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The car is a 2001 VW Golf MK4 with a 1.4 gasoline engine and a 5 speed manual transmission. It uses a lot of oil and the engine knocks and pings. It recently has started leaking water from the right side of the engine. About 13 months ago I had a new water pump, new thermostat, and a new timing kit installed. The water leak started about a week ago and has progressively gotten worse. I don’t know if it needs a whole rebuild, it might just need a ring job or something like that. Currently has 145000 km on it. But don’t know if that applies to the engine. When had that work done 13 months ago I was told by the mechanic that it wasn’t the original engine that came with the car.

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Thank you for bringing your question to us. If it's knocking and burning oil, I wouldn't recommend a rebuild unless you do it yourself. Most shops today no longer rebuild their own engines and there really isn't any point in shopping around to find one. I would go ahead and get a long block, which just means that it comes with the heads as well. The reason for that is that at least some of your symptoms sound like a head gasket leak, which can result in warped heads. You can have the heads tested, but that adds another expense that will probably just wind up in the heads being replaced anyway. It's better to get them all together and have one, single, (expensive) repair than to have to keep tearing it down to fix the next problem.

Just out of curiosity, what color is the smoke?

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  • Usually white/grey. It’s particularly noticeable like when you’ve been idling or coasting down a hill. Then when you go to accelerate it billows smoke badly then seems to go away. Also the oil isn’t milky when I check it. Looks normal. Dec 17, 2023 at 0:06
  • Okay, let's back up a moment. Oil is usually blue-white You state in your original post that the car is using oil. What makes you say that? How much are we talking about? When you pull out of your driveway, are there any spots under the car? Are the knocks and pings happening just at idle and it smooths out or at all RPMs? Thank you for putting up with all the questions!
    – Geary
    Dec 17, 2023 at 1:37
  • I have to add a liter of oil about every 500 km may be more or less depending on what type of driving is being done, more if it is extended highway driving constantly high revving. No spots in the driveway. Other than the water which just started. It seems to push a lot of oil into the air filter as well. I recently disconnected the tube from the pcv valve to the air cleaner and it appears to not smoke as badly but it does still smoke. I retro fitted a small filter to the end of the tube, smoke was coming out of the end of the tube and after a few days it was dripping oil from the tube. Dec 17, 2023 at 10:19
  • Thank you for the additional information, Larry! A clogged positive crankcase ventilation valvecan burn a shocking amount of oil. I would replaceit before making buy engine decisions. Leaving the oil consumption side, I would highly, highly recommend purchasing a block testing kit and checking for exhaust gasses in your coolant as well. If there is, then your head gaskets have failed at a minimum.
    – Geary
    Dec 17, 2023 at 15:35

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