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    Thread: Desperate for help on low engine oil light 2010 Tiguan

    1. 06-23-2020 09:38 AM #1
      In August 2019, someone hit and totalled my 2005 Toyota Corolla. I purchased a used 2010 Tiguanm. From day 0 it has had issues. I drove the car home but as I got off the highway it screamed and flashed low oil pressure. I pulled over to check the oil but everything appeared fine. The light disappeared instantly with no recurrence. Nearer my home it happened again.

      I contacted the dealership immediately and they sent a tow truck the next day and brought the vehicle to their garage. To my knowledge (just what they told me) they replaced a sensor and could not replicate the issue. The issue immediately reoccurred for me once I had the vehicle again. I contacted them again and they asked me to bring it to my local VW dealership and they would pay for the inspection. The VW dealership found no codes despite the incident happening within the last 24 hours.

      Now, as Winter approached, the issue seemed to fade and my regular commute is very short (10 minutes) so the issue was not at the forefront of my mind. Even with the issue occurring rarely during this time period the vehicle drove fine. Now that it is back to the warmer months and the quarantine is lifting I’m having to make some longer trips again and the screaming and flashing light is appearing more and more often. I will describe when I have seen it most often and when it does not occur:

      • A few baselines:
        • The oil is full
        • VW said the pressure was fine in their tests and again no codes
        • I also checked for codes within an hour of warnings - 0 codes found

      • It never occurs at highway speeds
      • It never appears within 20 minutes or so of driving if the car is cool
      • I believe it is more likely to appear when my foot is off the accelerator not necessarily breaking
      • Breaking seems to make it more likely to appear
      • Taking sharper turns or going downhill make it more likely to appear
      • It occurs more when hot


      Currently it has 5w-30 in it which I believe is in spec. I do not know if this is related because I do not know what was in it before it was last changed since I did not own it but it was still having issues then.


      As an example, I drove to my parent's house a couple of days ago for my birthday and the vehicle was fine getting to the highway ~20 mins. Getting off one highway onto another on a 270deg ramp breaking it went off. No problems on that highway and then once off it went off very often at almost every slight slowdown. I pulled off into a parking lot to let it cool down for ~15 minutes to hopefully finish the rest of the way in peace. It went off once more after ~10 minutes more driving before I got where I was going.

      It’s clear to me that whoever originally got rid of the vehicle must have had this issue. The carfax was immaculate. It was effectively a 1 owner car and they had taken it to the dealer for every 10k mile recommended maintenance. I would not have seen this during the test drive as I mentioned it takes some time and is more likely under certain conditions. I do not know what responsibility the dealer has to fix this issue. My understanding is the law is quite lax here and does not protect the buyer much if at all.

      Pretty lousy situation for the first car I bought on my own

      What should I do?
      Last edited by circargs; 06-23-2020 at 09:45 AM. Reason: add example

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      06-23-2020 10:20 AM #2
      If the sensor was replaced then I’d say try replacing the oil pump if you’re willing to keep at this. Really, it could get pretty expensive.

      You bought a 10yr old used car. Some dealers around me offer a 3mo 1000mil warranty but I don’t think any would do that for a 10yr old car. The dealer has zero responsibility in this and its up to you to do your checks before purchase, Sorry not trying to sound mean.

      This is going to be a good learning experience but keep your head up, most of us had made plenty of mistakes in the past.

      I would probably shop around for A small Euro shop and compare diagnosis fees. Pay the first $150 or so and then decide if the cost of the recommended fix is worth it. It still might not fix the problem.

      If not, carmax/trade in/donate the car/ride it to the ground. Might want to get AAA or make sure you insurance has towing if you decide to run it to the ground.

      Good luck and I hope you post the outcome.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    4. 06-23-2020 11:22 AM #3
      Thanks a lot for your honesty. I should have also mentioned I plan to drive the car straight into the ground regardless I just want to drive it 100k miles into the ground. The corolla I was driving had over 200k miles and was still cruising.

