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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I realize most here are don't know/remember me. I was one of the original CB5 (before that our little private VWVortex B5 forum) members..I had a '99 B5 1.8T Sedan Black Magic, Chipped, Neuspeed Springs, Bilsteins, lots of little mods this site was/is famous for. My car was a DD (70m per!) and reflected it with VW's famous light colored primer under a Black Paint. The 405 freeway re-surfacing was not kind to my car. It had lots of the usual B5 problems...Window Pins, I replaced all the control arms myself, bit of sludge that I got rid of, etc. Did all 5 CB5 Ortega Runs with the Greek and all the buds from here. Saddly, 2 yrs ago I had a early morning crunch on the 405...at first I thought....cool! Hids, Paint, she'll look better then ever! Insurance company said....Total! :D So I drive a '95 Track Prepped M3 as my DD....but that's another story!

My oldest Son, who went on at least 3 of those Ortega runs, is 18, working, has his permit (his social life was too busy to be bothered earlier) and now wants his first car....and that would be a .......B5 Passat Variant. Suprise, Surprise! The apple dont fall far! LOL!

So, we are looking at tons of Passats...mostly in the $6-$9K range. He prefers Variants, but we also look at Sedans. From '99 to '01..even a few 01.5-02 though he prefers the B5 over the B5.5. Even a '00 4-Motion Variant with 70k is in that range. (getting more details on that one!)

I'm fully aware of the problems for my '99 model. But its 2+ years since I had mine, I dont know what other problems may have crept up since mine, and if '00's and '01's have advantages that make them worth looking closer at.

1. Are Control Arms / Tie Rods a problem for all those years?

2. Same with ABS controllers. Never a problem on mine, but was for many.

3. Coil Packs. Same, no problem for me...knew some years had recall IIRC.

4. I owned the 1.8T and I think he too prefers that (we would chip it) but could get a V6...any special V6 issues?

5. Any new things for the '99-'01 I should be looking for?

6. 4-Motion. Unique issues? Can it be lowerd and modded as well as the FWD?

My Son's name is JT...some of you from the GTG's might remember him (red hair!) though I also brought Son #3 (I have 4 boys) to at least one GTG. (and he's a clone of the oldest...9 years younger!) Don't be surprised when he joins this site soon.

I have so many positive memories from this site and the people here over the years. Its nice to still see so many names I knew still here!

Cheers!
 

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Same issues are still present. Nothing new that you haven't already mentioned.

FWIW 4MO are all V6 in the years you are looking at so that would be a V6 and engine mods for HP upgrades tend to be a little pricier on the V6.
 

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Good luck finding a good used Passat! I had to look at a ton before finally just purchasing from CarMax so I could get a warranty on the thing -- turned out to be a good decision as the car is getting newer and newer by the day as things are replaced as they break.

1. - Control Arms / Tie Rods (and short-lived CV boots) are a problem for '98-'05
2. - ABS modules seems to be all year models, but I haven't seen as many posts for newer cars ... luckily this problem can be fixed by modulemaster.com for under $300 last I checked
3. - IIRC, the B5.5 is where the coilpacks were an issue. Not a big deal since they can all be replaced cheaply compared to most things on the car
4. - I'm sure you're aware of the sludge issue on 1.8t engines... also, anything over 65k and you're practically guaranteed to need a new PCV system (exhaust smell in the cabin) and check for oil leakage around the valve cover (esp. at the back) ... if the engine has been cleaned, it might be due to leaks.
5. - 98 & 99 seem to have eventual failure of the cruise control computer. May effect 2000s as well, but I haven't seen a lot of this.

Front window regulator clips are common failures. Roll window down and close door. If it sounds really loose, it may be the clips ready to snap off. Check all the doors to see if the car knows the door (and trunk) is open... door switches are a common failure.

All models - look for signs of water entry/ingress. Years around 2002 seem to be the most affected.

I'd avoid 98s and 99's if they have a sunroof - failure of the plastic lifting components is somewhat commonplace and requires a whole new sunroof frame system ($1500). The late 99s and up have a better design.

I think the '01s have head airbags, which would be nice.

6. - No idea, but don't forget the gas mileage drop you'll suffer if you go with 4-motion.

