View Full Version : mk3 1.9 TD Head gasket

30-10-2006, 09:49 PM
Hello all from a newbie.....
It seems my head g has failed, or so 2 mechanics have told me. I was quoted 250 just to have the head removed and see if there was any further damage adn 350 to replace the gasket if no further work was required!!!
So i thought I'd have a go myself!
The haynes manual mentions having a camshaft locking tool and a locking pin btu I can't seem to track them down anywhere. Does any know where I could pick them up? or preferably if there is anything else i could use instead?
Many thanks

30-10-2006, 10:57 PM
Go to a Euro Car Parts and see one of the camshaft locking kits from SEALEY. Also get a genuine cam belt + belt tensioners and a water pump. Did the car overheated very bad, is it difficult to start, smokes on idling ?

30-10-2006, 11:09 PM
It has been losing a little coolant for a while then the retaing clip that holds the bottom hose to the stat housing must hve failed as the hose was disconnect, thus all the coolant drained off. Now the car will start when cold but not when warmed up, its lost power and smokes like a bugger when started. Also if the expansion tank cover is off and the engine is revved, coolant is pouring out of the tank, but not on idle.
Is is worthwile replacing the water pump also?
Is a locking kit definately required, or can you just ensure that there woudld be no movement in cam, crank and injector?

31-10-2006, 10:17 AM
I have changed two head gaskets now on D Golf Mk3s. It gets easier every time!

You definitely need a looking pin for the injector pump sprocket and a locking plate for the cam shaft. Impossible without this. The cam shaft sprocket has to be removed to release the backing plate of the timing case.

This locking plate can be made up by yourself using the description listed in the haynes manual. But it must be made quite accurately as feeler gauges have to be used at either side to line the plate and camshaft up. The tolerances are so tight on a Diesel engine. This is the only way of timing the engine so there isn't much room for error.

As for the injector pump sprocket, depending on what size the locking pin hole is, you may be able to use a small drill bit of the correct diameter or if it is of the larger type, you will need the proper timing pin.

You will also need to make a tool to stop the camshaft sprocket moving when loosening the retaining bolt. Again this can be made using the specifications in the haynes manual and is really a crude device able to be made in about 15 mins. You will also need a large selection of sockets and spanners from 8mm to 22mm. A 6mm (I think) hex socket is needed to get the bottom pulley off the crankshaft and the inlet manifold bolts off.

If you want to buy a VW specific timing tool kit it will cost you about 100 new or you might be able to get one on eBay. This is where I sold the kit I used. This includes all of the above mentioned tools.

The head gasket must be matched to the gasket that is already on the engine. Thsese are identifiable by small notch cut out on the front of the head.

This is a difficult task and there are various things that can (and probally will) go wrong. Such as exhaust studs shearing off etc etc. But if you take your time and use plenty of WD-40 it is possible. It took me about 8 hours the first time and 5 the second.

Do replace the timing belt and tensioner prefarablly using VAG (about 80)parts but don't worry about the water pump, it runs on the ancillary flat belt, so wont cause failure if it siezes.

The whole front bumper, slam panel, radiator assembly is removable quite easily and I would advise this to be done. If the haynes manual is used and care taken and the correct tools used this job can be done. Although I have never tackled a TD just a D engine I believe these two engines are very similar and all the above instructions are accurate.

Any other questons you can email me: thefoolmccool@hotmail.com

31-10-2006, 03:20 PM
Hi mccool, many thanks for a detailed response. I was hoping to do it without the VAG tools but since I aint done a head removal since I was 14 on marina... its probably best i do. Seen the kit fro 80 on ebay or 100 from GSF.Did oyu get a good price for yours when you sold it on?
If I get stuck part way through, woudl you mind receiving an email or 2 picking your brains?????
Thanks again

31-10-2006, 03:45 PM
Yeah no problem will try and answer any problems you have. As for the kit I got about 75 for it on ebay. This was a 15 piece kit though so it wasn't as specialised and in fact could be used in petrol engines as well. So it had a few applications

08-11-2006, 08:13 PM
Hi mccool,

Struck a problem, i've sent you an email, be grateful of a bit of advice.

18-11-2006, 06:38 PM

Any developments, how are you getting on

19-11-2006, 09:56 PM

Goings been a bit slow, been on nights til yesterday. Nearly got it all back together, just the altenator ad power steering pump, oil and coolant to add.
A bit worried about the timing, is there any way of checking the injection timing?
Also, after I cleaned the piston heads i noticed slight valve markings in the crowns, is that normal?

