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White smoke POURING out of valve covers!! What did I do?!

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Old 01-31-2014, 06:20 PM   #1
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Default White smoke POURING out of valve covers!! What did I do?!

So the next chapter of the great timing belt/valve cover saga... Tester123 what the hell did I do to my car?!

I buttoned almost everything up except the front end (connected all cooling hoses & cables though) and filled the cooling system with water... Which started linking drip by drip almost right away from just right (passenger side) of the center line of the engine, not a huge amount but a steady dripping. Fired up the engine anyway and boy she sounded rough. No check engine light or warnings on the dash though. Either sounded like air or the chain from the passenger side valve cover clattering. Coming from the back of the engine somewhere. It did subside a little bit after about 30 seconds but not completely gone. Checked as much as I could see an vent hose seemed all attached everywhere still and hose for the combi valves was still attached.

The huge issue though was I started getting a little smoke from the passenger side valve cover. I thought it might be coming from under that and was just oil that spilled from doing this job, however it started getting worse and worse and then pouring out from the drivers side valve cover too after about 2 min of the car running. Still no check engine light on the car. Both sides were just dumping white smoke out though and I decided to turn the car off at this point.

Is this normal at all for the gaskets to get seated? Did I screw up big time somewhere? I only let it run for a total of about 3 min. I do have oil in the car, a tiny bit low but still in the middle range on the dipstick. I was as careful as I could that the gasket didn't get twisted or anything when I put the valve cover on, it's sat at least a night after torqued down to speck. I can't figure out where I went wrong.

I mean on he plus side I was hugely happy the car started (almost immediately too!) but then again, holy cow in disappointed that I'm dumping more smoke out now then before I started this job...

I can't seem to see oil leaking out anywhere and don't notice any on the ground under the car, but I did only run it for about three min total.

I can make and post a video of the sound and smoke if you guys need that to help figure out what's going on...
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:22 PM   #2
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Ok, false alarm on the smoke, It seems that it was a lot of crap that had fallen onto the exhaust pipes that was burning off. It was considerably less this time around and I could see it was billowing up from UNDER the valve cover and actually could see some crap on a pipe under the valve cover on the drivers side that the smoke was coming from. After running the car for about 30 minutes to get the water up to temp for flushing the system and trying to get the oil up to temp the smoke was almost gone. NO leaks spotted on the floor. Coolant leak doesn't seem to be there anymore either, awesome, maybe it was the water pump or T-stat "seating" in.

Now, I do still have the "farting" engine sound. Even when the oil was at full temp. The tach needle doesn't seem to bounce around more then normal (maybe 20 or so rpms? Not even from one line to the next, just a little vibration on it)

I can't tell if this sound has a metallic sound to it (makes me think cam chain) or not (combi valve, misfire, vacuum hose somewhere? Intake manifold not bolted down enough?).

Youtube video here... yes I'm one of those retarded people that didn't flip their iPhone the right when when filming...
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:19 PM   #3
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Now, I do still have the "farting" engine sound.
It sounds like an exhaust leak or maybe a loose spark plug to me.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:35 PM   #4
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It sounds like an exhaust leak or maybe a loose spark plug to me.
So the smoke is totally gone now. I torqued down the intake manifold again/more and it seems to have "calmed" the "farting" sound... Anyone know what the torque specs are for those hex bolts?

I still have a diesel / rattle sound though... Please don't tell me I have to bust open that passenger valve cover again. Or if I do at least I can get away without pulling the timing belt again...

I also have a check engine light now but of course no vag-com. Anyone around 99354 have one and wanna come over and see what the CEL is all about? Lol

I'm hesitant to buy a ~$200 cable especially when I'm a mac guy and that adds an extra layer of pain in the butt. Are there any vag specific all in one scanners that won't break the bank? :-/

Edit: forgot my most recent video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiuQTag2VVw
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:59 PM   #5
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YouTube video of the current issue...


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Old 02-01-2014, 02:08 AM   #6
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Ok, so even though I felt totally sure timing was on the mark I'm thinking it's off. At least I'm hoping digging back in an verifying timing will solve the issue. If the passenger side is off slightly, how do I fix that? Lock down crank at TDC, leave drivers side cam shaft caps bolted down & verify it remains lined up with little arrows at little notches and then remove chain on the passenger side and rotate the shafts independently so they both are lined up perfectly at their notch? Then make sure they stay at their notches and seem if I can get the cam lock bar to go on?

