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

    1. Member
      Join Date
      Dec 22nd, 2007
      Location
      Delaware
      Posts
      120
      Vehicles
      99 MKIV Golf 2.0L, 99 B5 Passat 2.8L, 2004 Passat W8 4.0L, 2005 Mustang Contvertible Premium Package
      07-14-2009 09:27 PM #101
      Exactly why I traded mine after owning for 2 months, cost and frequency of repairs is no where near my old 2.8 V6 Passat and I can't afford this costly beast, I thought my old Passat was bad, it's nothing compared to a W8

    2. 07-19-2009 07:22 AM #102
      Wanna hear my sad sob story read this thread http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4482708
      I wonder if I can call VWoA and trick..err demand they fix their unreliable engine lol. Any W8 experts in the NYC wanna help an owner out with a possible rebuild .
      My friend bought a certified 2006 GLI from a dealership..had problems soon as he rolled out the lot. Engine constantly overheating/a few knocks from the gearbox. Luckily he's has warranty but 10+ visits for servicing the same problem and the best they can do is tell him 'maybe you don't know how to drive the car' . com'on the car is a turbo, what is it there for. He's doesn’t dog or race the car but he drives it like a turbo is meant to be driven. Whirling away.
      All these experiences makes me wanna turn tail and run away from German cars. Performance seems to be great but like reliability (and cost effectiveness) is not in there vocabulary. I think i wannt an A4


      Modified by Fr3nZy at 2:48 AM 7-20-2009

    3. 07-19-2009 10:24 PM #103
      What can you say? It's a total disregard for quality and service. When I first bought my VW I had no concerns about any of this. I was aware of VW's poor record for quality and service, but I knew the service manager at the VW dealership here in Memphis. I trusted him. Every repair he made to my car was done right. If a repair they made didn't fix the problem they kept going back until they did fix the problem at no extra charge. That was until May 2008. The service manager and 4 of his technicians quit and opened there own business. I asked him what happened (if anything) and he said it was getting too corrupt for him. He couldn't look his repeat customers, that he had known for years, in the eyes and smile while ripping them off. He had never done it and he refused to do it. He opened his own garage and he works mostly on German cars. I have not got a commitment from him yet, but I may have his testimony in court.

    4. 07-22-2009 09:37 PM #104
      First of all, it was NOT a water leak. The carpet got wet/destroyed because the factory didn't weld or seal the panels together connecting the floor pan to the firewall.
      VWoA thought it was serious enough to weld the panels, reseal the seams, and replace the carpet free of charge. It was obviously a factory defect.
      Either you know nothing about cars or quality or you're a certified VW Technician.
      This is my 1st water leak in any car. I own 6 cars today (1967 VW, 2000 Dakota R/T, 1972 VW Beetle, 1998 Honda Accord, 2002 VW Passat W8, and a 1998 Diesel Dodge Ram). From 1986-2002 I've owned at least 1 new car every other year. More than once I've owned 2 new cars. As soon as the economy recovers a little I'm going to buy 2 more new cars (trading in the W8, HIP HIP HURRAY!.
      Wake Up Dude! The VW dealer here (and I assume all the others) documents these kinds of repairs. Anyone can go to CARFAX and see the laundry list of MAJOR repairs on my Passat including the $5,500.00 transmission, the $6,000.00 cam adjusters, and the $10,000.00 engine.
      Sorry if I lowered your resale value with the flaming post...BooHoo!
      I got news for you, I didn't lower your resale value. VW lowered your resale value the day they stopped the production of the W8 engine. They lowered your resale value when they made the conscious decision not to produce and stock any internal engine parts for your 4.0L. They lowered your resale value when they mated an 8cyl engine to a 6cyl transmission (hence all the transmission failures). Wake Up and smell the coffee dude. Your precious W8 is a P.O.S!

    5. 09-29-2009 06:10 PM #105
      Update - since we did the oil purge, we have not had the engine camshafter warning come on for 5 months. As an added note, I spoke with a reputable mechanic and he told me that he is doing one of these jobs every two weeks. He said something about not having to pull the entire engine, and that they replaced the seals around the camshaft adjuster and this fixes the problem - it only costs about 1,000 bucks for this job, but he said it is a very tight squeeze and they have to nudge the engine loose a bit. He is in Colorado, and if anyone wants his name I would be happy to furnish it if requested. (Denver).
      He also said the camshaft error is caused by sludge - this would explain why the engine flush worked for us!!

