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Plastic Bits Clogging Oil Screen (Photo Included)

4455 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  John_E
I recently acquired an '02 Passat 1.8T Wagon (auto) w/ 175k miles in really nice shape (runs and shifts flawlessly, not even a door ding) except that the oil pressure light flickers above about 2500rpm. It needs an ABS module, but other than that, it's great.

I assumed (dumb, I know), it was sludge from a PO not using synthetic oil clogging the screen and causing oil starvation at higher rpms.

I purchased a new German-made oil pump and screen, and dropped the subframe to replace the pump and found that the screen had no sludge, but was packed full of small white hard plastic bits, all about 3mm-5mm in size that resembled pieces of a chain rail guide liner as I've seen used in some engines. There was a few of these in the pan, but the oil pump had done a great job of collecting 99% of them. The pan was pretty clean otherwise, and the bottom end of the engine looked normal for the miles on it.

I snapped a photo of some of what I picked out on my workbench (attached).
Organism Pest Insect Darkling beetles

Engine bottom end (old oil pump still in place)- No excessive deposits I could see.
Engine Auto part Automotive engine part Vehicle

Removing the valve cover I saw no chain guide on the cam chain end that looked like white plastic on the hydraulic cam chain foot, and the tensioner for the oil pump chain, both of which were black material and intact with no broken corners.

So I am at a loss to know where the plastic could have come from, so am asking here (after doing searches that mentioned junk in the pan, but nothing that looked like my recovered pieces).

The engine was quiet and ran perfectly before, as it does now with the new pump and screen (and no oil pressure light now, of course), but I am a bit nervous wondering if there is something disintegrating that will cause FUTURE problems.


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I see yellow plastic from either CCT of oil pump tensioner. I also see quite a bit of the broken PCV tube and the little orange bulb from the actual dipstick.

I had a similar issue on a customers car, new head, new CCT, cracked and sealed with JB Weld. Oil light on during highway drive, found parts of former CCT pads and JB Weld blocking the pickup tube. New pump and now the engine has been running fine in my car for the last 4 years. Engine was actually a warranty replacement with only about 60K on it but I guess they re-used the CCT. It failed and they replaced the head, but never cleaned the sump. New owner bought it cheap with a cracked pan and did not know what he got into. After I repaired it, he let it sit non-titled for a year before donating the car to me for my swap.
Synthetic oil pretty much stops the wear on the CCT pads. 240K on my son's V6 and original CCT pads looked great at 220K when I last checked.

oh boy. This was massive issue for Passat for our years (I have 2003). Problem is oil pan was designed too close to engine (this is how it was explained to me by Passat). Many people had engine problems due to clogging of oil filer. Oil was being heated too high (due to poor design) and breaking down into calcified pieces that were clogging filters. There was big lawsuit for this problem. I ended up being reimbursed for over $600 by Passat but that time period to report problem has long expired. Also, most were not using synthetic back then. That why they recommend only 5W 40 Synthetic Oil for Passat for our year.
Someone lied to you or you do not understand how engines work. All oil pans are close to the engine on every engine. It was actually the lack of synthetic oil requirement that caused issues on the 1.8T. Regular oil can not stand up to the heat produced from a turbo engine. The smaller capacity of the longitudinal setup did not help matters. The coked oil plugged the pickup screen of the oil pump. Then the engine lost oil pressure, damage resulted.
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