Oil in Spark Plug Wells - - Replace PCV System?

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Thread: Oil in Spark Plug Wells - - Replace PCV System?

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    Oil in Spark Plug Wells - - Replace PCV System?

    Howdy, long time lurker, first time poster...

    2002 Passat 1.8T, bought at 96K, now has 136K, and still runs strong.

    Sooooooo, I had some idling issues last week, chugging, and missing, dieing at stoplights. Replaced the PCV Valve from O'reilly. The old one was pretty dirty, but not sure if it worked or not, but even after the new one went on, the problem persisted. Then I thought I'd check the plugs, as I have never replaced them.

    Found the first hole had a bit of oil in it, second more, plus orange-ish oil on sides, third one poured out oil from the coil pack. Now, I am assuming that this problem is all connected. After finding that this is actually more common than I expected across all brands, I decided to prepare for the VC gasket, new coil packs, plugs, etc.

    Here's the question: Should I replace the PCV system? I have seen kits form ECS I believe that are a kit to replace the "entire" PCV system. I ASSUME that the issue with the sucking/blowing sound while revving is because there is an issue with the PCV system, and thus the "overpressuer" has caused the gaskets to fail. Quite frankly, when I bought it, the dealer that I had to a once over noticed a small seal at the back of the engine was leaking. I just don't know if the PCV system replace would be necessary.

    This is a daily driver, 7 minutes to work and home, and we use it from time to time. As I said, I bought it in 2010 with 96K, and it's taken us 8.5 years to put 40K on it. I would like to keep it for a kid, which was the original purpose, or trade it in. Ideas on the PCV, etc?

    BTW, I am scheduling a timing belt (etc) replacement as well. I will more than likely do the VCG.

    Thanks!

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    Yes, you need to update your PCV system. There are also some metal pipes involved that will probably need to be cleaned out as well.

    That 7 minute commute is great but it never allows the engine enough time to get the oil hot. H2O is a byproduct of burning gasoline and if the engine oil isn't hot enough to vaporize it the water vapor can combine with the engine oil to generate 'sludge'. If you search for sludge you will see all sorts of issues on the 1.8t due to this problem. Keeping the PCV system in good shape and using 100% synthetic oil will help a lot. Driving the car for 20 minutes or more every few days might help a bit too.

    When you do the VCG (easy job) get a picture of the valve train. Ideally it will be clean but if there is a lot of orange-ish brown deposits on everything then you may have the early stages of a sludge issue.
    cchief22, jjpark and bigeyejim like this.

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    Is your check engine light on? With those symptoms I would expect that it would be. If so, have you had the codes read?

    Oil in the spark plug wells can cause misfires, an air leak in the PCV/breather system can as well.
    bigeyejim likes this.

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    Iowegian, there has been a bit of the orange "moisture" in the oil every winter since I've owned it. And I've read about that in the past and it typically goes away after it warms up. We do take it on longer drives about every couple weeks, so that helps. I have used Mobil 1 and K&N filters since I've had it, if that helps. I've been scared about the sludge since reading about it years ago!!

    As far as the PCV system, I have seen a few kits at ECS that aren't too bad. I might go that route.

    I won't be able to do the timing belt, etc. myself...do you think it is wise to do the PCV/gaskets prior to that job? I was thinking yes, so that when they fire it up it won't miss like it is now! But I could be wrong...Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodardhsd View Post
    Is your check engine light on? With those symptoms I would expect that it would be. If so, have you had the codes read?

    Oil in the spark plug wells can cause misfires, an air leak in the PCV/breather system can as well.
    CEL is on, and I have a iPhone reader that I use on this and the Subarus to check and clear codes. I'll have to check it in the morning. I think I'll replace the PCV system with a kit and do some cleaning.

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    Oh yah....forgot to ask in original question....Should the oil pan come off and check/clean the oil pickup area?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigeyejim View Post
    Oh yah....forgot to ask in original question....Should the oil pan come off and check/clean the oil pickup area?
    It is sort of a pain as you have to unbolt front of and lower sub frame to remove pan ,(sounds way more difficult than it actually is)however personally I would do this for piece of mind, new o-ring and new screen/tube assembly, although you could clean but crap is coating screen and the sludge/coke just re -deposits condenses on it , they are like 25 bucks. Once you get new PCV components installed and hard tubing flushed and cleaned, synthetic oi.......l 200 k will be your next milestone

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    Quote Originally Posted by cchief22 View Post
    It is sort of a pain as you have to unbolt front of and lower sub frame to remove pan ,(sounds way more difficult than it actually is)however personally I would do this for piece of mind, new o-ring and new screen/tube assembly, although you could clean but crap is coating screen and the sludge/coke just re -deposits condenses on it , they are like 25 bucks. Once you get new PCV components installed and hard tubing flushed and cleaned, synthetic oi.......l 200 k will be your next milestone
    Thanks! I'm going to get under there tonight and take a peek. If it's beyond my level of expertise, I might skip this step, but it would be nice to start fresh. I thought about one of those flush kits, but figured they would do more damage than good. I have used MObil 1 for 36000 miles, since I bought it. It's never been sluggish, so I hope I've gotten lucky on the sludge issue. I have to def. do some work to it, for either a kid car or a sale car!

