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    Thread: How important is the front splash shield (belly pan)?

    1. 07-06-2009 12:32 PM #1
      So about a week ago I was driving and hit a possum. At the time I thought the damage was just to the fender liner on the driver's side and the lower front grill. This weekend I was doing some maintenance and found that both fender liners were damaged (slightly) and the front splash shield had been cracked and most of the passenger side was ripped off.
      How important is the splash shield? Are there any major problems running without?
      My car is not lowered and if it matters it is the V6.

    2. Member Capt. Obvious's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 23rd, 2006
      996 C4S, Unnecessarily large truck, bike
      07-06-2009 12:37 PM #2
      It aids in engine cooling and helps the car run quieter, but you're not really going to notice it's gone. It's good to have one, but it's not a show-stopper if you don't.

    3. 07-06-2009 02:13 PM #3
      Lost mine to a racoon about 2 years ago, no issues, saves time when doing oil changes too.

    4. Member
      Join Date
      May 2nd, 2001
      2012 CW Golf R 4dr, 2017 SB GSW 4MO
      07-06-2009 02:26 PM #4
      It will keep the underside cleaner and slow down the damage from anything on the road. Get a new one. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    5. Member pablitodub's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 13th, 2007
      West G-Burg, MD
      2005 OEM + VW Passat GLX V6-4motion wagon & 2014 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD
      07-06-2009 07:02 PM #5

    6. 07-06-2009 07:26 PM #6
      I have saved what is left of the shield (the sides were pretty much gone. So I have the middle section mounted and may consider going to pick-a-part at some point, but replacing this is not high on my list of priorities on this car.
      Thanks everyone for your input. If I were keeping the car long term I would definitely look into the after market skid plate.

    7. 07-06-2009 09:01 PM #7
      The pan for the W8 Passat is heavier duty and way cheaper than the one that came with the other model Passats.. There is a thread on Passat World about part # for W8 pan...the pan also adds some streamlining under car to help with drag coefficient..so you'll loose some mpg...how much is questionable, by not having the pan in place. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      96 Golf...Gone...But not forgotten..Great ride!
      2000 Passat GLX...Gone...But not forgotten either..have scars on my knuckles from all the "wrenching" to keep it on the road!
      2008 Rabbit S, VWsport springs/OEM shocks, GTI brakes all around, GTI rear swaybar...best balanced car I've had in a while!

    8. Member denm33's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 29th, 2007
      Arlington, VA
      05 V8 Touareg; 03 Passat wgn; '10 Passat wgn; 01 Eurovan; 1974 VW 412; 1970 & 71 VW Beetle
      07-17-2009 03:59 PM #8
      Plus it keeps your engine really clean. I have a friend that has a 2007 rice burner that has no pan, his engine is filthy! My 2003 is still clean like new. My 2005 even cleaner.

    9. 07-22-2009 08:19 PM #9
      I agree with the theory that gas mileage is supposed to be better with the skid plate/splash shield on. It's supposed to reduce air drag under the vehicle. I think VW miscalculated the air flow through this engine bay.
      3 months ago the dealer worked on my W8 and left some of the fasteners out. It was cracked anyway, so I took it off and went to the dealer to confront them on the missing fasteners. They agreed to replace all my fasteners if I bought a new shield. I ordered the shield and never went back to pick it up because my gas mileage went up 1-2 miles per gallon with it off. I'm guessing that there is not a large enough area around/behind the engine to let the air escape. This causes the opening of the grill to work as a parachute. Removing the splash pan helps air move through the grill and out of the engine bay.
      Evidence that my theory is correct is the rubber/foam seals sealing the front bumper skin/air dam to the front sub frame and the rubber seal that seals the hood to the top of the engine bay. Since I've owned this car I've had trouble with these seals coming loose, tearing, and/or squirting out from their designed location. I've had to use 3M adhesive to hold them in place. Every time I do a high speed blast of 120+mph the seals have to be put back in place. With the removal of the splash shield, I have not had to reinstall or glue any of the engine compartment seals back in place. Hence, my gas mileage improved due to less air resistence.
      That aluminum pan that was advertised on this thread was less expensive than a new fiber/plastic one from the dealer.

    10. 07-24-2009 03:22 AM #10
      time to be informed people, that belly pan for a w8 is wayyyyy more expensive than anything else ever. back in the day it was cheaper than the v6 but now both of them are less expensive than that metal monster as ungivun2 said. i guess vw finally caught on to our little scheme. don't break that pan, yo. or you'll have to morgage your house. also, lowes carries all the fastiners you'll ever need for that pan and way cheaper than the stealership...except the back of the engine screws/bolts use zip ties or be creative in the nuts and bolts dept at lowes but they have all the plastic parts. i bought extras since they were so cheap. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    11. 07-24-2009 05:23 PM #11
      ZIp Ties!!! That's what the VW dealer put back in place of my original twistlock metal fasteners. That's what pissed me off.
      I'm tempted to put the splash/air/skid shield back on to see if the gas mileage goes back down.
      I'm still amazed every time I fill up. I never went more than 360 miles on a tank of gas before even with all interstate driving. Now every tank of gas is 360 miles. If I drive all highway/interstate it goes 400 miles.

    12. 08-27-2009 05:35 PM #12
      Quote, originally posted by denm33 »
      Plus it keeps your engine really clean. I have a friend that has a 2007 rice burner that has no pan, his engine is filthy! My 2003 is still clean like new. My 2005 even cleaner.

      I learned a new phrase today...rice burner lol
      can anyone tell me or show me the exact procedure for removing the W8's belly pan?

    13. 10-01-2010 01:29 PM #13
      The 'official' name for the so-called belly pan is the Noise Insulation Panel. This device is used widely on VW/Audi for reducing noise from the engine compartment to the outside world, not the interior. Note that this annoying device can and does change both the engine compartment pressure and temperatures and will have an effect on various dynamics at different speeds/operating temperatures. Dealers love to mangle them and bang you anytime they can....my dealer literally reinstalled the pan so that it became competely distorted and was destroyed on a long trip at speed.

      Aside from engine cleanliness, what also might be the downside of leaving it off......I would say VW has added this for 'environmental' reasons (my v6 is a very noisy system). Are the side-effects worse than the sneers from those Prius owners? The v6 in particular runs very hot in the small compartment and I would imagine the w8 hotter. My audi s4 with the 4.2 has the same belly pan system and the engine literally cooks inside the compartment for hours after shutdown. Hot running is not a problem however and are cooling effects in-fact less than optimal for engine performance? Hard to say really; if you see increased mileage by removing ths panel it is most likely due to reduced pressure drag and the slight cooling effect is negligable at operating temps.

      Under body aero improvements at high speed might slightly increase mileage, but be offset by the pressure increase? I did see one mention about damage from impact being slightly less when running over things.....Otherwise I cannot see any reason why this device really matters - lots of hair splitting for sure. Any engineers out there care to comment?

    14. Member scotts13's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 15th, 2007
      Lehigh County, Pa.
      2004 GLS 1.8T
      10-01-2010 03:22 PM #14
      I'm not sure what you mean by "pressure increase." Surely you're not suggesting the engine compartment is well enough sealed that there'd be an actual increase in air pressure? Even if there was, the engine doesn't breathe in or out of the engine compartment. Air comes in through the snorkel in the grill, and out through the exhaust. BTW, the belly pan doesn't affect retained heat, either - heat rises.

      IMHO, none of the individual advantages of the belly pan are compelling, but collectively they make it a good idea. Less noise, better aerodynamics, less road dirt, and at least some protection for the belly pan and belts.

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