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Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:12 pm
by Glen
So, this is what I've been bombing round the peak district in over the past 6 months or so...




Truth be told its about as rough as a car can get and still be roadworthy(ish) but whilst thats probubly not very good for it come the end of august when the MOT runs out, for the time being it seems to be reliable seats and a steering wheel, without much else!

It started life as a pesent spec golf, I'd say a "DL" spec though ecomatics seem to be CL's only lack all the bits CLs have like heated washers, central locking, tinted windows(?) and whatever. Only features it does seem to have is programerble wipers (yet to find a mk3 without them) and a sunroof (don't like it but I might as well use it - don't think it actully lets in water though I've blamed it in the past. Its a 94 (R) model built in the P factory - guess all ecomatics were RP models too?

Registerd the day the M plate came out (aug 94) in Wimbledon, London, the extended warantee seems to say it got its first owner around the end of the year - I therefore recon it was a dealer demonstrator for a few months and eventually found an owner when heavily discounted to get rid of it - whilst the ecomatic is an interesting idea, if I had to pay £1500 extra for it I don't think I would, neather did anyone else I suspect!

I remember seeing an eco in a dealer when I must have been about 9, looked interesting and I guess always stuck in my mind. I've been sort of looking for one for years but never seen one for sale. All I really wanted to do was see how it worked. Just at the right time where I needed a cheep car for work (my old landy needs a lot of serviceing if you do rediculous miles in it! Its also a bit slow for long distance site visits in a day) one apeared on ebay, really cheep with a years MOT!

Its really rough now, the shocks are very poor, the doors are rusty and I think the sills would need more welding come the summer. Headlineing had gone due to water damage and it was soon aparent the car leaked badly. I had to rip out the carpets as they were ruined and holding moisture, drilled some extra drain holes in the floor and added some mastic to the windscreen. Someone had sealed up some of the sunroof drains which I had to unblock. I've herd the issue with mk3 windscreens is they are bonded in (as is now common but was quite new at the time) and if not bonded in corectly when the screen is replaced it leaks badly, as the paint is also often damaged in the process it makes the shell rot around the screen which all seems to be true on my car.

I think its too far gone to ever be a good example but it does still work. Engine is excelent, so strong. I have a 1.6TD syncro van which is gutless and though the golf is lighter the 1.9D feals like it has more go in it,actully it probubly does these days! Ecomatic wise its all there and apart from the fact it seems to loose vacuum fairly quick its not too bad. When I first got it it seemed to not want to coast for more than about 5sec with the engine off but now it seems to go for longer, maybe 30sec at times - don't think its right but don't know if its realisticly fixable - the vac lines seem okay but the clutch unit makes a groaning unit when stationry like its letting air in.

I usally drive it in engine brake mode but have recently started using proper eco mode. I know in engine brake mode it does 46...51mpg (about 5.8l/100km I think for anyone lucky enough to not to measure fuel economy in stupid units that don't relate to what you buy!) which doesn't seem bad though I'm sure a normal 1Y golf would do the same and a TDI doubtless better. I do engage eco at traffic lights though which I have to say is such a great feature! I'm not convinced eco mode coasting down hills will save that much when not in traffic jams, which I don't have here.

One thing thats stopped me using eco mode much is the amount of night driving I've done over winter and the fact the lights keep dimming when the engine (constantly) restarts. I noticed last night however that this only happens to dipped beam, not dimdip or main (when on main I can see dip fade when the engine starts, I fitted twin headlamps as the original H4's had broken housings - this means dip stays on with main). I have vague memorys early mk3s had a recall when new due to a headlamp failure issue and Ithink this car has had the recall and its messed up the eco aux batt feature. Only today I found the affending relay (looked like a mod but used VW components which is why I think it was a dealer mod) and bypassed it - we will see if this sorts it out. Of course when I got the car it had its original VW 9Ah battery still fitted, 16 years old and with bone dry cells! A new one ment I could actully listen to the radio! I've serviced the engine and done some of the cheep tweeks/fixes that make it less iritating but its not ment to be in my perminant fleet so only gets the essenchals, Save the cash for the syncro as thats rather good at eating money!

Thats really about it. Just got a VAG COM cable for it but it doesn't claim to have a lable file for my digiswing (the suffix A type) which makes it of limited use. Something odd I could spot though was it seems to have 2 temp readings (is there more than 1 sensor?) and whilst 1 reads about what I would expect, like the dash clock does, the other seems to give an implausable signal that flutters around and can be 130deg when you've just cold started! The heaterplug light doesn't always light when I think it should but its always started really well so I've wondered if it actully heats the engine when the door is opened so you don't have to wait so long - compaired to the old JX in the syncro its a very different and happy starter, though habit means I always use the cold start lever (which took me a good few months to notice its much more advanced than the "in" or "out" setting on the van).

