Author Archives: vwtdis

BioFuels incompatible with your new VW? Maybe not…

We’ve always been a fan of the 2006 and earlier Volkswagen diesels, mostly due to their ability to run biofuels. When VW came out with the CleanDiesel engine, they cut us off from using anything over 5% blends of biodiesel. Like us, if you live in the Northwest, you’ll have options of up to 99% biodiesel blends; a big draw to diesel vehicles. Volkswagen of America even states that anything over a 5% blend will void your warranty.
The Northwest Biofuels Association hit back, reminding VW that federal law prohibits an auto manufacturer from voiding a warranty based on fuels! Does this mean you fill your brand new sportwagen with B99? Probably not. First of all, no one has formally challenged VW with a case. I wouldn’t want to be the Guinea Pig. Second of all, its unlikely that B99 would be good for the new emissions control.
The good news comes in the form of a rumor that VW will recant its ban on B20. VW and Biofuel companies are running their own tests to determine the long term engine effects, and so far they sound optimistic…

Want to read more? From the New York Times:

The Future

I just took my first test drive in the new Jetta Sportwagen this afternoon. After hearing great reviews, I had to try out the first one that came in on the lot. What was the test drive like? Amazing. I’m still partial to the older TDI engines; Simple, easy to work on, and efficient. What VW has done with the new 2.0 CRD engine, however, makes it feel more like a luxury sports sedan, and a little less like a tractor…
This compact SUV, however, might be the future! The Cross Coupe’ is VW’s new concept car. Having been late to the game in Hybrid technology, VW has taken it a step further, coupling a TDI engine with two electric motors. What do electric motors and diesel engines have in common? Loads of torque. Enough torque, in fact, to give this trio a combined 516 lbs of torque! One electric motor is coupled to the front engine. The other sends its power to the rear wheels.
What do we think about this new Volkswagen? It seems like the answer to the future of the automobile. Its a sign that the automobile is evolving, and that this is the next step in the right direction. Its not far off from the original TDI VWs. They were ahead of their time and probably somewhat distrusted by American consumers. On the other hand, Diesel engines are inherently simple machines, and coupling them with technology might throw some consumers off. How will consumers treat the new diesels? We’ll let the market decide!

DSG Transmissions

Have you looked into Volkswagen’s DSG transmission? Sure, these are know for flywheel failure. On the other hand, they get superior milage to their standard counterparts. Pretty impressive. If you’ve ever wanted to look inside your DSG transmission, here is your chance.

Algae-Derived Biodiesel Now Available in Northern California!

Propel Fuels and Solazyme have partnered to launch the nation’s first publicly available algae-derived biodiesel at Propel stations across the Bay Area.

In this month-long pilot program, Solazyme’s high quality algae-based SoladieselBD will be offered in a B20 blend for the same price as conventional diesel fuels. This groundbreaking fuel will be available exclusively at Propel’s Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose (North 1st Street), Berkeley, and Oakland.

Propel Locations Offering SoladieselBD

Berkeley Clean Fuel Point
849 University Ave
@ the 76 station

Oakland Clean Fuel Point
350 Grand Ave
@ the Chevron station

Redwood City Clean Fuel Point
503 Whipple Ave
@ the Valero station

San Jose, 1st Street Clean Fuel Point
1002 North 1st St
@ the 76 station


What is algae biodiesel?
Propel’s B20 is made of 20% SoladieselBD (an algae-derived biodiesel made by Solazyme) and 80% petroleum diesel. Domestically produced from micro algae that efficiently convert sugars into renewable oil, SoladieselBD is a clean-burning, precision quality fuel that is compatible with all diesel vehicles.

For more information about SoladieselBD, please visit Solazyme’s Fuels page.

Who can use algae biodiesel?
Like all of Propel’s high quality biodiesel blends, Biodiesel B20 featuring SoladieselBD is compatible with all existing diesel engines. SoladieselBD meets or exceeds ASTM quality specifications and has shown performance enhancements including cold temperature operating performance. And of course, Propel’s algae biodiesel is backed by our Performance Guarantee.

Learn more about running Biodiesel B20 by visiting our Resources page.

What are the emissions benefits?
Testing undertaken by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that, in a 20% blend, SoladieselBD significantly outperforms ultra-low sulfur diesel in total hydrocarbons (THC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter tailpipe emissions. This includes an approximate 30% reduction in particulates, a 20% reduction in CO and an approximate 10% reduction in THC.

Beware of Transmission Services!

$(KGrHqQOKj4E6dU+by(jBOu!,nH1)w~~60_35by Susan Fahnestock

Recently, automatic transmissions have been dropping like flies around our shop.  We have had to rebuild over 10 transmission in the last two months. That is more transmission work then we have done in the previous 5 years combined!  These are not just the 99-2003 ALH 4 speed auto trannys that notorious for failing – we have had to rebuilt the BRM Dual mass tranny, the BEW 5 speed tiptronic,  and two BHW Passat 5 speed tiptronic transmission. One of the Passat tdi wagons that had a transmission failure only had 66,000 miles on it!

