Thermostat Finally Gave Out – P2181 Code

I’m back with some more high-mileage antics! My car threw a P2181 CEL for cooling system performance a few months ago. The temp gauge took a long time to reach 190 degrees and would dip below if I was on a downhill stretch. If you’re seeing a cooling system performance code or are having a hard time reaching normal operating temps, your thermostat may have failed.

Thermostats are designed to fail in the open position to prevent overheating but this also prevents the engine from reaching its optimal temperature. I live in California so the car didn’t really give me any problems but in colder climates, not reaching operating temp may be harder on the oil and in turn harder on your engine.

The 2.0T FSI’s thermostat is a very cheap part (under 50 dollars online) but it’s jammed in a hard to reach location. This is a job that I took to a mechanic. They can dispose of the coolant properly as well. If you wish to do this yourself, the thermostat itself is part number 06F121111F. I don’t know if it comes with any of the necessary o-rings so you may have to source them. I know ECS sells a kit with the associated bolts and o-rings so it may be easier to purchase it from them.

Revision P PCV Failed – 06F129101P

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Underneath the valve cover – the gasket is the black rubber going around the edges

After a year and a half under APR Stage 1, the newest pcv revision finally succumbed. It seems that these things are still not bulletproof.

I was doing a general engine inspection when I noticed that there was oil dripping from the rear of the engine. A closer inspection led me to find that the valve cover gasket was leaking oil. I did not suspect PCV failure right away because normally you would also have oil leaking out of the filler cap. I had oil in the spark plug wells and all over the coils. When the valve cover gasket goes on these motors, the oil tends to leak right into the plug well. I checked the torque on the valve cover bolts and some were very loose so I figured that might have contributed to the oil leaking. On a hunch, I checked the PCV and the valve was gone. The one way valve did not function anymore. Once the one way valve failed, boost pressure pressurized the crankcase and the valve gasket was the path of least resistance.

The PCV failure cost me one coil, one valve cover gasket and a new front pcv valve. I also chose to replace the plugs at the same time since everything was soaked in oil. The coil was still functioning but oil had entered the insulating sleeve. Combined with the heat, it split the rubber sleeve.

I hope the P revision failure was more of a fluke than anything, I really would like to stay on the stock units.

Camshaft and Cam Follower Warranty Extension

 

In addition to the pcv and intake manifold motor, Volkswagen also extended the warranty on the camshaft, cam follower and high pressure fuel pump to 120,000 miles or 10 years. As before, they will reimburse any out of pocket expenses related to failure of any of these components provided you have proof of payment and repair. Keep in mind this does not cover replacing followers, only components that have failed or have insufficient hardening. Look through the following letter and see what applies to you.For more information, check out my other posts:Cam Follower Camshaft and Cam Follower Warranty Extension

Camshaft and Cam Follower Warranty Extension

November – Quick Update

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written a post, things have been a little quiet on the MKV front. My car is in a place where I like everything on it so I’ve been leaving it alone. The platform is getting older but that doesn’t mean new things aren’t being developed! There are a few particular developments that I want to talk about regarding fueling and cam follower improvements. One company has decided to research and produce a replacement follower that should all but eliminate excessive wear from this part. It has not been released yet but is due to show up in December. I’ll have more information as it becomes available.

Timing Belt – Replaced at 101,000 Miles

I got my timing belt done just yesterday. The factory interval is around 105,000 miles in California, maybe even longer. Apart from an irritating squeaking noise when cold, the belt was no worse for wear. Unlike the 1.8T, which was known for destroying timing belts around the 60-80,000 mile range, VW has made the 2.0T much gentler on its timing belt. The timing system has been optimized to reduce stress pulses on the timing belt. It seems to have worked. The mechanic who worked on my car mentioned that everything looked good for the mileage. He also mentioned that he has never seen one go out due to age, yet. There have been a few failures, but I haven’t read about any of them being below 100,000 miles. The rollers / tensioners were also changed out along with the coolant and water pump.

The timing belt isn’t something to mess around with. The 2.0T is an interference design and valve and piston contact will result if the timing belt breaks. The job can be expensive at many dealers and even independent shops so be sure to shop around. I’d recommend a shop that either specializes on Volkswagens or has experience with the 2.0T’s. The procedure is pretty straightforward but it requires removal of parts in the right order so prior knowledge is best.

