Check Engine Light flashing, Car is shuddering
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Thread: Check Engine Light flashing, Car is shuddering

  1. #1
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    Check Engine Light flashing, Car is shuddering

    Let me start with some background. 2001 B5.5 Passat Sedan 1.8T 5spd Completely Stock 156,000 miles. Very well maintained. Timing belt done within last 25k.

    So, tonight i head for the grocery store about 5 minutes up the street. I get about half way there, when I notice that the check engine light is flashing. I ease off the gas, and coax it to the next light. At the light, the car feels like it might stall out, and the car seems to shudder, and I notice that the shudder is connected to the RPM of the motor. Meaning, if i rev the motor the shudder gets faster.

    I manage to coax the car home to my driveway, and I leave it in a position where it will be easily towed should it need to be.

    So, i figure that I will leave the car running, and look under the hood, but as soon as I open the drivers door, i can smell something burning/smoldering. I shut off the engine, and carefully open the hood. I find no smoke or fire, but I see that the downpipe (or whatever pipe the exhaust coming from the turbo leaves through) is glowing red hot.

    I am not sure what happened. The car gave no other obvious symptoms. The other things I should mention though, are that I change my own oil. Always Mobil 1 with a Audi or at least german filter. However, my father was the original owner, and for the first 60k he used conventional oil. The turbo has always been strong, and seemed to deliver full boost. I do not know if it is still boosting in light of recent events.

    For the last few weeks, the check engine light has been on and off. My mechanic scanned it a few times, and told me that it was the "Air Injection Pump Code". My understanding is that this system basically divers exhaust gas into the Cat when the car is warming up. If its not working properly, then it is just a emission problem.

    I should also mention, that the car has recently been leaking a little bit of water when there is a hard rain storm. On Saturday, I took the rain tray cover off, checked the Pollen Filter, and removed the battery in order to clear out the drain plugs under the battery tray, and the brake master cylinder.

    As I write this, I begin to wonder if its possible that something just went very wrong with the Air Injection System. However, I will turn over to you all for advice. I will be consulting all my mechanics, and car buddies tomorrow. Any advice or ideas are welcome. Thanks

    Stewart

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  3. #2
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    Dont drive the car anymore. Have it towed to a dealer. I think you need to get someone that knows a little more about tht e car involved. When the check engine light flashes it is telling that if procede it could cause catalytic converter damage. As for what the problem could be i dont know. Just putting my two cents in.

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    I hadn't thought about hurting the catalytic converter. Thats a good point.

    Thanks

    -Stewart

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    Probably coilpack(s). That is a classic symptom (shuddering, flashing CEL) $25 a piece and can be installed yourself in like 5 mins tops. The cat convertor is glowing red because unburnt fuel is being dumped into it from the misfiring cylinder(s). If you can borrow a scanner from someone at least just to get codes, post them up. Definitely do not drive it in this condition.

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    I just had the same thing happen to my 2001.5 B5.5 last weekend. Same thing happened: I got onto the freeway and immediately the car started shaking, lost power, and the CEL started blinking. Luckily I was close to home so I limped back home.

    Last night I bought a OBDII scanner to read the code and sure enough it was a cylinder #3 misfire. I moved the coilpack to cylinder #4 and the misfire started happening on #4. I read on the forums that it could also be the ICM but this method of troubleshooting makes me almost certain that I have a coilpack problem.

    I bought a new coilpack today. $30 from Autohausaz.com. Hopefully that will fix the problem.

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    Well, although I am leaning towards their fixes..

    I had the same symptoms because I had oil that seeped in to the spark plug tubes and helped to foul out the plugs. Changed the plugs, things worked great...

    Well then it came back, checked oil was back, tightened the gasket bolts, all was good. then the CEL started flashing so I pulled the wires, cleaned them with some special electronics cleaner and the last 5K miles have been great!

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    Wood, check your PCV lines and you will eventually need to replace the gasket(s) anyways. The tightening method doesn't usually last long and there is a risk of overtightening by doing so.\

    I can't remember if the B5.5's had an ICM, I think not. Butcho, do you have something like this mounted on the top of your airbox?

