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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • iontiont Posts: 3
    Hi. It seems that I might have the same problem (on the same car) - smoke from under between the air filter box and the engine itself. I drive 10 min and when I open the hood, there is plenty smoke.
    If you think is the same problem, could you tell me please how I get to the cam chain tensioner gasket? do I have to take off the air filter system?
    I appreciate it

    all the best,
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Ion, I don't have an answer for you as I am not that familiar with the v6 you have. In the 1.8T, the cam tensioner is at the back of the cylinder head, visible when the valve cover is removed.

    You might want to check the web for more specific links to help you.
  • lobster2lobster2 Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 VW Passat 1.8 L with 75,000 km. I noticed a rattling noise when I started the car several months ago, the noise goes away in seconds. No lights have ever come on to indicate a malfunction. When I had it into the dealer they said it may be the camshaft tensioner. When I actually had the repair done they said that there was no oil sludge buildup in the oil pan so they suspected something else. When an oil pressure gauge was placed on the car, while driving, the mecahnic noticed a fluctuation in the oil pressure so he replaced the oil pump, $800. The oil pressure is now good, but the noise is still there when I start the car. He said " not to worry about it" as the oil pressure is good and there is no harm being done to the engine. This persistant noise bothers me, but I have lost my confidence in the dealer and their mechanics. What should I do now?
  • bindhubindhu Posts: 20
    could the intermittent stop light signal only a low brake fluid level and not be a failing abs control unit? What kind of brake fluid does a passat 2000 take?
  • afeldmannafeldmann Posts: 2
    An update. After replacing various parts on the windows, VW have determined that the main computer has to be the problem. There are no spares available anywhere in North America, so they are waiting for one to be shipped from Germany. Two weeks at the dealership so far, and counting.
  • rwl1953rwl1953 Posts: 4
    My new daughter in law has a 2001 1/2 VW Passat Station Wagon equiped with a 4 cy. turbo. She loves the car but my son is concerned about a rattle- sounds like metal on metal the engine makes only when the car idles. He reports that when he presses down on the gas the sound goes away. There is no sound when driving down the road or smoke coming from the exhaust. The longer you drive the car, the louder the rattle when the engine idles. The sound is driving him crazy. He says there is pleny of oil- car has been serviced regularly. They have moved to Wayne New Jersey. Does anyone have an idea what this could be and any suggestions about an honest VW mecahnic in their area?

  • witzeroowitzeroo Posts: 4
    My timing belt failed on my 99 Passat 1.8T at 62,000 miles in August 2005. I got nothing but stonewalling from both the VW dealer and VW corporate.

    I asserted my car should have been covered under the extended oil-related warranty, which they said was specific to "sludge." Mine showed none because I did maintenance by the book, plus. Talk about Catch-22; their engine doesn't circulate oil, and I'm out $6k.

    The belt showed no signs of wear or stress -- except for about 25 sheared off teeth, which clearly suggests the overhead cams sheared the teeth while the crank was turning. And, this happened at 70 mph with a family en route to a nearly-ruined vacation. Grrrr.

    To add insult to injury, AUDI settled a class-action suit with Audi owners on the SAME engine for A4 owners! Same 1.8T engine!

    Please hit my profile and email me if you've had a similar horror story, and whether you got any compensation/satisfaction. Thanks.

    And, oh yes, I've already been through the ABS failure, ignition control module failure, only some susupension links covered run-around, etc.

    Love the car -- hate the corporation. Drivers wanted? Corporate support wanted! On-topic emails will be answered. :mad:
  • witzeroowitzeroo Posts: 4
    Get that checked out ASAP before this possibility happens to you: internal engine friction causes timing belt failure. Small solace: your new engine won't have the noise. See my neighboring post. :-)

    That the sound goes away at higher RPM's is consistent with poor oil circulation into the overhead cam bearings, but it could be many other things too, including valve lifter issues.

    The variation in noise at idle when the car is warmed up suggests a relationship with bearings as well, or something else exposed to high temperatures and differential expansion (different materials, different expansion rates).

    Old trick: try using a broomstick -- carefully (look out for fans and belts) -- as a stethoscope. Good luck.
  • witzeroowitzeroo Posts: 4
    Once burned, twice shy. I've never heard of Passat trannies going, but engines yes.

