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    Thread: VW Admits 1.8T engine has OIL SLUDGE problem.

    1. 08-30-2004 07:10 AM #1
      Well, it looks like it's about to hit the fan, 'cause VW just admitted that its 98-04 (which includes that VW you just bought yesterday, and even that pretty 05 A4 on the lot) have an oil sludge problem. I feel bad, since just last weekend I endorsed the choice of a friend's parents to buy a Passat.

      From automotive news:

      DETROIT - In the latest example of Volkswagen of America Inc.'s quality woes, the automaker is warning 426,000 VW Passat and Audi A4 owners of an engine oil sludge problem.

      Affected are 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines on 1998 to 2004 Passats and 1997 to 2004 A4s. VW won't say how many engines have been replaced or repaired, or what it is spending to fix the problem.

      Owners began receiving letters from VWoA this month. Remedies range from extending warranties to covering repair costs. That includes replacing engines.

      Sludge buildup causes engine performance to deteriorate. In extreme cases, sludge can cause engines to seize.

      The timing couldn't be worse. VW Division has old products, and sales are down 11.5 percent for the first seven months compared with the year-ago period. And it has only been a year since VW voluntarily recalled more than 500,000 vehicles because of faulty engine ignition coils.

      VW is not alone in grappling with engine oil sludge complaints. Last week the Center for Auto Safety in Washington demanded that the Chrysler group fix sludge problems and extend warranties on 2.7-liter V-6 engines in its 1998 to 2002 vehicles.

      Confirming that VW has received "numerous reports of problems," VWoA spokesman Tony Fouladpour said that VW is extending factory warranties from five years to eight years. Warranties are transferable.

      Changes for '05

      VW is requiring its dealers to use synthetic oil and a larger oil filter in the 2005 Passat and A4. Some 2005 A4s are in dealerships. The 2005 Passat will arrive in October.

      A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration source said the agency has had 12 to 15 sludge complaints for 2000 to 2004 Passats and A4s. One complaint was about an engine seizure.

      VWoA will pay the cost of replacing an engine. For example, an independent repair shop in Tennessee that just replaced a sludge-damaged engine in a 1999 Passat charged the customer $2,500. Of that, $1,400 was for labor. The customer would be eligible for a reimbursement if he can show that he was having the oil changed as recommended.

      VW dealers are seeing the problem mostly with owners who don't follow the recommended oil change intervals, said Gene Langan, of Gene Langan Volkswagen Inc. in Glastonbury, Conn.

      "I've seen a few cases," he said. "It seems to happen mostly when we can't verify oil change history, when people don't do them for 20,000 miles. I think that this is a problem that is pretty broad in the industry right now."

      VW owners will pay more for an oil change with synthetic oil, Langan said. An oil change with regular oil costs about $30, he said. It's about $65 with synthetic oil.

      In its letter to Passat and A4 owners, VW says that it will cover necessary engine repairs if oil sludge causes a problem and the vehicle owner could provide proof of oil changes. Oil changes would have to be according to VW-recommended maintenance schedules. VW recommends that oil be changed at 5,000 miles or six months.

      How it occurs

      The letter states that engine oil sludge occurs when old, dirty engine oil thickens and cannot continue to provide correct lubrication. It says the condition occurs primarily when the engine is operated at oil change intervals beyond those prescribed in the owner's manual.

      Fouladpour said VW decided to contact owners after studying the oil sludge problem that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. faced two years ago.

      Toyota in April 2002 notified 3.3 million owners of 1997 to 2002 Toyota and Lexus vehicles with certain V-6 and four-cylinder engines that it would pay for sludge-related repairs for eight years from date of purchase. At the time, Toyota said that it had received about 3,400 sludge-related complaints.

      "We looked at that and learned from their experience," Fouladpour said.

      VW builds most of its 1.8 T engines at its Gyor, Hungary, engine plant.


    2. Senior Member J-Tim's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 07:15 AM #2
      Ouch, that's not good at all, although since it's won't cost owners anything, it's not a big deal.

      Recalls happen every day and no manifacturer has avoided one yet. I personaly wouldn't worry too much about your friend's Passat.

