 PM.

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      01-26-2011 05:30 PM #3
      MAF sensors are notorious for causing lack of power without setting a fault or turning on the CEL. It's the same with the BMW's I work on too. MAF's are hard to diagnose for this reason so it's best to find a known good one to borrow and try out. I doubt it's ignition unless it's misfiring or bucking under hard acceleration, but you may want to go ahead with plugs and wires if you haven't done so for a while. You may also want to replace the fuel filter just because they're cheap and easy and could cause these problems also.
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    4. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-26-2011 05:58 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by Scotty_2.0 View Post
      MAF sensors are notorious for causing lack of power without setting a fault or turning on the CEL. It's the same with the BMW's I work on too. MAF's are hard to diagnose for this reason so it's best to find a known good one to borrow and try out. I doubt it's ignition unless it's misfiring or bucking under hard acceleration, but you may want to go ahead with plugs and wires if you haven't done so for a while. You may also want to replace the fuel filter just because they're cheap and easy and could cause these problems also.
      Ya I cleaned the MAF a few weeks ago and felt a noticeable difference with power and that was nice. I'll definitely borrow a new one to see if it fixes the problem. Speaking of bucking, I think the most "struggling" I feel the car doing is in lower rpm's right after I've shifted. Feels like it's suffocating...but then just all if a sudden gets a kick in the ass and accelerates faster. For ex., I change to 2nd and floor it and car struggles for 2-3 sec in that gear before it all of a sudden accelerated faster-without any change in throttle/pedal pressure. Kind of like it's going flow but gets a kick in the ass.

      On a side note, would a worn timing chain, guide rails, tensioners and such cause a change in HP? because I know at 95k the car is due for new ones.

      Thanks for you help.
      .:Rob

    5. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-26-2011 06:04 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by 01 View Post
      could be anything.

      first i would try a tuneup (plugs,wires,coils,air filters, fuel filter, maf, 02 sensors, ect), then move on to things. but it could just be general wear and tear on the motor, loss of compression, ect..
      Ya that exactly what I did since I'm pretty low on finances, I changed the air filter, cleaned MAF, did spark plugs/wires last year and also recently got a code for the front o2 sensor and just changed that last weekend. Should I just go ahead and change the spark plugs eventhough they were done last year? Also, fuel filter was something both of you mentioned that I don't recall changing. How do i do this. If there is a DIY or a link on doing this I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
      .:Rob

    6. Member german2sn's Avatar
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      01-26-2011 08:51 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      Ya that exactly what I did since I'm pretty low on finances, I changed the air filter, cleaned MAF, did spark plugs/wires last year and also recently got a code for the front o2 sensor and just changed that last weekend. Should I just go ahead and change the spark plugs eventhough they were done last year? Also, fuel filter was something both of you mentioned that I don't recall changing. How do i do this. If there is a DIY or a link on doing this I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
      yeah i would change the fuel filter too but i havnt seen a diy on it so no help there for ya, something you should also do is clean your throttle body i noticed quite the difference when i cleaned mine heres the link
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?1116399

      also check that your shifter rod is working properly and moving freely it may not be working at all and maybe the vacuum line came loose or is broke somewhere if its not working properly it would cause a loss of power, sounds like you covered just about everything else short of doing a compression test

      and oh yeah i wouldnt worry about the plugs they should still be good you might pull them out and take a look at them and if they look good just stick em back in

    7. 01-26-2011 09:59 PM #7
      check every sensor that controls air/fuel ratios against vw's specs. im talking 02 sensors ect sensor maf sensor, iat sensor. pretty well eveyrthing. ohm out the surrounding wires. check plugs and coil for good spark arking ability. replace anything that doesnt stack up.

