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I was wondering if anyone knew what v6 2.8 passat/Audi came from factory with an aluminum thermostat housing. I'm working on timing my car and found a coolant leak at the plastic housing
 

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The '96-'97 2.8 engines in the A4 did, although I don't know that they are interchangeable with later plastic parts.
 

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The '96-'97 2.8 engines in the A4 did, although I don't know that they are interchangeable with later plastic parts.
I wanted to upgrade the housing in my 03 since the plastic looks pretty disintegrated. I night just order a new plastic one instead
 

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As ylwagon states, the early model 2.8 engines came with the aluminum thermostat housing, as did a few of the '98 AHA 2.8's.
To answer your question about converting, YES.
All of the VW B5 and B5.5 v6 2.8 can be converted to the aluminum thermostat housing. I have converted every one of mine to the aluminum housing.

Found here https://www.ecstuning.com/b-uro-parts/thermostat-housing/078121121j~uro/
 

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My son's 2000 ATQ V6 had one stock from the factory, my 2001 and 2001.5 ATQ did not.
 
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