Again, good luck! Spend some time with the car before buying --- I can't believe how much has gone wrong on my '98 I bought last year. Nothing so far that has left me stranded, but without a warranty I'd be setting this thing on fire by now!
 

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I've loved my B5 variant until its untimely demise yesterday thanks to a Ford driving a-hole (but that's another post). I did NOT have any issues with the sunroof. I DID have the cruise control computer croak. I DID have major transmission issues (tiptronic). I still LOVED the car and will be also looking for another (although I may consider a B6, hmmm, hmmm)... Good luck, I get it!
 

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I ve had my b5.5 V6 variant for a couple years now and it s been a pleasure. it s a 2003, 68K miles so far. well.. valve cover leak was taking care of under warranty at 49Kmiles, and lately I had to replace both CV boots.
the b5.5 variant with V6 and manual tranny is a daily pleasure to drive.. and well worth the little "extras" to me.

good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If he got a V6, only an Exhaust upgrade would happen, anything else is pretty much worthless unless you got the $$$ for a SC.

Yeah, know all about the sludge, I was one of the first here to go the AutoRx route...worked great!! Went through the window pin issues several times...hate those stupid nylon pins!

First I've heard of the moonroof...good to know. I loved mine.

Mine made it to 116K before the crash.

Should mention we are looking a Leather cars, we all love leather and never was a fan of the Passat cloth. (though I know many are...thats cool!) And he'd also prefer a 5sp if possible...hard to find!

what sort of mileage do the 4-Mo's get?

Sorry to hear that Julie! Have to say, and its a personal thing...but the B6 is way too Camray for me. It's a whole different class of car for sure.....

Thanks for all the info!
 

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I had a '99 also, and I think my B5.5 is better. The suspension is not as soft, the 1.8T is little better(at least enough to make up for the weight). There are some odds/ends too, like the projector h/l's and fogs, ESP is optional....

Nothing major and nothing a few mods would not take car of anyway.
 

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I have a 2000 Variant 1.8T and have had no problems for the past 183,000 miles.

I've had tie rod ends replaced, and a couple of MAF Sensors, but other than that it's been pretty much normal wear and tear. The "worst" incident I've had was a broken oil pressure sensor which almost left me stranded. I still (knock wood!) have my original axles, CV joints and boots.

Overall the car has been great. (The APR chip helps too)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a '99 also, and I think my B5.5 is better. The suspension is not as soft, the 1.8T is little better(at least enough to make up for the weight). There are some odds/ends too, like the projector h/l's and fogs, ESP is optional....

Nothing major and nothing a few mods would not take car of anyway.

Your Not Chipped? Once Chipped, B5/B5.5 make the same power...both limited by the K03 Turbo.

It was the best (along with the springs/shocks..1.25" drop) mod by far on my old B5, the extra torque was incredible. Every 1.8T owner should chip their car. It gives it V6 power (little more sometimes) and a lot more Torque then the V6. Makes for serious smiles...and my MPG did not suffer in the least.


What year did the drive by wire engines come out? Any extra probs/benefits?
 

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Welcome back (make that almost back).

The V6 has the common CCT and VCG gasket leaks, is heavier (more understeer) and gets worse mileage. Oil consumption is an issue on some.

As for the 4MO, it can be dropped like a rock. Best part is that it will ride better than the FWD with a stiff suspension. Common problems are oil leaks at the differential seals (not a hard DIY). Rare but expensive fix is a leaking gas tank (requires rear subframe drop).

Gas mileage is not great. I average 6-7 mpg less than I did on my FWD 1.8T Tip sedan. Highway is 22 (at 80mph) up to 25 (at 65mph) with the a/c on and upgraded tires/wheels. I don't drive in the city much, but it can be as low as 12mpg (stop and go) to 17mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow...some serious driveline loss. Thanks for the info! Even my M3 (no overdrive!) gets 25-26 MPG on the highway....I seem to average 22-24 per tank. (lots of freeway at 80-85mph...almost 4k rpm! LOL!)

He's used to my M3 (prev owner was a NASA instructor...its quite track prepped at STIFF!) so a bit of stiffness in a Passat wont bug him.