      The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
      What you on about ?

    3. Member 98JettaGT's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 07:58 AM #3
      Quote, originally posted by jastevenson »
      Well, it looks like it's about to hit the fan, 'cause VW just admitted that its 98-04 (which includes that VW you just bought yesterday, and even that pretty 05 A4 on the lot) have an oil sludge problem. I feel bad, since just last weekend I endorsed the choice of a friend's parents to buy a Passat.

      If you actually read the article, rather than draw a Dateline NBC-like conclusion, you would learn that the oil sludge problem is usually the result of OWNERS that do not follow recommended service intervals. So because of LAZY OWNERS, VWoA/AoA is going to pay for the Negligence of its owners that don't change their oil every 5,000 Miles. Also, if you read further in the article, Toyota, issued a much broader warranty extension for oil sludge problems as well.

      The article is mis-informed, as Audi A4 1.8T's since 2004.5 are already equipped with the larger oil filter and synthetic oil from the factory, and follow the 5K oil change interval with synthetic oil. I haven't personally verified that 2004+ Passats got this update.

      You did nothing wrong recommending your friend's family to buy a Passat. You would be doing wrong if you don't encourage them to follow the proper service intervals.


    4. Member FastGTi's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 08:11 AM #4
      I change my oil with synthetic at every 2500. I used to get made fun of for going overboard.

    5. 08-30-2004 08:15 AM #5
      so does that mean the majority of 1.8t swaps for all those mk1's and 2's will be coming from shady dealers isntead of shady mechanics?
      --
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    6. 08-30-2004 08:23 AM #6
      Quote »
      "It seems to happen mostly when we can't verify oil change history, when people don't do them for 20,000 miles. I think that this is a problem that is pretty broad in the industry right now."

      Quote »
      The letter states that engine oil sludge occurs when old, dirty engine oil thickens and cannot continue to provide correct lubrication. It says the condition occurs primarily when the engine is operated at oil change intervals beyond those prescribed in the owner's manual.


      So let's get this straight... People don't follow the recomended oil change intervals and they expect VW to cover the problems? That's a load of crap. If people can't take care of the basics, they get what they deserve. This mentality of "I'll blame the company for my own stupidity" needs to stop.


    7. Member chetacer's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 08:31 AM #7
      Well, what is the real cause here? Is it the oil specification in the manual, a wrongly spec'd filter, engine design, or user neglect?

      I'm sure owners of other types of engines and brands neglect oil changes just the same, and experience the same problems. Maybe we only heard about this as a VW problem because they're under a "reliability microscope" right now.


    8. 08-30-2004 08:33 AM #8
      Quote, originally posted by jastevenson »

      VW builds most of its 1.8 T engines at its Gyor, Hungary, engine plant.


      Well there is your problem (before I get flamed... I'm from hungary and I've seen the plant )


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      08-30-2004 08:34 AM #9
      The only "sludged" 1.8Ts we see here in the shop are 100% the result of user neglect. We NEVER had a problem with cars that regularly come in for oil changes. It's that simple.

    10. 08-30-2004 08:34 AM #10
      what about older passats....my dad has a 2002 passat and hes followed the proper maintenance schedule...hes got an appointment for his 64k in about a week or so...should he tell the dealer to put synthetic oil in the engine or is he in the clear as long as he keeps to the schedule???

    11. Member chetacer's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 08:40 AM #11
      All turbocharged engines should be using synthetic anyway, no matter what the brand. I think dealers and manufacturers are negligent in educating new owners of the differences with turbos.

    12. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 08:42 AM #12
      The problem with the 1.8t in the longitudinal configuration is that the sump is small and the total oil capacity of the motor is less than optimal. A larger filter means an extra half-quart of oil in the motor which goes to help the problem.

      Those owners who stay on top of their oil changes and run synthetic will not likely see sludging, however it is not a guarantee. VW is offering to repair or replace their motors as they will have taken the recommended steps to protect their motors from the get-go. Those who do not take recommended steps (longer oil change intervals, poor quality oils) will not get the benefit of the doubt.

      Tell your friend to start using synthetic right away and he should have no problems with his Passat.

