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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Under heavy RPM load I get what seems like a faint puff of a burning slightly sweet/oily smell in the cabin? I have looked in all the obvious places (filter, pan, ground, belly pan) and not been able to see any oil leaks, and 1k into my OCI the dipstick level is right where I left it.

Coolant level is stable, as are all other fluids (save the tranny fluid which VW so lovingly decided I was not worthy of checking.)

Is this a PCV system issue?
 

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You can have the oh-so-slightest leak around a valve cover that will cause a bit of hot oil on the engine or exhaust manifold, it's right in front of the cabin filter. I don't know about "heavy rpm loads" tho, for me it was more a matter of driving distance getting things oozing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can have the oh-so-slightest leak around a valve cover that will cause a bit of hot oil on the engine or exhaust manifold, it's right in front of the cabin filter. I don't know about "heavy rpm loads" tho, for me it was more a matter of driving distance getting things oozing.
I guess I just seem to notice it more right after I've been driving it harder.

Come to think of it my fiancee mentions how she can sometimes smell it when she gets out of the car after a long trip. I guess it'd be on her side of the car. I can't say I really ever smell anything different then a hot Passat.
 

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My '98 was having a hard-to-describe smell after driving it any distance -- a hot, oily smell like you said but not really burning oil per-se. It was like if you could mix the burning oil smell and exhaust, that was the smell I was getting.

One new PCV system later the smell is completely gone.

I could never smell my PCV leak when I was moving... only when @ a stoplight or when parking. Does this sound similar to your situation?

Edit to say the smell was more than just a "faint puff" -- more like a strong odor. If you got out of the car you could smell it outside, but it was even worse if you then got back in the car.
 

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Easy enough to find out if it's a valve cover gasket or cam seal leaking: Get some liquid degreaser from any auto parts store or Wal-Mart, etc. Put it in a spray bottle and, when the engine is warm to the touch (but not hot), spray heavily along the backside of the head, and along the turbo/exhaust side of the head. Really soak it and let it sit for 10 mins, then wash it off well with water.

Then drive it for a few days. If the smell doesn't return immediately but pops back up after several days, or even a week or maybe as long as a month, you've got an oil leak around the valve cover gasket or cam seals in the back of the head.

My leak on my 98 AEB is so slow that I manage it by the above cleaning method once every couple of months instead of replacing the cam seals. Nice to have a clean engine anyway.
 

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On my car the problem was caused by a leaky valve cover gasket AND a destroyed PCV system. The turbo engines generate way too much heat for the rubber hoses to withstand -- replace them with silicone, where you can, and get the gasket replaced. Change the Cam Chain Tensioner while you're in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My '98 was having a hard-to-describe smell after driving it any distance -- a hot, oily smell like you said but not really burning oil per-se. It was like if you could mix the burning oil smell and exhaust, that was the smell I was getting.

One new PCV system later the smell is completely gone.

I could never smell my PCV leak when I was moving... only when @ a stoplight or when parking. Does this sound similar to your situation?

Edit to say the smell was more than just a "faint puff" -- more like a strong odor. If you got out of the car you could smell it outside, but it was even worse if you then got back in the car.
I'd have to say that is pretty much what I'm getting. I get it are really heavy RPMs sometimes but can smell it at stoplights too. You can smell it when parked as well.

Faint puff, strong odor, either way, it's not like someone sprayed it right in your face.

I just realized, this same problem happened like right after I got the car and did it for about a week or two then just stopped. It is much more pronounced now though.

Anyway, I submitted a service request online to my dealer, pretty much quoting verbatim my post here. In it I also requested a quote for them to change the fuel filter and spark plugs while it was in there. One of their service advisers emailed me back saying that what I "meant" to ask them to do was a 40k service... I had to reply back and say basically "no, I asked you for a quote for the plugs and fuel filters, the rest I've done on my own, if I like your price I'll just have you guys do it while its in there otherwise I'll do it myself." -- I'd just do them myself but I figured while it was there I'd just let them worry about spilling fuel all over themselves.
 

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Well, i ran into the problem also. Very small leak in the valve cover gasket, fixed it but the smell did not go away. Found a leak in the cam seal (chain tensioner area) and replaced this one also. The smell is still there!. I guess thanks to this thread, i will be looking at the PCV's!. Anyone can help me with this, such as definition, how many, price etc...?. Thanks.
 

