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Please put on some protective headgear before you read this, so that you don't hurt yourself from all the face-palms you do.

TL;DR- I went to buy a car 450 miles away and drove it back --> what could I have damaged (it's gonna be a lot)?

Alright. The beginning of the story: I own a 2001 Passat, 1.8t, manual, FWD, high miles, and I absolutely love it. Only thing missing for me was AWD, so I set out to look for an AWD replacement for it. A good find came to me through a regional Facebook car buy/sell group. It was a 2004 Passat, 1.8t, 4motion, manual, 143,xxx miles. "Nothing" wrong with it, but it was located two states away (450) miles, roughly. Being the adventurous young'n I am, I took a train over to buy the car to drive it back. I've done this quite a few times in the past, and have had mostly good luck.

When I got there, I glanced it over (I have near to no mechanical skills or extensive knowledge to speak of, per say), and I took it for a test drive. The only thing I noted was that the alignment and wheel balancing was atrocious, but that was all. Seemed slower and less turbo-eager than my Passat, but I chalked it up to the AWD drivetrain loss. I bought the car and embarked on the 450 mile trip back.

Here's where the problems start. Before I started back I needed to fill up on gas. I explored the town real quick to look for gas, and out of nowhere, the oil pressure sensor light started flashing. (I hadn't been driving any harder or differently that I did during the test drive, and at this point I had only been driving a little longer than how long the test drive was.) I know what the light means, so I shut down the car in the next parking lot within 10 seconds. I waited a minute, and restarted the car and no lights, no issues. I figured it might be a fluke or have something to do with being low on gas (not sure how, but my logic connected those two) and I found a gas station, filled up and started on the highway home.

On the highway, the oil pressure sensor light came on a few more times, but being the highway I couldn't pull over, and the lights came on and went off within 5 seconds, each time. Within 1 hr/50 miles, when I was near a major city exit, I finally pulled over to see if I could see anything going on with the car, with my mechanically blind eyes. First thing i went to do was check the oil level, aaaaaand the dipstick tube (the pipe the dipstick stays in) was broken. Cleanly broken off into three sections, so oil had come out of there. I couldn't tell how much oil I had lost, because the dipstick no longer fit in its proper height. One way or another, though, it was still showing oil on the dipstick when I tried measuring. It was past 6 pm on a Saturday, so no mechanics shops were open. I couldn't stay there and wait for anything to open because I had to be home that evening (work, etc in the AM). So I found an O'Reilly's nearby and luckily they had a dipstick tube replacement. I iffily replaced it there. I don't think I was able to completely remove the small piece of the old pipe that fit inside, but the new one fit over it relatively snugly. I added a quart of oil stabilizer to supplement any oil I may have lost. Pulling out of the parking lot, the oil pressure light still wouldn't go away. I parked it once more and looked over again, and oil was leaking out the bottom of the car. Then I could hear the engine slightly ticking.

My only real option was to try and get the car home, even if it came as expense of the engine. 450 miles back, 25 quarts of oil that I intermittently added, a gallon of water to replace the coolant that ended up low/gone, and with lots of prayer, I cruised/limped home at the freeway speed limit.

When not at higher RPM's, the engine sounds like grinding transmission gears, if not worse. When I add oil and check under the car, oil leaks out in several places right away. I can see oil streaming underneath the car all the way back, down the exhaust or whatever. When I stop the car and pop open the hood, smoke/steam comes out. When I open the hood all the way, not so much. The whole rear of the car is splattered in oil (from oil coming out the exhaust?). I kept my eye on the temp gauge the entire way home and it did not move from its normal temperature location. The car is lowered, but I did not hit anything when I was driving it. The pipe to the left of the engine (exhaust?) was MILDLY glowing red on one time I went a little longer without adding oil. When the engine is running, when I take the oil cap off, it blows air up into your face, to the point where it's strong enough it barely will let oil in there. At this point, the turbo no longer works, I believe.

Now, I'm glad I was able to make it home with the car; I consider it a blessing. Whenever the shops have an open spot I might limp it down there and see what they can assess the damage to be. But I want all of your advice and input on everything I can expect to have to replace in order to make the car mechanically perfect again. I'm expecting to have to replace the engine, but what does that include/entail- does it include the turbo? Is there anything else that could have failed that wouldn't come with an engine replacement? Long story, I know, but every detail helps, I figure. And yes, I know what I did was foolish in normal situations, but I didn't have an option once I had bought the car. All help, insight, etc would be much appreciated! Either way, I paid $2,500 for it, so if worse comes to worse I could use the wheels,tires, and suspension from the new one to my old one, sell the rolling body of the new one for a grand, and cut my losses. But if it's worth fixing..and building up... I might just do that. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Are you for real? Rear main seal...


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Too real unfortunately. And rear main seal would make a lot of sense. That wouldn't have caused any harm to my transmission, would it? Is there anything I should tell the shop to look at or pay attention to when I bring it to them?
 