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      08-30-2004 09:00 AM #13
      newsflash - ALL small-displacement/high power engines will have sludge problems. it's only a matter of if you do the right things to prevent it. Toyota, Honda, Subaru, VW, Ford, GM, BMW, it doesn't matter who makes it. if you as a driver don't maintain it properly, it will sludge up.

      obin

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    14. 08-30-2004 09:27 AM #14
      I wonder how long it will be before manufacturers will stop listing mileading information in the owners manuals of there cars? They need to stop listing severe/normal usage and just use one standard! Normal commuter drivers that don't run the piss out of their car need to understand where they fall.

      For instance....my mother and I had this very dicsussion about her Maxima the other day. She cannot understand why her driving is severe as she never goes over 35 miles an hour, never leaves town, and her longest trip is MAYBE 15 miles. Doesn't sound to severe unless you understand what a severe duty cycle is and too many people dont. Even after an hour of explaining she still did not get it. Now before you go blasting her she is 68 years old and drives like it...but at least she stays off the highway!


    15. Member gravitymachine's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 09:27 AM #15

      Sound slike this is mostly a problem of owner neglect and the particular design of the Longitudinal 1.8t amplifies the effects. . . .so, the engine design must have some significant play in the oil sludging becuase the same problem has ot been found itn eh tranverse 1.8T's. . . and cerainly VW investigated all of their engines - or at least both kinds of the 1.8t.

      At least that's whawt i'm hoping. I change my oil regularly, but i'd hate to have the spectre of sludge pop up over my shoulder all the time.


    16. Member JohnTT's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 09:30 AM #16
      I HAVE AN EASY FIX....CHANGE YOUR OIL EVERY 5000 MILES.

    17. 08-30-2004 09:48 AM #17
      Quote, originally posted by BryanH »
      ...She cannot understand why her driving is severe as she never goes over 35 miles an hour, never leaves town, and her longest trip is MAYBE 15 miles. Doesn't sound to severe unless you understand what a severe duty cycle is and too many people don't. Even after an hour of explaining she still did not get it...

      Good point. Many people don't or can't understand how miles traveled isn't really the key determinant for oil life. Look at your owner's manual - city driving in stop/go traffic, short trips, extreme temperatures, dusty conditions - these are the enemies of oil.

      /just changed the oil in my Acura yesterday.


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      08-30-2004 10:03 AM #18
      Quote, originally posted by 98JettaGT »
      If you actually read the article, rather than draw a Dateline NBC-like conclusion, you would learn that the oil sludge problem is usually the result of OWNERS that do not follow recommended service intervals.

      And, as discussed on various forums here, both owners and dealers often fail to follow the owner's manual recommendation of 5W-40 oil (which, in the US, only comes in synthetic). I wonder what percentage of sludged engines were using the cheapest possible conventional 5W-30 oil from the shelf of wherever, or the dealer's bulk tank?


    19. 08-30-2004 10:05 AM #19
      i wonder if they can deny the recall when all the oil changes are done by myself..(ie, no service records)

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      08-30-2004 10:09 AM #20
      Quote, originally posted by WannabeVWguy »
      what about older passats....my dad has a 2002 passat and hes followed the proper maintenance schedule...hes got an appointment for his 64k in about a week or so...should he tell the dealer to put synthetic oil in the engine or is he in the clear as long as he keeps to the schedule???

      With an oil specification of 5W-40 in the owner's manual, he should have always been using synthetic (since 5W-40 only comes in synthetic in North America).

      The new oil specification of VW 502.00 rated 5W-40 (0W-40 or 5W-30 also acceptable) for the 1.8L engine also appears to only be met by synthetic oils in North America.


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      08-30-2004 10:11 AM #21
      Quote, originally posted by chuckDD »
      Good point. Many people don't or can't understand how miles traveled isn't really the key determinant for oil life.

      And they drool over "low mileage" used cars, not realizing that low mileage is much more likely to be due to city driving, short trips, and other severe use.


