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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues

patpat Posts: 10,421
Talk about Passat sludge issues here.
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Comments

  • pjp9999pjp9999 Posts: 13
    I am the unlucky owner of a 2002 Passat, which I got almost new w/ 4,000 miles from a relative. I've kept up w/ most of the major tune ups (only at the dealership) but haven't had oil changes every 5k miles. Now I've been told at 37k miles I need a new engine ($8,500) because of oil sludge. This is incredible, if not maddening!!!!

    I've called VWoA and was told it is not under warranty because I cannot prove I had the oil changed EVERY 5k miles. Of course, the dealership will not help me at all!

    Has this happened to anyone and if yes, do you have any advice/recommendations as to how to best handle?? I've also been in contact w/ a mechanic who told me it's a engine malfunction because of the size of the engine is too small and the turbo causes it to run hot and create sludge. Half of me wants to seek legal action because there are owners who have changed their oil every 5k miles and STILL had sludge. VW has been open about the problem, extending the warranty to 8 years, but only if you can prove you've had oil changes every 5k, which I haven't. Also, up until a few years ago VW had been using non synthetic oil for service, possible unknowingly fueling the sludge problem themselves.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Sorry dude, this is your own fault IF the owners manual says change the oil every 5k and you didnt. Exactly how often DID you do oil changes/what does the owners manual say?

    I don't think you have any legal recourse, though I wish you good luck, as you will be needing it.

    ~alpha
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    he needs $8500.00.
    What kind of interval have you used for oil changes?

    By the way it is not engine malfunction but malmaintenance.
    Using wrong oil with too long interval does not make engine design bad.

    Krzys using Mobil 1 0W40 from begining
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Yikes, that's awful to have an $8500 repair bill on a 4 year old car. But I can't see how you can blame VW when you admit you did not follow the proper maintenance schedule. If you had the oil changed every 5000 miles and the dealer had put in the wrong oil, then they would be responsible.

    You might see if you can find someone to put a rebuilt or used engine in for less $$$.
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    It seems that car should go well over 5000 miles between oil changes, or any car for that matter. I doubt the sludge is from not changing the oil that frequently.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    He is not saying how often he changed the oil. Was it every 6,000 miles or every 16,000 miles? Maybe the oil was never changed at all.
    Maybe there is a defect since he said even some cars that had the oil changed on schedule had the same problem. However, he needed to not exceed the maximum oil change interval if he was interested in keeping the warranty in effect.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:

    I am the unlucky owner of a 2002 Passat, which I got almost new w/ 4,000 miles from a relative. I've kept up w/ most of the major tune ups (only at the dealership) but haven't had oil changes every 5k miles. Now I've been told at 37k miles I need a new engine ($8,500) because of oil sludge. This is incredible, if not maddening!!!!

    I've called VWoA and was told it is not under warranty because I cannot prove I had the oil changed EVERY 5k miles. Of course, the dealership will not help me at all!


    It would be helpful if you posted the following information:
    How many oil changes can you document? At what mileages? What oil did you use (synth or dino)?
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    This is one thing I don't understand, but it's something that I consistently see with a number of car owners. Some owners simply do not adhere to recommended fluid change intervals. This may not be the case here, but it seems to be quite typical.