I know for sure I verified the chain link count but maybe they rotated a little out of position or something some how.

Is it possible the chain count can be correct on both sides and the cam lock bar can fit on and still be out of time? Is correcting the timing as "easy" as just making sure all the notches and marks line up?
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:07 AM   #7
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You can buy a beta wifi VCDS (called something else but go to ross-tech) that will work on you mac or iPhone or android.
I think by Feb14.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:15 PM   #8
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You can buy a beta wifi VCDS (called something else but go to ross-tech) that will work on you mac or iPhone or android.
I think by Feb14.
I think that's like $400 though... :-/
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:41 PM   #9
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First, congratulations that you made it this far and fired it up. Great!

Smoke as you found out is from oil on exhaust pipes, no big deal.

You never acknowledged to my instructions to check the cam alignment like I described. Did you do that? I kept repeating this like 10 times to save your behind from unnecessary trouble.

So, in your next post, tell me if you did that or not.

If your timing is right, that popping sound is something you can ignore because the oil is trying to make its way into the tensioner and chain won't be completely tensed (well at least not until you run the car for another 15 to 20min) until oil is circulating properly through the channels.

That sound happened to me as well. DON'T raise the rpm or give gas. Let it idle. Use this time to take care of coolant flushing/replenish.

Also, did you change oil & filter? I'd suggest you do that, check and make sure oil levels are right (with car resting on wheels).

Get back after that and we'll see what's going on.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:01 PM   #10
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I think that's like $400 though... :-/
Yes it is. You get what you pay for.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:45 PM   #11
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First, congratulations that you made it this far and fired it up. Great!

Smoke as you found out is from oil on exhaust pipes, no big deal.

You never acknowledged to my instructions to check the cam alignment like I described. Did you do that? I kept repeating this like 10 times to save your behind from unnecessary trouble.

So, in your next post, tell me if you did that or not.

If your timing is right, that popping sound is something you can ignore because the oil is trying to make its way into the tensioner and chain won't be completely tensed (well at least not until you run the car for another 15 to 20min) until oil is circulating properly through the channels.

That sound happened to me as well. DON'T raise the rpm or give gas. Let it idle. Use this time to take care of coolant flushing/replenish.

Also, did you change oil & filter? I'd suggest you do that, check and make sure oil levels are right (with car resting on wheels).

Get back after that and we'll see what's going on.
I kinda followed your directions.... Let the shaming begin.

I did it after the valve covers were back on (I don't know, just kinda made me nervous with those off, especially the idea of having both sides off at once, so I did each side one at a time from break down, replace seals, to button up before moving onto the next).

I did rotate the engine and when check with the cam lock bar to make sure it slide on, which it did with just a tiny tiny wiggle, not even really turning, just applying a little pressure while I slide the other side into its spot. Then took that off and rotated a couple more time and put it back on.

The car did idle up to operating temp for the oil and while that sound got a little better (as heard in the second video) it still sounded like a diesel. I haven't changed the oil yet because there was only about 1500 miles on the previous stuff and I wanted to be able to get the oil up to temp when I drained it instead of oil that had been sitting in a cold engine for two weeks in temps around 30F. I'll buy some new oil tonight after work so I can change it tonight/early tomorrow. Do we need special filters for these cars or should I be able to find a good one at AutoZone or Fred Meyer / Walmart?

Also, safe to remove the oil filter with a strap wrench? I don't have the fancy wide wrench that ECS and others sell and not sure if I can find that local...

I was thinking to be safe I would break it down to the point that I could pull both valve covers off again and timing belt off so I could redo your steps while being able to look at the cams, would that be your suggestion?

On the plus side all seals do seem to be holding, no oil leaks anywhere or coolant leaks. (Speaking of coolant, is there any safe lubricant to apply around the upper and lower radiator connection to help with how much force is required to secure / remove those hoses? I don't like how much I have to fight with it over and over again while doing the flushes...)

