Piston Slap: Oil Burning and Carbon Cleaning (Part II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap oil burning and carbon cleaning part ii

Arley writes:

Dear Sanjeev, [Oh, come on!!! —SM]

I have a ’03 Jetta 1.9-liter TDI. Do you know if the emission controls were tampered with on these models? If they are not part of the recall, am I to assume everything is as it should be? Resale value has dropped noticeably.

After your (and reader) recommendations regarding carbon cleaning, the car runs noticeably better, even at 180k mikes.

Thanks. I read you every day.

You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish.

Sajeev answers:

I have no information on emissions controls tampering on your Jetta, mostly because it’s not part of the VW TDI recall. That’s only for 2009-2015 VW diesels with the 2.0-liter engine. That model was known as the [s]greenwashed[/s] TDI Clean Diesel.

Your diesel is then, by default, a dirty diesel. But at least it was honest!

Sorry to hear about the loss of resale value, but the court of public opinion is (slowly?) going against diesel engines for use in “clean” vehicles. Meaningless in the world of full-size trucks, where people regularly defeat the clean diesel particulate filters…but I digress.

While your ride may have the same steering angle sensor (and other in-vehicle monitors) as the later TDI Clean Diesels, they were only used for their intended purpose. Hell, even Martin Winterkorn, the CEO that allegedly set unattainable goals fostering VW’s Cheat Culture, wasn’t in a position of power when your Jetta TDI was designed.

Perhaps expecting any other outcome is like trying to “tune a fish.”

[Image: Shutterstock user sasha2109]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2 of 31 comments
  • ExPatBrit ExPatBrit on Nov 17, 2015

    If you haven't replaced that POS cheap orange dipstick yet do it ASAP. After a few years, they break apart and the resulting debris falls down the tube. Only way to retrieve it is to drop the pan, fun times!

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Nov 18, 2015

    The Sell It Yourself price on cars.com for an 2003 Jetta TDI w/180k is a mere $1,350–$2,150. Better off just doing the basic maintenance and repairs and keep it going.

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.