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Volkswagen Passat Sludge Issues



  • I have a 2007 passat and have had problems with a hissing sound when I take my foot off the brake. Also, there are creaking noises like the doors are moving or the top of the car is moving and creaking. The dealer tried to fix the creaking noise in the back of my car by "drilling holes at the weld spots" whatever that means. Now the car is much worse after 2 weeks of them "fixing" it. They tell me the "hissing" sound from the brake area is normal. Any suggestions. I had a 2003 Passat and had NO problems. Should have kept that car!!
  • If the hissing is sort of like fingernails on a black board, it could be metal on the rotors. Either the pads are worn and they are squealing or some other metal rubbing on the rotors. Though I would expect this to appear while the brake was being applied not when released.

    My 2001 Passat was purchased 4 years ago by my daughter. The details of how the car became mine are not important. She was living in Atlanta GA and had a major wreck, Geico chose to repair the vehicle even though the repair cost was very near the value of the car. The car was repaired and was practically like new.

    Not long after I took ownership of the car it would make a loud crack shortly after beginning movement when it went over a bump. It still makes this cracking noise but no ill effects have been seen. I worry about it but I haven't mentioned it to the VW mechanic.

    I would not think that drilling holes in structural welds would be such a good idea and your statement that the sounds are worse than ever seems to confirm that. I would be taking it somewhere else for a 2nd opinion if that were mine. When you find out what it is let us know.

  • Thanks........I am going to file papers to lemon law the car. It has been in the shop for well over 15 days and has only gotten worse. My service tech actually told me that he cannot get fixed the creaking from the panel on the right front passenger side of my car. Furthermore, I was told by my service tech when the car was in the shop that they were "rewelding" the car, not drilling holes in the weld spots as the actual papers said when I got the car back. Nice, huh? Will keep up to date with news.
  • Well at least re-welding makes more sense than drilling holes. But... after re-welding stuff for a while it seems like the technician should figure out, that is not likely the problem. I'm sorry I don't have any good suggestions about a more plausible cause. I still would be interested in learning if you actually succeed in getting it fixed because mine has similar noises.

    Good luck with the Lemon Law stuff. I can't go back to the repair shop or Geico for my problem because I would have to prove it was a result of the wreck it was in four years ago. Chances of succeeding with that are slim to none. I will just have live with it.

  • Thanks!

    While fairly short compared to the 502.00 list, it is longer than I thought it would be.

    Not a problem, Shipo... :shades:

    At least now we have the smoking gun (documentation) - and since there's only one 5-weight oil on the list (Shell Helix Ultra 5W-30), there should be no doubt that 99.99% of oils on the VW 503.01 spec sheet are 0-weight...

    As far as the North American market is concerned, two of the motor oils on that list are readily available:

    Castrol Syntec 0W-30 (Made in Germany) - sold at Auto Zone
    Mobil 1 0w-40 - Sold at most major auto parts stores

    There should be no reason why VW dealers shouldn't stock these oils (at least in the case of the factory-designated Castrol) and VW oiwners neglect to use these oils - especially for the 1.8T and 2.0T.

    IMHO, there should be less emphasis on the old 502.00 spec (that spec should eventually be laid to rest)....
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "IMHO, there should be less emphasis on the old 502.00 spec (that spec should eventually be laid to rest)...."

    I share that exact sentiment. ;)

    Best Regards,
  • I leased my 2003 passat for five trouble-free years(yeah, I know...) and recently decided to buy it. Right after the first payment, the troubles began. So far of course, repairs have been covered, but my warranty expires within the next month and I'm wondering about the best course of action. Should I spring for another warranty to help calm my nerves about the almost inevitable future malfunctions? Or, would I be better off trying to trade it in and try to wrangle a reasonable lease payment on a new, cheaper (and Japanese) car? Since I owe around $10800 on the thing, though, that's likely to be a tall order isn't it?
  • How many miles do you have on your car? And what specific troubles have you been having?
  • It has 46k on it. The first thing to happen was the brake lights staying on even after turning off the car. Apparently there was a recall on this and the dealer fixed it free of charge.
    More serious was the "Turn Off Engine" light that I encountered last week. I took it to my local mechanic, and of course I, couldn't get the light to come back on to show him, even after driving around the block a few times. He was nervous about it being a Euro car so he recommended me to a friend who worked on them. I took it there and he told me flat out that the oil pressure was way low and that I needed a new engine due to the sludge issue ($100 for that). Since I don't have perfect documentation of all oil changes I know that VW would laugh at me if I made a warranty claim, and I'd be out thousands. So, I had it towed to my local VW dealer (wish I'd done that first) who performed a de-sludge (no charge) and after two days, sent me on my way. I've been driving for the past three days and so far so good. But, I feel nervous every time I get behind the wheel, especially after browsing these forums! Would buying a warranty be remotely wise, or would the imperfect documentation come back to haunt me ?
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    So, I had it towed to my local VW dealer (wish I'd done that first) who performed a de-sludge (no charge) and after two days, sent me on my way. I've been driving for the past three days and so far so good. But, I feel nervous every time I get behind the wheel, especially after browsing these forums! Would buying a warranty be remotely wise, or would the imperfect documentation come back to haunt me ?

