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Slow 1.6 TDI

Aug 1, 2020
7
0
Hello all. I've just bought a 66-reg Leon ST 1.6 TDI with the Tech Pack and am surprised at how slow it feels. I knew it wasn't going to be quick but I thought it would have a bit more grunt than my old 55-reg Focus 1.6 TDCi - given that it's supposed to have 110 bhp versus the Ford's 90. It definitely doesn't though - it pulls OK from about 1600 rpm but feels completely gutless below that - and maintaining speed up any kind of hill requires me to keep my foot down a lot further than I'd expected.

Is this normal - maybe a result of low-emission mapping and long gearing? Or is there something wrong with it? It's ex-Motability and had only done 22,000 miles in 3-and-a-bit years so I'm wondering if it's coked up somehow. The DPF warning light hasn't come on at all, and I've done plenty of A-road and motorway miles since I bought it so ought to have burned off any soot that had accumulated - but I'm wondering whether the car might benefit from a proper Italian tune-up rather than just 70 mph in 5th??

Thanks very much in advance for any advice you can offer.
 
Jul 31, 2020
7
0
Sorry I know nothing about this engine at all, but a friend had a 65 plate one which didn't feel slow!

Have you ensured it's in sport mode? (assuming you have driving modes)

Has it had a service recently? My old 63 plate 2.0 diesel would get a bit sluggish before a service!

Also maybe put some of that dpf cleaner in fuel or however it works before paying a garage? Just an idea

Sent from my LYA-L09 using Tapatalk
 
Aug 1, 2020
7
0
It doesn't have modes unfortunately. But thanks for the suggestion about servicing - the dealer I bought it from changed the oil and the air filter, and it had a similar 'oil change service' at 13,600 miles - but I guess it may well need some more fettling. It's hard to tell from the maintenance programme booklet that came with it, because that's not very forthcoming about what needs doing when - but I'll have a word with my local Seat dealer. And I'll also check out the DPF cleaner you mention - thanks for that too.
 

BoomerBoom

Active Member
Jun 1, 2018
377
130
That all sounds about right, the torque band is pretty narrow in the 1.6 so below 1,500 the turbo isn't adding anything and once you go over 2,500 you are just wasting fuel. The 2.0 TDI pulls much harder, but still has the same torque band.

The DFP and other environment 'features' take a lot of engine power away, which is why I've given up on diesel.

You could try forcing a DFP regen, leave it in 4th while at 70mph for half an hour and see it that helps clear the exhaust - but I don't think you'll see much difference from an extra 20bhp, cars are only getting heavier.
 
Aug 1, 2020
7
0
Thanks Boomer - I'll see if that helps.

I may just need to get used to changing up later and using more right foot. But I still think the car may not be quite right - it just feels 'tight' and reluctant to get a move on - and merging back out of a service area up a gentle hill on Friday was much more of a white-knuckle experience than I'd have liked it to be - foot flat on the floor in third and it still wouldn't pull.

Hopefully a DPF clean and/or forced regen will help - and I might try a bottle of fuel system cleaner too in case the injectors are clogged.
 

Brian Gordon-Stables

Active Member
Jan 16, 2020
190
62
Leicestershire, UK
Thanks Boomer - I'll see if that helps.

I may just need to get used to changing up later and using more right foot. But I still think the car may not be quite right - it just feels 'tight' and reluctant to get a move on - and merging back out of a service area up a gentle hill on Friday was much more of a white-knuckle experience than I'd have liked it to be - foot flat on the floor in third and it still wouldn't pull.

Hopefully a DPF clean and/or forced regen will help - and I might try a bottle of fuel system cleaner too in case the injectors are clogged.
I'd recommend a carbon clean. For £100 you'll get a clean but also diagnostics and checks on all sensors etc. Helps spot any anomolies and see if anything isn't quite right.
 
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BoomerBoom

Active Member
Jun 1, 2018
377
130
All the VW TDI's I've had only really loosened up at around 50,000 - especially for mpg, so the low milage might be a factor.

How long does it take to get hot air in the cabin? On a new TDI it might be a few minutes, with high internal friction, after 50,000 it took nearly half an hour.
 

BigJase88

Jase
Apr 20, 2008
2,464
436
Dumfries & Galloway
I test drove a 1.6 tdi audi a3 and was suprised how quick it was. Was certainly quicker than i had been expecting.

You could always remap it think they go up to around 140bhp
 
Aug 1, 2020
7
0
Thanks all - this is all really helpful and I'm starting to feel happier about the car already. I was worried I'd bought a lemon (as they say in the US) but I'm now thinking it may be 'normal' after all and even if it's not there are some relatively cheap and easy things I can do to try to fix it.

