Excessive Oil & Coolant Usage
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  1. #1
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    Excessive Oil & Coolant Usage

    I'm curious if anyone else has had similar problems (or maybe this is a common problem with the 1.8T) to what I've been experiencing lately. I have a 2004 Passat 1.8T that over the last couple months has been going through oil and coolant much faster than it seems it should be.

    In the case of the coolant I was running low on a trip to the coast and picked up a bottle of the manual specified grade and filled up the reservoir. Just 3 months later I was driving around town and I got the engine stop light for low coolant. Got out and checked the tank and sure enough I was almost out of coolant. I don't have a leak that I can tell. I've left my car overnight and I have no puddles or drip spots under the engine. I can't figure out if my car is using excessive amounts of coolant or if it has an incredibly slow leak??

    I have the similar issue with my oil. I never miss a change every 5,000 miles my car is in and gets full synthetic & oil filter. The last two changes I'm noticing my oil level is to the low mark in just 2,000-2,500 miles between changes. Again, I have no leak that I can find. No pooling of oil under the car when it sits for extended periods of time.

    I'm coming up on 135,000 miles and am planning on taking my car in for a bunch of regular maintenance items and will have all this checked out at that time. I thought I'd see if any of the sage Passat World folks have any ideas on what might be going on.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    While these cars tend to go through a bit of oil, virtually any loss of coolant is excessive. What you'll want to do is check for cross-contamination between oil and coolant - brown sludge in the coolant tank, separation in the oil. More likely, however, you'll find a small leak. G12 coolant will leave white/pink crusty deposits, so get the car up, remove the belly pan, and examine things with a strong light.

    In my case, a slight crack in the underside of the coolant overflow tank was costing me literally teaspoons a month; I didn't find it until I removed the tank for other reasons.

  4. #3
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    In my case, my coolant loss was the result of either a cracked coolant flange, or a bad rubber gasket. I just replaced both of them to be sure. I was losing maybe a gallon a year. The smell of the G12 coolant on the engine block is a very distinctive smell. At first I thought I had a blown head gasket, but thanks to PW forum someone pointed me in the direction of the coolant flange. I did the job myself based on very good write-ups here, it was a bear and I still have the scars on my left arm to prove it. Attached is a photo I took while snaking a digital camera around the back passenger side of the engine with a small digital camera. You can see where the leak was.

  5. #4
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    Well, almost same thing happened with my 1.8 T. So here is my own experience with this matter:

    The coolant reservior tank was slightly cracked so it was loosing coolant at long trips mostly. After having it replaced - car still has "minor" leak, about half a cup every 120-150 miles... Having it checked at dealer with pressure tool, still no idea for reason. But there were some signs of coolant at the radiator, so i guess it needs replacing sooner or later. I also think that the reservior cap is leaking aswell - will have to check that.

    About the oil leak- i found some oil on the spark plugs and ignition coils. So i had the valve cover gasket replaced two days ago. Hoping this solves the problem.

    Good luck!

  6. #5
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    could also be pcv system

  7. #6
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    I have 150,000 miles and am experiencing the same amount of oil loss. I haven't looked very closely, but I suspect it could be related to the turbo, possible the seals. I know I have a slight leak in the valve cover gasket and also the cam chain tensioner, but those two things alone should account for a quart or more of oil.

    As for the coolant, the above suggestions are probably correct. In addition, it could be leaking from the water pump. Sometimes it drips onto the belly pan, but dries up or evaporates and doesn't make it to the ground.

  8. #7
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    Thanks for the quick feedback everyone! Excellent pointers that I can check myself. Also good questions to pass onto the mechanic when I take it in for other maintenance as well.

    Good to know the actual issue seems to be minor and attributed to regular wear and tear.

    Thanks again!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Kam View Post
    About the oil leak- i found some oil on the spark plugs and ignition coils. So i had the valve cover gasket replaced two days ago. Hoping this solves the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by -BEE5- View Post
    could also be pcv system
    Just to expand on this a bit, it's pretty well established by the discission here that valve cover gasket leaks are caused by a clogged PCV system. Replacing the former without servicing the latter is a suckers game.