VW tdi owners have been reading on the various forums that these transmissions need to be serviced.  VW has stated that these automatic transmissions do not have a recommended service interval and that the ATF fluid is lifetime.  Tons of VW tdi gearheads particularly on the tdiclub forum are saying that the failures of transmission may be caused by the lack of transmission servicing.  They are recommending transmission fluid changes every 50,000 miles.  I am not going to agree or disagree with them, only offer a word of caution that these services might be having a counterproductive effect.

The Passat tdi that only had 66,000 miles on it with a failed transmission was LOW on fluid when we checked it out, yet there were no fluid leaks on any kind!  My guess is that at some point in the cars life, the previous owner read about the transmission service on the tdi forums and ran to a shop to get this done. Unfortunately, the shop did not follow the rather complicated procedures in refilling the transmission and shorted it a half quart. It probably was driven thousands of miles on low fluid then sold to my unfortunate client who had the transmission fail on him the day after he bought the car!

So the moral of my long winded story is that IF you are going to get your VW tdi automatic transmission serviced, PLEASE PLEASE take it to a VW dealer or shop who knows exactly how to refill it perfectly.  As for me, my 2004 Jetta tdi wagon is coming up to 150,000 miles – still with original transmission fluid and still going strong.  I might just leave well enough alone.

Extreme Diesel Performance Part 1 of 2

injectors02aSo you have put a diesel performance exhaust, diesel performance chip and performance intake on your rig, if you had put those diesel performance products on your truck a few years ago you would have been considered a diesel performance connoisseur or someone who was into extreme diesel performance.

The fact of the matter is that in the past few years the diesel performance industry has grown by leaps and bounds and what were considered to be extreme diesel performance modifications back then won’t even let you keep up with the big boys nowadays.

Once you have gone beyond the standard diesel performance mods and are ready for extreme diesel performance there are some common diesel performance products that you should be aware of. If extreme diesel performance is your goal, then the most common diesel performance parts to put on your truck after the typical chip, intake and exhaust are larger injectors, a larger turbo and possibly an upgraded injection pump or lift pump.

Larger Injectors
Part of the equation for more horsepower is more fuel. By pouring more fuel into the cylinder you will be able to increase horsepower and torque, the thing that most people don’t know about larger injectors is that they also increase diesel fuel mileage. Most of the misunderstanding comes from the terminology itself, of course if people hear “larger injectors” they just naturally think that the holes themselves are going to be bigger when in all actuality injectors get larger in a couple of ways, the size of the holes in the injectors and the number of holes in the injectors. Increasing the size of the holes is usually accomplished in a couple of different ways, first is by laser cutting and second is a process known as extrude honing. There has been some debate as to which method is better but our experience has shown that the extrude hone process allows for smoother holes in the injectors themselves allowing for an increase in diesel fuel mileage. The second way that injectors get “larger” is by increasing the number of holes in the injector nozzles, by increasing the number of holes in the injector nozzles you get a finer mist which allows for a better atomization. The increased diesel fuel mileage is with conservative driving of course.

Pump Upgrades
If you are planning on pumping more fuel in with larger injectors you need to make sure your pump is up to the task. The amount of modification your pump will need as well as the options you have available to you will rely mainly on the year, make and model of your vehicle. For those vehicles that have a rotary style pump such as the Pre-1994 Dodge Cummins, 6.2L and 6.5L Chevy Diesels and even the 99-02 Dodge Cummins VP44 pumps you will be a bit more limited as to the modifications that you will be able to make to your pumps.

The main reason mods are limited on these style pumps is because of the fact that they are lubricated by the fuel, so if you fail to run additive through each tank you may sieze your pump regardless of which mods you have made, with that said, Industrial Injection has made some crazy modifications to the VP44 pump so look for the HOT ROD and DRAGON FLOW versions of that pump. If you are fortunate enough to drive a 94-98 Dodge Cummins with the Bosch Inline p7100 pump then there are a plethera of modifications that you can do, one of the easiest of those being the installation of the Dynomite Diesel Fuel plate. If you have a newer common rail pump your task is all about keeping your rail pressure up so you can do that with a modified pump or by running dual feeder pumps. Now modding your injection pump is only half the battle, you still have to make sure that your lift pump can keep up with the demand as well and there is where systems like the FASS and AirDog come in handy.

Larger Turbo
Once you have plenty of fuel running to through your system it’s time to use all that extra exhaust that is being created to turn a bigger turbo. When it comes to upgrading your turbo you have several options including, ball bearing, stainless steel, waste gated or non waste gated, variable vein or not. Picking out just the right turbo charger comes down to your application and personal preference so we won’t go into great detail on that topic but do plenty of searching or come to our site for more information. The big names you will see throughout the industry include, Industrial Injection, HTT, Turbonetics, ATS and many more.

The Diesel Fuel Injectors & Airdog Fuel System are two extreme Diesel Performance Parts- Nathan Young

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