20-11-2006, 12:29 AM
Hi, looks like your car had a broken cambelt at some point as there shouldnt be contact between pistons and valves. All tdi engines are interference type and when cambelts breaks, valves stay open while the pistons still travels up and down because of drive transmited trough transmission. Some guy in USA machined had some custom made pistons with a deeper recess to avoid interference and ended up with a average compression of ratio of 12:1 and started asking on forums why his car lacks performance(i wonder how it even started with that compression !!!). I bet its just a made up story.

20-11-2006, 10:11 AM

There are small cut-outs on the crown of the pistons to allow for the valves to open correctly, don't worry abot these. If the valves had touched the pistons before you wolud know about it!!!

Before starting the car on the starter, turn the crankshaft using the bolt used earlier. You will soon find if the timing is correct without doing any damage. Remember to do two complete revolutions of the crankshaft (thats one of the camshaft). The only way to set the injection timing is with a DTI gauge. Expensive and complicated. If the injection timing is slightly wrong, you will notice a lack of power. This happened to me on the first engine, and I was able to adjust in small increments by trial and error (only on pulley with three adjusting bolts and only slight movement - 1/4 of a degree region).

If it is badly out, there will be a lot of white smoke, or the car simply won't start. Don't confuse this with air in the fuel system though, if you had the filter off, the only way to get around this is to have some one crank the starter and opeb the lower banjo bolt (19mm I think) on the pump.

But if the injection timing is all that is out, there should be no problems.

Having said that, it is the worst feeling in th eworld when you are siiting there ready to turn the key!!!!



20-11-2006, 09:52 PM
Hi Adam,

Mines a TD, presume it would be the same then.. Didn;t think it was right!!!! I have turned the crank through a whole cycle and I can't hear anything catching or knocking. Can't finish it off til Thursday, just hope it runs, tho I won't be holding my breath!!!

On a different note, the missus Polo started acting up, does anyone know whatthe plug gaps should be for a 1993 1.05L Polo?

20-11-2006, 10:02 PM
Cheers Kev,

Can't see the injection been too far out as I did markup everything befroe removing the belt - well I hope so!!!! I'll be straight round to the pub if it starts:beerchug: and probably if it doesn't!!!

22-11-2006, 07:06 PM
Hi Kev,

Update on the Golf...
Finally got it all back together and started her up. Took a while but run smoothly...... for 2 minutes!!!!!
Then there was some rather loud knocking, so I turned it off straight away. I pesume this could be the pistons catching the valves??? Could it be the timing belt has slipped a notch?? I Did use a new tensioner and belt but I'm thinking now if it has slipped I may not have tensioned it correctly.
Would it have done irreverrsible damage????:aargh4:

23-11-2006, 09:40 AM

What type of noise was this, was it a loud banging or a small high-pitched "pinging" noise??

Are you sure this wasn't something else, for example the timing belt covers.

Don't give up yet. I doubt the timing belt would jump a tooth if the car was just idiling, there is very little stress on the belt at this stage.

Did you check the correct tension of the belt, it should only be able to be turned 45 degrees at the run between the two top pulleys.

Try turning the engine again with a ratchet on the crankshaft and see if there is any interference. You may have been lucky even if the worst has happened.

Make sure there is no air in your fuel lines as well, this can cause banging and maybe some smoke.

Keep trying, you are nearly there.

23-11-2006, 10:56 AM
It was a loud banging and there was the correct tension between the cam and injector sprockets. What sort of tension should there be between the crank and tension pulley, should it be dead tight? Its just that when i initially turned the crank by hand after fitting hte belt there did seem to be a little slack between them.
Off work today so jsut about to go have a look!!

23-11-2006, 11:32 AM
The timing belt should not be slack at any point. I take it you took off the two pulleys, injection and cam shaft. These should not be tightened until the timing belt has been tensioned. Im sure you did this correctly.

Good luck.

23-11-2006, 06:37 PM
The belt had slipped, I don't think I had the tensioner in the right position tho i did tighten the cam sprocket after the tensioner but the injector was tightened before. Anyhow, redid the timing put the belt back on and did tension correctly. Went to start her up and got some bleedin scraping noise before the engine fired!!!! Turned the crank by hand and everything was smooth, so off with the head again...
Can't see any damage, the pistons move smoothly and so does the cam????
Going to take the sump off tomorrow to inspect the bottom end.
Would I be ok to to turn the engine over without the head on??? or would having the electrics disconnected cause a problem??
Thanks for your continued help.

