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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • pinhigh1pinhigh1 Posts: 3
    Thanks for suggestion.

    No hadn't yet been changed. A few K miles over the recommended change date...figures.

    Dealer indicates $2000 to $4500 to fix depending on level of damage, which they can't tell till they remove the head. But likely towards upper end. Used engines going for $$$ these days as well. And if I trade I've likely lost $4 to 5K in trade value. Ugly.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    That's why so many people recommend actually changing out the TB early on the Passat. The damage is devastating if it goes out on you. I think in order to better evaluate your situation, you need to reveal whether you can afford to take on a car payment for new/new-to-you wheels. Also, what is the condition of the rest of the car?
  • jdhebert23jdhebert23 Posts: 19
    I would suggest finding an independant mechanic who works on VW's to repair your car. The dealer is going to screw you bad with labor and not even give a reacharound. It's still going to be expensive though. If the car is in good condition other than the engine, it might be worth reparing. Ask around--surely someone know someone who can work on your car. At 109k, you don't have to worry about warranties, etc. If you live in Houston area, I can recommend a VW-certified mechanic.
  • jdhebert23jdhebert23 Posts: 19
    I am interested in changing my OEM antenna on my 01.5 Passat to a shark fin antenna. I wanted to know if anyone could tell me where I can find a multifunctional shark fin antenna that will catch AM/FM + Satellite. I heard the BMW 7-series uses a multifunctional antenna, and possibly the Touareg as well as some Audis. If anyone can help me with this, I'd appreciate it. I know it would probably be a lot of trouble to set it up, but I still want to know if it can be done, and how.

    One more thing--if there isn't a multifunctional shark fin available that I'm looking for, will the 06 Passat antenna fit on mine?
  • iowavwiowavw Posts: 2
    Please let us know if you have fixed this problem. We own a 1996 Passat GlX Wagon and have the exact same problem. We have already spent 200 on what the mechanic thought was the problem with the starter and haven't gotten anywhere. Our new mechanic thinks it may have to do with the security electrics. What do you know?
  • djkcpadjkcpa Posts: 4
    I noticed today the antenna mast on my Passat is broken. It's hanging at about a 90 degree angle. I just got it back from an oil change yesterday so I'm thinking it could have happened there.

    Anyway, has anyone changed one of these? If so, would you let me know what's involved in replacing it? Does the mast just attach to the base? It doesn't look like it should be too hard to do, but with VW's you never know. It looks like you can get the part for around $15 online. I'm sure the VW dealer would charge at least $100 for the part and installation so any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance. :)
  • cosmocosmo Posts: 203
    Just unscrew the broken one and screw in the new one. If you search the Internet, you will find a great variety of alternate styles.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    For 1998-2005 Passat 1.8T owners:

    I just had the timing belt service done on my wife's 2003 Passat GLS 1.8T at 66,000 miles. I decided to have this done early based on the fact that when I had the timing belt service done on my 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta at 73,000 miles, the plastic impeller on the waterpump was on the verge of disintegrating when it was removed. The same thing happened when they removed the waterpump from my wife's Passat.

    In preparation for the timing belt service (which was done at a private VW mechanic), I ordered the complete timing belt change kit from - which includes the timing belt, two sepentine belts, aftermarket water pump (with the metal impeller), tensioners, and thermostat.

    My mechanic recommended timing belt changes every 65,000 miles with the plastic waterpump (due to its tendency to disintegrate and possibly jam the pump - which may result in timing belt damage). With the metal waterpump, they recommend changing the belt at 90,000 miles.

    This next section is for 1998-early 2003 1.8T Passat owners (prior to VW's 2004 Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) concerning sludge)

    If conventional oil has been used in your engine for any length of time and your timing belt hasn't failed as of yet - I would highly recommend taking the car to your mechanic and have him check two items:

    1) Remove the engine's oil pan, and check the screen inside the oil pump pickup for any signs of sludge.

    2) Check the camshaft chain guide in the cylinder head for excessive wear. The chain guide is usually made of high-temp plastic and will usually last as long as it is properly lubricated.

