Greetings, all W8 lovers & haters, comrades in automotive ecstasy and suffering. I've recently put my W8 back on the road after storing it for 18 months, waiting for life to settle down enough to afford parts for and time to replace my clutch - I've missed driving it terribly.
Allow me to introduce myself - I'm the bilingual mechanical engineer and W8 6MT owner who brought the "elektroshock therapy" to english-speaking attention over at the W8Forum.
Billj3cub provided a very well-written synopsis of the issue and the less-invasive treatment options. You really owe it to yourself to try these methods before giving up on the car or going into hock for the labor involved with removing the engine to replace the camshaft adjuster housings.
|Quote, originally posted by billj3cub »|
|At the risk of posting more than anyone may want to read I am copying a post I made to the W8forum with a couple modifications:|
I am convinced the application of 12v to the cam adjuster solenoids is the proper thing to do. If it is sludge/varnish/oil deposits of some type then the AutoRX/Seafoam/oil flush procedure will be helpful. If the fine stainless steel wire screen material has come loose and is jamming up the solenoids or cam adjusters then only physical cleaning or knocking them loose will help. That is where the "electroshock" therapy comes into play but is by no means the final resource you have. I would like everyone to hold on to their hats until I get a chance to examine my W8 that is showing a Check Engine Light with the P0011 code.
If you are interested, here is a technical explanation of what I have seen so far:
If I may add my 2 cents to the Vortex - the analysis of the issue in German-speaking circles is that the pre-filter screens are the offending culprits. Some housings that have been removed have had nearly the entire screens missing, and that on camshaft banks that were not malfunctioning - which led to the diagnosis that the screens can pass through the solenoids and adjusters with no ill effect, as long as they disintegrate in small enough pieces. The screens are a very fine (I forget the measurement) stainless mesh that is much coarser than the filtration afforded by the oil filter... so there's no additional protection offered by them after initial startup. Several owners on the continent have either removed what's left and reinstalled, or taken the screens out of the new housings altogether, with no recurrence of the problem. Multiple "shock therapies" may be needed as the screens continue to break up, but the long term has shown this to be a pretty reliable solution - and eventually the screens will be gone for good.
As with any medical solution, the more invasive the procedure, the higher the risk of complications...
My car (an '03 6MT sedan) suffered the dreaded "failure" at about 35k miles - under warranty and also under the first owner's purview. I bought it with ~55K on it, drive the snot out of it, and have 97k on it... so far, no problems other than the thermostat being flaky, a clutch, and fallout from slipshod work by the only dealership ever to work on it.
It's just hard to find good help anywhere I think. I've been fixing slipshod work done by the dealership ever since I've had it; nearly all problems undoubtedly caused by a mechanic who paid little attention to detail. (I can criticize, because I've worked in that job, too - you're always under pressure of the book time, but there's still time to do it right if you care. The alternative is a comeback, which is worse.)
Most problems I'm having stem from the fact that the tech who did the engine removal to replace the camshaft adjuster housings had to drop the engine three times before he got it back together well enough to leave the shop - found out later that he almost got fired over it. Issues he caused that I've discovered:
1. Bent main ground strap tab between block and frame - didn't fix it, and arcing over resulting air gap resulted in a slagged connection that killed the battery and almost induced me to replace the alternator.
2. Contaminated the A/C system with dirt, which eventually caused the compressor to seize. Still waiting to fix that one.
3. Stripped 3/4 of the pressure plate bolt heads and "torqued" at least one with a vice-grip... I had to drill them out and source the correct replacements while the car sat on the lift last week burning shop rental fees.
4. Stripped an exhaust flange weld nut - obviously used an impact gun to reinstall bolts that only should be torqued to ~20 ft-lbs. I fixed it by backing it up with another M8 nut. He left it loose, exhaust undoubtedly leaking.
Overall, the W8 is/was a great car that was intended to usher in the era of the Phaeton, and never sold well. The W-engine is not unique to the Passat. It's just unfortunate for VW how they chose to treat the camshaft adjuster issue, but as anyone who has turned a wrench on a water-cooled VW knows, the factory recommended repair procedures sometime call for draconian measures that can be avoided with a little experience or true diagnosis of the fault. VW is not alone in that regard; it's just a sign of the times.