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Feb. 25th G.T.G.


Autocross Fun
Though we had a very small turnout of TDI
members attend the Martin Racing autocross on
Sunday, Feb 12th, 2012 in Tavares, FL, the three
TDIs running the track did an admirable job of
representing our vehicles. Both Ivan Drusc and
Mark Williams scored high in their respective
classes. In fact, I think they scored in first place if
my memory is correct. I had previously placed
8th in my class (out of 8) and I moved up to 2nd
place (there were actually only 3 in our class and one of the
guys left early). The guys & gals with Martin Racing
were cordial and fantastic. I would encourage all
auto enthusiasts to learn the handling characteristics and limits of their car by taking your ride to the track and giving it a whirl. Dont feel that you have to win. This
driving experience prepares you for unseen calamity on the road so as to save your bodily health and your VWs condition.

Another Successful Get Together

With three tech session presenters our GTG had a lot of action this past Saturday,
Feb 25th, 2012. Tim Roberts did a terrific, hands-on demonstration regarding the
diagnosis and replacement of the elusive VW-TDI alternator pulley. He described in
words (and sound effects) the noise associated with faltering alternator pulleys.

Horst, right, watches Tim Roberts demo.

Many TDI owners are unaware that the TDI alternator has a special pulley designed
to only turn the alternator shaft in one direction. This design was implemented to
reduce the roughness that is evident during engine idling. The easiest sign of pulley
failure is a jumping serpentine belt & tensioner. Dealers get a pretty penny (actually
a lot more than that!) to replace the pulley, but enthusiasts can do their own
replacement with the necessary help from a specialized tool that is used to hold the
alternator shaft stationary while the pulleys fastener is removed. This entire
process is quite simple though you may have some periods of frustration if your
pulleys fasteners are stuck, as was the case with Horst who also replaced his
alternator pulley.

Horst is a snowbird from Ontario, Canada, who is also a friend of longtime Central Florida TDI Club member Frank
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Preuss. Frank assisted Horst in the replacement of the alternator pulley. Frank had also

volunteered to supplement Tims presentation with his own insights

but was unfortunately called in for mandatory overtime at work. So,
Frank being the dedicated TDIer that he is, put together a chart &
display with sample parts related to this repair topic.
GTG attendees were treated to a real professional tech session
between the efforts of Tim, Horst and Frank. This was certainly a
very worthwhile event that will save future TDI enthusiasts well
over $300 in labor. Just another reason to join us at our twice-ayear Get Togethers.
But our action certainly didnt stop there. Oh no. Yours truly, Chris
Mendola, did a short demo on headlight lens polishing. With so
many kits available on the market made to bring your dull headlight
(above)Tim Roberts demos alternator pulley replacement
lens back to full transparency, its very disappointing to find that so
many of these products never live up to their claim. Consumer
Reports testing magazine (March 2012 issue, page 53) reported on
four such headlight kits ranging in price from $9-$21. After trying at
least three other kits not mentioned in the article, and being very
disappointed in the results (or lack of), I tried a product that Ive used
on my show cars 3Ms Finesse II polishing product. This stuff works
and its results seem to last for about 4-6 months. But its price is not
for the faint-hearted. Available through auto paint distributors,
Finesse II retails for about $67 a quart (32 ounces) or about $2+ per
ounce. I found I could polish both lens covers with 2-4 ounces of
Finesse resulting in a cost of about $4-$8 per application. This
quantity is definitely affected by the polishing pad on your buffer; the
bigger & thicker the buffing pad, the more polish is absorbed into the
(above) Polished lens on left, unpolished lens on right
pad. Hand polishing is much slower but can provide good results if
you have arm muscles that can work at it a bit.


The thought of having to pay over $1000 to have your timing belt replaced is daunting to many TDI owners. This author
originally joined the Central Florida TDI Club with the expressed intent of learning how to replace his own timing belt,
especially after suffering sticker estimate shock at a VW shop. Having now replaced two timing belts in 187,000 miles I
can say, It aint as bad as having wisdom teeth pulled, and its a lot cheaper.
Our fall 2012 GTG will provide an in-depth, comprehensive exploration on how to replace your own timing belt. It will
feature what many consider to be the most comprehensive look at the parts, tools, and procedures needed to do your
own timing belt replacement AND attendees will gain access to what some enthusiasts believe is the most exhaustive
reference documents on this topic step-by-step directions with photos on how to replace your timing belt. But if you
dont attend, you wont learn how!
We expect our next TDI-GTG to be held during the second half of October or first half of November 2012. We will send
out an email announcement as we get closer to that time. If you received this newsletter through a source other than a
direct emailing, send us your email address so we may put you on our emailing list of future events & activities. Send your
email address to
See yall in the fall.

Diesel drivers are all torque!