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    Thread: White foam on botton of oil cap

    1. 12-28-2008 05:53 PM #1
      Went to check oil level on our Eos with 23+k miles on it and found a white foam on the bottom side. Dealer did an oil change at 20k and I checked the level at 21k and the cap was clean. Should I be concened? I know it could be a sign of a head gasket failing or a bad coolant passage in the head or block. I'm not getting any warning lights and coolant level seems ok (I can see coolant in the overflow tank). Thoughts?????

    2. Moderator just4fun's Avatar
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      12-28-2008 07:35 PM #2
      As you already mentioned, white foamy deposits on the oil cap can be an indication of water/coolant in the oil.

      Do you do a lot of short trip driving? Has there been a lot of moisture in the air recently in your area? If so, a good hiway trip may be enough to evaporate the moisture out of the oil.

      The only other thing I can think of is; are you using Castrol motor oil? Not certain what Castrol makes for a synthetic, but I know I experienced white foamy build up on my oil cap on a previous vehicle using Castrol. Switched oil and it stopped.

      This was mineral base oil, so not sure it would even apply in this situation.

      Kevin


      Modified by just4fun at 7:36 AM 1-2-2009


    3. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      12-30-2008 08:07 AM #3
      Quote, originally posted by cb391 »
      Went to check oil level on our Eos with 23+k miles on it and found a white foam on the bottom side. Dealer did an oil change at 20k and I checked the level at 21k and the cap was clean. Should I be concened? I know it could be a sign of a head gasket failing or a bad coolant passage in the head or block. I'm not getting any warning lights and coolant level seems ok (I can see coolant in the overflow tank). Thoughts?????


      I live here in northern Minn, and mines does the same thing, I will at times take a rag and wipe some of that " gunk" out of the inside of the cap.

      I really dont think its any thing to worry about,, and i dont think its caused from short trips, Our shortest trip is 30miles each way, ha and i dont let it sit and idle , so that kind of rules that theroy out.

      I could be just the oil , i see castrol oil big selling point of their add is no sludge? well if this is sludge? i think they should change their add ha


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      12-30-2008 08:46 AM #4
      I see a little bit of that as well. It's nothing to worry about. The valve cover is plastic and as such does not reach the same temperature as the rest of the engine. Whatever water vapor is present condenses on the cooler valve cover and produces that sludge.

    5. 12-30-2008 02:58 PM #5
      Thanks all. I'll just go with the possibility it might be due to the cold and my driving habits. I will just have to wait until it warms up outside like this spring and see if the problem goes away. Kevin asked if I was using Castrol oil and the answer is yes. But it is Castrol Syntec.

    6. 12-30-2008 08:42 PM #6
      I noticed it on mine as well. I cleaned it off and it has not appeared again.

    7. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      01-01-2009 09:36 AM #7
      Quote, originally posted by solarflare »
      I see a little bit of that as well. It's nothing to worry about. The valve cover is plastic and as such does not reach the same temperature as the rest of the engine. Whatever water vapor is present condenses on the cooler valve cover and produces that sludge.


      I think your on to something there solar,, the difference in the material,could be the cause? I have had this problem since day one and have wiped it off there many many times

      I would hope we are all using castro oil syn? its the oil vw recommends,


    8. Moderator just4fun's Avatar
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      01-01-2009 11:58 AM #8
      I have been trying to investigate this a bit and have found many suggestions/potential causes for this condition. Some definitive, some just possible causes.

      1. Moisture build up in the oil from "short trip' driving not allowing the engine oil to get hot enough to evaporate water build up.

      2. Coolant leaking past the head gasket. This is identifiable by loss of coolant level and/or a "sweet" smell at the exhaust pipe.

      3. Oil level over full. Can result in crank journals "over agitating" the oil causing foaming.

      4. Oil additives (OEM) there was some suggestion that certain additives added by the oil manufacturer can cause foaming. Zinc was singled out, but it wasn't clear whether is was high or low levels of zinc that were suspected of causing foaming.

      5. Oil additives (Aftermarket) the addition of aftermarket oil additives can dilute the OEM additive package, in particular the anti-foam agents.

