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Need help troubleshooting

1556 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  briano1234
So I just bought an 83 GTI Rabbit. I am wanting to fix it up to make it my daily driver. It is in really good condition and a lot has been done to it. New fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel lines, intake, all filters, spark plugs, timing belt, and had the CIS retimed. It only has 88,000 miles on it. So the problem is it has low compression. I did a compression test and all 4 came back as 120 psi and after the wet test all 4 still were at 120 psi. It idles great but if you push the throttle the engine rattles and can only make it to about 2000 rpms. It is blowing white smoke out the exhaust and the spark plugs have carbon diposits all over them. There is some milky stuff on the oil cap. Anyone had a similiar problem and what do you suggest I do? Cylinder head removal? Send it to a machine shop?
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It is blowing white smoke out the exhaust and the spark plugs have carbon diposits all over them. There is some milky stuff on the oil cap. Anyone had a similiar problem and what do you suggest I do? Cylinder head removal? Send it to a machine shop?
For only having that low number of miles on it the cylinders are worn or, or the rings are stuck in their grooves. With the description of the plugs I bet the rings are seized and not expanding as they should. So yes you are into pull the head and look land. You need to get the pistons out which means dropping the oil pan too and unbolting them from the crank. Number them and note the direction they are facing. Mark them somehow and keep the mark going as you clean them up. Orientation in the cylinder is important. You need to make sure the side to the left or the right is the same when you put it together as it was when you took it apart. And, That the same piston goes in the same cylinder. None of the mix and match stuff.

Once you have the pistons in hand you can determine if they are out of round, worn, scored or otherwise in need of replacing. The cylinders need to measured to figure out if they need to be bored out or not. There are wear limits on the two parts. To much wear, you get blow by and lack compression. I am thinking that unless it was really a neglected engine that a good cleaning of the rings and their grooves, get a tool for it, and you will be fine.

Maybe the speedometer bit the dust and there is really 288,000 miles on that engine. VW has that problem with the odometer part breaking the little plastic gear inside and thus no more miles registered, but the speed part is ok.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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The blowing white smoke and milky residue on the cap indicate to me that your engine is never allowed to stretch it's legs.
Short hops in a car that is 5 minutes to the store parked, then 5 minutes back will lead to excessive condensation in the engine that is as the engine cools it creates condensation in the engine and exhaust. This can build up and form milky oil, and or excessive water condensation in the exhaust.

This is not to say that the Water Stabilized oil Cooler may have leaked internally, allowing a/f in the oil but you can test for that as well as blown head gaskets by removing the cap off the expansion tank, and tie a latex glove tightly over the opening, Star the car and rev it to 3000 rpm for 30-45 seconds. If the glove inflates and gives you the finger, then you can say that either the oil cooler is leaking, and or the head gasket is blown.

So I am not saying a blown gasket is your issue, but you need to test for it, as well as you need to get the engine up to temp to boil out the water in the oil and exhaust (20 to 40 minutes of driving).

For the rings and such, I would put a pint of Marvel Mystery Oil in the Fuel tank, and a pint in the engine and start the engine and let it work, drive it about.
I would change the Fuel filter, and over the course of a couple of weeks Start the car and let it idle for at least 20 minutes a day to allow the MMO a chance to work.
I would look at the timing or that the valves are sticking, even the timing if off can cause a valve or 2 to not be seated.
You can also pull the plugs and add some MMO to the Cylinders to allow it to creep down the rings and get rid of goo and gunk.
For all the Cylinders to be the same wet or dry, is a little bizarre to me, and more intune with some gooey stickiness internally.

I have seen many a engine come back to life once the goo and gunk is cleaned out.

Yes the little red gear inside the speedometer can slip on the shaft or loose teeth (usually happens when you reset the ODO while moving, (never do that) and the odo stops working.

Engines can be timed, CIS can't. CIS if it is lacquered up can have fits, that is where the MMO in the fuel system tends to de-lacquer things up.

Follow the timing guide at for pictures of the timing marks.
Verify that all vacuum hoses are tight and viable. If you can turn the idle by-pass screw with your fingers then you have a vacuum leak and need to replace the o-ring on it.

my 2 cents.
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