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M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke
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daltonhawk
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:02 pm    Post subject: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

Iím having an issue with my 1Z M-TDI 82 Vanagon. I purchased this van last year already converted so I donít know much about the pump and injectors. Iíve put about 3K, mostly trouble free miles on it. With Covid, it hasn't seen as much use in the last 6 months, just me occasionally driving it to work.

In the past months there have been a few times when I jumped in the van and it started up fine abut after a few blocks the power dropped and lots of white smoke started coming from the exhaust. Every time this happened I pulled over and let it idle/warm up for a few minutes and it returned to normal. I thought maybe aggressive driving with a cold engine was a factor.

Last week this happened again except that it never went back to normal. I made it a few miles from home but it started smoking badly and then I had to limp it back home. It wouldnít hold an idle, produced very low power and ran hotter than normal. I also noticed the exhaust also got much hotter than normal and I suspect that the catalytic converter I recently added was burning a lot of unburned diesel and making the muffler very hot.

The only thing Iíve done so far since I got it home is replace the fuel filter and haven't gotten it to successfully idle since.

I could use some help working out the best sequence of tests to determine where the problem is.

Some things I can think of:
Crack in fuel line
Obstruction in fuel tank/pickup
Problem with injection pump
Problem with injection timing (jumped timing?)
Problem with injectors
Coolant leak (head gasket)
Problem with camshaft.

Where should I start to pair-down the list? It seems like the fact that it started as an intermittent issue should be a good clue, and should eliminate jumped timing or anything related to worn-out parts.

Thanks
Dalton
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

A clear line before and after the injection pump will make short work of diagnosing air in the fuel.

That seems like the most likely culprit as the rest of the items on your list are not likely to be intermittent at all although perhaps it could be a head gasket issue that would stop leaking when warmed up previously.

Perform the following simple test of combustion gases into the coolant. Let the engine cool off completely (overnight). Open the expansion tank cap to normalize the pressure. Start the engine and run it for 10 seconds. Turn it off, go to the expansion tank and listen while opening it. Did pressure hiss out? If so, then head gasket is looking more likely.

Where was the pump sourced from?

Post a pic of the engine.
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dieseltdi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:03 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

While smoke is quite likely a head gasket problem although there is a chance that You have jumped a tooth or many on the timing belt. Hayden
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daltonhawk
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
A clear line before and after the injection pump will make short work of diagnosing air in the fuel.

Where was the pump sourced from?

Post a pic of the engine.


I agree on the clear fuel line. I'll need to find some.

Here's a few pictures of the pump. I don't know where it came from. I did replace that scuzzy fuel line since I took the picture.

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daltonhawk
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:25 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

dieseltdi wrote:
While smoke is quite likely a head gasket problem although there is a chance that You have jumped a tooth or many on the timing belt. Hayden


Maybe but the interement way it came on makes me question it. The smoke is super nasty like incompletely burned diesel. I need a way to tell if it's the head gasket or a injection issue.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

That's an AAZ pump case anyway. If it's an AAZ pump it is not a good match at all to the engine. The black hose for return is a little sad, but black hose for both supply and return is very sad indeed.

Here's a self-quote:

Quote:
I've been using clear Versilon (previously called tygothane) tubing for supply, return and the jumpers between injectors for more than a decade. Great tubing. Resilient, flexible, ages really well, compatible with diesel or biodiesel. 1/8" ID 1/4" OD for the jumpers between injectors (https://www.mcmaster.com/5549K44/), 1/4" ID 1/2" OD for the line from filter to pump (https://www.mcmaster.com/5549K34/), and 5/16" ID 7/16" OD for the return line (https://www.mcmaster.com/5549K35/). The clear return line will let you immediately know if you are getting air into the system. Just look immediately after a cold start. The jumpers between injectors never purge the air out, but on shutdown you can immediately see if any are leaking in air and where (even if there isn't any diesel ever leaking out) as the bubbles will move toward the large return line.


If you are having a lot of incompletely burned diesel, you will plug or melt your cat if you continue to run like that. I would recommend removing the cat until you get the issue sorted .
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:48 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

daltonhawk wrote:

Maybe but the interement way it came on makes me question it. The smoke is super nasty like incompletely burned diesel. I need a way to tell if it's the head gasket or a injection issue.


I was going to ask what it smelled like. If it smelled acrid as you describe I would be inclined to look in the direction of fuel issues vice head gasket issues.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:49 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

I ordered some Tygon F-4040-A fuel line for delivery on Thursday. I will report back then.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
That's an AAZ pump case anyway. If it's an AAZ pump it is not a good match at all to the engine. The black hose for return is a little sad, but black hose for both supply and return is very sad indeed.

If you are having a lot of incompletely burned diesel, you will plug or melt your cat if you continue to run like that. I would recommend removing the cat until you get the issue sorted .


Like I said, the line has been replaced since I took that picture last year. That's the line it came with. Now I will replace it again with clear. Thank you for the details on the sizing.

I have been thinking of getting a different pump or sending it to someone who is more knowledgeable about these injection pumps who can identify the internals and make sure it's set it up properly for my application. The performance is pretty good though, 30MPG and respectable power. Before the recent issue, the biggest complaint I had was more black smoke than I would like when shifting. When investigating the issue, I found a hole in the vacuum line from the anneroid to the intercooler so I wonder what impact that was having.

The cat is welded in so not easily removable but I don't intend to drive it until the issue is resolved.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

Whereís the timing belt cover?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:
I've been using clear Versilon (previously called tygothane) tubing for supply, return and the jumpers between injectors for more than a decade.


