Diesel engine question

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  • Diesel engine question
  • Nomad
    Member

    Mrs Nomad has a 2003 Ford Galaxy TDi. I’m understand it has a VW PD Diesel engine in it (130bhp)
    It’s a fantastic load Luger and starts first time with little effort.
    But
    When the engine is cold, although it starts on the turn of the key, for approx 5 seconds it sounds rough (think brick in a washing machine noise) and this is accompanied by white smoke from the exhaust.

    After 5 seconds, it runs sweet and the smoke has gone. No power issues.

    Any idea what would cause this, is it something to worry about.

    70k miles and FSH

    Cheers

    N

    rudispanner
    Member

    If it’s a VW unit and soundls clattery on start-up I’d suspect worn valve guides/stem seals – pulling oil through into the cylinders until it warms up.

    Either that or a leaking head gasket, but in that case I’d expect the white smoke thing to get worse as it warms up, not better.

    Is it using oil and/or water?

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Glow plugs?

    Nomad
    Member

    Oil and water are both fine.
    I had thought it may be glow plugs but I’ve been told that they are rarely used unless temp is really low.
    Would worn guides be an issue on a relatively low mileage vehicle?

    Marko
    Member

    You need the fault codes reading first. The Galaxy is a VW really, so you need to find a garage with a suitable VAG group code reader. VCDS is the default code reader for VAG group cars – or Autologic for specialists.

    What is your location?

    Hth
    Marko

    bikemike1968
    Member

    White smoke is unburnt diesel.
    Blue/grey smoke is oil.
    Grey smoke that then disappears is steam.
    It sounds to me like you have a cylinder or 2 that isn’t chiming in straight away on start up causing unburnt fuel to go down the exhaust. Have you checked the glow plugs? They are the most common reason for the symptoms you describe.

    zokes
    Member

    My old 1.8 TDI Escort used to do this until a blip of throttle. Glow plugs fixed it.

    Nomad
    Member

    It has been plugged in to a snap-on code reader not a specific VAG one.
    The only thing that brought up was something to do with the auxillary heater.

    Im in Bolton.

    coopersport1
    Member

    My brother had to replace the camshaft in his at similar mileage, lobes where worn badly! It doesn’t sound that bad but I’d start with glow plugs as unburt diesel is probably the cause on start up.

    maxtorque
    Member

    Could well be one or more glow plugs have failed, but this is also a symptom of poor fuel atomisation caused by worn injectors. Basically, a diesel squirts it’s fuel into the chamber at very very high pressure through a series of tiny but carefully profiles holes in the nozzle. This fuel is effectively atomised into as fine a “mist” as possible, so it can ignite and burn rapidly. Because a diesel engine uses compression pressure to ignite its fuel (no spark plugs) when it is cold, the “end of compression” temperature may not be quite high enough to start the fuel charge burning properly. Old indirectly injected diesels which had much much lower injection pressures used to struggle to start well at low temps often failing to start at all below around -10degc etc, but the modern high pressure ones, like your PD engine, are much better, and when in good condition will start down to around -25degC without assistance (and on “winter” grade diesel).

    But, things like the pump and injectors do wear. They operate under huge loads and typically, after around 100kmiles the injector nozzles will no longer be properly atomising the fuel. When the engine is warm this doesn’t matter, as there is plenty of temperature in the “hot” engine to light and burn the fuel. You might get a bit more black smoke sometimes under transients, but most drivers don’t notice that. However, when cold, the poorly atomised fuel will be difficult to light, and on starting an entire cylinder or more may fail to fire, and that unburnt fuel will be ejected out into the exhaust, where it will burn very slowly and at low temp, causing a lot of blue/grey smoke to be created (interestingly, the red arrows use a diesel injection system into the tail pipe of their jet engined Hawk aircraft to make their smoke trails so typical of their displays!)

    Unfortunately, to “fix” this issue requires replacement (or reconditioning) of your injectors, which is an expensive proposition (typically £100 per injector without at labour costs).

    So, get the glow plugs checked, if they are easy to remove this is very easy to do (google it), but in some engines they have been known to seize into the head causing issues (same with injectors). If these are fine, and no smoke is generated when doing a warm start or when driving the car normally, then i’m afraid it’s “new” injector time….

