Doctor Diesel

All gummed up

Hi Doctor, I read your article on the website and I have a 2010 Volkswagen Transporter van 2.0-litre TDI 140, which we have had from new. Iíve now got an intermittent flashing glow plug symbol and non-flashing engine management system light indicating problems which seemed to be EGR related. Our VW Van Centre canít even see us until eight days from now, so we got it on a Ross VCDS diagnostic machine at a local independent garage, from which they conclude that the EGR cooler needs replacement ñ costing £500 all in. The technician there (I thought independent garages still employed real dirty-hands mechanics?) asked if there was any coolant loss, and we have had no evidence of this over the full life of the vehicle and still no coolant loss now. So I am concerned that their suggestion could be a red herring and I am wondering if an actual EGR problem is more likely. The warning lights are currently off and there has been no loss of power (no limp-home mode). Do you think there is any chance of Volkswagen contributing to any repair costs (Iím obviously way out of warranty). 

I am a chemical engineer, by the way, and have re-built a 3.0-litre Saab V6 engine top ñ but a PETROL one! (I’m sorry – what did you say? Doc.) Any advice would be most gratefully received. Overall the 2.0-litre TDI engine with the DSG gearbox and cruise control has been a great combination in my honest opinion. All the best, 


I’m not that hot on T5s Justin, but I do know that EGR valves were a known problem on pre-2012 engines. If you have no loss of coolant, it could just be the EGR valve clogged up and creating the fault lights, looking on the bright side. The warning lights may have gone off with several ignition on/off cycles – they sometimes do with intermittent faults – but that unfortunately doesn’t mean the problem has gone away! If you were to keep running like this, the fault lights will re-appear and the engine may slip into limp-home mode, or the DPF may stop regenerating, and eventually clog up with distinctly negative results! A good independent garage that services T5 fleets would know all about this, and sort it a lot cheaper than a VW garage. Have you been doing lots of local runs, or using cheap fuel?

Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but as I say a knowledgeable independent is the best bet to save you some money. Keep me posted, but I would get the EGR stripped down before you commit to any costly replacements. Zero hopes of any Volkswagen assistance with costs on a six-year old vehicle, I’m afraid. Best of luck,

Doc D

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