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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues



  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    without maintenance.


    PS Thanks for calling me names as this probably describes me: "anal retentive people who are Nazi about maintenance".
    Could you explain in simple English what you mean?
  • I purchased the car with about 35,000 miles on it and over the course of about 10,000 additional miles, of which I admit to only having the oil changed once, at least that is what the dealership told me when it was in there for one of the "issues", they said it had been changed as part of the repair.

    I am not "blaming" VW I am basically saying that this car is a nightmare and not just for the reasons of the sludge. Set aside the fact that this car was in the dealership auto shop four times for this issue yet none of their genius mechanics could figure that out. I don't blame VW for the sludge buildup I actually would like to hold the dealership at fault, or partly at fault, for the falsified oil sticker in the window for one, and two for lying to me about changing the oil.

    I also have come to the conclusion that VWs suck in general. Really I do now believe that. My sister owns a Jetta that has had nothing but problems including recalled electrical problems that have had to be fixed four times since 2001, that was just fixed about four months ago and yet again all of her lights are not working. I now know a number of VW owners, I live in a city of VW owners and I don't know one at the present time that doesn't regret getting a VW.

    I would also like to say that I am totally disgusted at the RUDE behavior some people on here are displaying. I'm sorry that I am having problems and HATE VW and that you are fine. I’m sorry that you are probably one of those people who washes their car with a cloth diaper, but sorry, I have a life to attend to and can't constantly worry about a car that was practically brand new when I bought it, (at least it was sold to me as a “almost new” car, but then again I guess I should never trust a car salesman should I.) I joined this Forum to view and seek out advice and stories from other VW drivers not to be criticized by people who think they know everything!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    With all due respect, you didn't really ask for advice in your post, you were just telling what happened and saying you'd never buy a VW again.

    I think people were trying to get the details clarified rather than directly criticizing you. Maybe if you have some specific questions, we can try to answer them for you.

    I'm sorry for what you've experienced with your Passat.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I surely hope you don't place me in that category of "rude" people. Reading the various posts that relate to your entry, I don't see anyone being rude.

    Lets see, you bought the car with 35,000 miles and proceeded to drive 10,000 additional miles. You changed the oil once during that time. That is not negligent. Passats are required to have their oil changed every 5K miles so you did nothing wrong there. You said besides the oil sludge issue, the car has been a nightmare. But you haven't stated what else was wrong with it. You told us all the problems your sister has had, but I must have missed the other problems you have had with your Passat.

    I am not trying to be rude in anyway, but I am sure you didn't post on Edmunds and not expect responses from fellow forum members. Right?

    This is a complete shot in the dark and excuse me if you take offense to this comment, but here goes.... If you are talking to your Service Advisor and Service Manager (at the VW dealership) in the same tone you are writing your messages on this board, then no wonder they have not been too willing to work these issues out with you.

    BTW: Did you get a mechanic, other than the VW dealer, to look over this car before you bought it?
  • camwilcamwil Posts: 1
    Ok, I've never heard of this sludge issue before we checked this forum. I am interested in buying a 2002 passat with a 1.8 turbo engine from a private seller. Without having to ask the seller, is there any way of checking for this issue before I actually purchase the vehicle? Thanks!
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Have your mechanic check the car out thoroughly!!
  • Up until last weekend my 2002 Passat has been awesome. No problems - runs great and fun to drive. I have 75K miles on it and have only had to replace the headlights and tires. I drive it pretty hard and have never paid any attention to cooling down the turbos or anything else. It has been an excellent car.

    I have always taken it to the dealer for maintenance ...but I am sure I have skipped an oil change or two. Since the warranty expired at (50k? 60K ... I forget) I haven't had it serviced. I was planning on taking it in when I hit 75K this week (thinking 75K was some big checkup) and of course this past weekend I got the "STOP engine" oil pressure low light.

    I pulled over - checked the oil and it was empty. I put a couple quarts in it and drove a couple miles - the light stayed on. I then had it towed to a dealership. 1200 later I had a new oil pump and my 80K sparkplug/filter change. I had never heard of this sludge issue before ...

    I am wondering if I should sale it while its all tuned up and running again. The dealership told me that the engine was a-okay. Does this seem plausible? Does it seem likely that if I maintain a strict schedule of oil changes that the car will be ok for the next few years?

    Thanks -
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    "not serviced"?
    No oil change for from 50K to 75K (warranty expires at 50K). Please explain.

  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    No service in 15K - 25K miles?
  • Maybe ... maybe not ... who can remember? Who cares ... probably got the oil changed once and nothing else in that 15K or so. The real question is if these 1.8Ts are really timebombs no matter what ... or if maintained like mad they are ok.
  • jgirl2jgirl2 Posts: 1
    I have never had a VW,but I had bad sludge with a Mercedes.
    I had to let it warm up for 2 minutes before driving,get
    an oil change every 3K miles for a year,and the sludge went away. Does anyone know if this resolves sludge issues overall?
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Are you serious? You may not of gotten your oil changed in almost 15-25K miles and you can still say who cares? I would hardly say that 1.8t engines are a time bomb or that they need to be maintained "like mad". Like any other car on the road (Honda, Toyota or Chevrolet) they need to be maintained per the MANUFACTURER recommendations. I think it is completely unfair to blame VW for a owners negligence in maintaining his/her car.

    Because VW has admitted that the 1.8t engine will form sludge if not maintained with the proper synthetic oil and the oil changed at the correct OCI many owners blame VW for THEIR negligence!!!!

    It seems like an epidemic in the U.S. to try to blame other for their own mistakes.

    Bottom line is you will and should be responsible for a new engine.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    :shades: well said
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    With your logic any car with IC engine is time bomb.
    Try not to change oil in any vehicle and I bet engine will fail, sooner or later.

