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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given that A) the 1.8T engine is extremely sensitive to the oil used in it, and B) very few 5W-30 oils, synthetic or otherwise, are generally available in the States are certified to meet the VW/Audi 502.00 oil specification, I think I'd be holding the seller to an extremely high level of documentation.

    FWIW, the following list identifies the currently available oils that are certified to meet 502.00 (or better): - 023.File.pdf

    Best regards,
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I know of no 5w-30 oil available in the US that meets VW's 502.00 Spec. Castrol Syntec in 0w-30 ("made in Germany" on the back label) does meets it, but that's about as close as I can get. Mobil 1 5w-30 doesn't.
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    Go to and read.
    I bought a 2001 passat with 84K for my son.Then I had my son keep records on oil change intervals. We used Amsoil and their filters. At 117,000 the engine sensors showed NO OIL PRESSURE. Then it did te thing these engines are famous for.

    THen the dealership in Eua Claire did the $3,900.00 repair on the engine and it is great to this day.

    I got catigated by the "upper powers to be" of this website for my backing the REAL benifits if using Amsoil because of the political position of most of the UPPER NOSINGNESS of the administrators of this website, because they said Amsoil did nor apear on VW's approved List. However Just call the Eua Claire dealership and ask for Joe9 Theservice manager) and ask him agour David from Columbus, Ohio and ask him about me.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I could care less what "he" says, Amsoil is NOT certified to meet any VW/Audi specifications, and as such, it is worthless for used in any VW or Audi automobile.
  • My 2003 Passat 1.8 t engine experienced a catastrophic failure at 129k miles. I am original owner and have followed ALL of the recommended maintenance procedures. My car is in excellent shape and I am heartbroken. I had it towed to a very reputable mechanic who showed me the damage. I just had my 130k maintenance done by the dealer in Sept 09 and had not hit the 5k mark for the next oil change.

    SUMMARY: Originally thought it was just a problem with the valve cover and oil got into spark plugs. Rear timing chain failure, intake camshaft failed and key way on timing belt pulley broken. #4 cam bearing burned and scored from lack of lubrication or oil pressure. The oil mark in the engine is at the full mark but very dirty.

    QUESTION: Is this possibly related to the sludge problem I have been reading about and if so, how can I prove it. :sick:
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    If you want to call VW dealership at 715-830-111, the dealership in Eua Claire.

    Ask for Joe the service manager and find out for yourself. This dealership did over $3,900.00 worth of work (under warrenty)on the 2001 Passat that I bought that had 84K on it when purchased. Then failed at 117K. JUST BECAUSE I KEPT GOOD RECORDS AND USED AMSOIL. Until you do that is the argument that you are using against the use of Amsoil is bogus !
    Mister shipo MAN UP and make the call !

    For that fact call anyone call and see !

    The dealership in Brookpark, Ohio (GANLEY VW) the dealedship in Columbus, Ohio (BYERS) they all say the same thing. Come on MAN UP !

    You keep saying the same thing. If anyone wants to call then let them! and report back.

    I know this is not a popular issue when you go against a MODERATOR of a thread but if you are going to say I am wrong then I would say that you must do your research and keep enphasizing the fact that also people need to do their research and MAN UP. I have never heard you tell someone CALL THE DEALERSHIP AND FIND OUT! 715-830-1111. Call AMSOIL and MAN UP! Ask the question folks ! It is a great oil and educate yourself.

    Why not try to find REAL info.
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    HAve you tried to go to the dealership in your locale area. Why did you not have it towed to a VW dealership ?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited February 2010
    The point you keep missing is that if any one dealership chooses to support Amsoil for use in VWs that's their choice, and any failures then become their responsibility. Said another way, that in no way means that VW corporate appoves of the use of Amsoil in their cars.

    Long story short, Amsoil is NOT approved for use in any VW sold in America. If you care to counter, point me to a place where specific language (in writing) can be found that says so. Come on, your turn to MAN UP.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    So you used Amsoil and the engine failed?
  • 2003 passat oil changed at specified times. At 45000 miles engine failed due to sludge. VW replaced the engine. At 101,000 miles same problem with sludge. Oil also changed at specified times. No engine damage but the engine needs a 1400 dollar clean. VW will not do the clean out. Is there anyone who could help me out with this problem in a legal way ?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The question is, what kind of oil have you been using? Just changing the oil at the "specified times" isn't enough, you need to use the "specified oil" (i.e. VW/Audi 502.00 oil specification) as well. Said another way, if you didn't use the proper oil then sludge is a matter of when, not if. 023.File.pdf

    Best regards,
  • majicmanmajicman Posts: 40
    edited February 2010
    I have a 2001 Passat with 158K miles on it. I thought at one point I had sludge problems and used this stuff . Didn't cause any harm but when I took the oil filter apart it was clean as a whistle. I even sent pics to this forum. Anyway I've always had the oil changed at 5K mi intervals at the local VW garage. They always use synthetic oil. I suggest trying the Auto-rx stuff. Use their recommended cleaning technique. 3000 mile changes (includes a new filter each time) and alternate Auto-rx treatment with a straight oil change. I think they recommend 3 cycles to clean an engine. If the engine is still running without the oil light coming on you probably can get this cleaned without a $1400 cost.

