Potential faults on the VW Amarok 2.0 TSI

A Love/Hate Relationship

A rising tide, it is said, lifts all boats. As a leading automotive repair and service franchise in South Africa, we strive towards sharing the good and the bad experiences of vehicle owners among each other. One of SAC’s service philosophies is simple: prevent problems beforehand by fixing small things before they turn into bigger things. In order to act preventatively, awareness needs to be created. In this article we will look at the VW Amarok fitted with the 2.0 TSI engine. It may be mentioned, in the passing, that the 2.0 TSI engine is also found in most main stream VW models between 2008 and 2014. If you are not an Amarok owner but an owner of a VW vehicle fitted with a 2.0 TSI, then this article is applicable to you as well.

Some Amarok owners boast about having driven their vehicles for thousands of hassle free kilometres and consider the Amarok to be money well spent; others have a much less pleasant experience and wish that they never crossed paths with this vehicle? In whichever group you find yourself, remember that it is better to be informed and prepared if any of the woes discussed below, may cross your path.

Timing Chain Tensioner Issues

Numerous reports from mechanics and Amarok 2.0 TSI owners, made it clear that there was an issue with the earlier versions of the TSI engine’s timing chain tensioner (this includes both the CCTA, CBFA, CAEB and CPMA engines between 2008 – 2015 models). A faulty tensioner may present itself very suddenly. One moment everything will seem perfectly okay but the next moment your vehicle will lose power, stall and then fail to start. If you succeed in getting it started, the engine will shake and make a noise that will indicate that something is very seriously wrong. You may experience the following fault codes: P0016 (Crank/Cam position sensor) or P0328 (Knock Sensor).

A failing timing chain tensioner is a serious issue; neglecting to have the condition of the timing chain tensioner checked by experienced mechanics, may result in catastrophic engine failure and engine damage, with engine replacement being the only resolve. Let us explain. When the timing chain tensioner loses its hydraulic tension, it can cause the intake or exhaust valves to make contact with the piston while the engine is running. Internal damage will occur and you will end up repairing/replacing any damaged valves, pistons, cylinder walls/head. In a worst case scenario, damage of this magnitude can set you back between at least R40 000 to R60 000.

To be on the safe side and to ensure peace of mind, consider preventative maintenance. Have a qualified mechanic at one of our automotive repair and service centres inspect the timing chain and tensioner and if it is found to be on the risky side, then have the timing chain kit done because this may be less costly than an engine replacement. Prevention is better than cure.

Positive Crankcase Vent (PVC) Issue

From extensive reading it seems as if the PCV valve is prone to premature failure. It is therefore important to have the PVC investigated by one of our mechanics. The PVC has two functions: in normal operation it keeps the crankcase under slight negative pressure and burns off oil vapors; in boost condition the check valve in the PCV closes and it prevents boost from entering the crankcase. A bad PCV may present you with the following symptoms: an increase in engine pressure; excessive oil consumption and engine oil leakage; failure of oil seals/gaskets; moisture and sludge build-up inside the engine; the engine may surge and black smoke bulging from out the back; the filter will be contaminated and you will experience overall poor performance from your vehicle. Bring your vehicle to one of our automotive repair and service branches for a check-up.

High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) Failure

The TSI engine has a tendency to experience some problems with the HPFP. When this pump fail, you are likely to end up with fuel pressure faults. You may experience fault codes such as P2293 (fuel pressure regulator valve) or fault code P0087 (too low fuel rail/system pressure). Only specialist can diagnose and confirm the presence of a bad high pressure fuel pump on your TSI engine and mechanics at one of our countrywide SAC’s branches stand ready to assist you in this regard.

Intake Manifold Fault

The intake manifold on the TSI is a very common part to fail and when this happens expect boost and/or vacuum related faults. Failure of the intake manifold usually presents itself with the fault code P2015. It may happen that the intake runner control pops out of the manifold causing a vacuum leak and a resultant rough/poor idle. Have your vehicle checked by an SAC mechanic for the presence of any intake manifold issues.

Carbon Build Up

Carbon build up on the intake valves of your TSI will inevitably cause a blockage in the airflow inside your engine if this is not treated regularly. Almost all direct injection engines have this issue and as owners you should be aware of this. A buildup can cause cold start misfires that usually gets worse and worse. As a result fuel consumption may also increase. Cleaning excessive carbon buildup can only be done manually. There are preventative products on the market which may be used, but chemicals are unlikely to remove serious carbon buildup. Consult one of SAC’s automotive repair and service branches for advice in this regard.

Water Pump Failure

The water pump on the TSI engine is another item prone to failure. This failure may be due to various reasons so have it checked regularly by a qualified mechanic because a failing pump may have dire repercussions for your vehicle’s engine.

In Tank Fuel Pump Control Module Failure

The pump control module is another component likely to fail. It serves as a power supply to the electric in-tank low pressure fuel pump. This part can overheat and this may cause the vehicle to stall and/or cut out. You will most probably not be able to turn your vehicle back on until after quite a while. One of SAC’s mechanics can inspect this component for excess heat signs; simply bring your vehicle to one of our branches.

Ignition Coil Issue?

Do you have a misfire problem on your 2.0 TSI? The ignition coils and/or spark plugs may be the cause of this symptom because they have been reported to present issues. A failing ignition coil will most likely be indicated by an engine light (a continuously flashing light indicates constant misfire but if it stays on it indicates that your vehicle registered a misfire or more at some time). A faulty ignition coil may present itself with fault codes between the P0300 to P0304 range.

The ignition coil on 2.0 TSI vehicles has no maintenance interval; it is good practice to have the coil regularly checked and replaced whenever you replace the spark plugs. Any mechanic will tell you that a faulty coil can leave you stranded, so be prepared.

High Pitch Sound from Engine

If you experience a high pitch sound coming from the engine bay after having driven your vehicle for a while, then this may be due to various reasons. It can either be that the water or fuel pump is faulty but if they are fine then your attention should be directed to the two pressure relief valves on the turbo (the wastegate and the diverter valve). Have one of SAC’s mechanics check your vehicle’s pressure relief turbine valve on the wastegate or diverter valve for any failure.

That there is an ongoing Love/Hate tango when it comes to the VW Amarok 2.0 is not disputable. That there is an issue with the VW Amarok 2.0 can be validated by the recall of more than 15 500 Amarok vehicles in South Africa (239 000 Amarok vehicles worldwide) due to potential fuel line leaks, gearbox issues, blown fuses, etc. The 2013 VW Amarok 2.0 TSI is actually considered to have the most issues of them all. We may only speculate where VW went wrong with that one.

If you suspect any of the abovementioned issues to be present in your Amarok, then bring your vehicle to one of Steves Auto Clinic automotive repair and service branches where professionally trained mechanics stand ready and willing to assist you with friendly and remarkable service.

Within the above article, potential problems, causes and fixes have been identified as founded on the experience of vehicle owners and repairers, online sources such as discussion blogs, technical service bulletins and SAC experience. This information is provided solely for reference purposes. SAC strictly instruct readers that only properly qualified individuals should carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicles. It should also be made clear that the number of times an item is identified within this discussion should by no way be seen as an indicator of a model’s reliability or the frequency with which they may occur. Two of the exact same vehicles, owned by tow entirely different owners, driven in entirely different ways and on different terrains, and looked after in their own unique ways, will each behave differently. As mentioned, this information is provided solely for reference purposes but we hope – in the process of doing so – to empower you with relevant information which may enable you to make informative decisions whenever you experience any of the mentioned setbacks.