Club Touareg Forum banner

2013 3.0 TDI - Probable EGR Valve coolant leak

189557 Views 327 Replies 62 Participants Last post by  ToolmanJohn
I had to add one quart of coolant to the reservoir this weekend. I was backing up out of garage, low coolant warning came on the display, and yes, sure enough, the reservoir was low. Just about at the minimum marked level. I could clearly see the sensor electrodes.

This was the SECOND time since late December 2017. I also had the identical same thing happen. First engine start of the day, backing out of garage, and light came on. The first time it happened on a late December Saturday morning, I drove to VW dealership and bought $27 gallon of coolant. Added almost exactly a quart then too.

I looked for a leak under the Touareg, but nothing. No wet stains whatsoever. I had NEVER had an issue in almost 5 years, so I thought MAYBE evaporation?? Although with the 10K dealer performed service intervals, I always expected that they would catch and fill coolant if needed. Now that this is the SECOND 1-quart fill in exactly 6 weeks, I am bothered. The last 10K was in November, and I was into the service area in early December for the emissions-compliant repair. They did change out one glow plug, no reason given, during the emissions repair.

Reading the thread makes me think it's an EGR unit leaking coolant into the exhaust. I see no oil contamination in the reservoir, so it's not likely to be a head gasket.

I HAVE NOTICED in the last few weeks on cold mornings during acceleration I see a large white cloud on occasion. I usually never noticed anything before. I was chalking it up to the cold mornings and water vapor but now I think it's a bit of coolant blowing out the exhaust.

I'll be calling the dealership tomorrow, to take it in for diagnostics. Extended platinum warranty in force, $100 deductible, thank goodness.


1) Would a coolant system pressure test reveal a leaking EGR valve?
2) Any other possible areas where losing 1 quart over 6 weeks could go unnoticed, water pump, etc, anywhere? As I said before, NO visible leaks on the garage floor so I think it's heading out the tailpipe.
3) IF it is the EGR valve, could this also cause other possible problems "down the line". DPF filter blockage/failure, Catalytic Converter poisoning, turbocharger failure??? I would be pissed if this caused some damage not diagnosed now, and later out of warranty "became" an issue.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 328 Posts
Touaregs don't use coolant.

The symptoms you describe do point to the EGR and quite a few owners have reported that their EGRs have failed.
I had a coolant issue a couple months ago on my '14, and ended up noticing it collecting at the bottom of the engine bay after a thorough look. I'd figured you'd see a leak underneath, but the coolant is pumping while the engine is running, so unless you're running while parked for a bit it's all going to be dropping out on the road (or vaporizing). If you're seeing white cloud that is probably an indicator of coolant leak in the EGR. Coolant system pressure test should reveal the problem. Water pump could be a leak source too. My dealership replaced the water pump first, then pressure test afterwards revealed incorrectly seated / reused seals all the way down to the EGRs thanks to incompetent replacement of the HPFP by a different VW dealership that predated my ownership. Good luck.
Touaregs don't use coolant.

The symptoms you describe do point to the EGR and quite a few owners have reported that their EGRs have failed.

I'm fairly sure the EGR is the culprit, as it does bear similarities to other threads on coolant leaks.

Coolant is also synonymous with anti-freeze. I guess it depends on the climate, do you need anti-freeze, or coolant? Fortunately for Touareg owners, it's both.
Coolant = anti-freeze for me!
Visited the dealer yesterday. They performed a pressure test on the coolant system. I paid for the diagnostic.

No leaks found visually, or in the engine dirt shield. And the pressure test was pronounce OK. No leak found. At best, the only other thing they could do it to leave the pressure testing rig on the Touareg overnight to see if it leaks over a longer period. But because it would require a loaner, they can't do that unless VW were to approve. (I have no other means of transportation, and I work and live too far from the dealership for their shuttle).

Well....Ok then...I made a magic marker scribe line on the reservoir when the coolant is HOT, full operating temperature reached. I'll keep an eye on it over the next few weeks.

With my tow season coming up, I am very wary of having a catastrophic failure of the EGR or anything downstream of the EGR because of a leak.
Look into used oil analysis. I know it is extremely sensitive for finding things like blown head gaskets due to the elements only found in coolant making their way into the oil. Not sure whether coolant making it into EGR flow then the combustion chamber for burning would be enough.. that'd be a question for bobistheoilguy forums or blackstone/polaris themselves.

It'd just cost you a fill of oil and the ~$40 for UOA testing.
I'd figured you'd see a leak underneath, but the coolant is pumping while the engine is running, so unless you're running while parked for a bit it's all going to be dropping out on the road (or vaporizing).
Kinda. The system is pressurized as long as the engine is hot, so even after it is shut down there is some incentive for a leaking system to still leak, at least until the engine is cool. The question is only whether the leak is external or internal.. ie easy(ier) to spot, or not.
Well here it is, almost 8 weeks later since the second time I topped off the coolant reservoir. And, yes, I have noticed I am getting the very sporadic intermittent white cloud of exhaust, and it's almost always while under heavy throttle (3000 RPM) and let of the accelerator the RPM drops and I get a momentary white cloud. I can almost make it appear on demand, regardless of engine temperature.

I am down about one quarter inch in the coolant reservoir. Not a single indication of coolant on the garage floor, or where I park at work, same spot each day for 4 years. So I really am convinced it's getting out the exhaust through the EGR. No oil contamination whatsoever in the reservoir, so it's not a head gasket leak.

I really don't know how to talk to the VW service manager and force a repair on this. I don't want to wait until a catastrophic failure, which might leave me stranded far from home during towing this upcoming year.