    8. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 02:43 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by german2sn View Post
      yeah i would change the fuel filter too but i havnt seen a diy on it so no help there for ya, something you should also do is clean your throttle body i noticed quite the difference when i cleaned mine heres the link
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?1116399

      also check that your shifter rod is working properly and moving freely it may not be working at all and maybe the vacuum line came loose or is broke somewhere if its not working properly it would cause a loss of power, sounds like you covered just about everything else short of doing a compression test

      and oh yeah i wouldnt worry about the plugs they should still be good you might pull them out and take a look at them and if they look good just stick em back in
      Funny you mentioned the shift rod because I just replaced the bushings from gruven after a year of not being able to diagnose the dreadful clicking. When I put the rod back in, i made sure that it rotated though as I knew I'd have some probs if it didn't.

      I'll pull those spark plugs out and take a look at them. Hopefully it's just a plug problem as that would be an easy, inexpensive fix. Ill also check out the compression test diy. Also found a fuel filter DIY too.

      Forgive the noob question but would a dyno ANC someone who can interpret it be able to once and do all diagnose any problems? Or should I just save up and get a full diagnostic on a vag-com(unfortunately I'd have to go to the dealer for that as I don't know anywhere that would do that for me)?

      Thanks alot for your opinions and input.
      .:Rob

    9. Member german2sn's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 08:13 AM #9
      i think i remember you posting a while back and talking to you about the shifter rod, i dont think you have an engine problem other than general wear and tear, just clean your throttle body and replace fuel filter and see what happens and you say you found a diy on changin the fuel filter please share the link for those of us that do not have it

      oh and after cleaning the throttle body its a good idea to reset it which you can do yourself and also do a adaptation to it but to adapt it you would need to hook it to vag-com vcds so its a good investment if your willing to fork out the few hundred or more bucks ...

    10. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 02:06 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by german2sn View Post
      i think i remember you posting a while back and talking to you about the shifter rod, i dont think you have an engine problem other than general wear and tear, just clean your throttle body and replace fuel filter and see what happens and you say you found a diy on changin the fuel filter please share the link for those of us that do not have it

      oh and after cleaning the throttle body its a good idea to reset it which you can do yourself and also do a adaptation to it but to adapt it you would need to hook it to vag-com vcds so its a good investment if your willing to fork out the few hundred or more bucks ...
      You're right, now I recognize your SN. You helped me alot during my shift rod problem. I'll def clean the throttle body and change the filter and start from there. Before I forget here are the links to the Fuel filter DIY:
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...cement-(photos)
      Links for pics are broken which is really annoying but I guess it helps a little. Here's a how-to for getting the clips off without breaking anything. This one has a working pic:
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?2979787
      I hope this helped! Thanks again for all your advice/input, I really appreciate it. Now I have to start a thread about my clutch and a loud clicking sound only heard during warm up.

      Let me know if the links work
      .:Rob

    11. Member Grabbit's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 02:46 PM #11
      Nobody posted this yet but a simple coolant flush and new coolant temp sensor might help as well. The sensor is only around $15 and a jug of G12 is about $25. I ran almost straight distilled water and redline water wetter and all it did was rust up the sensor and probably cause the coolant to have an electric charge to it. I'm in the desert and even though it never really freezes here I still will run at least 30% G12 to help keep the coolant stable and lubricate the block and system.

    12. Member german2sn's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 09:45 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      You're right, now I recognize your SN. You helped me alot during my shift rod problem. I'll def clean the throttle body and change the filter and start from there. Before I forget here are the links to the Fuel filter DIY:
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...cement-(photos)
      Links for pics are broken which is really annoying but I guess it helps a little. Here's a how-to for getting the clips off without breaking anything. This one has a working pic:
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?2979787
      I hope this helped! Thanks again for all your advice/input, I really appreciate it. Now I have to start a thread about my clutch and a loud clicking sound only heard during warm up.

      Let me know if the links work
      yeah links work great thanks i try to save them all figure all eventually need them, oh and as mentioned above by grabbit replace your coolant temp sensor there fairly cheap and can cause a loss of power totally forgot about that

    13. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 10:34 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Grabbit View Post
      Nobody posted this yet but a simple coolant flush and new coolant temp sensor might help as well. The sensor is only around $15 and a jug of G12 is about $25. I ran almost straight distilled water and redline water wetter and all it did was rust up the sensor and probably cause the coolant to have an electric charge to it. I'm in the desert and even though it never really freezes here I still will run at least 30% G12 to help keep the coolant stable and lubricate the block and system.
      I'll def do that thanks. The mechanic a while back told me I might have a small coolant leak but I check coolant levels frequently and it's not getting any lower nor do I visibly see any leaks or puddling after I've been parked for a while...so I figured it couldn't be too bad. I'll give it a flush and replace the temp sensor. Thanks for your input
      .:Rob

    14. Member Grabbit's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 11:39 PM #14
      Blue two prong sensor is for the ECU, others are for the AC, gauge, etc. At least on the MK3....

