Home » This Is Where I Complain Some More About My Wife’s Piece Of Shit 2010 VW Tiguan

This Is Where I Complain Some More About My Wife’s Piece Of Shit 2010 VW Tiguan


I just had one of those exciting experiences where you get to drop over a grand just to get your stupid car running the way its supposed to, less than a week after I pissed away a similar amount to take care of the same problem, which worked for all of 45 minutes before dramatically shitting the bed anew. I know that you didn’t ask, but I’m going to bitch about my wife’s 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan now, so you best make peace with the idea.

I’ll clarify right off the bat that this article may violate a few fundamental rules we try to live up to here at The Autopian. We have something called the Double E Rule, for example, which means that everything we run should include elements that are both educational and entertaining. It’s a good rule, but I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I’m going to meet it this time, because all I want to do right now is complain about this fucking car.

Some background on the car: I got it in 2020 knowing full well that this car’s 2-liter TSI turbo-four came with some significant known problems, but I bought it anyway because my wife really liked it, and I gave up my right to tell anyone what car they should drive for rational reasons years and years ago.

Seriously, this is an important point: I have five absolutely ridiculous cars I cram onto our property, so there is no way I’m going to tell Sally what she can or can’t drive. She really loves the interior of the Tiguan, which is, admittedly, comfortable and airy and attractive and a very pleasant space to be in. She likes the way the car looks and drives (you know, when it’s driving) and while these aren’t necessarily rational reasons, cars never have been and never will be fully rational, so I just need to do what I need to do to make sure she has something to drive that makes her happy.

Of course, that doesn’t negate my right to bitch about it here, to all of you, which is what I’m doing now.

So, I thought I fixed this engine’s big Achilles’ heel when I had the timing chain and its crappy tensioner replaced, after bending a bunch of valves, which also meant a new cylinder head. I thought from that point on, everything would be nice and smooth.

What I forgot was the detail about how instead of building an engine with an Achilles’ heel, VW seems to have decided it would just make more sense to take a massive amount of Achilles’ heels, liquify them, cast them into a solid block, and just form the engines out of that, so everyfuckingthing on this engine has the opportunity to be a horrible point of failure.

This time, the point of failure was the positive crankcase ventilation valve setup, which is one of the known failure points of the 2-liter TSI engine, and, like the timing chain problem, likes to fail suddenly, without warning, and cause a colossal shitshow cascade of problems.

Here’s a little video about this hunk of crap that’s bolted to the top of the engine from our pal the Humble Mechanic, who fixed my timing chain:

Essentially, one of the several failure prone little diaphragms made out of some Germanic joke-rubber failed in Sally’s car and as a result, caused huge vacuum leaks that made the car run like absolute crap, with all the smoothness, power, and refinement one would expect from an early 1900s agricultural hit-and-miss engine, but without the charm:

Honestly, that’s running smoother. If there was a nearby sawmill I could have stolen one from, I might have replaced her engine with one of these.

After it happened I replaced the PCV assembly and looked at the old one, and the rubber diaphragms in there were crumbly and felt like a slice of parmesan cheese so it was clear what happened. Here, look:

What was also clear was that my attempt to replace the PCV unit was an act of sad, misplaced optimism, because the damage was done, because the PCV is an unforgiving, cruel beast, and when it fails, the crankcase pressure goes all bonkers, and then seals start to get blown out, so you have oil leaks and more vacuum leaks and nobody is happy ever again.

So, I had a shop do a smoke test to see where the seals failed and the vacuum leaks were happening, and they found the bad seal on the brake vacuum pump, so they replaced the pump and gasket and put a better PCV valve on than the crap aftermarket one I got and we thought all was finally well.

About 30 minutes into the drive home, though, Sally called me and told me that all of a sudden everything was terrible again. Actually, even worse, as the car now had trouble even maintaining 45 mph or so.


We get it back to the shop, the car never even having made it home, and found that the rear main seal, which wasn’t showing any leaks prior, had failed, spraying oil and causing huge vacuum leaks and all that.

I wanted to be mad at the shop, but, really, I couldn’t. The seal tested fine, and while clearly it must have sustained some damage and been weakened, it was working and showing no damage, but only because the leak from the brake vacuum pump seal was so bad. So, when that was fixed, and engine crankcase pressures got to levels they’re supposed to be when everything is working, only then did the rear main seal have the dignity to fail, like it was somehow engineered to find the most expensive way to shit the bed.

Again, fuck.

Replacing the rear main seal is an ass-pain. You have to drop the transmission down and take out the flywheel to get to it and it’s a hard, laborious job.

Anyway, it’s fixed now, and Sally has her car back, and enjoyed driving it home and it finally feeling powerful and good, and this cruel VW’s siren-like hold over her has been re-established, clouding the cold, hard truth that the engine under that hood is a callow, devious machine designed to fling itself into disasters without warning and secretly mock you as your bank account gets depleted.

Sally’s not going to read this, and I don’t want any of you telling her about it, either. The damage is done. Let her enjoy her car, but between you and I, stay the hell away from these TSI engines. The cars they’re put into are charmers, enjoyable to drive and with great interiors, but all of that is bait.

These cars are angler fish, dangling their glowing lures of driving satisfaction so they can chomp into you with their bad timing chains and unforgiving PCV valves and whatever. Hell, these engines even have a Top 5 Fails video made just for them. No engine should have a Top 5 Fails video.

