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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '02 1.8 with 114,000 miles. Was getting the oil changed at cheapo places until last 2 changes and put in Mobil 1 10w 30 high mileage. Yesterday got the low pressure light on my way home. Drove another 2 miles or so and when I got home added a little bit of oil and drove another 1 mile and light came on and stayed on. The car has sat since then. I did start it up again today and engine is running rough. When I checked the oil it is very dark so I assume that I have the dreaded sludge. My question is should I try the Auto RX now or is my only option to just bite the bullet and pull the oil pan and clean the screen? Is there any other options up front that are somewhat less expensive/ costly/ time consuming? I am not a mechanic but am not a total idiot. I changed the half axels and can do oil changes, brakes, alternators and what not but dont want to get in over my head. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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DON'T drive it. I was in pretty much the exact same situation. (albeit I had been using the proper oil). 02 1.8T w/ 113,000 miles. I tried Auto-RX and thought it was working. 1000 miles into the Auto-RX treatment my engine seized and was trashed. $3500 later I learned an expensive lesson.

My understanding is that dropping the oil pan in the 1.8T requires lifting the engine. It's not an easy job. If you are worried about getting in over your head, I would have the car towed to a competent mechanic. Have them drop the pan, replace the pump/pick-up screen if need be, clean the pan and run some engine clean cycles.

I'm guessing you've probably got a good $1,000 of work in front of you... but from experience, $1,000 would be much better than $3,500.
 

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Also, FYI... Mobil 1 10w-30 high mileage is not a VW 502.00 approved oil, which is required for the 1.8T. Once you get your engine cleaned out you need to find/use a 502.00 oil.

(Castrol Syntec 5w-40, and Mobil 1 0w-40 "European Formula", are two popular options available at many auto parts stores)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sounds like mostly labor at the mechanics then not parts right? Is it just the oil pump and pick up screen that need to be done?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah i realized that now. day late, dollar short is my motto. Sad that it didnt happen when Firestone was putting Kendalls crap in there.
 

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It depends on what they find when they drop the pan. The official dealer "sludge procedure" is something like this according to another thread on here. Some or all of it could be necessary.

1. Entire breather assembly under the intake and around the back of the valve cover is replaced, the turbo feed and return lines are replaced,
2. You'll get a new valve cover gasket too.
3. The oil pan is dropped, the pick up tube is replaced, engine oil and filter are changed, engine is run for 30 minutes at 3k rpm, oil pan (should be....) dropped and the new pick up tube should be cleaned and the oil and filter are changed again.
4. If the oil pressure drops while it's being run on the lift, they'll try to clean the pickup, and verify the pressure with a mechanical gauge, and if it still doesn't come up on a gauge, they usually scrap the motor and put one in.
(they modified the service bulletin so it may be less or more stuff to change or a different procedure but it covers most of the essential stuff.)

If they can get the engine reasonably clean, THEN i would try doing an Auto-RX treatment for added safety.

This of course all assumes that there isn't already valve damage when they open up the engine.
 

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Where do you live? Maybe someone can recommend a good mechanic in your area. I feel your pain... I literally just went through this a month ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm in Arlington TX. Home of the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys! :D Should I go straight to dealer? Ive got another mechanic but the last thing I need is him doing oil pump/ pickup screen and needing more work done.
 

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Wow, had a car in that was identical to your story, and I flushed the engine three times, and for grins I took the valve cover off and took off a couple cam caps to see if there was material transfer, and there was. quoted the cust. a new engine, and they declined and two wks. later the car returned on the hook sieze. If it where me i would get a case of oil, some filters, and a few cans of engine flush and start flushing. and start saving some money for a engine. sucks, but would be better to put the thousand plus dollars to have the pan dropped and pickup changed towards a engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is doing a flush going to potentially put me in worse shape though? As in causing transfer if there hasnt been any yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is there somewhere I can start right now without taking it apart or towing to mechanic? Just dont want to shell out the $100 for a tow and $150 for a mechanic to look at it and tell me I'm out $3000 for an engine. Thanks for the help so far.
 

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If you are up for it, pull the valve cover gasket and 1 cam bearing cap on each camshaft. Post up pics of the head and both cam bearings. That would at least give a better idea of what you are up against. If the bearing looks questionable, pull each one to be certain.

I would replace the oil pump, pickup screen and clean the oil pan if the cam bearings look ok. It's still a gamble since the car was run with low pressure, but it might survive.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
got anyone you would recommend? It was only run for a handful of miles with the light on. As in less than five.
 

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This is another instance of: It's an oil pressure light, not an oil level light. If you check the oil level, and it is fine, STOP and call a tow truck. The running rough is not a hopeful sign. You are waaaaayyyy past AutoRx time.

Doing the pan doesn't require lifting the engine, but it does require partial dissassembly of the subframe.

If the engine is not damaged, this isn't a $1000 job, so worry not there. But yes, there will be a little bit of a bill before they can tell you if it is worth finishing the job.

SirWired
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Would that much damage happen in the course of 3-4 city driving miles? Any write ups on getting to the pan without lifting the engine out? Ive seen the one where you pull the engine. I would love to see one with taking apart sub frame. Im going to pull the valve cover gasket tonight or tomorrow and post some pics.
 

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I had the same problem with my 05 passat. My wife was driving it and the light intermittently was coming on. she was visiting family and about 40 miles from their house, the car started to sound horrible. She pulled over (fortunately) and had the car towed. i called a mechanic at first and rec'd a quote for about $2500 for replacing the oil pump. I checked the forum for info and found some great info. i tried kero at first to see if that would help at all. no luck. i then dropped the pan, suspended the engine with a lift, dropped the subframe, and pulled the pan. the kero mostly cleaned the pan, but when i pulled the oilpump and checked the sump screen, i noticed the sludge on the screen. i replaced the oil pump, refilled it with dino oil, and started it up. the oil pressure light didn't come on, but there was 0 boost from the turbo. pulled the turbo out, and the bearing was completely shot. i replaced the bearing, put the turbo in, and drove it around. it seemed to run well, and am still driving it. im still a little worried that there might be some engine damage, but right now it seems ok. i also did 2 sea foam treatments with dino oil changing each at 1000 miles. since it appeared that the turbo was the main issue, it probably would have been even more expensive to get everything fixed. in checking the forum, i'm going to replace the pcv and lines as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
quick question? Can I drain and strain the oil and check for metal? I know if I find it in there then we know the problem is there. but will the lack of metal in the oil automatically mean Im in the clear.
 

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No, metal in the oil is not a yea or ney. The potentil issue is oil starvation causing excessive wear, lack of lube to moving parts such as the turbo bearing, rings, crankhsaft and cam jourmals.

By straining the oil you will likely find flecks of coal-like substance. It is baked oil. That is the stuff plugging up the oil intake screen and possibly the oil passage ways. Follow PZ directions and look at the cam bearings.
 
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