    Change your oil every 3K or 3 months, drain and refill coolant at least every 24K or 2 years, and change your ATF every 24K or 2 years. If you follow this schedule, or something similar for your vehicle, you generally won't have any mechanical engine or transmission failures. Fluids are the life-blood of your engine!
  • gumby7gumby7 Posts: 3
    I have 75,000 miles on my 2002 Passat and the same problem. VW said they would replaced the engine if I could prove that the oil was changed every 5000 miles, they will not accept oil receipts if you changed the oil yourself. When I picked up my car, another Passat owner with the 1.8T engine had the same problem and it had only 60,000 miles. The owner did have proof of oil change for every 5,000 miles. VW has a design issue with the 1.8T engine. The engine is junk and does not last even with the recommended maintenance. I'm soory to hear that you only got 37,000 miles on your Passat. Are you seeking legal action?
  • gumby7gumby7 Posts: 3
    I have 75,000 miles on my 2002 Passat and have been told by VW that there is sludge in the engine and that it needs to be replaced. At 62,000 miles they cleaned the engine of a small amount of sludge buildup, replaced the oil pump and changed the oil. The said that there was no engine damage and is should be OK and that the engine was warranted till 100,000 miles. When the oill light came on at 75,000 miles, VW said they would replaced the engine if I could prove that the oil was changed every 5000 miles, they will not accept oil receipts if you changed the oil yourself. When I picked up my car, another Passat owner with the 1.8T engine had the same problem and it had only 60,000 miles. The owner did have proof of oil change for every 5,000 miles. VW has a design issue with the 1.8T engine. The engine is junk and does not last even with the recommended maintenance.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    that's BS! the law and VW don't require oil change to be done by the dealer as long as it's done within the recommended interval to not void the warranty. so if you have receipts of buying the oil, it'd be your word against theirs and let the judge decide.
  • ibudic1ibudic1 Posts: 30
    It seems to me that you are trying to find a way that will get you out of a bad situation that you are in. Also by saying that there are owners who have reported sludge forming even if they changed the oil every 5K miles you seem to want to say that this somehow makes VW liable for designing engines that cannot withstand going without the oil changes for very long periods of time, and you want to sue them for this? WHY? Why should a manufacturer be liable for damages incured during consumers' negligant use and maintanace. If VW said that they will not warrant the car that has a problem without proof of maintanace what is the problem with this? If someone maintanins their car per manufacturers recomended schedjule and the engine still brakes, than manufacturer should be liable, and as far as I understand they pay for the damages if this was the case. In your case, the best thing you can do is to change the engine with your own money...
    I sugesst that you don't buy a new engine and I sugesst that you call as many junkyards as you can, and find a low mileage engine from a wreck. You should be able to buy a used engine for less than $1K. You should be able to get the engine installed for less than $800 at any smaller shop. PLEASE NOTE tell the shop to install turbo from the swapped engine. Do not keep your old turbo, because chances are it is gone as well. When a junkyard sells you your engine turbo should be included. A new turbo can cost as much as a used engine. If you can afford I actually sugesst you buy a new turbo from garrett that will fit on your junkyard supplied engine, ask garrett what you should buy and than try to find this new on either e-bay or froogle or whatever. Try to buy turbos that are ball bearing and have both water and oil cooling, and when the shop installs it make sure that they know that you want both water and oil cooling for the turbo. Why? Because turbine is the one that distroyed your oil and cooked it to a sludge. Any turbo engine requires good oil. If you are cheap and don't want to spend extra money on the new turbo and don't really care for performance you can keep your old turbo (from the junkyard not your engine) and make sure you install an aftermarket turbotimer ($100-250) in your car. Turbo timers are used to keep the car running even as you exit the car and lock it so that turbo has enough time to cool down by having oil circulating through it, this also slows the process of oil from boiling and turning into sludge.
    Speaking of oil, I think you will remember from now on that it is STUPID to try to save on high-quality oil. With that in mind keep buying good oil. Who makes good oil? Almost everyone. Mobil1 is most common, but it is no better than many others, it really doesen't matter who makes it, what it matters is what SAE/ACEA and API requrenments it passes. Since your car is 2002, AND turboed, I suggest you use either oil that satisfies ACEA E5 or if you cannot find ACEA ratings than use API SL or even better API SM. Now the oil thikness. This is important. The number that stands next to the W tell you how well the oil is suited for WINTER therefore W. So my advice to you is to change oil during the winter and summer times regardless of whether you have or have not went 5k miles in between. For winter I would use 5W-40, so change to 5w-40 before winter like in November or so. And during summer you should really get oil that is like 5w-50, but since this does not exist, you should use any oil that has the second number 50. 15w-50 would be a great choice. So you know why I tell you these things, I'll try to put the stuff in terms almost everyone should understand. The first number tells you how easy it is for oil to move through the engine the first number tells you how well it is suited for winter driving. Oil should flow with a lot less resistance (low viscosity) when it is cold so a low frist number is good for winter, and the high second number after the w should be high for summer. The second number tells you the propensity of oil to thin out at higher temperatures, that is it tells you that the higher the number the higher the weight of it. This is good for hot summer days when idling. If you chage your oil with full synthetics and with the schedjule I told you your engine will last over 150,000 miles with most certanty, all the while it is saving you on gas. I am sorry for your misfortune, but there is really nothing you can do.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    According to VW, should use a synthetic 5W-40 meeting their specific VW standard (502). See:

    Volkswagen Approved Engine Oil (gasoline engines), and
    Choosing the Right Oil—gasoline engines