    15. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-27-2011 11:57 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Grabbit View Post
      Blue two prong sensor is for the ECU, others are for the AC, gauge, etc. At least on the MK3....
      Gotcha, I'll look up the exact part# for it. Is there any way I can test the sensor? Maybe a voltimeter ?
      .:Rob

    16. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-28-2011 04:01 PM #16
      So just to clarify and so I can start with the basics and run down the list, to diagnose loss of acceleration and horsepower I should check:
      -Spark plugs and wires
      -Coil pack
      -MAF
      -Throttle body
      -Catalyc converter
      -fuel filter
      -Coolant sensor and lines

      Is there anything I'm missing? Also a compression test maybe?
      .:Rob

    17. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-28-2011 08:31 PM #17
      Is the above pretty much covering all bases regarding loss of HP diagnosis?
      .:Rob

    18. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-28-2011 08:36 PM #18
      Is the above pretty much covering all bases regarding loss of HP diagnosis?
      .:Rob

    19. Member german2sn's Avatar
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      01-28-2011 08:51 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      Is the above pretty much covering all bases regarding loss of HP diagnosis?
      i think that pretty much covers it theres several things that can cause loss of hp but thats the most common things you could have dirty injectors wouldnt hurt to dump in some fuel injector cleaner the expensive kind not the cheap crap which imo doesnt work...

    20. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-29-2011 03:26 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by german2sn View Post
      i think that pretty much covers it theres several things that can cause loss of hp but thats the most common things you could have dirty injectors wouldnt hurt to dump in some fuel injector cleaner the expensive kind not the cheap crap which imo doesnt work...
      Ya I was thinking fuel inj too. I just hope they haven't gone bad- come to think of it, I don't even know how many a vr6 has

      I know people might get annoyed with lots of posts I'll prob make regarding troubleshooting and dx'ing my car but I'm on a mission. I've committed to making this car, that's been payed off, a solid reliable and fast car...from years if neglect. I can't afford a mechanic so I'm learning how to do all this stuff as I go down the list. I'm told I should dyno-tune it too if I'm serious about performance and diagnostics but I don't know if doing that before I do all these maintanaces would be the correct way to do it.

      I suppose I'll just check things off and when all that's done dyno the car.

      Thanks alot for your input/s. I know I couldn't and can't do all this without the help of such helpful people like yourself here on vortex. I really appreciate it.

      Cheers
      .:Rob

    21. Member Grabbit's Avatar
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      01-29-2011 06:56 PM #21
      ^ No prob, glad to help. These motors are solid performers if properly maintained but they are finicky. Best thing to do is always start basic/big then work to specific/small. I would start with a scan, Autozone will do this for free and their basic scanner showed the same codes as my VAG COM software. Next, basic tune up items such as fuel filter, spark plugs, coolant flush and a compression test (again you can rent the tool for free at Autozone). Electrical items such as mass airflow sensors, oxygen and coolant temp sensors are know for going bad (fading really) and while not necessarily throwing a code and CEL it will make you car run like crap. I'm sort of in the same boat as you, my MK2 VR isn't the same as it was three years ago when I built it. It needs timing chains and since its a daily driver i don't get on it very much but the last few times I did I knew it was different. So far I've tested compression, fuel pressure, fuel filter, plugs, did the ford coilpack mod, swapped ECUs and MAFs. About the only thing i have left to do is replace the fuel pump and check the injectors and buy a new MAF. The nice thing about the MK4 is a MAF is a $50 fix by buying a 2.0 MK4 MAF and plugging the sensor into your housing. If you are worried about stock injectors, I would grab a set (6 since you wondered) from the classifieds, have them flow checked and installed (lots of forced induction guys with stock injectors laying around). And when you need parts........

      http://www.germanautoparts.com/
      or
      http://www.rockauto.com/

    22. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      01-30-2011 04:46 PM #22
      ^I'll make sure I save the text on this thread as it's invaluable to me for getting the car back to normal. I really hope u and i get our cars running as they should. Im jst going o go down the list starting with the big things and rule things out before I get to the knitty-gritty.

