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VW Ignition Coil Problems?

mikedhmsumikedhmsu Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
I recently purchased a 2002 VW Passat 1.8T in April 2002, and have 11,500 miles on it. This past Friday, I started the car to go to Home Depot, and the car was shaking from side to side, with the MIL light blinking. I tried to back out and go down the street, but was unable to go over 25 MPH. The dealer tells me its a bad ignition coil, and that there is a current back order nationwide on this item. Has anyone else experienced this problem? This is the ifrst trouble I've had, and really like this car. Any help would be great, thanks!


  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    for the randy heck of it, try NAPA and some other parts stores to see if there are any replacement coils by outfits like bosch, neihoff, or another quality branded ignition supplier.

    Dad bought a Ford when he finally got mustered out after WWII, a hard trick to accomplish as everybody who could was replacing their pre-war beaters, and it drove him to distraction after a few years when it started intermittently running like trash. dealer couldn't get it figured out, so he traded it in on something else down the street. ran into an old farmer a few months later who had bought the car, said it was the best he ever had. "but what about the engine trouble?" "ach, those Fords, everybody knew they had a bad coil. I went to Coast-to-Coast, got a coil, no trouble since."

    moral: if another plant makes those coils, bet they are not screwing up whatever VW's supplier did.
  • outrunoutrun Posts: 539
    Yes, there is a coil pack problem. Word has it that VW changed suppliers some time in 2001.

    This problem also exists for Audi A4 1.8T owners as well.

    Many folks on and are reporting the exact same problem - car shakes, MIL flashing, coil pack dead.

    VW used to replace all 4 when this happens, since the other 3 coils are being "over worked". They've changed their stance and are replacing only the bad coil pack due to short supplies.

    This was also mentioned in AutoWeek.

  • I will visit those other sites, and try to look up in AutoWeek the article. The car is aleady at the dealers, and I hope that I can get it back today.

    Do I get to have a say about which manufatcurer to use, seeing as VW's new supplier for the coils aren't reliable? I'm guessing probably not, unless I go to a private or third-party shop.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but if you can't wait, buy something else and drive. when the parts come in, put the original rotten coil pack back on, and sputter on in. that way you get your driving done, and say! -- what's this in a box in the trunk? -- why, it's a known working good coil pack!
  • outrunoutrun Posts: 539
    Supposidly, VW changed back to their orignal supplier already and the replacements aren't failing.

    It only took 2+ years for them to realize their mistake.

  • This is a known problem. Visit the Passat forums on this board and find out the other grelims waiting for you.
  • Grelims are not that bad, really.

    With some cars, you have gremlins waiting for you. Luckily, that is not the case with VWs. And Grelim's faulty coil packs are replaced under warranty.

    - D
  • outrunoutrun Posts: 539
    This gremlin will leave us stranded.

    Squeaks and rattles are one thing. Even an MFA that doesn't work all the time. But a coil pack? This is a KNOWN issue by VW (they admitted to it in AutoWeek). There is a 3-5 week backorder on these things in certain areas of the country. This is also a safety issue: on the highway with an 18 wheeler closely following, and bang. Coil pack dead. What happens next I dare not say.

    This should be a recall. Plain and simple. VW had a good coil pack design from 98 through 01. Then they went with a different supplier to save a few bucks. Now 1.8Ts are blowing coil packs left and right. VW saw this, and went back to the original (or yet another) supplier.

  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    it took VW two years to track it down, acknowlidge the problem and fix it!

    It took Chrysler over TEN years to even admit their tranny problems in their minivans!

    Did the supplier of the bad coil packs supply VW with most of their Jetta parts as well?
  • Hi, I have a 2002 1.8t Passat Wagon, I have been reading a lot about the coils problems, although mine haven't failed yet, should I ask my dealer to replace them? would they be covered under the warranty?

    thanks a lot!
  • pkraddpkradd Posts: 358
    Dealers will not do what you state unless there is a offiical recall. The Warranty will only cover when things go wrong not in anticipation of a problem happening.
  • pkraddpkradd Posts: 358
    Perhaps not all Passats used the offending supplier or lots of the problem coils anyway.
  • There is much information on this thread over at
  • so i havea 2002 passat, and have had the same problem, started it one morning, smelled rotten eggs, the car shook abnormally, and would hardly go over 30mph. took it to the dealership and they've had it for 2 1/2 weeks now. they've been waiting for the part - the coil patch they called it. so we contacted vw of america talked to people at corporate headquartersand eventually got a free rental car, taxes paid by vw and all...turns out i get it back thursday! i'm happy as hell, i miss driving my european turbo tank...nore so than this 2001 dodge stratus rental. if there is such a probloem with this one part, it should be recalled...if it were a ford car, it would have been recalled a year ago. (that could be taken as a knock to ford or a compliment)
  • Just wondering if any of you have been charged for the repairs that have been made on the coil packs?
  • bjh17bjh17 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Passat and I'm on the 3rd Coil problem. The car has to be towed in tomorrow. I cannot believe that nothing can be done about this. The first time was when the car was 6 months old, then again 4 months later and now 5 weeks later it happens again. The wind can shake the car and I get nervous I won't make it home or to the dealer. The dealer said "if" they have the part, they will replace it again, why bother, the replacement part is just as defective as the coil that is there now.
  • rcam2rcam2 Posts: 2
    My wife's 2003 Passat had an ignition coil fail with 6000 miles on the clock. Part is on backorder. Looks like VW has decided to carry a known problem over into the new model year.
  • outrunoutrun Posts: 539
    VW changed to a "better" supplier of coil packs some time in August 2002. Check the build date of your 2003 (on the drivers side front door jam). If it's August 2002, you may have the old packs. If it's before August 2002, you definitely have the old packs. If September 2002 or later, you have the new ones.

