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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • I have a 2002 6cyl, 4wd Passat that has been a great car till now. It has about 45000 miles- still under warranty. Three days ago I drove the car on rainy roads & it ran fine. Parked it by 7:30 pm and we had heavy rains overnight. The next morning tried to start the car. It started very rough and when depresssing the brakes to put car in drive there was a rusing liquid sound and white smoke. The car stalled and has not restarted. It was towed to the dealership - they find that the car was driven into water and the engine is shot. According to the dealer it would have to have been a puddle of around 2 feet deep to get in the air intake. No such instance occurred. They tell me to contact my insurance company and file a claim due to heavy weekend rains. Does anyone know of any similar problems? The rushing sound - could it have been the water pump? Please let me know if you have any related info.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    No, challenge and investigate this further!

    I have no way of knowing if you are reporting the facts accurately (I don't mean dishonestly, I mean according to how best you remember them), but based on what you posted, and not taking any sides, I would say your engine could not have suffered hydraulic lock from driving through a puddle.

    Why not? Because the engine would have seized immediately upon sucking up the water.

    What MIGHT have happened is that a slowly leaking head gasket would have allowed water to drip into the cylinder overnight, filling the cylinder with water, where only air and gas should be.

    Result, piston comes up when you start the car, runs into wall of water, which it cannot compress, and piston rod bends....this is hydraulic lock.

    You should ask for the engine to be dismantled. (cylinder head removed) If the rods aren't bent and/or the head gasket is compromised, it might be on their (VW's) nickel. If the rods are bent, then you have a good claim for insurance (check with your agent FIRST about this!)

    I'm just not satisfied with the explanation you heard. Either you missed something or they forgot to tell you something or something is very wrong here.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • I have a 03 Passat V6 with 4motion and about 55,000 miles on it. In the last 5 or so thousand miles I have noticed a shudder while driving at 65 - 75 mph. I don't feel it slower than that and I don't feel it faster than that, but in that window it shakes the car significantly. I was curious if anyone might know what this is caused by and if it is something I should get taken care of immediately or can I wait? I would also mention it really feels as though it comes from the front of the car and almost like I had a flat (which I don't). Any ideas or insights would be much appreciated.
  • Thanks for your input. We are meeting with a VW Rep at the dealership tomorrow.
    The dealer says they ran a coolant pressure test and it was fine so there is no problem with the head gasket. But the rods are bent. I don't understand why this is an insurance matter? Shouldn't it be a warranty issue?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    If the rods are bent then it indicates hydrolock. Hydrolock only occurs when there is liquid in the cylinder. If there wasn't a leak from the head gasket, that fluid had to come from somewhere - most likely the air intake.

    If water was sucked up into the engine, you should be able to file a claim with your insurance carrier under comprehensive coverage. You of course will be liable for any deductible. It isn't a warranty issue because there isn't any indication of a defect.

    Trust me, once you file the claim your insurer will be out at the dealer checking out the damage and they'll advise you if it's a defect issue.

    Good Luck.
  • Thanks. I filed the claim a little while ago to get the ball rolling. Hopefully it will be resolved quickly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    If the rods are bent ask your dealer how you drove home in the rainstorm. I'm dying to here the answer.

    Obviously, the dealer doesn't believe your story, so now it's up to him to show you all the water that went into the engine supposedly. If they drain a pint or two out of the oil pan, well then, I might go along with the dealer's version. But if that water contains coolant (in the oil), then I go along with your story.

    How do they know the rods are bent by the way? Did they pull the head off?

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    It might be a good idea to draw off some oil and have it analyzed. Maybe the coolant, too (but I don't know where you would get that analyzed).
  • I have an 06 Passat 2.0t with pkg #2, dyna audio, rear air bags, and 17" Lemans Wheels. According to the owners manual (book 3.1 page 9) if you press and hold the 0.0 button the Odometer can be changed to a digital speedometer, displaying your speed in numeric form in mph or kmh. When I do this I only get the option to display kmh. I never see the mph option. I called VW America customer care center, they suggested that I check the settings in the MFD under the Units menu. I have checked this and it is set to miles per hour. Does anyone know how to set this correctly? The VW Customer Care center says that I need to bring it in to have technician look at it. But I'd rather not waste a day just for this.

  • I own an '03 Passat 1.8T. So far the car has had no problems. Its been taken to all the regular maintenance checkups. When I had taken it in for the 35K mile checkup - the steering wobbled at low and high speeds (Less than 30mph and more than 80mph). The technician said that it was becasue of a bent fron trim and it would cost $850 to replace. I just picked it up from a 40k mile service (cost $643....which I think is too pricey).Now, the technician said that the car wobbles because I needed new front tires and a rebalancing and that would get rid of the wobble.
    I am confused....any suggestions..?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    I would start with the cheapest thing first - have the tires balanced at a tire shop. If you really need new tires, get all 4 done and they will balance them. If the wobble goes away, great. If not, you may have a bent rim.

    Good luck.
  • jefferygjefferyg Posts: 418
    It's could be a problem with one of your front tires. You may have a tire that is "out of round" or one of the steel belts inside the tire may have broken. It's not an uncommon problem and balancing usually will not fix it. I'm guessing with 55,000 miles on your car you've put a new set of tires on recently. Take it back to the dealer who sold you the tires or to another reputable tire dealer. If you are still running the original set it's probably time for some new ones.
  • We met the rep this morning. When you have the hood up the engine is forward in the compartment. Back by the fire wall is a panel covering other items. The cover has vents for air etc. When they removed that panel there was about 5-6 inches of standing water. The brake air intake is there - when we pushed on the brake it sucked the water into the engine. They say what happened was a clog to the water vents due to leaf debris (I have trees!) so its insurance and not warranty. The insurance adjuster will be going there today.

