Question about 2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

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Car temp gauge/heat

I have a 2003 TDI Jetta - it typically runs at 190 for temp, but when cold out it will not get there and sitting idle does not warm the car but blows cold air and driving at slow speeds it seems to drop the car temp and no heat in the car. What might be the problem?

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  • kirai Jan 24, 2009

    This may be classed as a "Solution"

    This is actually quite common with the TDI engine of this year range. For reference, I have a 2004 Golf TDI and experience the same thing. It's not so much a problem than too do with the design of the engine.

    Simple answer: TDI's give off very little heat compaired to normal gas engines.

    In addition to the normal four glow plugs that heat the combustion cylinders when cold-starting, there are an additional three that are installed in the engine cooling system (If I'm reading my shop manual correctly.) They try and heat up the coolant to help with engine/transmission/passanger cabin warm up. What's occurring is that by turning the blower on, you're sapping the heat out the cabin heater core faster than the engine can produce the heat.

    Solution: Don't turn the blower on until the engine is at 190F. If you must (for defogging) set the mix to 50% hot/cold. There is a chance that glow plugs in the cooling system are malfunctioning. And if they are, they're not triggering the engine light on the dash.

    Personal experiences: In winter, typically have to be driving for about 10 minutes before the temp reaches an even 190F, 3-5 minutes any other time of the year. I've actually 'clilled' my engine a number of times when in gridlock with the heater going full tilt after warming up to 190F. And once while coming down a mountain pass in 3rd gear (engine basically at idle providing engine-braking). Of course, this only happens when the ambient temperature is around or below freezing.

    Call it a design feature turned flaw if you will.

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TDIs can take a while to heat up in cold weather. Sometime 10 minutes or more.

If it is taking longer than 10 mins for your temp gauge to hit 190, you may need a new temp sensor, which is pretty cheap and just pops into the engine block, almost right next to the battery.

Posted on Aug 18, 2010

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