      I purchased an extended warranty on it. I purchased the "Advantage- Total Exclusionary" version of "Smart Autocare" (can't post links so if you care it's first in my google search). Do you have any opinion on whether it was wise?
      Last edited by circargs; 06-23-2020 at 11:34 AM.

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      06-23-2020 04:28 PM #4
      Unfortunately low oil pressure will not set a fault in the engine, as the sensor is not used by the engine computer. The dealer techs should know better than to use that as an indicator of an oil pressure issue. The warning will only go to the instrument cluster where it will put up a warning telling you to stop immediately, or some similar message. The dealer needs to check oil pressure once the engine is fully warmed up, and best after it was under heavy load to get the oil very hot. While I have not seen an oil pump wear out on a Tiguan, I have seen it on an Audi A4 2L, which is an almost identical engine, that I totally rebuilt the engine on. That would have OK oil pressure when cold and warm, but once it got hot the oil pressure would drop to 10-12PSI at idle. Spec is over 20PSI. I knew everything in the engine was tight, so I replaced the oil pump and viola!, good oil pressure. On my Tiguan with 10k on the engine I see 22PSI oil pressure with hot oil after "ripping on it" a bit. I do use 5w 40, but that really shouldn't make a difference. Do make sure that you ONLY use factory oil filters though. While it sounds crazy, I have definitely seen poor quality oil filters (especially those from quickie lube places) cause oil pressure issues, and even engine damage. I assume that because a VW dealer looked at it, that it did have the right filter.

      So, keep on them. This IS an issue and if allowed to go on will not get better by itself. Whether it is just the oil pump or something else, like a worn balance shaft housing can only really be determined by a process of elimination of the "easy" stuff, like the oil pump, or full engine disassembly, which I doubt they will do, as in general if it is anything other than straightforward, bolt-on things of which the oil pump is about the farthest they will go, is a problem, anything else will likely trigger engine replacement.

      Sorry, but your Tiguan will NOT be as reliable as your '05 Toyota. That is just the way it is. VWs tend have major service requirements every 60-100k and are definitely not tolerant of neglected maintenance, poor quality oil or filters or abuse, especially these 2L TSIs. These 10k oil change/maintenance intervals do not do these engines any favors, and definitely leads to more failures. Good thing you got the warranty, as you will be using it. I would count on having to do a timing chain replacement at 80-100k, along with a carbon clean of the intake ports on the head. Hopefully your Tiguan has already had a timing chain service and new chain tensioner. You didn't say how many miles are on your Tiguan, but I am guessing 80-100k, which is prime time for a timing chain failure, especially if it isn't getting good oil pressure.

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      06-23-2020 06:00 PM #5
      Qmulus provided good information.

      I’m assuming you’re still under the extended warranty which is probably going to pay for itself. Go to the VW dealer with the light on and tell the service advisor about your warranty. They will work directly with them.

      It does sound like the car needs to be driven in warmer weather for the light to be consistent. Maybe let them know that too.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    8. 06-24-2020 10:00 AM #6
      Current mileage ~102000mi

      Yesterday I put 10w-40 in it since it seemed like it could help at least a little. It does have a Fram filter on it now. When I bought it it had an OEM. After the dealer looked at it they put some off brand. When I changed it I put on one from the store so I'll keep swapping that out with a Mann one which I believe is the OEM (MANN W71945 via google) in mind.

      Those things are about the easiest things for me to start with. I'll try driving it to the point where it usually goes off and I'll measure the oil under idle. This may sounds like a dumb question, but will I be able to turn off the car, take the sensor out, screw in the gauge and measure the pressure at idle? Would this give me an accurate idea or would I need to rev it or do something seemingly silly like run a hose into my cabin and watch the gauge during the drive

    9. 06-24-2020 10:14 AM #7
      For the sake of anyone coming upon this in the future and for my statement on changing the oil to 40 weight, this video is quite good: www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8teB16U0LA
      Last edited by circargs; 06-24-2020 at 10:21 AM. Reason: make link an actual link

    10. 06-24-2020 10:20 AM #8
      I have also continuously forgotten to mention it, but there is absolutely no overheating. The temp needle is pinned at 190 (once the vehicle has been run of course) regardless of ambient temperature and regardless of how many times oil pressure warning has appeared.

