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Help! 56 TDI 170 - White Smoke and Loss of Power

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by SCFC_Messiah, May 2, 2012.

  1. SCFC_Messiah
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    SCFC_Messiah Member

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    Hi guys

    I was stopped in traffic today and noticed a large amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust of my car - revving seemed to make it worse. Then just a few minutes later it felt as though the car had lost power - it didn't have the same pull in 2nd as I'm used too. Over the next few miles of town driving it seemed intermittent - sometimes there was smoke, sometimes there wasn't. Sometimes it felt as powerful as ever, sometimes it didn't. It also felt like the revs were limited and that the idle wasn't as smooth as normal (though I may have been imagining that). There was no warning lights and no sign of mayo in the oil

    Anyway, I decided I needed to get the car home as soon as possible, but home was 15 miles away. Over the journey home (motorway) the car definitely didn't feel as though it had the same power as usual. At this point I was fearing that the turbo was on it's way out, when literally a mile from home the Particle Filter Warning Light flashed on

    Is it normal for loss of power and white smoke when the DPF is blocked? Or is there something more serious afoot?

    Please guys, any help or advice would be really appreciated. Thank you
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  2. Qua3ttro
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    no other warning/engine lights?

    If the turbo couldn't keep up as supposed to, I'd say the engine control unit would pick up on that, so lights would pop up. White smoke often is a sign of water consumption (whereas oil would give blue smoke), so I'd think more along the lines of a blown gasket (cilinder head) but I don't want to scare you. I hope someone else comes along and has better news (and more knowledge haha)
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
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  3. SCFC_Messiah
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    Nope, no other warning lights

    It wasn't a massive amount of white smoke, just more than what I would say was normal. It's not permanent either

    Thanks
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  4. - Jrd -
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    Your DPF will be blocking up and trying to regenerate - Hence your intermittent problem.

    If your doing short journeys/slow speeds all time your DPF soot load % will increase to a point where the warning light is emitted and then the ECU will take control(Active regeneration) in an attempt to lower soot load by making adjustments to fuel injection, if continuinely ignored it will lead to complete DPF failure.

    You need to take it on a 20-40minute drive(depends on speed) to raise exhaust gas temp(EGT), Try to do 40mph-70mph and don't use 6th. Need to be higher in rev range(Passive regeneration). Go tonight while theres no traffic.....

    If this fails you'll be forced to take it to dealer for a Regeneration Cycle on VAS5051, as said if that is none responsive you'll be looking new DPF.

    Ive stated everything so you understand, Whichever end of the scale your at.

    If you do alot of small journeys as said, you may want to consider DPF delete as these are not suitable for that type of driving, They need to be regularly on motorway/higher speeds/Raised EGT.

    Report back :)
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  5. SCFC_Messiah
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    Just taken it on a long run as recommended by the owners manual. Must've done about 40 miles averaging 60MPH in 5th.... But the DPF light is still on

    No lack of power issues since the light came on and as far as I know, no smoke either

    Going to take it to an Audi specialist tomorrow. If the DPF needs replacing, how much am I looking at?
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  6. - Jrd -
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  7. SCFC_Messiah
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    Thanks JRD, a very detailed post. I ensured it was above 2K RPM as that's what the manual suggested


    I also noticed something strange. After accelerating hard I came to a set of traffic lights. Whilst stopped, it sounded like the engine was idling high. I looked down at the dials and the needle was indicating 1K RPM. I tapped the accelerator peddle and it dropped back down to 800 RPM where I believe it should be..... Something else to worry about? Or is it nothing? (I'm just a bit paranoid all of a sudden lol)
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
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  8. SCFC_Messiah
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    JRD, two questions for you if you don't mind

    1. As regards to the 'Regeneration Cycle' - does that need to go to an Audi dealer, or will an Audi specialist be able to do it providing they have the correct diagnostic machines?


    2. I'm very interested in having a remap and DPF delete. However, the car is on 98K miles and I'm afraid the extra stress and strains of increased power may cause components to start failing sooner, considering they've already been through a lot of miles (turbo for example). Is this a legitimate concern, or should I just get on with it?
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  9. - Jrd -
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    Firstly as to your idle high/extended drop time that will be due to blockage again as theres too much back pressure in exhaust.

