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    Thread: 2004 -06 Phaeton with V8; Vibration/Shudder Concerns

    1. Junior Member
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      07-07-2006 10:29 PM #1
      Hi everybody
      Fortunately I have not had to do this before. Our Phaeton is 2 years old this month. We have 24K on the clock. The car has been great and the service from our dealer has been excellent.
      About a month ago my wife began to notice a shuttering on light acceleration in 5th and 6th gear in the 1200 to 1600 RPM range. It has progressively gotten worse and this week the dealer replaced the main ECM; there was a recall on our serial number. This did not solved the problem. The tech has checked the car and there aren't any codes being reported either standing or under way. The dealership's position is "if there are no codes then it must be normal"; they did say it a little nicer than that.
      We have always used 91+ octane fuel and I could not see how bad gas would only affect that RPM range and just those two gears? The engine has to be warm before it is noticeable
      All thoughts and similar experiences will be greatly appreciated

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      07-08-2006 01:52 AM #2
      First of all I wonder if your tires are original, and what condition they are in? Besides wear, check also for scalloping (where the thread sticks out unevenly over the circumference of the tire, you can feel this easily with your hand as well as visually). I have experienced a similar problem at similar speeds with other cars (though not with the Phaeton) which I eventually traced to the tires.
      Secondly, it might be related to partial clogging of the fuel filter, thouch I suspect in this case it would generate a fault code (Michael, your thoughts please).
      Thirdly, I would not rule out a plain old mechanical wear cause, especially in the drive shafts. To narrow it down, could you describe the problem in more detail, such as speed, is it noticeable when going straight or while turning, when cold or hot, etc.
      By the way, this kind of problem used to be more common many years ago, primarily on stick shift vehicles. It was often caused by tire wear problems (as described above) or by a glazed flywheel due to overheating of the clutch.
      Stefano

    3. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      07-08-2006 08:17 AM #3
      Archival Note: This post and image was added long after the start of this discussion, but I figured that we might as well 'cut to the chase' and put it up front.

      See this tech tip, it might be relevant:

      Last edited by PanEuropean; 10-07-2012 at 06:13 AM.

    4. 07-08-2006 09:10 AM #4
      Quote, originally posted by quiettrader »
      ... About a month ago my wife began to notice a shuttering on light acceleration in 5th and 6th gear in the 1200 to 1600 RPM range. It has progressively gotten worse and this week the dealer replaced the main ECM; there was a recall on our serial number. This did not solved the problem. ...

      Can this problem be readily reproduced? If so, the next time it is acting up, try slipping the shift lever over into Tiptronic mode. The car will remain in the current gear but the behavior of the torque converter clutch will change. My feeling is that this problem might be transmission related and not engine related.
      It might be a worthwhile troubleshooting exercise to try Tip and Sport modes as well as Drive in an effort to more clearly define the problem.
      Good luck!

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      07-09-2006 04:07 PM #5
      Thanks everyone,
      I will try an answer your questions. Once the car is warm the problem is constant, but is more noticeable when turning Left and under more load, such as going upon hill. The problem has worsened with a 500 mile trip to NC. The RPM rang has expanded, to about 2000 and the shutter is more severe. The tire are original and look perfect.
      The vibration is felt by all passengers. The idea that it is drive line related is mine but not the dealers, they want to blame the engine. I like the analogy of clutch chatter, but this is the worst clutch chatter I have experienced. I have driven sports cars since the sixty's and have trashed my share of clutches. Finally it does not occur under moderate or heavy acceleration. Cars fuel mileage was down a little on this last trip, 22.5 as opposed to the normal 24.5.
      Thats all I have for now
      Thanks

    6. 07-09-2006 06:33 PM #6
      I bet its a differential or cv joint. The engine has nothing to do with turning left or right, so if that reliably reproduces it, its not the engine.

    7. 07-11-2006 01:11 PM #7
      Transmission fluid? Is it low?

    8. 07-11-2006 04:24 PM #8
      I've been having (possibly) a very similar problem. In my case, I would have described it as periodic vibration felt up through the car, most typically at 40-55 mph, under light acceleration. Of course, under heavy acceleration you're not in that speed range for very long.
      What you feel is a series of "pulses", a pause, and then another series.
      So far, the dealership has replaced the right rear hub and bearings, rebalanced the prop shaft, force load balanced the tires, replaced the differential. Vibration become more mild, and less consistent, but was still there.
      Next they had me put the original rims back on, as I had put Bortbet 18 inchers on it to free up the OEM rims for snows, I have the same problem.
      At this stage the problem is mild enough and infrequent enough that the dealer would like me to drive it until it becomes worse or more reproduceable (as it was at first) so they can do more diagnosis. They have never suggested the engine, they seem to be working their way through all the drive train components... but maybe these two dealers should compare notes?
      Anyone have a uber-tech contact in Dresden who is vacationing in North America soon?