Well that'll do for tonight, not sure when I'll be back on line so I might not reply for a bit but I'm sure I will soon,

Re: Hello

Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:55 pm
by Deylan
Hi Glen,

Nice to hear from a UK owner!! Really enjoyed reading that, excellent pictures, I wish I had that much space :)

I think every Ecomatic in the UK was the basic version, presumably this was to keep the costs down. The lucky Germans like Hajo got power steering and other countries could even choose a colour other than red!

Both my ecomatics too are rusting very badly, infact in the same suspicious places on the passanger side, which is a shame as they have got to the stage where serious bodywork is required and a big spend is neccessary - interestingly my automatic golf (built in the wolfsburg factory) is slightly older than both my ecomatics (early 94) and yet has a fraction of the rust. I think the single stage paint is partially to blame, and then one could speculate that the factory paint processes were different. The usual pinch welds crushed by moronic people jacking it up too.

You're not alone with the sunroof. Is it a factory fitted one? Mine is some aftermarket effort (done in the UK I think) which doesn't have drain plugs and lets water in through the seals, I hate to think about the damage to the roof when it was installed, I also made the mistake of pulling the rubber gasket off thinking I could re-seat it correctly but it has leaked worse ever since. Supposedly a replacement sunroof is looking in the region of £1000.

If the electric vacuum pump is switching on and off during driving then there is a leak somewhere, if the engine is restarting itsself while coasting then the control unit is getting a signal from Brake booster vacuum switch F190 to tell it brake circuit vacuum is too low (if you fancy swapping the switch to rule that out I have a working spare I can post). The clutch positioner will make a rattling noise every 10 seconds at a stop which is normal enough (assuming it only moves up and down max 3mm)

Like yours again both auxillary batteries on mine were completely nackered thus loss of power to lights/instrument cluster/radio during restart, infact I checked with previous owners and one was bought from new with a dead battery :lol: - obviously people who serviced the cars thought it was there as a cosmetic feature... One of mine has a FSH, so the dealers obviously paid a lot of attention when it went in for servicing.

Temperature sensor: The one which is shared with the glow plug system is only accurate to 45C~ after that it then shows some nonsense figure, however if it is showing that figure even before an engine start then there could be a problem... This is used to determine when the engine can turn off, as well as controlling the glow plug (may explain the light not coming on) Do you have the [k111] light on for 2-3 minutes of initial driving?

I soon realised when it dropped below -5 that my glow plugs were not working with some rather embarassing starting attempts in the morning.

Most importantly though your Ecomatic mode is working! :)

My VAGCOM has working label files (one or two fields are incorrect), perhaps I could send you my label files across.

Seems you have a really good knowledge of the car. :)


Re: Hello

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:44 pm
by Glen
The space isn't mine I'm afraid, its work which is based from a farmyard. I tend to keep one vehicle there all the time though which is handy, hope they won't compain (I only own the green Land-Rover so its not all mine). Means I can use the workshop after hours and I don't have to finish the job that night to get home. The pic from the back is on my drive.

Maybe my car isn't so basic then, it has electrohydralic power steering (thought it was a standard feature on an eco) and its definately a factory sunroof, manual tilt and slide. Its actually a tray that bolts under the roof on some rivited on stifeners. The tray has drains that go down the pillars, the seal around the glass isn't actully designed to be completely waterproof as water should just drain off. There is probubly a pressed lip in the roof panel around the hole too that an aftermarket roof would lack. I'm sure I saw a RHD eco on ebay about 4 years ago that was metalic green. I've got a original brosure which seems surgest theres a few colours avalable for the eco, but in the 90's red was a good seller and being non metalic was cheeper so if my theory that most ecos started as demonstrators they would have gone for a cheep popular colour to make it easy to shift.

Every panel is dented and scraped, and yes the sills are mangled from poor jacking.

VWs have a rust problem in the early 90's because they changed to eco friendly waterbased paints. 80's models didn't have this. It seems they go porus as they age, or maybe its just when damaged from a scratch/chip water gets under the paint and a rust spot will grow till eventually it'll consume the whole pannel - they didn't build them to last forever, but like most VWs you can't say they are doing too bad as they are well over their 10 year design life - sadly that will mean that when the parts are gone they are gone as thats whats happened to the T3 and even T4 vans!