    Regeneration cycle - I only know of the genuine VAS units to be able to do the cycle but im sure there may well be snap on gear that may be capable but you'd just have to check with your chosen specialist if they're equipped to complete job.

    The only difference with dealer doing it is theres a programmed cycle on the VAS machine that monitors EGT temps/injector cycle whilst driving and prompts you to drive in a certain gear/rpm for a period of time. Basically just keeps it in an optimal state to ensure regeneration. I've completed many

    DPF delete - In general a remap increases the torque rating output putting extra stress on flywheel/clutch friction, And boost pressure on turbo spool. But you could remap a car and drive it double the mileage than a standard one - All depends on driving style. If your playing traffic light racing(im sure you dont..). If you understand what i mean? Remapping is nothing to worry about, Aslong as done by a competent company then you can see smoother engine running and boost pattern and usually higher MPG's. You can even have a remap thats purely based towards MPG increase - i.e minimal performance gains only purpose is fuel consumption.

    If you want a remap and you can't get this DPF regenerated/ or price is uneconomical then i'd say just crack on and do it.

    :)
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  10. mjr901
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    mjr901 S3 Pollution Plus+ Edition

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  11. - Jrd -
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  12. mjr901
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  13. SCFC_Messiah
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    Jrd, excellent advice again. Thanks mate :) I'm warming to the idea of a remap and DPF delete now, especially as I do mainly city driving and I don't want this reoccurring

    But just to be 100% sure, you think the intermittent smoke and power loss may have been related to the impending DPF problem, even though they occurred a good 10 miles before the DPF warning light came on? I really hope so.
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  14. - Jrd -
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    The Particulate filter warning light is only emitted once soot load has exceeded around 45% which then goes from Passive regeneration to Active. Thats why its emits a warning light to alert you that you need to "get ya foot down" :p
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  15. SCFC_Messiah
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    Long Life in Swansea want £799 just to delete the DPF, with a further £150 for the Stage 1 remap (Top Gear Tuning map).... Seems expensive to me. They reckon it's a big job because it's bolted onto the turbo


    On the other hand there's a tuning company 20 miles away who quoted £499 + VAT for the DPF Delete AND Stage 1 'DNA' remap. They can also do a REVO remap but it'll cost a little more

    Does that seem a good price lads? And should I pay a little more and go for a REVO map, or will DNA suffice?
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  16. - Jrd -
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    Forget longlife for mapping... The DPF delete is easy to exchange, downpipe removal is simple on them, 1 allen key bolt on V-Band connection to turbo then unclamp at centre, 17mm stabilising bracket mounted to gearbox. 10-15min job and its off.

    Whereabouts are you from? may be able to point you in right direction for mapping
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  17. max69vk
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    Did you get anywhere with the DPF light? I've found that the handbook way of things never works so I take the car for a good 20 mile motorway run at a steady 70mph (**cough**) and leave the car in 4th at all times, running the car at 2k rpm (according to the manual) doesnt get the DPF system anywhere near hot enough to burn the crap off.
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  18. - Jrd -
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    And theres nothing wrong with attempting to do it a few times, only going to lose some fuel. No labour. Higher EGT's the better...
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  19. SCFC_Messiah
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    Swansea, South Wales

    The company that quoted the DNA or REVO remap are 'Got Boost' in Bridgend. From what I've read on local car forums, they have a decent reputation locally and have rolling roads to test the map properly etc

    I took it on a 40 mile run, but to be honest I stuck at 60ish in 5th. Car was only just above 2K RPM.... Maybe I didn't boot it hard enough then?



    Thanks lads
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  20. SCFC_Messiah
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    Ok mate, I'll have to take it on another run. Would 3K rpm for a prolonged period of time be too high?


    A garage locally have offered to put in on their Bosch machine to start the Active Re-gen. They said they wont charge me if it doesn't work which I thought was tidy of them. So it's a toss up whether I go to them first or straight for a DPF delete and remap now. Hmm....
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  21. mjr901
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    mjr901 S3 Pollution Plus+ Edition

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    Gotboost is very good. Clean workshop, full of expensive cars like nobles and full racing cars and drift cars.

    There was a meths Leon in there too. looked the bizz with BBS's on.

    I had my TBE milltek fitted there. The mechanic knows exactly what's what on these machines.

