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Volkswagen Passat 2005 and earlier



  • How could VW -- in 1 year's time -- become reliable, and KNOWN for it?

    Hyundai knew their sales ship was sinking. Audi, after their well publicized issues (60 minutes) also saw the US market abandoning them -- the response was to INSTANTLY stand behind -- 101% -- the cars while simultaneously working on reliability and quality.

    It is possible to put a 100% no questions and no fees service, maintenance and warranty program together rapidly. It is NOT possible to turn the entire manufacturing ship around in 1 model year.

    I agree 100% that the product itself must improve and improve rapidly. But, for a lot of folks the ownership experience and COSTS loom large come end of lease term.

    My buddy loved his new beetle -- but after only 2 years, little pieces of trim popped off and when the headlight went out, well the repair cost stupified him (as I always say, maintaining and repairing German cars is BREATHTAKINGLY expensive without the Customer Advantage programs offered by Audi, BMW and Mercedes -- and now the Phaeton). My buddy opted out of his lease and got -- are you sitting down? -- a V8 stick shift Mustang 2 door.

    One VW and out.

    I fear this is becoming a trend.

    I have no reason to believe that simply a 50K all costs covered program will in and of itself improve the quality of the car (or its reliability, per se); but, it may improve the quality of the perceived ownership experience.

    The alternative, I guess, is to keep on doin' what they're doin' and focus focus focus on quality and reliability -- but "who wants to be the first" to put his toe in the water in 2007 when all the quality parts and manufacturing tweaks have finally worked their way through the system to the customers?

    They can't just claim the cars have -- over the past few years -- become highly reliable and ask "me" to buy the advertisements. The combination of quality and "assurances" (such as the 50K maintenance and warranty for free program) are required to get me to consider plunking down my $30 - $85K.

    We seem to be saying mostly the same things here folks -- but I cannot imagine that VW can just put the company on hold while they get the bugs worked out of the "quality control program."

    My suggestion does not, as far as I can tell, imply or state that I think the bandaid of a financial assurance program is a substitute for actual quality and reliability.

    It is the "trust but verify" approach.
  • clpurnellclpurnell Posts: 1,087
    we are saying the same thing. Reliability does not happen overnight or in one year. I think you are right build "trust" in the cars knowing that everything is taken care of for the first 50k while steadily improving quality. My only point that contradicts is that the other german brand most notably MB have these plans at place but have DECLINING reliability. I would like VW take a more Lexus like "In the pursuit of perfection" than it's free while you lease type attitude. I Think VWoA would be a lot better off with people like Mark and VWguild calling the shots. However I doubt they will take either of our advice.
  • . . .AG in Germany. A person identified herself as someone working on the "European Delivery" experience among other things and wondered if I would be willing to assist in "mapping out" an automotive delivery experience commencing in Ingolstadt (the home of Audi). She found out that my wife and I have been to Germany over a dozen times and have been at the factory 6 times since 1993. Of course I said yes.

    No one from VW has contacted me and this certainly makes all the sense in the world to me, since I am a fan of the brand, but not currently an actual owner.

    VWGUILD (Peter) would in my opinion personify an American who might represent both sides of the situation: he has empathy with the customer and is himself a dealer rep who, has and is able to feel our pain.

    Finally, I certainly hope that VW has someone who reads these posts and those on other web town halls and discussion groups. The education they would get would seem to be priceless and cost less than focus groups.

    I get so many "surveys" about my cars (each with a $ or $5 bill in them) that go on and on about my cars, it drives me nuts -- perhaps VW is doing this in order to better mount a counter attack on the "top 5" customer concerns.

    I have written numerous letters to AoA suggesting features, options, programs and even models. I usually get a "thanks for writing" letter back -- but considering how many times I have asked for a full screen nav system -- and it has gone on without change for this long (despite the fact that all the other high buck cars have full screen nav systems) -- makes me think that letters, screaming in the wilderness are "nice" to get but are statistically insignificant.

    Edmunds and others provide a wealth of information, that is difficult to quantify, but not, I would imagine, difficult to characterize.

    I have been reading and participating in Edumnds forums and others for over two years now, and I have come to the conclusion that there appears to be a "lot of love" for the cars themselves (the VW's) but growing disatisfaction with the dealer body and product quality and reliability.

