VW TDI fuel-pump flaw suspected by U.S. authorities

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

NHTSA is looking into loss of power and stalls in TDI variants of the Golf, Jetta and Audi A3 models

Some Volkswagen Group's TDI engines are under review by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in the United States for suspected fuel-pump flaws.

Regulators began investigating the TDI engines that go into both VW and Audi brand vehicles after reports of engine stalls, some even occurring at highway speeds. Those reports include one accident and 160 complaints about loss of power and stalls lodged by vehicle owners and by VW itself.

According to the NHTSA website, those incidents are possibly related to failing high-pressure pumps that can contaminate the fuel system with debris. The website said that about half of the stalling incidends occurred at highway speeds with no restart of the engine.

The review will cover over 97,000 vehicles and includes the 2009 and 2010 model-year Jetta, Golf and Audi A3 with TDI clean-diesel technology.

The government body will conduct its own engineering analysis to assess whether a recall should be ordered.

"We take these matters very seriously and are cooperating fully with NHTSA during its investigation," said a U.S.-based VW spokesperson.

Source: Bloomberg

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Comments (18)

sheilaszakallos sheilaszakallos
First: I am looking for any Canadian or American TDI owners who were OUT OF WARRANTY but had their car fixed as GOOD WILL by VWOA or VW Canada. You can reach me via: sheila.ivanchuk@live.ca I almost died on Sept 4th, 2014 as my car came to a complete stop in front of a transport moving at highway speed - then nothing. This is Criminal Negligence as far as I am concerned. The HPFP and the injectors were rushed. The pressure implodes the injectors and the metal shards blast throughout the fuel system. Again I say - I COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED ON THE HIGHWAY. I have a unique situation: bought the car in Pennsylvania - but am Canadian. Had a colleague buy it then I purchased it from him shortly after. VWOA does not recognize the car and neither does VW Canada. The entire fuel system was replaced with all costs bore by me. I have been driving VW TDI Diesel since 2001 (Bug) and now have a 2011 TDI Golf - two door (as they are not sold in Canada). The car died at 101k (62k miles). VW DID NOT offer to compensate and actually does not recognize my car at all. I paid OVER $8k for the repair, $200 - car rental and the dealership only has given me a 1 year/20k Warranty. Are you kidding me? My car was worthless as it sat and I had to repair regardless of the hardship this has caused. I asked for ALL MY PARTS BACK. VW CANADA confiscated them - "to re-build" Is told. This is illegal in Canada via the Consumer Law. As per the head mechanic - "They don't want you to have the most important parts"....... REALLY! I am fit to be tied and VW Canada, VWOA have not heard the last of me. Hell - I will be contacting Germany as well. I have complained to Transport Canada and have been in touch with NHTSA as well. I have been a loyal VW buyer - my father has been with VW since Rabbit TDI in 1978. After almost 40 years he too is so disillusioned. OUR cars have NEVER been mis-fueled and I had the tank nozzle part installed mid 2012. Hmmmm..... So VW.......... you have not heard the last of me.
Oct 13th, 2014 3:51am
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DebbieFu DebbieFu
This high pressure fuel pump problem just occurred on our 2011 VW Jetta TDI wagon yesterday. It slowly stop on freeway, dealer told us it will be covered in original warranty. It has around 38000 miles now.
Jan 4th, 2013 8:35am
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ve ve
techie69 seems to be vitroilic, perhaps on payroll of Big3 whoever they are or some copycat jap wheels. I've owned many many cars, from way back in time Brit rubbish to Asian which have cost as much as my VW's for service/parts and been no more "reliable" Anyway the shoddy fit and finish of Ford,GM Chrysler US made vehicles arguably indicates the average American motorists doesn't care. The biggest selling US made vehicle I understand is still the Ford F series pickup truck which says it all, eh ?
Feb 25th, 2011 4:37am
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ricer8 ricer8
All of you who are saying its "U.S. Diesel" I believe are propagating B.S. While high sulfur was present in U.S. fuel in the past, we are in an era of Global standards. The reason BMW, Audi and MB are bringing their diesels here is because the fuel now meets their standards. One reason for all the REPORTS coming out of the U.S. is we have a high level of documentation and investigation. Why do you think the world is clamering for the U.S. to solve the BIRD FLU problem that surely is much more of an issue in China and S.E. Asia.
Feb 18th, 2011 4:59am
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techie69 techie69
VW isn't number one yet and has already problems!? The truth is they been selling junk in Europe, 2nd & 3rd world nations forever. Its ok to have good handling cars, but quality aspects go beyond than driving characteristics of a vehicle. We cannot forgive the people's car now or down the road cause their management are worse than the Big3, cut corners to the extreme and their OEMs have a poor six-sigma quality control. Its thanks to NHTSA that poor quality doesn't fly in the States, all you get is penalized for your infringements! Of course there are dumb people who overlook if the quality holds up to the normal life-expectancy of vehicle.
Feb 17th, 2011 9:35pm
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rho88 rho88
The problem in my opinion is not the diesel sold in USA or Canada, but the diesel engine itself. All car manufacturers have to develop a diesel engine/exhaust system that is unique to the North American market. The USA has tougher rules on exhaust emission then Europe. That is one reason why most car manufacturers are reluctant to sale diesel cars in the USA. You can verify this on the web. So I suspect that VW did something to their TDI engine to meet those emission standards and somehow it doesn't work. And why would anyone run 89 octane in a SAAB that was designed to use higher octane??? That's like putting regular fuel in a jet engine...