      Thanks for the links! Is the $50 2.0 MAF at on of the store links u sent? I cleaned my MAF and notice a huge difference not too long ago but I might just change it if it's that price. I just font know how to tell if I have a bad MAF...like some sort of physical test. I'll look into it and hopefully I'll find something.

      Thanks again!

      Rob
      .:Rob

    23. Member gti vr6er's Avatar
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      02-08-2011 03:45 PM #23
      Well, after days if non-stop research, I'm thinking this loss of HP may be due to a vacuum leak. Would a vac leak cause that much of a dramatic loss in HP though? When my hood is popped, I hear a pretty noticeable hissing sound but that arose after I installed the p-flo air intake and I figured it was just the normal sound of the intake at idle. Are short rams supposed to be hissing at idle or am I mistaking it for a vac leak? Also, when I did my gruven shift rid bushings, that rubber washer thingy(the thicker red one) flew off and got lost and I never found a replacement so I'm sure it's prob leaking a bit there too.

      Sidenote, I did the coilpack mod yesterday and the caf serms to be running alot smoother but obviously still not normal.

      Any input and help is greatly appreciated!!
      .:Rob

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      02-08-2011 03:58 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      Well, after days if non-stop research, I'm thinking this loss of HP may be due to a vacuum leak. Would a vac leak cause that much of a dramatic loss in HP though? When my hood is popped, I hear a pretty noticeable hissing sound but that arose after I installed the p-flo air intake and I figured it was just the normal sound of the intake at idle. Are short rams supposed to be hissing at idle or am I mistaking it for a vac leak? Also, when I did my gruven shift rid bushings, that rubber washer thingy(the thicker red one) flew off and got lost and I never found a replacement so I'm sure it's prob leaking a bit there too.

      Sidenote, I did the coilpack mod yesterday and the caf serms to be running alot smoother but obviously still not normal.

      Any input and help is greatly appreciated!!

      heh, yes that missing washer on the shift rod would cause problems. your introducing air post maf, so the ecu doesnt know there is excess air making it in.

      easiest way to check for vacuum leaks is a can of carb cleaner.. start spraying suspect areas with the engine running, and you will clearly hear a raise in the idle speed if you spray where a leak is.

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      02-08-2011 05:26 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by 01 View Post
      heh, yes that missing washer on the shift rod would cause problems. your introducing air post maf, so the ecu doesnt know there is excess air making it in.

      easiest way to check for vacuum leaks is a can of carb cleaner.. start spraying suspect areas with the engine running, and you will clearly hear a raise in the idle speed if you spray where a leak is.
      Ya I figured that

      Would MAF cleaner work? Because these one time use of crc products is really starting to take up space lol Also, would I spray that carb cleaner right into the shifter rod washer area? What if it goes into the intake mani? It wouldn't damage it would it?

      Also, I put my ear to the shift rod area and that loud hissing isn't coming from there(doesn't mean I don't have a leak there though). It's coming from around the sri. Yes, I dis check to make sure the breather hose had the filter on it and was plugged in properly.

      If it's merely from the shift rod area, would that little leak cause such a dramatic loss in HP?
      .:Rob

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      02-08-2011 05:28 PM #26
      Any other suggestions will really help!

      Edit: one last thing I should mention is that when I come to a red light and pull put of gear the rpm/idle gies up slightly to about 1000 or 1200 rpm befor coming back down to 800 where it normally is. I don't know if this is related to the vac prob or a coolant issue as I know I need a coolant flush pretty bad.
      Last edited by gti vr6er; 02-08-2011 at 05:32 PM.
      .:Rob

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      02-08-2011 05:46 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      Ya I figured that

      Would MAF cleaner work? Because these one time use of crc products is really starting to take up space lol Also, would I spray that carb cleaner right into the shifter rod washer area? What if it goes into the intake mani? It wouldn't damage it would it?

