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Volkswagen Passat Maintenance and Repair



  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    I'll put it to you this way - I own a 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8T and a 2003 Passat GLS 1.8T. The factory waterpump on the 1.8T has a plastic impeller. I had the timing belt/water pump replaced on the Jetta at 73,000 miles, and on the Passat at 68,000 miles. When the mechanic removed the waterpump on both cars, the plastic impeller was on the verge of disintegrating.

    Both waterpumps were replaced by the improved aftermarket model with a metal impeller (which is how the waterpump should have been designed right from the get go)...

    I would HIGHLY recommend having those items changed ASAP - Consequences from a failed waterpump range from engine overheating (best case scenario) to timing belt failure from a seized (or jammed) waterpump (worst case scenario to the tune of at least a $5,000 engine replacement) - especially since the waterpump is driven by the timing belt...

  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    I also know someone with a 2000 1.8T who didn't do his until 150,000!! It's a tough call, and an expensive job.

    The 1.8T Passats up to early 2001 have an aluminum waterpump driven by an accessory belt - so a 92K timing belt change is a reasonable interval - as the timing belts for these models are of fairly robust construction.

    The 2001.5 through 2005 Passat 1.8T engines have an internal waterpump with a plastic impeller that is driven directly from the timing belt. Earlier waterpump changes are critical on these engines as the plastic impeller has a tendency to disintegrate after 65,000 miles - causing all kinds of havoc up to timing belt failure, bent valves, and a new engine...
  • I just changed my timing belt and other parts in the area. Everything seems to be on all right. I will turn the key and it will crank but will not start. Is my timing so far off that it will not start? Or another problem?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Is my timing so far off that it will not start?"

    Pretty good bet. Did you line up the timing marks?

    Best Regards,
  • So I'm guessing i need to line up to top dead center again?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    To be quite honest, I don't actually know as I've not done one of those motors before and I don't have a shop manual for it. Over the years I've seen several different methods of aligning timing marks and so guessing as to which method is used would be pointless. Do you have a manual? If not, call your local dealership and ask the folks in their service department, they should be willing to tell you how to set the engine up prior to putting the belt on, and if they don't, call another one.

    Hope this helps. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • tommy8stommy8s Posts: 8
    We have a 2002 Passat with water in the rear footwells. Dealer repaired it at no charge a few years ago. Now transmission is "malfunctioning" no pick up, a "THUNK" noise occasionally. And the service engine/check engine light is on. Car has 24,400 miles, out of warranty and dealer has no clue. By change are some of the electrical components located there?
  • tommy8stommy8s Posts: 8
    24,400 miles, out of warranty. no pick up and a "THUNK" and shudder occasionally. Dealer does not know. VW no help. Any suggestions?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    The transmission control module is located under one of the front seats, in a well in the floor.
  • I too have a 2001.5 glx passat that has a myriad of problems ranging from sensors going bad with 20k, to a full short that fried my leather seats to a blister at 80k, radio (factory died within 10k), and amp.

    Most recently I noticed a vibration and brought it to a vw certified mechanic. It was the second VW he had seen within a month (the other was a 98) that was having the FUEL LINE vibrate to the point of a loud rattle. On the other car he replaced the charcoal filter, fuel pump, and something lasted all of 2 days before it started. With mine, the dealer suggested the charcoal filter, which he did ($200) and it lasted 1 hours. Don't think its a Passat issue as much as a filter/ethanol issue. Would love to find an answer. The dealer is clueless. No engine light, and the car runs fine otherwise.
  • ekg426ekg426 Posts: 3
    The engine temp gauge on my 2003 1.8T Passat (52k, mostly urban, some hwy) has begun moving erratically...but not indicating that it is too hot - instead of taking a few minutes to reach 190 (middle of gauge), it hovers well under 190 and then will quickly reach 190, only to drop down to 90 (bottom cool end of gauge, and flutter back up. What's odd it that is never goes above it's normal level (190), but when the weather is 100 + outside, I can't imagine my running engine is actually cooler than that...? Help! Advice? Temp fluttering is erractic/random and not related to acceleration, etc.

