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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Picked up a 2003 W8 wagon off Cars and Bids in Nov. Car was in PA and finally got delivered last week. 102.5K on the odo. Single owner up to 2019 then had a second owner briefly.

It’s been a few days and I’ve put over 100 miles on this beast including some pretty aggressive driving including getting it up over 100mph. I’ve spent hours crawling around it including on ramps, etc. Here you go and there is no TLDR:

Mechanical issues:
  • Gear oil leak from where the prop shaft exists the trans/4Motion unit. Seems like a straightforward fix with a new seal that probably costs $10 but you have to remove the exhaust and it’s rusted out so may need to deal with that at the same time I do exhaust.
  • D. side front CV boot is torn – needs to be fixed. Makes noise during full-to-lock turns.
  • Small oil leak from oil pan gasket and drain plug – they probably didn’t replace the crush washer but the pan gasket doesn’t look hard to do.
  • Power steering leak from line fittings on pump – I’ll just leave it alone/watch the fluid level.
  • AC High pressure valve keeps popping a code, first time I found it was just unplugged (no idea why) but it’s still throwing an intermittent code. Not sure the compressor is working but it’s cold out, no clue…will have my shop test it when it’s in to get a state inspection so I can register it here in VA (it’s a PA car).

Scan/codes:
  • Actually there were no codes as of tonight (is that even possible?).

Minor crap:
  • Central AC flap door code is intermittent – I hear doors moving behind the dash and one sounds like it sticks before it finally clangs into place. Guessing that’s it.
  • D. side headlight washer comes out but doesn’t spray.
  • R. washer fitting in the d. side compartment where the CD changer etc. wasn't staying together so now I know where the fluid went…right on that huge wiring harness to the amp! Taped this together and seems to be sorted.
  • D. side vanity light on the sun visor has a bad switch.
  • Belly pan is missing – ordered a new one with hardware.
  • The typical interior crap with this gen VW that is ubiquitous but your kids will find all of them even when you tell them to not touch anything b/c it all breaks when you touch it.
  • The vacuum line that went to the engine mounts was unplugged and tied up to the bottom. Figured out where it went but the d. side looks like it may be pinched in the mount – it had a new tranny at some point so they must have had to move the engine and it got caught when they put it back in. Easy to re-route with a new line and a fitting.
  • It’s missing the goof-ball sized donut spare – just the steel wheel back there.
  • It sat in the rain overnight and low and behold – wet carpet on p. side as well as A pillar. Checked the sunroof drains and that side was slow/no-go. Got it flowing. Dried it all out. May cut off the nipples on those rubber outlets for the drains and I’m going to seal the cabin filter housing for good measure which could have also been involved as I had the filter out/mucked with the cowl.

Overall impressions/comments:
  • The headlights are appalling – and this was the top-of-the line Xenon lights. I refinished them so they are nice and clear so at least they look cool. Don’t drive at night…check.
  • It drives great, v. heavy feeling in the front. F. sway bar looks like It’s off a ¾ ton Chevy truck but the rear looks about like the stock one off my Sportwagen that weighs 600 pounds less.
  • Brakes are excellent but the rotors probably need to be surfaced at a min and the pads are looking a bit thin.
  • Overall the handling is surprisingly good.
  • I got to listen to my Miami Vice soundtrack tape I bought new at Birdland Records and Tapes in 1985.

What I’ve done/will do:
  • The tires are bo-bo Chinese jobs so I’ll be putting some proper tires on it this week and I ordered a spare from Tirerack (this week)
  • Put some yellow vinyl on the fogs (done).
  • Put a huge K&N cone filter on the MAF pipe in place of the air box (done), sounds great but I’ll need to figure out a heat shield at some point.
  • Replaced the shitty Jiffy Lube wipers front/rear (done).
  • Cleaned the cabin filter under the cowl (done).
  • Picked up some used Monster Mats on Ebay (done).
  • Picked up a used CD changer and cartridge on Ebay (done).
  • Going to do some kind of exhaust – it’s pretty rusted out so I think all new pipes so may as well do something cool….Magnaflow X pipe with mufflers will sound good and won’t be too obnoxious.
  • It needs tint – will do week after Christmas.
  • I re-finished the headlights with one of the kits you buy, easy and looks much nicer. They weren't terrible but needed a refresh.
A bunch of small OEM things I like to do to make it complete (first aid kit in trunk was missing etc.)

