Note: this thread is periodically updated ... see end of this post for updates, etc. Any incorrect information within the original body of this FAQ will be changed as well.
<FONT COLOR="red"> <U>GOOD NEWS!</u>
VWoA has announced that they will, over the next several months, replace all coil packs which may fail.
For more details see </FONT>
On 1/31/2003, VWoA is reportedly communicating to both their dealers and customers about the problems. See this post for more information and copies of the reported letters: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothrea...177351#6177351 This communication will likely be followed by additonal communications regarding the 2/4/2003 announcement about replacing all affected coil packs.
<U>Background</U> Starting in October 2002, the first thread on Club B5 appeared regarding problems with a coil pack on a 2002 1.8T engine. By early 2003, there were over 50 different threads (and more than 600 posts) relating to the widening problem with coil packs on the 1.8T engine.
This FAQ summarizes what’s known about the problems as of early 2003. We hope it helps newer members who experience coil pack problems – or those newly afflicted with a failed coil pack who’ve managed to ignore those 600-plus posts!. A lot of this is anecdotal information and most of it is distilled from threads and posts made on Club B5. Some data is also drawn from other sites (e.g. VWVortex, AudiWorld.com, etc)
What are coil packs? A coil pack sits on top of each cylinder of the engine and serves as the ignition coil to fire the cylinder. Coil packs have been used for a number of years and by a number of different manufacturers.
VWAG uses them in a number of their engines – only the 1.8Ts seem to be affected by the relatively large failure for the B5.5. There have been a few reports of 2001.5 engines being affected but it seems to largely affect 2002 and early 2003 engines. (And, it should be noted that not just Passats are affected. Owners of other VW models and Audi models that use the 1.8T engine are also reporting the same problems.)
There have also been some reports of coil pack failure on W8 engines; however, dealers have advised those owners that the coil pack in the W8 engine differ from those on the 1.8T engine. Moreover, there have been problems cited with coil packs used on VWAG's VR6 engines; however this engine is <U>not</U> used with the B5.5 and the problem is of a different nature. (VR6 coil packs apparently develop cracks on the housing -- some owners report success by using epoxy to re-seal the cracks.)
Who’s affected by the troubled coil packs? As we understand it, at some point VWAG decided to concentrate the production of coil packs with one manufacturer (Bremi). These coil packs are referred to as the “H” version of the coil pack. (See 1/23/03 update for a letter reported to be received from Bremi about the coil packs they manufactured.)
Note: there are also preliminary reports that "J" style coil packs may also be affected. See updates at end of this FAQ re "J" style coil packs.
It was originally thought that the “H” versions started to be used with the production of 2002 Passats 1.8T engines and ended in July, 2002 with the production of 2003 Passats. However, a few owners of 2001.5 Passats with 1.8T engines have reported similar coil pack failures. Two build dates were 04/01; one was 03/01. Since VWAG uses "running changes" in their production, it's possible that later model 2001.5s may have the "H" version coil packs. We have confirmed reports from owners of B5.5s with manufacturing dates of 01/01 that they have the earlier "G" style coil packs.
(Note: B5.5s with the 2.8 liter 6 cylinder engine do <U>not</U> appear to be affected by this problem.)
You can determine the date of manufacture of your Passat by checking the sticker on the driver’s door jamb which displays the date of manufacture.
The following picture shows the old H style coil pack and the newer J style coil pack.:
(Picture from member “MrBouton” and an AudiWorld post.)
The H style (06B-905-115-H) is on the left and the J version (06B-905-115-J) is on the right. The easiest visual difference to spot is the different black insulator portion on top.
If you wish to inspect your coil packs to see what version you have, you can remove the engine cover and should be able to visually determine which pack your Passat uses. To remove the plastic engine cover, turn the three large screws one quarter turn counterclockwise. they pop right up. Remove engine cover and you'll see the coil packs -- they're the four roundish black plastic pieces on top of the metal head cover,
If you have difficulty determining the version from this inspection (or want to be absolutely sure), you can remove one and check the part number. Since you already have the engine cover removed, check the coil pack closest to you by putting a screw driver into the left side of the wire harness and gently pulling up until you hear a click. Ease the harness off by pulling while gently moving side to side. Once this harness is off you will see the information on the black plastic where the harness once was. For more detailed pictures of this process, see also http://clubb5.zeroforum.com/zerothre...=328912#328912. (Thanks to Paradigm and Miraluka for their help in the detailed directions and photos.)
If it has this part number: 06B 905 115H then you have the "H" version coil pack.
Based on information from members, “J” coil packs were used starting in August, 2002 for 2003 Passat production. We have had a few reports of failed "J" style coil packs; however there is now some doubt about whether these failed coil packs are truly "J" styles or actually "H" styles. (see the 2/5/2003 update below)
It should be noted that the use of one manufacturer was a cost-reduction plan by VWAG. VWAG's design of the “H” coil packs is not believed to have been a cost-reduction plan; that is, the insulation problem apparently is caused by the subcontractor's decisions rather than VWAG's.
Are all of the 1.8T engines using the “H” coil packs going to have problems? Not necessarily. It’s difficult to know the full scope of the problem. While many members on Club B5 have reported failure, there are also a number who have either not reported failure or have reported no problems.
Generally, it has not occurred immediately after purchasing the car and some owners have reported that failure occurred only after more than 10,000 miles. Yet others have reported earlier failures. Most of the failures appear to be in areas where the weather is colder; however, some have reported failures in warmer areas. Some have theorized that chipped engines may be more prone to the failure; however, both chipped and non-chipped engines have been affected.
What happens when a coil pack goes bad – how do I know if I have it? The problem is reported to be caused by inadequate sealant which leaks and lets in moisture which in turn causes the coil pack to short out.
Almost all members report that they experienced a very rough idle and a flashing <U>MIL</U> (Malfunction Indicator Light; also known as a <U>CEL</U> – Check Engine Light) on their dashboard. The engine is very rough and in some cases th<![CDATA