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VW Passat Wagons (GL, GLS, GLX & W8)



  • feilofeilo Posts: 128
    Yep, they are beginning to show up at the dealers. Sadly the Variant has gone too "porky" and mainstream for me. Bring on the Jetta GLi Variant ;)
  • miomio Posts: 1
    I had the same problem. I went in today to have the rear brakes looked at. There was a pulsating feeling coming to a stop. They determined that they had to replace the rotors and pads. I said OK and went home to wait for it. This is on my 2003 Passat 4dr with 38K on it. I looked thru my records and I had forgotten they did this same thing at 20K on the left and 27K on the right! The first replacements were not covered under my warranty, either. So, I asked a lot of questions when I picked it up today. The work order said the rear pads had 4mm on them, which, according to my service rep, is above the minimum wear needed for replacement. They guy said the pads were worn and that caused it. I asked when they replace the pads. He says 3mm. So, if I have 4mm on my pads, why would the rotors turn out? happens at 4mm, too.

    I am NOT happy about this! I'll need to find out who to escalate this to. It's insane to think you have to replace the rotors this often!!
  • akkellyakkelly Posts: 3
    Hello: I have a 2002 Passat GLX 4-mo 6cyl wagon. It is beginning to lose oil. Seems like it is loosing 2+ quarts every two+ months or so. There are no dash warning indicators. Dealer says there is no sign of leakage at plug, filter or anywhere else. This seems like a lot of oil-loss. It does not appear that the car is burning-emitting it either. Wondering where all of this oil is going? Does anyone else have a problem like this?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    How many miles are elapsing over that two month period? What oil are you using (specifically the manufacturer & viscosity)? I've read some v6's can eat some oil, but more info will be helpful.
  • akkellyakkelly Posts: 3
    Hello There:

    Ok, well I either go to VW or my local shop...very reliable. Not sure what oil they use, guessing 10w30...

    Oil change intervals are always between 3-5k. This has happened 3 times and started around my 55k mark.

    Just a note, I used to have a 1999 4cyl Passat with the ol "engine/oil" light and oil pump problem. So, I have a bit of distrust....You just don't want to know.....
    Thanks very much for any insight you may have.

  • advrideradvrider Posts: 1
    Hi, we have owned this car from 18 months old and it has been a nightmare! Oil clogged up turbo, blew turbo, engine oil clogged motor, blew motor - etc etc. After much hassling VW replaced the motor and turbo etc at their cost. Now we have been advised that the subframe and steering arms need replacing due to rust ($1700+)! The car is 6.5 years old and done less than 60000 miles and we live in Sydney - there is no winter snow/salt etc. Can anyone advise if this is reasonable to expect or is it a commone problem of did we just get more unlucky!


  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    What about sea salt? How far from ocean do you live?

    Engine. What oil have you used?


    PS I have heard about Audi A4 control arm problem but subframe is news to me.
  • pdiorpdior Posts: 1
    Happy to hear I am not alone. I have a 2003 Passat 1.8T sedan. The brakes were shuddering when stopping and I was told I needed new rear rotors because they were not installed to spec. Since the car had only 20,000 miles on it, VW did this under warranty. At 35,000 miles they told me the rear brake pads and rear rotors both needed to be replaced again, at my expense. Most recently, at 49,000 miles, I am told that yet again the rear brake pads and rear rotors need to be replaced at my expense. I have argued to no avail. How can a front wheel drive car need the rear rotors replaced 3 times in 50,000 miles yet the front brakes remain originals? Did you find someone to escalate your problem to?
  • lora726lora726 Posts: 7
    My 2002 1.8T Passat wagon is sitting in the parking lot at work, waiting for a tow. When I started it Friday eve to go home, the CEL came on, then started flashing, the brake pedal felt high, the engine started bucking and white smoke came pouring out of the exhaust. I have 43k miles on it and had a major tune up at 40k and the intake vacuum hose replaced at 42k. Any ideas on what all this means?
  • lora726lora726 Posts: 7
    Just heard from the mechanic that the cause of the white exhaust smoke and the high brake pedal is the brake booster, so I'll be forking over a nice chunk of change tomorrow - $578! Anyone else had this problem?
  • lemonbalmlemonbalm Posts: 3
    We're trading our Passat in for a Sienna (car pool needs)and want to make sure we're getting reasonable $. Consumer Reports Used Car trade in value, for our mileage, is $12,400, not including the extras in the car (alloy wheels, leather seats, power sunroof) which would add $950 according to CR. There is a little body damage, estimated elsewhere at about $350, and there is a fair bit of wear (toddler grime) on the carpets & interior. Repairs/new parts listed below. What is reasonable to expect from a Toyota dealer, d'ya think?

