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Two Eng Probs. Oil Light and Lifter Ticking?

1772 Views 18 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  JETninja
'99 1.8T 5sp. 101k miles.

#1 Ok...the Oil Light has been coming on a lot the past day or two. Plenty of Oil in there. I run Mobil 1, though not the most religous at changing it....though with my easy freeway driving I don't much worry about it either.

Reading something in here a few days ago (Rusty?) makes me wonder about the Pickup Screen. (they had mentioned that as being a reason for the Light to go on) Since I have a Jug of M1 and one of those new Jumbo OEM Filters, been planning to change it. Now thinking I'll do it myself and remove the Engine oil pan and clean the screen. Anything I need to know? Does the Pan use a Gasket? if so use again or get a new one? I assume the screen is right on cleaning it?

Any other ideas?

#2. My Car has always been a bit loud at idle as far as the Ticking sound goes. Seems a bit louder now. I'm wondering if its a sticky lifter, or maybe all these years my Pickup screen has not been getting enough oil up there? It usually quiets down when I add a bit of oil (most noticable when the level is down a tad) but it's pretty loud these days. Any ideas?

Runs fine....MPG is great, loving the new Chip. Feels like a new Car. But these things worry me, need to fix them.
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Low oil pressure is attributed to sludge. Get that oil changed, change it RELIGOUSLY and on a normal basis. The 1.8T's are notorious for sludging because of the high heat. Its best to run synthetic as it is less likely to sludge. You will need a new oil pan gasket. You will also need jacks, stands, etc. Would help if you have air tools as well to remove the sway bar as this will need to be dropped to gain access to the oil pan. If you are faint at heart... let a professional do it.

Sludge bites! BTW, nice to have you the club (RMCB5) JET!
Good luck.
I do have ticking in my engine, but it's from the litte MAF thingy above the airbox.
Thanks guys....been doing a ton of reading...gonna give the Auto-Rx a try...hopefully that will fix it. Seems to be a common theme on high mileage 1.8T's.
I have 106k on my '98 and Ive not (knock on wood) yet had any sludge issues. I can close once when I had about 7 or 8k miles on one lube and filter, but wasnt bad, just pretty dirty.

Whatever you do, don't ignore it. It will get worse and will keep you up at night. I got a few intermitent lights, changed the oil/filter and prayed hard. In March on a road trip, the light came on and I pulled over. I flatbedded the car back to my mechanic and the screen was completely blocked with sludge. He checked the pump (tolerances all OK) and for my sanity, got into the lower engine to check for any signs of starvation.

I got lucky. I bought the car with 45k on the clock and have been steady, but not fanatical about the oil change schedule. There was a tremendous amount of sludge in the pan (all gone now of course) and the screen appears to have been the problem.

I dodged a bullet. To celebrate, I spent a grand on new rubber and rebuilding the suspension (2 new Sumitomos, all new CAs, tie-rod ends and sway bar links - which I learned about here on CB5). At 106K I've determined she's a keeper and will likely be around for my daughter to drive when she turns 16 in the next couple years. It drives like a new automobile.
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I would try AutoRX first before dropping the oil pan... I hear it's excellent at
removing sludge, and I'll probably do this soon
myself (now at 39K). It takes a few oil changes using
dino oil. But definitely continue using synthetic after
the treatment of course. I always change my oil at
around 4k with Mobil1 too.

I don't know if your up to it, but you may also want to
just go ahead and replace your turbo's oil supply lines
while your at it.

If you do the AutoRX please let us know how it turns out.

My 2¢. :wink:
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The others are right, it's a sludge/coked oil problem and it's jammed the oil pump intake screen. The ticking is actually the cam chain tensioner failing to pump up hydraulically.

You MAY be able to do the Auto-RX (excellent, excellent stuff) but it may be too late. You need to be able to run the engine for some hundreds of miles to clean the sludge and you may or may not get that.

Do a search for my user name and also read for info there.

Don't lose heart. If you can resolve this quickly your engine will be fine. Don't let it go on or you'll be replacing the turbo.
Well after reading the Oil Pan procedure that's a last resort!!!

Note....the Ticking has been there for years.

The Light coming on has been more prevalent the past two days, but has done it before. It's only does it during some slow cornering and stop n go...and only now and then. I ordered two bottles of Auto-Rx....will change my oil in the next day or the time the Rx comes it'll be ready for adding.

I'll let you know how it pans out...........

Make sure you use a non-synth when you do the Auto-RX. I use a 10w-30 SuperTech from Wal-Mart ($.89/qt) for this and it works fine as you're only running it for 1500 miles the cleaning phase and 2000 for the rinse phase. (I'm running the SuperTech on a rinse phase right now and the engine has never run better. :) )Havoline is also fine. Spin on a new filter to contain the sludge that AutoRX will clean out.

