VW SERVICE : FSI CAM FOLLOWER FAILURE REPAIR

By November 20, 2013VOLKSWAGEN

This past 30 days we had 4 (four) 2.0T FSI cars back to back with cam follower failure at our shop. While technicians were working on them, I took a bunch of pictures and wanted put together a simple write up to show you guys how this failure happens, what the consequences are, the repair scale, and preventative measures.

This failure is not specific to modified cars with aftermarket high pressure fuel pumps, or other performance enhancing add ons such as software, exhaust, intake, larger turbos. 2 cars out of 4, were completely stock, maintained regularly by the dealerships till their warranty expired.

What are the symptoms?

Check engine light > “Low pressure in fuel rail” code

Poor running conditions

Loss of power

What cars are subject to this?

2005-2008 VW and Audis with 2.0T FSI engines.

Why does this failure happen?

Very simple. Combined with normal wear on the cam follower surface and the pressure from the high pressure fuel pump, the follower’s surface at one point gives up. In this case the cam follower was completely damaged:

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It clearly shows the high pressure fuel pump punctured through the cam follower. This requires further inspection. This is the worst care scenario. In general we see excessive wear on cam follower surface, and minor scratches on the intake camshaft lobe which can be easily seen. If there is wear on the cam follower, we recommend visual inspection on the high pressure fuel pump, camshaft lobe and replacement of damaged parts.

Back to our specific case. This is how the high pressure fuel pump looked like:

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As you can see the piston contact area is severely worn, and cam follower pieces are present between the piston and the spring. You can kiss good bye to this high pressure fuel pump, replacement is necessary.

Further inspection goes on with intake camshaft lobe:

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The scratches on the camshaft lobe are obvious. Here is the disturbing part, see the cam follower pieces there?

This picture here shows the wear on the camshaft lobe as well (Intake camshaft is out of the cylinder head)

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In a severe situation where the metal pieces are in the engine there are 3 options:

1. Replace the engine.

2. Complete disassemble and rebuild with new parts (replacing the engine is about the same price).

3. Carefully replace the parts and try to extract the metal pieces out of the car.

Option 3 is always the least preferred method, because there is only so much the technician can do to flush the metal parts / shavings out of the car.

This is one of the reasons why we see premature oil pump failures on FSI engines leading to catastrophic engine failures. Unfortunately, VW and Audi acknowledges the problem, but even in severe cases assumes the parts replacement would be enough to keep the engine in operable condition in its estimated life.

We choose to give the best of our knowledge to our client and have them make a decision based on their financial situation, and time frame.

Note: If the cam follower is not disintegrated, but there is normal wear, it is absolutely fine to proceed with parts replacement, followed by an engine flush.

We decided to take the work a little further down, and removed the oil pan. This way we could see if there are any metal shavings / pieces in the oil pan.

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This is not part of the procedure recommended by the factory. However it gives us an opportunity to determine the severity of the damage. In this case, car came to us very soon after the check engine light was on, and started running bad.

Cleaned up the engine oil pan. Picture of the oil pump assembly:

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Removed the screen on the oil tube to inspect metal shaving accumulation and clean up.

Assembly process is also tedious. This car was at the mileage where it needed a timing belt service. We proceeded with replacement of timing belt, tensioner, tensioner rollers, serpentine belt, and water pump.

New stretch bolts and everything from top to bottom is on factory torque specs:

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Finally all the fluids are on the vehicle, codes cleared, and test drive. We invited the customer back after a while for a check up, and gave complementary oil change including BG engine oil treatment products. After 30 days, car is running very well.

How can this be avoided?

Simple. Frequent oil changes, and inspection/replacement of cam follower every other oil change or 10000 miles. We have been using Motul Specific 502.00/505.00 5W40 oil on FSI engines. It is a little more expensive than off-the-shelve Castrol or Mobil 1 but our customers reporting back with less engine noise, smoother running engine, and less oil burn (which is another case study material on B8 Audi A4s, coming).

About DBC Tuning:

DBC Tuning is the leading independent repair and service facility for Audi, BMW, Porsche and VWs in San Antonio, TX. We are a group of factory trained technicians with ASE certifications. Our shop is a Bosch certified service center. We invest in latest equipment and tools to provide a level of service exceeding dealership standards. We strive to better ourselves everyday, and we are committed to give 100% worth of your money back to you with our services. We offer 3 years 36000 miles warranty on all replacement parts. Our prices are very reasonable, but we price ourselves in selling SERVICE, not PRICE.

For any questions vw service related inquiries please call us at (210)3991172 or send an email to [email protected]

16 Comments

  • Avatar Bill howell says:

    I have same problem with cam follower and car had all mentioned parts replaced
    They removed oil pan and replaced with new oil
    Gave back car to us with a mention that the motor is like new all problems solved
    Two weeks later a oil pressure alarm with note to turn off engine immediately came on
    We returned car back to dealership and they explained there must be a blockage in oil lines and can do a flush to clear lines
    After fluid was added to flus lines car was taken for test and that,s when engine seized up
    They reported to me it would cost lots to investigate and to just cut your loses
    That is quite sever and are now after volkswagen canada to be responsible for damages

    • Avatar Matthew says:

      Any resolution to your issues? My car had the same thing happen. Cam shaft tensioner started making sounds. Took it in and they informed us that our HPFP and cam shaft were badly damaged. Immediately after driving home the check engine light came on and the car had a high pitched whine when you accelerated. Called the dealer back and he said the CEL light was from the cam “relearning how to do things” and the sound was a normal turbo sound and not to worry about it. A few days later the oil pressure light popped on and the engine now sounds like a diesel. Metal is now all over in the oil and filter. Engine is junk. Hoping VW does something.

