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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I am not sure if this is true, but I have heard the sludging has a little to do with the small oil pan used on longitudinally mounted 1.8Ts. That's why the Golfs, Beetles and Jettas do not have the problem (I haven't heard of it anyway). The transverse 1.8T has a bigger oil pan."

    Yup, the larger the oil capacity, the fewer times any given unit of oil circulates through the engine the longer it takes that oil to start breaking down.

    "I used synthetic because I was told by a local VW tuner shop, it extends the life of the turbo. I am glad I listened."

    Yeah, back in the 1980s when Chrysler was the largest producer of turbocharged gasoline engines in the world, I discovered that if you ran Mobil 1, the turbochargers would last indefinitely; however, the folks who didn't take my advice invariably had to have the turbocharger replaced before 70,000 miles (usually a lot before).

    "Be warned...if you use synthetic oil after 20,000 miles of petrol based oil, you may experience oil leaks. I have seen this happen to a lot of Audi and VW vehicles with the 1.8T and a few V6s."

    Well, that little tidbit has been repeated so often that many folks assume it is gospel, however, there is absolutely zero evidence to support that statement, VW engines or no. Many folks switch to synthetic oil for the first time with over 100,000 miles on their cars and even still they get no leaks.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Be warned...if you use synthetic oil after 20,000 miles of petrol based oil, you may experience oil leaks. I have seen this happen to a lot of Audi and VW vehicles with the 1.8T and a few V6s.

    Heh! I ran mine on 502.00 spec oil from the first oil change, later followed by using 503.00 spec. By 30,000 miles, I had a little seepage at the back of the valve cover. Didn't have anything to do with using synth after using dino juice...had a lot to do with the design and/or installation of the cover, since it's not an uncommon seepage site on the 1.8T.
  • I gave my VW tech Mobile 1 synthetic oil to replace it. He, and the service writer said, "VW does not recommend synthetic oil for this car." I continued to use it anyway. A year later, in 2004, there was sign behind the service writer's desk that stated "All 1.8T engines require synthetic oil." I also received the update to the owner's manual. I am so glad I did not listen to the tech.

    Which is precisely why I bring my own 503.01 spec oil with me to the dealer at each oil change... :shades:

    As a matter of fact, the only time I take my cars to the dealer is when I need an oil change or to have recall or TSB-related work done on it. I have a network of private VW mechanics that I go to for the heavier maintenance jobs that I don't have the tools/facilities for. Otherwise I do the rest of the maintenance myself...
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I had the same experience with my dealer when I brought my '03 Passat in for it's first oil change. I had read the owner's manual backward and forward, read a whole bunch of info on the web about oil and what the VW specs cited in the manual meant and came to the conclusion that I really had to use synth oil meeting 502.00. Interesttingly, without reading between the lines of the manual, you would never really understand that synthetic oil was required. The word "synthetic" is never mentioned.

    When I called the dealer to set the appt in early 2003, I was given a price that seemed too low for a synth oil change and asked what was used. It was, of course, 5w-30 bulk oil. The dealer never made a recommendation that I consider using synth. So I ran out and found that 502.00 wasn't that easy to find. I ended up using Valvoline Synpower 5w-40 for a couple of oil changes until a couple of my FLAP stores started carrying 0w-40 M1. I've used that ever since, along with the larger OEM filter. I always bring my own oil and I save every oil purchase and oil change receipt like they are religious relics.

    I am hoping that, along with giving the engine a few minutes of cooldown after harder driving (it all hilly here, so I pretty much do that every time I pull into the driveway), I will avoid the whole sludge issue.

  • When I called the dealer to set the appt in early 2003, I was given a price that seemed too low for a synth oil change and asked what was used. It was, of course, 5w-30 bulk oil.


    That's exactly what happened to me. That's when I began bringing in my own motor oil - Elf Excellium LDX 5w40 from germanautoparts.com (one of a handful of Group IV (non-hydrocracked PAO based) synthetic oils on VW's approved 502.00 list). Then AutoZone started carrying Castrol Syntec 0w30 (Made in Germany) which is a Group IV motor oil on VW's new 503.01 specification (an improvement over the old 502.00 list). I've been using that ever since.

    The only time the factory bulk oil is OK to use is during engine break-in (synthetic's lubrication properties do not make it ideal for breaking in the engine - especially making sure the piston rings wear and seat properly).

    After 10,000 - 15,000 miles, it is safe to switch to synthetic.