    I would look into the warranty (just for piece of mind). As far as the sludge issue, fortunately for you it was addressed before any major engine damage has occurred.

    From this point on, as long as you have the oil changed EVERY 5000 miles (do not go beyond these intervals) using a VW 503.01 specification motor oil, you should be fine (HINT: All oils on this list are synthetic, and 99.9% of the oils on the list are either 0W-30 or 0W-40).

    As far as the North American market is concerned, two of the motor oils on that list are readily available:

    Castrol Syntec 0W-30 (Made in Germany) - sold at Auto Zone
    Mobil 1 0w-40 - Sold at most major auto parts stores

    I have two 1.8Ts (2003 Jetta - 110,000 miles & 2003 Passat - 77,000 miles) that have had no sludge related issues to date. What I do is purchase 5 quarts of the VW 503.01 spec motor oil (I use the Castrol Syntec 0W-30 - made in Germany), and take it to the dealer and insist that they use it. Also make sure you staple the receipt from the oil purchase to the oil change service receipt from the dealer to keep with your records.

    For future reference whhen your car reaches the 60,000 - 65,000 mile interval, I strongly recommend the timing belt service. Instead of having this done at the dealer, I would do the following:

    1) Purchase the timing belt service kit from It includes everything you will need - including the improved aftermarket water pump with a metal impeller. Do this and you will extend your timing belt service interval from 60,000 to 100,000 miles (as recommended by the factory).

    Here's the link for the timing belt service kit:

    2). Find a reputable mechanic who specializes in VWs, and have them install the timing belt kit (that way you will only have to pay for labor). I would not take it to the dealer because not only are their labor charges much higher, they will insist on installing their factory parts (including the plastic water pump) - and you will pay accordingly $$$$$.

    Follow these steps and you will have many trouble-free miles with your engine.

    Good luck, and let us know how things turned out.
  • majicmanmajicman Posts: 40
    FWIW... I have a '01 Passat 1.8T with 133700 something miles on it. I have had oil changes done at 5K intervals with the synthetic oil as suggested above. The only real problem I have had with it, required a crank position sensor replacement ($180) to correct it.

    My "STOP" indicator came on a few times making me think it was oil pressure but the problem was really that crank position sensor. I did a flush of the oil system but it turns out that I do not have a sludge problem. And the car is running fine now.

    Jim :shades:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hey Jim, that's great to hear that your only issue was the CPS. ;)

    Best Regards,
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    My "STOP" indicator came on a few times making me think it was oil pressure but the problem was really that crank position sensor.

    Thanks for the info on the crank position sensor. That's another item I will keep a heads up on regarding my 03 Passat.

    Have you replaced the following recall items yet?

    1. Brake light switch
    2. Coolant temp sensor

    I had both replaced in the Passat this year...

    Thanks, and many happy miles with your Passat... :shades:
  • powersolopowersolo Posts: 2
    I've kept perfect maintenance on my 01 passat and the STOP engine light has been coming on since BEFORE the warranty was up. They SAID they fixed it and for $200 it lasted another 8 months and it started again. They act like a stone wall when I mention it to Any one; salesman, repairman, etc. I won't be buying another VW...
  • powersolopowersolo Posts: 2
    I think VW owes it's customers an apology!!
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    Define "perfect maintenance", please.
    Have you used only oils meeting 502.01 or 505.00 spec? No more than 5000 miles?

  • I have 145,000 miles on my Passat and as original owner changed the oil between 4,000 and 7,000 miles. Always used Mobil 1. Used to use the 5w-30 then switched to the 0w-40 at about 80,000 miles. Never had any engine related issues. Best car I have ever owned. Pick up a 2008 Passat wagon for my wife tomorrow. Expect it to last just as long as mine. I hope the 2 Passats can get along in the same garage.
  • kinctkinct Posts: 59
    I just sold my 99 VW Passat - 224,752 miles on it... Wonderful car. No issues of note.

