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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • I am a new proud owner of a 2006 VW Passat 2.0T. I just had it go through a Diagnostic scan. Found out that its a problem inside the motor itself, so therefore, the driver side cooling fan (300w/360mm - 4pin) must be replaced. What tools would I need to replace it, and would it consist of taking the front end apart? I am looking for for help. Dont want to come out of pocket over 150 for labor. Also, I see that there are two fans that can fit. I see that a 1k0-959-455-FJ can fit, and also a 1k0-959-455-DT can fit. Would there be any reason to choose one over the other? And should I go with Siemens, Behr, or Gates for this type of fan, or would it matter? Just wondering. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!!
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Navy Guy: Replacing the shaft is relatively easy...can't imagine that the service center (or try another import shop in your area?) wouldn't be able to do it for a good price. $2,800 to ship it back to the States? That's a lot of dough. Have you considered the option of selling it there and just picking up a low mileage V-dub over here? Seems to me you would come out ahead. On the other hand, if you REALLY love that car...8) vwdawg
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    spl: Perhaps Shiftright or Shipo might have some specific instructions for you, but if you are a do-it-yourselfer and plan to do this and other work yourself, just pick up a Haynes manual or similar for your Passat. While not as thorough as a complete Edmunds manual, it will usually give clear enough instructions so that the average DIY guy or gal can successfully do repairs of simple to moderate complexity. vwdawg
  • VWDawg,
    The VW shop told me that it'll cost over $1000 to replace a half-shaft and around $150 to replace the CV boot. They've found a "very small tear" in the boot and found no other problem except the power steering fluid at the minimum level. They've added some power steering fluid and told me to drive it as is.
    As far as shipping the car, I'd figured that it's paid off and I'm not disciplined enough to save the proceeds from the sale and the unexecuted shipping cost to apply it toward another car. Besides, I've put in too much money into the car recently that I'll never recover (Michelin tires ($600), new brake pads ($200), timing belt/water pump ($1000)). I've replaced the tranmission module when it was flooded along with the front passenger compartment at a tune of $1500. I feel like I've addressed all the trouble spots on the car and have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Navy Guy
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,415
    The half-shaft quote is outrageous---sounds like he doesn't want to do it. Oh well then, replace the boot.


  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Navy Guy: I agree with Shiftright...why would that shop embarrass themselves with that ridiculous price quote? Especially considering that the time and complexity involved with a boot replace is actually GREATER than just throwing in a new shaft. Since you're shipping your baby home in a couple of months, and the tear is allegedly very small, I think I would just leave it as is. When it gets back stateside, just bring it in to a good independent shop and have them replace the whole shaft for maybe $300- $400. My main concern would be that even if you replace that boot, the joint may already be contaminated and you'll end up replacing the shaft anyway. Just a thought... good luck and BTW...THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY! vwdawg
  • Dear VWDawg and Shiftright,
    Thank you for your advice and I'll take them onboard. The car is running like a dream since the latest maintenance, albeit occasional minor vibration from the steering column.
    VWDawg, thank you for your kind words concerning my service. I've served little over 21 years and hearing encouraging words never gets old. Thank you. Truly appreciate it.

    Navy Guy
  • I was just wondering if you have figured out what the ticking is that you mentioned coming from your center ventilation duct. I have an 04 Passat 1.8T 4 Motion Wagon (206K miles) with a similar problem. I hear a lot of gurgling coming from the center of the dashboard. From reading through several forums it seems like it should just be an issue of needing to bleed air out of the coolant system but I'm not convinced that is the issue. My heat stopped working around 140K and it turned out to be a clogged heater core, my dealer unclogged it and flushed the coolant system which got the heat working great again but I still hear the gurgling. I also had my oil cooler fail at 160K which leaked oil into the coolant system. Several parts were replaced and the car was flushed again to clean out all of the oil, yet the gurgling still persists. I suppose it's possible that my dealer doesn't know how to properly bleed air out of the coolant system, but they have done several other major repairs to my vehicle with competence. I'm not sure what else to think here, plus the problem has persisted for over 60K miles without any other side effects that I'm aware of.
  • bcass1bcass1 Posts: 2
    Hello everyone,

    I'm a potential first time VW owner, and I've begun looking at used Passats from 2002-2004. Just recently, I found this forum, and I hope to learn a bit more about the car mechanically from other owners. I thank everyone for their collective efforts in providing other owners and potential owners like myself, with their experiences.