    VW. . .the cars you love to hate! Now there's a catchy tag line.

    I wonder what living in a city with public transportation would be like. . .
  • brozhnikbrozhnik Posts: 172
    First, thanks, everyone for the input on mudflaps, PDI, etc.
    One question: I sometimes notice what seems to be a lot of vibration coming up through the seat. Idling, or going slow. Not every time - just sometimes. Is the Passat just like that, or is something wrong (at 1000 miles)? If so, what?
  • 03w803w8 Posts: 6
    I have a W8 for about 6 months now. I have never really tried to manually shift the tiptronics A/T. I just thought it felt unnatural without a clutch. My sales person had never told me the proper way to shift. Should I ease off the gas, like on a regular A/T, when I shift? How much gas should I ease off? Do I need to downshift the gear 1 by 1 when I come to a stop. What are the recommended shifting speeds (both accel and decel)?
  • Shifting does not require and will not improve if you let off the accelerator. Indeed, even though the system will comply, fundamentally, with your requests under full, part or released throttle, the best acceleration will be in full auto mode, if best acceleration is what you are seeking.

    The tip in your W8 may even have the hill sensing feature. Essentially this means that when you go down a hill the transmission will under certain circumstances automatically shift down one gear.

    Further mad scientist programs exist that do an OK job of figuring out what you want -- that is if you have recently been driving to achieve higher accelerative forces, the transmission will hold each gear longer even without fully depressing the pedal.

    I found the manumatic function to be mostly unsatisfying and only when I wanted to hold a gear (usually 2nd or 3rd) for a period outside of the transmission's ability to "know" -- it certainly isn't going to improve your 0-60 times (if that is important).

    You don't need to down shift when slowing down, the tip in tip mode will automatically down shift as it needs to if you forget; and when you come to a stop it goes to 1st. You also can't overrev the engine because if you are in tip mode and floor the car, the upshift will happen if you do nothing pretty close to the engine's red line (which is pretty much what it does in kickdown in full auto mode).

    For me, the tip response was too slow -- the possible exception to this was a 2002 Audi S6 avant that I test drove. It is the ONLY tip I have ever driven that really lived up to its publicity. Most tips create a sensation that has been dubbed "tip lag" that for all the world feels very similar to turbo lag in some older turbo engines (where the turbo kicked in around 3,000 rpms rather than at sub 2,000 rpms on VW's and Audis.)

    So, tip if you must. But I think Cow-Tipping is more engaging than Tiptronic-Tipping.

    But, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Not to rub anything in -- but you could've had that sweet W8 with sport suspension and a 6spd manual. What were you thinking?

    Oh yea, my sales person DID give me the "basic" tiptronic lesson, in a Porsche -- even there it seemed to distance the driver from the instant control of the car that at this price range "ought to be!"
  • Yes, the tiptronic shift lag can be very annoying. But, if you look at it, the lag is probably the same amount of time it takes a person to make a shift on a manual car, so it's probably the same.

    The Passat does learn how you drive your car. Items such as acceleration, shifting speeds and such are learned by the car. Some people loath the fly-by-wire system, but I like it - it just knows when to downshift for the inevitable acceleration during a turn.

    One thing though - remember that the keys are coded individually - so it remembers how the driver of each specific FOB drives.
  • 03w803w8 Posts: 6
    Thanks for the info, Mark and Tex. I bought the car off the lot so I didn't have much choice. It does have the sports pkg though. I do have other non-auto cars and that is why I found shifting the tiptronic an un-natural act. I don't understand why BMW (and the up coming VW convertible) makes a big deal about having the shift button on the steering wheel. To me, that is even worse.
    It is because of the shift lag in the fully auto "D" mode that sent me searching for a better way to shift. Then I found out shifting myself makes little difference.
  • The "time" it takes to depress the clutch, move the shift lever, let out the clutch and press the accelerator vs the "time" it takes for the tip to act or react to your commands (either in full auto mode or in manu-matic mode) are measurable. I have no quarrel with that fact.

    However, the difference is that with the full manual, I know for certain when the power or the "needed pull" will be there, I don't have to anticipate the transmission's "decision cycle."

