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I bought a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Turbo 6 days ago and I am having some problems with it. It's the limited edition snap orange one with a manual transmission and 145,000 miles on it. Paid $3600.

I bought the car about 95 miles from my house and drove it all the way home on the interstate. It seems to drive and handle quite well. About 5 miles from my house, the battery light kicked on. Took it to a local garage that specializes in VWs and they told me that the alternator was completely shot and needed replaced. In addition, they said it needs a new O2 sensor and new vacuum hose to get the check engine light to shut off.

Additionally, I noticed a considerable amount of white smoke coming from the tailpipe and wanted them to check that out before they did any major repairs (such as the alternator). They took the car in their garage and replaced the O2 sensor and vacuum hose and did a synthetic oil change. Then they tested the exhaust and said it's throwing out blue/white smoke that smells like burning oil. It expels the most exhaust when they rev the car at 2500 RPM in neutral.

The garage did some tests and told me to post this information on this forum:

  • Cylinder Compression test: 140 psi in all cylinders
  • No oil on spark plugs
  • Good, adequate power (like it's supposed to have for a 1.8T)

They said they tested everything that could be the cause of the exhaust except for the turbocharger. The guy said that the turbocharger's bolts were rusted / melted to the turbocharger itself and he didn't want to break the bolts or turbocharger trying to remove it.

What could be the problem? I'm already $3600 plus garage fees (almost $1000 if they replace the alternator - not counting the turbocharger if it needs fixed) into this car and can't really turn out now. Registration at the DMV is going to be $600 just to turn around and sell it, so I'm going to lose money either way. This is my first car (I am 16) and it's already not going well.

Any help / diagnosis on the exhaust would be great.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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11,173 Posts
Sounds like it could be the turbo. If the seals are leaking it could cause smoke.

With that mileage, I hope the timing belt has been replaced. That is a huge deal.
 

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No NB Yellow Trifecta :(
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Actually 140 in the cylinders seems a little low, off the top of my head I would think it would be around 180. If it were me I would have the shop perform a "Leak Down" test.

Also you can disconnect the turbo intake tube connected to the intercooler and drain the oil out of it, as there will be oil in it; however the amount will let you know if the turbo is bad, so be sure and catch it in a container to measure it.
 
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