Just buttoned up: 2014 Jetta GLI engine replacement

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What a nightmare...

It's no secret that I despise German vehicles. Don't care it's a BMW, a Benz, or a VAG vehicle, I can't stand them. The engineering, the stupid fancy fasteners they use, the ridiculous way things are assembled. I have nothing against those who drive and enjoy their German cars, but personally I think the would would be better off without. This is NOT a matter of reliability: a Chevy Cruze is as much a piece of junk as a Jetta. That being said, I'd much rather spend my days working on the Cruze.

Rant aside: today I buttoned up a 2014 Jetta GLI that jumped time at 64k miles. Crank and exhaust cam were dead on, intake cam was 5ish teeth retarded. Apparently the car had a low power/hard start issue for a few weeks before it quit completely. Pulling the head and doing chains simply wasn't feasible, so it got a brand new long block straight from VW. Not reman, new. No core charge, even.

I dropped the entire powertrain out the bottom. That was the easy part. The subframe doesn't need to be removed, just the exhaust, axles, hoses, and a couple wiring harness connectors and she was sitting on the ground. While everything was apart, it got a NEW flywheel, clutch kit, plugs, and every single seal necessary to complete the job. I also replaced the turbo oil drain line as it was stuck in the block. Refilled with Amsoil 5w40 FS (oil filter was pre-installed).

The new engine came more or less bare, save the balancer, oil filter/cooler, and water pump. At first, I was glad the gigantic WP assembly was preinstalled, until I realized that the knock sensor is mounted to the block BEHIND said assembly, rendering it completely inaccessible. For those that are unfamiliar, the EA888 engine uses a (again, completely unnecessary) water pump/thermostat monstrosity which is driven off a tiny belt driven by the balance shaft (correct me if I'm wrong here, the point remains).

Given the ineptitude of VW parts catalogs, it took almost as much time to search and find all the necessary seals, gaskets, etc. as it did to replace the darn motor.

While I may sound like a curmudgeon, at the end of the day she fired right up after I pulled the FP fuse to give the engine a good prime. There was a misfire at first, but that was on me. I'd forgotten to plug the #1 injector in, so that was on me. Manages to shove my hands under the intake and between 2 coolant hoses and an AC hose and get it plugged in. One connector missed out of 2 dozen is pretty solid in my eyes.

All in all, the job billed out to ~$15k. We built in a good bit of buffer room in the estimate, so that could drop a few hundred. Still cheaper than replacing the car with a similar unit.

One more before I run out of breath: the warranty VW gives on the motor is a JOKE. GM give a 3 year 100k warranty on any crate engine that's installed by either the dealer OR an independent shop. Not only that: if I install a 5.3 on a Tahoe and it fails within that period I'm not on the hook to do the job again. It can go right to any GM dealer. That's with a REMAN crate engine.

The BRAND NEW engine straight from the factory in Mexico for this Jetta? 12 month 12k miles. What a joke.
 
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Sauerkraut is good for your health, but not so desired by everyone, but I digress. German cars are different and not everyone appreciates their character.
 
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+1 to everything you said about German cars these days. I loved my VW’s (8 of ‘em) in the 60s through the early 80s. But piston slap on my first ever new car, an 86gti, was that last VW I’ve owned. Bought a Honda Civic Si hatch-back and never looked back. Now having said all this I did love my 80s and 90s BMWs (318ti (2), 98 DINAN M3, 2000 M5). No real reliability issues with any of them. Yet I’d NEVER own any newer German car now. My other cars have been Honda, Toyota, Mazda. Current Honda Fit included…..probably one of the all time great little cars.
 
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All in all, the job billed out to ~$15k. We built in a good bit of buffer room in the estimate, so that could drop a few hundred.
What moron dumps $15K into an 8 year old Jetta? You could have bought a running wrecked Jetta for the engine to swap into the car and saved the customer $10K and have a leftover parts car to boot.
 
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What moron dumps $15K into an 8 year old Jetta? You could have bought a running wrecked Jetta for the engine to swap into the car and saved the customer $10K and have a leftover parts car to boot.

VW footing the bill. It was a warranty jobber.
 

14Accent

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First off, LOVE the feedback! I was hoping for a roast or two, keep them coming!

As far as the used route: that would obviously have been (and was, initially) my first thought. Had the thing been a 2.5, or a TDI, or even a 2.0 base that would have been an option.

Turns out, the '14 GLI is a bit of a unicorn. The CPPA engine is as rare as hen's teeth so the used market was not an option. I found ONE in the country, and it had double the mileage. Hard pass.

Beyond the used market, there was no legit rebuilders that were willing to touch the thing given the valve damage. If VW themselves don't sell reman, and don't want a core return, what does that tell you? As expensive as it was, this WAS the most economical route.

I explored the comp's, as well. GLI's alone are hard to find, and many of those are equipped with the DSG. From what I can see, a 64k mile 6-speed GLI with the same miles would command $19-$22k if not more. With no warranty remaining, and without a 0 mile factory fresh engine.

