18613/P2181 Cooling System

   #1  

Anthony

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Hello,

I'm using this opportunity to gain experience and knowledge using VCDS to diagnose my problem. I noticed a fault code stored in the ECM, 18613/P2181, related to the performance of the cooling system. However, I do not have a check engine light. What does this mean? How many times does this problem have to occur before throwing a CEL? I've down my research on possible fixes for the infamous P2181 dtc; thermostat, ect sensor, etc.. I logged my morning commute this morning (18 minutes) (see below). The specs for normal operating temperature is shown to be 80d C (minimum). It took my car approximately 13 minutes to reach that temperature and the maximum temperature it reached was 81d C. According to RT, a 18613/P2181 fault code sets when the engine coolant temperature mapping is lower and out of expected range based on the operating conditions of the engine. Does this seem normal? Is the engine taking too long to reach normal operating temperature due to a thermostat stuck open? My morning commute is 90% highway. I am thinking that in one of my commutes, the temperature struggled and never reached operating temp and set the dtc. I am going to replace the thermostat and ect (g62) sensor soon. I suspect that will fix this problem.

I'm hoping to get some insight in helping me understand what is happening and how my car should operate under normal conditions. Thank you in advanced.

Here is the autoscan:

Code:
Tuesday,12,August,2014,10:10:47:17257
VCDS -- Windows Based VAG/VAS Emulator
VCDS Version: 12.12.2.0 (x64)
Data version: 20140212


VIN: 9BWDH61J634022866   License Plate: 
Mileage: 279410km-173617mi   Repair Order: 



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Chassis Type: 1J (1J - VW Golf/Bora IV (1998 > 2006))
Scan: 01 02 03 08 15 16 17 19 22 29 35 36 37 39 46 47 55 56 57 75
          76
 
VIN: 9BWDH61J634022866   Mileage: 279410km/173617miles
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 01: Engine        Labels: 022-906-032-BDF.lbl
   Part No: 022 906 032 CS
   Component: MOTRONIC ME7.1.1G   0004  
   Coding: 00032
   Shop #: WSC 00001  
   VCID: 5EB38D89DA74FCEEC9B-515E
   9BWDH61J634022866     VWZ7Z0B5592358

1 Fault Found:
18613 - Performance Malfunction in Cooling System 
            P2181 - 35-00 - 
Readiness: 0000 1000

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 03: ABS Brakes        Labels: 1C0-907-37x-ESP-F.lbl
   Part No: 1C0 907 379 M
   Component: ESP FRONT MK60      0102  
   Coding: 0019970
   Shop #: WSC 00001 785 00200
   VCID: 34670F21547806BE4FF-5140

No fault code found.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 15: Airbags        Labels: 6Q0-909-605-VW5.lbl
   Part No: 1C0 909 605 F
   Component: 08 AIRBAG VW61 0202 0001  
   Coding: 12344
   Shop #: WSC 00001  
   VCID: 275DE86DC5AE7D26FAD-5124

No fault code found.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 17: Instruments        Labels: 1J0-920-xx5-17.lbl
   Part No: 1J0 920 926 F
   Component: KOMBI+WEGFAHRSP VDO V07  
   Coding: 07434
   Shop #: WSC 00001  
   VCID: 2D511A45E7525776001-5140
   9BWDH61J634022866     VWZ7Z0B5592358

1 Fault Found:
00771 - Fuel Level Sensor (G) 
            30-10 - Open or Short to Plus - Intermittent

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 19: CAN Gateway        Labels: 6N0-909-901-19.lbl
   Part No: 6N0 909 901 
   Component: Gateway KCAN    0001  
   Coding: 00006
   Shop #: WSC 00001  
   VCID: F0EF4331B0E0FA9EEB7-5124

No fault code found.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 46: Central Conv.        Labels: 1C0-959-799.lbl
   Part No: 1C0 959 799 C
   Component: 8B Komfortgerát HLO 0003  
   Coding: 00065
   Shop #: WSC 00001  
   VCID: 377D382D150EEDA66AD-4B1A

   Subsystem 1 - Part No: 1C1959801A
   Component: 8B Tõrsteuer.FS KLO 0002  

   Subsystem 2 - Part No: 1C1959802A
   Component: 8B Tõrsteuer.BF KLO 0002  

No fault code found.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 56: Radio        Labels: 3B7-035-1xx-56.lbl
   Part No: 3B7 035 180 
   Component:    Radio ZSW        0012  
   Coding: 04033
   Shop #: WSC 22544  
   VCID: DDB10A85577267F6501-5124

