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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got the error codes below, I don't know if they are related to the problem or not. The car starts and runs fine, then the engine suddenly shuts off without any warning. It has only happened twice. Both times today. The first time when the car was in the garage and I had just started it and it had been running for about one minute. The second time, I had driven a few blocks but I don't think the engine was up to operating temperature. Both times it happened when the car not moving and was idling. In case it matters, the temperature here today is 32 F

After the engine shut off the first time, I immediately started the engine and it ran fine until the next time I drove it, 5 hours later and then the same thing happened and the car ran fine after I re-started the engine.

2002 GLX 4Motion V6 ATQ automatic transmisssion
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Address 17: Instruments Labels: 3B0-920-xx5-17.LBL
Controller: 3B0 920 927 B
Component: KOMBI+WEGFAHRSP VDO V01
Coding: 07235
Shop #: WSC 00050
VCID: 243B9924A7C3
WVWTH63B52P176719 VWZ7Z0A4145961
1 Fault Found:
01304 - Radio
49-10 - No Communications - Intermittent

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Address 19: CAN Gateway Labels: 6N0-909-901-19.LBL
Controller: 6N0 909 901
Component: Gateway K<->CAN 0001
Coding: 00004
Shop #: WSC 00028
VCID: F0932574A3BB
1 Fault Found:
01304 - Radio
49-10 - No Communications - Intermittent
 

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An excellent possibility is a failing crank sensor (crankshaft position sensor, CPS), which is a common issue in our cars.

If the CPS stops sending pulses, the ECM assumes the engine has stopped turning, so it quits firing the injectors and spark plugs (a self-fulfilling assumption). The CPS tends to fail "flaky" rather than just politely dying, thus this behavior.

See Emry's thread, which I posted to, for more detail. https://www.passatworld.com/forums/volkswagen-passat-b5-discussion/563755-epc-light-crank-position-sensor-change.html

A failed CPS will often cause a crank/no start symptom; see my Post #12 in that thread for the workaround.
 

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The CPS will usually not set a code until it fails completely. Mine died several times, also at idle, before it refused to start and finally set a code.
 

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my B6 is going thru this "trauma" also, but surprised that in their (VW) software program they would not default to the cam sensor if the crank sensor fails, fully aware of the car would run like crap ,but at least get me home....or put two sensors on.....on long trips I'm going to put spare in box with ignition coil... guess thats like having "two".
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks PZ for the help. Do you think I should just replace the crank position sensor, or try to do further diagnostics and somehow test the CPS before I replace it?

What do you think of the info at this link: Checking Engine Speed Sensor with multi-meter (is the Engine speed sensor, the same as the Crankshaft Position Sensor?

I found some step-by-step instructions with pictures at the link below.

https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7227212-DIY-Passat-V6-Crank-Shaft-Position-Sensor-(B5-amp-B5-5)
 

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Yes, the ESS and CPS are the same part. The link is the correct way to test the sensor but you shouldn't need to the ECU.
 

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this may be of some help, a trick I use when removing and installing parts like this whose cable/vacuum line/oil line "snakes" thru the nest of cables/ wires,hoses that surround and confound the installation of parts like in your case ,is to after disconnecting at the firewall attach a piece of white masons twine and let it follow the "path" that the crank sensor takes to its mounting position ,then once the new one is installed attach twine to bonnet/connector an d retrieve/snake it back up and thru. This at least keeps cable in its intended position orientation, especially works wonders with turbo oil supply line on the 1.8s. Got two of these (new) and will check ohm reading tonight.
 

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this may be of some help, a trick I use when removing and installing parts like this whose cable/vacuum line/oil line "snakes" thru the nest of cables/ wires,hoses that surround and confound the installation of parts like in your case ,is to after disconnecting at the firewall attach a piece of white masons twine and let it follow the "path" that the crank sensor takes to its mounting position ,then once the new one is installed attach twine to bonnet/connector an d retrieve/snake it back up and thru. This at least keeps cable in its intended position orientation, especially works wonders with turbo oil supply line on the 1.8s. Got two of these (new) and will check ohm reading tonight.
 

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Luckily, the CPS on the V6 does not snake through much, it's about 12" from the connector. On the 1.8T it snakes under the manifold, behind the oil cooler hoses and wiring harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Test the CPS? Or, just replace? Is it possible that the CPS might be starting to fail but intermittently so that it might test ok but still fail sometime soon? My question is, should I even bother to test the CPS because it seems likely that the CPS is causing the problem and it seems possible that a failing CPS might pass the tests shown at this link: http://www.agthompsonfamily.com/vw/BentleyCD-AFP-CheckingEngineSpeedSensor.pdf
 

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On both of my Passats the CPS failed intermittently, so they would have probably passed those tests (which are from the Bentley manual). In my case, a good, hot, day seemed to bring on the failure/flakiness.

I would certainly just replace the sensor.
 

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Mine was also worse when the engine was hot. I am surprised the V6 does not seem to eat CPS as fast as the 1.8T, despite the driver's side cat being less than 6" away.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks everybody, I replaced the sensor without checking it. The job was super easy. I was able to reach the nut holding the sensor with a long extension on my ratchet. I was also able to put the new sensor in place by reaching from the side instead of below.
 
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