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Volkswagen Passat Turbo Issues



  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I get 23 mpg (US) around town and 32 on the Interstates on any trip over an hour with my 2003 1.8T. At 55,000 miles, I haven't had any unexpected issues.

    Follow the maintenance to the letter. Don't skimp on the specified oil (synth) or fuel (premium). These cars aren't a Honda, but they do reward you with a unique driving experience. If you can't commit to the idea of rigorous maintenance, it's probably not the car for you.
  • kinctkinct Posts: 59
    I had a 99 Passat 1.8T and the reliability was nothing less than stunning. I had the car up until about 5 weeks ago - sold it @224,800 miles - it was still running like a champ and the first person to look at it bought it. The only time it had been towed was when a truck backed into it at an intersection (he decided he wanted to go left instead of right and had to back up to make the turn). Even then, it would have driven, but he pierced the radiator and I didn't want to take any chances.

    The absolute keys to making this engine last:

    - change the oil & filter ever 5,000 miles, using only the synthetic oils that meet the standards VW publishes for this engine (in my case, Mobil 1 0w40). If at all possible, do it yourself or take it to a mechanic you totally trust. Any clown can wag his head up and down and swear they put in Mobil synthetic when instead they put in the cheapest swill from a discount store. And then yes, you will encounter problems!
    - change the timing belt & tensioner. I did mine (IIRC) at around 120k miles and 214k miles. Yes, I waited a little long, especially the first time. I believe this is supposed to be done at 105k miles intervals.

    somewhat less important
    - change the air filter periodically (~60 k miles)
    - change the spark plugs (~60 k miles)

    I absolutely loved the car. My new car is an Audi A4 2.0T. So, a similar turbo and it will get a similar treatment from me.

    BTW, gas mileage was excellent - if I REALLY tried, on trips, I could get 34 mpg (miles travelled / gas pumped - not the mileage from the inaccurate trip computer). More normal averages were about 32 mpg highway (except in winter, when they change the fuel blend here in the northeast US and mileage on all my cars drop 8-9%.)

    Two minor complaints:
    - it did leak some power steering fluid - an annoyance, but not a big deal. I had this leak around 160,000 miles. Every oil change I just checked the level of fluid (I kept a bottle in the garage). Just added a small amount when I did oil changes.
    - for a long time, the car did burn through headlights. It seemed like I was replacing one every 6 months (way too often). My last set was a halogen set (if I recall correctly). The parts store only had them left. Oddly enough, they went something like 3 years - still going strong when I sold the car. But early on in the car's life - this was an annoyance.
  • This is the exact problem my Mechanic just found on my 2000 Passat. Need to know the following. First he mentioned that VW has a 10 warranty on this issue, is this correct, and does that apply to the second owner of the car? Does anyone know?

    Second, they can fix the housing, can they get the oil out of the coolant. ? is this VERY costly.
  • It is precisely the Secondary Air Pump that is making the loud "noise". Its function is to make sure any unburned residual fuel (remaining after the engine is turned off) is properly atomized and burned upon startup. My wife's 2003 Passat has that same characteristic.
  • Still having trouble? I finally addressed mine. Turns out that in addition to small leaks at the battery drain and pollen filter housing I had a more significant one at the ECM module. This is where most of my water was coming in, going thru the driver side footwell to collect in the rear footwell behind. The ECM compartment itself had filled with water as well, causing intermittent electrical problems.

    So I had a garage find the ECM leak and address it with putty. Testing with water to find that leak, addressing it and then draining the ECM compartment and ensuring it was working OK - 300 bucks total.

    If that helps you or anyone else that´s great - caused me tons of trouble over the last 2 years.
  • I have a '00 VW Passat Turbo. Past couple weeks, when I start the car after it has been sitting, there is a high pitched "squealing" noise. I believe that it is coming from the turbo. It stops after about a minute. Any ideas....suggestions....?
  • jett4jett4 Posts: 3
    Can anyone tell me were the Fuel Filter on my 1999 VW Passat 20V Turbo is located?
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You should find it under the car, just in front of the right rear tire. There is a plastic body panel that runs the width of the car that covers it. You will need a 10 mm socket and a screw driver to remove that cover (two nuts on each side of the car and one screw in the middle).