    at: http://www.vw.com/owners/serv_care.html

    (I would guess that using 15W-50 in summer would not cause a problem...just thought it was worth pointing out exacty what VW requirements and recommendations are)
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Thats good info, but that still doesn't answer the question as to how often you changed your oil.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Couldn't have said it better myself... :shades:
  • ibudic1ibudic1 Posts: 30
    Yes, synthetic 5w-40 would be good even in summer, but for added protection when it is hot outside say above freezing, than 15w-50 is superior. Actually I'd run the highest weight oil i could on a high-performing turbocharged engine I could without the oil freezing or having a too-high a viscosity. The easiest oil to make is 20w-50, but with new synthetics you can do 15w-50 which is, of course better than 20w-50. Engineers don't want people to mess up their engines, so they try to give you the best oil that is trying to work at almost all conditions. I say that you aren't as dumb and that you would know better what conditions you drive your car in. If engineers knew that your car would never leave say Florida, I don't think that they would suggest you use 5w-40, actually they would tell you to use 10w-40 or 15w-40 depending on what would be the c oldest day in Florida.
    Obviously the 1.8l has some sludge problems, even if people are following manufacturers recommended schedule. This means that the car needs more protection than it already has. VW cannot ,for I assume marketing reasons, make its customers change oil for cold and hot conditions, so it tries to make people use oil that is can-all, do-all, which is impossible. To counteract the marketing and fix the problem with VW you can either A buy something else (VW wouldn't want this) or B use oil that protects your engine in a best way possible, regardless of what manufacturer tells you. You could use 5w-40, in the summer, but you have a sludge problem in your engine from it being cooked by turbo charger, and what will you do, still listen to VW or spend 1 hour or 2 researching why the sludge happens, and doing the right thing about it or have a 8,500 damage? I choose the former. You can do whatever you like, its your nerves and your money.
  • pjp9999pjp9999 Posts: 13
    I missed three oil changes where I went over the 5k miles recommended service (all service done at dealership). I do take responsibility for that, but that should not warrant a NEW ENGINE at 37k miles????? Not to mention I've had headlight problems from day one, front grill kept popping off, glove compartment broke early on, in addition to the back cup holder. While I think european cars have the sleekest interiors, VWs are very cheaply put together!!! Amazingly poor quality!

    Toyota had a similar Sludge problem w/ their cars and stepped up to the plate for their customers and provided service as long as owners could prove they changed their oil once every year.

    And, there are cases where VW owners did follow the recommended service of every 5k and STILL experienced sludge, which makes me feel it is the engine that is defective and not the owner. Also, VW was not using non-synthetic oil for many years, possibly contributing to the problem. Owners that got the new engine, still experience problems because... well.... it is the same defective engine!

    If this were an isolated incident, I would just chalk it up to "live and learn" and cut my losses and move on, but it seems this is not unique to this make/model.

    And, I talked to a mechanic who has a friend that works for the VW dealership and he told him it is a known problem w/ Passats/Audis and once there is sludge there will always be problems.

    Yes, I do take partial blame for my actions, but, I also feel the manufacturer needs to be accountable for their actions as well. And the dealerships needs to support their customers and not just wish they would go away, which is the kind of service I've received!
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    There is a cautionary factor to consider when using motor oils with a wide viscosity range. The wider the range of a motor oil, greater amounts of V.I. (Viscosity Indexers) are required. A number of years ago, a research chemical/petroleum engineer professor-type here at the University of Illinois wrote a paper on V.I.'s in motor oil. When greater amounts of V.I.'s are added to extend an oil's operational viscosity to a wide range, for example 5W-40 or 10W-50, this is the cause of varnish build-up over time and eventual sludging. Viscosity Indexers are the culprit, not the loss normal oiling properties or detergent action.

    I don't know if this is a proven fact or not, but he's personally a great believer in 10W-30 weight synthetic oil, thereby minimizing the overall viscosity range, and minimizing the required amounts of V.I.'s used. Mobil 1 10W-30, for example, is generally good down into the minus degree F operational range, and certainly good enough for the high temperature ranges subjected by turbochargers.

    Engines with turbos are "oil critical." And, turbos really should be given a cool-down, or at least a spin-down time, before shutting down the engine. Otherwise, the heat of the turbo will "coke" the oil, i.e. cook it off, and cause carbon build up. This alone can lead to sludge problems.

    I've owned two Classic SAAB 900 Turbo's and never experienced an engine or turbo failure out to 175K miles using Mobil 1 10W-30 with changes every 3K or 3 months, whichever came first.
  • ibudic1ibudic1 Posts: 30
    Legally manufacturer does not have a right to ask for receipts if they are a supplier of the warranty. You can, by law, change your own oil or fix your car at ANY shop of your choosing. Manufacturers would LOVE that you fix the car only at their dealerships, which would mean you buy their parts. Whatever... If you have your warranty from manufacturer and they refuse to honnor it because you changed your own oil (you should have receipts that you bought it), than sue them, and you'll win even without an attorney.
  • pjp9999pjp9999 Posts: 13
    Thanks for all your replies....... gosh, this is sooooooooooo NOT a warm and fuzzy site. I feel like I'm back at the dealership again! Oh well, will probably just cut my losses and go back to japanese cars, which were soooooooooo much easier to maintain. Maybe the passat was just too sophisticated for me????
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