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4,876 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There has been threading recently about some less than favorable ordeals with the AEBs in our B5s.

Quoting from another thread:

"Chas I think you mean 5 AEB's

SCUBA2001 MOONSCAPE redb5sdca3 JIMB Pospassat"

We are in a rather special, and small, class of B5 owners.. the true lovers of the B5.. loving them with their quirks that had not yet been worked out and fixed in later engine codes. :lol: The quirks present in the engine need to keep us on our toes a little more than others.

Post your the problems/concerns you have had w/ your AEB so that we may all become better informed of our engine and keep disasters at bay.

For the 98 AEB of mine I say:

Make sure you have proper heat shielding. Let the turbo cool. I just got a new turbo becuase of these two points.
Change your timing belt at 60K intervals. This is great insurance.
Vacuum hoses can be horrible after the years on the road the AEBs have been and can cuase a wide variety of problems. Replace them!

My and my Wagon's AEB are going to be on the road past the 250,000 mark.

16 Posts
Hi, I have an AEB here in the UK,and I have had problems listing the length of my arm and leg for that matter!
Love the car but they are not that reliable!

1. Ignition Control Module(Cylinder 3 stopped firing)

2.Rear Passenger Door lock doing its own thing (Still do not know problem to this day!)

3.Upper control arms(clunking noise)

4.Lower rear control arm bush gone (Squeeking noise)

5.Cam Belt kit (Did it myself,no problems except I snapped a bolt in block when tightening the tensioner up.Luckily there was some thread showing so came out easily.)

6.Oil pressure problem.(Do not let these cars run longer than 6,000 miles without oil change because oil cannot take it and sludges up causing allsorts of problems.Thought I was going to have to remove sump,but a gallon of flushing oil run for half an hour sorted it and the car is back to normal!)

7.Air vent broken (have not got round to mending)

8.It is running ok for now which I find it hard to believe!!

Bring on the next Problem!!!!

How reliable these things are!!!

I am going to run it a bit longer (Get my money Back!!!)

Then I am going JAPANESE /SUBARU!!!

Lucky for me I did all the above repairs myself!But if I had given it to the dealers I would have been the bank managers best friend!!!!


1,249 Posts
Bought at 28,000 miles
-front control arms @ 33,000
-throttle body (Lower Stop not Reached error) @ 38,000
-Leaking waterpump housing @ 45,000 but has since disappeared
-I predict my ICM will be going within 5,000 miles :roll:
Now at 53,000

Updated 12/28/04
-ICM @ 56,000 miles
-60,000 stock downpipe rusted apart
-60,000 rear driver side passanger window would no longer work (corroded wiring harness at hinge
-65,000 waterpump housing ended up being thermostat housing. Replaced 2 times for leaks.
-65,000 ABS module and brake light switch replaced
-65,000 Front driver control arm replaced under recall
-65,000 drivers side window switch replaced
-65,000 driver side door lock mechanism replaced.

31 Posts
'98 1.8T, 5 speed. I bought mine last May @129,000 miles, about 140 miles until 140,000. I've changed the timing belt (mine first time, the car's at least second time), water pump, belts, vacuum hoses, TT DV (I don't think the vacuum hoses or the DV were a problem at all, contrary to what almost everyone says).

I'm now running Mobil 1 0W-40 at 5,000 miles intervals. When I bought the car it had 5 or 10W-30 conventional oil in. Unfortunately I don't really know how the car was taken car of before I bought it (did a carfax, one owner).

It has been treating me pretty well so far, but I havn't owned it for that long.

167 Posts
I think I may have inadvertantly started this thread :lol:

1998 Passat with 84k, 5spd...Synthetic since second oil change

I had a few problems early on and were taken care of under the lame initial Bumper to Bumper Warranty. Such as:

Broken Air Vent
Bubble Formed on Dash
Paint had some patches of goosebumps

AEB wise its been pretty minor...
Valve cover gasket leak fixed 3x
DV replaced with Forge
DV vacuum lines replaced
Temp Sensor changed
Coolant Tank replaced (bad sensor)

Clutch Master/Slave replaced
Brakes/Rear Rotors Done
Back Door locks also have a mind of their own (not fixed)

I cannot think of anything else at the moment. I have not had a problem with the control arms, bad coilpacks, or the turbo. Knock on AEB...

Timing belt has not been done yet as the wife just doesn't get the ramifications of it breaking I guess. I have explained it many of times and I just get the "if it ain't broke and VW will cover it (we have all receipts for this car) then why do it?" attitude. Had it checked by VW at 40 and 80 and they say its fine. Yeah, I am sure they checked it out closely!

1,132 Posts
'99 Tip with 68,000:
ICM and MAF replaced (did the ICM myself, MAF paid by VW)
Changed timing belt, tensioner, other belts last week.
Water pump changed at 20,000 and 47,000.
Coolant and Trans Fluid changed at 60,000, Final Drive fluid at 67,000.
Ran four engine cleanings over that last 3 months with short oil changes after each. Wanted to eliminate potential sludge.
Started using synthetic.
Replaced front brake pads and rotors at 67,000.