    I have been very good about oil changes. Early on, VW did the changes (free) with Kendahl (sp?), then had a shop do 3-4 (with Castrol "turbo oil", then I took over from that point with Mobil 1 (IIRC 5w50), then Mobil 1 0w40 when VW changed the recommended oil. Early filters (first 120-140k miles) were with Fram filters, then I learned about some of the top-quality brands, so swapped over to Wix or K&N (a mix of the two).

    Pretty much did oil changes at 5,000 miles. Never the slightest hint of sludge related issues.

    I find it so funny that people complain about VW quality. Here is my run with them:

    - (very, very) used 73 VW Super Beetle - um, ok, had some issues there, but this thing had been through hell. Ended up w/ something like 165-170k miles (all but 45k were mine - the original owner did the first 45k miles)
    - 87 VW GTI - ran it into the ground - 213k miles. First time it was towed was 199,500 miles (it must have heard me bragging, because that tow came days after I bragged about almost hitting 200k miles with no tow). Had it out on a race track early in it's life which is probably why it did not last that long.
    - 86 VW Golf - was actually my wife's originally, but she moved to a Volvo Wagon when we had our second child, so this became mine. Sold it at 193,000 miles (just needed more room when we had our third child... Was still running like a champ
    - 99 Passat (224k miles) - sold, but running fine.

    Treat the car right and it will do the same to you. Change your oil frequently (use recommended oils, top quality filters). Oh, and better yet, if you do not do your own oil changes, take it to a place you trust TOTALLY, since some clowns could always tell you they put in Mobil 1 synthetic, and then drop in any old oil (and yet charge you for synthetic). Timing belts go without saying (first on my Passat was done at 120k miles, seconds at 215k miles).

    Moving up the food chain a little (just bought a 2007 Audi A4 - with 40 miles on it - a leftover to say the least!)
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    I see everyone talking about the Mobil 1 oil. While it is good oil I have to admit I prefer Amsoil.

    Like anything else in life the good stuff is better. If people would learn how to properly eat their bodies would be like the 2003 Freightliner Sprinter engine (117,000 miles) the two Nissan pickups(one 670,.000 and 310,000) and the '92 oldsmoble(185,000) that I have owned and totally free of sludge. Their colons and blood vessels would not be clogged !

    The people in this country need to wake up and learn how to take care of the things around them and how to be more accountable for their actions. That includes with sitting down and reading, learning and practicing good possitive attitude towards life, others and the things they have been blessed with and not being so arigaint that they think that someone else will do good things for them while they sit back and play !

    This I have also learned that VW,while not perfect has, has stood up to the plate and has done the proceedure for sludge abaitment to the 2001 Passat I purchased in 2007(84,500 miles) and my son has meticulously maintained since, with Amsoil, with the complete records every 3,000 miles, with absolutly NO question.

    This result comes, not from having some one else doing some thing for me with out any of my control but from the fact that I have learned a lesson from the School of Hard Knocks (SHK) and have passed that positive experience on to my son and him realizing that from positive action comes positive results.

    Insead of sitting around and expecting a good life from bad habits WAKE UP America and get rid of the crap in your life.

    I am new to this tread and so hope I have not bothered anyone with senseless gibberish.
  • fleasedfleased Posts: 19
    Which Amsoil? 5W40? Just curious.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    So Amsoil sludged in the 1.8T engine with 3,000 mile OCI? Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?

    On the other hand, Amsoil doesn't appear on any VW/Audi list of approved oils meeting their 502.00 or 503.01 specifications, while Mobil 1's 0w-40 is on those lists.

    I'd say your son was pretty lucky in getting coverage under the extended sludge warranty. Given the current economy and VW's propensity to look for a loophole, I'd only reommend using a listed 502/00/503.01 spec oil, with a maximum of a 5,000 mile OCI in the B5 / B5.5 generation engine. And I'd document the oil changes as if you had $4,000 riding on it. Personally, I treat my oil change documents like a sacred text.
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    The Amsoil was not the problem ! I have a friend that has a 2000 and got him started at 24,000 miles, he now has 160,000 on it and looking in the oil filler opening the engine is clean and on the dipstick it look real good. End of story.

    This engine was dirty to start with. The Amsoil, in cleaning out and or loosening up the trash in the engine plugged the pickup screen. So be careful!

    Yes, my son is very lucky to have listen to his father and keep his records. After all the Passat is not cheap. And the maintenance records stand good. By the way for you who are wondering the dealer looked at the records and said without any hesitation the oil we used was fine. Just think of it, as you have said, VW covered the clean out and only because of the good oil and records.