Dude, when ever I see your name, reminds me of a fav website... (PZ...Planet Zeppelin) :D
 

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Your Not Chipped? Once Chipped, B5/B5.5 make the same power...both limited by the K03 Turbo.

It was the best (along with the springs/shocks..1.25" drop) mod by far on my old B5, the extra torque was incredible. Every 1.8T owner should chip their car. It gives it V6 power (little more sometimes) and a lot more Torque then the V6. Makes for serious smiles...and my MPG did not suffer in the least.


What year did the drive by wire engines come out? Any extra probs/benefits?
I am chipped(APR), but every B5.5 I have seen puts out a few more hp.tq than B5's.

APR's website lists them as +8hp +2tq, lol.
200hp/243lb-ft Pre00 NonDBW
200hp/243lb-ft 2000
207hp/245lb-ft 2001
208hp/245lb-ft 2001.5
208hp/245lb-ft 2002
208hp/245lb-ft 2003
208hp/245lb-ft 2003
208hp/245lb-ft 2004


DBW appears to be 2000+ My only complaint is not being able to unplug the kickdown(tiptronic).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I figured you were a APR guy...hard remembering who's who..its been awhile! :D

Now, that is interesting! I'm not aware of any physical (besides DBW) between those engines. Could it be a slightly better breathing exhaust? I do know the CAT is different in later years and looked better breathing to me. (I replaced mine twice..kept busting at the inlet flange, turns out had a bad motor mount. Last one was from an '02. Different shape and size of unit though flange to flange it was the same.)

Are all those the average of many runs, same day same dyno? Interesting!
 

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1. Are Control Arms / Tie Rods a problem for all those years?
Yes

2. Same with ABS controllers. Never a problem on mine, but was for many.
Yes, replaced mine.

3. Coil Packs. Same, no problem for me...knew some years had recall IIRC.
Usually #2 cylinder. Cheap easy replacement.

5. Any new things for the '99-'01 I should be looking for?
Check the rear wiper motor to make sure it cycles correctly. On my '99 the first couple of times using it, it will stop mid wipe and then continue on. Once it runs for a couple of cycles it seems fine. I think it is a contact issue inside of the wiper motor since it doesn't get used much. It will cycle correctly when using the rear washer though. Oh, check to make sure it sprays on the rear window. There have been issues with the hose coming under and window washing fluid will get on the inside of the car.

Other - 98 - 99 ICM issues. Buy a spare and keep in the glove box. Usually under $100.
See in quote, this is for a 98 - 99 B5 Variant
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I had the ICM go out on mine. It's a heat issue. I sanded the Heatsink smoother then it is for better contact, then used Arctic Silver paste, never a problem again.....

Interesting about the rear wiper! And the Hose!
 

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Dude, when ever I see your name, reminds me of a fav website... (PZ...Planet Zeppelin) :D
That's funny. I use my initials since most people can't spell or pronounce my last name. Zep is one of my favorite bands. Even my kids like their older stuff.
 

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DBW appears to be 2000+ My only complaint is not being able to unplug the kickdown(tiptronic).
That can be done thru the sport mode setting with a vag-com.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's my thread...so I guess I can hi-jack it. PZ, if ya like Zep (my Kids too..all 4) are you aware of all the recordings out there...ROIO's. More then any other band, Lossless, and free. I must have 75 shows, including most every Califorina one and the nite I saw them in '77. PM me if you want details.

Back to the cars...sure wish I could find a local slightly modded Variant in the $8K range. (know a nice '01...but he wants $11K) Looking at some sweet sedans both stock and modded and even a couple '00 4-Motions...one a Sedan the other a Variant. Both with 70K, about $7K, and both have not had the timing belts changed. (whats the V6 interval?) Both are very clean inside and out from the hi res pics I have...but......
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey Neighbor! (if you still live in MV)

Common...he's an 18yr old kid.....I ain't buying him a Tool kit till he moves out! :D So in the meantime he'll be using mine....I'd like to keep that at a minimum! LOL!

Seriously, as unique as the tiny pass mirror and green lighting is....I prefer the cool blue...and pretty sure he does too.
 
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