I looked up the torque curve and it's exactly as Boomer said - steep rise from next to nothing at 1000 rpm to max at 1500 and then flat to 3000 before falling off a cliff again. So then I took the car out for a run and ignored all the 'shift up' advisories and generally drove it less like my granny than I had been doing - and it was definitely happier. So at least part of the problem may have been that I've spent the last 12 years driving a lower-geared car (and obsessing about mpg) and hadn't adjusted properly.

I still like the sound of a carbon clean though - £100 sounds like a good deal for reassurance that it's clean and the sensors etc are OK - so I'll certainly look into that.
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
1,586
461
Hello all. I've just bought a 66-reg Leon ST 1.6 TDI with the Tech Pack and am surprised at how slow it feels. Is this normal?
Yip. They have one driving mode, turtle!

The thing is, they're not actually that slow. They just feel slow. Where the power is and how it's delivered means there is very little satisfaction in pushing on. It's a car you tend to sink into and relax, which in itself is not a bad thing. You can drive any distance in these cars and step out feeling fresh.

Don't get me wrong, they're not fast either. Overtaking anything faster than a bicycle requires a lot of care and a tail wind! If you want to make more rapid progress, buy at least a 150 FR.
 

Brian Gordon-Stables

Active Member
Jan 16, 2020
190
62
Leicestershire, UK
Yip. They have one driving mode, turtle!

The thing is, they're not actually that slow. They just feel slow. Where the power is and how it's delivered means there is very little satisfaction in pushing on. It's a car you tend to sink into and relax, which in itself is not a bad thing. You can drive any distance in these cars and step out feeling fresh.

Don't get me wrong, they're not fast either. Overtaking anything faster than a bicycle requires a lot of care and a tail wind! If you want to make more rapid progress, buy at least a 150 FR.
Agree with a lot of this. My friend has a 150 engine in an Octavia and it has more grunt and better power delivery, albeit still over a shortish rev range.

I've got the 2.0 TDI 184 ST FR and it's has a sensible amount of power to help with overtaking and slip roads etc. It's chipped to about 220 and you do notice the extra torque around 3000rpm onwards. The good thing is that I can drive it very sensibly sub 2500 revs (did 250 miles each way to Wales and got 65mpg both ways) or boot it a bit more and it really pulls - albeit still over a shortish rev band (after all, it is deisel).

Hard to tell if you expect more than the car can give or just not giving it the beans. Having driven a 110 Leon and now having 200+ bhp, you really do notice it.
 

KXL

KXL
Dec 15, 2016
1,404
147
London, UK
Owned a 2.0TDI previously (now that had some go, being pushed into the seat when accelerating), also rented an Audi A3 1.6TDI 6 speed manual in Portugal for a week, and did highway, country roads and city driving. I wouldn't say the 1.6TDI is slow, it's just not as fast as the 2.0TDI. However if you are coming from a lower powered car, and you feel the higher power car is slow maybe there is something in it that is not quite right. I assume yours is a manual 5 speed and not the 7 speed DSG? Sometimes the lack of 1 extra ratio makes a difference (compared to the A3 1.6TDI 6 spped)! I do suggest however you run 2-3 full tanks of Shell Vpower Nitro Plus Diesel or Esso Supreme Diesel and see if it improves (this would clean out the engine a little, like descaling a heavily limescaled kettle), then perhaps you can do the carbon clean after if no difference. Let us know how you get on..
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
1,586
461
Having driven a 110 Leon and now having 200+ bhp, you really do notice it.
No ****? It's double the power!

Sometimes the lack of 1 extra ratio makes a difference (compared to the A3 1.6TDI 6 speed)!
I'm pretty sure the first five gears are the same ratios in both boxes.

I ran our car on regular and super diesel, alternate tanks. I think it benefited the health of the engine in the long run but I never noticed and differences in power. Feels a bit of a slug whatever it drinks.
 

BigJase88

Jase
Apr 20, 2008
2,464
436
Dumfries & Galloway
Owned a 2.0TDI previously (now that had some go, being pushed into the seat when accelerating), also rented an Audi A3 1.6TDI 6 speed manual in Portugal for a week, and did highway, country roads and city driving. I wouldn't say the 1.6TDI is slow, it's just not as fast as the 2.0TDI. However if you are coming from a lower powered car, and you feel the higher power car is slow maybe there is something in it that is not quite right. I assume yours is a manual 5 speed and not the 7 speed DSG? Sometimes the lack of 1 extra ratio makes a difference (compared to the A3 1.6TDI 6 spped)! I do suggest however you run 2-3 full tanks of Shell Vpower Nitro Plus Diesel or Esso Supreme Diesel and see if it improves (this would clean out the engine a little, like descaling a heavily limescaled kettle), then perhaps you can do the carbon clean after if no difference. Let us know how you get on..
The one i test drove was the 1.6 tdi 7 speed and it could shift!