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      06-24-2020 11:26 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by circargs View Post
      Current mileage ~102000mi

      Yesterday I put 10w-40 in it since it seemed like it could help at least a little. It does have a Fram filter on it now. When I bought it it had an OEM. After the dealer looked at it they put some off brand. When I changed it I put on one from the store so I'll keep swapping that out with a Mann one which I believe is the OEM (MANN W71945 via google) in mind.

      Those things are about the easiest things for me to start with. I'll try driving it to the point where it usually goes off and I'll measure the oil under idle. This may sounds like a dumb question, but will I be able to turn off the car, take the sensor out, screw in the gauge and measure the pressure at idle? Would this give me an accurate idea or would I need to rev it or do something seemingly silly like run a hose into my cabin and watch the gauge during the drive
      I would not run Fram oil filters. Check out the filter reviews on youtube. Quite enlightening...

      I know you aren't asking this, but just to clarify, the oil light that comes on is not for oil level. These cars do NOT have an oil level (or temperature for that matter) sensor, just a switch that is checked by the instrument cluster under certain conditions (like idle). If this light has come on and you find low or no oil, chances are the engine is done because there is no longer any oil being sucked up at the pick up and the engine is getting no lubrication whatsoever. That normally only happens if you have a big oil leak or never change oil. Yes, some people don't seem to know you need to change oil regularly. Generally, I have seen the cars that have low pressure at idle have decent pressure at higher RPM, and if corrected don't seem to have excess wear to bearings or journals. I have also seen cars that went really long oil change intervals with trashed cam journals, but no oil pressure issues.

      YES, if you want to check the oil pressure, it is super easy. Even Harbor Freight has a $20 kit that is fine for this kind of thing. You are exactly right that all you have to do is unscrew the pressure switch (24mm) located on the oil filter housing, and screw in the gauge with the appropriate fitting (10x1?). When the oil is hot you should have ~22PSI+ of oil pressure. The ones that I have seen setting the light randomly are usually 15 PSI or less. Note when cold you will see 50 PSI+ dropping quickly as it warms up. You might be at or above spec when warm, but it drops when it gets hot.

      Other simple things that can cause oil pressure issues? A bad PCV assembly has been know to cause oil pressure issues. The quick check is to pull off the oil filler cap when running. There should be some vacuum there, but should be able to pull the cap off and the engine should run poorly with it off. If not, it is definitely bad. There is also a vent hole on the plastic cover over the diaphragm. There should NOT be vacuum there. If there is, the diaphragm is torn. Next, there is a plastic oil relief screen thing under the oil filter. It is the spring loaded thing that pops up when you remove the filter. These are cheap and easy to change, so if you are shotgunning parts to try to diagnose oil pressure, it is something to check off the list. I think the O rings on them can leak.

      IME, about 50% of the time legitimate oil pressure issues are with failing balance shafts, and the other 50% is something else like the stuff listed above. While people often think worn bearings will cause low oil pressure, in my experience bearing failures on these engines results in knocking or catastrophic failure, not intermittent oil pressure lights. Oh, and I would not assume the switch is good just because it was just replaced. I had a '13 Tiguan setting the light intermittently last year that a shop replaced the switch on and sent down the road. A week later it was back with the same problem. They said it was a real oil pressure problem. I found the oil pressure was fine, but the switch they put in (a cheap VAICO brand) was leaking, with the connector full of oil. Replaced the switch with a factory one (maybe a buck or two more expensive) and it was happy again.
      Last edited by Qmulus; 06-24-2020 at 11:33 AM.

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      06-24-2020 12:08 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Qmulus View Post

      IME, about 50% of the time legitimate oil pressure issues are with failing balance shafts, and the other 50% is something else like the stuff listed above. While people often think worn bearings will cause low oil pressure, in my experience bearing failures on these engines results in knocking or catastrophic failure, not intermittent oil pressure lights.
      My 2010 had this in the oil pan:




      Didn't make a single unusual noise.