    My mechanic has rebuilt many engines with damage caused by the oil pump pickup screen being clogged with sludge - thus starving the oil pump and the rest of the engine - and leading to a chain-reaction of events leading to excessive wear of the plastic camshaft chain guide in the cylinder head, which results in the camshaft seizing, and ultimately causing the timing belt to break.

    By the time the timing belt breaks, nine times out of ten the damage has already been done prior to the timing belt breaking.

    After the oil pickup screen and the cylinder head camshaft chain guide have been checked and/or cleaned/replaced, I would make sure that VW 502.00 spec synthetic oil is used and changed every 3500 (city driving) or 5000 miles. DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR beyond the 5000 mile interval between oil changes - NO EXCEPTIONS.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Nice post. ;-)

    There is one sentence that I might be inclined to change. Instead of saying, "...I would make sure that VW 502.00 spec synthetic oil is used and changed every 3500 (city driving) or 5000 miles."

    I would instead say, "...I would make sure that you use an oil that is certified to meet the VW 502.00 synthetic oil spec (or better -- i.e. 503.01) and changed every 3500 (city driving) or 5000 miles."

    Best Regards,
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    I would instead say, "...I would make sure that you use an oil that is certified to meet the VW 502.00 synthetic oil spec (or better -- i.e. 503.01) and changed every 3500 (city driving) or 5000 miles."

    Thanks for the assist, Shipo - I knew there was an update to the 502.00 spec, the actual number escaped me at the time I posted... :shades:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Got'cher back man. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • 68orion6868orion68 Posts: 10
    i have '04 passat wagon 1.8. can't figure how to support car with jack-stands. points i choose deform when i lower the car on them. any help out there?
  • zscottiezscottie Posts: 23
    I've got a 2005 Passat GLS 1.8T 4motion wagon. I noticed the "auto up" feature of the driver's window stopped working. Would this be an issue with a fuse? If it's a warranty problem, I have to take it to the dealer (I've got 10K miles left on the warranty), which isn't known for "great service" in these parts. :(
  • feilofeilo Posts: 128
    Depending on what you are doing, and where you need to get to, I would use the suspension/sub-frame anchor points in the front and rear. I have used them quite successfully and safely.
  • dave_ldave_l Posts: 1
    I've got a 1999 Passat with the trouble code P1136.
    Should I replace the O2 sensors or give the mass airflow sensor a shot first?
    Any help is appreciated.
  • colshubcolshub Posts: 1
    '00 Passat 1.8T sedan, 75k miles
    I've been having problems with water in the front passenger footwell. Sunroof drains are clear, battery box drains are clear. It only happens when the a/c is used. I took out the glove box to track down the source and here's what I found- If you look at the ductwork on top of the "hump", I see one white and one red lever, both less than 2" long. The water is coming thru the center of the red lever. Does anyone have any information on how to dissemble this so I can find out what's going on inside? It sounds to me to be a blocked evap drain but I see a trickle of water under the car after running the a/c. Just to be sure it isn't the evap drain- can anyone tell me how to clear them?
  • 68orion6868orion68 Posts: 10
    thanks for your advice.
  • brozhnikbrozhnik Posts: 172
    Other than an occasional OLF in cars I owned 20 years ago, and topping up fluids, I'm not experienced at automotive DIY. But with the 80K service approaching on my 2003 Passat 1.8T, visions of poverty are egging me on to trying whatever I can myself. (It's at 78,900 right now.) First weekend project: it looks like replacing the spark plugs is pretty easy, even for the average idiot (e.g., me). Here's a how-to page:

    And I can buy four plugs for my car at Germanautoparts for about $11 a piece.
    Anything wrong with this picture? Anything that's harder than I think, or that I should be especially careful of? Should I let the mechanic do this? Or should I go for it? (I admit, it looks like fun.)

    PS While I'm at it, I'd think replacing the air filter would be easy. One question, though: what kind of filter, and where to buy it? For ordinary highway driving, not performance-minded.

    PPS If all this works, I might try the pollen filter. More on that later, though.