      6. Engine component material. There was a blog on white foam/sludge build up occuring in the dipstick tube on a particular model vehicle (Toyota if I recall). The general concensus was that the dipstick tube was made of plastic, and was positioned such that it was subject to the flow of cool air entering the engine compartment. This combination of plastic material and additional cooling would prevent the dipstick tube from reaching the same operating temp as the metal components of the engine, and could be the cause of white foam buildup. So the theory of plastic valve covers may well have some basis.

      7. Plugged PCV valve not allowing the cranckcase to vent.

      The good news is, with the exception of #2 coolant loss, popular opinion is that there is no real reason for concern unless the oil in the pan is also milky colored in appearance. This is an indication there is too much water/contamination builup in the oil itself.

      Kevin




      Modified by just4fun at 2:08 PM 1-1-2009


    9. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      01-01-2009 03:23 PM #9
      i disagree with every statement you made there kevin

      my shortest trips are 30miles each way, ive never added any additives to my oil, and if any thing it might be on the low side , never over full
      I dont know if you think your a mechanic or something where you learned that big word Journal, is that the one word you can think of?

      has nothing to do with this gunk in oil cap

      who mentioned white foam? only place ive seen that was down at the ocean
      we are talking about eos here Kevin , not the beach


    10. Moderator just4fun's Avatar
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      01-01-2009 04:24 PM #10
      [QUOTE=minnvw]i
      who mentioned white foam?

      Try reading the Post Title by the OP. "White foam on bottom of oil cap". It's sort of the main topic of this post, just in case you somehow missed it.

      As for my comments, they are simply a compilation of possible causes of white foam, or "gunk" if you prefer, that can appear on the bottom side of the oil cap.

      They in no way suggest that short trips, or oil additives, or any of the above comments will result in white foam forming. Only pointing to some possible causes for investigation if you are experiencing white foam under the oil cap.

      Kevin





      Modified by just4fun at 2:37 PM 1-1-2009


    11. 01-01-2009 11:27 PM #11
      Had the same problem with my Eos,and my Passat and my Jetta. Dealer thinks its the way VW vents the valve cover. Plus cold weather keeps the moisture from fully evaporating and leaving out the engine.
      In the summer I have not seen this problem.

    12. 01-02-2009 03:41 PM #12
      Kevin, gee whiz someone must of pissed in MINNVW's corn flakes for him to give you such a sarcastic reply when you were trying to help.

    13. Member Rabbit5GTI's Avatar
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      01-30-2009 12:41 PM #13
      I know i have a GTI, but I found this thread through a google search

      I have the same problem too, and it only started once the weather turned cold. My commute to work each morning is only 7 miles, and the car doesn't reach normal operating temperature until I'm over halfway there. I'm sure this is probably the culprit. However, I'm thinking about taking the car to the dealership anyway, since it's still under warranty. I know i'm not losing coolant, so I'm fairly certain it's not a head gasket issue, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

      If I find out anything, I'll report back.


    14. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-03-2009 10:59 AM #14
      Yes Rabbit, please let us know what your dealer says,, I still think a hotter thermostat in these eos would help , plus the heaters arent up to par as far as im concered either , my dealer doesnt show a hotter thermostat for the eos?

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      02-03-2009 11:56 AM #15
      I really don't have any issues with the heater, once the engine is warm. I do think this engine takes an unusually long time to reach operating temperature and that might contribute to this problem. At 30 degrees F outside it takes a good 10-11 minutes of driving to reach normal temp, 190 on the gauge. My Passat 1.8t was pumpin warm air within a couple minutes. The Eos seems to take forever.

    16. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-03-2009 06:19 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by solarflare »
      I really don't have any issues with the heater, once the engine is warm. I do think this engine takes an unusually long time to reach operating temperature and that might contribute to this problem. At 30 degrees F outside it takes a good 10-11 minutes of driving to reach normal temp, 190 on the gauge. My Passat 1.8t was pumpin warm air within a couple minutes. The Eos seems to take forever.


      I agree 100% with you solar, especially where i live in Minn , a hotter thermostat would be beneficial to keep the engine running warm , quicker and to eliminate that moisture build up. I cant believe vw doesnt have one in the parts list.