I want this car to last at least 200,000. I love it, but it has cost me too much money in the two years I have had it.

RND1 had a timing belt/tensioner failure at 70,000 miles to add to the list above. Please specify if you have gone over 60,000 with no timing belt/tensioner change!

4,876 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Jimbob1975 said:
2.Rear Passenger Door lock doing its own thing (Still do not know problem to this day!)

Does this help? I do believe a common problem.
The same goes for you RayD. That link above I hope is a help. Is it the back left door for you?

The VCGasket.. luckily an easy fix and cheap repair.

The tie rod ends should have been replaced under recall. Did you guys get this done?

As for the timing belt.. I just had mine replaced at 94K while the turbo was replaced.I am good til 154K mile marker. Be very wise about the change.. the 500 bucks or so to have it done at a dealership will be great insurance.

Trying to help my fellow B5 AEBers,

167 Posts
Stephen, I have not done that repair job to my doors yet but I may give it a shot. Yes, the passenger side rear is the one that does it the most. I check that site every once in a while and hadn't noticed that section. Thanks.

I was not included in the VIN range for the tie rod recall. I have a very early 1998 as my VIN is very close to the green dash light switch over! Found that out when they installed a new dashboard and it came with green vents. Talk about a Christmas tree effect! Anyway, if I remember correctly that recall arose from having an alumininum tie rod end? To make sure VW was correct...I took a magnet to my tie rods and check to make sure that it stuck. It did and I haven't had a problem with them yet.

I agree with the timing belt change warning. Have it done. I have gone out of my way to make sure VW checks that belt even when I didn't do the 40/80k with them. I am playing with fire here but I have it all documented by my dealer that its checks out...for what that is worth. If you can afford to do it.


3,006 Posts
redb5sdca said:
98 B5 1.8t(AEB) 5spd colorado red 75,000 miles

Passat variant punks thread got me thinking and Although it could be a scary list heres mine :

All four engine mounts (front motor mount replaced twice second time
Diverter valve
with snub mount)
the lowers from all four doors
shiftboot(already need another)
one transmission mount
Abs control module
timing belt and tensioner
valve cover gasket
cam seal gasket
spark plugs twice
front brake pads and rotors twice
rear pads twice rotors once
master cylinder
oil pump and suck up tube
ingnition control module
all hoses
armrest cover
floor mats
one keyless remote broke (paid 120 for another that drove off on my moms trunk :cry: , yet to be replaced a second time)
bracket on bottom of driver seat broke had to get that took apart and replaced
Motor (top end is rebuilt bottom end is new and pistons plus crank and rods)
both window regulators
driver door rubber seal
rear passenger hedliner trim
cv boots
gas tank switch
ignition switch
replaced blown speaker
both axles
drink holder
hood support
How bigs your list?
front passenger control arms
tierod ends
strut bearing
coilover suspenions.

sunroof is making an awesome rattle.


2,312 Posts
my aeb has been problem free for 2 years. then my tb tensioner let go. please learn from me, if you have the early style tensioner, change it at 60k, reguardless of how long vw says the belt should last. use synthetic oil to prolong turbo life (i upgraded before failure, but after examining the turbo i discovered it was cracked on the inside of the housing, so that was a problem waiting to happen, i just had good timing i guess.
on the plus side, we save $100 on giac software!!
i love my aeb, noise, creaks, problems, design flaws and all. even my girlfriend, who has a 99 non aeb, can feel the difference between the two cars, she likes mine better, she says it feels sportier and more in touch with the road. i dunno though, i dont drive hers very often. funny but hers seems to be in the shop (not by choice) a lot more than mine.

2,098 Posts
10/97 build date '98 AEB 5 speed now at 94K
- Mobil 1 since 1st oil change (still stock turbo oil lines i.e. no heat shield)
- observed cool down procedure (wife thinks too much :crazy: )
- chipped since 12K miles and lovin' it (just spanked a NB Turbo Sport)
forgot: I also dump a bottle of techron every 10K miles or less and it really helps the fuel injectors specially at WOT. :wink:

Repairs to date:
- coolant temp. warning during cold mornings
- ICM broke @ 51K miles
- Updated the belt tensioner / timimg belt at 80K (could've lasted another 5K miles but the tensioner started squealing)

*other than above, everything is A okay and still going strong. Clutch is still stock and no sign of slipping.


350 Posts
My problems have been:
1) Bad ICM (replaced by me)
2) Clunking upper control arm (still living with it)
3) Intermittent creaking lower control arm (still living with it)
4) Leaking oil cooler hoses (been leaking for a long time but haven't brought it to the dealer yet cause I haven't had time or I keep forgetting)
5) Rear inner fender liner recall
6) VW badge from engine cover falling off
7) Creaking center console (near the radio)
8) A/C control panel bulbs blown (replaced by me)
9) Bad coolant temperature sensor (replaced by me)
10) Leaking head gasket (replaced by dealer)
11) Noisey / Squeeking tensioner (replaced by independant shop)
12) Exterior door handle cable disconnected (fixed by me)

9,668 Posts
Build Date 10/97 '98 AEB
- Timing belt snap at 68k
- Hoses replaced at 75k
- 2nd new head at 99k
- Still on original turbo
- Heatshielding replaced
- NO ICM failure :knok on wood:

Best thing I can suggest is to change oil every 4-5k miles, no excuses. Run a bottle of the fuel injector cleaner every other oil change, and rotate the tires every other oil change if you're lowered. Keep the spark plugs under close watch as they like to burn up and cause a horrible knock once worn down.

