GF's 2003 VW Beetle 2.0, oil incinerator

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Apr 1, 2017
Indian Valley, Virginia
So before my girlfriend and I started dating she bought a the worst way possible...found it on craigslist, didn't test drive it, and paid for it because it was "cute". She has had it for a little of over a year now. This beast is at the end of it's life. This past spring we found out the cooling fans weren't working because it overheated going up a mountain. I went to get her, filled the coolant back up, and followed her home. Mechanic fixed the cooling fan problem afterwards. Since then the car seems to be eating oil (no apparent leaks though). I guessing a seal somewhere got cooked. At start up there is a big blue cloud and it continues until the engine warms up. After that no smoke even when the transmission shifts (I watched following her). It is burning enough oil that I've stopped changing it. I change the filter every 5k (cheapest available) and top her off once a week with the cheapest 5w-30 I can find at either the gas station or the Rural King. Still the amount being burned is ridiculous and once her new job starts paying we're going to get her into something else. We have decided to keep the bug until it dies (as a 3rd "if one of the others is in the shop" vehicle) and then turn it into lawn art afterwards (thinking hood open and climbing roses). What oil would you all suggest to maybe cut down on the burning and keep her going as long as possible? Locally the thickest oils available are straight 30wt and 20w50, both "Warren" brand, both VERY cheap. Engine rebuild/replacement is not an option. There is A LOT of other things wrong with the vehicle and it isn't worth actually fixing.
My sister had a 2001 Jetta with the 2.0 that burned a ton of oil. I used a Heavy duty 15w40 diesel oil which definitely helped. Then the transmission failed (at 110k miles) and it went bye-bye.
I would probably keep doing what you are, using the either of the warren oils. Although just for giggles, I would try some 10w30 and 2 bottles of Stp oil treatment (blue bottle)
Yard art is a nice idea, but I'd keep it going only until a local dealer is running one of those "$4K for any trade-in you can drive to my lot" sales. Cheap 20w-50 sounds good until then.
I would suggest popping in an LKQ engine. Or better yet, search local VW groups as the 2.slow gets yanked for swaps. I could do the swap in about 4 hours... It's an easy job.
My family had a 01 Beetle 2.0 and after trying most oils and weights on the market, we used Castrol High Mileage 10W-40. It has a viscosity of 15.6 @ 100C. That is thicker then most diesel 15W-40 oils. We were burning up to 4 quarts in 5,000 miles. With the Castrol, it was down to 1 quart in 5,000 miles. The rings were installed upside down on these 2.0 VW's. That's why they burn oil.
I've owned 2 MK4s and the cooling fans needed replacement on both. My 2.0 burned a bit too but it was solid as a rock and very fuel efficient. However, the 115hp 2.0 might be unbearable mounted to an auto. 14 year old car, dude.
As noted, certain years of the 2-point-slow had oil burning issues due to ring installation. My wife used to have a beetle with that engine that would drink synthetic oil like crazy. I changed to cheaper oil after that and it seemed to be reduced, but I didn't track it that closely.
Agree with above about increasing viscosity of the oil and would try the 15w40 (or if you are more conservative, the 10w30 suggestion). Keep track of how much it burns.... Maybe 10w40 in the winter in your climate....
Originally Posted By: Sleepeyes
I thought about seafoaming it for giggles. I imagine there are unreal deposits now...
Might not be a bad idea - might free up the rings a bit and reduce consumption a bit. VERY cheap 20W-50 sounds like a plan after that.
Either the overheating cooked the oil on the rings and glued them to the piston,or else a piston "collapsed" due to the heat and isn't round any longer.
Since it goes away at after warm up I'm willing to bet rings or a valve seal over a collapsed piston. There is no loss of power and the idle is still smooth. Either way though I don't see this vehicle being a DD for much longer.
LOL...what is sad is I'm eye balling getting a new Mirage G4 for myself as my DD to school and work. Between USAA and the local dealer I can get a super cheap new car for even less. I have no issue with slow cars and I kind of like how the I3 works and it has a timing chain unlike other cheap cars. Only issue I can find is that the rear torsion axle is non-adjustable and tolerance stacking can cause new cars to have WAY out of whack alignment that necessitates a whole new axle assembly.
I got a letter from the city about my "yard art"
I live in the woods in SW VA...there is no "city" and the County could care less.
If the engine is that trashed, I'd put a can of restore engine treatment in it. That is the only thing I've ever used that made a difference other than AT-205 reseal. It's basically copper in can and can make a difference on an engine in it's twilight years. I'd bet the the oil use is scored cylinder walls on one cylinder where there was a hot spot when it overheated and the copper could help with that. I'm not sure how people on this board feel about restore, and I'm sure I'll be flamed for it, but it actually really helped a marginal 5.7 chevy my dad used to drive. Copmression went up 20% in 7 cylinders and like 60% in one ad oil comsumption dropped quite a bit as well. To be far the motor was trash (low oil pressure at idle due to a clogged pickup, and a general hard life of 250K miles) but after cleaning that and a can of restore he ran it another two years until reverse went out on it's 4th tranny. seriously it would barely run before we tried it. the difference was amazing, and if he threw a can in every oil change it was fine.
It could be the rings, as the cat heats up it takes care of the smoke. Piston soak with a carbon eating solution, search the site here. Use Kreen as directed. Rislone works, but is slower on hard carbon like ring coking. MMO works slow also. If none of these things fix the consumption, try the heavy motor oil and/or Schaeffer's 132 oil supplement.
My daughter drives an `03 Golf with a similar engine. We've owned it since new and it currently has over 200k miles on it. It's also a big oil consumer, even more so as the OCIs progress. I've tried high mileage motor oils but they usually start getting consumed within 500 miles of driving. On her last OC, I used LiquiMoly Leichtlauf High Tech 5W-40 along with 300ml of LM Motor Oil Saver. She's presently 1000mi into this OCI and the car has barely used any oil at all. While I do not think the consumption problem has stopped, it does appear that this combo has slowed it significantly.
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