I'm a forum nerd and have been for over 20 years for various things I've been into. I have 2 other VWs (both 2018s, and Atlas and a 4Motion Sportwagen that is tuned and has the Golf R turbo swapped in). Had a MK4 Jetta we bought new in '99 and kept for 14 years/220K so a lot of this car reminds me of that one.

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Discussion Starter #3
Damn man, that's one badass baby there. Perfect color and a wagon. I've been looking for one like this for a while, great score.
Thank you! I really like it and TBH, as much as I'd like to put it on new H&R Sport springs and Bilstein dampers, it rides really nice as it sits. It was a NYC car so you can tell underneath, nothing terrible but definately corroded in spots. I'm most impressed with the interior - must have been garage kept.
 

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Welcome to PassatWorld. The center diff leak is easy once you lower the exhaust and heat shield. The front sway should be a 29mm and maybe hollow as the Sport had the 29mm solid. The rear bar is probably 15mm and the sport bar might be 17mm. The RS6 rear bar fits, but can rub the CV boot when the car is on stands.
 
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Welcome to PassatWorld. The center diff leak is easy once you lower the exhaust and heat shield. The front sway should be a 29mm and maybe hollow as the Sport had the 29mm solid. The rear bar is probably 15mm and the sport bar might be 17mm. The RS6 rear bar fits, but can rub the CV boot when the car is on stands.
This is the Sport so solid front and 17 then - RSB on the Golf was 19 and now I have a 25 but I suppose you don't need a big rear one on the Passat b/c it's not FWD-biased. I think if I'm going to do exhaust work I may as well combine it with the seal repair b/c that exhaust is seriously rusty and don't think it will survive removal..hahahaaha. Thinking X pipe with Magnaflows vs. the straight-pipe thing my kids want....too loud to me but does sound cool!
 
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I had the Hotchkis 24mm RS6 rear sway bar on for about 3-4K miles. It was much better, staying flat in corners and adding a lot more speed into the turns. The downside was that it was too stiff for dirt or gravel roads. I either had to slow down (which I don't want) or the back would get very loose (somewhat fun for me, not for the wife). If I was able to add a better front bar, I would keep it installed. I had a 35mm Hotchkis S4 front bar, but I did not like how it hung down more than the stock 29 hollow bar did. A 32mm bar would fit like the oem bar did. I still have to see if either will fit the Tiguan somehow. It really needs a better rear bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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Picked up a 2003 W8 wagon off Cars and Bids in Nov. Car was in PA and finally got delivered last week. 102.5K on the odo. Single owner up to 2019 then had a second owner briefly.

It’s been a few days and I’ve put over 100 miles on this beast including some pretty aggressive driving including getting it up over 100mph. I’ve spent hours crawling around it including on ramps, etc. Here you go and there is no TLDR:

Mechanical issues:
  • Gear oil leak from where the prop shaft exists the trans/4Motion unit. Seems like a straightforward fix with a new seal that probably costs $10 but you have to remove the exhaust and it’s rusted out so may need to deal with that at the same time I do exhaust.
  • D. side front CV boot is torn – needs to be fixed. Makes noise during full-to-lock turns.
  • Small oil leak from oil pan gasket and drain plug – they probably didn’t replace the crush washer but the pan gasket doesn’t look hard to do.
  • Power steering leak from line fittings on pump – I’ll just leave it alone/watch the fluid level.
  • AC High pressure valve keeps popping a code, first time I found it was just unplugged (no idea why) but it’s still throwing an intermittent code. Not sure the compressor is working but it’s cold out, no clue…will have my shop test it when it’s in to get a state inspection so I can register it here in VA (it’s a PA car).