    ***Do perform the timing belt replacement ASAP.*** Don't buy VW's 105,000 miles interval (not sure if that has been updated). Use synthetic oil per current recs -- turbos cook oil. Use the new oversized VW oil filter (about 1 Qt). Most Jiffy-lube type places still list the original small one (about 1 pint).

    Try to find out if your car has had any of these notorious Passat problems, and if so, whether fixed:
    ABS control module
    Ignition coils
    Ignition control module
    Front suspension links and tie rods get beat up and loose.

    Last, you might do well to price after-market warranties. It all depends on your risk tolerence.
  • rwl1953rwl1953 Posts: 4
    The latest on engine idle noise is this: Taken to a repair shop and shop says it is cam tension chain that needs to be replaced- At idle it is loose and makes noise, when acclerated it gets tighter and does not make noise. Repair estimate is 900- Does this sound right?

  • csompelcsompel Posts: 1
    I have a 99 Volkswagon Passat with 214K miles. All of a sudden my brake light has come on. When it does, I have no air conditioning, no blinkers and no window washers. This is an intermittent problem. Does anyone know what this is? Any advise would be helpful. Thanks.
  • danieledaniele Posts: 1
    I have the same problem on my 2001 and it has been diagnosed to be the camshaft tensioner which could be fixed for around $900. When I called VW Customer care they said it was covered by the 50k/5yr warranty. The dealer tells me it's covered by a 10 yr warranty, in any case it's good news, we'll see if it fixes the problem. Did you get any other solutions?
  • petejpetej Posts: 1
    Same issue for me on our 98 Passat. Timing belt went out at 73K miles while at highway speed. Extensive engine damage and no help from VW. We are going to county court on July 20. I'd really like to learn more about the Audi settlement as this is the first I've heard of it. I tried to email you but couldn't get to your email address. If possible please email me at [email protected]

  • ary66ary66 Posts: 2
    My 2003 Passat started experiencing some strange electrical problems after it came back from a car wash: lights don't work, power windows don't work, doors don't lock etc. We continued driving this car in this condition because we thought none of the problems are critical. At the time of refuelling, we got a shock that Fuel Flap doesn't release either. We don't even have enough fuel to take to dealer. Does anyone know whether there is a manual fuel flap release in Passat 2003 model? Thanks for your help.
  • jem07jem07 Posts: 1
    My 1999 Passat wagon has been experiencing diminished radio reception over the last 9 months. In fact, the AM reception is completely crapped out; over the last 4 months, the FM has been getting worse, with the better reception (for now) tending to the left side of the dial. Two months ago I took it to my dealer, who said it needed a new antenna base (but not mast), a new antenna cable, and a new feed-in cable. Parts were just under $100, but labor was estimated at over $700 (headliner needed to be taken out, etc.), so instead I took it to a car stereo place to install said parts. Problem now is that these guys have put in all the new equipment, but nothing's improved. Anyone else out there have this problem with lousy (at best) radio reception (especially AM)? I've found other Passat wagon owners to talk to about this, but to date no one who's been able to arrive at a satisfactory solution...
  • frank_cfrank_c Posts: 19
    Sadly, J.D. Power's last quality survey seems to have got it right. VW placed at the bottom of the survey, and my recent experiences with two top of the line Passats just reiterate this assessment.

    The first Passat actually was bought back by VW of North America. VW of North America, to its credit, was cooperative and easy to deal with, reflecting the magnitude of issues with the Passat itself. I accepted a replacement Passat, which in hindsight was not a good idea since the replacement has it's own set of workmanship issues.

    There's no question that a Passat offers a lot (handling, safety, interior and exterior design for those who like clean European designs). But spending dozens of hours taking the Passat into the shop and on the phone with VW is simply not worth it.

    I just want to drive a decent car without having to think twice about what will break next. The logical consequence: My next VW will be a Toyota.

  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I am sorry to hear about your bad experience with your Passat's. I have had my Passat for over 2 years and have never been stranded. I had my engine light come on once and they replaced an N80 valve. Also, my rear lights stayed on and they replaced the brake switch (?). All in all, I have been very please with the 2 VW's I have owned.

    I am at 33,700 and as of right now I will look into another passat or Jetta for my next car purchase.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    My experience mirrors fish8's more than Frank C's. I'm at just over 3.5 years of ownership and have never been stranded. I've never had a check engine light and, in fact, the techs have never pulled a code from my engine at all.