    Recently, I found a 2002 VW Passat GLS wagon at an independent used car lot. The car had 95,000 miles on it, and was in immaculate cosmetic condition. It had a clean carfax history (two owners, no accidents, all maintenance appeared to be performed at VW dealers). After looking at the vehicle thoroughly and test driving it, I had it inspected by the local VW dealer. I was ready to purchase the car that day pending the outcome of the inspection. When I got the report from the dealer service tech, I was disappointed and unsettled. The following notes are from their inspection of the vehicle (with approximate costs to fix):

    1. front brake pads 5 mm, rear brake pads 8mm
    2. engine leaking oil from valve cover and cam seal ($580)
    3. oil cooler leaking oil into coolant ($617)
    4. hood strut broken ($130)
    5. transmission oil pan leaking ($290)
    6. lower engine cover missing ($360)
    7. right front under liner broken ($130)
    8. coolant flush coolant dirty ($160)
    9. coolant reservoir contaminated ($180)
    10. timing belt has cracks (1,250)
    11. battery not holding charge ($250)
    12. air bag system has faults and transmission has electrical faults

    Obviously, some of these issues are more urgent than others, and some, like the timing belt crack, are just general maintenance. However, I was still dismayed by this report, and choose not to purchase the vehicle. They were asking $5,995, which I thought was a good price, however, considering the amount of work that the car would have needed, I decided to move on and continue looking.

    My questions for the forum:
    1. Did I make the right decision? I feel that I did, however, I don't have experience with VW.
    2. Are some of these problems common? According to the technician, they aren't, other than the cracking of the timing belt, which is general maintenance (I was also expecting this anyways, since I didn't find any records on carfax of the timing belt ever being replaced)
    3. what are some of the common problem areas I should be aware of when looking for Passats? So far, it seems the timing belt/water pump is the major service, along with the CV boot, and turbo sludge. Is there any other common issues I should be aware of? Any recommendations and/or advice for a potential buyer?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and I look forward to your comments.

  • campermancamperman Posts: 53
    Brian. what you see as required repairs are not unusual. That timing belt is a must because should it break you are into thousands to possibly replace the engine. CV, tie rod ends, ball joints are common. I believe that car has 6 rods on each side and they are not cheap to replace. Gaskets? Expensive things to replace. Sensors - I get sick thinking about what I spent.
    You will also find that the finishing such as dash, door trim, shifter etc is thin plastic junk. I had problems with the seating material and finish there also.
    Absolutely, you made the best decision you could make. The best place for that car is on the dealers lot. Maybe I am prejudiced because the Passat I had was nothing but a major, major expense. There was always something broken and NOTHING was cheap. Advice: Golf appears to be OK. Passat-let someone else keep those problems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,415
    Way too much money. My friends who are original owners of their Passat wagon are selling a 2004, clean machine, never any problems for them, for $5900 asking price.

    You should expect a *few* issues with any used car, like needing brakes perhaps, or a small oil leak here and there which might not be of any consequence (there are LEAKS and then there are WEEPS...big difference).

    So sure, any used car might need $500 in spiffing up, but that laundry list you posted is deplorable. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I"ll put you in touch with my friends or direct you to their craigslist ad. Of course, I'd recommend you have THEIR car inspected as well. Good luck and yes, you make the right move for many reasons.


  • It's good you ran away. I wonder why everyone says replacing the timing belt is "just maintenance" -- I didn't replace my timing belt (I had about 90,000 miles on my 2003 Passat). It died. The VW dealer gave me estimates of $5-6K to replace the engine. They would only give me a 3-6 month warranty on their work so I ended up selling it to a junk car dealer. Lesson learned. They are money-sucking pits. First and last one for me.
  • bcass1bcass1 Posts: 2
    To the three previous posters who responded to my thread, thanks so much for responding and giving me some affirmation about my decision to walk away from the vehicle. My search for Passats will continue, although I'm a bit discouraged at this point. Nevertheless, considering all the potential issues that could come up on this type of vehicle, I think it would be prudent to avoid independent used car dealers, and look for cars being sold by private parties. At least, you're more likely to be presented with service records to help you better ascertain the history of the car. I've also begun looking at Golfs, and have been searching for Jetta wagons too (although they're rare, and even more so when looking for private party cars only). As one of the posters commented, the Golf seems to have a better record of reliability than the Passat.

