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Discussion Starter #1
So anyone who was following my overheating issue, I've decided to replace the head gasket. With absolutely no indication that I needed it. Yes, I'm a bit crazy. But it was my instinct that said to do it. So I am.

Anyways, while I have all this apart is there anything else I could/should be doing to it? I think I remember something suggesting a better vacuum line kit? Which one? Anything else? I'm already doing the gaskets, coolant flange, and anything I happen to break while I'm in there.

98243


Yes, I'm attempting to do this without removing the timing belt for the 3rd time.

98244
 

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I'd get the head checked to make sure it's not warped or cracked. And check the PCV system and any related bits since access is so easy. It looks pretty good in the picture but if anything is suspect it will never be easier to repair than now.
 

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I'd get the head checked to make sure it's not warped or cracked. And check the PCV system and any related bits since access is so easy. It looks pretty good in the picture but if anything is suspect it will never be easier to repair than now.
I put a straightedge down and I'm not able to get a .002 feeler gauge under any part of it. I think it's straight.
 

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In my personal opinion, looking at the cylinder head, the #1 cylinder looks like something (coolant?) was washing the head and valves. The other 3 cylinders all have a bit oil wetness and #1 does not. Usually a symptom of fuel or coolant getting in there. Seeing as you were having overheating issues, makes me suspiciously wonder. Also on the cylinder block, between #2 and #3 cylinders, that brownish ring right around the cylinder edge doesn't look right. I think you might have been right on the cusp of the gasket leaking.

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I would take a high quality very fine sharpening stone and stone off the block and head surfaces until it is all shiny and free of traces of old gasket material. This will ensure a good head gasket seal without having to machine the head or engine block. I've done it many times. It's very tedious work but it pays to do it.
 
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Here's a 1.8t I did a few years back. The head and block I stoned by hand.

Before.

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After

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By the looks of that motor, it seem to suggest you're in a cold climate and everything is sweating in a semi-heated garage.
Man I don't miss that one bit. Nothing like working on a frozen car in a garage that's about 40 degrees. (n)
Now I'm in a climate where it's just to damn hot to touch anything and the car never cools down. :(
 

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By the looks of that motor, it seem to suggest you're in a cold climate and everything is sweating in a semi-heated garage.
Man I don't miss that one bit. Nothing like working on a frozen car in a garage that's about 40 degrees. (n)
Now I'm in a climate where it's just to damn hot to touch anything and the car never cools down. :(
MD, but I bet most of that is from the water leaking out all over when removing the head. He hasn't been running coolant while working to find the source of the overheating condition.
 

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Man I don't miss that one bit. Nothing like working on a frozen car in a garage that's about 40 degrees. (n)
Last year I did the work in an unheated garage in February in VT. maybe three or four of the days I didn't see my breath while working...and I had a heater going. IR thermometer said the floor was 20 degrees, the car was just as cold, and the tools too. Also, things are much more likely to break. it just sucked. Ditto with this year...and on Friday, in -3 degree weather, my thermostat housing blew up on my drive to work.

Down to 0 vehicles right now. not a happy camper.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My garage is not "heated" but I do have a space heater running all the time. It's a comfortable 65 in there. VAGuy was right, that was from water dripping onto it while taking off the head.

If I didn't have heat this job would be waiting for the warm. I have no patience for all that.
 

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Replace all the plastic vac lines with silicon hose. I would replace any of the PCV hoses that would normally be hard to get to when it's all back together. Same with any coolant hoses.
 

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Apart from everything mentioned, I would replace the rubber T in the PCV as I can see it has the original clamp on it.
 

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Are you sure the head is flat?
The wall between 1 & 2 looks to be passing gases. There is an odd space at #1 and the cooling passage. I’m looking on the intake side where you can see the rust. The discolored section between the cylinder and the coolant passage maybe your issue.
 

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Not a bad idea but I'm not pulling the head apart at all.
For the love of....

Why not? You're already there! All you need is a valve spring compressor, a valve stem plyer for removing the stem seals, and and either a needle nose plyer with long skinny jaws, or a surgical forceps for reinstalling the valve spring keepers. I've done this three times now on three different V6s. It's not hard at all.