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      02-04-2009 05:42 PM #17
      I'm not sure a hotter thermostat would help here. The thermostat should remain closed until the selected temperature is reached, in this case 190 or 195 (not sure of the exact temp VW used). But cooling systems generally have a thermostat by-pass in place to allow coolant circulation even before the thermostat opens, usually the heater core is in this by-pass path so that heater core can start generating heat as soon as heat is available. Some engines have additional by-pass. Perhaps this engine has too much by-pass preventing a quicker warm-up?? It's been a while but I'm almost positive my Passat was at operating temps within 2-3 minutes of driving or about a mile or two. I know this is one thing I immediately noticed switching from the Passat to the Eos in February when I purchased the Eos.

      EDIT: It's hard to tell by the lousy cooling system diagram in the Bentley service manual but it looks like there are two additional heat transfer cores employed in the system. A DSG cooler and an engine oil cooler. It looks like the DSG cooler shares the same path as the heater core. These additional cores could explain the slower warm-up period.


      Modified by solarflare at 3:08 PM 2-4-2009


    18. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-04-2009 10:00 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by solarflare »
      I'm not sure a hotter thermostat would help here. The thermostat should remain closed until the selected temperature is reached, in this case 190 or 195 (not sure of the exact temp VW used). But cooling systems generally have a thermostat by-pass in place to allow coolant circulation even before the thermostat opens, usually the heater core is in this by-pass path so that heater core can start generating heat as soon as heat is available. Some engines have additional by-pass. Perhaps this engine has too much by-pass preventing a quicker warm-up?? It's been a while but I'm almost positive my Passat was at operating temps within 2-3 minutes of driving or about a mile or two. I know this is one thing I immediately noticed switching from the Passat to the Eos in February when I purchased the Eos.

      EDIT: It's hard to tell by the lousy cooling system diagram in the Bentley service manual but it looks like there are two additional heat transfer cores employed in the system. A DSG cooler and an engine oil cooler. It looks like the DSG cooler shares the same path as the heater core. These additional cores could explain the slower warm-up period.


      Modified by solarflare at 3:08 PM 2-4-2009

      Good post Solar, I think your onto something there with all the coolers on the eos its like its just too much for the little4 cyl. to keep everything warm and takes so long to do so
      I agree ive driven both pasat and a jetta , loaner cars and yes they have very good heat systems in them.Im sure owners living in southern climates have no idea what we are talking about here, ha
      I would hope vw could find a solution to this problem, would solve the mosture build up on the oil cap, and the warm air problem at the same time

    19. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-04-2009 10:04 PM #19
      the warm air problem i am talking about in that post should have read,"the lack of warm air" thanks

    20. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-10-2009 10:23 AM #20
      i think next winter im going to run the ole cardboard trick on that eos , and see if that helps?

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      02-10-2009 11:28 AM #21
      Wow...thank god - I thought I was the only one who thought this! I've had 2 Eos' and they both are SUPER slow to warm up...it's about a 15 minute drive to my work and my car just starts getting to operating temperature by the time I arrive! And that's only if it isn't too cold...if it's -40C, don't even think about getting warm air in 15 minutes. To compare, my Jeep warms up in 1/3 of the time...maybe it's cuz it's has 2 more cylinders and is American...

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      02-10-2009 12:37 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by minnvw »
      Yes Rabbit, please let us know what your dealer says,, I still think a hotter thermostat in these eos would help , plus the heaters arent up to par as far as im concered either , my dealer doesnt show a hotter thermostat for the eos?

      update - i'm hoping to get my car into the shop next monday, since it's a holiday for us gov't contractors

      we'll see what they say. personally, i'm betting on the standard "we couldn't replicate the issue" response


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      02-10-2009 07:05 PM #23
      Is this what you guys are talking about? After reading this, I figured I check out the eos, and found this. The car just had the 20K done about 2K ago.

      WTF is this???

