VW 2.0 CR TDI EGR Filter Replacement – Complete DIY Guide


The EGR, or Exhaust Gas Recirculation is a device designed to reduce the exhaust emission values by diverting a fraction of the exhaust gases back into the combustion chamber, thus reducing the amount of nitrous oxide (NOx). It does this by lowering the high combustion temperatures at which nitrogen oxides are formed. EGR filter replacement isn’t a difficult job on average, and it most definitely isn’t a labor-intensive job on a VW 2.0 CR TDI engine. Replacing this filter will greatly improve your VW’s combustion and make your car run better. If it fails and is left unchanged, it will have a negative impact on your car’s performance, as well as air pollution. Today we’ll show you how to change it!
egr valve operation explained
Article updated on 08/24/21. Original publishing date 04/25/16

What is an EGR Valve and What Does It Do?

The EGR valve is an electro-pneumatic valve. It’s a part of many modern engines, and is used to control the exhaust gas recirculation process. The EGR system ensures that the fresh air entering the engine mixes with a low amount of burned exhaust gas, thus reducing the combustion temperature and excess oxygen in the engine’s combustion chamber.

The EGR valve sits between the intake manifold and the exhaust manifold. The system takes the exhaust gas directly from the exhaust manifold, cools this gas (with the EGR cooler), precisely adjusts the amount of this gas, and sends it into the intake manifold inlet.

The ECU, which calculates all aspects of engine performance, sets the amount of recirculated exhaust to be sent into each cylinder by controlling the EGR valve. However, If the EGR valve is completely closed, the emission values deteriorate, and if it is opened too much, polluted air enters the combustion chamber. This situation causes the amount of oxygen required for combustion to be lost and the operating conditions of the engine to deteriorate.

In modern engines, EGR is designed both to reduce the engine’s suction power and to use the positive effect of waste gas on combustion in certain driving situations.

What Causes the EGR to Fail?

The main causes of EGR failure are wear over time and clogging of the valve due to the accumulation of soot. The electronics or the hose that controls the valve may also become clogged, but this is fairly rare. Sometimes a faulty engine mount can affect the EGR system, causing it to fail. Here’s how to deal with faulty engine mounts on a 2011 Jetta Sportwagon TDI.

The cool thing about owning a VW is that it will flash a warning light on your dash if there’s an EGR-related malfunction. There are also other ways to figure out if your EGR system is failing.

Those are:

  • Knocking and unusual vibrations while the engine is running
  • Shaking during acceleration
  • Increase in fuel consumption
  • Sudden increase in the amount of black smoke that comes out the tail pipe

If you can observe any of these symptoms in your Volkswagen, it’s a good idea to check your EGR filter and possibly replace it before it causes any problems for your EGR system.

Some mechanics might offer an EGR valve cancellation (EGR delete, EGR off) if your system gets clogged. However, this will greatly impact your emissions, and could potentially impact your engine’s performance.

How to Change the EGR Filter on a VW 2.0 CR TDI Engine

Let’s say you notice some of the symptoms described above. Although a great many things can lead to similar issues, checking and replacing your EGR filter is arguably one of the simplest, and cheapest things you can try.

Here’s the list of things you’ll need for this job:

  • New EGR Filter
  • T25 Torx
  • T30 Torx
  • 16MM Socket or box wrench
  • 13MM Socket (1/4″ drive is best due to clearance
  • 3″ 1/4″ drive extension
  • 1/4″ drive socket wrench
  • 13MM box wrench (Stubby would be better)
  • Flat head screwdriver (to pry open the V-Clamp)

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change the EGR filter on a VW 2.0 CR TDI engine.

Step 1 – Jack Your Car Up

You will only be needing the front of your car lifted, so you can use wheel ramps or jack stands for this project. If you’re using the latter, jack up the car and place your jack stands underneath to ensure safety.

Step 2 – Remove the Belly Pan

There’s a plastic skid pan under the engine, you’ll need to take that off. Remove four T25 Torx screws from each side and remove another T25 Torx from the middle. There should be three T30 Torx screws across the back. Remove them and the pan should drop easily.

Step 3 – Remove the Heat Shield

Egr filter replacement
These VW engines have a heat shield that wraps around the top of the passenger side axle. You can remove it by unscrewing two 16 mm bolts and pulling it away. The shield needs to come off as it’s hiding the EGR filter.

Step 4 – Remove the EGR Filter

Egr filter replacement
First, unscrew two 13 mm bolts to the back of the engine on the hard pipe. After that remove the v-band clamp between your EGR filter and your DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) with a T30 Torx. At this point, your EGR filter should only be held in place with a 13 mm nut on top of the bracket.

