By on November 5, 2015

TDI Clean Diesel

According to the same source who revealed to TTAC that Volkswagen will announce next week its “TDI Goodwill Program”, the automaker will also begin to roll out fixes for affected diesel emissions cars in the U.S. in February.

The fix, which was mentioned to dealers and communicated to dealer staff, will comprise of an ECU flash. The details of the ECU flash itself and the specific vehicles to which it will apply were not provided.

It was reported previously that different generations of the affected EA189 diesel engine could receive varying levels of correction, from ECU flashes to the installation of full urea-fed SCR systems. This ECU flash could be just one of two or three fixes for Volkswagen’s dirty diesels.

Volkswagen has supposedly earmarked $4 billion to fix their diesel cars and public reputation in the U.S., which includes money the automaker will use to fund the “TDI Goodwill Program”, said the source.

“We were informed that … customers will be notified in batches according to the vehicle’s VIN,” said the source.

Some 482,000 vehicles were sold in the U.S. with the EA189 2-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed they had found what they believed to be a “defeat device” on vehicles equipped with the larger 3-liter six-cylinder diesel engine found in the 2014 Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne Diesel and 2016 models of the Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5. Early estimates put the count of affected vehicles at 10,000, but it’s likely much higher.

Volkswagen has stopped the sale of those models, but disagrees with the EPA’s findings, stating “no software has been installed in the 3-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.”

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35 Comments on “EXCLUSIVE: Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fixes to Begin in US in February...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Dirty diesels done dirt cheap, or at least VW hopes they are.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    My 2010 A4 2.0 TFSI 6mt gets a solid 4mpg above the sticker.

    I love that car.

    So now what.

    I look forward to public unraveling of all other large industrial manufacturer self certifications. Among cars and A/C and vacuum cleaners and on and on.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      My 2013 Ford also gets a solid 4mpg above sticker, but it does so while complying with emissions standards (as far as we know).

      Just imagine how well my Ford would do if it had the VW advantage (ignore emissions standards)!!!

  • avatar
    chris724

    As far as the customers are concerned, there is nothing to fix. The cars work just fine. Well, just as fine as they worked before all this nonsense. NOX is a big nothing. Every day I am choked by black clouds of soot from old dump trucks, non-turbo school buses, etc. But VW TDIs? Not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If TDI owners don’t mind paying VW’s per car, $37,000 fine, they should be able to keep the cheat tune as it left the factory and go on their merry way.

      But it is interesting, California’s very own fleet of smog exempt, dirty diesel school buses.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        denvermike

        That’s just plainly ridiculous. Even if you actually believe that these cars are mini-chernobyl bad (and no they aren’t) you are advocating a course that would cripple consumer level environmental regulation in the long run. You and your friends might think this would be a reasonable ask, I don’t doubt that, but keep in mind that most of the country would be appalled by the imposition of federal regulatory fines on everyday car consumers. That applies, by the way, to people who would otherwise probably share your views on matters related to environmental protection.

        For the EPA to continue to work, it cannot be seen as the bad guy to rank and file Americans. As it stands now they sit on the fence with public perception. Heavy polluting industries spend lots of money trying to gutter their public image but the EPA itself has basically nothing to do with the average citizen’s lives, so only the politically rabid pay attention. The minute they act in a way that actually scares taxpaying citizens though…the political knives will come right out, and on both sides of the aisle. It would be a politically trivial exercise to gut the EPA’s effectiveness and possibly even regulatory authority in that environment.

        Let’s face it, the vast majority of American consumers place emissions at the very very bottom of their consideration list when shopping for a car or a house. They might say it matters in a survey but ask them to list it in relationship with power, safety, comfort, etc… and it’s always dead last. There simply is no political mandate here, despite a general care for and awareness of environmental issues being a strongly shared belief among voters of both parties.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The EPA isn’t the “bad guy” here.

          But you’re confusing 2 different arguments. TDI “cheat” emissions are clean enough for me. But if I’m caught with a cheater Bully Dog “off road” tune/programmer on my 6.0 Diesel, gawd help me! It’s a $10,000 fine iirc.

          But I highly doubt there’ll be much blowback put upon the EPA for coming down extra hard on VW and upsetting up to a 1/2 million VW owners that want the factory cheater tune to remain on their TDIs, and or lost/dumped resale value. They can thank VW for that!

          Simply put, the TDIs just run an off-road tune except for the test cycle.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            I agree. The epa is not the bad guy, and nothing they could do to vw would make them appear to be one. However, the second they advocate decertifying customer cars or, as you suggested, passing on the corporate fine to owners under any circumstances, they will become the boogeyman. My guess is that the epa fine is adjusted based on how many cars vw can finagle into compliance. If states go a different route that’s on them.