    6. 11-20-2009 04:56 PM #106
      OK, I’m sufficiently terrified. Yesterday my beloved ‘03 W8 innocently shuddered slightly at idle and the engine light came on. I figured it was an ignition coil. I’ve already had two replaced, THEN got a recall notice, so I figured it was another one going I took it into a VW dealer and they said it yielded an ignition fault and a cam adjuster fault. They said they want to replace the ignition coil first and see if the cam fault clears.
      After reading this thread, I’m scared to death and think my best course of action is to PRAY TO GOD that the cam fault clears and then sell it as fast as I can. I love this car – I’ve had it since new, for 6 years, and it still thrills me to just look at it much less climb in and drive it. But $10,000 cam repairs and $5,000 torque repairs are insane.
      What I want to know is, has anyone experienced a successful cam adjuster repair – one that lasted many thousands of miles?

    7. 11-20-2009 05:12 PM #107
      After 1 1/2 years and ~10K miles, my cam adjuster (and torque converter) have so far worked well (knock on wood--I don't want to jinx myself).
      Reading plenty of info about this issue, it seems as though fixing this problem doesn't permanently fix it, but, it does give you a new "lease" on life.
      Mine was paid for even though I had no warranty on it for two reasons:
      I was vigilant about bringing my VW at the proper maintenance schedules to VW dealerships only. Apparently, this worked in my favor as the dealership backed me up with VWoA. They had my records and were able to convince VWoA to use their own (and the dealership's) insurance coverage to fix it on their dime.
      I made a good case against VW and for me as a consumer. I followed the maintenance schedules, only used VW dealerships like a good little VW owner, and expected a good car in return. I ensured that a lawsuit was in store and that further communications will be through my lawyer. For a $40K vehicle meant for the normal driver (i.e. not Bugatti [W12] or Lamborgini for that matter), I shouldn't have to worry about engine failure due to a known design flaw. This is purely a rip-off and any future business with me was truly in jeopardy.
      Although the things mentioned above helped me, what truly was the tipping point for me was the dealership. I cannot stress how important that is. The service manager there at first was indifferent, but, he was open to my lobbying efforts and eventually turned to my side. As a result, not only do I have a new lease on life for my car, I am not only open to buying another VW (Passat CC looks good), I am open to buying at this dealership only.
      Business is business. If you always make your case, your chances are better than zero for the outcome to go your way. If not, then you know you tried.

    8. 11-24-2009 09:08 AM #108
      Before anyone entertains a $5,000 W8 engine repair you should know that VW is dumping W8 short blocks for around the same price. Check out the blow out deals on the VW parts website and scroll down to the see that you can score a $25,000 W8 engine for a little over $5K. I wonder if it comes with a warrenty??

    9. 11-24-2009 11:37 PM #109
      Quote, originally posted by GaW8owner »
      What I want to know is, has anyone experienced a successful cam adjuster repair – one that lasted many thousands of miles?

      The cam adjusters in my car were replaced at 52k miles. My W8 now has over 114k miles. Just keep your oil changed regularly with good synthetic.

    10. 11-27-2009 07:32 PM #110
      Thanks for the post, XR4Tim. Nice to see SOME positive news.

    11. 11-29-2009 07:22 PM #111
      You're welcome. Additionally, you may want to know that the cam adjusters can be replaced with the motor in the car. It requires a special tool, and a lot of care to make sure the timing chains don't slip, but it takes a lot less time than what the dealer would typically bill you for. Of course they will still want to charge you the whole 19+ hours of labor, but maybe you can talk them down.

    12. Member
      Join Date
      Jul 8th, 2004
      Location
      Anchorage, AK
      Posts
      119
      Vehicles
      2002 VW Passat W8
      11-30-2009 02:25 AM #112
      I can vouch for oil changes in these cars. Im not trying to imply there isnt a problem with the adjusters but XR4 is absolutely right. I bought my 02 new and have put 0W-40 in every 3,000-3,500 and im still on my original cam adjusters and just turned 119,000 miles today. Its not a guarantee but it probably lowers your chances of the issue a great deal. XR4Tim has seen my odometer and has access to my service history, he can vouch that they are my original adjusters.

