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2016 Sportwagen S Stock 95k miles Stutters When Warm, no CEL

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
Loooong time VDubber, new here. Posted on Vortex in the sportwagen forum and got zero response.

2016 Sportwagen manual transmission. I've got a stutter and sometimes more extended loss of power that seems to only show up after a heat soak -- stop light or stopping for errands. Seems to be getting much worse, I think because the weather is warming. 95k miles now. Valves walnut blasted at 93k, coil packs and plugs replaced at 91k. Air filter changed then too.

I think I could drive a hundred miles on the highway from a cold start and not see this, but after a 20 minute errand-stop on a hot day, it'll show up to the point where I'm almost afraid to drive the car. Then it might clear up again. Will happen after I park the car for a little while or after a few stop lights, and especially bad after both of those.

Does not seem to be fuel quality issue. I was suspecting my old habitual gas fillup (Sonoco), but a fresh tank of Shell gas did not fix it.

Full history: I never saw this, until about 91k. I had some misfires that lit the CEL and threw misfire codes at that point, driving 40mph in 4th gear with cruise control. (CEL went off after stopping/starting the engine, but misfire codes were stored). I went to my new-ish to me mechanic and had coil packs and plugs changed. Have not had a CEL since then. That was going into fall, cooler weather. I didn't see this stutter very often after that through the cool weather.

(My old mechanic for years specialized in Euro cars, but they went out of business when they had a death among critical team. New mechanic works on all kinds of cars but there are often lots of Japanese cars in their lot. I think they are quite smart, but not VW specialists.)

I was near a VW shop, "NLS" in PA, in Feb, and had them walnut blast the valves. He said they needed it but were surprisingly not bad for how many miles I had. I mentioned the stutter, but he didn't know and thought the valve cleaning might help. (he also changed a leaking water pump). It was winter then so the stutter was not too bad after it.

After the walnut blasting I saw the stutter now and then, but now that the weather is warmer it is getting to be scary bad. As I said, it seems to be much worse after any heat-soak.

I only see it in 4th and 5th gear. It can happen at steady RPM (cruise control) and slightly or seriously changing terrain and power demand, like going up a slight or serious hill in 4th 5th gear at below highway speed. It can show up in 5th gear at 70 mph, but it is much much more common between 40 and 50 MPH in 4th or 5th gear especially after I've been running between 1800 and 2200 RPM and then demand a bit of power -- a little or a lot. At it's worst I get a period of steady sluggishness, but that is rare. I can get that to stop by shifting down and going to high RPM. I'm sure I never see it in 3rd gear or below, even going up a steep hill.

I've never had a Windows laptop and don't own a Vag Com, but I had my mechanic scan it a few weeks ago while parked. He didn't see any codes at all.

I've got another appointment in a couple of weeks (these guys are busy and booked out weeks in advance). I've got a list of guesses based on past experience and web searching. Web searching I see this come up but find no definitive answers or people posting a fix. In the old days (I had TDIs), I remember MAFs going south caused power loss and stuff a little like this.

??
MAF?

Boost line or intercooler leak?

Fuel Filter?

Fuel Pump?

Plugs (new 3 or 4k miles ago)?

diverter valve?

PCV valve?
 

OldVWFan

Go Kart Champion
Location
NW Arkansas
Car(s)
17 GTI Sport
Loooong time VDubber, new here. Posted on Vortex in the sportwagen forum and got zero response.

2016 Sportwagen manual transmission. I've got a stutter and sometimes more extended loss of power that seems to only show up after a heat soak -- stop light or stopping for errands. Seems to be getting much worse, I think because the weather is warming. 95k miles now. Valves walnut blasted at 93k, coil packs and plugs replaced at 91k. Air filter changed then too.

I think I could drive a hundred miles on the highway from a cold start and not see this, but after a 20 minute errand-stop on a hot day, it'll show up to the point where I'm almost afraid to drive the car. Then it might clear up again. Will happen after I park the car for a little while or after a few stop lights, and especially bad after both of those.