            I didn’t mean to come across as scolding. Early morning post.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Obviously TDI owners are innocent here, and I don’t see a reason why every TDI can’t be “fixed”.

            The ‘clean’ test cycle proves they can run clean/compliant, after they’re patched or re-flashed, but if TDI owners defy the EPA by keeping their’s ‘original’ or re-tune them back to original or similar, they’re the “bad guy”, even if I don’t personally see the extra pollution (40 times the allowable NOx) as a relevant issue or heath hazard.

            “Fixed” TDIs may have issues with soot buildup, for example, but that’s another topic.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Yeah, abstractly speaking one could expect that, but the optics are different when you are talking about removing people’s use of their own vehicle for any reason. Especially if its been on the road for years.

            Logistically it’s a huge hurdle as well. States can’t force owners to inspect their cars at dealerships vs shops so there are no tools to verify that the newer calibration is in place. The most they’ll be able to ask for is a receipt, many states probably won’t even play ball with that.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess that means I need to get my radio firmware updated (yes, VW screwed up bluetooth) NOW, before I can never take it back to a stealer.

      1. Find local TDi Guru
      2. Malone Tune !!!

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      NOx and Soot (particulates) are two totally different ends of the emissions spectrum. NOx is caused by too hot combustion, soot by too cold (in an extremely general sense).

      You can’t normally see NOx coming from the tailpipe. Most NOx compounds are colorless. The smaller chemicals that NOx breaks down into when mixed with UV light on a sunny summer day are what make up the bulk of the smog problems in central california and the eastern cities.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Volkswagen has supposedly earmarked $40 billion to fix their diesel cars and public reputation in the U.S.”

    That doesn’t seem possible, for two reasons:
    1. VW’s total assets are something like $37 billion.
    2. The US TDI problem is small potatoes compared to the rest of their market, so the worldwide earmark would be multiples of the $40 billion figure.

    Yes, VW continues to have cash flow, but I still predict bankruptcy protection will have to be sought eventually.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      But this is EXCLUSIVE information!
      It must be true.

    • 0 avatar
      likenissan

      “bankruptcy protection” – don’t be so dramatic!

      This is major finger in VWs eye, but they will survive. Yes 482,000 vehicles is a big recall, but you will be surprised how many USA vehicle recalls in 2015 were bigger.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        482k is not a ridiculous number, but for the vehicles that will require something beyond a software upgrade, the fix is likely to be VERY expensive. And the fines they are going to have to pay will not be small either, especially if the DoJ gets involved.

        I don’t think they’ll go bankrupt, but this is going to be VERY expensive by the time it’s all over.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @likenissan: There are some 11 million vehicles worldwide affected by this. This is why I said the US problem is small by comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      With 500,000 employees and more that 100 assembly plants contributing to economy’s around the world, the governments will not force VW into bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      trackratmk1

      It appears the $40 Billion number was corrected to $4 Billion, which is more accurate. Hey, that’s like liquidating Suzuki! (They made $3.6B on the Suzuki deal earlier this year).

      But predicting bankruptcy for the brand is an overreaction.

      The parent Co, VWAG, brings in over $50 Billion in revenue per QUARTER. Operating profit is over $10B year to date.

      They can afford to ride this out for as long as it takes, and frankly after the fines and recalls are complete, everyone will move on with their lives.

      The 2nd largest automaker in the world, briefly largest earlier this year, is not going to let their most prominent brand go bankrupt… in any country.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    That $40B to fix the problem in the US has got to be a typo; that’s $100k PER CAR. If VW really planned to spend that much money, they’d just buy the things back and send them to the crusher.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I would expect the fix is to put the engine permanently into cheater “test” mode. Goodbye performance and fuel economy. Except for owners who must endure annual emissions tests, I doubt that many will bring their cars in for the reflash.

    I wonder if VW mill make a reflash mandatory in order to receive dealer service. That could put you in a bind for warranty repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      kendahl

      I doubt the dealer network would play along with that one. The software version info and ecu flash counter are simply noted by whatever tech is doing work on a car, not read directly by VW corporate. They will literally be in a position of deciding whether or not to lose that customer to an independent shop by refusing to do work on a car.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Kendahl,
      Most of the TDI’s are bought for their good mileage by people who drive a lot so most of them are already out of warranty by now I would think so the lack of VW warranty may not e a big issue unless it is the Fuel pump which is major $$$ to fix and VW has been paying for them when they go weather in or out of warranty
      The states where you have to do a emission test that is a different story also what will be the warranty for the fix they make????