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Well, I've noted elsewhere how many trips it took to get my valve cover gasket leak fixed, and it appeared to be fixed, but now a few thousand miles later my wife (why is it always WOMEN who smell these things) says the stink is back. But I see no smoke (V6 and I've long ago stored the engine covers in my shed!) or other indications. Check the PCV? Guess I should replace the cabin filter too (ahem).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cabin filter was replaced a few months ago, it just started icing up outside tonight (no garage) otherwise I'd check it ;)

My first thought was the PCV system, which is what I'm going to tell the dealer to look at. What will probably happen is they'll tell me it was a leaky valve, tell me they cleaned it up, put magic fairy dust on it and tell me I'm good to go.

I don't know enough to actually fix it myself yet though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I read this topic in the Infobase http://www.passatworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191705 on replacing the PCV, but am I nuts in thinking he replaced all the breather hoses but not the valve itself?

BTW, the Haynes is VERY sketchy on this item and basically says "don't look here for problems."
Humm, that doesn't look too difficult. I have a Bentley I need to explore, I'd be surprised if it didn't help ;) I'll let the dealer take a crack at it first under warranty, then if they don't help I'll figure something out.
 

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i have that stink too, i've had the CCT done and am buying PCV stuff as time/money allows. those damned pucks are almost $20 a piece!! :O
 

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i got a stink too and my friend who is a mechanic said i needed to replace my valve cover and oil cap on the motor. so i did that and still was having oil leak. I took my car to get alligned and changed oil and fix the oil leak from a local shop and they said that they wouldnt want to work on it because they are unable to fix that type of oil leak due to it being a turbo engine. Said something in the back of the motor a oil hose dealing with the turbo is cracked and is causing a massive oil leak. If you were to look behind the motor and between the wall ( seperates battery from engine bay.) and the back of the motor all you see is splattered oil. I need to get this fixed asap. Shop said you need to clean all the oil and find where the oils leaking from. Anyone know a good shop that wont charge much to do this?
 

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in my case the smell was indicative of the CCT gasket being shot. By peering back behind the head you could see the oil pooling in the halfmoon cutout for the seal.
 

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in my case the smell was indicative of the CCT gasket being shot. By peering back behind the head you could see the oil pooling in the halfmoon cutout for the seal.
when i replaced my valve cover my friend put a type of glue on the valvecover when installed to make sure it wouldnt leak again and he triple checked the halfmoon area. he said that was notorious for causing oil leaks.
 

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when i replaced my valve cover my friend put a type of glue on the valvecover when installed to make sure it wouldnt leak again and he triple checked the halfmoon area. he said that was notorious for causing oil leaks.
there are two halfmoon areas back there btw. one is sealed by the Valve Cover Gasket, the other by CCT gasket. oil from either will flow onto the hot cat on a 1.8t. mmm....smells like burning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
in my case the smell was indicative of the CCT gasket being shot. By peering back behind the head you could see the oil pooling in the halfmoon cutout for the seal.
I dropped the car off at the dealership today (got a B6 loaner -- not bad) and it turns out it was the camshaft chain tensioner leaking oil. They replaced the chain adjuster gasket and all is well. Judging by the service ticket they also replaced the valve cover gasket that was also leaking.

But here is the thing that gets me. The report the guy wrote up for the camshaft is as follows:

Ticket said:
PER TECHNICIAN INSPECTION, FOUND CAMSHAFT CHAIN TENSIONER LEAKING ENGINE OIL. CAM ADJUSTER GASKET LEAKING. PLACED INTO SERVICE POSITION. REMOVED DRIVE BELTS AND TIMING COVER. REMOVED TIMING BELT AND VALVE COVER. REMOVED CAMS AND TENSIONER. REPLACED GASKET AND REASSEMBLED. TEST DROVE. ALL OK
(I put the all caps in just for the service report effect.)

So basically, they did everything involved in a timing belt change except for the water pump right? But just put all the old parts on (sans broken gasket.) ... I just find it funny because if I knew they'd be doing all that I'd have bought them new parts to replace it with and paid for a water pump replacement! I'm at 55k so it wouldn't be too far off with the speed I put on miles. :banghead:

All the work was covered by warranty and my drive home and all night I've not smelled any oil :D
 

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really strange...you dont need to remove 90% of the stuff they did to replace the gasket of the cam chain tensioner. even the bently manual doesnt say to do that.

to replace the CCT gasket to need to move/remove the intake cam only, which is not connected to the front belt system. only the exhaust cam is, and that stays in the engine.

here's a gallery of pics from when i changed my CCT gasket:
http://www.modifieda4.com/gallery/cam-chain-tensioner
 
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