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VW Passat Troubles (B5 platform, nee Audi)



  • I read your post describing to cheewy75 how no car no matter how powerful can overcome the brakes? Have you ever tried this yourself? I have on several cars ranging from Chevy Cavalier (which I DO NOT consider a "powerful" car) to Nissan Maximas and Ford Vans. Actually, on EVERY car I have tried this on, the GAS PEDAL WINS. So your comment on how NO CAR, no matter how powerful can overcome the brakes... is wrong. Did you try it before posting your reply to cheewy75, or did you just read it somewhere? You might be right about the Passat, as I have never attempted it in a Passat.

    FYI, I am currently shopping for a new car and was considering a Passat among my choices.

  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Perhaps I exagerated a bit, but yes, I have tried this before, though not with my Passat(it's a standard and frankly, I don't want to abuse it).

    Did your cars shoot forward? Did they fly out of control? Or did they creep, slowly, fighting for traction and against your brakes the whole way? Were your brakes in good shape? Were they front-wheel drive cars or rear-wheel drive? Did you have your brake pedal pressed to the floor the whole time? And above all... why the heck have you done this with every car you've owned? ;-)

    How do you think race cars do burn outs? What cheewy is describing, well... I just don't think it can happen like that.

    Look, I'm not trying to start a fight, and I took extra care to present my point as non-confrontationally as I could. I just think he fell victim to the same thing that the "Audi Sudden-Accelleration" folks did... DRIVER ERROR. It happens, it doesn't make him a bad person, and I don't think less of him or anything, it was a mistake.

    Plus, it's just my opinion. I will try and find some sort of data to prove my point, but in my experience, if he had his foot planted firmly on his brake pedel, his car could not have shot forward into a tree. Even if the tranny popped into gear and the throttle stuck full open at the same time, chances are the engine would just race itself to redline while you stood on the brake. Either way, and again, IN MY OPINION if he had been standing on the brakes, his 150hp car could not have shot forward into a tree.

    However, if he only thought he had his foot on the brake, but actually was flooring his accelerator at precisely the moment he popped it into gear, he would have shot forward like a rocket. AND since he thought he was pressing the brake, he never would have moved his foot. That's what happened with the Audis and IN MY OPINION that's what happened to cheewy.
  • sporin - SECOND the opinion. I had 4 - 80's models Audis, (all were fabuluous and trouble free)and I was very aware of the issue at the time and followed it closely in the news and car magazines.
    I don't know what kind of cars stanrad has been driving, but mine doesn't move with the brakes full on. Also - in the Car & Driver test of the Audis, they were able to STOP the car from 60 with the throttle floored in only a few feet more than normal. Either stanrad has some whopper engines or some poor brakes.
  • Sporin, Automophile,

    Actually I said the gas pedal defeated the brakes on every car I tried this on - NOT - every car I have owned (I am not crazy). Here are my personal stories... As far as the rear wheel drive Ford van, that was an accident the gas pedal got stuck down and the brakes were pretty much useless as my friends and I jumped a curb, ran over a small tree, went between a few trees, over a fence, and stopped just before a frozen lake because a log got wedged under the van. The wheels were still spinning when we came to a stop and one of us had to crouch down and yank the frozen gas pedal off of the floor. As far as the cavalier - front wheel drive, late 80's model (this was back in the 80's so it was new back then), maybe with 100hp - that was a rental car and it was done to settle a bet with a friend of mine. With the brake down and the gas pedal floored, the car just accelerated as if I had the gas pedal halfway down without any brakes. As far as the Maxima, it is a front wheel drive 1990 model. It was done with a mechanic in the car to let him hear some rattling from the motor with the engine under some load (provided by the brakes), the car started to creep forward at about 3000rpm before I stopped. Of course if I floored the gas pedal to 6000 rpm, I am not so sure it would have only crept forward at that point. See, I'm not some crazy nut trying to ruin all of my cars. Except for the rental car thing (I was in college at the time).