I really hope you can get it cleaned up without removing the pan. Please keep us posted on the progress, not just the end result. Good luck!
Yeah, I read that here and on the Rx site. I have a couple standard OEM filters...I'll use those for the cleansing process. Think I'll jack her up and drilll an access hole in that pan...tired of messing with it!
Interesting idea! VERY interesting! :) You mean to drill an access hole, clean the screen and then thread the hole for a new plug? If you do so the screen/oil pickup is located as follows:
-As far as fore/aft location: On the driver's side of the pan there are 3 hex bolts behind the front/left corner (ignoring the one on the corner) of the pan and fwd of the bulge where the pump itself is. 2/3 way between the 1st and 2nd bolt (counting from the front) is dead-center screen.
-As far as left/right location: Along the front of the pan there are 3 hex bolts (ignoring bolts on the corners). The screen is about 1/3 way between the 1st and 2nd bolts, 1 being the one closest to the driver.

Let me know if you do this and take pics! I think it's a GREAT solution if you can pull it off. How would you intend to clean the screen? Perhaps a narrow stiff brush and spray cleaner? Also, Auto-RX would still be necessary to clean out the pan. It's got to be ugly. Mine was. The nice thing is if you have an access hole you can do repeated cleanings. If you pull this trick off you'll be my hero forever!
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Oh No No No.......Neat idea though! If I have to remove the Pan...I'll give that some thought.

I meant the Belly pan! I don't have (and cant spend money on one for a few months) an Oil extractor....have always taken my own filter and oil to a shop. Tired of that.....have a recycle place 2 min away. Gonna lift her tonight, drill a large enough hole to get a Socket / Fingers through and change it now.

Question, no problem removing the Oil Filter anytime? Makes sense...the Oil's gotta be much only the Oil in the Filter would be a spillage problem. Need to cut up a carton.
New filter anytime. In fact on extended oil drains one changes the filter only and tops off the oil. Put a large plastic baggie over the filter after you've broken it loose. The filter and oil will drop into that. Seal at and take it to the recyclers.
JETninja said:
Question, no problem removing the Oil Filter anytime? Makes sense...the Oil's gotta be much only the Oil in the Filter would be a spillage problem. Need to cut up a carton.
No, no problem. However, even though you won't be changing the oil when you put the Auto-RX in, start and run the car before you do the filter switch so that you get some oil in the top end. Even though you'll fill the new oil filter part way before you install it, there will still be a delay in getting oil out to the engine while the filter fills when you do that first start. No sense in doing more cold start wear than necessary.
Good tips! Love it!

Thanks! Fingers crossed I can get through it all ok...just starting to like the car again! :D
Ok, it's a whole lot better already!

Last night on the way home, the light started coming on during bumper to bumper (35m drive to home) getting more and more prevalent as time went by, until as I pulled off the freeway to head to Walmart and grab that Supertech, it was blinking constantly all the time now. Grabbed a couple jugs and a filter for the wifes Honda Ody....Light on again for the remaining 4 miles home.

Once home I let it cool for 1/2 hour...then attacked the Filter. Of course the last shop had put it on too tight! Tried everything...finally had to do the stab a screwdriver in it trick. Got it off (and sorry, it does not fit with its oil in a Sandwitch ziploc baggy!) then worked on the belly pan. (removed, cut out access hole with Dremel) Drained the Oil while I worked on the pan. It was pretty sad looking black Mobil 1...a lot of miles obviously. Even constant topping off couldn't help it anymore. When it slowed to a trickle, I added a little Supertech to see if I could flush out a little more old stuff. Cleaned up and refilled. (little too much...first not enough then too much...what a fine line when your dealing with under 4qts!) Bolted up the modded belly pan.

Driving to work this morning, not one light! Ticking is almost nonexistent! (you have to get real close and listen real hard!)

I'm thinking maybe the Filter was just so filled up (Stock VW unit) that it was having a flow problem. (and the 33psi stock pressure relief was not working?) Reaching at straws....only more miles will tell.

The Auto-Rx stuff will be here Monday I think....I'll add that and watch it. Cant hurt.

I did learn from this and from reading another Mobil 1 project (they did 17K)....the Filters die before the oil. The oil can get real nasty, but still have decent (but declining) properties even after 15K of use. (with top offs) Remember, Mobil advertised it originally in the 70's as 25K or 1 year change. :D

Now that I have access (and once I know its real clean and back to Syth I'll get an extractor) I'll be a lot more proactive. Have too....I buy it off the Bank in a week or so...and the warranty is all up! :D
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Good for you. You'll find that unless you get the sludge out, you're going to be on a sliding slope though. The light will stay off for a while until the oil starts to thin with use, then it'll come back on. Each cycle of this will get shorter.

Get that Auto-RX in there and do the de-sludging (2 bottle) procedure that their site describes. Hopefully you'll have enough time to get it to working on the sludge.

Oh, on extended oil drain intervals, you change the filter mid-stream! So a 10k OCI would get a filter at 5k (with top-up to fill the filter) and again at the oil change at 10k. I wouldn't be going that far on an oil change if I were you with the 1.8T. 5-6k max unless you do a used oil analysis (Blackstone, etc).

Use the larger freezer zip-lock, not the sandwich baggie! :)
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Agreed on the OA. Thats too many miles for such a small sump. Also I suspect the Turbo's additional heat only speeds up the process. Now that I'm chipped, I will be watching it much closer, now that my K03 is finally breaking a sweat! :D

Need to stockup on some freezer baggies!
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