    13. Member BlackJelli's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 26th, 2002
      Location
      atl
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      364
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      '07 B6 6MT, '05 V70R, '84 RZ350
      12-01-2009 07:29 PM #113
      GAW8, where in Decatur are you? I live in East Lake near Oakhurst. My W8 is silver and has been on a replacement set of adjusters for 18,000 miles. Also two replaced O2 sensors, cam chains and clutch disk (6 speed manual) all done on the same trip. Jim Ellis in Chamblee has a great mech who is on these boards and is regarded as the best W8 tech in the south.
      thankyouverymuch

    14. 12-17-2009 11:52 AM #114
      Hey BlackJelli. I’m just inside the parameter on Scott Blvd/Lawrenceville highway. My W8 was just at Jim Ellis as well. They replaced all 8 ignition coils under the recent recall, so no charge. That was nice. They drove it, tested it and said the cam adjuster fault was cleared and didn’t come back. Whew! So guess I’m in the clear for now. Knock wood. I’ve been replacing the oil every 5,000 miles, but after reading all this, I’ll definitely start changing every 3K. Thanks for the tip about the mech at Jim Ellis. Good to know there’s a W8 expert so close. Luck with your VDub, and see you on the road!

    15. 12-17-2009 11:54 AM #115
      Agree - thanks for the post, XR4Tim. Nice to see SOME positive news.

    16. 12-21-2009 09:19 PM #116
      It comes with a 12,000 mile/12 month warranty.I bought one. Don't expect VWOA to stand behind this warranty (just like they didn't recall the cam adjusters). I purchased my engine 15,000 miles ago and it still runs. For how long I don't know. I take oil samples every 3K miles and mine came back high on metal content. At 5K I actually saw metal shavings in the bottom of my oil drain pan. I submitted the oil sample results from the lab to VWOA and they refused to replace my engine that I just paid $10,000.00 for. I will never own another VW.

    17. 12-22-2009 12:41 AM #117
      Quote, originally posted by un4givun2 »
      It comes with a 12,000 mile/12 month warranty.I bought one. Don't expect VWOA to stand behind this warranty (just like they didn't recall the cam adjusters). I purchased my engine 15,000 miles ago and it still runs. For how long I don't know. I take oil samples every 3K miles and mine came back high on metal content. At 5K I actually saw metal shavings in the bottom of my oil drain pan. I submitted the oil sample results from the lab to VWOA and they refused to replace my engine that I just paid $10,000.00 for. I will never own another VW.

      So your engine runs fine, but you wanted it replaced under warranty anyway? I don't know how severe the metal shavings in your oil pan were, but some metal shavings and fairly high oil consumption are normal for break-in on a new engine.

    18. 12-22-2009 09:03 PM #118
      Quote, originally posted by XR4Tim »
      So your engine runs fine, but you wanted it replaced under warranty anyway? I don't know how severe the metal shavings in your oil pan were, but some metal shavings and fairly high oil consumption are normal for break-in on a new engine.

      The reason I insisted on them replacing my engine for the high level (and visible) metal content is because that was their reasoning for replacing my old 79K mile engine that was running just fine. It had the check engine light on and the fault code was for the cam adjusters. My engine had none of the other symptoms people describe with engine fluttering and loss of power. My engine ran fine, but between 3 high priced technicians at the dealer and 2 different VWOA Technicians they could not make the cam adjuster code go away. They pulled the engine twice and replaced the cam adjusters twice. They had the car for 3 months and finally one day they call me and tell me the engine is bad. VWOA backed this up with an oil sample. The level of metal in the oil in my old engine was LESS than what my new engine has today. I am documenting all of this so I can build a case against VW.

    19. 12-24-2009 07:14 PM #119
      I love my W8. Yeah, it's had a few problems here and there, but it is an amazing "Q" car. If you don't like quirky cars (Which are likely to have a few more issues than run of the mill versions) then I would sell up.
      Let someone who will appreciate the car buy it!