Last edited by acarney; 02-01-2014 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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Yes it is. You get what you pay for.
Oh I know. The whole reason why I decided to try to do this job on my own was because the price the dealer quoted me was going to make it really hard on me... I've now just about spent that much anyway so spending more is really hard right now. I figure I will get that but after I save up a bit more and recover from this big job.

(Yes I totally replaced far more then the dealer was going to do, yes I'm way happier too, but money is still money and I didn't really have $2k to spend right now when $6k tuition was due, lol)
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:34 PM   #13
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I kinda followed your directions.... Let the shaming begin.
Its understandable that you were nervous etc. and didn't want to deviate. But those instructions IIRC, are from the manual and they worked for me. That's why I so sure of it. In any event, I don't think you are in any deep trouble from the looks/sounds of it.
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...I did it after the valve covers were back on (I don't know, just kinda made me nervous with those off, especially the idea of having both sides off at once, so I did each side one at a time from break down, replace seals, to button up before moving onto the next)...
Well, I just hope you won't be giving a shower to your future child the same way!
They are valve covers, nothing to worry about. You can even start the engine with them open (apart from oil squirting all over, nothing will go wrong for all mechanical purposes) -not that I am suggesting you to, but you get the point.

I started on one side like you but didn't put the covers back on until I was sure of timing. What I did was to put only the first, center and last bearing caps on each cam while re-assembly and checked timing as I described *like 50 times now* (that number will keep going up x10 every time) .
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...I did rotate the engine and when check with the cam lock bar to make sure it slide on, which it did with just a tiny tiny wiggle, not even really turning, just applying a little pressure while I slide the other side into its spot. Then took that off and rotated a couple more time and put it back on...
That's normal. It tends to catch at the lip and needs a wiggle. This tight spec is the reason why I strongly suggest never to improvise when it comes to timing. Sure you can do without it but you are taking an expen$$$$$ive chance. Ok, you said you had to "rotate" the engine, does this mean that your crank-lock pin wasn't in during this time? If so, make note that this is again playing with timing and not advised!

The way to do this is simple. Lock the crank, lock the cams with bar, slide the belt on making sure no slack on one side, release tensioner on the other side. On 4.2 this is how it's done. It can't be much different on 2.7. [/quote]
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The car did idle up to operating temp for the oil and while that sound got a little better (as heard in the second video) it still sounded like a diesel.
And it will, for a bit. Check oil level! If you think timing is right, I wouldn't worry about this sound. Re-read my previous post. Let it idle for a good time until fans kick in etc. Shut it off, do it again, after operating temp, rev it slightly; this force oil in... and eventually, that noise goes away completely. I always wondered why it makes the sound and the theory I can come up with is that there might be an air pocket in tensioner after removing etc., and over time, oil gets filled and no sound after that. If I started my car after 4 days or so, it might make it for couple seconds and stops. Normal day-to-day, it doesn't make any of that popping noise.

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Originally Posted by acarney View Post
...I haven't changed the oil yet because there was only about 1500 miles on the previous stuff... ...Do we need special filters for these cars or should I be able to find a good one at AutoZone or Fred Meyer / Walmart?...
NOT a good idea to get cheap filters (including engine air filter - maf gets messed up). If filters are too expensive, may I suggest you to sell your car and get a Geo Metro -they even take brown bags for filters... Just go and buy filters from dealer. Oil - Walmart has lowest price on Mobil One synthetic IIRC. Make sure you buy right weight oil as specified in manual.
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...Also, safe to remove the oil filter with a strap wrench? I don't have the fancy wide wrench that ECS and others sell and not sure if I can find that local...
I use large adjustable pliers if it doesn't move. Most times, I only hand-tighten the filter (as much as my pop-eye arm can) and haven't had any trouble... no need for special tools... improvise.
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...I was thinking to be safe I would break it down to the point that I could pull both valve covers off again and timing belt off so I could redo your steps while being able to look at the cams, would that be your suggestion?...
If you are having second thoughts about this marriage between crank and cams, Yeah, open the valve covers and turn the crank manually like I described and follow those steps. This way you don't have to remove everything but still can verify if the timing is right. Remember, when VCs go back, clean surfaces again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by acarney View Post
...On the plus side all seals do seem to be holding, no oil leaks anywhere or coolant leaks. (Speaking of coolant, is there any safe lubricant to apply around the upper and lower radiator connection to help with how much force is required to secure / remove those hoses? I don't like how much I have to fight with it over and over again while doing the flushes...)
Lubricant? I just used WD40 or Silicone lubricant spray -whatever handy; Nothing special required.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:15 PM   #14
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Its understandable that you were nervous etc. and didn't want to deviate. But those instructions IIRC, are from the manual and they worked for me. That's why I so sure of it. In any event, I don't think you are in any deep trouble from the looks/sounds of it.