    For those that do have problems with VW , there is a class action suit against VW. It has been filed in Massachutches.
    The link
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    Look at this link and tell me that this oil does or does not meet/or exceed 502.00.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Re-read your original post...missed the point that the car was bought used.

    [non-permissible content removed] for me where it's on the list.... - 023.File.pdf

    Whatever. It's all been hashed out here before. I'm done.
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    Look I am not making this something personal. If you read the link that is on your last post it says, "..that are generally available." - - 023.File.pdf

    The problem with the retort that you gave was that most uniformed individuals that read your response, would believe that that is proof, and not even venture out to find something better than that.

    Public please become more aware ! Take alittle time and expand your accountability. Go to your dealer ( or a good reputable mechanic) with this info and ack them if or if not it is superior.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    "better is enemy of good"

    If I am not mistaken Amsoil is not certified but self certified. They claim that they meet specs but governing body for each standard may have different take.
    It saves Amsoil money but they charge not only arm and leg but one kidney and part of liver too.

  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    They charge an arm and a leg for it. Get real !!!
    When you compare the price per mile it is actually less expensive, not to mention the fuel mileage increase and protection to the car !!

    How long did you use it ?
  • I'm new on this site, so be gentle! I just got my Passat back from the VW dealer after dropping about $2,000. I was the idiot, well not me but my daughter, when it came to this car.

    My daughter purchased the car from a second hand car dealer who was selling the car on consignment. We were told that the previous owner was a VW mechanic at the local dealer. My daughter was sold on the car immediately.

    She remained away at college with her car while I returned home. I'm a big stickler on oil changes. They are cheap, quickly done, and keep the engine in excellent shape. I insisted she take the car for an oil change every 3000 miles. At this time no one, nor anything in the idiot manual indicated the need for synthetic oil.

    Like Dad told her, she took the car for an oil change at one of the local "retard" quick change places. The moron there ask here if she would like her engine flushed. She called home and I told her emphatically to refuse the offer. I said use their best oil and then leave. My daughter later told me "the guy was cute, and kept recommending the flush". She lost all brain power, or what little she had, and let the jerk flush the engine. He told her that I was behind the times and it was best to be done. Besides, Dad will never know!

    She drove it maybe another 2000 miles before the stop engine light came on. Not knowing what was causing it, she pulled over and called me. At first I thought maybe they forgot to add the oil back. Don't laugh, another oil place did that to me. The engine actually blew up less than 5 miles later! After seeing it had oil I had the passat taken to the dealer.

    The service writer told me what was wrong without even looking. Then off the top of his head he quoted a repair cost. That seemed weird to me, so I ask how he knew what the cost was? He stated because they had done so many of those cars.

    Great.....I figured the engine flush knocked all of the crap loose, it got caught in the oil pickup, and starved the engine of oil, thus killing it. Well I was partially right....the motor was oil starved from a bad design of the oil pan. I had no choice in the repair as she was upside down in the loan. I must admit that her Passat impressed me. I can see why she bought it.

    Being she nor I have ever owned a turbo, I had no idea what to expect. Even after all of this no one at the dealer has even bothered to tell me to use synthetic oil! Very poor communication between VW, and the consumer. I know it is not totally VW's fault, but if someone had advised us, or published it in the manual, I would have seen that the oil was changed at a 2500 mile interval.

    Now I have a car that I know had to suffer some major internal engine damage, My intentions are to wash and wax it, make it pretty, and try and dump it on some unknowing fool............Not really. Although that's what I feel was done to my daughter. Too bad for the problems....what a car it must have been!!!!
  • Go to your dealer ( or a good reputable mechanic) with this info and ack them if or if not it is superior.

    Here's the bottom line - It doesn't matter if you, I, or Amsoil says that their oil is certified for the 502.00 or 503.01 specification - VW has the final say. And using oil that is not on the 502.00 or 503.01 Specification list gives VW justification for rejecting a sludge warranty claim.

    So people can go back and forth on this one until the cows come home - but in this case VW calls the shots whether we like it nor not...

    So if anyone wants to use Amsoil in the VW/Audi 1.8T - knock yourself out. It's your money, and if anyone can afford the thousands of dollars it will cost for an engine replacement, more power to them...

    ...or to put it another way (in the words of my parents):

    "Those who won't hear, must feel..."
  • drotsedrotse Posts: 23
    I absolutely agree !!! Amsoil must be acceptable. From the records my son gave them namely Amsoil 5W/40 European Oil @ 3000OCI and they sprung for the bill.
This discussion has been closed.