    How many miles did you have on the car at the time you discovered that the dealer used the bulk 5w30 oil? I made that discovery at about the 30,000 mile mark. After switching to 502.00 spec synthetic oil (and 503.01 after that), I haven't experienced
    any signs of sludge or engine-related issues.

    Using synthetic oil over an extended period of time should gradually clean your engine of whatever sludge residue has been built up (if any).
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    2003 VW Passat and dealer told me that they use 5W30 regular oil for all changes. Starting with first change I always brought my Mobil 1 0W40. Once, when I forgot to bring oil, dealers were already using synthetics (my box of oil was sitting politely in garage instead of trunk ;-)
    All receipts are in the glove box.

    Krzys
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    How many miles did you have on the car at the time you discovered that the dealer used the bulk 5w30 oil?

    Well, I discovered it at about 4,750 miles, but I discovered it before it went into my engine. ;)

    I'm staying under the 5,000 mile recommended OCI. the first 4 changes were using Valvoline's Synpower 5w-40, the rest are with M1 European Formula 0w-40.
  • Well, that little tidbit has been repeated so often that many folks assume it is gospel, however, there is absolutely zero evidence to support that statement, VW engines or no. Many folks switch to synthetic oil for the first time with over 100,000 miles on their cars and even still they get no leaks.

    My own eyes were evidence enough for me. The cars I saw it happen to had one thing in common...a switch to synthetic oil when they had higher miles. One was my own car. Who knows? I'd rather play it safe though.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've been turning a wrench for over thirty years and I have never seen any car start leaking because of synthetic oil. Not one. If a car starts leaking after synthetic oil is introduced, that I'll bet dollars to donuts that it would have started leaking anyway regardless of the oil.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    While it's hardly a scientific sample, I've driven VW's from three different decades...none of them were the most leak-proof engines to begin with, IMHO. Two decades worth ran strictly dino juice, one ran strictly on synth. The synth engine has remained the most leak-free, at the same mileage point.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Agreed. Some engines are more inclined to leak than others, my current daily driver has over 150,000 miles on the clock and has yet to shed a drop. I've had other cars that were dumping a quart every couple hundred miles once they hit the 100,000 mile mark.

    That said, there is zero scientific evidence to support the argument that says that switching a well broken in engine to a modern synthetic oil will cause oil leaks. None. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Hi:
    I understand VWoA has issued a letter on warranty extension on 1.'8T, and
    I need a copy. Can you help?

    pioneerich@earthlink.net
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I believe that your dealer should be able to provide you with that letter.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    image

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    Hope that helps...it was posted in the car repair database at my local library.

    There's some interesting items in this letter that I should point out:
    1) The letter changes the service interval to no more than 6 months between oil changes. My owner's manual notes the oil change interval to be 5,000 miles or 12 months.
    2) They've made some errors in the oil list. Valvoline Synpower 5w-30 as available in North America is not 502.00 compliant. I've never seen most of these oils in the parts store. I've only regularly seen M1 0w-40 and Valvoline Synpower 5w-40 (and this one only at NAPA stores).
    3) The 502.00 spec is lower than the spec mentioned in my '03 manual (503.01 is specifically cited).
  • My 2001 Passat 1.8t has over 130K mi on it. The oil light has been on only a couple of times in the last several months but the cam chain tensioner is having a problem. I think that problem (the cam tensioner) is caused by low oil pressure.

    I have done a lot of searching and have found a lot of people complaining about sludge in the Passat engine. I have changed oil faithfully at about 5K intervals using Castrol Syntec oil. And still I am having trouble with oil pressure so lets not jump to conclusions about anyone's adherence to oil change recommendations.

    In fact I have also come across text that hints that oil change recommendations are somewhat ambiguous.

    I also found a possible solution. I figure it is worth a shot considering this approach only costs a little more than $60 to implement as opposed to $900 to replace the cam chain tensioner. Here is the link... http://www.auto-rx.com/ check it out if you like. I am not paid by them and I have not begun my procedure yet. But the sheer number of testimonies for this stuff is very impressive.

    I hope this information is helpful to you!

    j
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I have done a lot of searching and have found a lot of people complaining about sludge in the Passat engine. I have changed oil faithfully at about 5K intervals using Castrol Syntec oil. And still I am having trouble with oil pressure so lets not jump to conclusions about anyone's adherence to oil change recommendations."

