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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues



  • jgirl2jgirl2 Posts: 1
    I have never had a VW,but I had bad sludge with a Mercedes.
    I had to let it warm up for 2 minutes before driving,get
    an oil change every 3K miles for a year,and the sludge went away. Does anyone know if this resolves sludge issues overall?
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Are you serious? You may not of gotten your oil changed in almost 15-25K miles and you can still say who cares? I would hardly say that 1.8t engines are a time bomb or that they need to be maintained "like mad". Like any other car on the road (Honda, Toyota or Chevrolet) they need to be maintained per the MANUFACTURER recommendations. I think it is completely unfair to blame VW for a owners negligence in maintaining his/her car.

    Because VW has admitted that the 1.8t engine will form sludge if not maintained with the proper synthetic oil and the oil changed at the correct OCI many owners blame VW for THEIR negligence!!!!

    It seems like an epidemic in the U.S. to try to blame other for their own mistakes.

    Bottom line is you will and should be responsible for a new engine.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    :shades: well said
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    With your logic any car with IC engine is time bomb.
    Try not to change oil in any vehicle and I bet engine will fail, sooner or later.

  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    While I was at my VW mechanic getting a timing belt change on my 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta (73K miles), I gained new insight to the timing belt, water pump, & sludge issues:

    Timing belt - I am now convinced more than ever that the timing belt breakage issues that plagued the 1998 through 2002 1.8T engines are attributed to issues other than the timing belt itself. To elaborate further, while having my timing belt changed, I inspected the old timing belt after it was removed and the belt looked like it could go at least another 30,000 miles - there was no sign of cracking or excessive wear whatsover (the serpentine belt was the same way). I also noticed that the timing belt was a lot thicker than the belts I've seen (and changed on my previous VWs) in the past.

    When I asked my mechanic about this, he said that based on the hundreds of 1.8T timing belt changes he and his mechanics have done over the years (especially the 1998 through 2002 models which had the lion's share of timing belt failures), the following conditions can make a timing belt fail before the 105K mile interval:

    1) Sludge-related cylinder head failure (majority of timing belt failures) - A severely sludged engine will result an oil-starved cylinder head. Over time, this lack of lubrication will result in the overhead cams stopping dead in their tracks while the rest of the engine is still moving. Once the cams stop, that means the cam sprocket isn't turning which will result in the timing belt's teeth shearing off. And to make matters worse, the pistons are still moving while some valves are open, so they will eventually crash into each other, and voila - thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. I fault both VW (for not making synthetic oil MANDATORY for the 1.8T engines right from the get-go (1998)) and those VW owners who don't change their oil within the (every) 5000 mile interval (and use synthetic). If you own a 1998 through 2002 VW with the 1.8T engine, I would have the engine flushed (de-sludged), and use synthetic oil (meeting the VW 502.00 specification) from this point on. This will significantly reduce your chances of timing belt and sludge-related failures.

    2) Not changing the water pump at every timing belt change.
    During my timing belt change, I had the mechanic replace every timing belt related item as well. When he showed me the old water pump @ 73,000 miles, the internal plastic impeller was starting to disintegrate. So changing the water pump turned out to be good insurance against engine failure. If the water pump hadn't been changed, chances are the engine would either over heat (since there's no impeller to move the coolant through the engine), or a piece of the impeller may jam the water pump, causing the timing belt to shear and cause the aformentioned damage described in the previous condition (See #1).

    There are two types of water pumps available for this engine. If you use the OEM (factory) water pump with the plastic impeller, have your timing belt/water pump replaced every 60,000 - 70,000 miles. The plastic impeller on the OEM water pumps sold recently are of an improved design, but to be on the safe side, I wouldn't go beyond 70,000 mile intervals between changes.

    The second type of water pump is a significantly improved aftermarket design which replaces the plastic impeller with a metal one. If you use this water pump, you will be able to extend your timing belt change intervals to 100,000 miles (assuming the engine has been properly serviced every 5000 miles with synthetic oil meeting the VW 502.00 specification). If your mechanic and/or dealer has this water pump available, DEFINITELY use it.