    THANKS :surprise:
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    This sounds like a bad engine coolant temperature sensor. Not an uncommon problem. The part is pretty inexpensive. Are you a DIY kind of person? Yeah? Then google "changing Passat coolant sensor" for instructions.
  • While driving down the road on my 1997 Passat Wagon, the car started smelling like something was burning, and the battery light was on. We pulled over and it seems like all the smoke was coming from the alternator.

    How do you change the alternator easily? It's kind of wedged in there. Is the alternator the only problem? What would have caused this? Will putting in a new alternator fix the problem? Will I have to replace anything else?

    Thanks a lot!
  • Hi...can anyone offer some insight. Off and on, my fuel guage will dip down about a quarter of a tank and then suddenly go back up to where it should be. This tends to happen most often when I'm idling...however, this could be because this is when I can safely pay attention the fuel gauge. Regardless, I'm wondering what might be causing this? :confuse:
  • vw27278vw27278 Posts: 29
    I was thinking about purchasing a timing belt kit from I have purchased from them before and found them to be reliable. However, I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on purchasing OEM parts from someone other than a dealer for such an important mechanical function. In other words, is it a wise decision seeing that if something went wrong then, hey, you're looking at a new or rebuild engine.

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I'm facing the same issue. I guess it depends on who will do the installation...

    Let's say you are a DIY kind of person. Well, then I won't have any real issue with buying other than OEM parts.

    OTOH, if you are planning to go to an Indy or dealer for service, they may be willing to use your parts, but they won't give a warranty on them. "So what?", you say.

    What if they put the whole thing back together and the water pump leaks? The parts supplier will say it's the tech, and the tech will say it's bad parts. You will be stuck in the middle.

    Personally, I think I going with OEM parts for everything other than the water pump. The OEM pump has a plastic impeller that has some history of deteriorating and jamming the blades. I'm going with OEM on everything else, including the O-ring on the water pump from VW. But I'll probably have the dealer do the work.

    If I go to the indy shop, then I'll need to talk with them about the water pump construction first.
  • vw27278vw27278 Posts: 29
    The website claims that all parts are OEM, except the aftermarket waterpump. They also claim that all parts come with the OEM mfr warranty. My tech says it'll cost me $300 to do all the work, the Dealer wants $760 for the same labor costs. The warranty that you receive from the Dealer does seem better (in theory), but they have their ways of getting around issues as well. So I'm in a bit of a dilemma and was wondering what others thought...

    thanks Altair
  • kalanekalane Posts: 1
    Hello all, I am new to this forum but I have a HUGE problem with my Passat.

    It has a 5-speed manual transmission that has worked flawlessly for just about a year now, as long as I've had it. Just yesterday I drove it out to buy some new insurance for it and when trying to back out of my parking space, I realized I had no reverse. Once I got it on the road via pushing it, I soon realized I only had 3rd and 4th gear. To further detail the situation, when I shift up it will always go into third, when I shift down it will always go into 4th. It does not matter if I shift up and into a corner - I can put the shifter into the spot for first gear and it will go into third gear anyway. Better yet, while it is in gear I am able to move the shifter around horizontally as if there were no other gears to the sides, no resistance.

    Once the car is up to a decent speed, third and fourth gears work perfectly like there is nothing wrong with the car. I guess it would be the transmission and the car is shot, but I just don't know. Any suggestions or ideas would be most appreciated as I am in no way prepared to junk the car.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Sounds like a broken shift linkage issue, rather than the actual transmission. But that's just a WAG on my part - I'm driving a tiptronic.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    I've purchased timing belt kits for both my 1.8Ts and my 1997 2.0L Jetta from (a.k.a. GAP in the world of 'dubbers like myself), and have had no problems or failures.

    Continental is the supplier for the timing and serpentine belts, so make sure the belts you purchase outside of the dealer are made by Continental (or Conti for short).