      Also, I put my ear to the shift rod area and that loud hissing isn't coming from there(doesn't mean I don't have a leak there though). It's coming from around the sri. Yes, I dis check to make sure the breather hose had the filter on it and was plugged in properly.

      If it's merely from the shift rod area, would that little leak cause such a dramatic loss in HP?
      the whole point is to have it suck in the carb cleaner, it will burn off just like fuel, causing the RPMs to rise, this method has been used to find leaks for along time. and no it wont cause damage.

      all its for is to help locate the leaks so you can fix them.

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      02-08-2011 05:47 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      Any other suggestions will really help!

      Edit: one last thing I should mention is that when I come to a red light and pull put of gear the rpm/idle gies up slightly to about 1000 or 1200 rpm befor coming back down to 800 where it normally is. I don't know if this is related to the vac prob or a coolant issue as I know I need a coolant flush pretty bad.
      sounds like vacuum..

      why do you think you need a coolant flush?, there should be no need to flush it unless you mixed types of coolant. or you know of a problem.

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      02-08-2011 06:37 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by 01 View Post
      sounds like vacuum..

      why do you think you need a coolant flush?, there should be no need to flush it unless you mixed types of coolant. or you know of a problem.
      Well, when I was on a biz trip for a few wks, a friend put in Prestone "for all makes and models"/"mixes with any color coolant" in my car to top it off when I got a low coolant level code No codes or anything and it's been a few months since its been in there, which is surprising but I'd still rather get that stuff out. Coolant is on it's way as we speak though so when I get it I suppose just flush out the old stuff with water then refill?
      Last edited by gti vr6er; 02-08-2011 at 06:43 PM.
      .:Rob

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      02-08-2011 07:10 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by 01 View Post
      the whole point is to have it suck in the carb cleaner, it will burn off just like fuel, causing the RPMs to rise, this method has been used to find leaks for along time. and no it wont cause damage.

      all its for is to help locate the leaks so you can fix them.
      Oh that makes sense. At least now I know why carb cleaner
      .:Rob

    31. Junior Member lovr6's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 03:00 PM #31
      BUMP! same problem here, but only after engine has warmed up, trowing tons of gas in WOT and engine chokes!!!

    32. Member Ultramagnus0001's Avatar
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      02-01-2013 04:05 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by gti vr6er View Post
      Well, when I was on a biz trip for a few wks, a friend put in Prestone "for all makes and models"/"mixes with any color coolant" in my car to top it off when I got a low coolant level code No codes or anything and it's been a few months since its been in there, which is surprising but I'd still rather get that stuff out. Coolant is on it's way as we speak though so when I get it I suppose just flush out the old stuff with water then refill?
      The prestone mixes with any color coolant is fine, it doesn't contain phosphate or something like that. I'm no expert, but the CTS and a vucumm leak seems plausible.
      You can get a smooth, quiet, floaty car and fall asleep waiting to get from point A to B, or enjoy getting there.
      To be good at racing, you have to change your name to Sebastien.

    33. Member masterqaz's Avatar
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      New 04 pd100 Old setup 94 JTI Vrt 60-1 .58ar exh obd2 440 racefile 20psi/meth
      02-01-2013 04:28 PM #33
      Sure he figured it out in the last 2 years
      Coming soon 4dr pd golf on air dipped blue with hitch racks and skid. Real work horse
      Automatic cause shifting short ratio sucks

    34. Member Ultramagnus0001's Avatar
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      02-02-2013 12:16 AM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by masterqaz View Post
      Sure he figured it out in the last 2 years
      Whoops cell phone, didn't notice the date
      You can get a smooth, quiet, floaty car and fall asleep waiting to get from point A to B, or enjoy getting there.
      To be good at racing, you have to change your name to Sebastien.

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