“Would it help if I got out and pushed?” – repairing the MFALCON’s intermittent limp mode, Part 1

After last weekend’s trip to my sister’s graduation in Syracuse, New York, I had enough of “big hills on the highway = engine slows me down to between 55 and 60 and the pedal to the metal doesn’t prevent that.”  So, several purchases of tools and components later, here goes nothing:

Getting the turbo to work properly/fixing the intermittent “limp mode”

Since I initially bought the MFALCON, I have needed to get to work on repairing the intermittent issue with my engine – namely, the lovely problem where the turbo doesn’t kick in above certain speeds sometimes, or at all during other times.  It is mostly likely that this is caused by the vacuum tubing to the engine’s computer (way more technical details than anyone wants can be found here, at the thread I started to ask VW diesel enthusiasts for help with this issue).  So I put on my diesel enthusiasts cap (the figurative one, and then the literal t-shirt iteration…)

Another idea from my friend Tom that I purchased... the "Got no spark" diesel guy shirt

Another idea from my friend Tom that I purchased… the “Got no spark” diesel guy shirt

… and got to work at making this happen.

The hope is to have the engine running properly again, and to make it reach 1 million (1,000,000) miles, if not more.  So I ordered the above glow plug shirt, to help me channel my inner diesel technician.  Or because I am a lonely son’m’betch.  Or something.

BUT.

In terms of the intermittent limp mode my car encounters, I followed the guide posted in response to my question, on that forum.  I am also going to replace the fuel filter, cabin air filter, and engine air filter (I have no idea when any of those were last replaced, and I want the car to run as efficiently and effectively as possible).

cabin air intake on the left, pine needles and engine comp on the right

cabin air intake on the left, pine needles and engine comp on the right

Then I got the other air filter, which is good as my car sometimes smells VERY slightly of diesel (no sarcasm in this case):

guess which cabin air filter is the old one

guess which cabin air filter is the old one

And the fuel filter got replaced as well, and there was much rejoicing (no photos, too much diesel fuel on my hands!).

This process was only made possible by the Craftsman Mechanic’s tool set I ordered the other day, paying $109 for the $230 product.  That order was only made possible by my good friend and fellow DIY addict, Tom.

setting up my repair shop on the street

setting up my repair shop on the street

So, after setting up “shop” (putting down some rags and the tools onto the street next to my car), it was time to remove the ECU and take a look at it (a process which goes well with replacing the cabin air filter, they are both directly in front of the firewall):

took a while and buying more tools, but I got the engine computer out...

took a while and buying more tools, but I got the engine computer out…

The procuring of 3mm silicone tubing was actually much more difficult than I would have expected, but I eventually succeeded (I ended up cheating and using fuel line).

... and as expected, there was a hole in the vacuum tubing in the comp

… and as expected, there was a hole in the vacuum tubing in the comp

Proper basic functioning –> performance

So, having gotten this working with the help of my friend Tom, my dad’s advice, and ~The Internet~, I put the engine back together and took a drive on 91 North.  The marked improvement in acceleration and boost was almost dangerous at first; I am used to having to apply a LOT of throttle to get the car moving from stop.  But this is an excellent and safe change,  to be able to more easily merge with traffic and enter roads from parking lots or driveways at a faster pace.  The engine computer still shows the same error codes as before, but replacing this tubing has increased performance closer to what it should be.  Stay tuned in the future for more on this process of getting the MFALCON into tip-top shape!

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