    Volkswagen Passat Wagon 2001 (not 2001.5 as far as I can determine), blue anthracite

    68K miles
    bought new from dealer in January 2001

    (summer 2003, I think one of the axles was replaced, no documentation)
    Dec 2003 VW roof rails added
    July 2004 new coolant temp sensor
    Aug 2004 new water pump and timing belt
    Nov. 2004 new "comfort and convenience control module"
    Jan. 2005 new Goodyear tires (first replaced Aug. 2003)
    Feb. 2005 new cam adjuster gaskets and valve cover gaskets
    May 2005 new rear brake pads and rotors
    June 2005 new rear 02 sensor
    June 2005 new front brake pads and rotors
    Aug. 2005 new battery
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'll bet that the air plenum (or cowling area) is flooded with water and that the engine is ingesting it through the brake vacuum.

    The water collection is caused by clogged drain vents under the the battery and the brake booster. Leaves, dirt, etc, clog the drains.

    If I'm right, it's been reported here before. In fact, you might have gotten away lucky. IIRC, the other post said that their engine was hydrolocked and had to be replaced...

    Good luck!
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Post over at Real World Trade In Values for good information.

    Never mind any of the repairs/maintenance - that doesn't matter to resale except for perhaps brakes and tires.

    The body damage and the toddler dirt will detract from it.

    Good luck.
  • lora726lora726 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the info. Got my car back today. All seems well. I do recall reading messages about the clogs and the water (which I can't locate now), but not the brake booster. Never even heard that term till yesterday! Having a Passat is becoming quite a learning experience. I always had Toyotas that ran and ran, but I do love the comfort and the feel of the Passat. Guess if I want to keep it I'll have to find a good independent mechanic or get the extended warranty...Thanks, again!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    staerkajk, "Volkswagen Passat: Problems & Solutions" #1385, 11 Oct 2005 5:15 am

    This is the start of a long thread on this topic. The car sat in the rain, the plenum filled with rain water and the brake booster sucked in the water. Hydrolocked the engine. It's a bad thing....

    Did your tech find any water in that area, where the battery is located?
  • lora726lora726 Posts: 7
    Sorry to admit I didn't ask any questions. Didn't know what to ask. The car did absolutely sit through a torrential rain that day, and a few recent ones as well. Not to mention I pull handfuls of leaves and tree debris from below the windshield every day or so. So it sounds like what others have experienced. Two questions I do have now: would it be worthwhile to put a cover over the car and should the mechanic check the drains during a tune-up, especially knowing the proclivity of the car to collect water and cause so much damage?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Dunno about a car cover. I see them as being just a lot of trouble, but if you've got this huge leaf issue, maybe.

    It's an interesting thing about the the drains. There is no mention about them in the owner's manual. There's nothing on VW's website about them. But if it were me, I'd be checking them every so often (I check my plenum during and after rainstorms). The drains themselves are not readily visible (at least without pulling out the battery).

    Something else for your consideration. If you've had enough water accumulate to get sucked in by the brake booster, you might have gotten enough to start leaking into the passenger compartment. This is a problem as there are two control modules (computers) under the front seat carpeting. One is the Transmission Control module and the other is the Comfort Control Module (controls things like the power windows and locks, etc).

    If I were you, I pull out the floor mats and check all four footwells to make sure they are all dry. Those units don't take kindly to getting soaked.

    Here's a detailed website that outlines what to do to clean the drains on the Passat. Note that this is a UK link, so everything is reversed on US cars:
  • lora726lora726 Posts: 7
    Thanks. I plan on checking under the mats as soon as it dries out here somewhat. We've had some storms, interspersed with heavy rains, for days now and everything feels damp (including me!). I hate to sound like the table of contents in a "Passat for Dummies" book (would be a best-seller, by the looks of things), but this whole water/drain/brake booster thing really has me puzzled. First: What's a plenum and where is it? Next: Where does all this water come in? Not to mention the debris that clogs these well-hidden, top secret drains? Wouldn't preventing that from coming in in the first place be the best thing to do? If the water & debris are coming in through the space between the windshield and hood, I'm thinking a car cover could prevent that, no?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    "Passat for Dummies?" Probably would have to be a multiple volume, hard bound set.

    The plenum is what VW calls the space at the base of the windshield, beyond the rear firewall at the back of the engine. I've heard it called the cowling area, as well. Open the hood and look along the back of the engine bay. You'll see it. Depending on your model year, it may or may not have a black plastic cover over it. The car's battery and brake booster are both located in this area as is the cabin's fresh air intake.