This engine was the reason I’ve advocated for the adoption of one industry-wide turbo inline-four engine, because for the vast majority of cases, nobody really cares about who makes the inline turbo-four engine as long as it makes around 200-250 horsepower and doesn’t break.

I just can’t understand how VW could make an engine that fails on such basic shit as crankcase ventilation or timing chains – aren’t those solved problems?

I’m going to stop myself. The damage is done, the money is gone, the engine is fixed. Sally has a car she really likes, and I can keep hoarding weird low-horsepower shitboxes, and the world turns as intended.

Thanks for letting me vent. I just wish that stupid TSI had been able to do the same.

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111 Responses

  1. Excellent tinkering ! And And I can also share these tinkering skills with anyone interested for Educational Purposes Alone:
    1. How to Reverse an ATM withdrawal transaction (reverse back the funds you withdraw into the cards account)
    2. How to REPEAT anybody’s previous payment/cash withdrawal transaction without their card/phone on any “Tap N Pay” (NFC) terminal they used with the “DKD” device; an NFC payment hacking device with video demonstration on how to use.
    3. How to use a simple software to retrieve >password of devices(All Operating systems) and logins details of accounts used on that device >deleted files, messages and call logs on that device.
    4. How to clone <a. door access cards <b. payment cards using it's track 1&2 (duplication of card) with a simple device and software.
    5. How to harvest social media and email logIn details with a simple software.
    6. How to use a device called "CaT" on all ATM machine cash dispenser.
    All with video demonstration on how to do/use them.

  2. Hey, the double E part was provided by that lovely hit and miss video. Everything on that is amazing, from the engine to the weird contraptions. Who knew that a box factory could be so much fun? Principal Skinner was onto something with that field trip!

  3. The thing is that actually all the problems of the 1.8 – 2.0 TSI (insert random 4 letters engine code from around ’08 to ’13 here in Europe) are well known and include:
    – a chain timing system that is going to fail a lot sooner than the belt counterpart (which has a service interval of 210K km)
    – PCV valve problems (inherited from previous generation)
    – probably the diverter valve (depends on the part revision, i’m not sure when they finally fixed it)
    – bad oil consumption (can eat up to 1L every 600km)
    My theory is that due to the Euro 5 emissions they tried to lighten all the moving parts inside the engine and just crossed their fingers. As I know cars with this family of engines that failed at 60K km due to timing fails or oil consumption.

    PS to solve the above problems: Oil consumption and timing issues it costs here around 2500-3000€ (average monthly wage ~800€)

    PS2 When I bought my current vehicle I saw that a lot of cars equipped with these engines were cheaper than older models while being lower mileage and initially didn’t understand why … after 2 hours of reading …everything was clear … including some class action in UK

  4. TheAutopian is as close as it comes to good old ,Klick and Klack, the Tappit brothers.
    The intelligence, knowledge, and hard work hidden behind the bad car jokes is noticeable.
    I love it.
    I read the comments section with as much enthusiasm as I do the articles. Your mission statement is working.
    Your double E rule is still intact.

  5. I once owned a B7 A4 Avant 2.0T 6MT Quattro. The car was a joy to drive. It was comfortable, every highway drive was enjoyable and the AWD gave more confidence in the snow than I should have had. My ownership experience inspired me to make sure I knew the right words in the language of the people who designed and built it: Gottverdammter scheißwagen von Hölle.

    You’re right, they’re bait. I got so fed up that I traded it for a Toyota truck. At that point, I wanted something that could go to hell and back, since that A4 only took me on the first half of the journey.

  6. I owned one VW – a 2019 Tiguan. VW lemon-lawed it at 11,000 mile for bad electronics. Bad, as in randomingly slamming on the electronic e-brake – at 65mph. Never again. They are shit cars with shit dealer service.

  7. Sad about that, we had a similar situation with a Ford Sport-Trac Got it used, wife loved it, but the radiator had a leak right from the get go, replaced by seller, then the power steering rack failed, replaced that, then the brake modulator, replaced that, all this within 3 years, I was like, we can’t keep replacing parts, so was able to convince her to trade it before something else went. I guess it was sort of inevitable with the plastic bed that won’t rust, that everything else on the truck was fair game.

  8. Good venting. You needed that. And it sounds like you’ll need to do it again, over this same VW curse in your life.

    Coulda had a V8. No really.. my history with V8 engines (American ones anyway) has been damn-near faultless. I think your next fun car should have a nice dependable and powerful V8.

  9. I had the same engine in my ’09 GTI. Same problem. PCV valve failed last year and blew the rear main seal. I sold the whole car for scrap and moved on. I loved that car, but I had no more trust in anything under the hood.

  10. When it comes to wives and cars, I have been very lucky for the last 53 years. When we first met I owned a ’62 TR3-B. It ruined her dress in a storm. We drove from Chicago to San Diego and only put the top up twice. She loved that car.

    That set the pattern for the rest of our lives. Every car we have bought was by consensus whether for her, me or both of us. That has led to an incredible string of cars, including 3 911’s (66, 77, 04) a Honda N600, lots of roadsters, 3 MB (59, 70, 77), a 1977 Citroen CX2000, an Audi 75 Variant, and a 1978 Monte Carlo with a 350 and a 4 spd from the factory as well as many others. We just bought our EOL (end of life) car in February. A very nice Cadillac CT6 with the twin turbo set up. Got my 1st ticket last week. Damned thing is scary fast.

    Hope you all can achieve such peace!

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