    You can also check the packs themselves. Those ending with "H" are bad. Those ending with "J" are the new ones.

    To check, remove the cover of the engine (3 screws). The part number of the packs is on the "back" side (facing the windshield).

    My 2002 was build in March 2002, so I'm just waiting for the packs to go.

  • pkraddpkradd Posts: 358
    I ahve a 2001.5 Passat with 15,000 miles. Will there be a problem with the coil packs?
  • outrunoutrun Posts: 539
    Check the part number of the packs. The packs before the "H" (bad) ones is "G". Those, as far as I know, are good.

    They made the change some time in 2001. I'm guessing that the 2001.5's have the "H" packs, but I'm not certain.

    But don't you have a Mexican Jetta? I'm not sure if VW shipped these packs there.

  • Dealers here in Ontario are pulling coil packs off of cars on the lot to help customers get back on the road. They're as frustrated as the customers about this problem.

    The question I have is, how did VW let this problem work its way down to production vehicles? For a auto giant as large as VW, they must have some rigorous quality control testing on outsourced components. When they do a deal with suppliers you would think they would get at least 6-months lead time to test the first batch of components before putting them on production vehicles, or am I naive about the way car companies use JIT parts sourcing to keep inventories and production costs low.

    How on earth any VW exec thinks that anyone will shell out $50k+ on a Phaeton when the current high-end model (ie. Passat) has a problem like this is beyond me.
  • pkraddpkradd Posts: 358
    I have a Passat not Jetta. There is no sticker in the door jam. I removed the cover to the engine but did not see any sticker or number on the engine block area facing the windshield. Maybe its on the cover. Should I check again. I think I'll call the dealer and find out. Bet they say they know nothing about it.
  • outrunoutrun Posts: 539
    Someone here has a Jetta.

    No sticker on the door jam? That's odd.

    The part number is on the coil itself (actually, all 4 of them). It's not a sticker (I don't think). It's imprinted on the part itself. The section of the part that has the part number is the "back side" - the side that faces the windshield.

  • pkraddpkradd Posts: 358
    Still can't find any number (I did see the Audi rings on the block though!). I'll ask my neighbor to look. Anyway, mine is a 2001.5 Passat manufactured in 2001 - the first run of the soon to be 2002. I hope that this means no problem. Oh well.
    OK. I found a number 088 D. Is that it?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    you can put six or eight coil packs in environmental ovens and pulse 'em for a half year and they may well all test OK. things are a little different when you get into production... the coil winder machines are cranked up in speed, you use larger spools of wire and may get twist in the coils, coils are bumped along in transport cartons from one work station to another, rubbing all the way, where you used hand labor to move the prototypes around on the production stations, now machines clamp 'em around the middle, squeeze, and rotate... lots of changes.

    anything wrong in the entire process that nicks a wire, scratches insulation, or puts kinks in the windings, you are set up for part failure in a HV impulse coil.

    and that's what happens. you have to be in production and testing on the buyers to find these issues.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    Well it happened! One coil went out on my 2002 1.8T Passat built in March 2002. I've been singing the praises of this car, and I still love it, but I've had 2 Infinitis with no problems, just routine maintainance, and this is my first German car since my Porsche that I owned 20 years ago.
    The dealer has been very good about it. they towed my car in and gave me a rental car, however they will not replace all 4 coils because of the demand for the part. I don't like driving the car knowing that the other 3 coils could go out at any time. Hopefully when they get caught up on production, they'll have a recall and replace all of the faulty coils
    I'm still very impressed with the car but I hope this is not an indication of things to come. If VW had not extended the warantee to 4 years, I probably would not have bought a Passat.
  • frapzoidfrapzoid Posts: 127
    Seems like the people who are having problems with coil packs have the turbo engine. Are the V6 engines at risk of coil pack problems?
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    All of the VW and Audi engines have had problems including the new W8, which means you have 8 chances to return to your friendly service department.
  • As I am reading all of these posts, I am wondering, has anyone researched federal lemon law, or state lemon law. I have just had it with our '02 Passat Wagon. It's had repeated coil problems, digital dash readout sometimes conks out, dealer can't find what's wrong, radio went dead and has been replaced. All before 6,000 miles.
    I'd drive it through the dealer's front window, but it's been sitting on their backlot, waiting for another bum coil for two weeks now. I get the great pleasure of paying to drive German engineering, but the loaner is an Intrepid. I am hot as lava about this junker. I hope that anyone who is considering buying a Passat reads this and decides to buy a Honda or a Toyota like we should have. I really hope that Consumer Reports reconsiders naming Passat a "recommended buy". And worse yet "top rated family sedan." I really will wonder how fast I can get rid of this car, as soon as the dealer can get this faulty part to replace the old faulty part.

    Thanks for letting me vent. All of you who have had this problem surely understand.
This discussion has been closed.