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    just get required replacement bolts for sub frame,total of 6, you can use 2 deep well sockets to re-align subframe or will send you my pins,regardless not at all difficult , it is a safe wager that your PCV lines are clogged or seriously restricted, engine is always pulling off vapors (when not boosting) and recirculating them into air fuel mixture. Oil in wells indicates positive pressure in crankcase and valve cover. Do not be surprised in the future with misfires as the insulation within the coils ends up being compromised , cleaning them might help but eventually the oil "carbons" out.
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    as a side bar in regards to the PCV system ,the two solid tube metallic pipes that clog can be "traced" from the rubber "T" fitting at the back top/firewall side of the valve cover,one goes along the valve cover on the passenger side, the other runs vertically at the back of and under the intake manifold.
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    Changing the timing belt (and water pump, rollers, etc) on a 1.8t isn't hard. Here's a video of a guy doing it in an hour:

    One nice thing about a 1.8t is that you can just mark the old belt and pulley notches, transfer the marks to the new belt and then install it so the marks are in the pulley notches and it should be good to go. No special tools are required. If you have a garage and a basic tool set it is a job that you can probably do. If it makes you uncomfortable that is fine but if you can do the PCV system and/or oil pickup screen the timing belt is within your capabilities. Just a thought

    Otherwise, go ahead and update the PCV system before the timing belt job. The timing should be verified after the belt change before starting the car but having it running well before the job is a good idea.
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    I would recommend installing an oil pressure gauge. No sense messing with the oil pan unless you know you have a problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by uberbeagle View Post
    I would recommend installing an oil pressure gauge. No sense messing with the oil pan unless you know you have a problem.
    I am going to have to agree with you there. The only "symptoms" with perhaps the sludge issue (and I'm no pro by any means) is this PCV issue now and the oil in the plugs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cchief22 View Post
    as a side bar in regards to the PCV system ,the two solid tube metallic pipes that clog can be "traced" from the rubber "T" fitting at the back top/firewall side of the valve cover,one goes along the valve cover on the passenger side, the other runs vertically at the back of and under the intake manifold.
    Awesome. I am not "taking info and running" but it hasn't gotten above 20 for a week now, and even if I move my Kayak trailer and bikes out of the way of the attached garage, It's still a tight squeeze. I figure I can run a heater while working on the car.....One of these days...

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    Hey Gang,

    Thought I'd catch this up...didn't want you to think I took the money and ran.

    We've had some weather, and I just got my car into our garage, after moving bikes, kayaks and the kids' scooters.

    Pulled the VCG, and am going to do a PCV fix/thorough cleaning. The Metal tubes are pretty gunked up with orange crap, and I am buying a kit to sort of overhaul it.

    Question...Since I am changing the VCG, should I do the tensioner gaskets, etc. as well? It looks a bit more complicated than I was expecting, and I was looking forward to getting the car back on the road. I don't know if the mis-firing was because of oil in #3 at a high level, or from bad PCV system or both. But after looking at videos, I don't wanna pull those cams off. Perhaps I'll do the VCG/PCV stuff, and when I'm ready for the timing belt (after it gets warm) I can do that over again.

    How can one tell, except for low oil pressure that there might be a sludge problem. I think for me, it's the pcv problems, but other than that, the car runs pretty well. Considering pulling all the air intake, over to the intercooler, throttle body, etc.

    Ideas? (remember, only an occasional mechanic...)

    Cheers,

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    If you have a little patience, and steady hands... It's quite possible to do the chain tensioner gaskets without actually removing the chain tensioner.
    Remove the bolts (evenly, and slowly), tensioner should pop up. If it doesn't, give it a nudge with a small pry bar (while the bolts are loosely installed.) Bolts out, tensioner up, change the gaskets. If necessary, use a small pry bar to hold the tensioner up for the gasket swap (be gentle!) Draw it back down with its bolts.

