[Vwdiesel] observations on Tdi Passat after 1yr(long)

James Hansen jhsg at sk.sympatico.ca
Wed May 15 01:26:12 EDT 2002

On Tuesday, May 14, 2002 11:25 AM, maded [SMTP:maded at gte.net] wrote:
> Greetings all,
> I think I suggested comparing notes with Loren about our 97 Passat Tdi's
> recently.  Now, after 1yr of ownership here are some observations:
> In general, I really like finally having a "nice car".

Ain't it tho'.

> There does seem to be some coupling in the throttle by wire, PIO causes a
> slight jerking when trying to drive for economy.  It can be shifted at
> around 2000 rpm and driven on the level at under 2k.  When driving
> "normally" the "jerkiness" is not noticeable.

I forget, this was discussed on Fred's, you can change some adaptation values
to overcome this.  Call me stupid, I didn't bookmark it, now it's essentially
lost, as the search function is the only really bad thing about the tdi
forums...   Hayden, you seen it?  I'll look some time when I get a chance.

> The power equipment is troublesome.  The door locks often hesitate, the
> driver side window will not raise fully; the last inch it makes a terrible
> ratcheting sound and must be helped by hand, it then sags back down ~1/2
> inch.  The moon roof has worked well.

The window regulators are suppposed to be a weakness on these.  With the doors
open, listen where the rubber boot holding the wiring loom and air hoses goes
from door to body, while someone locks and unlocks doors.  You might have a
crack in the hose- it gets brittle with age. (more good news...) Crack in one
spot affects the entire system ( ask me how I know this...)

> The power steering is also rather odd.  It has quite a resistance to being
> moved, yet is very sensitive.  Finger pressure on the wheel causes a turn,
> yet deliberate turning is resisted...rather like a dampener is in the loop.
> I can't get used to this...I have to use a 5 & 7 hold on the wheel instead
> of my prefered 10 & 2 or I will wander all over the road.

Never liked Beagles myself either.  Had a set, almost as bad as the Firestone
Firechickens that were almost uncontrollable on gravel.  I would guess your
suspension changes that have been done, were for looks, not handling, and the
caster is off.  Most folks don't realize that a LOT of skull sweat goes into a
german car's suspension, and changes are not necessarily for the better. They
must beat themselves to death to get that european car feel just right.   Ours
is stock, and just freaky how you can throw it around in corners without losing
it.  Done some impromptu parking lot slalom work, and it is real sweet. Like on
rails at 180kph.  Handles like a dream, makes the A2 seem like a kid's toy.
 That said, to be shallow for a minute, the Passat dropped in the weeds look is
VERY nice.... Gotum big tires on ours too..... Not really necessary, but spokes
and wide rubber looks gooood.... (yes, shallow I know....)

> As for smoking, it did not when we got it.  Just a little puff at start up
> and hard acceleration.  Now, after a year, it is smoking substantially at
> start and acceleration produces a noticeable haze behind the car.  The MPG
> has also dropped.  With the top box off but the roof rack still in place the
> MPG is about 40.

Yeah, what Hayden said.  You might find that using delvac 1 synthetic oil helps
the coking- less volatiles in the oil to get driven off and mix with the hot
exhaust gases where the egr comes in.  You may also find that setting the egr
duty cycle to the lowest permissible setting also helps.  You need vag-com to
do this.  Using non turbo diesel rated oil would really accelerate this I would
imagine- much more lighter oils in the intake system. Cleaning and prevention
should be the fix.
> I have done nothing with the car except get the roof rack and service at the
> dealer; a new timing belt at 65k, new serpentine belt at 75k, 3 oil changes
> using the dealer supplied Castrol this all in ~12k miles.  I will be going
> in to the dealer for another OC and have the window fixed, this time using
> Rotella Synthetic.

That would be synthetic blend.  It does seem to be a good oil, and is what I
use too.  Since the court case(s) between Mobil and Quaker state redefined
"synthetic" as a marketing term rather than a description of the manner in
which the oil is produced, you really have to be a smart shopper, and read the
fine print.  There is synthetic, and there is "synthetic".  There is finally
someone local selling delvac, so this may change next oil change too, but it
would be delvac1 summer, 0-40 rotella in winter.

 Dealer service is expensive, the car is costing almost
> as much  as it cost me to maintain the old airplane I had, but of course we
> put a lot more time in the car.  When I get more time I would like to
> maintain it myself so I will need the maintenance manuals.  If any one has
> an extra set, I would be interested.

Let's hope the TBO on the passat is better than the plane too...  Dealer
service on Passat is a friggin rip off. That's why I've spent some modest
dollars on tools like vag-com.  That's the hook- they got you unless you can
talk to the car now.  If you can't, for any service involving electronics or
any component that talks to the ecu, you are forced to go to the dealer to have
to installed physically and electronically, so it communicates properly and
doesn't cause mil to happen.  It also is a distressing trend to me that there
is no end in sight- the new cars have even more stuff that communicates
diagnostically.  Pretty soon if there is a taillight bulb out, the "check car
into dealer" light will come on so you can run down and have the computer reset
so it recognizes the new bulb.... What ever happened to simpler is better??
On manuals- if you have any intention of getting vag-com, or reading your own
dtc's (diagnostic test codes) through a code reader  you should get the cd.  It
has the whole paper manual in there, plus a bunch of stuff pertaining to dtc's
and obdII systems, not found in the paper manual.  If you don't care to get
into that, the paper manual is better IMO.  You can flip pages in a manual, It
just isn't the same doing it on a laptop...  You can browse a book, on a
computer you search, and search, and search.......


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