My Passat (B5, 1.8, 2003, 100K) shut down almost 2 months ago:
- During driving I noticed my dashboard lights and displays were blinking, and some crazy (random) things were showing up on little display (the left one). I came home, turned off car and couldn't start it any more. It would start, but engine would shut down immediately (almost seems like there is no gas). After taking key out, radio would keep working and dashboard kept blinking. I tried taking out and reinserting all the fuses in hope that blinking will stop, but it kept blinking. Finally I disconnected battery and everything got back to normal. Car was working fine. This happened 2 more times. Second time I again disconnected battery and "solved" the problem. But, third time, disconnecting battery didn't help. Can't start car now, and if I keep battery connected it drains out in couple of hours.
I took car to some friend (of my friend), who owns car shop and he specializes in European cars. He told me that ECU is bad and maybe couple of clusters (not sure what clasters are). The worst, he didn't really know if ECU is only problem. He said after he installs new ECU he will see what else has to be replaced. I was ready to do that, but it took him almost month to order new ECU, and I decided to take car and move it to official WV Service. I was adviced by lot of my friends who owns European cars that, even though they are expensive, they know their job and instead of some wannabe mechanic poking around trying to guess what might be wrong. Let "professionals" do the job. At VW service they have resources and they will know exactly what is wrong with the car. Well, that is a big LIE. They are no different then any other wannabe mechanics you might stumble upon. They don't have resources to test all the parts. For example if they believe that some part is bad, they can't try that part to see if part is really bad and if that will solve the problem. Once they put part in the car they can't return it to the part department (company policy)...
Anyway, initially they claimed that in one hour they will tell me what I need to do. During next 10 days they called me several times to apologize for the delay, and they confessed that they have issue with car, and don't know what the problem is. Finally, they came out with statement that TCM is bad, and replacement will cost $1,600. I asked them if that is final. I wanted them to confirm that new TCM will solve the problem. He said no. He was not sure. He will see after I approve installation. I might end up spending more 1000s on other parts as well. And then he explained everything about their policy, and how they can't actually try before I buy.
1) I really don't believe them. Is it possible that it would take 10 days for official VW mechanic to diagnose that TCM is bad. Wouldn't that be first thing to test since a lot of people have issue with that. I paid $270 for diagnosis which basically says that it is probably TCM and who knows what else. They advised me to dump the car.
It is possible that TCM is bad cause I had few times situations where my car (passenger side) was full of water after hard rain. Later I learned that TCM is under passenger's seat. An idiot who designed this car should be given a medal.
The car is now in my garage. I am planning on my own to get out TCM and buy another one on Ebay. I am not big on fixing cars, but I am able to follow directions and I am not afraid of getting dirty. I found some blogs with pictures that explains how to replace TCM. It doesn't seem a big problem. The only thing is, I have to find exactly the same TCM that I have.
Would you advice me to to that? Thanks.
PS. VW mechanic is no better then your next door mechanic. They both have no clue.
And, thanks to anybody who has patience to read this.