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      08-30-2004 10:12 AM #22
      Quote, originally posted by BananaCo »
      i wonder if they can deny the recall when all the oil changes are done by myself..(ie, no service records)

      You didn't keep the receipts for the oil and filters, and didn't make any record of your other maintenance (e.g. tire rotation and inspection, brake pad inspection, etc.)?


    23. Member GTI_2.0T's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 10:13 AM #23
      For reference, this is what is included in the letter to the affected owners:




      Modified by JettaGL_1.8T at 10:15 AM 8-30-2004

      Jason • Now 2.0T / 400 • Then 2.0T / 1.8T / 2.0
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    24. Member thrashvr6's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 10:16 AM #24
      Quote, originally posted by chetacer »
      All turbocharged engines should be using synthetic anyway, no matter what the brand. I think dealers and manufacturers are negligent in educating new owners of the differences with turbos.

      I ran synthetic in my WRX for about 10K after the initial break in... and it burned the stuff on the order of a quart every 5K. I switched back to straight dino, and it doesn't burn a drop between 5K oil changes, and I've got 65K on the clock now. Even at 5K intervals the oil comes out awfully clean.

      There's nothing magical about modern turbocharged engines that calls for synthetic. All modern turbos are water cooled, so the oil in the bearings isn't seeing the extreme temperatures it would in a oil cooled turbo.

      The whole point of synthetics is that you can run extended oil change intervals. IMHO, anyone who's changing synthetic oil at 3K, or even 5K is paying a whole heck of a lot for nothing. Modern dino oil is good stuff.

      VW asking 1.8T owners to run synthetic is a band-aid, pure and simple.


      Modified by thrashvr6 at 7:18 AM 8-30-2004


    25. Member chetacer's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 10:30 AM #25
      Quote, originally posted by thrashvr6 »

      I ran synthetic in my WRX for about 10K after the initial break in... and it burned the stuff on the order of a quart every 5K. I switched back to straight dino, and it doesn't burn a drop between 5K oil changes, and I've got 65K on the clock now. Even at 5K intervals the oil comes out awfully clean.

      You can't make a judgement of synthetic by only referring to your break-in interval. During break-in the engine is shedding it's excess metal and other contaminants inherent in the manufacturing process. This is why many manufacturers schedule an oil change that is sooner than the regular change interval. It is debated widely, but it is also thought that the oil put in by the factory is formulated to capture as much of the debris from break-in as possible, and is not representative of the replacement oil you will use at each drain.

      Point is, unless you have experience with using synthetic on a regular maintenance schedule, don't jump to the conclusion that it is overrated.


    26. 08-30-2004 10:37 AM #26
      Audi has their free maintenance plan....if they (the dealerships) are skimping out on the customer....it's clearly the dealership's fault.

      VW had their free maintenance plan...(axed in 2002).


    27. 08-30-2004 10:39 AM #27
      so...only Passats and A4's are affected?

      my GTi's ok...?

      phew!?


      and...wtf?! why are poeple waiting 20k to change oil?! IDIOTS!


    28. 08-30-2004 10:44 AM #28
      Quote, originally posted by tjl »
      You didn't keep the receipts for the oil and filters, and didn't make any record of your other maintenance (e.g. tire rotation and inspection, brake pad inspection, etc.)?
      really, no, I never knew I was supposed to keep receipts for oil and oil filters? and they could also come up with some kinda excuse saying you dont' know how to chagne your own oil blah blah blah.

    29. 08-30-2004 10:45 AM #29
      http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=100717

      Quote »

      Oil sludge woes plague VW; automaker to pay for engine repairs, extend warranties
      RALPH KISIEL | Automotive News
      Posted Date: 8/30/04
      DETROIT - In the latest example of Volkswagen of America Inc.'s quality woes, the automaker is warning 426,000 VW Passat and Audi A4 owners of an engine oil sludge problem.

      Affected are 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines on 1998 to 2004 Passats and 1997 to 2004 A4s. VW won't say how many engines have been replaced or repaired, or what it is spending to fix the problem.

      Owners began receiving letters from VWoA this month. Remedies range from extending warranties to covering repair costs. That includes replacing engines.

      Sludge buildup causes engine performance to deteriorate. In extreme cases, sludge can cause engines to seize.