Can't hear if the vac pump switches when driving, but it does fairly regularly when stationry. I can sometimes hear a relay clicking when driving which I suspect is it seperating the vacuum systems. I don't think there is anything wrong with the switches as it does run out of brake vacuum very quickly if you don't let it restart. It seems to be loosing vacuum slower than when I got it though I think - definately has a reserve now where when I got it I thought my van had more of a resovwar due to its 5m long hose between the pump (rear engine) and the servo behind the dash. That or maybe its because the van has a vacuum tank for the difflocks and maybe the one way valve has packed up - seems alright though.

The noise is dificult to explain, i might record it and see if it comes out, sounds like a diaphram leaking and groaning as it deflates. Never actully seen the clutch linkage to see how much it moves, I sometimes think the clutch is slipping. Sometimes at speed in engine brake mode the clutch opens and closes breafly when you lift off - I put it down to a qwerk.

The headlights dimming was caused by this funny relay which I think must have been from a recall. I do have a fair bit of service history so I'll have a look to see if its got a recall documented, I think it has. Anyway I've basicly removed this recall as it doesn't work with ecomatic - now my lights stay on alll the time just like I hoped it would when I did the battery.

The green light does come on from cold and soon goes out as I think it should. Surprisingly this feature still worked perfectly back when the thermostat was stuck open (so the temp guage never moved off its stop). I've never questioned if the heaterplugs are working, even when the weather was minus 10 it fired up quickly (really needed the coldstart then though!). Its just the light doesn't always come on when cold. Don't know for sure but I wonder if it heats when you open the door so unless your really quick or really slow at turning the ingnition on its already at starting temp so doesn't use the "wait" light. The light has no relation to heaterplug operation anyway, the glow control relay on my syncro will actully put the glowplugs on for up to 3 minutes after a coldstart to help reduice NOx emissions, I suspect the ecomatic does something simular. I think when I saw the funny high temp the engine had beeen idleing untill it reached cutout temp - think I had 60deg on the belivable sensor so that must be the gauge value. On the syncro the guage and the heaterplugs use seperate sensors but they are the same part number so interchangable (which makes fault finding easy as you can swap the plugs over).

I wonder if my VAG COM doesn't have lables because its the suffix A digiswing and maybe the files were written for other veriants and it doesn't spot the simularitys. There can't be that many around so its possable its rare enough no one has noticed its not covered (ie its only covered when someone wants it, thats now me!). If you could send a lable file it would be helpfull! I wonder if it had one for the other part numbers but can't find any - I'm new to vag com so having figured it all out yet. Is there any adaption you can do to the unit or is it just faults and sensor outputs? I have one of the blue dealer workshop manuals for the ecomatic so maybe that'll make more sence now I have vagcom (its a recent toy). One day I'll scan the brosure and workshop manual so theres an electronic version.

I'm a machanical engineer by profession. I'd love to work in the auto industry but in the current market no one wants to risk me as I have limited experiance and due to suvear dislexia aren't too good and the paperwork. When I get more experience I'll be more useful. Untill then I'll just continue messing around with cars and reverse engineering them. I've done 50's models, 80's models are practucally the same so now its fitting 90's tech (quite good but not intergraded so youcan change an engine with an engine loom without having to do the rest) to 80's models (I think 80's to early 90's is my faverate era of cars, you just need to fit 90's diesels to them!). It passes the time!


Re: Hello

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:47 pm
by Deylan
Hi Glen,

I had to re-read what I typed re "power steering", I actually meant "airbags" :lol: ... You are correct all ecomatics had power steering (to the best of my knowledge).

I mentioned to Jimmi (on here) a few days ago actually it is strange they would go to the bother of implementing the electric power steering pump in when they sold Mk3s without power steering.... You'd have just thought they'd have gone with the setup which the non-PAS Mk3s had.

Quite interesting if there is a non-red ecomatic in the UK, if so it must be literally the only one, I've seen a few diesels listed as ecomatics though they aren't infact ecomatics.. I know of 8 ecomatics from the UK (one went to America, two had its ecomatic removed, the others got sold on) and they have all been red. Nice colour when it isn't oxidised, not the best colour for hiding rust either.