    9. Member
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      07-11-2006 08:33 PM #9
      Thanks for clarifying. An easy way to rule out the tires is to rotate (fl to rl and fr to rr): I would do it anyway, since it's cheap and easy.
      Having said that, what you describe definitely suggests a bad cv joint, quite possibily due to a damaged rubber boot: a visual inspection might confirm it. The fact that it's deteriorating rapidly is also consistent: when a cv joint goes, it goes fast, especially on a powerful car. You mention it starts when the car is warm: does this mean after only a few minutes or longer? This could also be consistent with a cv joint, especially one damaged by dirt due to a cracked rubber boot: the resulting play could be emphasized by heath expansion.
      Another suggestion: try to nail down the circumstances under which it happens, preferably with your tech on board. The easiest way might be to drive up (rapidly, if possible) a multi-storey garage, where the ramps will force two tight left turns uphill for each floor. Then drive down (opposite turns and downhill) and note if the problem is much less noticeable or disappears altogether. If yes, I would efinitely replace the cv joint.
      Stefano

    10. 07-12-2006 09:45 AM #10
      Question: my symptoms described previously occur when driving in a straight line. Would that change your suggestion in my case?

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      07-18-2006 08:30 PM #11
      Yes, definitely, although I would still take a look at the tires. Could you describe them again, in as much detail as possible. Also, feel free to IM me with your e-mail if you'd like to continue this off line.
      Stefano

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      07-18-2006 08:45 PM #12
      Hi Pmullin,
      I re-read your earlier posting, and have the following questions:
      1) at what revolutions does the problem occur? Assuming something reasonable that will not trigger the transmission downshift logic, say around 2500, try using manual shift mode and see if it happens in all gears once you reach the critical revolutions or only in some. Also try it with the car in neutral, at the same engine revolutions: can you still hear/feel the clicks, even though the car is not moving?
      2) Temperature: does it happen regardless of engine temperature? outside temperature?
      3) How many miles when you first noticed it? How many now?
      4) brand and type of tires?
      5) When it happens, does the car actually lose momentum, however momentarily, or is the click-pause-click more of an engine revolutions variation?
      6) When the problem happens, what's the duration? is it in the order of a fraction of a second, or longer, like 1-2 seconds? does the sequence clicks-pause-clicks happen only once or for several cycles?
      Stefano

    13. 07-21-2006 12:13 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by Motorista »
      Hi Pmullin,
      I re-read your earlier posting, and have the following questions:
      1) at what revolutions does the problem occur? Assuming something reasonable that will not trigger the transmission downshift logic, say around 2500, try using manual shift mode and see if it happens in all gears once you reach the critical revolutions or only in some. Also try it with the car in neutral, at the same engine revolutions: can you still hear/feel the clicks, even though the car is not moving?
      2) Temperature: does it happen regardless of engine temperature? outside temperature?
      3) How many miles when you first noticed it? How many now?
      4) brand and type of tires?
      5) When it happens, does the car actually lose momentum, however momentarily, or is the click-pause-click more of an engine revolutions variation?
      6) When the problem happens, what's the duration? is it in the order of a fraction of a second, or longer, like 1-2 seconds? does the sequence clicks-pause-clicks happen only once or for several cycles?
      Stefano

      1) It appears to be independant of RPM. I have tested by using the tiptronic mode holding the gear low, and the same results
      2) temperature doesn't appear to be a variable either, but it has happened less recently after VW has been doing work on the car, and our weather has been warmer.. so far as engine temp is concerned, it occurs cold and warmed up as well (after driving for as much as an hour)
      3) the car had 19K miles when I purchased it, I first noticed it around 21k miles, and it is now at 24K miles.
      4) tires and rims are (again) stock now, Michelin all season OEM tires and OEM rims.
      5) The car has sometimes momentarly lost momentum yes.. that's a symptom that now that you ask, I hadn't really noticed and I haven' reported to VW yet.
      6) Duration is one to two seconds elapsed time.. usually the pattern is one set of vibrations, but it has sometimes been longer than that. As I said though, that was before VW started changing parts, and it has improved (but not disappeared).
      you can email me at paul_mullin@hotmail.com if you like to continue off line. Thanks for the help!