    However our normal mechanic has been doing some research for us and has found a 2004 advisory to dealerships warning intake in that region!!! This may be what we need to battle VW.
    I'll let you know. Thanks
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Freaky. I knew about the drain problem (it's been mentioned on these forums and others dedicated to the Passat), but I think this is the first time I've heard of it hydrolocking the engine! Gotta keep this in mind. Good luck with your battle.
  • I have a 98 Wagon 1.8T auto w/ 128K.

    1) From reading the discussions, it seems that one of my problems is common: the gasket around the antenna rotted a few years ago and I'm guessing now that my radio gets only really local FM stations and no AM stations it's due to the antenna connection corroding. Dealer wants about 600-700 to fix this. Where can I get parts and a reliable repair in Middlesex county NJ?

    2) My ABS and brake lights are on and it looks like its the ABS control module. Is there any more info on if there's a recall on this as it seems to be a common problem?

    3) When I shift the car into triptronic mode, it no longer "engages" (the LCD gear display doesn't change and up/down sifts do nothing).. Strangely every now and then under hard accelerations it feels like the cars slips into the next gear (only on down shifts). Any one know if these last two symptoms are related and if you've had a similar repair what did it run. I'm almost affraid to ask the shop as they probably tell me I need a new tranny. :confuse:

    Thanks! BTW, great and helpful forum. :D
  • I'm having a huge problem with my 99 Passat. Everything was working really well and I had no real problems until I took it in for it's 90K mile check up. I had my serpentine and timing belts replaced and a cam valve replaced and they thought it was all fixed but the MIL light came on. When they ran the computer check I had 3 misfiring pistons #3-5 and while the car drives okay (feel vibrations in engine when driving) the MIL light keeps going on an off and they say that the "engine is shot". It's about 11K to fix (not going too). But when I tell my friends the longer story they're convinced there's something fishy going on...
  • tfrzbtfrzb Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Passat, I've had my ups and downs with this car, my 3 VW, I've had a hard time opening my trunk since we got this car, I asked the dealer to check it during maintenance once and they said that it was normal. It feels like the pistons are not doing anything. Should the trunk open easily? It's out of warranty now.
  • audreymaudreym Posts: 103
    We have an 03 as well, and on one of our normal maintenance intervals, we asked them to re-lube the trunk b/c it was stiff. Turns out they replaced the pistons, so this may be a common thing.
  • Anybody there knows of a good "added protection" off-market Floor Mats and Cargo Mat/Liner for 2006 Passat 20T? Please advise. Thanks.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'd see if Weathertech has floor mats and a liner for the '06 yet. I have one of their liners in my '03 and I love it.

    I'm going to replace my front VW Monster mats with Weathertechs, as the old style Monster mats developed some cracks and they are not protecting the carpet on the driver's side.
  • jefferygjefferyg Posts: 418
    I checked Weathertech this morning after reading the earlier post. No mats for 06 Passat yet.
  • Hi, I'm looking at a 95 passat. The owner told me that after 10 minutes of running it overheats. He said the thermostat needs to be replaced, but another friend told me there could be trouble with the head gasket. Any opinions???
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Don't buy this car!!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I agree with fish8...pass on it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    run like hell. FAST overheat like that is almost always a head gasket or cracked head. The engine is boiling tea water.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • brentrbrentr Posts: 1
    Recently had to replace mass air flow sensor etc. on my 2000 Passat at 70K miles. Additionally, my mechanic indicates the secondary air pump is on the way out. They are apparently located at a place (by design flaw from VW) where they fill with rain water from the road. He was able to dry my pump out and get it working but it will not last long. BMW has redesigned the pump on new cars locating it further up and enclosing it to avoid water problems. Needless to say, before mine completely fails, I will be contacting VW and asking for assistance in replacing the part. HAS ANYONE else had the same problem and had a mechanic tell them the same thing? Interestingly, when I went to order a new air pump, none could be had unless refurbished because the demand is so great. Thanks
  • dcoverdcover Posts: 7
    Just bought a 2004 Passat, and I don't like the automatically locking doors. Does anyone know how to disable this feature? Seems every time I pull in the garage, and need to get something out of the back seat, the door is locked. I no longer have little kids that I would worry about opening a door on accident.

    I looked through the manual, and it doesn't say a word about the automatic locking feature.

    Any ideas?
  • Appreciate your response. Called up Weathertech too and they said it will be available in 6 weeks.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    Regarding automatic locks. My dealer disabled mine for no charge.

    Regarding floor mats. A car comes with carpeting. The carpeting is often covered with 4 floor mat carpets. The floor mat carpets are often covered with rubber mats. What's next, clear covers for the rubber mats? :confuse:
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'm guessing that you don't live in the snow/slush belt of the country. The OEM carpet floor mats that VW provides are...well, in a word, crap. They are very thin and wear out quickly and don't retain much water/snow/slush - so then you've got wet carpets that never really dry out until the warm weather returns. The weathertechs hold the water and allow it to either evaporate with the heat from the ventilation system or allow you to sop it up - I'm in and out of the car a lot in unplowed areas and I'm always tracking in snow, so periodically I use an old towel to dry the mats.

    Hey, but to each their own. My carpets look like new even after 10 years of ownership on my past cars.
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