      The timing couldn't be worse. VW Division has old products, and sales are down 11.5 percent for the first seven months compared with the year-ago period. And it has only been a year since VW voluntarily recalled more than 500,000 vehicles because of faulty engine ignition coils.

      VW is not alone in grappling with engine oil sludge complaints. Last week the Center for Auto Safety in Washington demanded that the Chrysler group fix sludge problems and extend warranties on 2.7-liter V-6 engines in its 1998 to 2002 vehicles.

      Confirming that VW has received "numerous reports of problems," VWoA spokesman Tony Fouladpour said that VW is extending factory warranties from five years to eight years. Warranties are transferable.

      Changes for '05

      VW is requiring its dealers to use synthetic oil and a larger oil filter in the 2005 Passat and A4. Some 2005 A4s are in dealerships. The 2005 Passat will arrive in October.

      A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration source said the agency has had 12 to 15 sludge complaints for 2000 to 2004 Passats and A4s. One complaint was about an engine seizure.

      VWoA will pay the cost of replacing an engine. For example, an independent repair shop in Tennessee that just replaced a sludge-damaged engine in a 1999 Passat charged the customer $2,500. Of that, $1,400 was for labor. The customer would be eligible for a reimbursement if he can show that he was having the oil changed as recommended.

      VW dealers are seeing the problem mostly with owners who don't follow the recommended oil change intervals, said Gene Langan, of Gene Langan Volkswagen Inc. in Glastonbury, Conn.

      "I've seen a few cases," he said. "It seems to happen mostly when we can't verify oil change history, when people don't do them for 20,000 miles. I think that this is a problem that is pretty broad in the industry right now."

      VW owners will pay more for an oil change with synthetic oil, Langan said. An oil change with regular oil costs about $30, he said. It's about $65 with synthetic oil.

      In its letter to Passat and A4 owners, VW says that it will cover necessary engine repairs if oil sludge causes a problem and the vehicle owner could provide proof of oil changes. Oil changes would have to be according to VW-recommended maintenance schedules. VW recommends that oil be changed at 5,000 miles or six months.

      How it occurs

      The letter states that engine oil sludge occurs when old, dirty engine oil thickens and cannot continue to provide correct lubrication. It says the condition occurs primarily when the engine is operated at oil change intervals beyond those prescribed in the owner's manual.

      Fouladpour said VW decided to contact owners after studying the oil sludge problem that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. faced two years ago.

      Toyota in April 2002 notified 3.3 million owners of 1997 to 2002 Toyota and Lexus vehicles with certain V-6 and four-cylinder engines that it would pay for sludge-related repairs for eight years from date of purchase. At the time, Toyota said that it had received about 3,400 sludge-related complaints.

      "We looked at that and learned from their experience," Fouladpour said.

      VW builds most of its 1.8 T engines at its Gyor, Hungary, engine plant.


    30. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 10:52 AM #30
      This whole thing seems to be an issue that effect almost every car manufacturer. Remember a few months ago when toyota had the same problems. No one was saying that the toyota motors were engineered wrong, yet certain "people" in this thread think that because it happens to a VW, there must be faulty engineering. It appears that VW is working to rectify the problem, which is great.

      Has anyone on this board actually had a sludging problem? I haven't heard a single thing about it here. The NHTSA says they only had 14 complaints from passat and A4 owners. It doesn't sound like a terribly widespread problem.

      I was reading a blurb last week about oil and it seems that US motor oil isn't as stringent as that found in europe. I have no idea if this is actually true, but it makes me think. Are the wide-spread sludging issues actually a combination of owner neglect and poor quality lubricants? I mean the average vortexer will likely take the proper precautions when changing their oil, but the average car owner won't. There is also ample evidence from vortex that different dealers use different types of oil in a given application. I don't think there is a mechanical error with the motors, but human error and possibly some oil quality issues that just aren't publicized or known about nearly enough.

      The other question is, why haven't the VR6's and 2.0L motors developed the same problems, or at least to nearly the same extent as the 1.8t's? The 1.8t's aren't exactly running a lot of boost in stock form. Not to mention the early VR's when placed in the corrado were running pretty high oil temps and I have never heard of any sludging issues.