    My search continues...
  • I have a 2004 1.8T with 4 Motion. I'm one of the lucky few that avoided most of the problems that others have experienced early on. My problems began after 120K. The first thing to go was the ignition coils and apparently this was a recall which VW did reimburse me on. I also had the oil cooler fail around 160K and it is a mess to fix because oil leaks into the coolant and contaminates everything. Another common problem to watch out for is a clogged heater core. Its cost me about $400 to have it flushed out when mine became clogged at 140K. VW recently revised their maintenance schedule to have the moon roof drainage ducts cleaned out every 40K instead of every 80K. I've had mine cleaned every 40K and have never had an issue with a leak but there are several who have had issues with it leaking mostly though because they didn't have it cleaned or maintained.

    If you've never had a VW before, be prepared to shell out some maintenance every month to keep it running. I've probably spent a couple hundred a month in maintenance since passing the 120K mark but my car now has over 207K on it and it still runs like new and is fun to drive. Good luck with your search

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    edited April 2011
    You wrote the following and I added comments:

    1. front brake pads 5 mm, rear brake pads 8mm Wear items.
    2. engine leaking oil from valve cover and cam seal ($580) Not uncommon on Passats, both engines.
    3. oil cooler leaking oil into coolant ($617) Can happen - price sounds high.
    4. hood strut broken ($130) I had this problem - $25 at auto parts store and 5 minutes to DIY.
    5. transmission oil pan leaking ($290) No idea.
    6. lower engine cover missing ($360)
    7. right front under liner broken ($130)
    8. coolant flush coolant dirty ($160) I had this done at the dealer last year - $90.
    9. coolant reservoir contaminated ($180) Buy the part online for $35 at 1st VW Parts.
    10. timing belt has cracks (1,250) Probable dealer pricing. An independent garage could save you substantially here.
    11. battery not holding charge ($250) New Battery at Advance Auto - $170. DIY installation.
    12. air bag system has faults and transmission has electrical faults No idea. SOunds expensive to diagnose.

    All in all, you should walk away, but the prices you got for repairing the issues seem high. But that could be dependent on where you are in the country. At just over 90,000 miles, my maintenance costs are running at about $0.08 per mile on my 2003 Passat wagon with the 1.8T. This includes maintenance and repairs, including tires. Doesn't include oil changes, which run me about $0.01 per mile (using Mobil 1 0w-40 Sythetic and a VW filter. I bring the oil, and they do the change and my sludge warranty remains intact without question. So, call it $0.09 per mile or $8,100 over the last 8.5 years. And I haven't done the timing belt change yet.

    These aren't cheap cars to own and maintain. They are safe and drive nicely, though.
  • Get your timing belt changed NOW. All the money and time you've spent maintaining your car . . . it'd be a shame to overlook it. Don't make the mistake I did. That timing belt was a death sentence for my Passat.
  • I don't think it's a problem with bleeding. For me, I found out accidentally as the coolant level slowly leaked out causing the alarm to go on. Overall, I think I lost over a gallon. The noise was apparently coming from the coolant reserve tank venting as the level came down. I started getting noise after getting the coolant system flushed out and the service shop told me that the water was leaking around the water pump. I've just recently got the timing belt replaced along with the water pump, and got brand new seals. The noise occurred only once or twice, but after that it went away. I believe you have a small leak in the coolant system somewhere causing the bubbling inside the coolant reserve (overflow) tank.

    Good luck.

    Navy Guy
  • VWDawg,
    I guess I'm being stubborn as far as the car, because I've just spent over $2500 on a car which has less than 49K miles and therefore I'd keep the car for a while. I have a teenager daughter who will be driving soon and figured at least I know the full repair history of this one.
    Thanks again for your advices.

    Navy Guy
  • steveg64steveg64 Posts: 6
    I had a 2002 that I bought new and took really good care of it. Nothing but problems, it was a big money pit. I'd avoid VW if I was you.
  • bjssbjss Posts: 51
    I have the same car you were looking at, although 80K miles (bought new). It's a blast to drive, but does require some upkeep. I did the whole timing belt, water pump thing at 65K (didn't want to risk it and plan to keep car for a while). Had valve cover gasket leak, but no issues with transmission, coolant leaks. I recently had to replace the front engine mounts (they were leaking), fuel filter, brake pads (3rd time for front and rear) and CV boots. If you get a VW, buy your parts at and find a good independent shop to peform the repair. This has saved me big $$$ over dealership. Personally, I would not buy a used VW unless I had all repair/maintenance documentation. Good luck!
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