Also Stephen, you can add Cav B5 to the list as he has a '98 Royal Green B5 as well, and lives in the CHS area.


176 Posts
'99 AEB Tip / GIAC since 20K / now at 63K with Valvoline Synpower 5-40

-Vacuum Hoses (40K) - replaced without/before CEL, crappy at the time
- Coolant Temp. Sensor (56K) - "wondering" temp gauge
- ICM faulty (misfire on cylinder #2, CEL) (60200 miles)
- TB/Waterpump/Thermostat/Accessory and A/C belt tensioners changed at 60K
accessory belt tensioner noisy
everything else like sparkplugs, filters, brakepads and rotors replaced during normal use/abuse
OEM struts show some sighns of weekness and will eventually be replaced with Eibach (stockers will sure go for another 60K with ease)

I'm happy with my AEB and will hold on to it for a while.

372 Posts
I've been thinking about my problems and was going to post...didn't know someone had already started let me provide my feedback:

Things that have gone bad:
-Trunk microswitch
-Multiple vent bulbs
-HVAC bulbs
-Fuel sending unit (twice)
-Control Arms
-Tie Rod Ends
- Both left wheel hubs (I think it's because I used to track the car)
-Cam seal
-Valve cover gasket
-Sunroof rails (plastic inside thing)...I tore it out...otherwise I have to spend over 1K to replace everything
...there is probably more I can't think of

As far as regular maintanance:
-Clutch (2X) on SPEC stage 2
-timing belt (2x)
-Water pump
-Coolant temp sensor
-2 Engine mounts
-2 Tranny mounts
-Fuel filter (2x)
-DV (2x), now a Forge unit
....there is probably more, cant remember

The car was chipped around 4K by Neuspeed...switched to GIAC around 65K. I've been running Mobil 1 since the first oil change around 6K.

The car has 129K on it. I just getting tired of the rattles...sunroof opening and closing by itslef and all the small stuff. Otherwise the cars runs pretty good.

BTW: I think I need to change the slave cylinder. Should I change the master with it? If so, how much are the parts and labor?


2,156 Posts
Hmm I've got about 73K on my AEB. I used dyno oil for the first 20K and switched to Mobil 1 synthetic, 15W50 for summer and 0W40 for winter.

I think it is very important to run synthetic oil in these cars regardless of the engine code. That little turbo puts out a lot of heat and the small oil lines do not help the situation.

I started with an APR chip around 40K and am currently running GIAC custom programming with an upgraded turbo (RS4M). When I removed my original turbo at 70K it had very tight bushings ( zero play ) and light surface cracking in the exhaust housing. I attribute that to running synthetic oil and being conscious of my driving. I always go easy on the car for the last minute and usually let it cool down a little. I don't have any turbo timer and I don't think they are worth it.

My valve cover gasket is leaking a little so that needs to be replaced soon. Other than that it's been solid. I recently did the compression check and the numbers ran about the mid 180s with the lowest cylinder being #4 (the rear cylinder) at 178 or so. This cylinder is commonly the lowest one on the 1.8T, it has the longest runner on the exhaust manifold.

I'm pretty happy with the AEB, I just wish it didn't have the limitation on injector open time. Also if it had a MAP sensor that would be cool, we could run without a MAF.

237 Posts
I have to say I'm not impressed with this thread. I've got an AEB and I didn't realize I should be in a support group for failures. :wink: These control arm problems are bothering me. I don't like the thought of mine needing replacement too. Those suckers are expensive. :mad:

666 Posts
11/97 build date, purchased car on 10/03 with 31,000mi, one previous owner.

Now there's almost 50,000mi on with the ICM being the only thing replaced thus far at 40,000. I have a timing belt, tensioner and fuel filter waiting to get on and will do some other belt changes as well as the water pump before 60,000mi.

I have noticed some pink crust and will have to take care of that soon.

this one could be a diamond :) :crazy:

802 Posts
'99 AEB -

replaced rear seal
replace water pump
replaced tensioner
all under 100K powertrain warranty :thumbup:

I'm at 92K waiting for my timing belt to fail so I get a new engine :D :D

854 Posts
98 AEB motor with 35K original miles.

the car has a new turbo , because of a hole in the intercooler causing over working the turbo. Caused a leak internally.
covered by warranty.

no problems occured yet, but have replaced before problems happen:
power steering pump
timing belt
underdrive pulley

no problems with control arms, or cylinder firing, or trans... knock on wood..


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