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I just purchased an 05 tdi which po thought had a blown turbo, it turned out to be a bad maf sensor, main rear seal, torque converter, transmission mount, transmission oil pump. Paid $500 for car and $2500 for everything else.


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Check the rear of the valve cover that goes over the camshaft chain tensioner area to see if there are groves worn through the cover.

Edit: Did you raise the hood prior to purchase or did you only drive it?
 

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Take it to someone that knows VW! Taking to someone that simply tinkers with them will result in. Well. A lot of $ given to someone that doesn't know what their looking for.
 

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motor is probably toasted. pull the valve cover off, and remove a cam-cap and see how bad the scoring is. this will gain you a good picture of how bad the crank mains will be, if not worse.

when warm and cruising i believe the pressure sensor won't throw off a light until it closes at like 20-26 psi range (could be wrong).
point is, that light comes on when the psi is significantly lower than it should be, once warmed up. i just had to clean the sump on my 1.8t.
 

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Take the motor out of your 2001 FWD and drop it in the 4mo. If you have to pay for the motor repairs instead of DIY, you will pay closer to $5K.
 

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A 1.8t, 4mo 5 Speed with worth more saving than the FWD you have, Like PZ said, Yank the motor out your FWD, Do FULL timing belt device & FULL coolant system service you also might have to modify the crankshaft a bit because (Correct me if I'm wrong) since your going from Auto to Manual, Buy a brand new clutch kit and enjoy, Your old car could be used as a parts car or part it out and make a small change to recoup back some funds
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Check the rear of the valve cover that goes over the camshaft chain tensioner area to see if there are groves worn through the cover.

Edit: Did you raise the hood prior to purchase or did you only drive it?
Thanks, I dropped it off today, and from just telling the mechanic about the blow-by pressure coming out of the oil cap when it's open with the engine running, he told me it's going to be more cost effective to put in another engine rather than rebuild the current one. Still going to look it over though. Yes, I did check under the hood before buying the car, but somehow glossed over checking the fluids. Still kicking myself over that; paying dearly too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
motor is probably toasted. pull the valve cover off, and remove a cam-cap and see how bad the scoring is. this will gain you a good picture of how bad the crank mains will be, if not worse.

when warm and cruising i believe the pressure sensor won't throw off a light until it closes at like 20-26 psi range (could be wrong).
point is, that light comes on when the psi is significantly lower than it should be, once warmed up. i just had to clean the sump on my 1.8t.
Yeah, I know that light is supposed to be pretty darn bad. I just didn't/don't understand why in the beginning it would only come in for a few seconds at a time maybe 15 minutes apart, versus staying constantly on as it did later. That's what made me think it wasn't really serious at first.
 

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Take the motor out of your 2001 FWD and drop it in the 4mo. If you have to pay for the motor repairs instead of DIY, you will pay closer to $5K.
Any guide or clue for what the engine swap itself is going to be NOT doing it myself? And it's identical car setup aside from the FWD to AWD. Same engine (AUG vs AWM), both manual transmissions, etc.
 

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A 1.8t, 4mo 5 Speed with worth more saving than the FWD you have, Like PZ said, Yank the motor out your FWD, Do FULL timing belt device & FULL coolant system service you also might have to modify the crankshaft a bit because (Correct me if I'm wrong) since your going from Auto to Manual, Buy a brand new clutch kit and enjoy, Your old car could be used as a parts car or part it out and make a small change to recoup back some funds
They're both manual, so that should make it easier. It's just a hard decision to take a reliable running car and break it apart for a car with issues. Any thoughts on buying a secondhand engine to pop in instead? If I do, is there anything aside from the engine itself I'd need to make sure I get with it? Also, any ballpark on the installation cost itself for replacing the engine?
 

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Also, while the engine is swap is happening, are there things I could/should do at the same time to save money on installation, if I wanted to achieve ~250 awhp daily reliably? Kind of a different kettle of worms, but still applicable, methinks. Definitely would help! I appreciate all the feedback, guys!
 

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Yeah, I know that light is supposed to be pretty darn bad. I just didn't/don't understand why in the beginning it would only come in for a few seconds at a time maybe 15 minutes apart, versus staying constantly on as it did later. That's what made me think it wasn't really serious at first.
as you start the car, while the oil is cold, it's a lot thicker. on my 1.8t it took maybe 5 minutes of driving around the neighborhood before it would START to trigger that light, and it would only do it if i touched 3k rpm. that's why it did it. at higher rpm's it could not deliver the pressure it needed. lower rpm's were a slight bit more stable, but not likely by much.
 

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Do not transplant the engine. Leave that good car out of this mess.

These "nothing wrong" $2500 "bargains" require wrenching skills to make financial sense.

Have a qualified shop get you an engine and install it. Before they do that have them do an inspection and scan it for other hidden problems.

Stay away from Facebook.
 
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