    14. Member
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      07-25-2006 11:26 PM #14
      Paul,
      Your description of the problem would rule out engine (for sure) and powertrain (almost sure). At this point, I'm homing in on the tires/wheels, perhaps even one tire. Specifically, a tire that has suffered some damage (road hazard or manufacturing defect) and is not properly balanced. This can easily become evident only at some, critical speeds. I see three possibilities, in ascending order of cost:
      1) Have tires balanced by a *knowledgeable* tire specialist (emphasis on knowledgeable! and they will need modern equipment). This may take care of the problem. If not, it could still be a tire, with a (non-visible) deformation thjta makes it impossible to balance effectively: see 2 below.
      2) Replace tires, one at a time, wiht spare. I would start with front, since it's easier to detect a front wheel problem, especially given the Phaeton's extremely long wheelbase and significant weight. Once you find the bad tire, discard it. This troubleshooting method is inexepnsive but time-consuming, since you need to take the car for a test drive after each tire swap.
      3) Replace all four tires with new ones. Quick but obviously expensive, though, given your mileage, it might be almost time anyway.
      I'll follow up by e-mail for a couple of additional questions.
      Stefano

    15. 07-30-2006 01:18 PM #15
      I'm wondering if this has any relationship to the 'clicking' noise I hear when I turn (still not resolved, look in archives for the thread). Mine wasn't related to speed, and only happens upon turning, however. Lots of sumilar suggestions (CV joint, wheel bearing, etc.). Im curious to see how yours gets resolved.

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      08-18-2006 09:28 PM #16
      Six weeks and three dealers later they have decided to rebuild the transmission. Lets hope this is the problem.

    17. 09-29-2006 09:38 AM #17
      Quiettrader - I just posted, same problem, almost identical. worst in 5th and 6th gear, light accel, 1200-2000 rpm. It is slowly getting worse, to the point I can reproduce it pretty easily. Car has 13000 miles, just started with this problem a couple months ago. Dealer basically said nothing wrong, nothing to fix. Their explanation was that there is a solenoid that has some effect on the torque converter, such that under light acceleration the torque converter can't decide whether to be fully locked out or not, and this solenoid is what controls the torque converter "locking out". Basically the shudder we feel is the solenoid itself going on and off, or doing whatever it does. The techs told me they had the car hooked up to something and reproduced the issue and this is what was happening. I am not sure I believe this, but I will wait and see what happens to you. Lets keep each other posted.
      Mike

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      10-02-2006 05:45 PM #18
      Mike.
      Sounds like you may have the same problem. Mine eventually would present itself even in the sport mode on deceleration. Bob King Volkswagen in Wilmington, NC discovered a service bulletin indicating some Phaeons have improper trans fluid in them and that flushing the trans several times and then adding the correct fluid would fix this problem. So far after 600 miles we are SHUTTER FREE. Hope this helps.
      Cliff

    19. 10-02-2006 08:11 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by quiettrader »
      Mike.
      Sounds like you may have the same problem. Mine eventually would present itself even in the sport mode on deceleration. Bob King Volkswagen in Wilmington, NC discovered a service bulletin indicating some Phaeons have improper trans fluid in them and that flushing the trans several times and then adding the correct fluid would fix this problem. So far after 600 miles we are SHUTTER FREE. Hope this helps.
      Cliff

      I'm glad to hear a fluid flush fixed your problem. Here is Mike's thread to keep this information together.
      "surging" under light acceleration

    20. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      10-03-2006 03:53 AM #20
      Quote, originally posted by quiettrader »
      Sounds like you may have the same problem. Mine eventually would present itself even in the sport mode on deceleration. Bob King Volkswagen in Wilmington, NC discovered a service bulletin indicating some Phaetons have improper trans fluid in them and that flushing the trans several times and then adding the correct fluid would fix this problem. So far after 600 miles we are SHUTTER FREE. Hope this helps.

      Cliff:
      Thanks a lot for posting that report of your own experience. It sounds almost exactly like what Martin encountered in Hawaii a while back - see this thread: Transmission noise. I guess the bottom line is that if anyone has a transmission related problem, give Phaeton Customer Care a call, and they will be able to assist you with getting it fixed, because they are familiar with what the issue is.
      Michael

    21. 10-04-2006 10:11 AM #21
      Hi Michael, I did just that yesterday, called Diane at PCC. She is working on it. When I took my car in for the first visit 2 weeks ago, I suggested they change the trans fluid in the way outlined by the service bulletin, and they simply said no. They said there are no fault codes, you'll need to learn to live with it. Period. I said it wasn't acceptable and then they looked at me and there was uncomfortable silence. I wonder why there is such a resistance to try and make me happy. I am aware that changing the trans fluid is a bit of a pain, but not as bad as replacing the trans or ecm or anything like that. I was frustrated when I left, but I was already watching this post, to see what happened to quiettrader. When he posted his success, I called Diane and asked her to help me out. It shouldn't be this hard, should it? Anyone have suggestions on what to do next? I assume they will take my car again, check the trans fluid level, and tell me it is fine, no need to change it. How hard is it to just fix it right? Not to mention it is their responsibility to fix it right and hopefully the first time, with minimal annoyance to me. Isn't that the point of a warranty, and a premium car? Very frustrating.

    22. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      10-04-2006 02:18 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by dododavis »
      ...When I took my car in for the first visit 2 weeks ago, I suggested they change the trans fluid in the way outlined by the service bulletin, and they simply said no. They said there are no fault codes, you'll need to learn to live with it ... Very frustrating.

      Hi Michael:
      Yes, I agree, it does sound frustrating.
      I'm going to guess (and this is strictly a guess, speculation) that perhaps that particular dealer just got their warranty expense claims audited by VW, or perhaps they recently got reamed out by VW over the amount of warranty claims that have been submitted, or maybe they recently had a number of large warranty claims for other vehicles that have pushed their warranty budget up over the limit for whatever accounting period they are in at the moment.
      Dealers who have Service Managers who are long term employees and who have good relations with VW of America (built up over the years) would probably know who to call at VW and say "Hey, I know we're running high right now, but I think we both should make an exception for goodwill on this car..." , but a dealer with less experienced service management staff, or perhaps a dealer with less than stellar management at the top might not be this sharp.
      It's also possible that the technicians at the dealership have never done this before, and are not comfortable doing it.
      I really don't know what to suggest - perhaps call Phaeton Customer Care back and ask if they have any suggestions. PCC is a 'facilitator', which means they are a bit like United Nations Peacekeepers - they don't have the raw authority to call up a dealer and say "Do this!", but they do have a fair bit of influence, and for sure, they know how to stratagize solutions to problems like yours.
      Michael

    23. 10-04-2006 03:07 PM #23
      I did call Diane back, and gave her the name of a different dealer, only 30 minutes away. I said I would be happy to go there if they are more interested in having my business and making things right. She is calling the place in wilmington NC that succesfully fixed quiettrader's car and going to see if we can get that done up here at one of the 2 local dealers. I will keep you all posted.

    24. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      10-04-2006 04:27 PM #24
      Diane is amazing, and does a phenomenal job of juggling many different issues.
      Be aware that the folks at PCC are really under a lot of 'diplomatic pressure' from many different directions. Obviously, the owners just want to have a trouble-free experience with the car, and as few dealer problems (such as you reported) as possible. However - the dealers themselves can put pressure on VW of America because they don't want the Customer Care folks to steer customers to the dealers that the Customer Care employees know are the competent, friendly, and efficient dealers.
      So, whenever you make posts reporting your experiences with PCC, you need to be very circumspect about how much you say, lest the folks at PCC wind up getting flack from the dealer network.
      Sad, but true.
      Michael

    25. 10-11-2006 09:48 PM #25
      Quick update, I dropped the car off at another dealership Tuesday. The car "acted up' the entire 45 minute drive to the place, then the minute the service manager got in the car, the shuddering went away. No kidding. It was the only time in the past month or 2 that the transmssion didn't have issues. I couldn't believe it (and I was getting so good at making it happen on demand!!!). So, I told him this and said I promise you this issue will return. Please keep the car, and you drive it to and from work every day, use it like it is your car, because it is worst on my short (5 mile) trips to and from work every day. Keep it until you feel it and then can fix it.
      So, we will see what happens. Also, Diane did get the info from Bob King VW in NC, where Cliff went, describing his car's issues, diagnosis, and treatment, and I believe she will pass that along to the service manager who is working on my car. Keep your fingers crossed.

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