    Anyways, my wife used to have a 1996 Jetta GLS with automatic which was a very nice handling car except it would occasionally have one quirk. Sometimes on slow acceleration (with foot off of the gas pedal), the car would lurch forward with a thud during the shift from 1st to 2nd. The dealer told us there was nothing wrong, and it only needed a tranny oil change every 7500 miles. This is the same dealer that wanted to charge me $75 to change an air filter. Sounded like BS to me, but we no longer have the car. My wife talked to some of her friends who also had VW with automatic trannies, and a minority of them had similar problems with the car lurching forward. The passat looks very nice and has excellent reviews from magazines, JD powers, etc, but after reading the posting on this board, I am now leaning toward the Japanese sedans.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    "The passat looks very nice and has excellent reviews from magazines, JD powers, etc, but after reading the posting on this board, I am now leaning toward the Japanese sedans."

    My Passat has been great, trouble-free for almost 30,000 miles. My only out-of-pocket expense has been one oil change, done myself. It's 10 year, 100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty covers everything from the water-pump to the turbo. If Hondas are so great, then why do they only cover their powertrains for 3/36?? Just kidding, I'm not trying to start a debate. :-)

    You can find dirt on just about any car out there, do a search for Accords and Auto transmissions and you'll get an ear full. I will agree that the Japanese seem to have a higher level of overall reliability, but I don't think it's as night and day as they would like you to think.

    Buy the car that's best for YOU, but try not to get sucked into "The Great Edmunds Complaining Machine."
  • which was replaced by the Passat. Nothing dramatic,and the car did not get away from me, but potentially dangerous. After driving at high speeds, when I started going much slower (as in a mall parking lot) and then braked, the engine would race and the car would start to move forward, requiring me to brake much harder. The car was automatic and I was not shifting at the time.
    This only occurred a few times, over a period of several years, and I never was able to determine what caused it. The dealer said he was not familiar with the problem, but I subsequently saw on the Web a reference to reports of this problem in VW's.

    Perhaps the Audi problem was entirely caused by people hitting the gas rather than the brakes, but my own experience has always left a doubt in my mind: perhaps there was (is) a "racing accelerator" problem under special circumstances.

    I should add that this has not kept me from getting (and enjoying) a '99 Jetta, which, as I've indicated elsewhere, performs perfectly. I just think we should be very cautious about attributing problems entirely to "pilot error" just because they seem otherwise unexplained. Manufacturers have a vested interest in not reporting events they are aware of, until forced to, by scandal, law suit or vigorous government action.

  • HEEELLPPPP!! My Husband & I bought a VW Passat right when they were first re-released in October '97. We loved it!!!!! Up until this past year, we could find nothing bad to say about the car. In the last 7 months; however, the car has begun to make noises in the front passenger side of the car. At first, they were squeaking, creaking noises. We have had the Drive axle boot replaced, the trans mounts and motor mounts replaced, and all the sub-frame bolts tightened. Also, we had the sub-frame bushing replaced.
    The noise is still there, but only sporadically. Also, in the last 2 months, the car has begun to take bumps in the road very stiffly: in a thumping, don't give an inch way. I really cannot tell how it takes one bump from another, but my husband hates it and does not want to drive the car any more.
    Can someone please help??? Any ideas what might still be wrong with the car? Did the first problem cause the second? Are your '98 turbos taking bumps the same way?
    We have recently moved and have the misfortune of only 2 dealerships to choose from. At this point, they say they can only help if they here the noises or feel the thumping. So, please, anyone with similar problems, let me know!!!

    Sincerely, kc1122
  • Just to let everyone know...after the numerous problems cited in #7 I was given a new Passat under the Lemon Law. The dealership gave me a 2000 (I had problems with the '99). They also upgraded to the Monsoon sound system. So far no problems with this car.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066

    Good for you! :-) It's nice to see the Loemon Law do what it is supposed to do. Good luck with your '00.
  • Hi,

    Just purchased a 2001 GLX AWD Sedan (1.5 days old!). Wondering if anyone has noticed reception problems on the radio? I seem to have static on stations that used to come in quite clearly in my Ford Escort. Please repond if you anything at all about how effective the antennas on the WV's are. I love the car but would like to be able to drive with good music.


  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    I am just curious as to whether your GLX has the rear windshield embedded antenna and your Escort had the traditional exterior one.