Egr filter replacement
It is not easy to get to this nut, but it can be done from the top of the engine with a 13 mm box wrench. Take that nut off and your filter is free to be removed. Don’t lose the metal gaskets at either end of your EGR filter, you will need them again when you’re reattaching the new one.

Step 5 – Install the New EGR Filter

Egr filter replacement

Put your new EGR filter back in its place and attach it with the 13 mm bolt at the top. Don’t tighten the nut until you attach all the nuts and bolts, so you can move the filter around a bit in order to get to the attachments. Slide the metal gaskets back into their place on both ends of the EGR filter and screw the 13 mm bolts at the back of the engine. Reconnect and tighten down the v-clamp. Don’t forget to tighten the nut on top when you are done.

Step 6 – Attach the Heat Shield

Put the heat shield back on top of the passenger side axle and attach two 16 mm bolts in their places.

Step 7 – Attach the Skid Pan

Slide the plastic skid pan in its place and attach the T25 Torx screw in the middle, three T30 Torx across the back, and four T25 Torx screws on each side. Tighten everything down.

Step 8 – Lower Your Car

Check under your car and lower it carefully. You should take a short drive around to check if your car still gives any of the failure signs above. If it doesn’t, you’re good to go!

Where to Get a Replacement EGR Filter?

EGR filter replacement is not a hard job on VW’s 2.0 CR TDI engine, and you can easily do it yourself. You’ll only need this guide and a new EGR filter. It’s not always easy to find the right part for your car, but we can actually help you with that!

Just choose your car’s make and model from the drop-down menu, and you will get a list containing all the specific parts for your engine. VW recommends that you always use genuine or OEM quality parts, and we agree!

Posted in DIY How-To, Volkswagen
5 thoughts on “VW 2.0 CR TDI EGR Filter Replacement – Complete DIY Guide
  1. Fran Bourdeau

    Hi, I have a P0401 EGR low flow code on my 2012 Jetta TDI. I just bought a used EGR Filter on Ebay but haven’t received it yet. Do you have any pics of the inside of this filter. I’m wondering how to test it or maybe possibly clean the inside so it flows the way it should. I just need to pass inspection so I can drive it until VW buys it back. It has 120k miles and will be needing a timing belt soon and possibly my DPF is compromised. I have soot in outlet of the exhaust. 🙁 I recently bought a Ross-Tech usb cable and will use that to monitor any changes in the EGR flow when I install the used part. This past weekend I took the EGR valve on the front of the intake off and it looks fine. There wasn’t only soot in the line that feeds it either. No carbon buildup anywhere. I’ve worked on Vdubs for over 40 years and I’ve owned some nice ones over the years. This diesel thing has really got me frustrated. My wife traded her TDI Sportwagon for a for a new gas Passat in April. Once they buy mine back I’m getting a new Jetta S. Thanks for reading this!

  2. Keith Austin

    I just took my 2012 VW TDI to the dealership to have the software updated for the recall. I got a call telling me the EGR filter needed to be replace before they did the update to the tune of $2950.00. What a scam. I’ve got to pay $2950 up front to get this fixed before they send me anything?????? I told her I’d be down to get my car. Now I’m not sure what to do. Fix the EGR filter myself and take it back or sell it back to VW? Any thoughts on this dilemma?

    • Mike Crutchfield

      Are you sure they said the EGR and not the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)? The price you have above suggests it is the diesel particulate filter and that price is in line with what I paid (I think I paid like $2200 from a third party shop). That is VERY involved and the part alone is very expensive.

      I generally tell people that if VW is offering you an amount for the car that you even are considering taking, take it, because if you don’t and something happens to the car, you are out of luck (Insurance won’t pay out the diesel gate levels of money). Especially if the alternative is to sink a large amount of money into it. But only you can really make that call.

  3. Robert F

    I ended up deciding to keep my 2010 Jetta TDI sport wagon. I just had the emission dealio done a few days ago and asked what was actually done. He said the rear O2 sensor, the rear flap??, a new catalytic converter (about $1700) and a EGR Filter. I did ask if the DPF filter was replaced and he said no. From the comment above, that one looks to be pricey and hope I don’t need that one eventually. The car runs good and they said expect 2-3 MPG lower now. Ours has 205K on it and we still decided to keep it! We just love this car and with the $5100 payout, it will pay it off and have no car payment anymore. With the buyout we would get about 2K after paying it off and then would need to look for a new car and payments again. We went back and forth on it and chose to keep it. I figure when I need to change the timing belt again a 240K I may consider getting the DPF valve done at same time to save on labor if its needed.

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