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Old 17-09-2019, 12:27   #1
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Volkswagen 5cyl marine diesel

In the purchase process of a yacht with a 2009 VW marine 5cyl 150hp engine. Less than 2000hours. Itís a much more modern engine than Iím familiar with. Interested in peopleís experience with these. Reliability, part availability, economy, what to check for, what tests to do/have done as part of mechanical survey, what kind of code reader is required.
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Old 18-09-2019, 00:56   #2
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Re: Volkswagen 5cyl marine diesel

Big question is whether it is common rail fuel system or not.
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Old 14-10-2019, 22:08   #3
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Re: Volkswagen 5cyl marine diesel

Yes, It's a common rail fuel injection system.
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Old 14-10-2019, 23:14   #4
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Re: Volkswagen 5cyl marine diesel

I have a TDI-150 VW/Mercruiser marine engine aboard. It has run well apart from my recent problems with bad fuel (lots of water in the fuel when I started it). I had a lot of issues that were solved, but my big problem with the engine is the lack of support and lack of knowledge. While Mercury is a big company, very few of their hundreds of service points have any expertise at all with the engine and even fewer will actually work on the engine.

The engine is a common diesel in Europe (Jetta, Passat, etc.) while the 5-Cylinder TDI was never put into cars in the USA. There are lots of manuals and lots of expertise in the car world. I ended up using a VW car shop in Newport, RI this year since the only Mercruiser service point who would work on the engine wouldn't make house calls and their marina's depth was too shallow for me to be towed in.

The parts situation is absolutely ludicrous. I needed a new fuel injection pump, and the official source was $5700 and several weeks wait; since the pump is 100% identical to the car pump I opted to go for a $400 replacement from VW. Likewise the little electric fuel pump that costs $70 in stores was being sold for $570 (same part number, except it is hidden by white paint on the marine engine).

What is good is that the engine uses a Bosch ECU with only slightly modified EEPROM code. So for the price of a cheap CAN-BUS cable and some free software you can examine all the data from the engine - something that can't be done on most other diesels. I used Ross-Tech software and the engine code for the VW Marine engines is on their list of supported engines.

All in all the engine is rock-solid but keep in mind that car mechanics and car supply stores are going to be much better in terms of knowledge, availability and price than Mercruiser.
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Old 15-10-2019, 00:31   #5
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Re: Volkswagen 5cyl marine diesel

Thank you. Very useful information. Did water get past the filters to the pump? Wondering if I need to add in another racor and perhaps a fuel scrubbing facility if engine going to be more sensitive than old school diesels? I am certainly impressed by the low vibration and noise levels of the installation in the oyster
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Old 15-10-2019, 10:09   #6
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Re: Volkswagen 5cyl marine diesel

I have a dual racor filter which works really well - but in this case it had no chance since there was more water than fuel and it made it into the fuel lines. That is what killed the expensive high-pressure fuel pump. The real issue was that I had some inexperienced (but very, very pricey) technicians in the BVI look at the engine and try to get it running and they neglected to put a small but vital spring back into the engine. That little error cost me a month of work and mooring fees in Newport, RI (the boat was shipped from the Caribbean to the USA so that I could get the work done on it) while I searched in vain for boat technicians to help me.

Basically the cause of the problem was clear and not the fault of the engine, and when ingesting that amount of water the fuel pump is going to suffer. My issue is with Mercruiser's outrageous prices for commodity items and their lack of support for the TDI engines. I can understand that shops have to invest a lot of money on getting their technicians "certified" for a given type of engine and that the Turbo-Diesels are not common so all of the service stations have concentrated their expertise in more profitable areas. But to find not a single marine shop willing to do this work in the whole of RI (one of the bigger yachting centres in the USA) was a grave disappointment and I gave up early on using Mercury support - they kept on telling me to use their webpages to locate service stations despite me telling them that (a) a number of them hadn't support Mercury in years and (b) none of them supported my engine.
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