    The water comes down the windshield and off the roof, if you park downhill. The debris is leaves, pine needles, dirt, etc. Read that web link I posted. You'll see how very little material is necessary to actually block these drains. And if you sit in the car in the rain, while the car is not moving, you'll see that a lot of water runs down the windshield.

    Yes, a car cover should help eliminate the problem. But what are you going to do, put the cover on every time you park? Kinda bothersome, IMHO.

    Without a doubt, this is a poor design exacerbated by VW's failure to warn owners that the problem exists. Like I said, maintenance of this area is not mentioned in the owner's manual or on VW's scheduled maintenance page on their website. Further complicating the problem is the fresh air intake being located in the same area. It's a ready-made pathway for water to intrude into the passenger compartment. The coup de grace is the location of the electronic components under the carpeting in the front footwells. Under the right (and apparently not uncommon) circumstances, it's a recipe for disaster.
  • lora726lora726 Posts: 7
    Just wanted to give you an update...I contacted VW Customer Care thru the Website re: having to replace the brake booster at just 3 months over the 4-year warranty and well under the 50k mi. limit. They were extremely responsive and courteous and are reimbursing me the full cost of the part. PS: I'm using my windshield mat (that I use in the winter to keep from having to scrape ice off my windshield) whenever I'm parked for a few hours to keep the water and debris from clogging the drains! Thanks for all the words of wisdom - you gave me the confidence to go forth and conquer!
  • cdngocdngo Posts: 4
    Hello. I could use a little advice. In recent days, I started receiving a Warning indicator light on my dashboard, "Oil Press. Stop Car. See Manual." Not really alot of help that is. But I did notice something under the hood! A slow leak of engine coolant, I believe. It is oozing up and solidifying. I then noticed the 'engine coolant' resevoir, it was just below minimum. Obviously, it needs to be replenished. I have made an appt. with a VW dealer on Friday. My question is, is it safe to drive on to work(24 mi. roundtrip each day)? Or, any advice anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks. Craig
  • akkellyakkelly Posts: 3
    Hello There:
    I have had two Passat's...Loved them to death, seriously, but had similar problems with both. To be honest, I have still been curious about Passats (reason for keeping this Edmonds forum email). Anyway, I believe you have trouble and heartaches coming, soon, very soon. If you are still under warranty I suggest you make it a point to bring it to VW immediately, no kidding. Had a 1999 4cyl, and a 2002 GLX v6 4-Mo. Just got a new Volvo XC two weeks ago. I really do miss the last one, but practicality won. Sorry for the bad news.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    It is the clue about driving.
    Have it towed to dealership and have all oil change receipts ready.


    PS You have symptoms of infamous sludge problem.
  • cdngocdngo Posts: 4
    The VW dealer is close to my workplace, so I dropped it off there yesterday. Fuel pump is done for, along with a fuel filter, etc., and they always told me a tie-rod was ready to go, along with three belts. The latter of which, I knew was soon to happen. I've got 70K on the car and doing some near cross-country travel the last year. "She's" been very good to me since I bought it three years ago!
  • mirjamirja Posts: 2
    I thought that I was alone with my rear rotor problems. I have a 2001 1/2 Passat Wagon and I am on my 5th set of rear rotors. I have 40,000 miles on my car. The only explanation that I have been given is that the fit is not right. I phoned VW main office and they agreed to go 50/50 on the cost of the last set. When my extended warranty is up next spring I have no choice but to get rid of the car. The sad thing is I love the way it looks and the way it drives but I can't afford the problems.
  • tlkrummtlkrumm Posts: 1
    Hi there, I have a 2002 GLS Passat. For the most part, I truly love it. However, I've had an ongoing "phantom" problem with the radio/stereo (Monsoon), that of course, will not show up at the dealership. Randomly, the radio will just turn off. I can't use the CD player either. If I turn it off for a few minutes, it will start back up, however, it will often turn off again. The only pattern I've noticed is that it turns off more often in the heat. In fact, it NEVER happens in the winter. The dealership couldn't find anything. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Just grasping at straws, but I'd suspect a bad ground.
  • Well, I'm sick of my 2003 W8 Passat wagon. First, the brake rotors have been replaced 4 times (and we have only 29,000 miles on the car...), and then the cam adjusters fail, requiring the entire engine and transmission to be pulled...

    What can I do?
  • I'm having the same problem with my 02 GLX wagon. I'm on the original front brakes and the third set of rear rotors, all in 65k. Also.... I'm on the third set of tires. Something must be seriously wrong with these cars. The dealer told me the rotors are really small. Perhaps they should make bigger rotors that will last longer.
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