    Interestingly, my brake light switch also has been replaced.
  • sjsquiresjsquire Posts: 2
    WARRANTY. This is a known defect covered by a factory extended warranty provision. Make sure you have all of your oil change receipts - they will try to get out of it.

    I believe the cause of this is improperly designed oil drainage from this area of the engine causing an oil sludge to form. If oil was not changed according to factory recommendations, they blame the sludge on not changing the oil.
  • sjsquiresjsquire Posts: 2
    Tensioner is covered by extended factory warranty. If tensioner failed and timiming went off, it could be the cause.

    Just curious, are you in the NY, NJ, Conn area? I had some real issues with Their distributor there. Treatment was better in Florida.
  • carrelman2carrelman2 Posts: 80
    my2003 passat with 27k miles needs a new engine. Volkswagon will not honor their warranty...has anyone filed a class action suit? If so how do you do it?
    [email protected]
  • madbammadbam Posts: 1 somethi9ng weird happened on the way home from work. All of a sudden my blinkers would stop working...they would start out fine but then just go out...could this be a bulb issue or something more serious? :sick:
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Care to elaborate on the circumstances surrounding your engine failure?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    My guess would be the turn signal relay is shot.
  • alohamralohamr Posts: 1
    Can anyone share experience in fixing an air conditioning problem? I have an 01 Passat. The air conditioning will blow hot for a few minutes, then cycle cold, then go into a hot cycle for 3 to 5 minutes before blowing cold again. It does this when temperatures are over 95 degrees. I had the air coolant vacuumed out and recharged. This only helped for a few weeks. Any suggestions? Is this electrical?
  • mirjamirja Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 1/2 Passat Station wagon (6 cylinder) that I love to drive but am totally discouraged with all of the problems. I get 12 miles to the gallon around town. I have had to replace the rear rotors and rear brakes 4 times in the last 5 years. My car has 40,000 miles on it. I have had major oil leaks requiring replacement of cylinder head gaskets. I have had to have engine mounts replaced etc. etc. The local dealer has done little to satisfy me and the main VW offices even less. Fortunately I took out an extended warranty to pick up when the 2 yr. warranty was up but that does not cover the rear rotor problem. Has anyone else had similar problems and found a way to deal more effectively with the company?
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Class action lawsuit for what? You need to explain why VW will not honor their Warranty?
  • I've got a 99 1.8 Passat that I bought @ 4 years ago for my son. It's been a great car, until about 2 months ago when my son recked it.
    I found an intercooler on e bay, but I'm not having much luck finding the other parts I need. The dealer is a little to pricey.
    Does anyone know where I can find parts for my passat at a decent price. Parts such as power steering, body panels, ect.
  • carver_acarver_a Posts: 2
    I was driving on the interstate yesteray and the car suddenly lost power and would not respond to gas. Car won't start--battery sems fine: AC, lights, and radio all work. Any ideas what the problem could be? Anyone else have this problem?

    Thanks much.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Sounds like a fuel pump or pump relay type of failure
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Timing belt failed? Has the timing belt ever been replaced? How many miles on the vehicle? Which engine - 1.8T or 2.8 V6?
  • I have had my new Passat for 1 week and driven it 100 miles...and it already has 3 noticeable dents in it. For full disclosure, all have come from small branches falling on it as we have had horrendous thunder storms here in the past week. But I compare it to my Honda parked next to and in the same spot for years and the Honda is unblemished.

    This is getting really old, really fast. Is this an issue with Passats?

  • rumblerumble Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 V6 Passat. While on a long trip, the engine quit at speed. A VW dealer found and fixed the problem for $3200.00. The Passat and the Golf of that era share a faulty part, the engine coolant sensor. The sensor fails and leaks coolant through the wiring harness into the ECU or computer unit which runs the entire vehicle. The vehicle suffers 'brain death'. VW has known about the problem for years but does nothing about it, no recalls to dealers, and refuses to consider the computer as part of the power train, even though without the computer, there is no power. While the car is very nice, it's the last VW I will ever buy. :lemon:
  • tach1tach1 Posts: 2
    I drive a VW passat 1.8T 2000 model, which has done 33560 miles at the moment, recetly I started noticing some small leaks from under the car, the leak looks like a mixture of oil and coolant, I checked under the hood but can not notice any oil slick on the upper part of the engine.I also checked the oil sump nut (for draining oil) and it look pretty tight, no leaks there . I noticed that coolant runs out and I fill up weekly. I have not topped up oil since service (four months) and its still full. Could this be gear oil? Does anyone have similar problems?, and if so, what coud be wrong? Any solutions?. Apart from this leaks the car runs perfectly well.