  • Avatar Jake Hall says:

    I have a 2006 gli and this is my second cam follwer failure vw of america will not replace the second one due to the fact that my car has 150,000 miles on it. I have come to the conclusion that these cars are literally made to only go 75,000 miles before severe mechanical failure. As the first one broke at 75,000 and now the second at 150,000. Rebuilding the motor twice at about $4,500 each time. Volkswagen as a company should be ashamed of themselves for producing cars with faulty mechanical parts.

    • Avatar Michael Albanese says:

      I have a 07 Jetta 2.0 turbo with 100000 miles just found out hpfp and cam follower damaged camshaft need to replace everything cost almost 3000 dollars to fix I think vw of America should help pay for this

  • Avatar Dave says:

    I Have a 2007 Jetta 2.0 FLSI engine, at 100980 mile mark the dealer changed filters and oil, put new timing belt in an and water pump, 150 miles after service Car loses power, engine light comes on while driving within 4 miles the engine stops running, have to manuever through traffic and pull onto shoulder of road. The car is inspected, the spark plug electrodes are melted, no compression in cylinders 3 and 4 due to burned valves, cause is determined to be cam follower was worn out , cam lobe excessively worn, HPFP rod worn. When the car was being driven the ECM called for more fuel HPFP could not supply because of decreased stroke of rod do to worn out parts so lean situation was created and the spark plugs melted and valves burned, piston has melted aluminum on top surface,. The engine is completely destroyed. Dealer tells me that the engine light came on prior to damage and I should have brought car in for service, refuse to honor 120,000/10 year warranty of failed components and the damage caused to engine. No recourse but to sue dealership. NEVER, EVER will i own a VW again.

  • Avatar Steve says:

    I ran into an issue as well, my cam chain broke and my local stealership refuses to check the follower, in talking to a tech pal of mine the cam can put additional tension on the chain if the follower is worn. I contacted VWoA about this up to the executive level and even the gent there, while useful didn’t tell the stealership to check the follower due to it not being on the diagnosis for the broken cam chain. Last VW I’m gonna own since I’ve found dealers that would have covered this under warranty.

  • Avatar Nicholas says:

    Was planning on buying one bt clearly with these comments, let me go Japanese

  • Avatar Michael says:

    My 2010 jetta 2.0l turbo currently 110,000 miles. At 109,250 the oil pressure light came on. Only in city traffic under 25mph. Took it to the dealer- who does all work on the vehicle. Tells me – metal shavings in the oil. $475 diagnostic fee. $8,700 plus tax. But as I was so nicely told -does include a new turbo! Yay! I do have a lead foot. But follow the scheduled maintenance to the letter. I see this problem happening at about the same point in multiple owners vehicles. ummm??????

  • Avatar Chris says:

    Such a shame. I had the same issues, and the engine ended up becoming junk. I too contacted VW and the same thing was said. Before all the problems, it was by far THE BEST car I ever owned. 4 Cylinder, turbo charged, 6 shift. I was getting 42mpg on the highway in that sucker before everything went south. Sound and leather package, 6 CD Changer and the sunroof? LOL I felt amazing tearing down the highway. I went back to GM and its nice, but it wasn’t as nice as my Jetta. I hope they make the newer models so much better.

  • Avatar Kobe says:

    Am have the same problem too .Very sad , about my Passat . I was getting to love this car very much . I have already spend $600 on fuel pump and camshaft follower. And now my mechanic is telling me I might need a new engine. Am very upset with vw .

  • Avatar Houssam says:

    i wonder if we should start a class act law suit in regard to this issue?

  • Avatar Kevin White says:

    2008 Jetta Wolfsburg edition 2.0T….same thing happened to me. Cost me $2,500.00. I boxed up all the parts with a four page letter and sent to VWOA. Super long story short….never saw a dime in compensation. Will NEVER purchase another VW.

  • Avatar Greg Batten says:

    07 jetta Farhenheit, 160k, all scheduled service done at dealership. Cam follower worn through, …….. $3700. This should be on the service schedule and replaced at 50k. Min. My 5th VW, love the handling but never again… and i was just about to buy a new Alltrack. What other “non checked/serviced” parts are hiding in the new VW. Gotta be a bunch now that they have changed and cheapened to try to compete with honda and toyota.

  • Avatar Daniel says:

    Having the same issue with my Golf GTI mk5, sounds like my old Golf TDi sports I had. GTI the engine light came on a while back got it checked out by dealership they tell me that the HPFP broke, cam follower trashed and to top it off the cam lobe wrecked..
    so I started to investigate this issue and find that this is a very common problem that VW Canada or VW anywhere want to admit is a problem, I my eyes this engine (s) should of been recalled and put right with a re-hardened intake camshafts which they now make, funny that they now up grade the camshaft material because the original was to soft but they won’t take responsibility for all the engines that are supplied with these insufficient cams.
    I don’t think VW should be allowed to sweep this under the carpet like they tried to do with the diesel situation.

  • Avatar shawna says:

    I too have just had catastrophic damage to my car. 2006 passat 2.0t fsi. Piece of junk. Actually I bought the car 8 months ago and 2 months ago its dead. I was in absolute love with my car and still am. The thing is, if my car was on only 1/2 power then OMGoodness full potential and I think I might be dead. I regret buying the car used. If I had to do it again which it looks like Im going to have to I’ll buy a 2.0 tsi or maybe something bigger. But as everyone else its a loss. Major loss.

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