    I've had the same problem you are describing going from an '89 Accord (exterior antenna) to a '99 TL (embedded). I am not through fighting with my dealer over this, but I haven't gotten anywhere yet.

    In any case, I would imagine that the fault lies more with the antenna than the radio head unit.

    Perhaps someone else can chime in with specific knowledge of VW radios and antennas.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the response. Yes, the VW has the embedded antenna at the back and the Escort has the regular exterior antenna on the front left hand corner. Wondering if the VW antenna is somehow more sensitive to picking up static or something? Going to take the car in to be checked.

  • It not that the window antenna picks up more static, it is that it picks up LESS radio station signal. Be sure to have this checked out - it can be a bad antenna cable or loose wire. BUT in general, the window antennas are just not as good as the whip kind.
  • Thanks automophile,

    Just to clarify: what you refer to as "window antennas are the embedded VW kind correct? And the "whip kind" are your traditional antennas that often can be retracted.


  • Hi,

    I side with Yanhao about the skipping problem. My 2001 GLX Auto 4WD Passat, which is just 2 days old is already skipping forward. Noticed the problem last night when driving into our apartment complex which is located on a hill. The car did a quick, startling skip which seemed to happen just before the car switched from 2nd gear to 1st. After reading the other comments about the skipping I drove up the hill again, only to experience the same problem. I am quite disappointed with the Passat now and I am thinking of returning the vehicle. Need advise about whether I will be able to return the car given that I have only had it for 2 days?


  • Yes, you are correct.
  • I can't lend you any help here, but I would be very interested what other actions you take in the future. I too have a '98 Turbo Passat (never mind the "Slug Bug" ID, I have a '99 Beetle too), and as of one month ago (after the brake fluid was replaced during regular maintenance) I had noticed a squeak from (what I think) is the right front. It is intermittent, seems only to come a low speeds <35 mph / 60km, but it is loud at times, almost sounds like jingle bells. I suspect the bearings, or a rubbing brake pad, but I have decided to wait for my next oil change to report it to VW (or for it to get worse). I have not experienced the harsh ride you describe. Up to now I've had few problems with the car, all repaired under warranty (possessed alarm, A/C not working).

  • At around 26,000 miles my 98 Passat started havings various whining, grinding, squeaking noises coming from the front drivers side. I took it to the dealer who told me that it sounded like a bad ball joint (or 2), but that it would be almost $100 just to diagnose it.

    I took it to Sears where the former head mechanic from my VW dealer now works and he told me that it was a dry ball joint and that he would inject some grease with a hypodermic needle to see if that took care of the problem. It seems to have, for the time being, although he thinks it should be replaced in the next year (I was quoted $500 by my dealer.)

    FYI, there was a recall for certain VIN numbers for tie-rod ends which I found on the net--wish I could remember where-- it could be that also.

    All in all, this car had been a joy to drive but one of the most troublesome cars I've ever had. I've had: a bad temp sending unit which prevented the car from starting once warmed up and which took the dealer 4 months to diagnose; a faulty transmission switch which prevented the tiptronic from shifting manually; a leaky trunk; a windshield that cracked in the winter due to stress; sqealing brakes; rattles galore. Unfortunately most of these problems occurred after the skimpy 24-month warranty was up.

    Would I buy another? Probably not.
  • evacevac Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with my Passat re: airbag light (and have had to get it replaced many times). How does (did) they lemon law work for you in that situation? If you could e-mail me:
  • I have a 1990 Q45. One day the brake light and ABS light came on on the dash and the "low battery charge" message cam on the information screen readout. I immediately thought that it was the battery, but after one jump start it couldn't be jumped again and wouldn't take a charge. Then I had the Alternator replaced. The same problem still persisted. The voltage would drop at idle and when the lights are turned on the voltage drops further and then the cars cuts off. The idle seems to raise and lower slightly. When I rev the engine, everything is fine, the brake, ABS lights and low charge lights and message go off, but when I let the car idle and the idle drops slightly, the lights come back on and eventually the car cuts off. I have over 150K miles and I don't know what the problem is. Have you ever experienced this problem?


    roger -
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