Well, I just hope you won't be giving a shower to your future child the same way!
They are valve covers, nothing to worry about. You can even start the engine with them open (apart from oil squirting all over, nothing will go wrong for all mechanical purposes) -not that I am suggesting you to, but you get the point.

I started on one side like you but didn't put the covers back on until I was sure of timing. What I did was to put only the first, center and last bearing caps on each cam while re-assembly and checked timing as I described *like 50 times now* (that number will keep going up x10 every time) .

That's normal. It tends to catch at the lip and needs a wiggle. This tight spec is the reason why I strongly suggest never to improvise when it comes to timing. Sure you can do without it but you are taking an expen$$$$$ive chance. Ok, you said you had to "rotate" the engine, does this mean that your crank-lock pin wasn't in during this time? If so, make note that this is again playing with timing and not advised!

The way to do this is simple. Lock the crank, lock the cams with bar, slide the belt on making sure no slack on one side, release tensioner on the other side. On 4.2 this is how it's done. It can't be much different on 2.7.
And it will, for a bit. Check oil level! If you think timing is right, I wouldn't worry about this sound. Re-read my previous post. Let it idle for a good time until fans kick in etc. Shut it off, do it again, after operating temp, rev it slightly; this force oil in... and eventually, that noise goes away completely. I always wondered why it makes the sound and the theory I can come up with is that there might be an air pocket in tensioner after removing etc., and over time, oil gets filled and no sound after that. If I started my car after 4 days or so, it might make it for couple seconds and stops. Normal day-to-day, it doesn't make any of that popping noise.


NOT a good idea to get cheap filters (including engine air filter - maf gets messed up). If filters are too expensive, may I suggest you to sell your car and get a Geo Metro -they even take brown bags for filters... Just go and buy filters from dealer. Oil - Walmart has lowest price on Mobil One synthetic IIRC. Make sure you buy right weight oil as specified in manual.

I use large adjustable pliers if it doesn't move. Most times, I only hand-tighten the filter (as much as my pop-eye arm can) and haven't had any trouble... no need for special tools... improvise.

If you are having second thoughts about this marriage between crank and cams, Yeah, open the valve covers and turn the crank manually like I described and follow those steps. This way you don't have to remove everything but still can verify if the timing is right. Remember, when VCs go back, clean surfaces again.

Lubricant? I just used WD40 or Silicone lubricant spray -whatever handy; Nothing special required.[/QUOTE]

I never rotated the engine without the timing belt on. It was either crank lock pin in, or belt on.

I only mentioned the special filter because I was trying to figure out if I could source on local so I could do the oil change tonight or tomorrow. I of course will spend the extra bucks for quality. Just the damn dealer isn't open on weekends and I kinda didn't want to waste Sunday not doing any work when it's one of the few days I have a big chunk of hours to spend on it. Was hoping I could find a Mann filter but neither "big" auto parts stores here carry them... Of course.

Engine ran at idle for about 30 minutes and there was for sure the sound still (heard in the second video) and I have a check engine light. Could it still just be that the oil hasn't reached the tensioner? I'm worried the check engine light means it has to slightly be out of time or that the tensioner isn't doing it's job and the chain is hitting the valve cover. But I haven't got it off jack stands yet.

I feel pretty sure of timing. It was smooth when turning it by hand once the belt was on. The drivers side sounds beautiful. Oil level looks good...
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:17 PM   #15
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Also, does anyone know the part number / size for the 5mm (I think, maybe 6mm) hex bolts for securing the intake manifold. When double checking the torque of them I noticed two of the bolts looks like they were kinda getting the heads stripped out and I want to go ahead and replace those before they get real tight from age / gunk so I don't have issues in the future if I had to remove them...
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:46 PM   #16
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Just so you know, I was joking around in my last post if you didn't catch the sarcasm...