    3) Hydraulic timing-belt tensioners - Chances are, your 1.8T engine has two hydraulic timing belt tensioners that MUST be changed at every timing belt change (whether it be at 60,000 mile, 70,000 mile or 100,000 mile intervals). NO EXCEPTIONS. According to my mechanic, these tensioners are good for 100,000 miles, but after that, you are definitely rolling the dice. These components are CRITICAL in keeping the timing belt properly tensioned. If you use these beyond 100,000 miles, and one (or both) tensioners fail, it will result in timing belt failure and thousands of dollars in engine repairs. That is why it is good practice to have every component replaced during the timing belt service (timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, hydraulic tensioners & tensioner pulley). It will save you time, $$$$ and a lot of headaches in the long run.

    Here's a couple of extra helpful hints:

    Golf/Jetta 1.8T timing belt service - Count on 6 hours for labor and $300 in parts if done by a private mechanic, and $500+ in parts (6-8 hours for labor) if done by a dealership.

    Passat 1.8T - Count on 4 hours labor and $300-$400 in parts (private mechanic) or $600-$800 in parts (dealer) & 4 - 5 hours of labor

  • Volkswagon is absolutly the one to blame for all 1.8t engines! i bought a 2000 passat w/ 60,000 miles on it, and the dealership never gave me any papers stating that i needed to put synthetic oil in it... and no, that "little book they call the owners manuel" doesnt state that either... since ive had it, for only about 5 months now, i paid 700 to fix the oil filter, and pump- ran for about a week, and had to take it back where their telling me i need to pay 5,000 for a new engine and oil pump pick-up tube!! Ive had it for 5 months its only been running for 2. They screw every1 over, and i will never buy another vw again!! :mad:
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Sorry to hear about your experience with VW. But, That is the exact reason why I would never buy a used car. Did you get the car checked by your own idependent mechanic?
  • Yes, i got a few different quotes, from a couple different mechanics, including my own and it was $5000 from everyone. I just brought it to VW dealership to see if they will fix it for free, because the mechanic said they may bc of the fact their is supposed to be a recall on it because it has been happening with every car that model. But it is VERY VERY unlikly, might as well check first tho. Im very unhappy with vw, so i wouldnt advise anyone to get one. :lemon:
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    "it has been happening with every car that model"

    You loose a lot of credibility with such statement.
    My teenage daughter claims that everybody does this or that and after questioning everybody becomes somebody.

    With cars it is similar.

    Note to potential used car buyers.
    When buying VW request full maintenance history, otherwise run if engine is turbocharged.

  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    You misunderstood my question about the independent mechanic. I apologize. Did you get your own mechanic to look over the car PRIOR to buying used Passat with 60K mile son it?
  • Obviously not "every", people understand what i mean. I brought it to volkswagon, and i just talkeed to them yesturday and they said; "This must be passat month, weve been having them in and out of here all month." and then began to explain that it happens with "just about every model of that car" and thats why they werent going to fix it, because they would have to go and fix everyone's car that has come in and complained about the same problem. He told me Someone had 13,500 miles on their car they bought brand new and the same thing happened.. with such low mileage.. The cars arent being built right.
    ......Unless of course he lied to me.
  • Yes, but he couldnt see the slude issues or anything, because he didnt check in the oil pan, or search anywhere he had to take all apart.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    "The cars arent being built right."

    I suspect that these cars are not maintained right but it is just me.

  • i suspect they never wrote in the manuel how to correctly maintain the car w/ synthetic oil n such, so even if people went by the manuel it would still be wrong. Do you have a vw?
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    I am not Manuel and I am not from Barcelona.

    If you watched "Fawlty Towers" you should get it ;-)

    I have 2003 VW Passat 1.8T and I was using Mobil 0W40 from start. The way I read the manual 5W40 was suggested but not required. There are no mineral oils that are 5W40 and 0W40 sounded good enough for me and Mobil 1 is quite good brand.