Scan/codes:
  • Actually there were no codes as of tonight (is that even possible?).

Minor crap:
  • Central AC flap door code is intermittent – I hear doors moving behind the dash and one sounds like it sticks before it finally clangs into place. Guessing that’s it.
  • D. side headlight washer comes out but doesn’t spray.
  • R. washer fitting in the d. side compartment where the CD changer etc. wasn't staying together so now I know where the fluid went…right on that huge wiring harness to the amp! Taped this together and seems to be sorted.
  • D. side vanity light on the sun visor has a bad switch.
  • Belly pan is missing – ordered a new one with hardware.
  • The typical interior crap with this gen VW that is ubiquitous but your kids will find all of them even when you tell them to not touch anything b/c it all breaks when you touch it.
  • The vacuum line that went to the engine mounts was unplugged and tied up to the bottom. Figured out where it went but the d. side looks like it may be pinched in the mount – it had a new tranny at some point so they must have had to move the engine and it got caught when they put it back in. Easy to re-route with a new line and a fitting.
  • It’s missing the goof-ball sized donut spare – just the steel wheel back there.
  • It sat in the rain overnight and low and behold – wet carpet on p. side as well as A pillar. Checked the sunroof drains and that side was slow/no-go. Got it flowing. Dried it all out. May cut off the nipples on those rubber outlets for the drains and I’m going to seal the cabin filter housing for good measure which could have also been involved as I had the filter out/mucked with the cowl.

Overall impressions/comments:
  • The headlights are appalling – and this was the top-of-the line Xenon lights. I refinished them so they are nice and clear so at least they look cool. Don’t drive at night…check.
  • It drives great, v. heavy feeling in the front. F. sway bar looks like It’s off a ¾ ton Chevy truck but the rear looks about like the stock one off my Sportwagen that weighs 600 pounds less.
  • Brakes are excellent but the rotors probably need to be surfaced at a min and the pads are looking a bit thin.
  • Overall the handling is surprisingly good.
  • I got to listen to my Miami Vice soundtrack tape I bought new at Birdland Records and Tapes in 1985.

What I’ve done/will do:
  • The tires are bo-bo Chinese jobs so I’ll be putting some proper tires on it this week and I ordered a spare from Tirerack (this week)
  • Put some yellow vinyl on the fogs (done).
  • Put a huge K&N cone filter on the MAF pipe in place of the air box (done), sounds great but I’ll need to figure out a heat shield at some point.
  • Replaced the shitty Jiffy Lube wipers front/rear (done).
  • Cleaned the cabin filter under the cowl (done).
  • Picked up some used Monster Mats on Ebay (done).
  • Picked up a used CD changer and cartridge on Ebay (done).
  • Going to do some kind of exhaust – it’s pretty rusted out so I think all new pipes so may as well do something cool….Magnaflow X pipe with mufflers will sound good and won’t be too obnoxious.
  • It needs tint – will do week after Christmas.
  • I re-finished the headlights with one of the kits you buy, easy and looks much nicer. They weren't terrible but needed a refresh.
A bunch of small OEM things I like to do to make it complete (first aid kit in trunk was missing etc.)

I'm a forum nerd and have been for over 20 years for various things I've been into. I have 2 other VWs (both 2018s, and Atlas and a 4Motion Sportwagen that is tuned and has the Golf R turbo swapped in). Had a MK4 Jetta we bought new in '99 and kept for 14 years/220K so a lot of this car reminds me of that one.