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Brozhnik -

    If you have a few simple tools like a rachet wrench, sparkplug socket and inexpensive torque wrench, doing some of the simple maintenance on your Passat can save you some money and be rewarding. For my 40K service, I bought OEM NGK replacement spark plugs, an air filter, cabin filter, fuel filter, and new Bosch wipers for the front and back of my wagon. I paid $120 at (buy more than $50, get free shipping).

    I had my dealer inspect the timing belt, change out the oil and filter (their filter, my 0w-40 Mobil 1 oil, to keep my sludge warranty in place), and chase down a engine code problem for another $116. I did all other checks, except those covered by my state inspection (brakes, suspension, exhaust).

    I have seen people quote over $400 for the 40K service - I figure doing the maintenance and service checks myself saved me about $150.

    There's a Passat specific forum on the web that has an information-base loaded with DIY advice, many include pictures. Worth the search, IMHO.

    BTW, the cabin filter is a snap to replace; the air filter, not so much. Like every VW I've owned over the last 25 years, you can expect to suffer some scrapes and cuts to your hands getting that filter changed out. If you have the 1.8T, you need to remove a heat shield (4 screws) and undo 4 clips to gain access to the air filter, but it's still a tight fit.

    I'd stick with OEM or similar - not a K&N filter. I think I used a Mann filter (made in Germany) last time.
  • vinay_svinay_s Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Passat 1.8T which has done about 73K miles.

    I bought it used at 33K miles and I've not had much trouble with it till now. However I have three concerns for which I seek advice/opinions:

    1: The last couple of months I have noticed a jingling noise coming from the front suspension. It sounds like a bunch of coins and increases when I drive over speedbumps or rough pavement. Took it to a Meineke shop which said I needed new shocks and struts (Approx $600 for Front only) . I then took it to a VW dealer. They said they could not find anything wrong with the car and advised against changing the shocks/struts. The noise is still there...any thoughts?

    2: I have read and heard that the Passat needs to have its timing-belt and related mechanisms changed around the 75K mark. IS this true?. My car is not showing any signs of needing this repair. what should I lookout for?

    3: On one rare occasion that I had an oil-change done outside the VW dealership ( at Lube Express), the mechanic warned me that my car has some sludge accumulated and recommended a 100$ "clean-up". When I checked with the VW dealership during my next oil change, they mentioned that VW does not recommend any clean-up and if the car was not giving me any trouble I should leave the sludge alone. Any thoughts??
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If there is any evidence at all of sludging in your engine, I'd have the oil pan pulled pronto and have the oil pick-up screen cleaned. While the pan is off, if things look grim down there, I'm not quite sure what I'd do, but I seriously doubt that I'd have the dealership do a $100 cleaning. Why? I’ve actually seen that attempted, and all it did was loosen enough crud from the various surfaces so that on the very next drive, the screen was fully clogged again and the engine fails.

    In the end, everything that I've read and experienced with engine sludge indicates that it cannot be removed without engine removal and at least partial disassembly.

    I suppose if I had a good condition car that was diagnosed as having sludge, I'd probably pull the motor, disassemble it down to the block and head, send the two of them out for commercial cleaning, and then reassemble the motor, probably with new valves, lifters, cams, rings and engine bearings.

    Best Regards,
  • vinay_svinay_s Posts: 4
    Shipo, Thanks!

    It would probably mean spending at least a couple of thousand dollars on this. Right?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I don't know that it would cost quite that much. It won't be cheap either, however, it will certainly cost less than a new engine or a rebuilt one for that matter. In the end I suppose it all depends upon just how sludged the engine is.

    Try pulling the cam cover and taking a picture so you can post it. If your engine is truely sludged, you'll know it immediately.

    Best Regards,
  • dkeslerdkesler Posts: 1
    I have an 03 Passat with the 40,000 mile maintenance coming up, my dealer is an hour away, and wants $589.00 (five-hundred eight nine dollars). I am not a do it yourself person when it comes to cars. I am thinking of buying the parts and having my local GM dealer do the install. This would be the plugs, oil,and filters. I haven't checked with them but it would have to be much lower. I love my car, and I want to kept it in top condition. Anyone see a problem?? Thanks
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Jingling noise may be your control arms or tie rod ends going bad, a known weak link in Passats and their over-engineered front suspension. I'm surprised the dealer didn't mention it. Does the noise go away if you touch the brake pedal? Then one of the front pads could be loose.

