Despite Jalopnik’s warning that the V10 TDI diesel Touaregs are the worst maintenance nightmare EVER, I just bought one.

Why? Because it was cheap. And because a good friend of mine is the former owner and has added a few neat-o features.


First, there’s this neat little flashlight that goes into the 12V socket:

It apparently was something Phaetons came with, a previous owner decided to buy one and put it in this Touareg.


Other features? It has nice aluminum shifter paddles that have been retrofitted, I’m told they’re from a Bentley, which still qualifies as parts bin VW/Audi these days...

A Webasto heater with remote control

And, a heated steering wheel.

My buddy who owned it also found how to fix the KESSY module rather than replace it. So, all the door handle touch sensors actually respond because the capacitors aren’t all blown like apparently these early modules are known for doing.


Why was it cheap? Because during a cross country road trip where I was fixing other TDIs, I made a stop at their house to diagnose the vibration when accelerating issue and it had a code stored for MAF implausible signal, bank 2. And, well, this is the reason:


A badly worn camshaft. A couple exhaust lobes on bank 2 are barely opening their valves, this burps exhaust pressure back into the intake, making odd noises, vibrations and causing the MAF implausible signal code.

Of course, as it was being loaded on the trailer, it had to come up with another failure mode: limp mode. This time the code is for “defective turbocharger control module.”


I already diagnosed that, though... And it’s not technically the control module that’s bad, it’s just upset that the control module is not able to move through its full range of motion. The worn cam meant that bank in particular is making more soot than normal and it caused the variable geometry mechanism inside that turbo to stick. Ran the output test on both turbos at the same time (there’s a special diagnostic address that allows you to access both engine computers at once and run tests) and bank 2 barely moved. Disconnect the linkage from the control module, run the test again, the module moves through its full movement no problem, but the mechanism definitely required high effort to move... I may be able to salvage the original turbos yet!

Of course for the amount of labor it takes to remove the engine to replace the turbos, since it will be out anyway, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to replace them while it’s out to do the cams. And if it were a customer’s car, it would be the only way I’d agree to do the job and also promise that it will be properly fixed.


But for myself? Well... it’s just time, right?

This is either going to end with me having a blast driving this truck, or bankruptcy! Who knows!


I may be stupid, but not stupid enough to rely on one of these as my sole vehicle, so I have that going for me.

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