      Oil Pressure warning came on just as OP described.

    13. 06-24-2020 12:59 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by dorkage View Post
      My 2010 had this in the oil pan:


      Didn't make a single unusual noise.

      Oil Pressure warning came on just as OP described.
      And what was your issue

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      06-24-2020 01:58 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by circargs View Post
      And what was your issue
      I don't know the issue, but the solution was a 2012 GTI engine.

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      06-24-2020 08:44 PM #13
      Classic bits of the balance shaft housing in my experience. Perfect engine to build.

      My '09 Tiguan that had a seized balance shaft looked just like that, as did two other CCTAs with damaged balance shafts that I have seen. The good thing is that those pieces are aluminum and fall right into the pan. Pieces small enough to go through the screen on the oil pickup can go through the pump, but the filter will get that. On mine, the engine was condemned after a dealer tech saw that upon pulling the pan with with the engine seized. I ended up getting it that way, and put in a replacement from a '13 with 70 miles on it (an NTSA side impact crash test car - I even found the video!). I saved the original and am now building it to go back in. I disassembled the oil pump to check for debris, and damage, and found that although some small bits of aluminum made it into the pump, I was unable to see any marks on the gears or in the pump housing. I am guessing anything that may it that far just got ground up by the pump gears and sent into the filter. The pump did go into an industrial ultrasonic cleaner with the oil cooler, oil filter bracket, and anything else small enough to fit in, including the head, so everything is spotless. I have that techs will often just replace balance shafts, clean the pan, pick up and pump and run it. I honestly wouldn't have felt bad doing that after what I have seen.

      Other than that balance shaft everything in my engine was in great shape, so I did all the "while I'm there's" like chains and guides and tensioners, water pump, billet iAbed rear main seal, head clean, port and polish, Golf R exhaust valve springs, new (stock) intake manifold, PCV, etc. Oh, and an APR modified K04-064 to fit the CCTA.

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      06-24-2020 09:35 PM #14
      I just slapped the 2012 with 60k KM in over a weekend or two. It was a lot easier for me to do that since I was moving in a month.

      I have since totaled my 2010 and have a 2013 with 180k KM. So this weekend or next I'll drop it and put it in the 2013. I just hope I don't need to spend $1000CDN on software for my K04.

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      06-25-2020 08:43 PM #15
      Sorry about your problems. Sounds like something electrical since you mention "that it happened again" a few times. Does anything happen except that the light goes on? If so it sounds completely electrical. It would also help to know where you're located. I would bring it in with the light on since you have some kind of warranty. I've had Toyotas and VW's and I have to say that the reliability over a period of over 40 years the VW's are far better and more reliable in my experience so don't pay too much attention to any individuals reliability experience including my own (about 4 of each). One thing I would do is to do an extensive test drive before buying any used car. If it's used I'm driving for at least a half hour to 1 hour. I wish you the best of luck and please come back to relay any updates or if you need more help.

    18. 06-27-2020 04:52 PM #16
      I've gone ahead and made a frankenstein setup to check my oil pressure from the sensor location. I managed to get a 10x1mm brake line to 5/16in adapter at Napa and did my best to hook a hose with a hose clamp to a brake line. I put a little thread tape on the 10x1 and fastened it into the block. No real leaks until it blew off. The readings were:

      Start: 21psi
      Running for a few seconds: 20psi
      ~1500rpm: 30psi
      ~2000rpm:40psi
      >2000rpm: hose blew off

      The car was warm. Keep in mind I performed this test with 10w-40 oil I mentioned I just replaced 5w-30 with days ago. Today was the first drive that would have any chance to set of the light. The light still went off but only a single time. I tried to push the car hard. The air conditioning was on. The trip was around 70 miles about 3/4 at least were highway miles. The ambient temp during the drive was between 79f and 83f. Before I arrived at my destination the light was triggered a single time this drive - approaching a stop light after getting off the highway.Of course my drive from there featured a few more opportunities where I have seen the lightly commonly go off but this time it only went off the one time. My trip a week ago it went off ~10 times.