    Use appropriate, safe methods to access this area (ramps or jack stands).

    The fuel line is under pressure - it will spray fuel if you don't pull the fuse for the fuel pump while the car is running. Sad to say, I don't have the number handy for the fuel pump fuse.

    My '03 model had the fuel filter connected to the hoses with one-use clamps which had to be cut off to replace the filter. I bought fuel line clamps at Advance Auto to replace those. Yours may be different - some years used banjo connections on the lines to and from the filter (remember: VW = Varies Widely).

    You might want to put a smear of anti-seize on the bolts that hold the filter in place as well as that plastic belly pan.

    Good luck.

    The fuse number might be #28, on the driver's side of the dash, but I can't guarantee it.
  • zlingenzlingen Posts: 1
    Have you received a response about this? My Passat does the same thing, but I've only had it for a month (used) and haven't taken it anywhere to get it fixed. I read elsewhere that, "It is precisely the Secondary Air Pump that is making the loud "noise". Its function is to make sure any unburned residual fuel (remaining after the engine is turned off) is properly atomized and burned upon startup. My wife's 2003 Passat has that same characteristic."

    Have you looked into it further and is this really the case?
  • mike373mike373 Posts: 1
    My daughter has this turbo passat, yesterday she drove home from work (about 30 miles) shut the car off, then about 30 min later wanted to use it and it wouldn't start. Acts like it's vapor locked, it has happened before but mechanics can't find anything. Anyone had similar problem? What needs to be done? Is it vapor locked or is it something else? Thanks.
  • tomj2tomj2 Posts: 8
    Own a 2003, 1.8T, 60K miles. Gas mileage has declined about 25% in last year. Car runs perfect and even had VW look at it. Found nothing wrong. Anybody ever have same problem?
  • I have a new 09 passat sedan. It is 2 months old. The motor seems to be getting noisier by the day, especially when it is idling at a stop sign or the AC is on, or I am accelerating. Is this normal for a VW or a turbo motor? I am not familiar with this brand. Most new vehicle motors are very quiet when new.
  • Yes, I have a 2003 passat, 1.8T, 88K miles. My mileage has gone down about 20%, and runs a little rough over 50 mph. Had it check 3 times, they can't find anything wrong. Very frustrating.
  • I have a 98 Passat. Smoke filled the engine compartment and smelled like burning clutch. It then stopped and there is oil splatterd around the engine compartment. I can see oil right on top of where the oil filter is. I start it now and it runs but afraid to drive it. Any advice would really help.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    What engine? Could be a failed oil cooler gasket. If you're not a DIY kind of person, you'll need to get it towed in for repairs. Personally, I wouldn't drive it until someone looks at it and gets to the bottoom of the problem.
  • It is the 1.8 Turbo 4cyl. has 170,000.0 miles on it. I don't think I will be driving it until I know what the problem is, I don't want to make things worse. It still starts right up and sounds good.
  • I advise any VW 1.8 owner :lemon: to take a serious look at this website link.
    Your vehicle sounds like it is starving for lubrication.
    LINK: il_sludge.shtml
    Robb :shades:
  • I think Im having problems with the fuel filter but i am unsure. Yesterday I stopped at the gas station and put 2 gallons in it. Drove out of the parking lot and the car started cutting out and finally died. It would start back up for a minute or so, then struggle to stay running, then die again. Today, I tried to start it, it ran for a minute than as soon as i pulled out of the drive it died again. Please let me know if you know if Im on the right track or not...
  • My 2003 Passat has 160,000 miles on it. Love the car, but little things that keep breaking are killing me. Now my check engine light floats in and out and crankcase fumes are so bad that I have to keep the air recirculator buttom pushed on so that we can breathe! It is running like it should with no unusual noises but I think that the valve cover gasket has "blown out" again from too much pressure. Always used synthetic oil in the engine and I bought the car new. Any ideas before I have to take it back for another $500 plus repair.....
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    edited November 2010
    I'd look real hard at the complex PCV system that the Passat has. It's often cited as the culprit for causing oil leaks around the valve cover gasket. The system clogs and that allows the engine to overpressurize.

