Friday, 19 May 2017

JR Tuning Kent Review - Diesel Remapping

The EGR on my VW Passat TDI recently started to give warning lights on the dashboard. On investigation the EGR valve was faulty and needed replacement - or so I thought! It appears that it's also possible to map out the EGR valve so that it doesn't give an error and the car no longer expects it to be present.

When I called JR Tuning based near Headcorn I had a really helpful conversation about how the EGR could be remapped out and that the error would no longer occur. The best part was that the cost of remapping to remove the EGR from software was £120 compared to over £300 to replace it with a new part.

When I arrived at the garage where JR Tuning are based my car was hooked up to the diagnostics machine and the ECU contents downloaded to their computer. They were then able to make the adjustments and remove the EGR - or set the value for it to 0 so it was effectively no longer used.

After 3 months the car is running very smoothly and the EGR light has not appeared since. I've also now decided to return to JR and get the car remapped fully as when discussing the existing map on the car it doesn't seem to be fully optimised to get the best performance and fuel economy from the car.

JR Tuning Kent Review - Diesel Remapping
JR Tuning Kent Review - Diesel Remapping

Monday, 27 March 2017

VW Golf MK4 Owners Review

I’ve now owned 6 different MK4 VW Golfs over the years (TDI 90, PD TDI 100, 1.8T GTI, PD TDI130, PD TDI 150 and now another PD TDI 130). To me the MK4 seems to have achieved the perfect mix of build quality, comfort and reliability that subsequent Golf versions have failed to match. In particular the PD TDI engines are extremely fuel efficient and reliable with good performance and are the obvious choice if you are in the market for a reliable economical older car. The PD 130 with 1.9 litre diesel engine is probably pick of the bunch as it combines great economy along with decent performance and although slightly noisier than a more recent diesel this isn’t noticeable at speed. For those interested in tuning their cars the PD130 can be very easily remapped to give GTI levels of performance.
VW Golf MK4 Owners ReviewVW Golf MK4 Owners Review
VW Golf MK4 Owners Review
When new there were a few minor issues such as faulty water pump and failing electric windows due to plastic components failing but these have generally now been sorted in most cars and replaced with the more reliable metal parts. It’s worth checking that all electrical items work just to be sure.
I find the driving position and dashboard illumination to be one of the best in any car that I’ve owned. The blue background light on red dials makes the instruments very clear to see and is easy on the eyes for a long journey. The gear change is smooth and all controls light

The negative points of the MK4 Golf are pretty small, the main one to me being the relatively tight legroom in the rear seats but other than that the car ticks all the main boxes required for a family hatchback. The plastics used in the door handles can be prone to wear over the years but the parts are still available from VW to replace them and freshen up the appearance.
Points to look for when buying a MK4 Golf are to check the service history, ideally a fully stamped service book with receipts to support and usual mileage and condition checks. A well maintained car should have decent tyres and evidence of any MOT advisories being fixed rather than appearing year after year. Also remember that at this age many parts are easily available online or from a scrapyard so worn seats or a dented front wing are issues relatively easy to fix for little outlay.
One thing that I wouldn't worry about is mileage for a car at this age. If anything a higher mileage is possibly slightly better as it means the car has been used on motorways rather than pootling around town and not warming up. 

My choice from the MK4 Golf range would be either the PD130 if you want fuel economy or the 1.8T GTI if you want performance. The PD150 GTI gives similar performance but I found it had significant turbo lag compared to the PD 130 model.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

VW Passat TDI B6 MAF Faults Gives Low MPG

I found that my VW Passat TDI was giving low MPG and it seemed to point to a fault with the MAF sensor as there was no difference in performance whether it was connected or not and recording data with VAGCOM showed some values that didnt seem to make sense so it appeared to be faulty.

This video shows how to replace the MAF sensor in a VW Passat TDI

Saturday, 3 December 2016

VW Golf Oil Filter Housing Removal

The VW Golf Mk4 TDI has an oil filter housing with a paper oil filter insert inside that needs to be removed and replaced during an oil change service. These should be done at least every 10,000 miles to ensure that the engine keeps running to its optimum performance as the PD injectors are very dependent on correct lubrication.

I've found the Laser 3117 oil filter removal wrench tool to be one of the easiest ways to do this. You can use chains or rubber straps to twist the oil filter housing off but they run the risk of damaging the filter housing which this tool will prevent.

Laser Filter Wrench Has Round Socket Incorrect Size

The Laser 3117 oil filter removal wrench comes with a round metal clip through the 3/8" socket hole so it can appear that the wrench is faulty and has a hole the wrong size and shape. If you remove the metal packing clip you can then use the normal socket on the oil filter removal tool and get the oil filter housing off the car. 

You can see a video of how to remove the transit clip here

Sunday, 27 November 2016

VW Golf - How To Fit Replacement Wiper Blades

I needed to replace the wiper blades on my 2001 VW Golf today. This video shows how I did it. One of the easiest jobs to do on a car so definitely no need to pay Halfords to fit them for you!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Buying Guide Golf MK4 Review - Common Faults to Check

What to look for & Common Problems with MK4 VW Golf?

Even the newest VW Golf MK4 is now at least 10 years as production ceased in 2004 although Boras were made for a few years after that.
Golf MK4 Review - Common Faults to Check
Golf MK4 Review - Common Faults to Check
The MK4 Golf is a generally reliable car and most areas to look at are common for any used car you are buying such as checking service records and maintenance history. However there are a few common trouble spots that are worth checking out.

Buying Guide Golf MK4 Review
Buying Guide Golf MK4 Review

Early on in their life it was common for the rear wiper pipe to come loose and end up leaking. This causes the boot lock to become corroded as well as the handle. Generally the wiper pipe has been fixed by now but the corrosion remains unless dealt with.

Rust on VW Golf front wings is another common fault but one that is easy to fix either with replacement wings or treating the rust. This seems to be due to the way the foam is fitted under the wheel arch liner which traps water and causes rust to start.

Rust on VW Golf front wings
Rust on VW Golf front wings

As with any diesel car after a long time the DMF (dual mass flywheel) can wear and cause vibration. When this needs to be replaced it's generally worth doing the clutch at the same time as the main cost is the labour to remove parts to access them.

Electric windows were prone to break as plastic clips were originally used. Later parts were metal so if these were repaired earlier in the car's life then they should be good for a few more years.

Service history is vitally important for the PD diesel cars. These are some of the best MK4 Golfs available as they combine excellent fuel economy with rapid and effortless performance especially on the motorway. However they need specific oil due to the high pressure fuel system and this needs to be changed regularly so I'd avoid any car that has no detailed service history unless it is a very low price.

The engine wiring loom is a routine service part for the PD engines and as it is covered in hot oil it can degrade the casing causing misfires. It's not an expensive job to change and one that is worth doing if you spot any issues.

VW Golf MK4 Interior
VW Golf MK4 Interior

As with any older car I'd recommend buying on condition not mileage. My previous MK4 Golf GT TDI PD150 was sold with 250,000 miles on the clock. 2 years later it has now passed 270k and had a new MOT with no advisories.