Picking up Passat with valve cover gasket leaks

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  • 1 Post By muttony

Thread: Picking up Passat with valve cover gasket leaks

  1. #1
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    Picking up Passat with valve cover gasket leaks

    Hey guys,

    Picking up a new to me 02 Passat about 45 miles away tomorrow.

    When I test drove it for 20 minutes, upon returning to the dealership there was a little smoking under the hood, oil smell through the vents.
    I didn't see any insane leaks and the dipstick didn't show any drastic reduction in oil, no oil dripping out the bottom of the engine.

    I'm certain it needs valve cover gaskets and probably cam seals etc, but should I feel safe making the drive back tomorrow if this was the extent of it? It definitely wasn't like billowing smoke, but the thought of a fire on the exhaust had me just a bit concerned. If I just drive back a few miles under the speed limit, staying in the right lane should I be ok? I'm just going to bring a couple of extra quarts of oil.

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  3. #2
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    If....if... it's just a VCG leak then a 45 mile drive before fixing it should be no big deal. I would have felt more comfortable with a longer test drive. I've had more than a few VCG leaks and many times it takes a little while before the oil burns off. If the leak is small then bringing it up to operating temp be and then maybe twenty minutes ought to burn it off. If you are still smelling smoke after operating temp and twenty more minutes driving you may have a bigger leak than you think. Just be prepared to baby it home like it sounds you plan. Good luck.

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    A common cause of VCG leakage is a clogged or malfunctioning PCV system. If the PCV system is out of order, the pressure in the crankcase will be higher than the gaskets can tolerate, and force oil out through the gaskets and seals. The car is 15 years old, the PCV systems are marginal, and it's very likely your car's is in need of replacement.

    Many of us have R&Rd the VCG and the cam chain tensioner gaskets and cam seals, and found that our cars' oil leaks continued. Then we R&Rd the PCV system, and did the gaskets again, and all was well.

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    have the dealership service the PCV system and the VCGs before you buy it.

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    Haggle a lower price and do the work yourself, easy and you should be able to get the price down. How much are you paying now as it stands? How many miles on the car?
    TomK

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    Agreed with all that has been mentioned. If you turn your own wrenches and are willing to DIY you can save a lot of $ as apposed to the dealer doing. Are they selling the car 'As is'? You should be able to negotiate the sales price of the car with that going on.

    I think you would be fine driving it with it leaking so long as you keep an eye on the oil level. My 01 did the same and although annoying dealing with the smell I never worried about it catching on fire. 6 months later I replaced the PCV system and went on about my day. It still leaked but no where near enough to worry about replacing the VCG's. The smell was almost non existent unless I got on the throttle hard.

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. I made it home just fine keeping it at 65 mph the whole way - no smoking but a faint smell of oil burning. I had the vents closed.

    Was kind of a fiasco because when I went to fuel the car up for the ride home the fuel nozzle would not go in to the filler. There appeared to be some kind of plastic piece lodged in there for whatever reason. I drove back and the Subaru dealership didn't want to deal with it, being a "wholesale car," that I paid 1k for, they wouldn't send a tech out to look even. Finally, I convinced the sales manager to get me some flathead screwdrivers and I pried the piece out. Can anyone tell me what this is? Does it belong on the car? I've never encountered this before.

    After gassing it up I noticed a rock chip that I could've sworn was not there when I bought it, but again, they wanted nothing to do with it because it was "as is." The sales manager says the chip looks epoxied, but I don't know much about windshield repairs. Checking photos from the listing it appears I may have just missed it on the test drive, I was probably paying attention to many other things.

    Apart from noticing some dampness in the passengers footwell area (lot of rain recently), I didn't see many other new problems that I wasn't already aware of. I located the sunroof drain exit on that side and it appeared to be leaking some water after I parked. Possible it's blocked then? It's been dry the last few days unless it was working it's way out on the highway.

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  10. #8
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    You oughta give that car a very thorough once over now you own it. Dampness in the footwell can be very bad and cause a lot of problems. It shouldn't be damp regardless of the rain. There's drains under the battery that should be cleaned out. Search here about wet passenger floor and you'll find lots of stuff. IIRC there's the Comfort Control Module down there and if that gets corroded its big troubles. But I may be wrong about what side that is on. Where you at in MA?
    cchief22 likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by muttony View Post
    You oughta give that car a very thorough once over now you own it. Dampness in the footwell can be very bad and cause a lot of problems. It shouldn't be damp regardless of the rain. There's drains under the battery that should be cleaned out. Search here about wet passenger floor and you'll find lots of stuff. IIRC there's the Comfort Control Module down there and if that gets corroded its big troubles. But I may be wrong about what side that is on. Where you at in MA?
    I'm in Medford/Stoneham. Yeah, I had heard of that being down there as well as the transmission module, probably even more important. I will be looking things over, with rain in the forecast again for the area, I'll be looking at the rain tray sooner rather than later.

  12. #10
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    The CCM is in the left footwell and the TCM is in the right footwell.

    This thread attempts to bring together all the problems regarding water ingress and their solutions.
    Water Ingress and Solutions

    NOTE: The car in this DIY is UK RHD. (the CCM is always on LHS)
    VW Passat CCM harness repair | HeadFUZZ

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    Another potential source of water in the footwell would be the heater core, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KHedges View Post
    Another potential source of water in the footwell would be the heater core, right?
    Possible, but not very likely. They usually clog, not leak. As per the thread Tom linked, lots of better possibilities. Water plenum drains, sunroof drains, pollen filter seals, even a clogged drain from the AC are more common.

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    Thank you, good to know. My last Japanese car got a clogged AC drain and I didn't realize until I had a passenger who complained about it dripping on their foot.

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    http://www.passatworld.com/forums/at...121124_hdr.jpg
    This belong to the fuel supply opening as is intended to not let objects get into the fuel tank and will not let a diesel nozzle fit into it.

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    Regarding the various drains and seals that can leak, that might explain why the Audi A4 I looked at last week at Copart was full of mildew even though it didn't have a flood title. The charity auctioning it off still wanted $1100 (and then the broker/Copart take about $550 in fees, at which point I might as well get a private party sale on Craigslist that has clean title and no mildew). So glad I refused to meet their offer!

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