    This was advice from a 'former VW tech' that I now work with, when I did valve cover gaskets on my wife's 30v V6. Worked great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cuppie View Post
    If you have a little patience, and steady hands... It's quite possible to do the chain tensioner gaskets without actually removing the chain tensioner.
    Remove the bolts (evenly, and slowly), tensioner should pop up. If it doesn't, give it a nudge with a small pry bar (while the bolts are loosely installed.) Bolts out, tensioner up, change the gaskets. If necessary, use a small pry bar to hold the tensioner up for the gasket swap (be gentle!) Draw it back down with its bolts.

    This was advice from a 'former VW tech' that I now work with, when I did valve cover gaskets on my wife's 30v V6. Worked great.
    Awesome news. I have the VC still off sitting in the garage for completion...waiting on a gasket. I MIGHT give this a try, or wait till I do the timing belt. Need to get the car running (and pray for the belt to not snap), so I can see if the misfire is fixed...So I have a well running car prior to belt change. That way if I screw up the belt change, I will know it's from that! LOL.

    Chances are I'll be doing my own belt replacement, which I've shied away from due to obvious reasons. However, the estimates were $1250 locally and $1250 at the dealer with a $250 coupon = $1000. That's with parts. I guess I can use the spare cash for tools, bikes, bass amp, or vacation! Unless I change my mind.

    I just don't think I'll get it done in an hour like the video. I work in spurts over a couple weeks!!

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    TB on a 1.8t isn't a tough job if you are careful and take your time. Save a bit of the $750 you'll save for a few special tools and sockets and/or new plastic bits that you will need once you're into the VCG and TB jobs. Otherwise, it's just free money and getting to know your car better will pay off in a lot of ways down the line if you plan to keep it.
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    Fast forward a couple of months, a few other problems (mostly with our "good" van) and now that the weather is above freezing and nearing hot, time to get back in the saddle.

    Like some, I broke the damn pipe coming out of the oil filter adapter, and luckily I found one at a private VW shop for $50. I have the VC, intake, oil apparatus, and other stuff off or loose. It will be an interesting experiment to see if when I turn the key, it actually starts! I actually broke the groove for the PCV pipe clip attempting to get the brass internal pipe to break loose.

    So new question:::I just spent another hour looking for bolt specs for the various parts that have to go back on. I am mostly concerned about the Oil Filter adapter (I think that's what it's called) where it attaches to the engine block. I haven't found those specs.

    So I have VCG = 10Nm/84"lb

    Intake Manifold = 7.5 ' lb

    Coilpak bolts = 10Nm

    Oil Filter adapter = MYSTERY!!

    CAn anyone verify those numbers please and if you know the Oil filter number, I would greatly appreciate that! I believe the P/N is 06A 115 417 (May or may not be Audi P/N)

    I have hopefully uploaded a picture for your enjoyment! Thanks a bunch!

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    Not that it helps, but you didn't need to remove the oil filter adapter unless you had some other problem. Someone with a bentley manual will chime in about tq spec on that adapter.

    Coil pack bolts? You have a 2002, right? Those only came with push down coils. The only ones with bolt down coils were the B5 AEB engine and maybe the ATW.
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    Oil in Spark Plug Wells - - Replace PCV System?

    Speaking of coil packs;
    run your vin number through this website. You may get free set of coil packs if your car is part of the recall. I got mine free from the dealer.
    No misfires anymore.

    https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    TB on a 1.8t isn't a tough job if you are careful and take your time. Save a bit of the $750 you'll save for a few special tools and sockets and/or new plastic bits that you will need once you're into the VCG and TB jobs. Otherwise, it's just free money and getting to know your car better will pay off in a lot of ways down the line if you plan to keep it.
    That's what I'm currently meditating for. Have decided to change the TB myself (for the first time in my life) instead of giving away $700. I think if one is not under time pressure it's a doable job.
    I'm watching videos online but most of them are not really detailed enough. I may buy a Haynes manual but heard they are not very detailed either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigeyejim View Post
    I actually broke the groove for the PCV pipe clip attempting to get the brass internal pipe to break loose.
    Two weeks ago I was in the same boat when replacing the PCV pipes and hoses. The damn pipe broke off and I has huge trouble to get the internal metal out which I eventually managed.
    But how you broke off the groove is a puzzle to me. Not sure what you are going to do now. Without that clip, the pipe pops out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VAGguy View Post
    Not that it helps, but you didn't need to remove the oil filter adapter unless you had some other problem. Someone with a bentley manual will chime in about tq spec on that adapter.