    And, after three tiptronics, the last two Audi A6 4.2's -- which at least had gobs of power -- I still could never precisely determine when my "command" was going to occur.

    I would say (via my accelerator pedal) "engage" and there would be a momentary pause almost like the kid who wins the spelling bee: he/she hears the word, looks to the sky (as if the spelling is stored "up there" in some accessable grey matter) then begins the spelling of the word.

    Or better said, it was like the reaction to standing in an elevator with a bunch of people in business attire and a cell phone goes off. There is a split second delay and then everybody begins patting themselves down until finally someone says "it's mine."

    The events happen quickly, but I often found myself over reaching for accelerative power after having found out time and time again that that was the only way to insure I would get that power that I had requested from my tip.

    With my manual transmission, and I suspect the new VW/Audi DSG (or is it DGS?) automatic clutch transmission, my command is carried out in real time -- there is no "lip synch" delay.

    I have been told that this tip lag is gone from the RS 6 and as I noted it was virtually gone from a 2002 S6 avant that I test drove (but here we're talking about base prices and MSRP's from $59K to $88K) -- but once you have become accustomed to "immediate" responsiveness, even the best tip-type transmission takes the sharpness off the keen edge that even an OK manual can impart.

    If your dealer has a W8 Passat 6spd and a tip version -- take a long back to back test drive in each. The differences are not subtle (I have done this in an A6 2.7T -- hence my decision to dump the A6 4.2 sport for an allroad 2.7T w/6spd.)

    Time, then, is not the only issue -- it is responsiveness at the exact moment it is desired that separates these two transmissions.

    Now, having said all of this -- I in no way am suggesting that the tip transmission is defective, bad, stupid, evil or junk. The tiptronic is a fine transmission and the 6spd tip is even better. Now, I hasten to add, if you get a chance, try out a CVT transmission on an Audi A4 1.8T or 3.0 for a remarkable experience.

    Too bad the CVT can't handle (yet) AWD or the power of a W8 or even a 2.7T.
  • Yeah, nothing beats a manual tranny! The ability to time the shift, the power and the control. Though I had my reasons on buying the Automatic, I have no complaints on the auto transmission. It works very well on D mode, and delivers the right amount of power when I need it.

    I test drove a Manual vs an Automatic, and the Manual didn't feel as "Solid" as the manual on our old '97 Jetta - not that it felt lousy, but not as solid as one would think. I didn't notice a night and day difference then - which probably explains why I don't mind the auto tranny that much.

    How does a CVT transmission feel? Do you even have to shift with one? Is the shifting done the same way (release gas, clutch, shift, press gas)?
  • When you drive a CVT transmission you at first think the car is defective -- there is no shifting whatsoever. Indeed the RPM's just rise the familiar sound of the engine building rpms, then dropping them as the next higher gear is selected until 5th or 6th is reached is absent.

    It is, perhaps, like driving a turbine -- not the sound, the FEEL -- the car starts at say 800 rpm and continues to climb steadily until you reach whatever speed you were aiming for.

    So, if you drive from 0 to 70mph there is no shift sensation or sound, the engine just climbs as if the engine was connected directly to the driving wheels.

    It is, initially, eerie.

    There are 6 "ratios" implied but the shifting is virtually imperceptable -- hence the name Constant Velocity Transmission (of power).

    After a couple of hours with one, it made me wish for a big honking V8 with an all wheel drive train and "whooooooosh" that is all there would be.

    Rumor has it it is getting stronger and adapted to all wheel drive. I would assume it will make it to other VW/Audi cars when that happens. It is super super smooooooooooooooth.
  • bronsonbbronsonb Posts: 170
    Just wanted to share my current situation with all on the board. This is regarding my wife's 1999 Passat V6 GLS. We had the 2 year/24K warranty and service and 10 year, 100K miles powertrain warranty.

    We have somewhere around 73,000 miles on the car. I took it to VW last week on Tuesday night because we had an oil leak that appeared to be coming from the driver's side valve cover.

    Last Wednesday, VW gets to the car and verifies the oil leak is caused by a faulty gasket and is covered by the warranty (Thank God). But, they also discovered some problems with the cam tensioners (I think that's what he said). They needed to keep the car overnight. We said sure.