Shame the 7 speed wet clutch dsg is shockingly unreliable
 
Aug 1, 2020
7
0
Thanks all - more excellent advice and suggestions.

Yep it's the five-speed manual. I'd have liked a sixth gear but as far as I can tell all manual 1.6 TDIs are five-speed (except maybe Ecomotives?) and I'd got it into my head that was the engine I wanted.

As I mentioned yesterday I'm leaning towards the conclusion that I've probably been changing up too soon (i.e. when it's been telling me to) and not giving it enough welly - especially when I've had the family on board. I'd got used to driving an older, looser and lower-geared car and probably hadn't adjusted properly. Keeping it above 1500 rpm definitely seems to aid progress!

My local Seat dealer does a basic 'health check' for £25, including a road test. So for peace of mind I think I'll book it in for one of them - hoping that the technician will either say "Yes it's OK they're all like that" (fingers crossed) or "No there's definitely something up with it" (in which case at least I'll know for sure).

I'll also run a couple of tanks of super through it - and maybe try alternating as Mr Pig suggests. And if I'm still not sure about it I'll think about a carbon clean - I had an initial look at them last night and there seems to be plenty of choice...

Thanks again - I'll keep you posted.
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
1,586
461
Yep it's the five-speed manual. I'd have liked a sixth gear but as far as I can tell all manual 1.6 TDIs are five-speed (except maybe Ecomotives?) and I'd got it into my head that was the engine I wanted.
We looked at the Ecomotive, yes it has a six-speed box, but the economy is only slightly better than the standard 1.6 TDi.
 

BoomerBoom

Active Member
Jun 1, 2018
377
130
"My local Seat dealer does a basic 'health check' for £25, including a road test"

It's an opportunity to mug you, they won't do anything more than check the fluid levels, tyre pressure and wear - then try to sell you at least £400 of unnecessary parts and labor.

It's the same check you should be doing yourself once a week or so; charging £25 for the privilege of robbing you is just shocking...

At my first and last service for this 3 year lease the dealer wanted to change all four tyres as they were 'badly worn with only 4mm tread depth', which I pointed out was exactly half worn. They then asked me to sign a disclaimer absolving them from liability, a tactic I'd presume they've found to be effective on the more gullible.
 

BigJase88

Jase
Apr 20, 2008
2,464
436
Dumfries & Galloway
"My local Seat dealer does a basic 'health check' for £25, including a road test"

It's an opportunity to mug you, they won't do anything more than check the fluid levels, tyre pressure and wear - then try to sell you at least £400 of unnecessary parts and labor.

It's the same check you should be doing yourself once a week or so; charging £25 for the privilege of robbing you is just shocking...

At my first and last service for this 3 year lease the dealer wanted to change all four tyres as they were 'badly worn with only 4mm tread depth', which I pointed out was exactly half worn. They then asked me to sign a disclaimer absolving them from liability, a tactic I'd presume they've found to be effective on the more gullible.
Yeah i’ve had the sign a disclaimer nonsense before too.
 

CupraGeezer

Active Member
May 11, 2018
263
108
At my first and last service for this 3 year lease the dealer wanted to change all four tyres as they were 'badly worn with only 4mm tread depth', which I pointed out was exactly half worn. They then asked me to sign a disclaimer absolving them from liability.
That's an interesting comment. I wonder what liability they were accepting if you'd changed your tyres and had then crashed? None, I suspect.
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
1,586
461
At my first and last service for this 3 year lease the dealer wanted to change all four tyres as they were 'badly worn with only 4mm tread depth', which I pointed out was exactly half worn. They then asked me to sign a disclaimer absolving them from liability, a tactic I'd presume they've found to be effective on the more gullible.
It's shocking. You expect these kind of shady scams from Quick Fit but not a main dealer. Years ago our car was in the local Seat dealer for a service and I got a call from the woman on the service desk. She said that the brake pads were very worn and did I want them replaced? I knew perfectly well how worn the pads were and I said to her 'No they're not. Just do what I've asked you to do'. With hindsight I wish I'd done more about it. I should have at least gone off on the manager. Those pads were about half worn and it was years before they needed replaced. How many people have been ripped off this way? Bought parts they did not need? Makes you so angry.
 
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