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.

Upgraded / Redesigned FSI Cam Follower – Aftermarket

1/22/12 Just a quick warning: this company may not be as legitimate as the VW community thinks. Several Mazda websites do not have fond memories of this particular company. I’ll have to find more information…Stay away for now.

Update: 8/2014

Nothing has proven to be as good as just replacing or checking the cam follower periodically. I’ve been lucky with the wear so it’s far easier for me to not worry about it. Unfortunately, there are a variety of factors that contribute to what kind of wear you see and your experience may vary wildly. Keep on top of your oil changes and keep track of your follower wear!

For the past few months, the company HPFP Upgrade has been working on creating a cam follower that is more durable than the oem piece. Testing is now practically complete. I’m guessing that they are in production right now with a probable February release. HPFP Upgrade is a relatively new (to me) company that focuses on the fueling system for various direction injection cars.

There’s been a good deal of anticipation regarding this product. Any product that can help with the FSI’s follower problem is welcome. The company states that it has achieved an increase in durability through the use of hard chroming. By creating a surface with less friction, there is less wear between the follower and cam. Testing supposedly confirms their claims. In addition to the new surface material, the oil flow holes were relocated to the sides. Information is limited right now as the company has yet to officially release the product.

Early Production Photos – Note the revised oiling hole locations

Of course, the product is untested by the mass public and details such as warranty have yet to be hashed out. There are still unanswered questions. How will the relocation of the oil holes affect things and how durable will the follower and hard chrome finish really be in real life application? HPFP Upgrade asserts that the the new finish is much tougher than the OEM DLC coated follower and slicker as well. They also say that the relocation of the oiling holes also has nothing but positive effects, although their reasoning is yet to be seen. The company seems to have done its homework, field testing a few units with favorable results. So far better than another company that just made the follower thicker and omitted the DLC coating…*cough*kmd*cough*. The design is superficially similar to followers used by Mazda.

I’m following this product quite closely and will probably try it out when it does finally get released.

Here’s a thread on the MKV forum with a few details but it unfortunately turns into a flame war in a page or so. Upgraded FSI Cam Follower

If you do end up getting this in a month or two, let everyone know what you think of it in the comments.

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

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! 2012 is here and it’s going to be a good one!

Just a few quick updates for this post…

First things first, sorry for the extreme lack of updates, the MKV front is getting a little older and a little quieter. That’s alright though, the MKV generation of cars has been holding up pretty well. The FSI follower problem has been troublesome for a lucky few and there are various small sensor/peripheral problems (thrust sensor, low pressure fuel pump, pcv and diverter valves etc.)  that owners have had to deal with but overall, the cars have been robust. Maintenance just needs to be kept up to date. I recently rolled past 108,000 miles and the car runs great.

Still coming for the month of January:

The recently mentioned aftermarket cam follower is still awaiting final finishing but the company states that it should be released as soon as this month. This follower is supposed to provide 3x the life of the OEM follower by using a different surface treatment (hard chroming). If the product lives up to its promises, FSI owners can rest just a little bit easier about their cam follower issues.

The Koni Yellow Dampers are holding up well and I think I finally got the rebound settings perfect for the stock springs. When you have adjustable dampers, it’s almost impossible to just pick a setting and not fiddle with them. They tempt you at every corner. I’ll do a write up with the settings soon.

PCV Valve and Intake Manifold Motor Warranty Extension

06F129101P Front Detail

I recently received a letter from Volkswagen of America stating that the warranty for the pcv valve and intake manifold motor has been extended to 10 years/120,000 miles. You will also be eligible for reimbursement if you paid for repairs on any of these parts. Signs of pcv failure may include loss of boost pressure, poor idling and sometimes oil being pushed out of the oil cap. Intake manifold failure usually results in poor cold starting and sluggish low end performance. Either case can also cause the check engine light to come on.

PCV Valve

Here a Golfmkv.com link to common 2.0T FSI issues.

I’ll upload the document as soon as I can scan it in. Here we go.

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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.

Tech Tip – Quiet Down A Noisy Or Rattling Boost Gauge

If you have a mechanical boost gauge, even the best ones can rattle under certain rpm / load conditions.  It happens because of the minute pressure fluctations that occur in the intake manifold when the intake valves open.  The common solution is to add an inline vacuum restrictor (see image below).  You should be able to pick this up from any auto store. Sometimes this doesn’t get rid of all the noise though.  The key is proper placement.  I picked this tip up in the MKV forums from the someone with the username Plac.

Here’s how:

The inline restrictor has one end that is clear while the other end contains a brass piece with a small hole in it.  This dampens the movement of air in the boost line.  Place the end with the brass restriction about 5-6 inches from your boost tap facing the intake manifold.  This should get most of the noise/vibration.

I’ve had this restrictor in for quite some time (along with a miniature fuel filter to help quiet things down even more) but I would still get vibration under certain load conditions.  I simply moved it according to this tip and it is silent for all intents and purposes.  I haven’t heard the gauge rattle since moving the restrictor.  Hope this helps you as well!

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