    Thank you

    Tim (Virginia)
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Check around the the ol cooler. It's the square thing above the oil filter. It's a not uncommon source of leaks.

    You'll want to get this taken care of soon...oil in the coolant isn't good, but coolant in the oil is worse.
  • carver_acarver_a Posts: 2
    Car is a 1.8T. Timing belt has not been replaced, and the car has 65K miles on it. Is there anyway to tell if the belt has failed (by sight)? Also, I'm struggling with the decision about where to take the car--I've just moved to a new town AND just bought the car a week ago--never had a German car before. I can't decide between dealer and an "import specialist." Any thoughts?

    Thanks for all your help!!!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You would have to remove the top access cover from the timing belt area to see it.

    When you say the car won't crank, do you mean that the engine is turning with the starter motor but won't catch and run on its own? Or do you mean it actually won't crank when you turn the key?
  • imrankimrank Posts: 2
    I recently bought a 99 Passat 1.8T with 51K miles on it from a GM dealer. As luck would have it, as soon as the 3month/3000 mile warranty expired, the check engine light/MIL started blinking. This is accompanied by horrible vibrations which come on as soon as the engine is started and increase with speed. Coincidently, this was the first time I used regular fuel and I was wondering whether that could be a possible cause.

    Am I looking at expensive repairs here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • I also had this problem on the same day July 2,06 with a 2001 Passat. I was told this is a fluke. Evedently the sensor went bad, burned out the wiring harness which ruined the ECM . The wiring harness will be $1200.00 the ECM (engine control module)they think is 800.00 and labor at 89.00 an hour. There is no loaner car while the car is being serviced at Reeves Volkswagon in Tampa. A Volkswagon of America spokewoman (Patricia) said they will help with 300.00 of this bill.I have been completly abandoned with this vehicle. The milage is 38,900 and I need a new wiring harness and a new brain for the car. This is after the sunroof vents clogged and I had 4" of water throughout my car.Is anybody surprised that Honda & Toyota are building plants and making profits in 06.
  • please let me know what you find out I am having the exact same problem with my 2000 passat wagon.
    thank you very much
    ryan f
    [email protected]
  • imrankimrank Posts: 2
    Trend motors say that the Coil/Vacuum line needs to be changed and that is probably what's causing the blinking MIL and vibrations ($760).

    They also found a oil leak ($460) and said that the timing belt and tensioner needs replacement ($1100). The engine also needs to be decarbed ($115).

    I'm only getting the Coil/Vacuum problem fixed right now. Any suggestions on the above would be appreciated.
  • Hi,
    My 20001/2 passat (v6) GLS desperately needs to have its front brakes and rotos replaced. The dealer quoted around 750$. I got quotes from other shops ranging between 200-400$. What is a good estimate for the labour and parts. Also is there a specific brand that works best with passats?

  • The VW Passat is a good car; however the following problems hit you in the face and the pocket:

    1.It's a bit too low for many roads outside europe and USA.
    2.The interior is of inferior quality
    3.The ABS unit goes bad after a little while
    4.The actuator also goes bad