    Had a nice Alsatian too, I got the dog a bit irate as I gave it some abuse. all good fun :)
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  22. max69vk
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    An active regen just dumps more fuel into the the cylinder after compression to increase the exhaust temperature which then burns the muck out of the DPF, its why your car RPM raised to 1k rpm instead of the usual 800, & why it was running lumpy at idle. If it didn't cleat it then, it wont now. Take the car for a good booting & keep it at around 3-3.5k rpm, it should get the light out :)
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  23. SCFC_Messiah
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    Sorry, I meant they'll put it on the machine and do the 'Regeneration Cycle' that JRD suggested in his first post

    I'll definitely take the car out later. It feels counter intuitive booting a car when the warning light is on :ermm: But now I know it wont cause any damage I'll thrash it

    Thanks Max. And cheers MJR, it's good to hear positive reviews
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  24. - Jrd -
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    The active regen is only an advanced state to lower the soot load, if your still driving it like "a pensioner" then it still won't do anything.

    See how it goes later just keep it 2500rpm-4500rpm
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  25. SCFC_Messiah
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    Took the car on a 30 mile run. Kept the speed around 70MPH with the car in 4th so it was revving around the 3.5K mark.... Still getting the warning light unfortunately


    Noticed white smoke on two occasions again. Took the opportunity to visit Got Boost - the guy was a little concerned about the intermittent smoke so was kind enough to put the car on VAGCOM for me. No engine fault codes were thrown up. Not my smartest move but when I got home I stuck my head down by the exhaust with the car running to take a closer look - although no smoke, the fumes were strong enough to burn my eyes. Is that normal? Or is it a sign that the car is over fuelling? Burning coolant maybe?


    I'm resigned to removing the DPF now and actually looking forward to having it mapped at the same time.... but I'm still really quite concerned about the intermittent white smoke. I just hope it's related, but I've read no other reports of white smoke problems with DPF failure so I'm not confident
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  26. Rhyso
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    Did they monitor the pressure sensors of the DPF to look for variations? Did they try an active regen??
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  27. SCFC_Messiah
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    Na, he just quickly checked for engine fault codes - presumably to see if there was something showing up that could be causing the white smoke!?
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  28. danA3T
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    FYI, My DPF has only been on twice in 10k miles, and that was when I'd just acquired three points which calmed down my driving style. Now I'm back to booting it, no DPF for me, and I'm not doing much in the way of long distances - it's mainly city driving. Oddly, the relaxation in driving style doesn't seem to have effected my economy very much either (45-55mpg average).

    When it did come on, 60-80mph in fourth did it down the motorway, DPF light was off in a matter of minutes.
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  29. Rhyso
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    Hmm strange then as normally if the DPF isn't regenerating its due to a faulty sensor which should show up as a fault code........

    I know a chap where his DPF light came on; too it to VW, they couldn't force a regen and advised him to have it replaced. He had a delete pipe put in and the guy who removed it said you could eat your dinner off the inside of the DPF.....
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  30. SCFC_Messiah
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    I thought that myself after leaving. If there's a problem with the DPF why didn't it throw up a fault code!?

    *sigh*
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  31. SCFC_Messiah
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    Bad news.... I'm looking at a £2K+ repair bill

    The seals have blown on the turbo, so oil has been sucked into the system and through the inter cooler etc. Presumably the oil has been sucked into the DPF filter causing it to clog, which is why it threw up the DPF Warning light


    Quoted £930 for the turbo - thought that was expensive but called around and it seems about right
    £580 for the DPF delete and Stage 1 remap
    8 hours labour
    New oil and filters
    New inlet pipes to the turbo
    The system needs flushing out, which means removing the bumper etc to get to the inter cooler

    Add it all up and it tips the scale at around £2K.... I just pray its not caused any damage that we've not anticipated, because it's already costing more than I can really afford

    Afraid to say I wish I never bought the car now. Only owned it 3 months, I know it's the risk you take, I just hoped that buying a newish car (compared to previous cars) I'd be avoiding the repair bills for a while. Turns out its given me the most expensive bill to date.... by some way


    Gutted.
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
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  32. max69vk
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    You can get an exchange re-con turbo for around £450 + the DPF should be more like £1200 at most!
    #32
  33. SCFC_Messiah
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    Do you have more details on that mate? Like what companies do it etc
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