      The car had around 30-40mins to cool, a 15min drive for supplies, 15min off, 15min drive back then the test. It was raining at this point so the ambient temperature has gone to about 75f. The car temperature is still pinned at 190 (dead center of my temperature gauge) before the test.

      I have a video of the gauge during the test which I could upload to youtube if it would somehow help. The needle wasn't wobbling at all really. The pressures I list above were pretty much pinned to at those rpms by the needle.

      One detail I'm not sure if it is related or if this is a common VW thing is that when I hit the breaks downhill the rpms jump and the car seems to rev until it seems to shift at which point the rpms go back to a normal level. I'm talking the car is driving at 2-3k rpm I hit downhill and hit the breaks and the rpms jump to 4k or so and then drop slightly until an ultimate "shift" I'll say and they drop. This was not the case with my old car.

    19. 06-27-2020 05:02 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by barbados11 View Post
      Sounds like something electrical since you mention "that it happened again" a few times.
      Not sure I understand quite what you mean by it being electrical since "it happened again". I just mean that it isn't very consistent but it happens under the conditions I initially described or seemingly not at all.

      Quote Originally Posted by barbados11 View Post
      Does anything happen except that the light goes on? If so it sounds completely electrical.
      The light goes on but does not stay on. The noise blares, the center screen on the gauge panel flashes something like "low engine oil pressure engine off" with a big red oil can. Sometimes, but not always a little red oil can will reappear at the top of the screen and flash but no noise nor message is with it (it only occupies the top of my screen and whatever I have displayed usually mpgs remain) and this happens only if the blaring noise and message which occupies the entire screen with the large red oil can has appeared already.

      Nothing else but the light comes on. I cannot confidently say the car feels any different, before, during, or after the alert.

      Quote Originally Posted by barbados11 View Post
      It would also help to know where you're located.
      West in Hartford County, CT

      Quote Originally Posted by barbados11 View Post
      I would bring it in with the light on since you have some kind of warranty.
      I have brought it in before but as I say the mechanics have not replicated the issue. The light and message does not remain and no codes seem to be stored in the system. Qmulus above suggests the no codes is because the sensor is only for the instrument cluster and does not communicate with the computer.

      I am currently scheduled to take it to the service center of a local vw but they want to charge $95/hour for diagnosis. If they find an issue and it is covered by my extended warranty (which it should be since this is a 5-year 80k mile all encompassing warranty supposedly) then the diagnosis costs and repairs will be covered however if they are unable to diagnose it then I would be out all the diagnosis fees.

      The service center for the used car dealer I bought it from suggested they would not charge a diagnosis fee and that all work would be covered under the warranty they sold me. I'm currently leaning towards this one.
      Last edited by circargs; 06-27-2020 at 05:50 PM. Reason: added service details

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      06-29-2020 10:23 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by circargs View Post
      I've gone ahead and made a frankenstein setup to check my oil pressure from the sensor location. I managed to get a 10x1mm brake line to 5/16in adapter at Napa and did my best to hook a hose with a hose clamp to a brake line. I put a little thread tape on the 10x1 and fastened it into the block. No real leaks until it blew off. The readings were:

      Start: 21psi
      Running for a few seconds: 20psi
      ~1500rpm: 30psi
      ~2000rpm:40psi
      >2000rpm: hose blew off

      The car was warm. Keep in mind I performed this test with 10w-40 oil I mentioned I just replaced 5w-30 with days ago. Today was the first drive that would have any chance to set of the light. The light still went off but only a single time. I tried to push the car hard. The air conditioning was on. The trip was around 70 miles about 3/4 at least were highway miles. The ambient temp during the drive was between 79f and 83f. Before I arrived at my destination the light was triggered a single time this drive - approaching a stop light after getting off the highway.Of course my drive from there featured a few more opportunities where I have seen the lightly commonly go off but this time it only went off the one time. My trip a week ago it went off ~10 times.