    Timing belt and associated parts: There are no overt signs that a car will need a new timing belt. It's working fine one minute, and it's broken the next. The primary problem, however, is that the VW engine, like many other manufacturers' current engines, is an interference design. That means if the timing belt snaps, the pistons will make contact with the valves. This is not an inexpensive repair.

    On the sludge issue...I personally wouldn't take the word of any Iffy Lube (or any of their ilk) regarding sludge. Too many of those shops are in the business of upselling other services (many of which aren't needed). Let's talk a little about your manintenance habits to determine the likelihood of your engine sludging.
    1) You should have done 8 oil changes during your ownership if you've been following the 5,000 mile service interval - how many have you actually done?
    2) What oil have you been using - synthetic oil or not? 502.00 compliant or not?
    3) What are your driving conditions? Lots of stop-n-go, long distance cruiser, or a mix?
    4) Do you ever cool down the turbo after a hard drive?

    It seems that the 1.8T doesn't so much sludge the oil as coke it due to the turbo's heat. Particularly apparent when using non-synthetic oil, not paying strict adherence to the 5,000 miles or less oil change interval, and not letting the turbo cool down after hard driving. These hard particles of coked oil collect on the oil pickup screen, and slowly starve the engine of oil. You'll often hear the first signs of it with a rattling noise emanating from the rear of the cylinder head at the cam chain adjuster.
  • joe146joe146 Posts: 3
    Hey Pat & Karen, I'm joe with joe146 as my screen name for edmund
    I've had a 1993 VW-Passat VR6 for few years, I've serviced it and
    changed oil often. Recently it has started to smoke and loose power. I
    changed Plugs and noticed one of the plugs is wet with fuel. I packed it for few days for I had to travel and when I came back I checked the oil and it smells like gas, ie gas is liking to the oil tank and it smoke even more. Is this a known problem with Passats or just me? I this almost the end of my Engine? Shall I be looking into another motor or. My car is 165K non turbo VR6.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I drove my 1995 VR6 Passat to well over 100,000 miles and never experienced that kind of a problem, that and I have hung around on numerous Passat boards for years and never heard of that kind of a problem. As such, I'm thinking you have a fairly isolated problem.

    Were I in your shoes I'd have the fuel injection system thoroughly checked as it sounds like you are running WAAAAY rich. This could simply be a matter of one or more clogged fuel injectors that are refusing to close between discharge events, or it could be something more serious wrong with the control unit that runs the fuel injection system. Regardless, get that thing to a qualified service center (now is not the time to be looking for an inexpensive mechanic) and have it gone through.

    In the mean time, CHANGE YOUR OIL, PRONTO. Fuel dilution in the magnatude you've described can and will ruin your engine in relatively short order.

    Best Regards,
  • joe146joe146 Posts: 3
    Thanks Shipo, I did take it to VW dealer, they told me it could be control unit, they changed that with no luck, suggested injector changed all of them, cost me over $2000. Now they are telling me "it could be" gasket and need another $3000 for that cause block might have crack as well.
    Still love my VR6, is it time to look for another motor or shall invest some more on this? Bad thing is they do not know if that is the problem for sure or not.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I have a pretty fair amount of engine experience and I have NO IDEA how they can draw a line from running rich enough to cause significant fuel dilution to a head gasket and/or a cracked block. Something smells fishy, very fishy.

    Regarding what they've told you and what they've done and charged you for, ummm, it sounds like they are totally incompetent and simply throwing parts at the problem in the hopes that they'll get lucky. Were I in your shoes I'd call around to various VW dealerships and/or Independent shops that specialize in VWs (and other European cars), and ask if they have a technician on staff that is certified on the fuel systems of the 1990s vintage VR6 motors.

    Best Regards,
  • joe146joe146 Posts: 3
    Thanks for quick useful response, in the mean time I have been busy looking for used motors...kinda hard to find reasonable millage VR6 motor. Kinda hesitant to put more money on my motor...also dono how good I'll get used one. A word of advise?
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