I've been to the dealership once about it, and since the Touareg passed a pressure test, they determine it's OK. I can't reason through this. If it's got a coolant teak, it ain't magic, it's going somewhere, which means there's a defect/leak, which means something is wrong. Seriously bothered by their response last time i was there. I'm heading there again this morning to arrange another service visit for the same reason. I am going to pay another $50 for diagnostic. And they may again refute any problem but at least if it does fail in the near future, I can demand they use the diagnostic fees as the $100 deductible for the warranty.
See less See more
Dealership just called me. Service "adviser" now says they found the leak. Water pump..Only $550 plus labor... She apparently ignored that I have an extended platinum warranty.

Water pump.....???????

I asked where is the white cloud smoke screen coming from? Confused the service adviser..

I asked if there is coolant trapped in the plastic engine guard under the vehicle. Silence...

I stated that I will go there and they can SHOW ME the coolant leaking from the water pump and I will believe it.

Service adviser then tells me she will call me back after asking the techs about the white cloud indications....

Obviously they believe I am ignorant and will spend money on whatever they say it is.

Wow.. This "service" department. Can't they look at the EGR internally and just look for gummy residue? After all of my diagnostics and explanations describing the exact indications of coolant loss, no stains found on floor, the white cloud of smoke intermittently during driving but only when accelerating or letting of the throttle, and it is the water pump?

Is there a path from the pump to the exhaust???
See less See more
There IS a coolant leak at the Water Pump

So I have seen the leak the service department has found. In fact it may have been there a long time as there is a bit of rust and a reddish residue at the pump behind the main belt pulley at the bottom of the engine. There was also wetness on the pulley and around the weep hole area.

All of the hoses that pass under the engine just above the bottom plastic engine guard are covered in black dirty spooge. Probably coolant has been getting flung around down there for quite a while.

Still, the white clouds bother me. So the water pump will get replaced under warranty (they figured out I had a 10y/100k). If I keep losing coolant, then they'll have to dig further into diagnostics.

One of the methods that was mentioned would be to use a vacuum on the coolant system instead of pressure for a leak test. It is supposed to be better at detecting small leaks..
Water pump replaced under warranty. It was weeping out the bottom and slowly accumulating on the plastic under engine guard and evaporating.

I'll have to get in there with an engine foam and clean the mess.

I'll just have to drive it to see if it continues to lose coolant and go from there.
And...Here I go again.

Low Coolant warning! WTF...Checked the coolant reservoir and yes indeed, it's low. I hadn't really checked it since this past summer, and the Touareg had been into service last September for an oil change (80,000 miles), so the dealership should have also checked it while it was there for 3 whole days.

Looked into the engine compartment but I don't have any water on top of the plastic under engine shield. Also no leak detectable on the floor (I have a large plastic vinyl catch pan on the floor). The weather has been colder, I now wonder if there is a seal somewhere that shrinks in cold weather and the engine is inhaling coolant from that leak until it warms up.

I'll have to arrange a service visit, again, where I am told they can't find the leak.
if your egr cooler lets go you will hydro lock and break this engine....mine did this and snapped 1 rod and bent 1
The Touareg TDI has been in the shop since last Wednesday morning. Diagnostics CONFIRM (FINALLY) I have a leaking EGR cooler assembly. The service department ordered a new assembly. Unfortunately they did not order gaskets, so they are waiting for those. They did arrive yesterday - Friday (8 days after drop off). Work will complete Monday or Tuesday.

Aside from all that, I get a text message last Tuesday with 3 pictures and no description, then a phone call, from the service department service "adviser", these are the nice counter folks who take your car, write up service, and mis-communicate information to the customer (aka "victim" ) for a living. Well trained at it too.

Pictures show the soot buildup in something. I was told (yes, informed) this is not part of the warranty work, would I like the technicians to clean this while it is out of the vehicle? Only $400+ for labor. I believe they want to "soak" me for a $400+ soaking in a cleaning tank. I expertly reply "NO".

They have it apart for an EGR Cooler assembly, they ordered gaskets for the EGR assembly, and then again gaskets for the oil cooler assembly (yes there was a third message, the oil cooler near the EGR assembly? I just don't care right now). Shouldn't the cleaning of these soot carbon filled passageways be PART of the repair process before reassembly?

At the very LEAST it is under the powertrain 10yr/100K mile warranty, 84,293 miles. Hoping for the best, expecting something else.


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Those pipes need cleaning. Your engine is being strangled by the carbon build up.

Personally I would visit the workshop to have a look and see if could negotiate a better price whilst there.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
DELETE THE EGR AT 100000 MI and never deal with soot buildup and chasing coolant loss problems ever again.
  • Like
  • Helpful
Reactions: 2
I have almost the same issue in my 2014 Q7, it will go in Monday for inspection of the EGR cooler. I have coolant loss, that I can't find a trace of, but I can see a hair of something liquid between the engine block under the intake manifold. I've watched it for a few months, and tried to find anywhere it could be leaking. Sure sign is the sweet smell with it idling. I don't get the white clouds, so I believe the EGR cooler connections are probably leaking. Who knows.

While their there I'll end up having them do the water pump and thermostat, just to be preventative with the cooling system (102k miles); while its mostly dissembled (less labor).
Do what Nooby says. Putting those pipes back in with all that crap is silly.,,penny wise, pound foolish? Given the back and forth you've already experienced with these guys, I think you should get some consideration and, yes, a good shop would clean them out as part of the repair
Unfortunately they did not order gaskets, so they are waiting for those

These "service persons" never seem to read the repair manuals. I had the same.

The Service Manager made a big song and dance about how they had to remove the new EGR because the "O" rings for the coolant lines that come out of the block were hard and would not seal on re-use. That cost another day. The VW Repair Manual specifically states that the "O" rings are to be replaced.

I would expect that a decent service person would clean any part taken off an engine before re-installing. There is a definite lack of pride in doing a job properly.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 20 of 328 Posts