    Jim :shades:
  • I just purchased a 1998 Passat with the 1.8 T engine with 92,000 miles. The prior owner who was the original owner used Pennzoil 5w 30 and changed the oil every 3,000 and I have the paper work to back that up. I removed the oil cap and the valve train looks very clean with no slug. At this point the engine is running great. My question is do I change it over to a synthetic oil with the amount of miles the engine has or continue using Pennzel or some other mineral based oil. If I change to a synthetic oil at this point will it damage the engine or cause the gaskets to start leaking?
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    Sludge in 1.8T engines clogged the mesh in oil pick up tube first. It caused whole engine to seize. I would drop oil pan and check this.
    1.8T is supposed to use only oil meeting VW502.00 spec and only synthetic oils meet this requirement.

    Was timing belt replaced? Manual says 105K miles but it seems that older Passats with less miles had belt snapped. I would probably tow it to mechanic to have it done.

  • majicmanmajicman Posts: 40
    My VW dealer changes the oil in my '01 Passat every 5K miles with synthetic oil. I have owned the car for over 4 years.

    A couple of years ago I was concerned about sludge because of a code set in the computer calling the cam chain tensioner into question. I resisted the diagnosis that that device needed to be replaced because it is a $750+ part not including the labor to replace it. And that the code referenced an electrical problem not mechanical. I got the AutoRX product and ran it through a couple of times. I even took the oil filter apart to see what that stuff had loosened up. Nothing. The filter was very clean. I dismissed the theory that sludge was a problem in this car.

    I replaced the timing belt at 87K miles then again at 158K. I did have the heater core replaced in December.

    Just before replacing the timing belt in December I replaced relay 30 in the box where the computer is located. This was recommended in a web search I did referencing the "cam chain tensioner circuit open" error code. I have not had the cam chain tensioner code since.

    I am not a mechanic but my job requires diagnostic and problem isolation skills. I would not think that changing the oil from standard oil to synthetic would be a problem. However, I would recommend changing the oil more often than the recommended interval for the synthetic for at least 3 changes. Also, in these changes be sure to change the filter as well. The synthetic oil will likely loosen any existing sludge and you will want to change the filter to get this out of the system.

    Insert standard disclaimer text here... seriously I hope this helps you make an informed decision. And best of luck with your Passat.

  • My VW Beetle (00) was totaled by another driver last December, and I used the settlement money to cover part of an 03 Passat from a VW dealership an hour or so away from me. I have used premium gasoline and 5w-40 synthetic oil, two oil changes at 3k. The car has just under 61k miles. It's been a great car! But. Christmas Eve this year, about a week after I finished paying it off - the STOP OIL PRESS light came on so after the holidays I took it to a different dealer for service, as demanded by the manual. The dealer dropped the oil pan and cleaned out the pick up screen and reasoned that the sludge must have been pre-existing, and the dealer that sold me the car didn't tell me. I will also note that in order to clean out the oil pan...half the car had to be taken apart - so $700 total. But I guess if it saves me from having to buy a new engine......

    Now...I don't drive the thing that much. The interior is spotless, has the wood trim, sunroof, a spoiler; the paint on the hood and on the spoiler is in pretty crappy condition (the selling dealership must have had a good 5mm of wax on it when I bought it, because it did not look that bad for about a month. Capistrano VW-use at your own risk.) The only huge problem is the oil issue.

    I don't know enough about cars to know whether this is an issue the car is stuck with, or whether "cleaning the pickup screen" absolves it from future sludge as long as I keep putting premium gas and synthetic 5w-40 in it.. At this point I just do not want to give VWoA any more of my Visa transactions, because I'm long past can't-afford-this-car. I'm planning on getting a hyundai or mazda or toyota - something nice and easy and simple (as fun as the turbo has been) - should I just be able to trade this in or am I really stuck now?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I think you need to read the extended sludge warranty. IIRC, there's something in there about if you bought the car and can prove your oil changes were timely nad with the proper oil, you might have coverage under the extended warranty.

    Don't quote me on this, but I'd look into it with VWoA. You can read it here:

    It's possible that your vehicle has gone beyond the 8 yr period. I'm very close myself.
  • My '01 Passat has 167600 something miles on it now. It has been serviced with synthetic oil and new filter at all oil changes, as I mentioned in an earlier post. The timing belt has been replaced twice now. I used to drive this car to work 55 miles each way (110 miles round trip) almost every day.

    One day, while driving from work to home, I had that very alarming message show up on my instrument panel. I stopped and checked the oil level and it was fine. I let the car sit for a short while, then started it and drove the 55 miles home without further incident.

    Ultimately the crank shaft position sensor was replaced and I never saw that message again. This is a relatively inexpensive repair because the sensor is outside the 1.8T engine on the drivers side. I think the entire job cost me around $200 a couple of years ago.

    In my earlier post I mentioned "Relay 30". After replacing the "relay 30" I never saw the cam tensioner message again either. (A solder joint inside that relay was faulty.)

    The oil filler cap shows no sludge. And looking at what lifters that can be seen through the oil filler opening there is no sludge to be seen there either. The dipstick also shows no sign of sludge.

    If you get a mechanic that is good at reading the fault codes and researching the symptoms I think you will find that car will do fine.

    I also think that running the car long enough to get the engine heated completely to operating temperature and running for an hhour or so at operating temperature would be a good idea from time to time.

    If you are still going to sell the car I don't think you will have any trouble. I find mine to be very reliable. The VW garage here is very good, I have a good service advisor, who I trust and mechanic. I really think that is half the battle in keeping a reliable vehicle.

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