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    24. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-10-2009 07:18 PM #24
      Yes Ollie thats the white GUNK we been talking about, its moisture and im sure its not doing the engine any good. I think vw best find a solution for this or its going to come back and bite them in the ass. I cant belive its good for any longevity to be running a engine with all that moisture in there?
      This is not just a one car problem, Its across the board EVERY EOS, is doing this. The only ones that arent are the ones that the owners never pop the fill cap off and look at

    25. Member Ollie18's Avatar
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      02-10-2009 07:24 PM #25
      Thanks man...in regards to warming up, my wife has no complaints about the car warming up in the cold weather in MI....Also, we definitely do not do short trip driving at all considering she has a 45+mi commute each way...


      Modified by Ollie18 at 7:26 PM 2-10-2009
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    26. 02-10-2009 08:26 PM #26
      Your statement about all Eoss doing this is funny. Mine for one doesn't have this. I let my engine heat up and of course the weather is warmer here.

    27. Member Rabbit5GTI's Avatar
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      02-10-2009 08:34 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by vweosdriver »
      Your statement about all Eoss doing this is funny. Mine for one doesn't have this. I let my engine heat up and of course the weather is warmer here.

      of course it wont happen to you, you live in alabama. i lived a winter in south carolina w/ the GTI and I had nothing...now living in DC where it actually can get cold in the morning, i have the white gunk.


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      02-10-2009 08:42 PM #28
      for what it is worth....our 09 Passat 2.0TSI we picked up on 12/23 does not have this...
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    29. Moderator just4fun's Avatar
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      02-10-2009 09:07 PM #29
      Just out of curiosity, is everyone who has reported the white foam/gunk using Castrol Syntec??

      Is anyone using something else, but still getting the white foam/gunk.

      I'm not saying it is the oil, but just trying to start a process of elimination.

      Kevin


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      02-10-2009 09:18 PM #30
      Castrol Syntec here.
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    31. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-10-2009 09:22 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by Ollie18 »
      Thanks man...in regards to warming up, my wife has no complaints about the car warming up in the cold weather in MI....Also, we definitely do not do short trip driving at all considering she has a 45+mi commute each way...


      Modified by Ollie18 at 7:26 PM 2-10-2009


      Well our shortest trip is 30 miles each way so , like you Ollie long distant, and mines in heated garage this winter now , so not much warm up time is needed, although it doesnt do much good to let eos warm up , be cause you wont get any heat until you drive it some, yes i use the castrol syn


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      02-11-2009 06:55 AM #32
      for what it's worth, I do use syntec.

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      02-11-2009 07:00 AM #33
      Syntec here too. The 09 Passat (09s in general) have a completely redesigned 2.0T. They may not have these symptoms due to different construction materials, crankcase breathing, warm up times, ect.

    34. Member minnvw's Avatar
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      02-11-2009 08:11 AM #34
      Quote, originally posted by solarflare »
      Syntec here too. The 09 Passat (09s in general) have a completely redesigned 2.0T. They may not have these symptoms due to different construction materials, crankcase breathing, warm up times, ect.

      Passast and Jetta are completely different ive driven both in the winter. they heat up just fine. and i dont really think it makes any difference which kinda of oil you run, it will still build up moisture in the eos


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      02-11-2009 09:00 AM #35
      Quote, originally posted by minnvw »

      Passast and Jetta are completely different ive driven both in the winter. they heat up just fine. and i dont really think it makes any difference which kinda of oil you run, it will still build up moisture in the eos

      Very true, however it is possible that the problem is not moisture buildup. Some of the posters have confirmed they are driving far enough to fully warm the engine which should evaporate any moisture, unless the cranckcase is not venting properly.

      As I posted earlier in this thread I experienced white foam buildup on a mid eighties Buick Skylark. I was using Castrol non synthetic at the time and a mechanic friend recommended I try a different oil. I switched to Esso oil and the foaming disappeared.

      I'm not saying this is the problem, just suggesting that maybe someone would like to try a different brand of VW approved synthetic on their next oil change to see if it eliminates the foam/gunk buildup.

      It would be a fairly simple way to possibly eliminate one potential cause.

      FWIW I use Amsoil in or Eos and we do not have the buildup.

      Kevin



      Modified by just4fun at 7:01 AM 2-11-2009


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