    In the case of the 1.8T, the timing belt kits usually include the upgraded waterpump with the metal impeller (instead of the OEM plastic waterpump), and that in itself makes buying the kit worthwhile...
  • vw27278vw27278 Posts: 29
    Thanks for the info 600kgolfgt. Now the big question is, how much do I trust an indy mechanic to install this for me?? Do you think any mechanic s/b be capable, or do you think I need a VW specialist? After all, his screw-up could cost me a new engine...or, maybe not.

    Thanks again.
  • feilofeilo Posts: 128
    IMHO, if its a general mechanic that you know is competent and/or have had good references than I believe its OK. I know of Passateers that have had their mocal Midas do the TB change but they swore that they knew the mechanic personally.
    Otherwise, I'd go with an indy VW mechanic (if you know of any - I am fortunate that I have 2 close by me to go to) or pay and use the VW dealership. However not all VW dealers are created equal so you may need to re-assure yourself that they are competent.

    From you earlier post, I thought the indy estimate was a little light - the dealership estimate is closer to reality. Again just my opinion and I hope this helps.

    BTW, I had my TB @ 90K miles (I'm at 135K now) done by a dealership and I think they lost $ from my job becuase they didn't have the part they thought they did and I ended with a Jetta loaner for 2 days ...

    Lastly aftermarket OEM parts are OK by me.
  • vw27278vw27278 Posts: 29
    Well, I'm biting the bullet and going w/ the dealer. The cost is $1100.00 which includes (TB, tensioner, idling roller, water pump (not aftermarket, unfortunately), serpentine belt, thermostat, and fuel filter.) I'd save several hundred by going to an indy but I don't know him well enough to trust his skills. And hey, when I'm rolling down I-85 with my 2 toddlers in the back seat, I want to be assured that this was installed correctly. Albeit, the person at the dealer might not be the wise old mechanic but he's sure to have have done a TB before.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    Do you think any mechanic s/b be capable, or do you think I need a VW specialist?

    I would definitely go to a mechanic who specializes in either European cars or VWs. I wouldn't recommend taking your car to just any shade tree mechanic.

    It all boils down to your comfort level. If you have any doubts whatsoever, then take it to the dealer - which is apparently the option you have decided to take.

    Best of luck - and please let us know the outcome of taking it to the dealer.
  • jknollsjknolls Posts: 6
    How often am I REALLY supposed to do oil changes? 5000k as the manual says or 7000k?
    Also, how often should I be doing trans fluid changes? I've seen 30000k on web.
  • My 04 passat with the 1.8t had major repair when my fan on the raditior went out at 65k.I had to get a head and valve job,also the part that mixes the oil and antifreeze cracked,the warning light came on recomending coolent check and that was it,no light on the fan going out,hopefully enought people will start a class action lawsuit.Five passats lined up right after mine all with the 1.8 t and over 60k in Houston Tx.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Do you have the 1.8T?

    Re-read your manual carefully. Mine says that 5,000 miles is the maximum OCI and that under certain conditions it should be less.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    "also the part that mixes the oil and antifreeze cracked"

    What is this mixing part name?

  • I have an 05 Passat Wagon 4 cyl turbo and am experiencing the exact same symptoms you wrote about.

    The car is very cranky in the morning and particularly if it has not been driven for more than 24 hours.

    It sputters ... the check engine light goes on and off and it generally gives the impression that it is about to break down because something is really wrong.

    Then my wife turns around and comes home - takes my car and leaves me with the Passat. I work from home and when I go to test the vehicle a couple of hours later it always starts and drives fine. But it's not even cold out yet and I need this car to be a reliable morning car!

    Did this ever get resolved for you? What can you tell me about the resolution?

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Don't wait for Bonesy to reply...hasn't posted since April, 2006!

    Have you had the computer scanned for codes? You can get this done at some of the national auto parts stores, like AutoZone and Advance Auto, for free. Post up the codes and/or just Google them and see what shows up.
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