    20. Semi-n00b
      Join Date
      Dec 15th, 2009
      Location
      Beaverton, Oregon
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      03 W8 Sedan
      01-12-2010 10:18 PM #120
      Hey XR4Tim, tell me more about the motor-in-the-car-cam-adjuster-replacement method. Also, pleeeease describe the special tool and how it is used. Inquiring minds want to know since I am going to be tackling this soon!
      The following is a post I made at http://www.w8forum.dk/forum:
      I was planning on pulling the valve covers off then pulling just the solenoids out that are only held in with two screws each, not the actuators that are bolted onto the ends of the camshafts.
      If the cams will not twist because the actuators on the ends of the camshafts are seized, or they do not twist freely after twisting them back and forth with a huge wrench until I have ground whatever varnish/100um stainless metal wires (what the filter screen was made of) is ground to mush, then I will go to plan B.
      (Warning! plan B consists of crazy talk that may not be suitable for all audiences. You have been warned.) I have an idea on how to secure the timing chains against the hydraulic tensioners, mark the position of the cam sprockets and chain and unbolt the actuators from the cams and lift them out. It looks like I will need to make a special socket or wrench to loosen the cam bolt all the way with no room to work with. If this works I could make a kit with instructions that can be passed around to whoever needs it next.
      Also, for a better description of what is going on look at my first two posts made on 1-12-10 at:
      http://www.w8forum.dk/forum_po...16252
      and for a better visual of all this stuff check out the cool "W_Engine_Concept.pdf" at:
      http://mysite.verizon.net/b5cr...t.pdf


      Modified by billj3cub at 8:30 PM 1-12-2010

    21. Semi-n00b
      Join Date
      Dec 15th, 2009
      Location
      Beaverton, Oregon
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      03 W8 Sedan
      01-12-2010 10:39 PM #121
      I would like to mention about the torque converter (TC) issue. A fellow tech that I respect took the failed TC out of an Audi that is the exact same TC that the W8 automatic uses. He was disgusted enough at the replacement cost that he did some research and found out that the TC itself does not mechanically fail. It is an internal seal that fails. So he drove down to Eugene, Oregon to a place that rebuilds these TC's. He watched them cut it open on a lathe, clean it up, showed him the old seal with the chunk missing out of it, replaced the seal with a high quality one, welded it all back together and finished by checking the balance. All for $240.
      Even if VW/Audi is using the same quality seal in their replacement TC (which is probably likely as technology marches on) I would still have no problem preferring this rebuilt TC over a new TC.


      Modified by billj3cub at 8:32 PM 1-12-2010

    22. 02-15-2010 11:00 PM #122
      First off I'm new and want to thank you all for posting these things. A little background, My 17 yr old son put a lot of his own money into his first car and got a lot nicer one then the other kids and worked hard for it. (Oh, i'm the mom) so he has had his beatiful black 03 w8 passat 4 motion for a year and 1/2. Picked this one because he liked my v6 passat 4motion so well and we live in a snowy area. Anyway, it started running rough and the light came on took it to a private vw mechanic and it showed the cam shaft adjusters. Took it to the vw dealership, because the mechanic hadn't done this on the W8 and they said cam shaft and torque converter. and $9400!! I got on the internet for hours Friday night and found this site and this is hopefully a miracle for us. Here is why i'm writing. He and my husband did all the steps below, the shock treament and the the engine purge. He drove down the road, it is really smooth!! Then the code light goes off! We are so excited about this. But now he said it is running a little rough again. Could it be that we need to run another treatment through it? One thing I didn't think about when i got all the things we needed, was an extra filter to put in after the first purge. I am just hoping that we need to do this engine purge treatment one more time. Any thoughts and thanks so much for all of this information. Right now, mom just might be a genious!

    23. 02-16-2010 09:25 AM #123
      Funny - we bought this car for a 17 year old as well because of the snow! - We flushed the engine out several times with the engine purge to get it to run correctly - it must take several times to get (most) all the grunge out. We have now been driving this car for about 20,000 miles since the problem with no issues related to the camshafter adjusters.
      If you start to hear the engine run rough and think it is the camshaft adjuster, flush it out once more and I bet it will run smoothly. We also put the best synthetic oil that we could find and made sure it had a very low viscosity - this seems to have fixed it permanently. Its a shame that people are blowing ~10,000 bucks to get this fixed at a VW dealer withoout trying this first.

    24. 02-16-2010 01:04 PM #124
      Also, check out
      http://www.w8forum.dk/
      It is a website devoted specifically to the W8. There is an alternative fix for the camshaft adj. over there.

    25. 02-16-2010 09:59 PM #125
      Thank you both!! This forum is awesome!! I've learned way more then i wanted to but very interesting and so worth saving thousands of dollars!!
      I have a question for you Gumbyrock.
      i know everyone has their opinion on what the best synthetic oil is, but what are your recomendations? Sorry to put you on the spot but i vaiue your opinion. 20K after this procedure is a great testimony!

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