    By the way, where is the best place (on the net) that I can get an ABS Control unit and an actuator. I need replacements for a 2001 Passat.
  • ddcyr40ddcyr40 Posts: 1
    Hey, I think I have the same exact car as you. I'm a freshmen in college and I've got mine a little pimped out and such with 18's, borla cat-back exhaust, tint, etc., but what were discussing i went through also. When I bought my car used, it had aftermarket vented and slotted rotors on the front and back and aftermarket pads. little did i know that there is a warning light for the pads when they get warn. so my light came on and i brought it to a dealer, thinking i needed new pads. i told them to "figure out what was wrong with the light." i come back, 5 hours later, to a bill of $525. To a freshmen in college, my mouth dropped to the floor. They said that the pads and rotors were nearly new and weren't bad, but since they were aftermarket, the wires weren't connected right so the warning light was messed up. So those had to be replaced. Then, they said my aftermarket rotors weren't compatible with the oem pads, so they had to replace the rotors also. all with a measly 12-month/12,000 mile warranty. keep in mind this is at a dealer in waterville, maine at $75/hour. where you are, it's probably more. i told them i never signed a work order saying do all of that work and argued with them. they ended up giving me a $100 credit, but it was still fairly pricy, especially that i have a front set of perfectly fine rotors and pads sitting at home. As for you, I would definately make sure the parts are oem, otherwise i would put money that you would have problems, whether it is a slight vibration you can hear, the warning light, or something else. but dealers are over priced, and make tons of mark-up on parts. and since its not under warranty anymore, i wouldn't go to a dealer. but i wouldn't go to some general garage that works on everything from a 68 nova to a ford winstar to supposedly volkswagens-ya maybe then can change the oil on one :) find a place that works on imports and order the parts through them, make sure they are oem, and make sure they can give you a warranty on them, even if it is like a 6-month. good luck with that, and i guess that isn't even that bad-my friend has a bmw z4 and he said the brakes get changed once a year at nearly $1000. ouch. i don't check this site often, but figured i would let you know since i went though the same thing you need to.
  • stever817stever817 Posts: 2
    Ok, let me start off by saying this is my first post..I frequently read the forum, but never post. Second, my wife and I like our Passat, we are just at wits end with it. It is approaching 10,000 miles and we have owned it since last October. At 1,000 miles the piping between the engine and catylitic converter cracker, lost all acceleration and took 10 days to get a part from Germany to fix ($5000k fix). At 3500 miles, engine light started going on and off and strange lights on dash would turn on and off..they found a faulty electric connection ($500 fix). At 7700 miles, acceleration was non existent stopping at 2000 rpms in 6th gear and not going beyond that, engine lights would go on for a week, then disappear. Took in and they replaced all the oxygen sensors along with wiring ($4200 fix total) which took 6 days to fix. Now, starting last week, the radio is going fading in and out on local stations, the AC died on Saturday (during the hottest days of the year here in Milwaukee), the same acceleration issue above 2000 rpm started on the freeway and this morning took three tries to get it to start... we have a lemon or is this just bad luck with a first year produced car. Anyone else have similar issues with the Passat? We are in a tough situation since we need a reliable car since we both work and these issues are really becoming a nuisance. Again, we love the comfort of the car and the handling, but the reliability has been horrendous compared to our 2004 Saab 9-3 which, knock on wood, has been great.
  • stever817stever817 Posts: 2
    Just an update.
    1 - I am taking the car in tomorrow evening. Dealership I am dealing with has been decent so far and they are trying to arrange a loaner for Wednesday / Thursday.
    2 - They are aware of the strange issues with the radio fading and said that VW has some SW update that might resolve. The GM of the dealership is experiencing the same issue with his Passat.
    3- AC will be taken care of and fixed.
    4- They are still unsure about the engine response failures. The link above this message and under my first in regards to re setting the automatic transmission was done with some success, but the fact is that when cruising on the freeway at 70-75mph and the car at 2000rpms, and then needing to move over to pass someone, the car hangs completely and I have to drop it into Sport mode, 5th gear to get any engine response. Even then, the rpm only shoots up to 2500 rpm's, so the initial torqueness of the vehicle is lost.

    I have been working directly with the dealer who sold us the car and the Shop manager. The sad thing is, none of these issues sound like they are surprising. Is there anything I should be doing other then documenting all the issues? My wife wants to drop the whole car lease and get something different. If anyone has any thoughts on the best way to approach this, I would like to hear.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    If it were me, I'd be maintaining a complete file of repairs, discussions and the days of downtime. Maybe they'll get everything debugged; maybe not. I'd check online what your state's lemon law is. You might not have to invoke it, but a knowledgeable consumer is a happy one....

    That downshift issue is the scary one. Good luck.
  • canouracanoura Posts: 9
    This might be too good to be true but after talking to a friend of mine last Friday that has a 2007 ford mustang, he told me he had the same issue with his car. The ford service department did a throttle sensor reset and the problem went away. So i decided to try the procedure on my car:
    1) insert key but do not start car
    2) wait for all the information lights to cycle normaly, about 30 seconds.
    3) Push the gas pedal all the way to the floor, hold it for about 5 seconds.
    4) release gas pedal slowly.
    5) Start the car (you must do this for the reset to take effect).

    I personally don't notice the delay anymore. good luck.
  • I have a 2005 1.8 T Passat with a similar problem. The glove box and front foot well get wet after a heavy rain. The dealer has attempted to fix this problem by unblocking and re directing the air conditioning drain tube. However, this has not helped. Has anyone found a solution?
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