    Coil pack bolts? You have a 2002, right? Those only came with push down coils. The only ones with bolt down coils were the B5 AEB engine and maybe the ATW.
    OOps...I just did the VCG and plugs/coils on my Grand Caravan, so I was thinking the same for this.

    The problem I ran into was mistakenly thinking I could remove the Crankcase vent pipe without removing the intake manifold. I got a bit over-zealous and broke the (don't know the name) where the retaining clip holds the vent piipe in. I was lucky to find one 45 minutes away for $50.

    I checked the recall, and I have no open recalls. Thanks for that tip!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emry View Post
    Two weeks ago I was in the same boat when replacing the PCV pipes and hoses. The damn pipe broke off and I has huge trouble to get the internal metal out which I eventually managed.
    But how you broke off the groove is a puzzle to me. Not sure what you are going to do now. Without that clip, the pipe pops out.
    Emry, I think our comments hit at the same time...Think Long pry bar, (Intake manifold still on), Irish temper, and the rest results in a broken groove! All I can do is laugh now! At least I was able to get the dipstick parts and replace them as well with that intake off. I have a perfect used part that will go back on!

    Edit: I tried to upload a picture, but for the life of me couldn't. I read info on how to do so, but only got lost. And I'm pretty tech savvy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emry View Post
    That's what I'm currently meditating for. Have decided to change the TB myself (for the first time in my life) instead of giving away $700. I think if one is not under time pressure it's a doable job.
    I'm watching videos online but most of them are not really detailed enough. I may buy a Haynes manual but heard they are not very detailed either.

    Good for you, I'm sure you won't have any issues. One thing I'd add is to mark the belt and pulleys before you remove the tension from the TB. Then transfer the marks from the old belt to the new belt and install it so the marks on the belt (male side) line up with the marks you made on the pulleys (female side). That way you know you're not 'off a tooth' on the belt. It is most important to follow the instructions about getting the timing marks aligned and be sure to double check the timing before putting the covers back on, etc. This is just another way to insure success and it takes about 60 seconds.

    Be sure to use the proper hex bits and clean out the holes to make sure everything fits tight. About the only way you can get into trouble with this job is to strip out a hex bolt by having the tool slip. In that case, you'd probably need to completely remove the front end for access to fix it. So not a huge deal but it's best to go slow and be careful.

    Finally, I like the tensioners that come with the FCP kit. They don't use the pneumatic push rod thingy and are very easy to install to get the belt to the proper tension. I've used 3 of them so far without issues and FCP claims they are the 'upgraded' version although the original style is still used as well. Just FYI and good luck!

    Ack, I already linked to my favorite TB video so no need to do it again.
    Last edited by Iowegian; 05-02-2019 at 01:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    One thing I'd add is to mark the belt and pulleys before you remove the tension from the TB. Then transfer the marks from the old belt to the new belt and install it so the marks on the belt (male side) line up with the marks you made on the pulleys (female side). That way you know you're not 'off a tooth' on the belt.
    From all things involved, the belt part is the most confusing part to me. My impression was that the marks on the pulleys must line up regardless of the belt. But now that you mentioned the belt marking, I started thinking again. So my big question is whether it really makes any difference how and where you remove/put back the belt. In other words, is there any start/end markings on the belt itself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigeyejim View Post
    Emry, I think our comments hit at the same time...Think Long pry bar, (Intake manifold still on), Irish temper, and the rest results in a broken groove! All I can do is laugh now! At least I was able to get the dipstick parts and replace them as well with that intake off. I have a perfect used part that will go back on!
    Edit: I tried to upload a picture, but for the life of me couldn't. I read info on how to do so, but only got lost. And I'm pretty tech savvy!
    Yeah, if you ever post a picture it would speak more about the situation. I'm having no trouble uploading pictures (but I use the "Basic Uploader" and then "Browse").

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    I hope this shows the picture of my Oil filter Adapter. And not me in a speedo on the beach...

    Edited: Sweet, it does. The arrow points to the lovely aluminum piece that broke whilst using my $8 Walmart Prybar from between the Intake (name).


    oil thingie pointer.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emry View Post
    From all things involved, the belt part is the most confusing part to me. My impression was that the marks on the pulleys must line up regardless of the belt. But now that you mentioned the belt marking, I started thinking again. So my big question is whether it really makes any difference how and where you remove/put back the belt. In other words, is there any start/end markings on the belt itself?
    TDC just to be safe. I always bring it to Top Dead Center before removing the belt. Make sure you remove the spark plugs beforehand so a compressed cylinder does not cause the crank to accidentally rotate one way or the other once you stop.
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