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Hey guys, first post on this forum so hooorah! My brother owns a 2000 1.8T which I've been called to work on the last few days.

His engine started overheating one day going to work, smoke billowing out, coolant everywhere, it was horrific. The coolant distributor (with the thermal switch) had one of the hose mounts snap off, which I'm now thinking was caused by a massive amount of back pressure on a 15 year old piece of plastic.

So I replaced that earlier today, and it drove fine for a while. After he got his keys back and took it on the interstate to head back to his house, it started overheating again. Not only was the coolant reservoir bubbling over, but the engine oil was burning. Both of these together lead me to believe that the thermostat has failed, not allowing coolant in the system. HOWEVER, after researching some on the forum I have heard that the water pumps like to fail out from the plastic propellers within the pump. I had noticed particles floating in the reservoir and in the distributor when I replaced it, and I'm really hoping it's not the pump that has failed.

Can anyone give me an idea of what it may be? The only options right now that I have is thermostat and/or water pump. I can replace the thermostat and I looked at the DIY thread for the water pump, but that is just way too much of an undertaking for just a day with the car. He is having difficulty financially as it is, throwing a water pump/timing belt job in there on his daily driver would throw a HUGE monkey wrench in his family.
 

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Sounds like the water pump to me. Don't know if this applies for the 1.8t, but I read a thread where someone with a 2.0 after removing the thermostat was able to feel the water pump impeller was broken while it was still on the car.
 

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impeller

Sounds like the water pump to me. Don't know if this applies for the 1.8t, but I read a thread where someone with a 2.0 after removing the thermostat was able to feel the water pump impeller was broken while it was still on the car.
That is correct I confirm since I have a 1.8T and you can feel the impeller with your fingers after you remove the thermostat and try to spin it, if it spins than you found the bad plastic impeller.
Bad news though it sounds like you already burned up the engine cause it doesn't take much for these aluminum motors to warp. good luck and keep us posted.
 
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