Automotive

2015 VW Golf turbocharger wastegate stuck closed- Replace it?

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  • Jan 3rd, 2022 9:28 pm
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2020
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2015 VW Golf turbocharger wastegate stuck closed- Replace it?

Hello,

My 2015 Golf has been sitting in the garage quite a bit due to the pandemic, except for a short weekly grocery trip. A few weeks ago, the EPC light randomly turned on as I turned on the car - If I drove for a while, turned it off and then back on, the EPC light would disappear. Recently it seems to have come up more frequently, so finally I decided to bring it to a VW dealer.

Their diagnosis is that the wastegate of the turbocharger is stuck closed and that I would need to replace the entire unit for the convenient price of $3900. I'm thinking of getting a second opinion from another VW dealer.

I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and if you have any suggestions on what to do. Is replacing the entire unit the only solution? Can I still drive the car for short distances?

Thanks in advance
76 replies
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Can you give us some details on which engine you've got? If anything you've probably got a bad wastegate actuator, which is $200-$300 at most...
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I'm not familiar with this unit, but there's likely an alternative. Either with some maintenance on the valve, or just replacing part of it. For sure go to a good indy VW mechanic.
You can probably drive it as long as you take it easy.

It's also possible that driving it hard will clean it up, if deposits are fouling the valve. ie. an Italian tuneup. You'd need to drive it hard and get it hot, maybe with some premium shell fuel and cleaner additive.
Actually, you might need a full carbon cleaning anyhow.

Just take it to that good VW indy mechanic.
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I would not go buy a new turbo for that price.

I think you can upgrade to a GTI Turbo which will be slightly bigger & more power however the point of this in your case is that you can likely get a low mileage GTi turbo for cheap since many people upgrade to the golf R turbo. That would be a much better route then buying a new stock turbo.

I'm not sure if the details but if you post the question in the Club Wolfsburg group on FB people can help. Or post in VWVortex https://forums.vwvortex.com/forumdispla ... lf-GTI-VII they will tel lyou if its possible and if its just easy swap which would save you thousands.
Astrubale wrote: Hello,

My 2015 Golf has been sitting in the garage quite a bit due to the pandemic, except for a short weekly grocery trip. A few weeks ago, the EPC light randomly turned on as I turned on the car - If I drove for a while, turned it off and then back on, the EPC light would disappear. Recently it seems to have come up more frequently, so finally I decided to bring it to a VW dealer.

Their diagnosis is that the wastegate of the turbocharger is stuck closed and that I would need to replace the entire unit for the convenient price of $3900. I'm thinking of getting a second opinion from another VW dealer.

I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and if you have any suggestions on what to do. Is replacing the entire unit the only solution? Can I still drive the car for short distances?

Thanks in advance
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sickcars wrote: I would not go buy a new turbo for that price.

I think you can upgrade to a GTI Turbo which will be slightly bigger & more power however the point of this in your case is that you can likely get a low mileage GTi turbo for cheap since many people upgrade to the golf R turbo. That would be a much better route then buying a new stock turbo.

I'm not sure if the details but if you post the question in the Club Wolfsburg group on FB people can help. Or post in VWVortex https://forums.vwvortex.com/forumdispla ... lf-GTI-VII they will tel lyou if its possible and if its just easy swap which would save you thousands.

Turbo swap? This guy doesn't need a new turbo. He needs to take that car out and beat on it a bit. If he's got a bad actuator he'll be going into limp due to an underboost condition. If he notices no drivability issues at all (limp mode, loss of power etc) he just needs to get out and get that actuator arm moving :)
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2020
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mxthor3 wrote: Turbo swap? This guy doesn't need a new turbo. He needs to take that car out and beat on it a bit. If he's got a bad actuator he'll be going into limp due to an underboost condition. If he notices no drivability issues at all (limp mode, loss of power etc) he just needs to get out and get that actuator arm moving :)
Sorry I should have mentioned that it does go a bit limp when the EPC light is on, but when I drive for a bit, then restart the car with EPC light gone, performance seems ok.
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Astrubale wrote: Sorry I should have mentioned that it does go a bit limp when the EPC light is on, but when I drive for a bit, then restart the car with EPC light gone, performance seems ok.
Go put some miles on it and drive it hard. If you're still getting the EPC light, you've probably got a bad actuator. I'd probably get Perjad at Precision Tuning to take a look at it. Well known in the VW community, highly recommended.
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Just did a quick search, and this looks like a common problem with VAG turbos.

The dealer said the wastegate is stuck shut. It is possible that the wastegate swingarm is seized shut, but highly unlikely. What's more likely is that the electronic wastegate actuator is dead.

From what I can tell, this part is not available from VW, hence why they need to replace the entire turbocharger assembly.

However, I did see that you can purchase the actuator by iteself through the aftermarket. It's $275 CAD. An independent VAG mechanic should be able to install one for you at a fraction of what the dealer is asking to do.

https://www.ctsturbo.com/product/vag-oe ... 3-fitment/
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Astrubale wrote: ... I decided to bring it to a VW dealer.

