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my tuned GTI suffered a catastrophic engine failure...

morgan

Ready to race!
Location
Bellevue, WA
Car(s)
Ruined GTI
Just want to keep a journal of what happened.

Year: 2016
Mileage: 45,000
Transmission: DSG (not tuned)
Location: Seattle suburbs
Tune: Cobb Stage 1 in 6/2019. MAPerformance Stage 1 in 12/2019.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any engine problems before the failure: No
Driving style: Spirited without racing on the street or track
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/08/2020: CEL came on. Scanned with Carista. It showed P0303 - misfire in cylinder 3. Reset the CEL.

10/13/2020: While driving off the highway, EPC and CEL and came on. Carista scan found P0303, P0304 and P0300, showing multiple cylinder misfiring. Car hesitated and sputtered but still drivable. Towed car to a shop I know and got more information:

Diagnostic codes for misfiring on cylinders 3 and 4. Monitoring shows cylinders 3 to be primary problem. Testing shows problem not due to ignition system. Compression test shows 170 psi on all cylinders except #3, which shows 80 psi. Cylinder leak down test show 80% compression loss into crankcase suggesting piston failure. Due to the possibility of cylinder head damage as well as the piston, recommend replacing the long block engine assembly.

The shop stopped the estimate at $8000 just for the parts. It doesn't have the tools needed to proceed with repair.

10/20/2020: Towed the car to the dealership for second opinion and attempted to get repair covered under the 5 yr/60,000 miles powertrain warranty.

10/21/2020: Dealer confirmed the findings of the first shop. Due to the damage of the piston, all faults were assigned to the Cobb tune. Powertrain warranty claimed denied. Engine needed to be replaced.

10/23/2020: Dealer provided the cost for replacing the engine to be $20,000 labor and parts, including replacing the turbo. Service advisor assumed the value of the car at next to nothing.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to move forward?

I still owe $16K (3 yrs) on the car. Don't have the funds to pay it off. The car apparently values at nothing now. It doesn't make sense to repair it.
  • My gut reaction is to tow the car home. Store it while I pay off the loan. Deal with it three years later (or when I have money for a payoff). Even if I get to sell the GTI for a good price, I'd still have to come up with the cash to cover the difference.
  • We have another car - a 2017 Audi A4 - to drive.
  • If it is at all possible to take care of the $16K loan balance, I would consider a creative solution to trade in both the GTI and the A4 for another car. But the initial calculation seems improbable.
    • Reach out to VW America to plea for some assistance, i.e. higher value for the GTI. Show loyalty to VW since we purchased a Golf (no longer have it) in 2016 and a GTI in 2018 (and an Audi in 2019 if they care).
Anybody have suggestions on how to get out of this pickle?
 
Last edited:

morgan

Ready to race!
Location
Bellevue, WA
Car(s)
Ruined GTI
Just want to keep a journal of what happened.

Year: 2016
Mileage: 45,000
Transmission: DSG (not tuned)
Location: Seattle suburbs
Tune: Cobb Stage 1 in 6/2019. MAPerformance Stage 1 in 12/2019.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any engine problems before the failure: No
Driving style: Spirited without racing on the street or track
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/08/2020: CEL came on. Scanned with Carista. It showed P0303 - misfire in cylinder 3. Reset the CEL.

10/13/2020: While driving off the highway, EPC and CEL lights came on. Carista scan found P0303, P0304, P0300 showing multiple cylinder misfiring. Car hesitates and sputters but still drivable. Towed car to a shop I know and got more information:

Diagnostic codes for misfiring on cylinders 3 and 4. Monitoring shows cylinders 3 to be primary problem. Testing shows problem not due to ignition system. Compression test shows 170 psi on all cylinders except #3, which shows 80 psi. Cylinder leak down test show 80% compression loss into crankcase suggesting piston failure. Due to the possibility of cylinder head damage as well as the piston, recommend replacing the long block engine assembly.

The shop stopped the estimate at $8000 just for the parts. The tech said they didn't have the tools needed to proceed with the repair.

10/20/2020: Towed the car to the dealership for second opinion and attempted to get repair covered under the 5 yr/60,000 miles powertrain warranty.

10/21/2020: Dealer confirmed the findings of the first shop. Due to the damage of the piston, all faults were assigned to the Cobb tune. Powertrain warranty claimed denied. Engine needed to be replaced.

10/23/2020: Dealer provided the cost to replace engine to be $20,000 labor and parts, including replacing the turbo. Service advisor assumed the value of the car at next to nothing.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to move forward?

I still owe $16K (3 yrs) on the car, but don't have the funds to pay it off. The car apparently values at nothing now (may need a second opinion). It doesn't make sense to repair it.
  • My gut reaction is to tow the car home. Store it while I pay off the loan. Deal with it three years later (or when I have money for a payoff). Even if I get to sell the GTI for a good price, I'd still have to come up with cash to cover the difference.
  • We have another car - a 2017 Audi A4 - to drive.
  • If it is at all possible to take care of the $16K loan balance, I would consider a creative solution to trade in both the GTI and the A4 for another car. But the initial calculation make it seem improbable.
    • Reach out to VW America to plea for some assistance, i.e. higher value for the GTI. Show our loyalty to VW since we purchased a Golf (no longer have it) in 2016 and a GTI in 2018 (and an Audi in 2019 if they care).
Anybody have suggestions on how to get out of this pickle?
 