    Thursday comes and goes with no call from VW. I call at 5. Car still isn't ready. They had problems putting it back together (images of our black Passat amidst a sea of engine parts spread out on the floor). They need to keep it one more day. I grudingly agree. Friday comes and no car. I call and ask, kindly, for a service loaner, which they quickly agree to. They put me in a 2004 Jetta from Enterprise Car Rental. They say the car will be done Monday because they now have to order a part.

    Monday comes and goes. Car is STILL not ready. They got the part in, and the mechanic is working hard to put it together but needs more time. Also, they said it was idling rough, and they think they might have a bad part in the engine somewhere causing that. Since I have their rental car, I say sure.

    Tuesday comes, and they supposedly get the car ready. They tell me that the OBD is sending a code that says the computer won't recognize the throttle body, which might be causing the rough idle. I tell them that it didn't do that before. They say something to the effect of "tough, but it's not covered under the warranty." Do I want to spend $600 to replace the throttle body? The service rep admits that it might just reset itself if left alone, so I opt to do that. I tell them I'll leave in an hour to get it.

    They call minutes before I was set to leave, and it turns out that the cam tensioner they installed is the wrong part. It does have the correct part number on it and on its box, but it is working backwards. And if the car runs more than a few minutes, the valves (or valve stems - I can't recall) will be seriously damaged.

    So they kept the car all day Wednesday and Thursday, and they still don't have it fixed. The last I heard they were "getting closer" to getting it fixed. Makes me wonder if they didn't lose the car or wreck the car and are stalling for time. At least I have a rental they THEY'RE paying for.

    The one nice part of all of this is that the bill will go to someone other than me when they are finally done. I can't imagine what this is costing VWoA, but I sure am glad the 99 model year had the 10 year powertrain warranty. Of course, I might get stuck buying a new throttle body down the road, but we'll have to see.

    I was wondering if anyone else had similar experiences with the model years that had the 10 year powertrain (for original owners - second owners only got 5 years/50K miles...I think).

    Thanks all.
  • . . .I know a "few" millionaires -- and even they are not rich enough to afford one of these cars without the warranty.

    Audis, BMW's, Jaguars, Mercedes, Saabs, Volvos and yes VW's are BREATHAKINGLY EXPENSIVE to repair.

    It is not that they will all need repair, it is just that it costs a "young fortune" to repair them. You wouldn't dream of driving an unisured car or living in an unisured house or living without an HMO, PPO or other health insurance -- well, the warranty, factory or extended or even paid-for-by-you factory extended warranty is an insurance policy that -- again -- I know of no one wealthy enough to go without.
  • I have a 2001 passat gls 1.8t. it is close to the 4ok miles. is it normal that I feel like it has lost some power. it is also consuming to much fuel. I called the dealership to make an appointment but the service cost $500. does anybody have any advise?
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Did you take your Passat to Jim Ellis in Marietta?
  • I am in Miami
  • do you guys think we can take the cars for example to a Sears or jiffy lube and maintain them there to keep the prices down?
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Marietta is in Ga...right outside of Atlanta. I know Bronson lives near me, therefore I asked about which dealer he brought his car to.
  • You may have "worn" BPV's (turbo By Pass Valve) -- this would cause the turbo's to not give you the boost you're used to getting. Other -- how I hate this term -- "tune up" issues probably need to be addressed. I don't know of any other "safe" way to answer your question except "be ready to pony up the $500."


    I wouldn't let Sears do ANYTHING other than tires on any car I owned and liked. That is an opinion, of course. But Sears technicians probably do NOT have any VW/Audi tech skills per se. You gets what you pays for (often). The sweetness of low price kind of thing if you remember that old, but true, saw.

    The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

    Drive it like you live.


    I know it doesn't help you now, but Audis, BMW's and VW's despite the disparity in their sticker prices (today, at least) cost about the same amount to maintain.

    Sorry to say, but live with it until the VW advantage program starts sometime in the not too distant future.
  • I have a 2000 Passat GLS with 36,000 miles. My heater core just blew today on the way home from work... steamy windows, funky smell and puddle on the floor mats. I know that VW had a recall on heater cores in the early 90s. Anything on the newer vehicles? Other than this, the car has been great to drive. Any help/advice is appreciated.
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