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If you consider it a normal “recall”, every state’s DMV could suspend TDI renewals until the recalls are done. After that, TDI owners are free to go the aftermarket route and *roll coal* if they choose, same as Brodozer diesel pickups. I suspect most would leave their TDIs alone, on the ‘permanent’ test cycle.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGrieves

      For the non-SCR cars, going into “test” mode full time might not even be enough if the EPA really looks closely at real-world driving emissions. Mazda sure couldn’t do it. And at the very least, it would cause the cars’ EGR systems to become heavily plugged with carbon after a few thousand miles. In that case: They would presumably have to warrant the cars emissions systems’ for 100K miles or so after the reflash. Think that will happen?

      A software flash for the SCR cars might solve the problem, but it would probably increase adBlue consumption. AdBlue is fairly cheap though.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    If they can really fix most of them with software alone then the direct cost is a nominal hour of warranty shop time, or about $50 million total for the US fleet. Of course that pales in comparison to the fines, penalties and so on that VW is going to end up paying.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      I really doubt the fines will be more than the fix, yeah I know it could be 37,000 per car but I think the EPA largest fine to date is a much lower amount than that, I would assume they will get a high for the EPA fine but no where near 37,000 per car, know the class action suits that is a different story .

  • avatar
    hopeSt

    They think 500 dollars is enough when we all paid a premium of 3-7 thousand for a lie[which now cost way less than usual!]?
    As for a fix? They tried the “reflash” computer route and it causes spotty acceleration, kills DEF filter, mpg and transmission plates in the DSG’s: these all happened to our 2012 Passat SEL tdi @93000 miles months after the “REFLASH” costing a 5 thousand dollar bill to fix!

    They need to compensate their customers with their premium paid, plus if they want to trade make it right without the lost value, pay their EPA fines and fix their TDI[we love diesel] product to work well and transparently!

    • 0 avatar
      dr_outback

      The 2012 Passat has issues with the AdBlue heater control and element for the AdBlue tank. The recent DSG transmission is very reliable when serviced every 40,000 miles. Diesel vehicles with DP filters have issues if they are driven for short trips and the engine is shut down during the regen cycle. To date, I haven’t seen a 2012+ need a DPF or a DSG replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        hopeSt

        Hi dr_, we had the issue with the heating element too and when we said something they said no help for you! So i looked online and found the mass of up north cases and went back with the evidence and the fact that we live in warm weather also and they finally said we will pay the replace it and they did! Dont worry the cases are coming after the second 80000 mile dsg service plus the reflash that everyone had done!

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    I can’t believe that it’s 2015 and I’m actually about to say this, but, I trust a well serviced DSG over a Honda automatic transmission. The 23O6 update did not blow your transmission. Yes, there are some serious issues with the AdBlue heater, but most fail well into the vehicle’s life cycle. VW helps on a case by case basis. But components on cars don’t last forever, so get over it. You drive, you used the component, it broke, replace it, move on. I have never met a customer base that is as entitled as VW customers that expect something that they used, heavily, to not break.

    • 0 avatar
      hopeSt

      Neighbor you are sadly beginning to sound like a VW employee even if you are not! The parts[all maintained by VW on time or a bit early if we were going on a trip] failed one barely out of warranty and the other 30000 before, so quite sounding like a fanboy who isnt the one dealing with the lie, the premium paid for the lie, the failed parts and the cost! We in general like german cars: the way they drive and diesel engines; as for dealing with any failed parts that should not fail before or just out of warranty in any make, this is unacceptable and we as a consumer do not deserve such when we work hard for our income!

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    I have yet to see a properly serviced DSG transmission fail at 93,000 miles. The powertrain warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles. 33,000 miles is not “just outside of warranty.” No automaker can achieve a 0% failure rate on complex components. It’s a shame that the a DSG replacement costs so much, but I have seen properly serviced DSG’s exceed 160k miles without a problem. Once VW solved the mechatronics issue, the transmission doesn’t have many issues.

    If people want buy diesels, and clean diesels at that, then putting up with emissions system failures is part and parcel of driving a diesel. I tell customers interested in a TDI to buy it because they like how it drives, but to keep in mind the emissions systems are more complex than a gas powered version.

    • 0 avatar
      hopeSt

      I hear you loud and clear; its sad that we and others have failing ones because my wife could have died when all power was lost on the highway! This same incident went horribly wrong for one lady and her family in Australia[millions recalled] while driving a DSG some years ago[and our car has the same DSG 2012] and many still are complaining hence the stealth move from it to the the regular transmission here[USA] in VW’s but not Audi’s[thought they too fail prematurely as one neighbor pointed out to me when he was shopping for a S7 and chose a Lexus instead because of this very point] which people mostly lease so they may never experience it!
      Yes we hope they fix their house and products[2.0 TDI, DSG’s etc] by time the Tiguan comes stateside, pay their fines and compensate us their customers[10yrs with them leasing and purchase 2012]. We will see what takes place the Lord wills and we live!


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