Keehs360

Autocross Champion
Location
Denver
Car(s)
Mk7.5
Have you tried to reach out to vw? Sometimes they can do a one time courtesy thing. I’ve never seen it but I’ve read it on various forums.
 

swcrow

Autocross Champion
Location
Virginia
You just swap the motor. ECU stays
This
When I blew my motor on my B5 Passat, I bought a used Audi engine because the short block was the same code. Your best bet is to find a used engine and put that in and it will be thousands less than your options currently.

Brutal to hear man 😩
 

Acadia18

Autocross Champion
Location
Rhode Island
Car(s)
2016 GTI SE
Anybody have suggestions on how to get out of this pickle?
Your plea to VWoA will probably fall on deaf ears. It won't hurt to try, but I wouldn't expect much.

Suggestion? Buy a used engine ($2,500 - $3,500), and have a non-dealer German shop install it for you. I'd expect (just taking an educated shot in the dark) labor to be another $1,500 - $2,000.

Stories like these always make me nervous. I know this game is pay to play, and you always hope reasonable mods will keep things reliable, but it can happen to anyone at anytime.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Location
Virginia, USA
Just want to keep a journal of what happened.

Year: 2016
Mileage: 45,000
Transmission: DSG (not tuned)
Location: Seattle suburbs
Tune: Cobb Stage 1 in 6/2019. MAPerformance Stage 1 in 12/2019.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any engine problems before the failure: No
Driving style: Spirited without racing on the street or track
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/08/2020: CEL came on. Scanned with Carista. It showed P0303 - misfire in cylinder 3. Reset the CEL.

10/13/2020: While driving off the highway, EPC and CEL and came on. Carista scan found P0303, P0304 and P0300, showing multiple cylinder misfiring. Car hesitated and sputtered but still drivable. Towed car to a shop I know and got more information:

Diagnostic codes for misfiring on cylinders 3 and 4. Monitoring shows cylinders 3 to be primary problem. Testing shows problem not due to ignition system. Compression test shows 170 psi on all cylinders except #3, which shows 80 psi. Cylinder leak down test show 80% compression loss into crankcase suggesting piston failure. Due to the possibility of cylinder head damage as well as the piston, recommend replacing the long block engine assembly.

The shop stopped the estimate at $8000 just for the parts. It doesn't have the tools needed to proceed with repair.

10/20/2020: Towed the car to the dealership for second opinion and attempted to get repair covered under the 5 yr/60,000 miles powertrain warranty.

10/21/2020: Dealer confirmed the findings of the first shop. Due to the damage of the piston, all faults were assigned to the Cobb tune. Powertrain warranty claimed denied. Engine needed to be replaced.

10/23/2020: Dealer provided the cost for replacing the engine to be $20,000 labor and parts, including replacing the turbo. Service advisor assumed the value of the car at next to nothing.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to move forward?

I still owe $16K (3 yrs) on the car. Don't have the funds to pay it off. The car apparently values at nothing now. It doesn't make sense to repair it.
  • My gut reaction is to tow the car home. Store it while I pay off the loan. Deal with it three years later (or when I have money for a payoff). Even if I get to sell the GTI for a good price, I'd still have to come up with the cash to cover the difference.
  • We have another car - a 2017 Audi A4 - to drive.
  • If it is at all possible to take care of the $16K loan balance, I would consider a creative solution to trade in both the GTI and the A4 for another car. But the initial calculation seems improbable.
    • Reach out to VW America to plea for some assistance, i.e. higher value for the GTI. Show loyalty to VW since we purchased a Golf (no longer have it) in 2016 and a GTI in 2018 (and an Audi in 2019 if they care).
Anybody have suggestions on how to get out of this pickle?
Not an easy situation. Storing it while you are paying off your loan makes little sense. The question now is how do you get $16k out of the car so you can pay it off now?

Does your car insurance cover any of this?
Can you remove any parts that you've added? Wheels? Interior bits? Performance mods? Suspension?
If you have the time and skill, you could part it out - tranny, interior, nav and so forth
 

StorableComa

Autocross Champion
Location
Long Beach, USA
Car(s)
17 GSW S
Best bet would be used engine, and a good shop as stated above and in the other thread. If you know people with the tools and capability that can help, even better. Check or put out a request with some of your local Wreckers as shipping can generally jack up the price.
 

uberdot

Drag Racing Champion
Location
🔮 🐀
Car(s)
2017 S 6MT
Sorry to hear this man. Sucks but I doubt the tune was the problem, just an unfortunate excuse for VW to exonerate themselves.
 
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