Does not seem to be fuel quality issue. I was suspecting my old habitual gas fillup (Sonoco), but a fresh tank of Shell gas did not fix it.

Full history: I never saw this, until about 91k. I had some misfires that lit the CEL and threw misfire codes at that point, driving 40mph in 4th gear with cruise control. (CEL went off after stopping/starting the engine, but misfire codes were stored). I went to my new-ish to me mechanic and had coil packs and plugs changed. Have not had a CEL since then. That was going into fall, cooler weather. I didn't see this stutter very often after that through the cool weather.

(My old mechanic for years specialized in Euro cars, but they went out of business when they had a death among critical team. New mechanic works on all kinds of cars but there are often lots of Japanese cars in their lot. I think they are quite smart, but not VW specialists.)

I was near a VW shop, "NLS" in PA, in Feb, and had them walnut blast the valves. He said they needed it but were surprisingly not bad for how many miles I had. I mentioned the stutter, but he didn't know and thought the valve cleaning might help. (he also changed a leaking water pump). It was winter then so the stutter was not too bad after it.

After the walnut blasting I saw the stutter now and then, but now that the weather is warmer it is getting to be scary bad. As I said, it seems to be much worse after any heat-soak.

I only see it in 4th and 5th gear. It can happen at steady RPM (cruise control) and slightly or seriously changing terrain and power demand, like going up a slight or serious hill in 4th 5th gear at below highway speed. It can show up in 5th gear at 70 mph, but it is much much more common between 40 and 50 MPH in 4th or 5th gear especially after I've been running between 1800 and 2200 RPM and then demand a bit of power -- a little or a lot. At it's worst I get a period of steady sluggishness, but that is rare. I can get that to stop by shifting down and going to high RPM. I'm sure I never see it in 3rd gear or below, even going up a steep hill.

I've never had a Windows laptop and don't own a Vag Com, but I had my mechanic scan it a few weeks ago while parked. He didn't see any codes at all.

I've got another appointment in a couple of weeks (these guys are busy and booked out weeks in advance). I've got a list of guesses based on past experience and web searching. Web searching I see this come up but find no definitive answers or people posting a fix. In the old days (I had TDIs), I remember MAFs going south caused power loss and stuff a little like this.

??
MAF?

Boost line or intercooler leak?

Fuel Filter?

Fuel Pump?

Plugs (new 3 or 4k miles ago)?

diverter valve?

PCV valve?
Since you are not getting a CEL then I don't believe that it is a misfire so
Loooong time VDubber, new here. Posted on Vortex in the sportwagen forum and got zero response.

2016 Sportwagen manual transmission. I've got a stutter and sometimes more extended loss of power that seems to only show up after a heat soak -- stop light or stopping for errands. Seems to be getting much worse, I think because the weather is warming. 95k miles now. Valves walnut blasted at 93k, coil packs and plugs replaced at 91k. Air filter changed then too.

I think I could drive a hundred miles on the highway from a cold start and not see this, but after a 20 minute errand-stop on a hot day, it'll show up to the point where I'm almost afraid to drive the car. Then it might clear up again. Will happen after I park the car for a little while or after a few stop lights, and especially bad after both of those.

Does not seem to be fuel quality issue. I was suspecting my old habitual gas fillup (Sonoco), but a fresh tank of Shell gas did not fix it.

Full history: I never saw this, until about 91k. I had some misfires that lit the CEL and threw misfire codes at that point, driving 40mph in 4th gear with cruise control. (CEL went off after stopping/starting the engine, but misfire codes were stored). I went to my new-ish to me mechanic and had coil packs and plugs changed. Have not had a CEL since then. That was going into fall, cooler weather. I didn't see this stutter very often after that through the cool weather.

(My old mechanic for years specialized in Euro cars, but they went out of business when they had a death among critical team. New mechanic works on all kinds of cars but there are often lots of Japanese cars in their lot. I think they are quite smart, but not VW specialists.)