23-11-2006, 10:36 PM
I wouldn't spin it over on the starter without the head on unless you like cleaning oil up.
I don't know of any reason why a slipped belt would cause any damage to the bottom end. If there is no new markings in the top of the pistons and all the valves appear to be OK you may have removed the head for nothing.
Could have been as simple as the starter motor stuck out or the clutch release bearing. How long has the car been stood for?

24-11-2006, 12:23 AM
Hi marc et al, there was definately metal on metal scraping, couldn't exactly detect where it was coming from as it didn't turn it over for long. The car hasn't beed stood too long. There was no scraping when i initially turned it over first time (before the belt slipped). While i've got the sump off and I' haven't got any auxilliaries running off it, if there's no damage to be seen, will i doo any damage turning it over for 5-10 secs?

24-11-2006, 09:25 AM
The previous poster is correct, there will be oil everywhere, and if you have the sump off, I wouldn't turn th eengine at all. I would be more worried about the piston crowns and valves. Do the pistons have any shiny marks on them, are any of the valves not seated correctly in the grooves on the head? Could the scraping noise been that I had mentioned earlier, some of the timing sprockets on the timing cover?

From memory, I think these engines are designed so that if the timing belt fails, the camshaft would break thus avoiding any engine damage. Check the camshaft and make sure everything is ok.

Turn the crankshaft by hand and if there is no noise then this isn't your problem. Stick it all back together now again and try it, hopefully it will be ok

Don't give up!!!

24-11-2006, 08:20 PM
All back together... and it starts and runs!!!! woohooo.. although there is a problem, but I'm hoping its nothing..
Checked the oil and coolant levels after 5 mins on tickover, found oil in the coolant. Going to give it good flush tomorrow, i'm hoping it may be just a little oil that got into the coolant when i removed the head.... twice!!! Is that likely, will it be something serious?
I think I found what the scraping was, the timing backing plate might have been catching on one of the sprokets....! Good practive for removing the head tho!!!

24-11-2006, 09:27 PM
Fingers crossed for you. I've been reading this thread for updates.
Hope you've got it sorted now.
Boardboy :beerchug:

26-11-2006, 06:05 PM
The oil in the coolant will be from when you removed the head. Some of the oil will have trickled from the head and into the coolant passages in the block. This happened to me both times as well. A good flush is all that is required. A little trick to get the expansion boittle cleaned is to take it out and leave it in a sink of water and washing powder for washing machines. This makes it come up like new (Only if you are worried).

Would start to worry if there was coolant in the oil (White mushy substance). Probably be a good idea to change the oil anyway.

At least you're motoring again now!!!

27-11-2006, 06:01 PM
Took it for a run today after flushing the coolant umpteen times. Seems to be ok, not sure if its as powerful as it was!!
There is a couple of things that maynot be right... Its taking a bit to start, turns over adn catches after about 5-10 secs??? Also, I left on tick over for a while and had the expansion tank cap off, when it got up to temp coolant started to bubble out of the tank....!! Is this normal as its a pressurised system???

I'd like to give everyone a big thanks for getting me this far, its really appreciated.

28-11-2006, 10:37 AM

Lack of power could be injection pump timing. The way to fix is to set the engine to TDC with the marker on the fly wheel and try and insert the timing pin into injection sprocket. If it is tight or will not go in, you are slightly out. If your pulley has three outer bolts and one large central bolt, just loosen these three bolts and move th einjector pump until the pin can be inserted. If you dont have these three bolts you may need a DTI gauge (professional help??)

Hard to start may indicate air in fuel system, try bleeding as described in the haynes manual

And dont worry the bubbling is quite normal in a pressurised system


28-11-2006, 09:34 PM
Cheers Kev,

Have checked the timing adn the pin does go in, albeit a little tight. The spocket has only one central bolt, think I'm gonna take it a diesel specialist up the road to check over adn maybe do a comression test too. I'll get a price first!!

05-12-2006, 09:20 AM
Well any updates. How you getting on these days??

05-12-2006, 05:39 PM
Hi Kev, The radiator started leaking again, as it did before all this trouble started, radweld aint lasted that long, knew it wouldn't!! waiting to get a replacement, and then to the garage....