  10. #9
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    No jacking here, but when I got home from SoWo last night, I checked coolant level this morning and it's now a little below the minimum line, before it was spot on when level. I drove with A/C on, and 80 MPH for a couple hours (here and there, not the whole time). Ambient temp was in the 90s... any idea where it could have gone? I saw no drips anywhere today, and I had a coolant pipe ring replaced 4 months ago. I checked the cat, but it hasn't leaked there since previously mentioned ring was replaced.

  11. #10
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    I'm not sure if your taking it into account but I believe the coolant level is supposed to drop while the car is running. If you were losing that much coolant I would think you should be able to see a leak somewhere.


    Quote Originally Posted by nolesfan View Post
    No jacking here, but when I got home from SoWo last night, I checked coolant level this morning and it's now a little below the minimum line, before it was spot on when level. I drove with A/C on, and 80 MPH for a couple hours (here and there, not the whole time). Ambient temp was in the 90s... any idea where it could have gone? I saw no drips anywhere today, and I had a coolant pipe ring replaced 4 months ago. I checked the cat, but it hasn't leaked there since previously mentioned ring was replaced.

  12. #11
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    Yeah, I thought it was odd that I haven't seen drips, but the level was lower the next morning than it was previously. I haven't noticed spots where I've parked, but I did smell some coolant yesterday when I went to the car at Discount Tire. I plan on getting some G12 today, adding and monitoring it the rest of the week. Then this weekend I'll raise it and remove Thor and see if there are any pink crusties. It could be the coolant hose near the oil filter. I saw no drips that would indicate coolant flange.

  13. #12
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    The other two obvious things to check are the oil cooler housing and the head gasket.

  14. #13
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    Checked it out last night and found indications it's the flange. Pink crusties were found on the passenger side, by trans.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolesfan View Post
    Checked it out last night and found indications it's the flange. Pink crusties were found on the passenger side, by trans.
    I have '04 1.8T as well. May want to change the CTS o-ring before swapping the flange to see if that's the culprit.

    If still leaking, click here for bluesilk's flange DIY in the info-base, and click here for my quick write-up before he took notes from start to finish. Pretty basic ordeal conceptually, but extremely tough to execute given location - you are working blind.

    I had to lay on the engine and give it a reach-around to get this done (my pics are during said reach-around, I probably snapped 50+ pics b/c it was tough just to steady the camera in that position...then I'd go to my pc to view on a large screen so I could see what the hell is going on back there). Pretty sure my top bolt is still not threaded properly, but coolant has not dipped below the min line in almost a year now so it's doing the job.

    I was having same symptoms, level would maintain when running hot then it would leak once parked and cooling off...I jumped to flange conclusion, may have simply been CTS o-ring but I'll never know.
    Last edited by doyles-1.8T; 05-31-2011 at 12:17 PM.

  16. #15
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    This is good to think about. Anyone else have an idea based on coolant leaking only after shut down if it's CTS/o-ring, or if it's more likely to flange?

  17. #16
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    If it's a cold leak I would think flange, honestly. Cold leak implies coolant seeps out while the water pump is not coursing it through the system. Since CTS is at the top of the housing, idle coolant probably leaks out the bottom of the flange while the car is off.

    However, o-ring is a dollar and only takes a few mins to swap out. Might as well test it if you do not feel like tackling the flange.

    Both mine and bluesilk's flange were toast, no clue why they are plastic since flange is in direct contact with the engine block. It will need to be changed at some point if you plan on having the car for a long time. But in case you don't have time or aren't comfortable right now swapping flanges, new CTS o-ring might get you by for some time if it actually is the issue.

  18. #17
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    I know this isn't my thread, but it was indeed the coolant flange. Had that replaced along with necessary o-rings and fresh coolant for a very fair price. Paid $200 for the job, along with replacing cam chain seals and a wash. Not bad, and I didn't have to do it, which probably would've taken a weekend.

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