Jan. 6, 2015 9:45 p.m.

2011 Golf TDI. 109,000 miles. No known issues. Except the heat in it sucks. I've learned through some research that if the vent control is set to the face vents only and with max heat setting, that there is a electric supplemental heater that kicks in initially to get you heat fairly quick. This works nicely. However, in any other vent position setting, max heat is luke warm at best. Is this a diesel thing? TDI thing? Using my OBD II monitor and Torque Pro the engine water temp is running about 190*.

With this extreme cold, I wish I could get more heat out of the car. The front grills are blocked off as well, to help the engine run warmer during the winter and prevent intercooler icing (so far so good). Any suggestions? If it weren't for the seat heaters, I'd be freezing! Thanks!

NGTD SuperDork
Jan. 6, 2015 10:11 p.m.

Normally VW's throw heat like crazy. I had the window open today in my 03 Golf and it was -18 C (0 F).

Thermostat good?

mad_machine MegaDork
Jan. 6, 2015 10:34 p.m.

ugh.. max heat only to the face? I have a very hard time breathing with hot hair blowing in my face.. I do like my toes warm and cozy though

Jan. 7, 2015 12:33 a.m.

Diesels take longer to warm up since, with no throttle, they ingest so much more cold air than a gas engine at idle.

But once warm I don't why a diesel can't blow as much heat as a gas engine.


daeman New Reader
Jan. 7, 2015 12:58 a.m.

I'm assuming it has a coolant filled heater core? Get it up to temp and touch each heater hose, they should be about the same temp as one another, if ones scorching hot and the other is closer to Luke warm there's an issue with coolant flow thru the core. If they are much the same, it could be something under your dash.

Being a euro car with seat heaters, I doubt the golf would be enjoying continued success if it had a sub par heating system from factory.

bludroptop UltraDork
Jan. 7, 2015 4:06 a.m.

Something is wrong. You could roast a turkey in my TDi.

Jan. 7, 2015 7:32 a.m.

Thanks for the feedback. Looks like I have some digging to do.

NGTD SuperDork
Jan. 7, 2015 8:28 a.m.

In reply to CGLockRacer:

Changed a radiator or coolant lately? Air bubble in the heater core?

Ian F MegaDork
Jan. 7, 2015 8:34 a.m.
bludroptop wrote: Something is wrong. You could roast a turkey in my TDi.

+1. In single digit temps, it may take awhile to get there, but there was never a lack of heat out of my '03 as long as I was able to load the engine.

The only time I ever had a problem was one time doing the 25 mile commute from my ex's house to work through back roads at relatively low speeds during early morning single-digit temps. I was never able to put enough of a load on the engine to get it to warm up. This was prior to installing an electric coolant pre-heater.

Jan. 7, 2015 9:04 a.m.

Our '09 took a while to warm up, but once it did we were always toasty and usually turned the thermostat down after haven been in the car a while. Now our '14 warms up at least twice as fast as the '09 did. The butt warmers on both are/were great, the '14 has fewer settings than the '09 did, but the '14's seats get down right hot on the highest setting, and quick, the '09's seats took at least twice as long to warm too.

Jan. 7, 2015 9:15 a.m.

I did a better search and found that there may be a software issue. I will have to check at lunch. Basically if I turn the heat knob to low, then back to full max, it should give me full heat again. If that is true, then I need to convince the dealer to perform the TSB on an out of warranty car to reprogram the HVAC system. Hopefully that is the issue and not something worse.

CGLockRacer SuperDork
Jan. 7, 2015 9:16 a.m.

In reply to NGTD:

Nope. Coolant still at normal level too.

xflowgolf Dork
Jan. 7, 2015 9:28 a.m.

Sounds like something is wrong.

2011 Golf TDI here. ~75K on it. Heat will boil you at full blast (once the car is warm obviously), and I rarely use the "in your face" dash vents.

CGLockRacer SuperDork
Jan. 7, 2015 4:34 p.m.

OK, update. Played around with settings on the way out of work. About 60 miles of hwy driving tonight. No change. But what I did notice is that the pass. side vents are cold, driver's side are warm-ish. I saw something else online about a control rod coming loose. Looks like I'll be digging under the dash this weekend.

daeman Reader
Jan. 7, 2015 4:46 p.m.

And this kiddies is why I'm growing an increasing hatred of newer cars... In car heating has been simple and bloody effective for decades until manufacturers decided to over complicate something that really didn't need it. Far to much electronic berkeleywiterry involved in keeping passengers warm or cool these days. I get the feeling the dash will be coming out of your car some time soon unfortunately

CGLockRacer SuperDork
Jan. 28, 2015 12:35 p.m.

Update time. Took the car to the dealer since my regular go to mechanic said they'd be better equipped to handle this problem. Upper HVAC vents with heat on, left side hot and get progressively cooler until cold on the right side. Foot vents are inconsistent in temp. Sometimes hot, other times cold. After about an hour I can be warm or broiling on the driver's side, while the passenger is cool or cold. The car does NOT have dual zone climate control. Dealer said all the flapper doors are working properly (not sure if they checked to see if the actuators were connected to the doors or just to see if they moved. They want to change out the heater core. I told them not at this time. It doesn't make sense that I can have heat on once side and not the other, and I'm not spending $700+ for something that won't be guaranteed to fix the problem. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Rupert Dork
Jan. 28, 2015 1:10 p.m.
daeman wrote: And this kiddies is why I'm growing an increasing hatred of newer cars... In car heating has been simple and bloody effective for decades until manufacturers decided to over complicate something that really didn't need it. Far to much electronic berkeleywiterry involved in keeping passengers warm or cool these days. I get the feeling the dash will be coming out of your car some time soon unfortunately

I'll see your hugely complicated heater rant. Then I raise you with a hugely complicated "infotainment" system rant. I like to be able to adjust often used settings by the feel of the knob. I don't care to keep my eyes on the dashboard while scroll through "windows" to just change the volume of my audio system. Or for that matter, the difference in heat or cool between the passenger seat and mine.