    BTW. no damage is being caused to the car when it runs rough and smokes like that at start, it just looks crap to your neighbours!

    maxtorque
    Member

    EXTRA: “Glow plugs are only used when really cold” is not true of modern Common rail cars, they will be activated even for 25degC starts (briefly) to ensure low particulate emissions, and even be activated during a long (>5sec) trailing throttle event(where the engine is just pumping cold air through itself) to ensure a clean “refire” when the throttle is re-applied etc.

    Nomad
    Member

    Cheers for that Maxtorque

    If it is the injectors, Will they suddenly fail if they are left or will the smoking just gradually get worse?

    mogrim
    Member

    Cheers for that Maxtorque

    +1, interesting reply – my Megane has just gone into the garage to get its injectors looked at, exactly the same symptoms (lots of smoke when the engine was cold, less when it had been running for a while) plus the real giveaway: a message on the dash telling me to get them looked at 🙂

    Also noted less power than usual, I’m guessing if a cylinder is not firing properly that would be expected.

    Saccades
    Member

    OP – Try changing the fuel filter first, it might have been missed at the last service.

    Who is doing your servicing? As incorrect spec oil will also give similar symptoms (Maybe someone used Ford spec oil on your VW engine?)

    Nomad
    Member

    There are no warning lights on the dash and no loss of power or black smoke.
    Glow plug light comes on when ignition is turned on and goes off after a couple of seconds.
    Would sticking some Diesel treatment in have any benefit?

    Local garage serviced it last so I dont know what oil was used. What is the difference between ford and VW oil?

    boobs
    Member

    The wiring loom to the injectors can fail, easy to change. Could still be injectors, mail me I may have some. Would need to see if they are compatible.

    Why would the wrong spec oil cause a misfire? Although PD’s do need the “proper” oil due to camshaft design with the Injectors. If the engine had been run enough to cause damage it wouldn’t get any better once the cam followers had worn out.

    The PD engine isn’t a common rail injection system. It has unit injectors which are given a helping hand with pressure from the camshaft.

    therevokid
    Member

    My Golf does exactly this and starts doing it about 1500-2000 miles
    before it’s next service – post service it’s a peach again …

    Coincedence ???

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It sounds to me like you have a cylinder or 2 that isn’t chiming in straight away on start up causing unburnt fuel to go down the exhaust.

    This is what I was thinking. When you say ‘rough’ on starting, do you mean noisy as in clacky clacky, or rough running like cough splutter?

    I’m not a mechanic but I’d expect worn injector nozzles to give a bit more smoke at full throttle. Also – did this start happening suddenly? Bad injector nozzles would give reduced power and economy gradually I think.

    Nomad
    Member

    Molgrips

    Its a clacky agricultural noise.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Have you checked the oil level?

    Nomad
    Member

    not recently – you think it may need topping up?
    I’ll check it tonight.

    Saccades
    Member

    Why would the wrong spec oil cause a misfire? Although PD’s do need the “proper” oil due to camshaft design with the Injectors. If the engine had been run enough to cause damage it wouldn’t get any better once the cam followers had worn out.

    Empirical data.

    He didn’t say misfire, he said running rough. Ford diesel spec is usually 5w-30, I don’t know what VW spec is (or if this engine has been adjusted by Ford for their vehicle), I do know that on my similar age TDDI that was starting in a similar rough fashion, it got worse in the cold when I serviced the car using a 10w-40 I’d been given in error, smoke emissions were 7.98.

    I changed the oil to 5w-30 spec and it was much better but not brilliant. Replaced the Fuel filter and it was starting straight away without any roughness or smoke, smoke emissons are down to 1.87.

    On a scale of expense, 20 mins changing a £20 fuel filter with £2 quids worth diesel, then changing £50 of oil (hell, with another £30 of oil and air filters) is a lot cheaper than injectors, glow plugs etc etc.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    If there’s not enough oil the tappets will sound very noisy. This can happen for a few seconds if the oil’s drained out of them. Maybe if the oil level was marginal this might happen.. easy to check I guess.