What I would do is this:
Pull the cam and valves and hydraulic lash adjusters, pull the stem seals, give the head a bath and deep cleaning...I typically use my utility sink in the garage with dishwashing soap and really hot water and a nylon bristle brush...maybe some brake cleaner on tough spots. Do not use Simple Green! Then compressed air to dry it out and start inspecting, paying close attention to the combustion chamber, intake and exhaust (which you can't really see with the valves installed BTW), and the surface. You're on a good track checking flatness, but did you use a machinist straight edge? I have successfully brought heads back to flat with wet sanding on a thick piece of glass....Then clean the head again, and once more for good measure. Can't get it clean enough. Also ruthlessly clean all the valves and camshaft too. Check all of the valve stem / guide clearances to make sure there isn't any excessive clearances.

If it was me, I'd budget for replacing all of the valves outright and new hydraulic lash adjusters...they can be found dirt cheap, and replacing the HLAs on the car is a giant PITA.

Still with me? Now you lap all of the valves and valve seats with lapping compound. I use my cordless drill for this....keep the valve position straight by punching the stems through a piece of cardboard after you're done lapping and cleaned the valve.

Clean the head once again, then install new valve stem seals...I used a 10mm long socket and a plastic hammer for this. Then start reassembling the heads...this is the hardest part. You need the spring compressor, good lighting, and the forceps. I use a dab of either assembly lube or vasoline to stick the keeper onto the stem. Twenty valves later and then use assembly lube or vasoline on the cam bearings and assemble.

On the block I'll stuff rags into the cylinders and any holes, but I've also used plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover oil and coolant passages. Then I typically use a box cutter razor blade and some clean oil to carefully scrape the old gasket material off. Then pull the rags out of the cylinders and use compressed air to blow out the cylinders. You can typically blow a lot of carbon off the piston tops this way. Do not!!! blow air into the coolant or oil passages. Take extra special car to ensure nothing gets into the engine. Dirt and contamination do more harm to bearings than anything else.

Then reassemble with all new gaskets and head bolts. You do have brand new head bolts right? These are torque to yield bolts and must be replaced every time.

As mentioned, new silicone vacuum hoses and new EGR plastic.

Good luck.
 

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You mentioned replacing the coolant flange and my two cents would be to replace it with the cast aluminum replacement from Urotuning it is relatively cheap and is said to last 250,000 miles. I was doing the flange replacement and had already bought the oem replacement part and came across the cast aluminum one and just got that and sold the other one on Craigslist. Once again just my two cents. Good luck!

Oh and cometic makes a awesome head gasket, in my opinion the best you can buy, you definitely pay for the quality, but it can fill in minor perfections and if needed change your Compression ratio.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Are you sure the head is flat?
The wall between 1 & 2 looks to be passing gases. There is an odd space at #1 and the cooling passage. I’m looking on the intake side where you can see the rust. The discolored section between the cylinder and the coolant passage maybe your issue.
Good eye, yes I believe that may have been my problem. It's a teeny "gouge" for lack of a better word. Almost as if this head had been pried off before with something metal. Heavy cleaning has minimized the issue, and I believe I have it workable now. I'm not budgeting for machining the head so it's the best I'm gonna get.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Because this was a free car and I've already done way too much work to get it on the road. It's meant to be driven as a beater until the wheels fall off with minimal maintenance. I know that hurts many of the hardcore guy's hearts but I'm not in love with this car enough to give it all that love and care. I just want it to stop overheating. In fact, this is the last straw. If this does not work I'm likely going to sell it to the highest bidder and let it be their problem.

So I appreciate the detailed how to, and maybe I'll use it on another car someday but this car will not get that kind of attention.

If I get 10K more miles out of it I'll be happy and feel like I got my money's worth.

I can say this car has taught me a lot about the Passat and I think I might be close to converted over to VW for the future, but for now this car is just like that cheap screwdriver that you have and use, sometimes for the wrong purpose like scraping or prying. You have better screwdrivers that you care more for but this one is at hand when you want it.

Again thank you for the advice, but I'm not pulling the head apart. I'm replacing every seal I can reasonably reach, cleaning is well as I can, replacing lots of the vacuum fittings as suggested, and putting it back together hoping for the best.
 
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