    1 year later VW mailed info about sludge along with new page for manual that says that oils meeting VW502.00 spec are the only ones to be used in 1.8T. It also had a page with list of oils meeting the spec. Mobil 1 0W40 was present.

    When I bought my Passat I talked to service writer about oil. I was told that they use 5W30 bulk oil for my car.
    I have never come without my own oil for an oil change.
    I bought it at Walmart or Auto Zone without much problem.


    PS Have you read about Toyota sludge? New engines are designed for better oils than the old ones. In Europe it is not unique to have 20000km OCI (suggested by manufacturer). Roughly 13000 miles.
    I suspect dealer network is much tighter controlled than in the US. US dealers can mismaintain vehicles and manufacturer is still hold accountable.

    Not to mention that VW original manual seems to be written by marketing guys. I bet engineers worded their recommendation as "required" but marketing gurus decided that "synthetic oil required" did not look good.
  • Thats the problem, i am a second time owner and i never recieved the letter, the dealership never gave me the letter either, which i find odd. But they ARE in fact now working on fixing my car for me.
  • My 2000 Passat is at the mechanics because the oil light came on. I was told by my mechanic that there is a lot of sludge and VW should cover the problem. When I called VW, they will only cover if I can show proof of oil changes every 5k miles. I don't have all my receipts and definitely don't have the $1,800+ the dealer wants to replace everything and get my car back to me. My mechanic can do it for under $1,000, BUT he won't be replacing the oil pump, just cleaning it out by hand. Can anybody advise me if this is a good alternative? I appreciate any input.

  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    I would approach VW with all documentation you have and ask them if it is enough.
    What oil were you using? Have you received "sludge letter" from VW?
    What oil were you using?

  • I don't know how my new post got put into an already existing discussion, but whatever works. ;)

    Anyway, I have all the receipts except for two from April 2004 until now. I have nothing from May 2002(when we bought the car) until April 2004. They could be with my xh or in the trash.

    I was using whatever Jiffy Lube and the dealer put in. I only went to the dealer twice and had an oil change done there because we happened to be in the area. Otherwise, Jiffy Lube is right down the road and I usually got it done on my way home from work.

    I never did receive a letter from VW and I only heard about the problem when I took my car to the mechanic.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Uh-oh, Jiffy Lube...

    Like anything else, some are competent, some ain't. The good news (sort of) is that your local Jiffy Lube might could very well have a complete service history for every time they touched your car. Ditto your dealer.

    The problem here is that some dealers and many Jiffy Lubes consistently used the wrong (read inferior) oil for VW and Audi engines, and as such, producing the invoices might be a double edged sword as they most likely list the kind of oil used.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Best Regards,
  • I would like to know if anyone else has experience with sludge related failures a second time. I have a 2000 Jetta 1.8T. I had preventive service (private shop specializing in VW) at 135,000 miles for timing belt, waterpump, tensioner. etc. Driving home from shop, oil pressure warning light came on. Returned to shop and had diagnosed. Mechanic found sludge and sediment? in the oil pump. Engine was flushed and have only used full synthetic with religious changes since. Just had PM service (VW dealership) on timing belt/waterpump again at 228,000 miles. Again, driving home from dealership, had oil pressure light come on. Is sludge a recurring problem even with use of full synthetic and prompt oil changes? Has anyone else experienced sediment in the oil pump?
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    You are putting a lot of miles.
    What synthetic oil are you using? Does it meet VW specification?


    PS My understanding is that if you use VW502.00 (some say use newer VW spec 503.00 or 503.01) and 5K interval then there should be no sludge.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    There is also LOTS of buzz around the "net" regarding exactly what make an oil "Fully Synthetic". Some say a good Group III is Fully Synthetic while many other scoff at the notion. The generally accepted standard is that an oil must be comprised primarily of Group IV base oils such as PAO before it can be considered a true synthetic or full synthetic. Examples of both Castrol Syntec 0W-30 and Mobil 1 0W-40 are pretty much accepted by the market as being Group IV oils (and both oils meet both the 502.00 and the far more stringent 503.01 VW Specs). As for Group III oils, those are "hydrocracked" or highly processed crude oils. An oil that falls into this category but still happens to meet the 502.00 oil spec is the Syntec 5W-40 offering from Castrol.