I don’t drive hard most of the time, just a spirited run once in a while. 2.0T’s running in more spirited settings should probably get them changed around 90,000 miles. I have a lot more faith in the belt after seeing the condition at the shop yesterday.

Cliffnotes:

-Get your timing belt done around 90-100,000 miles, earlier if you inspect the belt and it is starting to look a little tired. I replaced mine at 101,000 miles and it could probably have gone another 10,000.
-Shop around, the best prices are not always the independent shops. If you’re not having it done at the dealer try to find a shop that has worked on this particular engine (2.0T FSI).
ECSTuning.com and DBCPerformance.com both sell excellent part kits if you would rather supply the parts.

Revised OEM PCV and Crankcase Breather Tube

06F129101P Front Detail

In my current quest to return some parts back to OEM spec, I’ve recently purchased the latest revision PCV components.  The latest revision PCV valve is “P” with the part number 06F129101P.  There is also another revision of the rear breather tube, part number 06F103215B.  The valves in the latest revisions seem much stronger compared to my old “G” revision.  The check valves are now spring loaded instead of free moving.  I don’t know when they switched to the spring loaded valves because I completely skipped over the 2 or 3 other revisions.

06F129101P Valve Detail

If you’re wondering why I went back to stock, I wanted to remove the catchcan I’ve been running.  An intake manifold teardown by a forum member  revealed that catch cans do little to aid in preventing the intake valve deposits inherent to direct injection engines.  I have also been thinking about the lack of intake vacuum working on the crankcase.  In the catch can setups, vacuum is sourced from intake air moving over the rear breather tube exit.  I think it is a max of 3″ of mercury according to BSH and this occurs in the higher rpms under boost.  At lower rpms, actual vacuum may be much lower.  Too little flow or stagnant flow through the valve cover may allow the blow-by gasses to start forming deposits.  I’ve noticed a little grime building up around the oil cap area, despite the regular oil changes.  The accumulation of these blow by gasses can contaminate oil and deteriorate it much faster as well.  Another side effect of routing all gasses through the rear breather tube seems to be, ironically, more oil in the charge pipes.  If a recirculation type catch can does not catch all the vapors, the rest end up condensing in charge pipes and intercooler.  The stock system sends them directly to the intake manifold to be burned off.  The way the stock system works, it only reroutes vapors through the charge piping and intercooler under boost.  When I installed my throttle pipe, a good amount of oil came pouring out of the pipes.

06F103215B Check Valve Detail

Now oil vapor in the in the intake charge is detrimental to performance.  This is where a catch can does help.  Oil vapor can effectively reduce the octane level of the intake charge and lead to more knock, which would then decrease performance.  I haven’t noticed a performance difference since I switched back to the stock system but then again, my car isn’t exactly a horsepower monster.  It is a compromise situation but after many miles of thought, I’d rather have the stock system deal with the evacuation of the crankcase gasses.  The stock pcv system flows a lot and I don’t think some of the catch cans flow enough.

06F129101P Rear Detail

The stock pcv valves have not been models of reliability, which is one of the reasons catch catch cans have sold so well. Modified and stock cars alike can blow through them.  These newer parts are now several revisions deep and they seem to be much more robust pieces.  The rear check valve in the breather tube looks much better.  The front pcv check valves have a more positive engagement compared to the “G” revision I compared it to.  I guess only time will tell!

06F103215B

Revised OEM PCV and Breather Tube Part Numbers

06F129101P Front PCV Valve Detail

The 2.0T FSI’s pcv system has gone through several revision changes.  Earlier valves failed rather easily, causing boost pressure to creep into the crankcase.  Checkvalves would leak and pressure diaphragms would rip.  Symptoms include oil coming out of the valve cover gaskets or oil cap, reduced gas mileage and power or increased oil consumption.  An unsteady idle is another symptom and severe cases will cause a code to be set.  This latest one seems to be a bit more robust than previous versions.  The check valves are spring loaded now instead of free floating for more positive engagement.  If you want to stay stock here are the latest part numbers.

The latest pcv system part numbers are 06F129101P for the front pcv valve and 06F103215B for the rear breather tube with check valve.  The 06F129101P part number only works on rear breather tubes that have a built in check valve.  Certain VIN’s / model years have breather tubes that do not have rear check valves.  The only way to be sure it to pull it off and check for the valve.  Here’s some excellent information for replacing the PCV valve and breather tube.  The link also shows the Eurojet check valve solution so just ignore it if you are not going that route.

06F103215B Rear Breather Tube with Check Valve