    The question here is, "Which Castrol Syntec oil?" The only two oils sold here in the U.S. that are made by Castrol and approved by VW are the domestically produced Castrol Syntec 5W-40 (502.00), and the German produced Castrol Syntec 0W-30 (502.00 and the more stringent 503.01 oil specfications).

    "In fact I have also come across text that hints that oil change recommendations are somewhat ambiguous."

    Ambiguous? How?

    "I also found a possible solution. I figure it is worth a shot considering this approach only costs a little more than $60 to implement as opposed to $900 to replace the cam chain tensioner. Here is the link... http://www.auto-rx.com/ check it out if you like. I am not paid by them and I have not begun my procedure yet. But the sheer number of testimonies for this stuff is very impressive."

    True, there are lots of testimonials out there about this stuff, however, I've read lots of testimonials about the effacacy of Slick-50 and MMO as well. Looked at another way, I've never seen any scientifically compelling evidence that shows that his stuff is anything more than snake-oil.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • To be honest, I don't know what exactly is the Castrol oil. I believe it is the 5W-40. It is the stuff the VW dealership uses.

    Regarding the ambiguous oil change info; one post said oil changes should be done every 5K miles then at 10K, 20K and 30K... not sure of the exact quote, sorry. But another post in this column recently showed a letter from VW that also was inconsistent in this area.

    Regarding the testimonials about Auto-RX etc. I will let you know how my experiment turns out. But as I think about it it will only be another testimony to you. The testimonials for this stuff gives me great hope that I will be.

    Jim
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Regarding the ambiguous oil change info; one post said oil changes should be done every 5K miles then at 10K, 20K and 30K..."

    What you've listed above is the oil service intervals for the newer 2.0T (sorta, it should be 5K, 15K, 25K...), the 1.8T is every 5,000 miles.

    "Regarding the testimonials about Auto-RX etc. I will let you know how my experiment turns out. But as I think about it it will only be another testimony to you. The testimonials for this stuff gives me great hope that I will be."

    Well, your results, disappointing though they most likely will be, might still prove to be intellectually interesting. Not scientific by any stretch, but interesting none-the-less.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Shipo, majicman might be referring to another poster here who insists that the OCI for the Passat (B5 & B5.5) is 10k. This, despite me posting two different excerpts from different model years showing a 5,000 mile maximum OCI. It's really a disservice to the members here, but I digress.

    Majicman - Read your owner's manual. Read the supplement that VW sent out. The OCI is a max of 5k. The manual, at least mine does, states tht under some conditions the oil should be changed more frequently. It's not ambiguous at all. Look at post 46 and 50 under the thread here on Passat Engine Problems - I posted the sections of the manual.

    And just because a VW dealer did the oil changes doesn't guarantee, not by a long shot, that every oil change on your '01 was done with synth. Crikey, many dealers in 2002 were still using bulk Castrol 5w-30 dino juice for oil changes....

    And from what I've read, the Passat doesn't suffer from what I would call "sludge". It actually develops hard, granular particles from the coking of the oil in the hot turbo. One wag on the web christened them "turbo turds."

    Dino juice is more likely to do this, given that true synth is more resistant to coking. Frequent oil changes, with the proper spec of synth, along with proper cooldown after hard driving is the only way to avoid the problem.

    The cam tensioner goes bad because the coked particles block the oil flow and starves the area of lubrication.

    Good luck with the Auto-Rx. Post if it works for ya (well, please post if it doesn't, too).
  • Thanks guys for your replies.

    I have been faithful in changing the oil at least every 5K mi. I admit I have been delinquent in monitoring exactly what oil they have used. And I only mentioned the inconsistency (perceived?) in oil change interval documentation because someone jumped on another poster about his not following recommended intervals. Nuf said about that as far as I'm concerned.

    LOL... "turbo turds"!! This stuff is supposed to melt those too... but I will write and let you guys know what is going on..

    The process started today and involves driving 1200 mi then changing the filter only. Then the next 1200 mi the oil and filter is changed. I drive almost 500 mi each week so it will be two weeks before the filter only change. I have requested the dealer to measure the oil pressure so I have a comparison level in two weeks.

    And thanks for enlightening me about letting the turbo cool off. It never even occurred to me that this could be a problem. As I said I drive 55 miles each way to work 4 days a week at highway speeds. In the morning I arrive at the office with little time to spare. And when I get home at night I just want to get out of the car and into the house. Though I have done this for over three years with this car.

    jim
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