I was near a VW shop, "NLS" in PA, in Feb, and had them walnut blast the valves. He said they needed it but were surprisingly not bad for how many miles I had. I mentioned the stutter, but he didn't know and thought the valve cleaning might help. (he also changed a leaking water pump). It was winter then so the stutter was not too bad after it.

After the walnut blasting I saw the stutter now and then, but now that the weather is warmer it is getting to be scary bad. As I said, it seems to be much worse after any heat-soak.

I only see it in 4th and 5th gear. It can happen at steady RPM (cruise control) and slightly or seriously changing terrain and power demand, like going up a slight or serious hill in 4th 5th gear at below highway speed. It can show up in 5th gear at 70 mph, but it is much much more common between 40 and 50 MPH in 4th or 5th gear especially after I've been running between 1800 and 2200 RPM and then demand a bit of power -- a little or a lot. At it's worst I get a period of steady sluggishness, but that is rare. I can get that to stop by shifting down and going to high RPM. I'm sure I never see it in 3rd gear or below, even going up a steep hill.

I've never had a Windows laptop and don't own a Vag Com, but I had my mechanic scan it a few weeks ago while parked. He didn't see any codes at all.

I've got another appointment in a couple of weeks (these guys are busy and booked out weeks in advance). I've got a list of guesses based on past experience and web searching. Web searching I see this come up but find no definitive answers or people posting a fix. In the old days (I had TDIs), I remember MAFs going south caused power loss and stuff a little like this.

??
MAF?

Boost line or intercooler leak?

Fuel Filter?

Fuel Pump?

Plugs (new 3 or 4k miles ago)?

diverter valve?

PCV valve?
Is this a 1.8T engine?

Since you say you have no CEL then I don't believe that plugs or coils are the problem. I have never heard of the PCV causing this problem, have you removed the oil fill cap to see if the crankcase has pressure? If it does then replace the PCV valve. I probably would at 95k as a preventative maintenance item. I did mine at 25k for this reason. Next I would look at the fuel filter if it has not been changed recently or ever. I have seen a clogged filter causing running problems. What about the HP fuel pump? I have heard of these having some problems. Might search through the ShopDAP videos on this issue. Good luck, sorry I don't have anything more definitive.
 

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
Yeah, it's a 1.8 TSI. I know my mechanic has a Snap On universal scan tool, but I don't know (suspect not) about a vag com. Hopefully his tool can do better than look for stored codes. I guess if he can't track this down I'll have to buy a cheap Win laptop and a vag com. I'll swap out the fuel filter -- seems like a good part to throw at it. I'm sure it's been changed a couple of times.
 

MonkeyMD

Autocross Champion
This is odd, but because it only happens in high gear at usually lower speed i.e. low rpm & when accelerating, it might be clutch.

I had similar stuttering and I thought it was bad gas, plugs, coils etc. Then my clutch started slipping. When I replaced it, the stuttering went away. Not sure why the stuttering & not just slipping. I thought maybe traction control detected that as wheelspin. No idea
 

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
It can happen when the acceleration is very slight in 4th gear, but it will never happen in harder acceleration in lower gears. I live in hill country, Vermont, so my drive has some pretty steep hills to get home. 2nd and 3rd gear up them. I also looked at my 60k service record and see no fuel filter change. It looks like something that is not commonly done. It's not even easy to find the part! It never happens engine braking downhill of course. Also it never happens without heat-soak, but that could also impact the clutch I assume. It's definitely absolutely linked to heat soak though. I think I could drive 100 miles from a cold start and not see it, but I'll see it in a minute after my first errand-park-stop on a hot day.
 

MonkeyMD

Autocross Champion
But fuel filter usually see symptoms at higher rpm, not lower. At least in Hondas & Suzuki Carry that's what I've seen.

But to @BudgetPhoenix point, log it.
 