      The car had around 30-40mins to cool, a 15min drive for supplies, 15min off, 15min drive back then the test. It was raining at this point so the ambient temperature has gone to about 75f. The car temperature is still pinned at 190 (dead center of my temperature gauge) before the test.

      I have a video of the gauge during the test which I could upload to youtube if it would somehow help. The needle wasn't wobbling at all really. The pressures I list above were pretty much pinned to at those rpms by the needle.

      One detail I'm not sure if it is related or if this is a common VW thing is that when I hit the breaks downhill the rpms jump and the car seems to rev until it seems to shift at which point the rpms go back to a normal level. I'm talking the car is driving at 2-3k rpm I hit downhill and hit the breaks and the rpms jump to 4k or so and then drop slightly until an ultimate "shift" I'll say and they drop. This was not the case with my old car.
      The oil pressure values seem about normal. Have you replaced the oil pressure sensor? If so, did you use a factory sensor?

      As for the transmission behavior, are you driving in Sport mode?
      Last edited by Qmulus; 06-29-2020 at 05:50 PM.

    21. Semi-n00b RichRios's Avatar
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      06-29-2020 05:43 PM #19
      I recently had the same red warning light - Low oil pressure! issue with my 2010 Tiguan SE with 74K miles. I first replaced the oil & filter with Mobil 1 Euro 0W-40 and new filter, but no joy . Then I added Liqui Moly flush (Black cap) and idled for 15min, drained and refilled with fresh Mobil 1 0W-40 and new filter. Still no joy . Was getting ready to drop the oil pan thinking that not using car much during the COVID-19 lock-down had caused sludge to accumulate around the oil pickup, but thought I'd replace the oil sensor (right under the oil filter) first.

      The original one was 06A919081F 1.2 - 1.6 bar made by FEP Germany. The latest VW p/n ends in "J" but I used an aftermarket Herko OPS811 and problem solved (fingers crossed) .

      Your dealer reportedly said they replaced the sensor, but I would review the p/n and maybe even try an aftermarket alternative as they are inexpensive.

      If that doesn't work, drop the pan and check the oil pickup tube's screen. If it can't be cleaned, get a new one: 06J115251M. Also, check the oil pump for scoring: 06J115105AG but that'll be much more expensive. Good luck!
      Last edited by RichRios; 06-29-2020 at 05:47 PM.
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    22. 06-29-2020 08:39 PM #20
      The dealer said they replaced the sensor. I will have to check with them again. When I took it out it was an Audi sensor.

      As for the mode that's a good question. Shows how familiar I am with these things. The only "modes" my corolla had that come to mind are overdrive on and off
      Last edited by circargs; 06-29-2020 at 09:05 PM.

    23. 06-29-2020 09:03 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by RichRios View Post
      The original one was 06A919081F 1.2 - 1.6 bar made by FEP Germany. The latest VW p/n ends in "J" but I used an aftermarket Herko OPS811 and problem solved (fingers crossed) .

      Your dealer reportedly said they replaced the sensor, but I would review the p/n and maybe even try an aftermarket alternative as they are inexpensive.
      I'm not sure about the p/n you mention but until I check I do know the logo on the sensor was the Audi rings and no VW (I know they are the same company) like the one here https://c1552172.ssl.cf0.rackcdn.com/95843_x800.webp. Did your original have these markings or was it VW. I'm not sure about the markings on this VW stuff but I'm guessing it usually has Audi markings and not VW if the parts are shared?

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      06-30-2020 06:19 PM #22
      Also make sure that you got the right sensor. Audi 2Ls use two oil pressure sensors, and if they somehow put in the wrong one, like a 1.8bar sensor, that could cause strange behavior. The good thing is that it looks like your pressures are OK, so I would think that it is probably a sensor issue, not an actual pressure issue.

      What color is the plastic part of the sensor on your engine?
      Last edited by Qmulus; 06-30-2020 at 07:05 PM.

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