It's not like I'm the only driver out on the road!

CGLockRacer SuperDork
Jan. 28, 2015 2:41 p.m.

Another update. After picking up the car and talking with the service writer more, they are saying the heater core is clogged on one side. The car is set up for dual zone from the factory, but just doesn't have the controls for it. They say the driver's side is the inlet side (hot) and the pass side is the outlet. This kind of makes sense I guess. Thoughts?

alfadriver UltimaDork
Jan. 28, 2015 2:48 p.m.

In reply to CGLockRacer:

That doesn't make sense to me.

How is it clogged? Or how are they suggesting that it's clogged? The airflow, the water flow? What's clogged?

And why would that be clogged on a non-dual zone system and not on a dual zone system?

If it's the same stuff but clogged, then take the blockage out that someone forgot to take out. I don't get why a year old heater core would need replaced.

rcutclif HalfDork
Jan. 28, 2015 3:18 p.m.

has the heat always been awful? or is this a new condition?

Here's my WAG if the heat has always been awful:

heat output sensor(s) not reporting correct information back to HVAC control computer and therefore the computer is limiting coolant flow to the core via its control over the coolant bypass valve. No flags on the VW computer because the sensors are returning something (just not returning reality). Tech thinks the core is plugged because there is very little coolant flow.

Maybe the sensors are incorrect (dual-zone vs. non dual-zone) or the computer is incorrect or they are plugged in wrong. Seems odd I know, but if it has always been like this it is possible the factory assembled the car incorrectly (just ask my mom about her 03 explorer that was delivered sans 4WD ECU module...).

If its a new condition, then it does seem like airflow through the core might be blocked (mouse nest or something), that seems very unlikely though.

EDIT: What exactly do you mean the car is setup for dual zone from the factory but just doesn't have the controls for it?

Do you mean someone took the dual zone controls out and replaced the unit with a non-dual zone one? (If so I'd start there...)

Or do you mean all similar cars have dual-zone mechanicals but some got the dual zone controls and others got standard controls?

Streetwiseguy PowerDork
Jan. 28, 2015 3:58 p.m.

If the heat fades across the car, it is 90% sure it needs a core. I don't know whether VW is the same but Chrysler and Toyota both use a stupid design.

This is an old heater core. The hot water goes in one end, down to the opposite tank, and back through the core again, and back to the engine. Think of it as a long skinny core folded in half. They generally work quite well, and can be flushed effectively.

This is a modern Toyota core. The fluid goes in the top , through the core, and exits out the other tank at the same end. The end with no fittings builds up crud, and its impossible to flush it out without using depleted uranium pellets. If you picture it rotated 90* from the pic and installed in the box, you can see the side to side heat issue.

CGLockRacer SuperDork
Jan. 28, 2015 7:46 p.m.

In reply to rcutclif:

Or do you mean all similar cars have dual-zone mechanicals but some got the dual zone controls and others got standard controls?


I don't think this is a new issue. But it was highlighted when the weather got REALLY cold a few weeks ago.

CGLockRacer SuperDork
Jan. 28, 2015 7:50 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

Core isn't a year old. Car has 113k miles now. Bought it in May with 88k.

TGMF New Reader
Jan. 28, 2015 8:24 p.m.

Drain coolant, flush with water. Drain. Refill with water\citric acid mix. Run engine for 10 min or so. Disconnect heater core hoses and back flush. Flush entire cooling system and repeat. Then flush and fill with water and idle again. Flush. Refill with coolant, and done, if your heat was working with water in cooling system.

Couple years ago Toyota had a problem like this in many cars. It was caused by improper Cleaning of the coolant tanks in the factory. They used salt water to wash them, but failed to get all the salt water out. It resulted in a white goo that clogged up the core first but really the whole cooling system was effected. The result was poor heat performance as you describe. Cirtic acid flush was the official response. Sometimes it wasn't enough and core replacement was needed. Most times it worked like a champ.

Never had a water pump fail due to the flush, but it can't be the best for it. It was however highly effective at removing nasty crap from cooling system. Note this will clean (bleach) a spot in your driveway when draining the acid, so drain it where you don't care.

chuckles HalfDork
Jan. 28, 2015 8:28 p.m.

I just want to testify that I bought, for my young family and me, a Brand New Peugeot 504 diesel Wagon in Little Rock, AR lo, these many years ago, and that it had very good heat and good dealer-installed air, and the best seats in history, and a ride from heaven, PLUS excellent handling and brakes, and was very reliable, and that the engine got progressively smoother up to around 120,000 miles when I sold it, in perfect shape, for a song, to a good friend. List price around $10,000. 71 hp. Interstate fuel economy, loaded, around 32 @ 55 mph.

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