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
Had a 30min+ phone talk with my mechanic today. He's averse to throwing parts at it, but he's curious about the fuel filter. He says fuel starvation is usually worse with colder engine than worse, so we'll see. He also said he's been seeing some failures in the replacement coil packs they've been putting in, and it could be glitching but not enough to throw a code, so it's possible we throw new coil packs at it again. (this problem started right around the time the last coil packs failed, or seemed to fail -- got a code that time though, last fall)

I'm going to warm it up and drive with him and his scan tool on the day before my appt, so hopefully they'll have some info to apply when they work on it.
 

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
OP here, still have the problem stutter. I drove around with my mechanic with his scan tool attached, a Snap On multi-vehicle scanner. It didn't stutter during that drive. He was just looking for misfires. I asked him afterwards if he was looking at boost or pressures or anything, and he wasn't. He said while we were driving that he was seeing random misfires on all cylinders. I said that sounds bad, and he said it was normal. I don't know about that. Then they had the car for a full day, fixed a few minor things, but they didn't look at this issue. He's reluctant to throw time or parts into it until he can see it happening, and he doesn't want to spend a lot of time driving it. (How many misfires should there be in just a bit of normal driving?)

They had changed coil packs and plugs, aftermarket coil packs 9 months ago, and he said sometimes they have trouble with those that they used. He could swap them out under warranty IF he could find a clear problem or code. No codes, no CEL. Hell, just change them anyway? When they changed out the plugs, the old ones looked fine, he said. I've had this problem since then, but it's getting worse.

Meanwhile, I had refined my superstition/theories about it. Seemed definitely worse on a hot day, absolutely worse after heat soak, I'm positive that 1600 RPM is where it stutters most.

Meanwhile I have a trip planned for next Monday, hundreds of miles, and likely through traffic.

So we took the sportwagen out today. It was in the 60s (Vermont has a break from the heat dome right now). Raining most of the day. And the stuttering was the worst ever. 1600 RPM definitely the worst spot, but today it was happening all over the place. So much for my "worse in the heat" theory. My wife could feel it in the passenger seat. Again, I only got one stutter before heat soak/parking, and then after parking is when it was horrible. But not very hot.

So I'm not going to take this car on the trip, but instead the old Subaru (yuck).

But I've got to fix it. My local mechanic is smart, but I'm not sure he knows this car. Or maybe nobody could find this gremlin. I'm tempted to just DIY coil packs. I can change out the battery. (the battery is ancient, but it starts the car and measures over 12 volts, never fails to turn over). Been thinking I better change it anyway (has over 50k miles, 6 years, was in the car when I bought it used. Most amazing battery ever.)

There are high reputation VW wizards in the Northwest of Vermont. I'm in the Southeast. I imagine a 3 hour round trip and being in a waiting room all day for dubious outcome. But I guess if that's what it takes. I could buy a cheap PC and Vag Com (I'm all mac here). But if that's what it takes...

Been driving VWs for 44 years, and this is the most frustrated I've ever been.
 

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
So, had another 40 min phone conversation with my mechanic. He insists that we see a CEL/code before he starts replacing parts. He made a good case. He said if the coils are misfiring enough to feel it, I'd get a code.

Thinking of trying to find a more VW savvy mechanic. I'd have to travel a long ways and wait with the car at a shop if so.
 

jlehet

New member
Location
Vermont, USA
Car(s)
2016 Sportwagen S
I got an OBDeleven. I had no idea these things existed. I've known about the Ross Tech forever, but I've never had a Windows laptop. So with the OBDeleven running live data and set to scan for misfires, I could see there were none, and then I felt the stutter, and then cylinders 1 (especially) and 2 had several misfires. Cyl 3 and 4 had none. So today I ordered 4 OEM coil packs, and I'll put them in myself in the driveway. Should have done this months ago. Trying to get my mechanic to do it has been extremely frustrating. Hopefully this does it and I haven't wasted $300.
 
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