A relay ticking while driving along is probably the electric vacuum pump (and simultaneous separation of brake and clutch circuits), it is difficult to hear the electric vacuum pump when driving along though there is no other relay that could be ticking, when I bought my 2nd ecomatic it was doing this and I suspected it was the electric vacuum pump so when it ticked I came to an abrupt stop to confirm it, there is no relay for the priority switching valve. I get approx 20 brake pedal presses before servo starts to run out with engine off, which is loads really. Be warned the electric vacuum pump is a bloody expensive part so if you can find the leak might be worth patching it up to reduce strain on the electric vacuum pump.
Sometimes at speed in engine brake mode the clutch opens and closes briefly when you lift off - I put it down to a qwerk.
This is very interesting as I have witnessed that behaviour a few times with mine with my original digiswing unit (revision A), I'm not convinced it should do this however. The only explanation (apart from incorrect sensor input) would be that there is an algorithm to detect a gearchange thus to open the clutch to prevent a jerk from the abrupt liftoff. Going to make a separate post about this soon :)

Both my ecomatics were originally fitted with the revision A digiswing and VAGCOM can read it right, I'll see if I can find the label file in my vagcom directory.

You can put the car in "basic setting" using VAGCOM which clears the data in the digiswing control unit regarding throttle adaption and clutch position adaption. Once you do that as per the SSP you need to perform 10 clutch operation by letting off and giving accelerator in 2nd gear. It can make a bit of difference especially if the adjustment bolt on the clutch positioner cable has been altered. Definitely worth doing, nothing to lose really*. When I bought mine I went through every measuring block test with VAGCOM to confirm all sensors/switches were operating correctly.

Can I ask where was the relay you removed? How strange this would be fitted and disrupt the operation of lights, and the owner not to notice...

I changed the thermostat on my Ecomatic saturday just gone... it is now running slightly too warm for my liking though (around 95C), I was expecting the temp needle to be pointing closer to 87C, like my other Mk3...

*Famous last words :P

Re: Hello

Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:41 pm
by Glen
Airbags - Depends on market and model I suspect. ETKA seems to list airbags as avalable on all years but in the UK it seems they were standard on all later models after the midlife update (rounded side repeater indicators - 96MY on), not sure when drivers airbag became mandatory in the UK but that might have been when, or maybe it was VW marketing safety before the rivals like its their idea and neglecting to mention its soon to be compolsory for all. I've not seen an 'early' UK car with an airbag, it might have been an option on posher models like Gti or VR6 but many might not have bothered to spec it. One things for sure ecomatics do have the low spec twin spoke steering wheel but you needed to go to a GL or higher to get a 'sports' wheel, some of which had a leather option.

PAS - Only the basic launch models lacked PAS, think it was only the 1.4 petrol and 1.9 diesel. Both, especally the diesel were heavily critisised as 'needing PAS' at launch. I think its quite likely that it was standard on the diesel by the time the ecomatic was launched a year or so later. As they'd bothered to make the electrohydraulic system (for euro GL ecomatic?) it was probubly cheeper to offer it as standard on all ecos to make it more sellable and recoop some of the development costs they wouldn't recoop if it was an expencive option that few would take and then critisise the car for. Another thought, is an eco any heavyer at the front end over the standard model so again they thought PAS was essenchal?

I'm sure I saw a green one on ebay, was a while ago though and I think it was one of those been in by garden for ages listings that atracts no one and it probubly got weighed in - think it was in the south somewhere, possubly west country. Wasn't anywhare up here anyway or I'd have gone for a look. That said it was not 'soft green metalic' as listed as one of the 5 colours in my broture so who knows. Can't remember what colour I saw in the dealer when new, quite possubly 'tornado red' though. It was in the show room then so they hadn't even put any miles on it then.

The pump probubly is comming on when driving, it turns on a lot when stationry! I'll get a video of it to see if that picks out the growning noises.

I don't quite understand where vagcom gets its lables from. There seems to be quite a few in the lables file but enough for prittymuch all models and control units? Well obveously not as it doesn't have mine! I'll have to try it on a mates passat and see what happens. I've actully dug out the blue VW dealer workshop manual I got on ebay some years back for the ecomatic and it turns out its for the diagnostics 1551 codes - makes a lot more sence now I've played with vagcom! It has a complete list of the fields so I'll have to go through them with that, won't need a lable file then though it would make life easyer if things are identified in program.

Done some digging in the service history of the car. Looks like it went to its first 'owner' in feb 95, by which time it had been on the road over 6 months and though the service record seem a bit ambiguous over miles, might have clocked 5000miles by then! Doubtless explains why it had extended warantee, the dealer probubly threw that in as part of the deal (with a suspect a heavily discounted car). Many had obveously driven it, but it seems no one was convinced by it!

