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Carbon cleaning 15 months ago, same symptoms 10k later!


New member
Hi all, Im driving a 13' stock GTI I bought with 55k on it 3 yrs ago. A year and a half ago started running rough throwing codes etc. so spent some time on the forums diagnosing the multiple misfires and ECP light. After a month of clearing codes and replacing all coil packs to red tops and replacing plugs twice and swapping etc. I came to the conclusion I needed a carbon cleaning after researching so I took to dealership and they concluded that plus replacing packs and plugs again. I found a reputable garage that would hand clean for a reasonable $500. Well the mechanic showed the before and after pics of the valves and it was the right call. All is well for a while. So this was around 70k and now at 80k she starts running with a slight misfire that wont throw a code for a couple months or more. Now I have an OBD11. Finally the check engine light came on and I thought "Finally, Ive never been so happy to see this!" Well it goes off the next time I start but I scan anyway and get Passive codes for multi cyl misfires 2 and 4. Start the swapping and no change. Days later light comes on and I get the codes: RMCM P0300, Cyl. 2 P0304, Cyl. 4 P0302 all static and also a Hide Cyl. P1304 intermittent. Also ECP light on. I change oil and filters cause they are due including the oil, air, cabin, and fuel( I was hoping for a clogged fuel filter). Its by now running horribly rough like before the carbon cleaning. What should my next step be? Thanks for reading!


New member
Not wet. Maybe smell gas? My sense of smell is terrible! Took all four out, cleaned two and replaced two. They looked pretty bad to me after only 10k or so! Put the new ones in 2 and 4. NKG iridiums. I've also seen the code for cyl. 3 a couple times! Cleared codes and drove hard awhile. Its better but will see how a few more hours of driving goes code wise etc. Thanks!


The Fixer
Do you drive like an old woman? I haven't carbon cleaned yet, car has 170k.
You should check your plug gaps, I've seen them close up for whatever reason.
Don't know if you're tuned, but APR gaps are really tight...mine runs better a little bigger, like .030?


Ready to race!
Did you check the gap on the new plugs? The plugs are suppose to be pre gaped but 1 out of my 4 was off.

Also since you have OBD11 you can do some logging. I'm still new at this and not sure what exactly to log but maybe start with what is outlined in Round 4 (misfire specific diag) of APR's datalogging.

Someone here will be able to interpret the data.


The Fixer
I read your post. You have 80k and carbon cleaned 10k ago. Swapping plugs doesn't mean the gaps were right, but I see what you're saying. EPC light usually means something else is going on. A quick search shows anything from traction control, throttle body, loose coil packs, a brake switch, a fuse, and fuel injectors. You might want to try some good injector cleaner. That's where I would look next. If that doesn't work, there is a chance they are covered under an extended warranty. Dealerships vary, so choose carefully. You are also at the mileage where the intake manifold may be going bad. It hasn't thrown that code yet, but you might have real buildup inside there or plastic chunks might have come loose. I've seen both. Good luck.