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    i think butcho is right- coilpack, i had the same problem a couple days ago

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    i had a similar problem with my 2004 passat
    it started shuddering and flashing CEL so my wife parked it
    i drove it to advanced auto parts cause it was 2 blocks away they checked it and said it was #3 missfire they sold me new plugs
    put them in and drove it and it acted exactly the same flashing CEL intermittent
    then it got worse and finally died .4 miles down the road after new plugs now it will start if i hold the pedal to the floor and runs extremly bad like maybe 1 or 2 cyl should i replace all coilpacks or look for a dif. prob. i was thinking fuel pump?

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mminer1977 View Post
    i had a similar problem with my 2004 passat
    it started shuddering and flashing CEL so my wife parked it
    i drove it to advanced auto parts cause it was 2 blocks away they checked it and said it was #3 missfire they sold me new plugs
    put them in and drove it and it acted exactly the same flashing CEL intermittent
    then it got worse and finally died .4 miles down the road after new plugs now it will start if i hold the pedal to the floor and runs extremly bad like maybe 1 or 2 cyl should i replace all coilpacks or look for a dif. prob. i was thinking fuel pump?
    I'm gonna say coil pack(s). I have a 2004 also and had the same issue (2x). Plugs normally won't affect the engine as much as a failed coil. they make the whole cylinder dead. You can't get that at AZ either. Dealer or online. At least buy one and replace #3. That's the third one form the front of the car. Don't drive it, you will kill the cat or worse, cause a fire from all of the heat built up in the glowing cat. Fuel pump will not cause a misfire.
    Sambo41 likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VAGguy View Post
    Wood, check your PCV lines and you will eventually need to replace the gasket(s) anyways. The tightening method doesn't usually last long and there is a risk of overtightening by doing so.\

    I can't remember if the B5.5's had an ICM, I think not. Butcho, do you have something like this mounted on the top of your airbox?
    Only the AEB engine uses this. 1998 through early 2000.

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    Bad coil pack. The end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deusexaethera View Post
    Only the AEB engine uses this. 1998 through early 2000.
    That was before I learned about the earlier model. At least everybody that sees this will know too.

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    these guys are right just wish i could have seen this before i changed the fuel pump!!

    it was bad coil packs the #3 went first and then 2 more got 4 new ones today dropped em in and it fired right up

    thanx for the help

    ps i got another recall letter in mail yesterday
    1. heat shield and inspect fuel system components
    2. service air plenum area

    my car breaks down or gets a recall or both every 2 months!!

  16. #15
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    at least it's consistant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mminer1977 View Post
    these guys are right just wish i could have seen this before i changed the fuel pump!!

    it was bad coil packs the #3 went first and then 2 more got 4 new ones today dropped em in and it fired right up

    thanx for the help

    ps i got another recall letter in mail yesterday
    1. heat shield and inspect fuel system components
    2. service air plenum area

    my car breaks down or gets a recall or both every 2 months!!
    Join the party. Beer's in the fridge.

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    Bumping this thread to save starting a new one.

    2003 1.8T Passat.

    Had a check engine light with the standard faulty MAF code (P0171 = too lean bank 1). Paid a mechanic too much to confirm. Their results: Long term fuel trim 0% - short term fuel trim -2.9% to +4.6% @ 3.25 grams per second @ idle. 02 sensors ok. MAF reading a little low. Checked for vacuum leaks - no leaks. They recommended a MAF clean. I had already cleaned the MAF 6 months ago, so I forked out for a new one.

    In the meantime, .5 miles from home the engine idle dropped and started shaking. Thought its a misfire. Went ahead and upgraded to a set of Hitachi coil packs. Installed new MAF and all new coil packs (bolt-ons) tonight. Engine still shuddering, no real change.

    Im about to go down and do a ghetto code reset + TBA (disconnect battery & key on for 2-3 minutes). In the meantime, any suggestions on what to chase next? Im thinking maybe a TB clean? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    EDIT: I would like to send the wife out tomorrow to get the codes read, but I dont want to run it too far with the misfire. WHat do you guys think about driving in this condition?

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    Would try the TB clean, but when mine was filthy it didn't throw a code.

    How long since you changed the fuel filter? Clogged fuel filter caused me a lot of grief last year with symptoms similar to yours (my code was also P0171). Vac good, MAF good, replaced both O2 sensors, but it wasn't until fuel filter replaced and fuel rails/injectors cleaned that my problem went away.

    I drove my shuddering car about 30 miles to the nearest dealership - just kinda took it easy. Don't know if that 30 mile run added to my problem by crapping one or both O2 sensors.