Their diagnosis is that the wastegate of the turbocharger is stuck closed... Can I still drive the car for short distances?
mxthor3 wrote: Turbo swap? This guy doesn't need a new turbo. He needs to take that car out and beat on it a bit. If he's got a bad actuator he'll be going into limp due to an underboost condition. If he notices no drivability issues at all (limp mode, loss of power etc) he just needs to get out and get that actuator arm moving :)
If the wastegate is stuck closed, that means turbo speed and boost pressure cannot be limited. The turbo will spin faster and faster, and boost pressure go up and up until:

1) the turbo blows itself up from over-speeding
2) the engine blows up from over-boosting and detonation

Now these things would only happen at high load or full throttle, like when you're beating on it. You can probably avoid those situations with normal driving, but what if the driver needs to step on the gas suddenly? Like to avoid an accident? Or merge onto the highway? OP probably shouldn't drive the car until it's repaired.
Last edited by derass on Jul 22nd, 2020 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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derass wrote: If the wastegate is stuck closed, that means turbo speed and boost pressure cannot be limited. The turbo will spin faster and faster, and boost pressure go up and up until:

1) the turbo blows itself up from over-speeding
2) the engine blows up from over-boosting and detonation

Now these things would only happen at high load or full throttle and you can probably avoid those situations, but what if the driver needs to step on the gas suddenly? Like to avoid an accident? You probably shouldn't drive the car until this is repaired.
If it's the electronic wastegate actuator that's failed as another poster suggested, then the mechanical pressure actuator is likely still working, which is what would protect from overboost/speed. I would think the electronic actuator would only be used to improve fuel economy. Of course, OP doesn't know which it is. That said, it's probably a common problem that could be figured out on VW forums.
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@engineered What mechanical pressure actuator are you talking about? The VAG actuator has both electric and pneumatic components? I thought it's one or the other? I don't see any vacuum connection pictures in the link I posted.

I'm pretty sure an electronic actuator completely replaces the pneumatic actuator found on older/traditional turbos.
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engineered wrote: If it's the electronic wastegate actuator that's failed as another poster suggested, then the mechanical pressure actuator is likely still working, which is what would protect from overboost/speed. I would think the electronic actuator would only be used to improve fuel economy. Of course, OP doesn't know which it is. That said, it's probably a common problem that could be figured out on VW forums.
its a single unit. I agree with @derass if the actuator is stuck closed you are going to be producing too much boost.

https://www.ctsturbo.com/product/vag-oe ... 3-fitment/
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derass wrote: @engineered What mechanical pressure actuator are you talking about? The VAG actuator has both electric and pneumatic components? I thought it's one or the other? I don't see any vacuum connection pictures in the link I posted.

I'm pretty sure an electronic actuator completely replaces the pneumatic actuator found on older/traditional turbos.
Oh, OK. I would have thought there'd be a backup mechanical valve. I guess the germans figure the electronic one won't fail before warranty ends.
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I'm also dealing with the exact same thing with my 2017 GTI. I see that the part is available, but I haven't seen anyone just replace an actuator on the forums.
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derass wrote: If the wastegate is stuck closed, that means turbo speed and boost pressure cannot be limited. The turbo will spin faster and faster, and boost pressure go up and up until:

1) the turbo blows itself up from over-speeding
2) the engine blows up from over-boosting and detonation

Now these things would only happen at high load or full throttle, like when you're beating on it. You can probably avoid those situations with normal driving, but what if the driver needs to step on the gas suddenly? Like to avoid an accident? Or merge onto the highway? OP probably shouldn't drive the car until it's repaired.
He'll go into limp way before he ever blows the turbo up, these cars aren't that stupid. He'll hit an overboost condition and fueling will be cut, he'll have to limp it back home at probably 50km/h. Although your scenario sounds like a lot of fun, it's not something that will happen. He needs to get this over to a specialist (which has also been suggested) for a looksie.
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derass wrote: @engineered What mechanical pressure actuator are you talking about? The VAG actuator has both electric and pneumatic components? I thought it's one or the other? I don't see any vacuum connection pictures in the link I posted.

I'm pretty sure an electronic actuator completely replaces the pneumatic actuator found on older/traditional turbos.
I'd assume the new ones are all electric. TDI's still have vacuum actuated with an electric position sensor which really confuses some people.
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2020
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Just an update if anyone ever encountered the same problem. I drove the car for hundreds of kms without issues. Then I went to an independent VW mechanic (Abraham's garage in Markham) and he confirmed that the turbo needed to be replaced, but he did it for $1700. Still a hard pill to swallow, but a third of what the dealership was asking. He put on a used turbo that had 40,000 km less than mine, so that's great too. He believes that it was a design problem.
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Astrubale wrote: Just an update if anyone ever encountered the same problem. I drove the car for hundreds of kms without issues. Then I went to an independent VW mechanic (Abraham's garage in Markham) and he confirmed that the turbo needed to be replaced, but he did it for $1700. Still a hard pill to swallow, but a third of what the dealership was asking. He put on a used turbo that had 40,000 km less than mine, so that's great too. He believes that it was a design problem.
Ouch, $1700 for a used turbo.
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Astrubale wrote: Just an update if anyone ever encountered the same problem. I drove the car for hundreds of kms without issues. Then I went to an independent VW mechanic (Abraham's garage in Markham) and he confirmed that the turbo needed to be replaced, but he did it for $1700. Still a hard pill to swallow, but a third of what the dealership was asking. He put on a used turbo that had 40,000 km less than mine, so that's great too. He believes that it was a design problem.
Assuming this is a 1.8T, did you buy an IS20 at least? Facing a $4k bill for a brand new OEM, I'd have just bought an IS38 instead. Even going cheaper/used there's probably a good number of IS20s out there too, from ppl that upgraded their GTIs to IS38s.

With a tune, IS20 on a 1.8T is about 300hp, it's really not that much less than a GTI with same/stock turbo and a tune.

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