  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    While I was at my VW mechanic getting a timing belt change on my 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta (73K miles), I gained new insight to the timing belt, water pump, & sludge issues:

    Timing belt - I am now convinced more than ever that the timing belt breakage issues that plagued the 1998 through 2002 1.8T engines are attributed to issues other than the timing belt itself. To elaborate further, while having my timing belt changed, I inspected the old timing belt after it was removed and the belt looked like it could go at least another 30,000 miles - there was no sign of cracking or excessive wear whatsover (the serpentine belt was the same way). I also noticed that the timing belt was a lot thicker than the belts I've seen (and changed on my previous VWs) in the past.

    When I asked my mechanic about this, he said that based on the hundreds of 1.8T timing belt changes he and his mechanics have done over the years (especially the 1998 through 2002 models which had the lion's share of timing belt failures), the following conditions can make a timing belt fail before the 105K mile interval:

    1) Sludge-related cylinder head failure (majority of timing belt failures) - A severely sludged engine will result an oil-starved cylinder head. Over time, this lack of lubrication will result in the overhead cams stopping dead in their tracks while the rest of the engine is still moving. Once the cams stop, that means the cam sprocket isn't turning which will result in the timing belt's teeth shearing off. And to make matters worse, the pistons are still moving while some valves are open, so they will eventually crash into each other, and voila - thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. I fault both VW (for not making synthetic oil MANDATORY for the 1.8T engines right from the get-go (1998)) and those VW owners who don't change their oil within the (every) 5000 mile interval (and use synthetic). If you own a 1998 through 2002 VW with the 1.8T engine, I would have the engine flushed (de-sludged), and use synthetic oil (meeting the VW 502.00 specification) from this point on. This will significantly reduce your chances of timing belt and sludge-related failures.

    2) Not changing the water pump at every timing belt change.
    During my timing belt change, I had the mechanic replace every timing belt related item as well. When he showed me the old water pump @ 73,000 miles, the internal plastic impeller was starting to disintegrate. So changing the water pump turned out to be good insurance against engine failure. If the water pump hadn't been changed, chances are the engine would either over heat (since there's no impeller to move the coolant through the engine), or a piece of the impeller may jam the water pump, causing the timing belt to shear and cause the aformentioned damage described in the previous condition (See #1).

    There are two types of water pumps available for this engine. If you use the OEM (factory) water pump with the plastic impeller, have your timing belt/water pump replaced every 60,000 - 70,000 miles. The plastic impeller on the OEM water pumps sold recently are of an improved design, but to be on the safe side, I wouldn't go beyond 70,000 mile intervals between changes.

    The second type of water pump is a significantly improved aftermarket design which replaces the plastic impeller with a metal one. If you use this water pump, you will be able to extend your timing belt change intervals to 100,000 miles (assuming the engine has been properly serviced every 5000 miles with synthetic oil meeting the VW 502.00 specification). If your mechanic and/or dealer has this water pump available, DEFINITELY use it.

    3) Hydraulic timing-belt tensioners - Chances are, your 1.8T engine has two hydraulic timing belt tensioners that MUST be changed at every timing belt change (whether it be at 60,000 mile, 70,000 mile or 100,000 mile intervals). NO EXCEPTIONS. According to my mechanic, these tensioners are good for 100,000 miles, but after that, you are definitely rolling the dice. These components are CRITICAL in keeping the timing belt properly tensioned. If you use these beyond 100,000 miles, and one (or both) tensioners fail, it will result in timing belt failure and thousands of dollars in engine repairs. That is why it is good practice to have every component replaced during the timing belt service (timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, hydraulic tensioners & tensioner pulley). It will save you time, $$$$ and a lot of headaches in the long run.

    Here's a couple of extra helpful hints:

    Golf/Jetta 1.8T timing belt service - Count on 6 hours for labor and $300 in parts if done by a private mechanic, and $500+ in parts (6-8 hours for labor) if done by a dealership.

    Passat 1.8T - Count on 4 hours labor and $300-$400 in parts (private mechanic) or $600-$800 in parts (dealer) & 4 - 5 hours of labor

  • Volkswagon is absolutly the one to blame for all 1.8t engines! i bought a 2000 passat w/ 60,000 miles on it, and the dealership never gave me any papers stating that i needed to put synthetic oil in it... and no, that "little book they call the owners manuel" doesnt state that either... since ive had it, for only about 5 months now, i paid 700 to fix the oil filter, and pump- ran for about a week, and had to take it back where their telling me i need to pay 5,000 for a new engine and oil pump pick-up tube!! Ive had it for 5 months its only been running for 2. They screw every1 over, and i will never buy another vw again!! :mad:
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Sorry to hear about your experience with VW. But, That is the exact reason why I would never buy a used car. Did you get the car checked by your own idependent mechanic?
  • Yes, i got a few different quotes, from a couple different mechanics, including my own and it was $5000 from everyone. I just brought it to VW dealership to see if they will fix it for free, because the mechanic said they may bc of the fact their is supposed to be a recall on it because it has been happening with every car that model. But it is VERY VERY unlikly, might as well check first tho. Im very unhappy with vw, so i wouldnt advise anyone to get one. :lemon:
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    "it has been happening with every car that model"

    You loose a lot of credibility with such statement.
    My teenage daughter claims that everybody does this or that and after questioning everybody becomes somebody.

    With cars it is similar.

    Note to potential used car buyers.
    When buying VW request full maintenance history, otherwise run if engine is turbocharged.

  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    You misunderstood my question about the independent mechanic. I apologize. Did you get your own mechanic to look over the car PRIOR to buying used Passat with 60K mile son it?
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