    31. 08-30-2004 11:00 AM #31
      Quick answer...heat

      Toyota said, to improve their efficiencys, they bumped up the operating temperatures a few degrees. The extra heat now helps degradate the oil faster.

      for VAG...what do VR6 and 2.0L lack? a turbo. Even though it's water cooled also, you still have the extra heat in the bearings.

      Why not a problem with TDI's? Well you have to use synthetic. 2 TSB's were issued around 98-99 saying synthetic 5w40 must be used (the original TSB said 5w30). But we can have a problem with soot thickening....but the 10,000 mile change is safe enough.


    32. Member MostShadyGTi's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 11:02 AM #32
      Quote, originally posted by 6cylVWguy »
      This whole thing seems to be an issue that effect almost every car manufacturer. Remember a few months ago when toyota had the same problems. No one was saying that the toyota motors were engineered wrong, yet certain "people" in this thread think that because it happens to a VW, there must be faulty engineering. It appears that VW is working to rectify the problem, which is great.

      Has anyone on this board actually had a sludging problem? I haven't heard a single thing about it here. The NHTSA says they only had 14 complaints from passat and A4 owners. It doesn't sound like a terribly widespread problem.

      I was reading a blurb last week about oil and it seems that US motor oil isn't as stringent as that found in europe. I have no idea if this is actually true, but it makes me think. Are the wide-spread sludging issues actually a combination of owner neglect and poor quality lubricants? I mean the average vortexer will likely take the proper precautions when changing their oil, but the average car owner won't. There is also ample evidence from vortex that different dealers use different types of oil in a given application. I don't think there is a mechanical error with the motors, but human error and possibly some oil quality issues that just aren't publicized or known about nearly enough.

      The other question is, why haven't the VR6's and 2.0L motors developed the same problems, or at least to nearly the same extent as the 1.8t's? The 1.8t's aren't exactly running a lot of boost in stock form. Not to mention the early VR's when placed in the corrado were running pretty high oil temps and I have never heard of any sludging issues.

      I actually had the sludging problem. I bought my 2000 Passat 1.8T from second hand from a Ford dealer (yeh I know). I bought the car in mid September and it ran great. Right about mid-December an error light came on saying "Stop! Turn off the engine", something about loss of oil pressure. I got it over to my local VW dealer and they said the engine and turbo would have to be replaced. I was pretty surprised because I thought the car was in great condition (I was just creeping up on the 5000 mile mark). Needless to say the engine was replaced. My initial thought was the previous owners must not have kept up on oil changes, but who knows. The car is up and running great, but it is something to keep in mind.

      Frank


    33. 08-30-2004 11:02 AM #33
      Quote, originally posted by chetacer »

      You can't make a judgement of synthetic by only referring to your break-in interval. During break-in the engine is shedding it's excess metal and other contaminants inherent in the manufacturing process. This is why many manufacturers schedule an oil change that is sooner than the regular change interval. It is debated widely, but it is also thought that the oil put in by the factory is formulated to capture as much of the debris from break-in as possible, and is not representative of the replacement oil you will use at each drain.

      Point is, unless you have experience with using synthetic on a regular maintenance schedule, don't jump to the conclusion that it is overrated.

      if you notice, he said he started using synthetic 10K miles after break-in.


    34. Member chetacer's Avatar
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      08-30-2004 11:15 AM #34
      Ooops, my hasty reading got me. After reading it again, I see that it looks like he ran the synthetic for an extended interval, and then compares the results to using dino for the 5K intervals. Still kind of a skewed comparison if you ask me.

      Synthetic should never be used to extend your oil change intervals.


    35. 08-30-2004 11:15 AM #35
      Quote, originally posted by JettaGL_1.8T »
      For reference, this is what is included in the letter to the affected owners:


      Modified by JettaGL_1.8T at 10:15 AM 8-30-2004

      In addition to people possibly going to long between oil changes is the fact the dealers use the 0.99 cent/quart oil for their oil changes. The dealers have been using oil that does not meet VW specifications and now VW is paying for it.


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