Feb 17th, 2011 9:27am
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radmeister radmeister
I pushed the wrong button at the pump..I'm not supposed to run anything less than 94 which is hard to come by in canada. It's a Nordic Stage 3+ pushing roughly 300hp, so the 89 screwed up a lot of stuff, my fuel/air, spark/timing maps were all screwed up. Had to hook up the laptop and re-upload my maps, wasn't willing to drive around with the adjusted ones until the ECU figured itself out again. Also I think outside of California the USA and Canada have more lenient emission standards, my car passes emissions and i don't even have a catalytic converter. Also all that can be controlled through the computer, USA and Canada cars have different engine tuning to compensate for the lower quality fuel. The problem is simple, they need to make their fuel system more flexible, but flexibility comes at the cost of control. You give up control, you end up losing mpg and emissions. It's a hard choice for VW/Merc/Audi/BMW, they would have to design 2 systems, one for the US and one for Europe, and sadly something like that is not worth their investment. Diesel sales are too low in North America to warrant any specific R&D.
Feb 17th, 2011 4:52pm
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schizo schizo
We have similar problems with the Merc diesel engines where in Korea as well. The problem is always "blamed" on poor quality diesel available in some areas.
Feb 17th, 2011 5:59am
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B_M_Gearhead B_M_Gearhead
How come none of the U.S. diesel trucks have this problem? If it is so common here, as everybody seems to think, why have the manufacturers not done anything about this. If our fuel is different then they should anticipate this and engineer their systems accordingly. And don't use the excuse that their tech is any more complex because I think Ford has been using piezo injectors for a while with no problems that I know about. The only thing that the Euro diesels have that we dont is the Add Blue crutch, and that is all downstream after combustion takes place so fuel makes no difference. One more thing to point out, how many other countries have government funded agency's that keep track of these things? I know Europe does but how many others. This could be a global problem but it's coming to light here thanks to the bean counters.
Feb 17th, 2011 1:51am
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radmeister radmeister
Most countries do actually, I don't know of any modern country where the government allows you to put whatever you want on the road. As to your question as to why transport trucks have no problems, transports are low rpm, low compression engines, which also require a large amount of fuel/min. You can go fill a transport truck with bio-diesel and have no problems. In a car, especially one using a high pressure system the fuel pump does not need to output high volumes, but low volumes at a high pressure. This means a very intricate pump with very small rotating components. It's much easier to clog/damage. Not only the fuel pump can fail, there are many other sensors and components both before and after the combustion cycles that can fail from poor quality/high contaminant fuel, and from the improper combustion of that fuel. I don't know about you but I can't run 89 octane in my Saab, it would also stall nearly instantly..I made the mistake once, and had to siphon the fuel out of the tank.
Feb 17th, 2011 5:01am
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eddie eddie
Usa still has high sulfur diesel vs europe
Feb 17th, 2011 1:09am
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ZHPRegistryNet ZHPRegistryNet
Any of you that are fimiliar with BMW, will find this story somewhat relevant to the N54/N55 turbo engines utilizing a high-pressure fuel pump. They too fail with US Gasoline (not diesel in this case) at an undesired rate.
Feb 17th, 2011 1:05am
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norther norther
exactly. and that happened, as u said, with gasoline. usa still uses 93 octane. and in some stations i saw leaded and unleaded. ive never seen in europe 93, leaded, or any other type of gasoline, under 95. let us not mention that diesel has a much lower octane level, and it is "dirtier" than gasoline... plus other impurities that are rpesent from region to region, country to country.
Feb 17th, 2011 1:27am
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rho88 rho88
@ norther. The octane rating system is different in North America versus Europe. For the same fuel, the USA will show it at around 5 octane lower then the rest of the world. It's just a different measure, not cheaper fuel. Leaded fuel is ban for sale for on-road use in the USA. It is sold for off-road use, like farming equipment.
Feb 17th, 2011 9:14am
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SKDebisingh SKDebisingh
I was at my dealer the other day and saw a 2010 jetta sportswagen tdi getting a whole new fuel system. I think they said the repair was in the $2000 range... The tech told me that the tdis have this problem because of the diesel fuel in the area.
Feb 17th, 2011 12:09am
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KonradMitchell KonradMitchell
Actually it's between 8-10k!
Feb 21st, 2012 3:58am
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cronan cronan
That it only occurs in the states..., hm... could it be that lowquality crap they call diesel?
Feb 16th, 2011 11:21pm
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Siawa Siawa
You know you have a good point. I've been browsing a lot for a Diesel Merc... this report is making me think otherwise.
Feb 17th, 2011 12:08am
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