VW Jetta 2001 turbo w/possible Internal coolant leak - repairable or time to get a new car?


#1

Hello all,
My troubles began several months ago when while on the Pike the coolant sensor came on with a heart attack-inducing alarm beep on my 2001 Turbo VW Jetta. The billowing steam pretty much gave away the major coolant leak that had decided to erupt in the engine. Brought it to my local mechanic who promptly fixed the problem. About 2 weeks later, the light came on again, so I brought it back to him. He found some additional minor cracks in the engine tubing. Fixed it again. 2 weeks later…yep, you guessed it, the light comes back on. After 3 more visits with pressure testing and dye added, no leak can be found. We then tried the leak repair stuff…that was about 2 weeks ago now…and, yes, the light has come back on again.

The car is in very good shape with just over 100K miles on it and just had a lot of the biggies done on it in the last year (shocks, belts, brakes). I would love to get another year out of it since I just put all this money into it, but I’m getting tired of having to bring it to the shop every couple of weeks. I also don’t want to get stranded if something decides to give way in some spectacular fashion.

So, my questions for folks here:

  1. Do I try the repair leak stuff again to see if that will help?
  2. Is there any other possible causes that wouldn’t require an engine rebuild that we should look at?
  3. Do I just suck it up and carry around spare coolant with me topping it up as it gets eaten?
  4. Do I call it a day and start looking for a new car?

#2
  1. No. Absolutely not.
  2. Yes. Absolutely.
  3. Carry around spare coolant at lesat until you get the problem fixed.
  4. Not yet. Start looking for a new shop instead.

Someone needs to flow check the radiator, flow test the water pump, check the cooling fans for proper operation, check the thermostat, check the hoses for collapsed linings, and…perhaps first…check the cylinders for leakage into the water jacket, preferably with a compression leakdown test. Any halfway competant shop would know all this.


#3

Wow, thanks Mountainbike! I’m relieved that I don’t have to go shopping for a car. :slight_smile:

I’m in the Somerville area…any recommendations on a good shop that deals well with VWs?


#4

I don’t but there are some Mass guys here who might.

You really don’t need a VW specialist for this, though. Any good shop can handle this stuff. It’s pretty basic cooling system troubleshooting.

Oh, I forgot, it’d be a good idea to check the radiator cap too while the system is being evaluated.