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    Glow plugs! It also helps to run 0-30w oil for start up clatter. Run some STP injector diesel cleaner through twice a year and she’ll be fine. Just be very careful and finger insert the glow plugs to ensure you don’t cross thread them as it’s easily done.

    jonnouk
    Member

    Plumes of white smoke briefly and noise is what the early 2.0 TDIs tended to do when the cylinder heads cracked and slowly leaked water into a cylinder.

    White smoke: water
    Black/grey: fuel
    Blue: oil

    However, yours is the 1.9 and usually bombproof. Check under the oil cap for milkshake in case the cylinder head gasket is going.

    Otherwise it’s probably injectors. Go for an Italian tune up.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    White smoke is also unburned diesel. It smells of diesel too.

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    Glowwwwplugggsss. Had self same failure on my 1998 passat Tdi. They are the cheapest fix to start with before considering injectors! If there is no signs of any head gasket leaks and the smoke clears within a minute or so of starting along with the diesel knock go with my diagnosis. A set is about £30 quid I think.

    Try a simple free test . Switch on ignition , wait for 1 minute then start the car normally. If your glow plugs / glow plug relay or battery are not working at 100% the extra burn time gives even a failing glow plug time to heat through .
    The car should start instantly and maybe run a little smoother than usual.
    It does sound as if you have multiple issues of a wonky glow plug and a sticky valve that clatters on start up, then once lubed ( 3 secs or so ) quietens down.

    Nomad
    Member

    Update.

    I have checked glow plugs with a glow plug analyser courtesy of a neighbour. They all come up as ok although I did notice a couple took a few seconds longer to get there.

    Checked oil and its bang on max and no signs of head gasket failure. As said earlier though, I can’t say if its PD engine specific.

    Suppose next step is to drop the oil and change oil and fuel filters?

    Car always starts instantly. Just with a cloud if white smoke and the clatter roughness for a few seconds when it’s cold.

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    Glow plugs if they are even a bit under temperature the engine will not burn the diesel thoroughly in the two affected pots!!!!

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    How does the analyser work? On individual plugs not connected to the cars electric circuit or with plug out exposed to the air?

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    Eight seconds maximum for relay to switch off glowplugs and you should hear it click off. It it takes anymore than a few seconds for the glowplugs to be up to temperature they are done for. If you wait for them to disintegrate in the pots then you really will be in for a big bill! Just pull the plugs and examine them if you want to confirm it’s not them before you buy any!

    Nomad
    Member

    Removed the busbar. Analyser is a unit similar to a multimeter. One croc clip went to battery positive, another to earth, then it has a wand that you touch to the top of the glow plug while its in situ. Display shows 16a then goes green (ok) when glow plug is at temperature.

    Premier Icon Suggsey
    Subscriber

    Trust me I would still pull the glowplugs. If you want to keep repairs cheap just replace the two sluggish ones. Are all the wiring connections okay too as that style multimeter will not pick up any problems. How many seconds for each plug to be up to temp?
    I had the occasional sticking injector caused by cheap fuel so every fourth tank I used to use a tank of posh diesel ie v power. I kept my passat running for 250000 miles over 11 years before my daughters other half had it for another year before he sold it on and it was still going strong. I just hate the thought of you wasting your time doing other stuff first when I am convinced it’s the glowplugs.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    The thing about glowplugs, is that they’re not that expensive or difficult to replace, til one of them breaks off in the engine.

    Nomad
    Member

    So is it best to remove glow plugs when the engine is hot after a run? Don’t want to snap one.
    Squirt if wd40 or similar worth trying?

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Have you tried two goes at pre heating the glow plugs before the engine turns over to see if it makes a difference ?

    My local garage snapped off the oil dipstick when changing mine . Then charged me for a new one .
    Also run PD’s into the 300K zone . Does your neighbour have a battery checker ? Could be low on volts or amps making the glow plugs less effective.
    Still think its 1 bad plug plus a dry tappet , and at the end of the day so what . It smokes a little on start up , There might be a tiny amount of bore washing from un burnt fuel but its negligable . Summers coming , weather is warming up , making life easier for the battery and starter motor .
    Save up a few quid , buy some Bosch glow plugs and whizz em in , nothing really bad is going to happen in the next few thousand miles if you misfire on 1 cyclinder for 3 or 4 engine revolutions.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Not sure it’s the glow plugs. If it starts immediately in all weathers, how can it be?

    Can you post up a video with sound?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 50 total)

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