$15k is big money, but in this market it was the smart choice.
 

14Accent

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I'm a semi mechanic. I hate working with bellyachers. Don't take the job home with you.

I couldn't agree more. My OP was written to be taken as 20% whine and 80% satire. As an indy mechanic, I could easily have posted the same rant about... almost anything.

One example: Chrysler 3.6 plugs when in a rear drive application. How they managed to take an hour, hour and a half job on the vans and turn it into a half-day nightmare is beyond me (I'm being dramatic, but those that know... know).

My initial post was more to share the state of the repair industry as a whole, while taking a few jabs at the Germans. I'm happy to admit that I LOVE driving European vehicles. I'm the last person to try to argue about the difference in pure dynamics between domestic cars and their foreign competition: I was simply commenting from a technician's view. Putting myself in "Joe Consumer's" shoes, I can see the appeal of said brands.

Myself, I'd take a nice Genesis for 2/3 the price and call it a day.
 
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Interesting story, thanks for posting it.

I rented a Jetta long term, while overseeing a project. I was impressed by the MPG. Less so by the ever louder engine knock. And I was driving for MPG, so I was really easy on it. I have no idea why the engine knock happened, but I suspect piston slap. Something was lacking quality in that engine.
 
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The '14-'18 GLI should have either CPPA or CPLA engine. One has SAI and the other doesn't but you can use either.

I'm surprised no one would refresh the head for you. Lord knows plenty of those valves have kissed pistons.
 

14Accent

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The '14-'18 GLI should have either CPPA or CPLA engine. One has SAI and the other doesn't but you can use either.

I'm surprised no one would refresh the head for you. Lord knows plenty of those valves have kissed pistons.

This one was definitely a CPPA, and had both EGR and SAI I think. Come to think of it... that valve was actually plumbed to the AIR pump. Guess it was SAI after all. BUT! The VW catalog definitely refers to the gasket for said valve as an "EGR Gasket".

When the car initially arrived at my shop, the minimal amount of info I got (3rd hand) was that the car had an extended/hard start for a month or so before completely dying one morning as the wife pulled away from the house. Today, I learned that not only did she have a sudden low power issue within the first 5 minutes of operation but she also decided to downshift and floor it to compensate. That's when it stalled.

When the car got to my shop, cranking the engine sounded like an engine spinning with the plugs removed. Zero evidence of compression, which was verified by a solid 0 PSI on all 4 holes.

Again, I don't fault the owners. They had their OC's done at my shop, the oil was full at the time of failure, and the proper 5W40 full SAPS was used. Just one of those things...
 

14Accent

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The '14-'18 GLI should have either CPPA or CPLA engine. One has SAI and the other doesn't but you can use either.

I'm surprised no one would refresh the head for you. Lord knows plenty of those valves have kissed pistons.

Also realized that I didn't respond to the second point. Here in MN, there's very few quality machine shops left. The head work wasn't the only issue, it was the engine as a whole.

When I pulled the intake, I couldn't believe the carbon buildup on the back of the valves given the relatively low (less than 10k/yr) mileage. Sure, lack of use plus short trips didn't help the thing, given it's DI, but wow!

I'd have had no issue pulling the motor, the head, and rebuilding the top end myself. At the end of the day, I've still gotta warranty the thing and the minimal cost savings of using the existing engine just didn't make sense. I have enough hoist time sunk into this thing as is.
 

D60

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14Accent's opinions are his own. It's no different than saying you don't like mustard, and I don't see people getting hurt over personal preferences like that.
He did the work, he completed the job and he knows what he's talking -- or complaining -- about. He's not a keyboard warrior regurgitating info he read online.

I'm surprised he came here to vent a little and instead is attacked by those who apparently feel that insulting a thing is the same thing as insulting them personally.

Oh, and I hate onions! So BRING IT onion lovers!!!!
 

14Accent

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14Accent's opinions are his own. It's no different than saying you don't like mustard, and I don't see people getting hurt over personal preferences like that.
He did the work, he completed the job and he knows what he's talking -- or complaining -- about. He's not a keyboard warrior regurgitating info he read online.

I'm surprised he came here to vent a little and instead is attacked by those who apparently feel that insulting a thing is the same thing as insulting them personally.
Oh, and I hate onions! So BRING IT onion lovers!!!!

Appreciate that D60. My intent was never to put down VW owners or the like, my beef is with the engineers. Again, not German engineers alone... I'll kindly refer to design choices such as the Nissan Rogue blower motor behind the pedal assembly or the Panther platform blend door motor, or the Fusion evap temp sensor that's mounted dead center of the HVAC box and fails regularly.

The intention of my post was much less about German bashing based on one repair than it was giving a broad example of how difficult they can be GIVEN A SIMILIAR procedure.
 

Nick1994

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$15k for an engine in an 8 year old Jetta? Was that car even $15k when it was new?

I would have junked it or sold it as is for cheap.

You've still got an 8 year old pile but with a new engine.
 
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