TSB updated January 8, 2013: TSB # 21 12 01 / 2025464 Frozen Air Charge Cooler
For those who are unaware of the TDI Intercooler Issue, here is a synopsis.
There is a serious safety and engineering defect with all North American MK VI generation TDI Jetta, TDI Jetta Station Wagon, and TDI Golf cars. TDI Passats are not affected by this. Other parts of the world are not experiencing this issue due to differences in emissions controls. VW has issued TSB # 21 11 06 / 2025464 Frozen Air Charge Cooler for it.
All CR 2.0L TDI engines for the above mentioned cars are prone to engine failure, destruction and engine compartment fire due to water condensing in the intercooler during cold winter weather. Water vapour is entering the intercooler airstream and condensing into significant volumes of liquid water. The accumulated water then enters the engine cylinder causing a catastrophic hydrolocking condition resulting in engine failure. Some owners, not aware of why the engine won't start, continue to run the starter motor in attempt to start the car which results in overheating of the starter cable. The overheated starter cable causes the cable insulation to melt, smoke and catch fire.
A large number of owners in Canada and the US have experienced not being able to start, difficulty starting, and engine failure to due water being drawn into the engine from water condensing in the intercooler. This has caused cars to suddenly die while driving on public roads and highways with the potential of suddenly being hit by fast approaching traffic. As a testament to the widespread occurance of this condition the main forum thread for this discussion is currently over 158 pages long.
Volkswagen has known about this issue since last winter and has not been able to provide a permanent solution. They have put together a Cold Weather Intercooler Kit, but cars that have had this kit installed have shown that it does not work. VW has refused to recall the cars, but have instead chosen to install the fix kit on a single car request basis. The number of affected cars exceeds the number of kits available. Many owners whose cars are waiting at dealers have been told that the backorder waiting period is 3 to 6 months. At this point every TDI that is on the road is essentially a mass produced prototype that can potentially fail in the winter. Owners of brand new 2012 cars have experienced inability to start their car and engine failure. There is no permanent fix at this point. Cars that are currently coming off the assembly line are still being built with this inherent flaw.
VW has performed exceedingly poorly in remedying this serious problem. People have suggested that they are providing token fixes because the problem goes away as the weather warms, and they are hoping that they can keep doing token fixes until warranties expire and they are no longer liable.
VW is advising TDI owners to tow their car to the dealer if the car won't start on first attempt. It is not normal for a new car to not start right away. Hard starts or multiple start attempts will force water into the engine cylinders and hydrolock and destroy the engine. Hard starting is the indicator of water in the intercooler.
I suspect that this is much more widespread than is currently known. Only a small number of owners who follow the TDIclub and turbodiesel forums are aware of this. The vast majority of TDI owners do not participate in enthusiast forums. If you have found water or sludge in your Intercooler line or have experienced the Intercooler Issue (no start, hard start, rough engine, engine stopping), there is a survey and map in progress to track occurances throughout Canada and the US.
Please view the map to observe where owners have reported this. The creator of the survey (VeeDubTDI) is a TDIclub member who asks for your TDIclub username. If you do not have a TDIclub username, just use your vwvortex username on the form.
New Map Link: http://batchgeo.com/map/12184accc121...f66a07d456f2aa
Below are several very detailed forum discussion threads and photos of the condition.
Another ICED UP INTERCOOLER - TDIClub Forums:
IC Sludge photos
Cold Weather IC Kit 1K0-198-803-B May 26th, 2011
2012 TDI Jetta Engine froze when trying to start - TDIClub Forums:
TDI would not start - Help! - TDIClub Forums:
mysterious trouble starting - VW TDI forum and Audi TDI forum - myturbodiesel.com:
CR Cold Weather Inspection. - VW TDI forum and Audi TDI forum - myturbodiesel.com: