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    Thread: '03 Passat W8: Torque Converter and Cam Adjuster Problem in last 10 days

    1. 07-21-2008 10:57 AM #1
      I've been reading this forum for years as I own an '03 Passat W8. Up until two weeks ago, this car ran like a top.
      I had heard about torque converter and cam adjuster issues on this forum, but, never had experienced it in the 95K miles I've owned this car (got it new).
      After a routine oil change (religiously kept to the maintenance schedule), a CEL code popped up that was translated to a Torque Converter service for ~$2.8K. Always one to hold cars unless it is financially no longer viable, I decided after consultation with the service manager and the mechanic to do this service.
      Upon pulling into their garage, the car began a slight vibration (just slight) and another CEL code popped up, but, I did not have a reader available to see what the code was (dealer had cleared the previous one). I asked the dealer to check the code and consult with me once they reported to me what that code was. They never did.
      After 5 days, I received a call that the car is ready, but, the CEL code that popped up was translated to a cam adjuster issue and would cost another $6.5K-$7K to fix. Feeling "bad", they decided not to charge me for the torque converter service and I limped home. They car now vibrates 10x as hard and spews black smoke.
      I was told that the cats will fail once they fill up with carbon, so, this car is a total loss. So, I decided to take them to court.
      Last Friday, I got a call from the dealer (service mgr) and they said that they are going to ask VW corporate to fix the car completely (for free) so that I can at least become a "semi-satisfied" customer. I said "We'll see".
      My question to those of you in the forum is the following:
      * has the dealer ever tried to do something like this to you
      * were they successful in getting them to do the service?
      * was it VW corporate techs that fixed it?
      * did they car work like it did when you brought the car in to them in the beginning?
      Thanks!
      Dean

    2. 07-21-2008 04:03 PM #2
      Don't hold your breath waiting for VWOA to fix anything for free. I am in contact with them for the cam adjuster problem, and I'm even forking over my own money to do the clutch and O2 sensors ($2-3K) and no one is budging. The car's been in the shop almost a month and as soon ass they "fix" it I'm going to sue everyone I can think of. Every W8 owner should be calling VWOA and raining hell, as well as contacting their states Atty General office.

    3. 07-22-2008 10:55 AM #3
      As you know this was a common problem with the W8. When I was still at the dealer vwoa helped many times on the cam adjuster issue. You may also call vwoa for help. Just know that being nice is the key to getting the help. Pissed off customers get pushed aside. Good luck. If you were closer I could give you more help.

    4. 07-22-2008 02:50 PM #4
      I just got word that VWofA and the dealer are willing to subsidize this work. They did not give specifics, but, that will come in the next couple of days. I didn't hear the voice mail well enough but it sounded like they would pay for half of the camshaft work.
      If I (and the dealer for that matter) had known this was a common problem when I purchased the car new in '03, I would have passed on this and just taken a VR6 AWD. But that's neither hear nor there now.
      I know your comments are trying to help, but, me being nice to a company representing the manufacturer of a car that was IMHO known to have issues from the beginning (or at least they are negligent in their testing process) is silly. The fact of the matter is, they've lost a customer and gained a fervent anti-VW spokesperson if they aren't nice to me!!!
      I'll keep you posted on what transpires.

    5. 07-22-2008 11:15 PM #5
      Don't get me wrong I am not on vwoa side. It just happens I was the W8 tech before I left the dealer. I own an indepent vw audi shop now. After doing 30 or so cam adjuster jobs I just feel for you. Also know that this problem did not begin until late 04 early 05. Most of the time around 40K. VWOA was done selling the W8 in the U.S. before the problems began. You can I.M. if you want more info or good pics of what the job really takes. Make sure the dealer has a tech that has good knowledge of this vehicle.

    6. 07-23-2008 01:45 PM #6
      Can you provide info on this "subsidy" as it happens? My car has been in the shop for a month now and the dealer isn't even giving me a break on the O2 sensors or clutch I'm adding to the job. For everyone with a W8 cam adjuster special it probably would help if you called VWOA, as they seem to be "unaware" of the problem.

    7. 07-23-2008 03:27 PM #7
      I just got word that VWofA and the dealer are willing to subsidize this work. They did not give specifics, but, that will come in the next couple of days. I didn't hear the voice mail well enough but it sounded like they would pay for half of the camshaft work.
      If I (and the dealer for that matter) had known this was a common problem when I purchased the car new in '03, I would have passed on this and just taken a VR6 AWD. But that's neither hear nor there now.
      I know your comments are trying to help, but, me being nice to a company representing the manufacturer of a car that was IMHO known to have issues from the beginning (or at least they are negligent in their testing process) is silly. The fact of the matter is, they've lost a customer and gained a fervent anti-VW spokesperson if they aren't nice to me!!!
      I'll keep you posted on what transpires.

    8. 07-28-2008 09:19 AM #8
      OK, on Thursday of last week, I got word from my VW dealer that VWofA and the dealer will subsidize the work of the cam adjusters to the point where the cost of doing both torque converter and cam adjusters will be for the price of the torque converter change.
      So, for both sets of work, this will run me ~$3.5K. I unfortunatley, had to pay for the torque converter, so, I eat that cost (the price above includes that).
      Basically, VWofA understood that situation that I had. A person who has been and is looking to maintain their car for the long term and the design of the car fails them.
      In the beginning of this ordeal, I vowed to never buy a VW/Audi (or even German car for that matter) ever again and told people to do the same. Although the ordeal is not over yet (the car will be ready by early next week), I still will not buy another "funky" German car again, but, I no longer advertise that opinion. If the "fix" works, and over a period of time, I no longer see any other "major" issues, then I will consider another VW/Audi/German car.
      But, this ordeal is not over yet--stay tuned.

    9. 07-28-2008 02:50 PM #9
      my recent experience with VWOA was mixed. From a follow thru perspective, they did what they said they would do in the timelines they first claimed, however, they didnt offer to assist in covering anything even though my w8 had 57K miles and 3 months over the 5 year warrantee period. They told me to deal directly with the warrantee company and that there wasnt anything they could do... even though I bought the warrantee thru a dealership..... luckily, it all worked out OK in the end and the warrantee company paid but what a terrible stress.. not sure whether or not I was going to be out 5 to 8 thousand dollars... the cost to fix is CRAZY high.

    10. 07-29-2008 10:45 AM #10
      OK, on Thursday of last week, I got word from my VW dealer that VWofA and the dealer will subsidize the work of the cam adjusters to the point where the cost of doing both torque converter and cam adjusters will be for the price of the torque converter change.
      So, for both sets of work, this will run me ~$3.5K. I unfortunatley, had to pay for the torque converter, so, I eat that cost (the price above includes that).
      Basically, VWofA understood that situation that I had. A person who has been and is looking to maintain their car for the long term and the design of the car fails them.
      In the beginning of this ordeal, I vowed to never buy a VW/Audi (or even German car for that matter) ever again and told people to do the same. Although the ordeal is not over yet (the car will be ready by early next week), I still will not buy another "funky" German car again, but, I no longer advertise that opinion. If the "fix" works, and over a period of time, I no longer see any other "major" issues, then I will consider another VW/Audi/German car.
      But, this ordeal is not over yet--stay tuned.

    11. 07-30-2008 11:14 AM #11
      OK, on Thursday of last week, I got word from my VW dealer that VWofA and the dealer will subsidize the work of the cam adjusters to the point where the cost of doing both torque converter and cam adjusters will be for the price of the torque converter change.
      So, for both sets of work, this will run me ~$3.5K. I unfortunatley, had to pay for the torque converter, so, I eat that cost (the price above includes that).
      Basically, VWofA understood that situation that I had. A person who has been and is looking to maintain their car for the long term and the design of the car fails them.
      In the beginning of this ordeal, I vowed to never buy a VW/Audi (or even German car for that matter) ever again and told people to do the same. Although the ordeal is not over yet (the car will be ready by early next week), I still will not buy another "funky" German car again, but, I no longer advertise that opinion. If the "fix" works, and over a period of time, I no longer see any other "major" issues, then I will consider another VW/Audi/German car.
      But, this ordeal is not over yet--stay tuned.

    12. 07-31-2008 12:08 AM #12
      for what its worth, a cheap fix... run motor flush thru the engine oil, ( at your own risk, liabilaty issue) I did it in my nephews w8, thru my VW shop, it cleared all the sludge up, and a year later no problems!

    13. 07-31-2008 09:42 AM #13
      Dealer already tried that as per VWofA recommendation. Apparently, the color/consistency of the flush never changed when it came out of the motor. They tried it multiple times.
      I've heard stories (don't know if it was in this forum) where the adjuster casing has a screen where the oil enters the part. The design of the casing filter is such that any kind of out-of-norm movement (like taking down the engine/tranny for a torque converter change) could be enough for these screens to partly disconnect and "fold" onto themselves causing a blockage. It doesn't take long at that point for the problem to get really bad.
      I've had the "misfire" issues on and off for a couple of years now (never knew it could have been the adjusters), but, frequent oil changes have kept it "under control". It wasn't until the car had its first major repair that they decided to fail.
      So, not only will my dealer replace the adjusters, it will also replace the casing around it to make sure that these screens use the newly designed replacement part.
      I didn't know that these casings were a separate part from the actual adjusters.
      Anyone heard of this before?

    14. 07-31-2008 12:39 PM #14
      I'm glad they're "helping" you to a point. However, for a car that has all the qualities of one that should be recalled, I don't feel they are doing enough. Mine has been back together for a week, and they will not return it because they say they can't clear the check engine light. What is really going on is anybody's guess. If I decide to sue VWOA I will let everyone know so that you can jump aboard. In the mean time, you should be calling VWOA if you've had any problems with cam adjusters or torque converters

    15. 07-31-2008 12:44 PM #15
      Keep us informed.
      I believe that the best tactic is a class action law suit. Separate suits do not provide for an overall solution to a problem that is widespread.
      My issue is well known to VWofA as they are subsidizing this fix.
      I still haven't received my car back, although it should be in by early next week. We'll see if we have the same issue.

    16. 08-04-2008 10:30 AM #16
      It shouldn't have had to go that far. To quote you $6500-$7500 additional while the trans is out doing the t/c is harsh....
      Dubs of days gone by -
      85 GTI - Black 5spd
      86 Jetta Coupe - White 5spd
      01 Passat GLX - Indigo Blue 5 spd
      03 Passat W8 6 spd - Pacific Blue

    17. 08-14-2008 02:10 PM #17
      Ugh...I am in the same boat. I bought my 2003 w8 passat 6 weeks ago and now the dealership is telling me it's going to be around $5,000 to fix it. Of course I am at 52,000 miles and just out of warranty.
      My primary complaint is that if these oil screens are coming loose and causing the cam adjustor/sensor to fail, why hasn’t there been a recall yet, if so many people are having this problem? I also read that when this repair is done, that they are replacing this part with the screens, with an updated one. So they fixed this part knowing that it fails…? It’s a known issue, there should be a recall!!
      I have spoken to vwoa and they will not help at all. I would like to offer any assistance in bringing forth a law suit...



      Modified by nickgnelson at 7:59 AM 8/15/2008

    18. Member
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      08-14-2008 07:42 PM #18
      Welcome as a new member of the W8 crowd that has encountered the dreaded cam adjuster problem. Just had mine done recently to the tune of $10k all paid for by VWof A since my car luckily was still under the factory powertrain warranty.
      Check out the website exclusively for the W8 crowd for more info: http://www.w8forum.dk
      Happy Motoring! [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    19. 08-18-2008 07:45 AM #19
      The drivetrain warranty is 60K I believe. Make sure you check and do not let them rob you of coverage, because they will try.
      As an update we got our W8 back after 6 weeks, $9K plus $2K of our own money, the car ran for a week and now has broken down again. Seems to be the same problem. VWOA tries to do nothing and I've never heard any details about how they "subsidize" any of this work. Class action or VW buyback/insurance total - for fair value - seems to be the course of action that should be forced on them as most of these cars will probably never really run again.

    20. Member Slimjimmn's Avatar
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      10-15-2008 06:18 PM #20
      The lasto ne I did before I left the dealer business.....
      the car is on an inclined driveway and up on jack stands in the front only
      04 Jetta Wagon 2.slow------>Family man now

    21. Member 71DubBugBug's Avatar
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      10-16-2008 10:42 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by Slimjimmn »
      The lasto ne I did before I left the dealer business.....

      i see that a lot when i visit my local dealer, a lot of passats r always being ripped apart

    22. 11-04-2008 02:49 PM #22
      My 03' Passat W8 has been with my local VW dealership for over a month. First they replaced one set of cam adjusters to be told by tech line that they should have done all 4.
      My motor has been dropped twice... I"m about ready to call the BAR and file a complaint.
      Then they had a bunch of other stuff they had to replace.. sorry I'm not techy and don't know what they were, my husband does. My car is covered under CPO warranty so no $$ out of my pocket just a pain in my ass. I've been having to carpool with the hubby in the harlequin golf... LOL.
      I'm pretty pissed that VW knows of this problem and doesn't do a recall. I'm all for a class action. I'm loyal to VW but now is the time for them to return the loyatly.
      Passat W8 owners UNITE!!!
      Missi

    23. 11-05-2008 06:35 PM #23
      Update - VWofAmerica is sending a tech to my local dealership on Friday to see if he can "help" the local tech figure out what the problem is....
      Can you believe it? Still don't have an ETA on getting my car back. So far it's been 31 days...

    24. 11-06-2008 09:47 PM #24
      If it shake with no code the Balance shaft belt slips a tooth and it feels like you lost a few cylinders. My slipped right after the cam adjuster service. So i was terrified.
      After taking it back and them going Uh I never saw that before what could be wrong?.?
      But did it my self in a few hours.
      I hit the books and found that tiny belt keeps the entire engine in balance, no service bulletin no recommended service , nothing at Vw addresses this belt at all. Totally fu by voa to not list a service interval on a tiny little rubber belt, A total 200 with tension pully and cover in parts...
      Say "Balance Shaft belt under the Crankshaft pully?" Just to see if they even know what it is...

    25. Member 71DubBugBug's Avatar
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      12-07-2008 09:51 AM #25
      Quote, originally posted by Miss W8 »
      Update - VWofAmerica is sending a tech to my local dealership on Friday to see if he can "help" the local tech figure out what the problem is....
      Can you believe it? Still don't have an ETA on getting my car back. So far it's been 31 days...

      did he figure anything out?

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