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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I couldn't see a specific 1.6 petrol section... so thought the 2L petrol might be closest :confused:.

Anyways, hello all im new to this forum, ive been browsing around as a guest for a while but never got round to registering as its my girlfriend that has a beetle.

so.
my girlfriend owns a 1.6 petrol beetle, that's 2003 plate and done about 66k miles. over the last few weeks the car has been smoking out of the exhaust quite a lot.
We first noticed it when we where stuck in traffic, then when we went to set off it threw out a load of smoke.
after taking it home, having a quick look around everything seemed ok... smoke cleared etc so thought must have been a one off thing.

the other week the same symptoms reared up again but this time it seems like its sticking around for good.

we took the car down to a garage where my own car was being serviced/MOT'd at the time... and when they revved the engine it through out a load of blacky/grey(possibly slightly blue) smoke. to which they automatically wanted to rip the engine in bits and replace the piston rings. So I said I was going to take it somewhere else for a second opinion.
So far ive taken it to two garages, that have come up with two completely different possibilities.

garage 1). - (very quick inspection)
said everything was fine when he first turned the car on, seemed to run fine. Took it for a quick drive out and all seemed fine. left it running outside his garage for a bit then the smoke re-appeared.
His answer was he wasn't 100% sure what the issue was and it was confusing him as to why it would behave like this... his only "guess" would be a cracked head gasket seal that's allowing oil through into the combustion chambers. he said to get another opinion.

garage 2) - (more indepth)
his ideas where blocked breather pipes to the engine, throwing out the pressure imbalances and possibly causing oil to get in.
He dug around a bit to find the "nice person" who previously owned the car had taped the breather pipes back together... he said if the engine isn't breathing properly then it could be causing it to do all sorts.
So, he ordered new ones and fitted them, and to be honest there is no real change in the smoking.
he again seemed stumped as to why the car is doing this... he said he honestly doesn't know why its doing what it is, everything seems fine.
his main concern before ripping the engine to pieces was the temperature indicator light.

the temperature indicator light never seems to turn off from blue? he had the car plugged in to the computer and it said it was getting to temperature ok... even the fan kicked in... but still the blue light on the dash!
he said take it to a proper VAG electrics specialist to see why the ECU isn't talking to the dash properly and see if its causing any other issues down the line too.

my dad has also had a look and is pretty convinced its more of a fuel smells in the exhaust fumes rather than oil (car doesn't burn much oil - had to put a glass full in from owning it 8months)

So I guess the question is... has anyone else seen, or heard of any similar symptoms to this before?

the summary of it is;
  • Possible head gasket crack - causing oil to leak through
  • Possibly piston rings worn/cracked - causing oil to leak through
  • Temp sensor not telling fuel pumps/valves/other sensors how the car is running... causing issues
  • Car isn't showing error codes or warning lights.
  • the garages that have looked at it don't want to commit to ripping the engine open for a closer look because they say the car isn't showing the typical symptoms of piston ring wear

Just want to know other peoples experiences/opinions on the matter really to see where I can go next, or what a other possible cause could be???

any help would be greatly appreciated.
im going to take the car to a VAG electrics specialist Monday to see what they can find out... and see if the electronics are talking to each other properly.

(sorry for the long boring post)
Danny.
 

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Hello, welcome to the site; your particular 1.6L was not offered in the USA spec New Beetles, thus no 1.6L engine section here. The smoking issue; can probably come down to a number of areas/issues; as your mechanics/shops have told you. I guess; the question, would be... do YOU want to work on the car or just let others figure it out for you? :confused:

The first thought that comes to my mind; are valve seals they get old and let oil into the cylinders and create smoke. This is a common issue on many cars and I can only assume to be a possibility on Volkswagen 1.6L engines.

Yo also may want to post to this UK based forum and others with your particular 1.6l engine might be able to help as well; they might know a good reputable independent Volkswagen repair shop in your area.

http://www.vwaudiforum.co.uk/forum/forumdisplay.php?13-Beetle-2000

If you're going to keep this car for any amount of time; I recommend you get a Volkswagen type scan tool, that way you can read trouble codes. You can buy them off of Amazon UK for cheap check out the VS 450:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B0063FPV96?pc_redir=1404659725&robot_redir=1

This page seems to indicate that a Bad mass air flow sensor; can cause black smoke as well:

http://easyautodiagnostics.com/vw_maf_one/vw_maf_test_1.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your reply.
I guess you could say im more of a let someone else fix it kind of guy haha... I'm just not confident enough to start going into the internals further myself.

I've heard mention of valve seals on other forums causing very similar issues... I'll add it to my list of things to investigate.

Also ive seen a few people on youtube etc... describe the bad mass air flow sensor causing issues, and I suppose it could be a cheap place to start to resolve the issue - I've just had a read through the link you posted and it does seem to tick quite a few of my boxes so possibly fingers crossed.

thanks for the link to the UK website... ill have a look around, like you say, some people may have some experience with these problems with the same engine.

thank you so much.
Danny.
 

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What color is the smoke out of the exhaust; does it have a particular smell (burning oil, sweet from coolant etc.?)

http://autorepair.about.com/od/troubleshooting/a/TS_exhaust.htm

A compression/leak down tester; would give you a indication of the condition of the engine, I'm surprised that these shops didn't do that for you. This is something you could do yourself; quite, easily and could probably rent the tool from your local auto parts store (this is common practise in the USA; I can only assume the same in the uk).

I have heard machinemart; to be a affordable tool store in the uk, they sell tools that could tell you if your head gasket is bad and compression/leakdown testers as well. Laser, seems to be a popular, affordable brand; in your country.

Laser Tools | Home

some examples of engine testing tools related to compression/head gasket diagnosis:

Search results for - Machine Mart

Search results for - Machine Mart

Laser 5140 Cylinder Leakage Tester - Machine Mart
 

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Hi I just wondered if you ever got this fixed or figure it out? My girlfriend's 16.L is now also smoking! The engine temp light takes a long time to go off or often doesn't at all.

And again, the car runs great and no smoke at all but it's once you get stuck at the lights or in traffic and the car is hot, then black smoke starts to bellow out the exhaust!!

I've tried changing the MAF and now the car is in the garage to see if a mechanic can figure this out...

He suggested we change the cold start relay/switch/sensor to see if this helps.

I hope you managed to get your Beetle fixed ok?

Thank you for your reply.
I guess you could say im more of a let someone else fix it kind of guy haha... I'm just not confident enough to start going into the internals further myself.

I've heard mention of valve seals on other forums causing very similar issues... I'll add it to my list of things to investigate.

Also ive seen a few people on youtube etc... describe the bad mass air flow sensor causing issues, and I suppose it could be a cheap place to start to resolve the issue - I've just had a read through the link you posted and it does seem to tick quite a few of my boxes so possibly fingers crossed.

thanks for the link to the UK website... ill have a look around, like you say, some people may have some experience with these problems with the same engine.

thank you so much.
Danny.
 
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