1 Fault Found:
00856 - Radio Antenna 
            36-00 - Open Circuit

End   ---------------------------------------------------------------------


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   #2  

vwtech

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I believe the CTS is a duel sensor one for the ECU to read temp and the second to the cluster to work the gauge. You should compare the temps in ECU to the temp in the instrument cluster and see if they are the same. Because they are the same sensor in the same location. If one is off from the other it should set a code. Great way to compare the readings of the CTS.
I would change the CTS because it is easier, also make sure cooling fans are operating correctly. Then do a thermostat if code returns. Don't forget the plastic impeller of the water pump either.
Good Luck
 
   #3  

Jack@European_Parts

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In addition to what Stan Lee Marvel Comics said above.........

First make sure both fans come on and operate in tandem.

This is an old car now and a VR......... These cars are known for T stat issues in addition to pump issues like stated above.
If determined that a T-stat is needed........do not install a colder one........... go OEM, or slightly hotter to get better performance.

Be sure to check the additional water pump ( electric water pump ) for flow, and function.

The flange at the head is a known issue for a weep, and the secondary o-ring behind the timing cover should also start being observed.

Make sure the system can hold PSI . If it can't................ it can't force cooling as a closed cooling system.

Make sure the correct coolant is being used and not contaminated.
 
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Anthony

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Thanks guys. The readings at both the ecu and the instrument cluster are good. As for the cooling fans, they are operating normal. They turn on with the AC, and kick on at a coolant temp of ~111°C. I can also here the aux pump run after shutoff. Heat is coming out of the vents as it should proving coolant circulation. I will be upgrading to a metal impeller pump in the near future.

I'm trying to understand why the fault code appears when scanned but has not thrown a CEL. Does the malfunction need to happen multiple times before the CEL is thrown? Also, approximately how many drive cycles need to happen without the malfunction happening for the ecm to clear the code rather than manually doing it.
 
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Jack@European_Parts

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Typically 2 DCY's ( Drive Cycles ).....

How about proper PSI present at all hoses during fan operation and is the fan coming on at the correct time of temp not just with AC operation?

Check the radiator fan switch/wring for corrosion since its by a battery which like to leak acid........in that area underside.
 
   #6  

Anthony

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Here is an update:

I found a leak at the thermostat housing via a cooling system pressure test. Also, the fan speeds were not turning on at the temps per the Bentley Manual. So I am in the process of replacing the water pump, "crack pipe", t-stat, t-housing, and ECT since I'll have the coolant drained and the car in pieces. I also went through the process in checking that my thermoswitch and FCM are operating as they should using this guide, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw1dxrffmH5SOHRlQTlRVjdkUHM/edit?usp=sharing (based on Bentley Manual). The slow speed operation was not working. I jumped the connectors at the thermoswitch harness for the slow speed operating but that didn't work. Jumping the fan speed terminals for fast speed operation worked. Everything checked out ok with the FCM. I also grounded and powered the appropriate pins at the fan connectors and only the fast speed operation on both fans worked but did not work on either fan for the slow speed. What causes a fan to run in one speed but not the other? Is there another option besides replacing the fan itself? I got no resistance between the slow speed terminals of both fan connectors.
 
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   #7  

Jack@European_Parts

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FUSE..........Bad fan/resistor......wiring to it or bad fan module/wrong fan module part # or bad switch at radiator working for one zone and not the other as you describe.
 
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Anthony

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Thanks Jack. I'm going to pull the fans and try to repair the slow speed resistor before looking into replacing them.
 
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Jack@European_Parts

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Before you take fans apart............ did you verify you get the slow speed bridge power from the FCM to the fans?
 
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Anthony

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Yes i did. With the key on, ac on, interior fan speed selected, I got 12v at slow speed pins of connectors of both main and aux fan from the FCM.
 
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   #11  

Anthony

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Here is an update: The problem has been addressed.

The system was not holding pressure because of a leak. Went through and replaced the water pump, crackpipe (aluminum), t stat, t stat housing, both main and aux cooling fans, thermo switch, and ECT. Not only were my fans shot, but the thermo switch was also bad. I tested the thermo switch and turned out it wasn't initiating the fans at the right temperatures and wasn't consistent. I decided to just replace both fans instead of breaking them open and attempting to repair them. They are now working great in slow and high speed. I checked the system at 20 psi for 5-10 minutes and it held pressure. Vag-com shows the coolant temperature reaching normal temps on cold starts much better than what I have mapped above.

Thanks Jack, much appreciated.
 
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