Low power, loss of acceleration on hills and under loads…all of these are symptoms of a clogged intake port on the VW 1.9 liter TDI engine. If you have 70K or more miles, and have not had a intake cleaning, chances are your intake port looks something like the one below. All the air for the engine must pass through this port, and as the port becomes clogged, airflow is reduced, the engine loses efficiency, and power output drops off. Imagine trying to breathe through a straw, and you have a good idea of how your engine feels. Since this is a gradual process, often taking years and tens of thousands of miles to occur, most owners do not notice the gradual loss of power. But they notice the difference after a proper cleaning has been carried out!
Port cleaning is not a simple procedure, but it is a necessary one. To do a through and professional job, one must remove the intake air inlet, often mistakenly called a “throttle body”, intake manifold, attendant hoses, electrical and vacuum lines. Properly done, it takes from 3-5 hours, depending on the degree of coking found. The cost for labor, chemicals and the required parts, is approximately $300-500, but the returns in both power and efficiency make it well worth the expense.