17th Oct 2007, 15:07

I have a 2003 GTi TDi 130bhp.

The car has a full comprehensive service history and showed no signs of a major engine failure - yet it happened!.

I contacted VW customer services and because it had 96k (which is not a lot for a diesel) they told me that they could not offer any assistance with the repair costs, even though the main dealer stated that they had several cars with the same problem. - hardening on the camshaft (nodes) wearing.

I would advise anyone who has a VW with that mileage to have the engine checked thoroughly because it could cost you £2500.00 to put right. There is obviously a fault with the engine that VW will not admit to - be warned.

7th Jan 2011, 11:44

Failure of the camshaft hardening is most often caused by the incorrect specification engine oil being used either for top ups, or during servicing. VW specify an engineering specification for oils suitable for this engine, and it is not the usual grade / API / ACEA spec that pretty much every other manufacturer stipulates, and which people are used to. VW use their own set of engineering specs, with meaningless numbers like 505.01 and 507.00, which are not only the least memorable, least meaningful names out there, but are numbers on which the long term health of any VW PD TDI engine depends heavily. Is this really the best they could come up with, given that even dealers were known to get it wrong in the early days? What chance did the rest of us have?

These engines are normally good for well over 200,000 miles, unless you own the unreliable dog that was the 150PS version. But putting even a top quality, top brand, £20 a litre fully synthetic diesel engine oil in one of these engines that doesn't meet the 505.01, 506.01, or 507.00 spec will likely prove terminal.

The approved spec doesn't refer to grade or any other standard measure of oil used by most manufacturers, but instead relates to VW's own protection standards for the highly loaded cam lobes dictated by the unique diesel injection system on this engine. Few engines care as long as the oil is the right viscosity, and possibly API/ACEA grade. VW diesel engines die if the 50-whatsit.whatsit number is wrong. It's a ridiculous state of affairs, which has caused the premature death of many of these engines, and I would wager that includes the OP's.