I’ve got a 2000 VW Jetta 1.8T manual. Just before Christmas my mechanic, searching for the source of a radiator leak discovered 3 very bad things: 1) radiator was shot; 2) heater core was too; & 3) engine block was cracked. I wasn’t ready (I’m still not) to call the salvage guys: this is the first car I bought new (likely to be the last); it’s a real pleasure to drive & has taken me all over the country; & the blasted engine, which VW replaced in 2007 when the timing belt blew & the car was still under a powertrain warranty, only has about 30,000 miles on it.
So after spending a couple of hours in mourning, I went online to find out if a cracked engine block is always a death knell or if, perhaps, they can sometimes be repaired. I got all excited when I found sites citing the effectiveness of a product called JB Weld for repairing external cracks (which one in my car engine is) & then welding. Further reading convinced me that neither JB Weld or welding is a reliable repair, that the only technique that can be relied on is called “Cold Metal Stitching” (which as I read about it sounded somewhat like sewing a rip in a piece of clothing).
The trick is to find somebody with the skill or willingness to cold metal stitch a crack in a car engine. I called precision machine shops across the state (Rhode Island), finding only one that repaired cracked engine blocks using cold metal stitching but the shop wanted nothing to with a car engine; it worked on BIG engines, from trucks & boats. I found a shop in New Hampshire that uses the process on car engines but it wouldn’t quote me a price without seeing the engine, & I wasn’t about to remove the engine & drive it several hours North, possibly only to be told shop couldn’t – or wouldn’t – do the job.
What I’d like to know from members of this community is: 1) Have any of you or anyone you know had a cracked engine block repaired? & if so, by what method & did the repair last? 2) Is anyone familiar with cold metal stitching as a reliable means of repairing a cracked engine block & if so do you have an estimate for what it costs; & 3) Is it time for me to wake up & get another car?