    So, all oils that are either Group III or Group IV can be advertised as being "Fully Synthetic", however, many (if not most) folks maintain that only Group IV oils are True Synthetic oils.

    Best Regards,
  • To add to what Shipo said, these Quick-lube places also use cheap oil filters instead of the proper VW factory filter that was specifically designed for your car. And if that wasn't enough, they also don't realize that you have to change the washer on the oil plug every other oil change. If they're not willing to concentrate on the finer details, they ain't touching my car. End of Story.

    I haven't been to a Quick Lube place in years and I don't intend to go there.

    My advice - AVOID the quick lube places like the plague.
  • I am using Mobil 1 5-30 Extended Performance. I do not know if this meets the current spec's from VW. Not the original owner so I do not get correspondence. Only recently was added to VW registry and got some recall notices which were serviced at dealership.
    I have a long commute, thus the high miles and LOTS of expensive oil changes...for nothing? Still had same sludge issue.
    Does VW publish a list of oils which DO meet their spec's and will not sludge with 5000 mile changes? Sorry for the novice questions - I did not know what I was getting into with the Turbo engine and thought I was doing the best I could to mitigate the sludging issue.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I am using Mobil 1 5-30 Extended Performance. I do not know if this meets the current spec's from VW."

    Mobil 1 EP, regardless of weight class, does not meet the VW 502.00 spec for your engine.

    "Does VW publish a list of oils which DO meet their spec's and will not sludge with 5000 mile changes?"

    Yes, but I don't have the link on hand.

    "Sorry for the novice questions - I did not know what I was getting into with the Turbo engine and thought I was doing the best I could to mitigate the sludging issue."

    No worries. You were headed in the correct direction and just missed the mark by a little. There are a number of oils that meet the VW 502.00 oil spec on the market. Check out the web site of your favorite oil supplier and you will probably find at least one oil that meets the spec.

    With the above in mind, you couldn't pay me to use a 502.00 oil in the 1.8T. Why? Because VW has since come out with a far more stringent oil spec numbered 503.01. That oil is a superset of the old 502.00 spec, and as such, all oils that are 503.01 certified are also certified to meet 502.00. To the best of my knowledge, the only two oils widely available here in North America that are certified to meet the 503.01 oil spec are Mobil 1 0W-40 and German made (says "Made in Germany" right on the label) Castrol Syntec 0W-30.

    The good news for you at least, is that both of the 503.01 oils listed above cost less than the Mobil 1 EP 5W-30 that you've been using. ;-)

    Best Regards,

    If you read all hundred plus posts in this discussion as well as the hundred or so at the following link, you will become very well versed in what you need to do for the care and feeding of your car. ;-)

    pat, "Volkswagen Passat Oil Changes & Issues" #1, 13 Mar 2006 11:52 am
  • Thanks for the nudge in the right direction!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:

    "Does VW publish a list of oils which DO meet their spec's and will not sludge with 5000 mile changes?"

    Yes, but I don't have the link on hand.

    Here's the link:

    As indicated in the chart, not all oils are available in North America ("hey, I'll take 4 quarts of the ole Ravensberger Schmierstoffvertrieb, please!").

    Further, not all listed oils are 502.00 compliant in North America. Specifically, the list shows Valvoline 5w-30 as being compliant - it is, but only the European product. Here in the US it is not per Valvoline's webiste and an email exchange I had with Valvoline's customer support.

    The most readily available oils in my area that meet VW Specs 502.00 are Valvoline's Synpower 5w-40 (also meets 505.00, 505.01) and Mobil 1's 0w-40 (which also meets 505.00 and 503.01). Castrol's Syntec 0w-30 also meets 502.00, 505.00 and 503.01, but I can only find it at Autozone (sometimes).
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks for the link! ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    No problem. Bottomline, though, is the consumer must read the labels on the bottle and/or check the manufacturer's website to verify that the product meets the requirement.
This discussion has been closed.