In 1997, just before the extended warantee would have run out (though it had changed hands by this point) it was recalled (letter dated 3/7/97). The problem was ment to affect "Golf, convertable and Vento" models, "Possable chafing of an engine compartment wireing loom may cause loom to overheat, this can lead to headlight failure." The 'Honest John' website also lists loads of recalls on the mk3 golf for heatlight issues, noteably the switches on RHD single lamp cars (as mine was built as). Its worth noteing my car has obveosuly had the headlamp switch replaced. The switch has a setting for front foglamps. It also has room to mount the range control dial next to the pannel lamp dimmer, complete with backlit range control logo, though it has a blank where the switch would be fittred - on all early mk3's I've seen in the scrappys they don't have this feature on the switch (not even a blanked off hole), its just on the very late higher spec cars that actully have range control. The dash loom apears to have the wireing for range control too as theres a red plug behind the switch but there is nothing on the front loom behind the lights.

Not sure what the recall did but there was a relay fitted to the dipped beam which clicked when you turn the lights on. It was a proper VW "53" relay in a proper base which should clip to the other aux relays above the fusebox but it was just dangleing loose behind the dash. Just behind the lightswitch there is a couple of single conectors which I think tap the modified loom into the original where a terminal has been removed from the switch conector and diferted to the mod. This mod obveosuly takes power from the standard terminal "30" (main battery feed) on the car as that would be fine on all other cars. It doesn't take acount that on the ecomatic, there is the second battery. How does this work? I guess the ignition switch takes its power from this battery, thus terminals "15" (ignition) and "X" (load reduction) run off this anti dropping surply. Headlights usally run off the X from the ignition key which is also used to run the load reduction relay so its possable that though the headlights don't drop when the engine starts, the actual load recuction relay, and all othe "X" circuits do drop, I should listen to the heater fan when it restarts! I'm guessing all these items run off the little battery, which is conected the the starter battery by a relay thats normally closed, but opens when the starter is energised so it can't see the voltage drop?

Another peice of history worth noting is in 1999 the aux battey was replaced! Could this be to cure the dimming dipped beam problem the car had developed in recent years (due to the mod)? If it wasn't driven much at night it could have been a while after the recall before anyone noticed it wasn't working like before?

Worth noting before going mad looking for headlamp relays, there is a relay "94" that relates to headlamps. I suspect this is only fitted to UK models which will have the dimdip system fitted and built with single lamps. These looms seem to be based on a modified twin lamp loom where dipped beam is powered from the lightswitch not the dipswitch so wouldn't extingwish when main beam is selected, this relay turns off dipped beam when the main is triggered - I fail to see the point of this design as all it means is dipped beam (or dimdip) will go out when you flash the lights, but as thats only momentery who cares if both filiments of the same lamp are lit? My syncro certainly does this without issue. This relay does have a usefull feature though as if your retrofitting twin lamps all you need to do is swap the lamp units over, and disable this relay so it won't turn off dipped beam when main is selected and then you have a corectly functioning twin lamp setup that will pass an MOT.

95deg sounds slightly warm but if it doesn't move from there I probubly wouldn't worry - is the guage that accurate? Did you test the new thermostat prior to fitting? Some of the cheeper aftermarket ones don't last but I think the opening point is governed by the wax type rather than assembly so untill they start to fail they aren't really calabratable - you fill with the type of wax required for that temprature. VR6 thermostats run it bit cooler as they open at 80deg, as do diesel T3 vans with factory air con. Remember the rad fan is an independant system so it might be worth checking it to see if it works (I've never herd mine come on, ever. Seems to be a VW diesel thing as the syncro only uses its fan a couple of times a year when your really asking for it and then only on the 1st speed). When the engine is at normal operating temp and the heater is on cold, leaving it idleing should eventually make it kick in. If its kicking in when driving its getting a bit hot, if you never hear it come on but it does work I wouldn't worry as its not getting too hot. Remember its a two stage fan as well so its only really starting to get too warm when the second stage fires up, which you probubly will notice as they roar a bit then!

Mine sits at about 87 but will cool down when the engine is off pritty quickly - this surprises me as I think the electric cooling pump(another part originally made for the T3 van! Also borrowed for some other hotter running turbo diesels and the VR6) doesn't work - can't feel/hear it running like I can with the one in the syncro. The cooling system on the 1Y obveously has plenty of capacity (Havn't checked but its probubly the same rad used on turbo models) as a bodge I did on mine before I changed the stat was blocked half the rad with some cardbord, which made it run very slightly warmer but still far too low. The cardbord is still there (couldn't be bothered to remove it initally) and is now an interesting experiment to see how warm the weather can get before the full size of the rad is needed to keep it cool.