Thank you. I canceled the Tygon order and ordered the part numbers you provided from McMaster for delivery on Friday.
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

It is unfortunate that the cat is welded in. I would be concerned about damaging the cat even through diagnosis/repair and would pull the exhaust from the turbo if there aren't any joints after that.

The most scuzzy fuel line in the pic is to the return fitting. When you said you replaced the scuzzy fuel line, I figured that was what you meant.

One other somewhat unpleasant thought is that the crankshaft sprocket could be moving on the crankshaft. I have seen that on more than one AHU/1Z. If so, then in some conditions it could move to a retarded position and then get jarred back to correct timing. That could account for the intermittent behavior.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Whereís the timing belt cover?


Oh boy, that picture is getting me in trouble. I took it last year when I was checking the timing. I had the timing cover (and valve cover if you look closely) removed. They're back on (for) now.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

?Waldo? wrote:

One other somewhat unpleasant thought is that the crankshaft sprocket could be moving on the crankshaft. I have seen that on more than one AHU/1Z. If so, then in some conditions it could move to a retarded position and then get jarred back to correct timing. That could account for the intermittent behavior.


Well at least checking the timing is something I can do without cranking the engine and risking the cat. I'll try to get to that while I'm waiting on the fuel line.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:11 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

Coolant getting into the combustion chambers from a bad head gasket has more of a look of steam or vapor than smoke (kind of a mix of the two) but it really stinks, smells "fishy" almost. Take a whiff of a bottle of coolant and then imagine that smell + burned and that's pretty much it.

If you've ever had the misfortune to be stuck behind a car with a bad head gasket you know the smell.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:31 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

My new shop is now complete so I'm ready to start working on the Vanagon.

Here's a quick recap:
-I bought a mTDI vanagon in the summer of 2019 from a seller who didn't know much about the mechanical history.
-When I was in the process of adjusting the fuel injection timing, I noticed that the flywheel mark didn't line up with the cam or pump although when checked with a dial gauge in a glow-plug hole, the crank timing appeared to line up OK with the cam. (flywheel issue suspected but not confirmed.)
-I put a few thousand happy miles on the van with good performance.
-I had a few brief losses of power that self-corrected after a few minutes of idling.
-Last September I was driving the van to work and it lost power, produced huge smoke clouds and never recovered. It barely made it the two miles back home.
-Once home, I was never able to start it again.
-I changed the fuel filter, checked the injection timing and put in clear fuel lines and was able to see fuel moving though in a way that didn't appear to be problem to me, but still, no start.

At this point I suspected a fuel-injection issue but it seemed like I needed to get to the bottom of the issue with the timing marks before proceeding, which meant putting off the project until my shop was ready.

So here we are, ready to start.

Here's what I have in mind:

1) Perform compression test
2) remove engine
3) inspect flywheel clutch plate to understand timing mark issue.
4) Check crankshaft sprocket/nose for looseness wear.
5) Bring injection pump to local rebuilder to inspect/test.
6) Likely replace pump with one better built for the application
7) Replace water pump/timing belt
8.) replace leaking gaskets such as oil pan
9) Inspect/replace intermediate shaft bearing
10) Replace clutch
11) Re-install engine

Does this sound like a reasonable list, subject to change depending on findings along the way? What else should I be checking while I'm at it with a TDI engine of unknown history?


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here's where I'm starting from:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


A few things in the picture:

The battery is in a wonky location because I crammed a Donaldson filter in behind it and that's the best I could get it to fit. I think I need to either relocate the battery to under the passenger seat or connect the filter to the factory snorkel, although I think that might require cutting some sheet metal.

I'm also boggled by the complexity of the coolant line routing. I need to draw myself a map. For a guy who likes things simple, this makes my head hurt. Can it be simplified? The big line coming off the water pump is kinked against the engine mount so I'd like to fix that at least.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:39 pm    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

Tonight I was planning to do the compression test but ran into a few issues.

When I disconnected the wires from the fuel cut-off solenoid, the stud was rotating. I did get the nut off but I guess this means I need a new solenoid?

Then I realized the adaptor in the compression test kit I just bought that has the correct threads for the glow plugs is way too long? Do you think it would work if I just hack it off? I think I'll see if it has a good adaptor for an injector port first.



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:55 am    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

Crankshaft TDC never changes. Itís machined into the crank shaft. If you donít trust the flywheel mark, then you need to find TDC for the crank and make your own mark.

Then you set your pump and cam timing to your new mark. The variable for the pump and cam timing could be a crank sprocket issue, but crankshaft TDC will not change. Make sense?

Your tool, so if cutting down the adapter gets you room go for it. It does need to seal though. Not sure how your tool was designed to seal. Thatís solvable for a temporary moment to check compression.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

That makes sense Mark and I did make a mark that Iíve been using based on a dial gauge in a glow plug hole. I think it would be good to understand why the mark is off though. I hope all the flywheel bolts are installed!

But I think your point is that whatever is up with the TDC mark couldnít have caused the sudden problem, so itís not going to be a solution and Iíll need to look other places for that.

I think the adapter is just meant to seal on the glow plug threads. I guess thatís good enough for a compression test?
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:03 am    Post subject: Re: M-TDI Vanagon Suddenly Blowing Huge Clouds of White smoke Reply with quote

Iíll catch some flack, once the pump and cam timing are set to spec, other than belt wear, you should never have to set them again. Itís not a service item. Installing a new belt, you confirm the timing, but it really should go back to its original setting.

If pump and cam timing are changing, thatís where you need to look. It really is a set it and forget it adjustment.
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