Anyway, from what you said last, it sounds like the timing is good. That popping will should go away. If it doesn't after driving around for few miles, then I'd pay more attention.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:07 PM   #17
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Just so you know, I was joking around in my last post if you didn't catch the sarcasm...

Anyway, from what you said last, it sounds like the timing is good. That popping will should go away. If it doesn't after driving around for few miles, then I'd pay more attention.
No, I could tell you were joking with a lot of it. Trust me, I like that you can talk to me like I'm a child and really break down all the steps into super simple things WITHOUT making me feel like crap, lol.

Anyway, it's the check engine light that is throwing me for a loop. I'll fire it up and let it idle up to temp again right now and see how it sounds. Then maybe tomorrow morning give it a drive around the block a couple times.

More info to follow...
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:35 AM   #18
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Oh I know. The whole reason why I decided to try to do this job on my own was because the price the dealer quoted me was going to make it really hard on me... I've now just about spent that much anyway so spending more is really hard right now. I figure I will get that but after I save up a bit more and recover from this big job.

(Yes I totally replaced far more then the dealer was going to do, yes I'm way happier too, but money is still money and I didn't really have $2k to spend right now when $6k tuition was due, lol)
Well, ok. But it sounds like a leased Corolla or Mazda3 would make more sense. Champagne tastes on a beer budget. But I'm sure you've heard this before.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:28 AM   #19
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Well, ok. But it sounds like a leased Corolla or Mazda3 would make more sense. Champagne tastes on a beer budget. But I'm sure you've heard this before.
Oh, now that hurt, lol.

Ran her for 40 min, got the oil up to about 200F and still had the sound a little, but far less. Only at idle too. Reving from idle to about 1800 rpm sounded a little "deeper" or more throaty above that sounds totally normal. Not sure if it's being inside the garage that's making it sound "off" or if that's a vacuum leak or intake manifold torque issue still. I'll double check that again tomorrow. During the whole 40 min no CEL and I shut it off and started it twice more without a CEL before draining the water (which is almost clear now) before calling it a night.

Going to button it up tomorrow and fill it with G13. If I don't get a CEL after driving it easy tomorrow for a bit then I'm calling it good for awhile. Top of my list is to get a Ross-Tech so I can see the timing and any codes. But it'll take a couple weeks at least. If I still have this annoying "clanking/popping" after a couple days I'll plan to pull it apart again over spring break and replace the chain tensioner (and new half moon and chain tensioner seals) to try and get rid of that sound.

I'll also check to make sure that damn combi valve is tight enough. I lessened the 3 bolts below the actual valve bit, I'm pretty sure that's just a support arm and doesn't have any gasket between it or anything but I'll make sure that's all tight.

If timing was off just enough to mess up how it sounds, wouldn't that throw a check engine light within 40 minutes of running? When I get it up to about 2,000 rpm it sounds so smooth and crisp and revving above that sounds great too. Wouldn't timing issues, even slightly off make it sound rough/bad at all rpms, not just idle?
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:47 AM   #20
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...If timing was off just enough to mess up how it sounds, wouldn't that throw a check engine light within 40 minutes of running? When I get it up to about 2,000 rpm it sounds so smooth and crisp and revving above that sounds great too. Wouldn't timing issues, even slightly off make it sound rough/bad at all rpms, not just idle?...
"Generally speaking", bad timing tends to induce a bit of vibration when engine running... may not always. I never had timing issue on Audi so, can't say for sure on this car. But a Honda (ages ago, my experimental "guinea pig") would not run right and had med-violent seizures due to bad timing.

It's really difficult to diagnose without proper tools. And, for these cars, a VAG-COM is the basic but, much needed tool to tap into the "brains". If you have CEL, AutoZone etc., can do a free diagnostic and tell you what codes are present (not sure if they are still doing it) but won't explain more than that.

So, you should get that and technically, it should work on any OBD car... (exact specs can be found on Ross-Tech website). Don't get those cheap chinese versions or other variants, more trouble than worth.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:47 AM
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