View attachment 101874 View attachment 101875 View attachment 101876
That car looks fantastic. Its great that you're maintaining it too, mega props and congrats
 

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Discussion Starter #10
New shoes. Discount Tire - love that place. Nitto Neogen 225/45/17s. Cheap Walmart/China rubber in the trash - weren't even XLs so were not the correct load rating etc. The Nittos are nice - got up to 120 cruising on an empty stretch of highway, nice and smooth. Belly pan showed up as well - clearly not for the W8 but either 1.8/V6 B5 so close enough and the price was right (Dorman, not a VW one). Underside is bit beat up so just went the zip-tie route - secure and will keep things more orderly/aero down there. Finally, got the CD cartridge for the changer I grabbed off Ebay - loads/reads but doesn't' play. I'll have to clean the laser/head piece...I bet that's all it is.
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Wow, that looks really safe :rolleyes:. no jack stands...

Man, that shot makes the rotors look really small!
 

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Wow, that looks really safe :rolleyes:. no jack stands...

Man, that shot makes the rotors look really small!
I suppose DT has it figured that all 4 can't possibly fail at once and they aren't under the car but you know I was more focused on my new tires..crazy...

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I suppose DT has it figured that all 4 can't possibly fail at once and they aren't under the car but you know I was more focused on my new tires..crazy...

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Oh I do it all the time but was not expecting to see that at a chain store. You know, insurance reasons.


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Oh I do it all the time but was not expecting to see that at a chain store. You know, insurance reasons.


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They aren't under it and 4 jacks has to be more than redundant.

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Sorry, but I still wouldn't trust it to sit on multiple Jack's without something. Still good looking though. Love me some wagon. There's one for sale here locally, it must really be telling me that I need to buy a wagon. Too bad it's not a six speed.
 

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Belly pan on. It's a Dorman brand I got from ECS. Fit is ok, but the factory mounting points are rusted/boogered so I abandoned using the proper fasteners and just went old-school.....zip ties! Good enough. Hated not having it on and this will help with drips/weeps etc. on my driveway.

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Hey welcome! I was watching this on C&B as well, glad to see it!

Man, I can second the headlight woes. Mine were super cloudy when I picked it up, figured a polish would do the trick, but they were still super dim after that. Downright scary at night. Figured the bulbs could be ancient, and dimmed, so I replaced those. Same deal.

Did some more reading, found that the actual reflective coating inside the housing itself eventually just bakes off and makes them put out far less light than they should. I broke down and bought two new housings off of ECS and bingo, they look amazing now. Also pulled the relay for the DRLs, to save some wear and tear on the ballasts and housings.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Hey welcome! I was watching this on C&B as well, glad to see it!

Man, I can second the headlight woes. Mine were super cloudy when I picked it up, figured a polish would do the trick, but they were still super dim after that. Downright scary at night. Figured the bulbs could be ancient, and dimmed, so I replaced those. Same deal.

Did some more reading, found that the actual reflective coating inside the housing itself eventually just bakes off and makes them put out far less light than they should. I broke down and bought two new housings off of ECS and bingo, they look amazing now. Also pulled the relay for the DRLs, to save some wear and tear on the ballasts and housings.
I am coming around to that realization as well - housings vs. bulbs. They are absolutely scary at night. I see those on ECS, not cheap but likely not a lot of options would be my take. Did they come with all the bulbs/ready to install plug/play? I may just pick these up.
 

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I am coming around to that realization as well - housings vs. bulbs. They are absolutely scary at night. I see those on ECS, not cheap but likely not a lot of options would be my take. Did they come with all the bulbs/ready to install plug/play? I may just pick these up.
Yeah, I looked around on ebay and various scrap yards for a while, but didn't really find a good looking set that would promise good output.

The ECS ones were spendy, but are at least oem Hella units. They're complete save for the bulbs and ballast unit. Bit of a pain to route that wiring inside, but not too bad.
 

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Yeah, I looked around on ebay and various scrap yards for a while, but didn't really find a good looking set that would promise good output.

The ECS ones were spendy, but are at least oem Hella units. They're complete save for the bulbs and ballast unit. Bit of a pain to route that wiring inside, but not too bad.
Which bulbs did you go with?

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