    Take a strong flashlight, and look all the way around the valve cover. Chances are, it's leaking at the rear of the engine and dripping oil on the exhaust system.
  • Thanks...It does have a small leak at the back of the engine on the drivers side, which does not seem to be leaking on the exhaust at any point. However, this could be blowing over to the exhaust pipe while driving down the road and causing the fumes to be drawn into the car via the cabin air intake. The fumes do not come in as long as I am moving down the road...only when I stop at a traffic light or for some other reason. I am seriously considering putting a newer 2.0 direct injected turbo motor in place of the 1.8. Any ideas about doing this??? My car body is perfect (GLS model) and has most all of the options that came on that car. Another thing that I have done is to wrap the catalytic converter and most of the exhaust pipe under the hood with 1" heat wrap. This made a big difference on getting the heat out from under the hood and even made it run better with less turbo lag! What a deal! Thanks again....Ken
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Interesting idea about swapping engines, but I think it's more complicated than you might imagine. Engine management, transverse to longitudinal (at least if you stick with a VW application), electrical harnesses, exhaust customization...probably not worth the cost.

    But if you're a DIYer and have the time and money, anything can be done.
  • Hey... I looked at a Audi A4 2.0 this morning at my local VW dealership and this engine looks like it will go right into my Passat... Your thoughts on this engine swap???? Thanks...
  • astan84astan84 Posts: 2
    Look on driver side in front of rear wheel. You will have to remove the plastic cover.
  • astan84astan84 Posts: 2
    I don't know what's wrong?? It runs rough, doesn't die but misses at idle. I have replaced the coils and plugs. Just done a fuel filter. Still sputters. Any ideas?? Thank you.
  • Have you found the IN LINE gas filter? It sounds like a case of vapor lock which happens when that in line filter gets gunk built up in it ...I hope this helps
  • IN LINE gas filter sounds like vapor lock..I hope this helps
  • mdonomdono Posts: 1
    This vehicle needed a new catalytic converter at 50K miles. It was always losing oil and the oil pressure alarm would go off at lower RPMs. I was told by dealership that this was normal for turbo engines and to just monitor the oil level which I did. At about 80K miles, the oil pressure alarm started sounding more frequently and now it goes off constantly when driving. After a lot of back and forth with my mechanic (a former VW mechanic) he recommended I take it back to the dealership because he thought it required a major engine repair. VW's Customer Care's response was that my car needs A NEW ENGINE! VW Customer Care is declining any responsibility. Their response "there is no expectation that the engine will last beyond the 60,000 mile warranty".
  • mel74mel74 Posts: 1
    My wife noticed this morning that her 06 passat 2.0T is revving higher than usual. Check engine light came on yesterday. Had the oil changed last week. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Mileage is around 62K...
  • I have a 2003 VW Passat Wagon, 110k miles, which has started to have a lot of difficulty getting up hills, lol. I'll be flooring the accelator and maybe hit 30 mph. Acceleration on flat roads is fine. The check engine light came on in July and at that time I had the timing belt replaced, but I opted not to fix some sensors and a small oil leak, so the check engine light remains on. At that time the mechanics were investigating my complaint of a "whirring" sound upon hitting 60mph on the freeway, but they thought it might be something with the turbo and they quoted me thousands of dollars to fix that, so I opted out for them to dig further into the turbo. The car has only been fed full synthetic according to records; I am the third owner, bought it a year and a half ago and have put 10k miles on since. Anyone else experiencing this power issue?
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