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagrant View Post
    EDIT: I would like to send the wife out tomorrow to get the codes read, but I dont want to run it too far with the misfire. WHat do you guys think about driving in this condition?
    I wouldn't. If you have a cylinder consistently misfiring, its fuel charge is going into the exhaust and the catalytic converter. When it hits the hot cat, it burns. I once limped home (approx 35 miles) and had the cat literally glowing when I got there; I was lucky the car didn't catch fire. Ruined the cat.

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    Thanks for the input sor far. Please keep it coming.

    Unfortunately I cant get the codes read to check if I have a consistent misfire on one cylinder. Im thinking of buying a code reader (if I can find one) on the way home tonight. OBD II right? Suggestions on brands?

    wrt Fuel filter, the real symptom is "shuddering" not misfiring (just *feels* like a misfire). I suppose a clogged fuel filter could be limiting fuel supply/pressure, initially causing a "lean" condition, and finally causing an intermittent fuel supply and hence rough engine...

    I recently (~1000 miles ago) ran a bottle of SeaFoam throw the fuel (and a bit in the oil) in an attempt to clean out the fuel system. Could this have contributed? I would expect it to clean the TB, but I guess not fix a clogged filter.

    Keep it coming guys. This is killing me with time and money. I appreciate all useful comments.

    Cheers,
    ~vagrant

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    Update:

    -MAF replacement didnt fix it. (prob fixed the original problem though)
    -set of Hitachi coils didnt fix it.
    -TB clean didnt work.
    -ghetto TBA didnt help...
    -doing plugs tonight, and maybe the coolant temp sensor (anyone got a part number?)
    -If I get game enough to drive it, then I will limp to a friends' place who has jack & stands and do the fuel filter.

    As an aside, although a vacuum test (with smoke) game up negative, is it possible that one of my PCV valves has failed internally, causing my problem?

  23. #22
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    Vagrant, where are you located? Maybe someone in your area can do a vagcom TBA for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VAGguy View Post
    Vagrant, where are you located? Maybe someone in your area can do a vagcom TBA for you.
    Seattle WA (South Lake Union). However, they would have to come to me as the car aint currently going anywhere. I know of a guy in Tacoma, but thats pushing the friendship a bit.

    You really think a complete TBA would help? I struggle to believe it, the way its "seemingly" misfiring. Then again, I could be getting stuck on my own misconception of a misfire.....

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    an un-calibrated throttle body will make it barely run or either run like crap.

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    Got a vagcom guy to my car today.

    -TBA complete. No bueno.
    -Seems like the potential culprit codes are:
    >17705 P1297 Pressure drop between throttle valve and turbo
    >P1479 Brake boost vac system failure

    The P1297 points toward a screwed diverter valve (?) Could be the vac line to the DV?
    The P1479 *could* be a vac leak in the brake boost vac line, but I pulled the hose and plugged it with my finger. The engine idle didnt recover. Coud be the brake booster bladder?

    Following codes involve misfires on all cylinders randomly.
    Last edited by vagrant; 01-09-2009 at 10:55 PM.

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    Coil pack failure

    1.8T wagon
    Check engine light flashing, car running very poorly, shuddering.

    Codes for misfire on 1, 3 and 4. Changed all coil packs and found one had failed. Car running well now (hope it holds!).
    Used STI coil packs and replaced plugs w/OEM NGK's.
    Coil packs were $44.00 at BAP GEON. $25 at advanced auto, but they didn't have them in stock. Keeping my fingers crossed it keeps running. Here you can see where the the pack on cylinder 3 arced and burnt out. It broke while pulling it off the spark plug.

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by Yuhmama; 01-19-2009 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Added photo

  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yuhmama View Post
    2005 1.8T wagon
    Check engine light flashing, car running very poorly, shuddering.

    Codes for misfire on 1, 3 and 4. Changed all coil packs and found one had failed. Car running well now (hope it holds!).
    Used STI coil packs and replaced plugs w/OEM NGK's.
    Coil packs were $44.00 at BAP GEON. $25 at advanced auto, but they didn't have them in stock. Keeping my fingers crossed it keeps running.

    I'd like to post a photo of the burnt coil pack, but can't figure out how. Anyone got tips on that?
    SWcrow17 is using STi's I believe.

  29. #28
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    Stewart!
    What finally happened!

  30. #29
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    Coil pack failures makes me crazy, guys. 3 of them went down already within only 3 months in my 03 1.8T Passat.

  31. #30
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    When one goes, the rest are usually close behind. They were original, STF?

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