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Said goodbye to an old friend the other day

985 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  John_E
After about 16 years of driving pleasure, I finally bid farewell to my '99 Passat 1.8T (I bought it used in 2001). The car had about 205K miles on it and things were starting to go up on it left and right. In the past year I've replaced the downpipe, catalytic converter, turbo, engine mounts, all four brake calipers, all rubber brake flex hoses, one of the brake hard lines, rear brake pads, engine mounts (including the front snub mount), battery, tires, and probably a few other things that I just don't recall. About 2-1/2 months ago I noticed the right outer CV joint was making more noise than it should. My first thought was, now what? I really wanted to keep this car a bit longer (250k was my goal), but I had to decide if it was worth it to constantly put money into a car that had long since paid for itself.

A new timing belt and associated components were due in another 5K miles so I decided maybe it was time to start looking around for another car. I've fallen in love with VWs and Audis and decided long ago that my next ride would be an Audi. I love the look of the A5 and was ready to go that route until I realized it was only a 2-door car. I've got grandkids and old people to haul around and a 2-door model just wasn't practical for my needs. I've been driving a 5-speed manual forever, but wifey would never drive my car because she's gotten old and paranoid and is afraid she'll stall out in traffic. That being said, I bit the bullet and put down a deposit on a 2013 Audi A4 2.0T I found listed on ebay from a dealer in Houston. After a lot of miscommunication, I finally took delivery of the car a few weeks ago. It's just the base model with FWD and CVT automatic and not a Quattro. I read up on the car after I put down the deposit and wish I had gone the extra mile and gotten a Quattro instead, but since I've been driving a FWD Passat for so long I figured it can only be a step up. The transmission is definitely not without it's own set of quirks, but it is extremely smooth and the sucker is light years faster than my Passat. The car's still under warranty so I'll be taking it to a local Audi dealer to address the quirks in the transmission when I can find the time.

I spent the past three weekends restoring my Passat to original configuration as I had installed an aftermarket sound system that puts any stock sound system (and most aftermarket setups as well) to shame. I gutted the car and removed all of the wiring and electronics I installed and reinstalled the factory speakers and radio. Somewhere along the way I managed to break the plastic fitting on the end of the drivers' seat adjusting cable so it wouldn't lock down on the rail. I had already called up the Vietnam Veterans of America to donate the car and they scheduled a pickup for last Thursday. I scoured my garage for and parts that fit the car and loaded up the trunk with boxes of goodies that were no longer of any use to me. I've still got parts hidden around the house that I couldn't find to include with the car. Anyway, the tow truck showed up Thursday morning around 8AM and took the Passat to it's new home, wherever that may be. I don't know if they'll fix any issues with the car and give it to someone in need or if they use it to practice maintenance on so veterans can develop mechanic's skills to become gainfully employed. Both wifey and I had a tear in our eyes when the truck pulled away with the old gal perched on top.

It's amazing how attached you can become to something like that. I owned this car longer than any other car I've had in the past and it was by far my favorite car of all time. I became intimately familiar with most of the major issues with this model and became fairly proficient in dealing with most of them, especially with the help of this forum and the outstanding support I received. The car was extremely reliable as I was able to head off any major problems other than father time doing his thing. The car was relatively easy to work on, although I added more than my fair share of discouraging words to my vocabulary when dealing with certain things. It was an absolute blast to drive.

Now I'm entering a new era with my A4 and I'm starting to research know issues with the 2.0T and the CVT transmission. I noticed that the 2.0T has a timing chain instead of a belt so I'm thinking, great, no more issues dealing with broken timing belts or tensioners. Then I discovered that the tensioners are prone to failure. Oh crap, here we go again. LOL
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I shed half a tear reading about your journey and affection towards the car, but couldn't help but to burst into laughter in the end. Good luck with the A4!
Great write-up Captain and the reading went well with my Sunday morning coffee to the point that I had to finish the entire book! Ha-ha! All cars have their quirks and the end sentence was classic. Good luck with the Audi and if you have time you are a great asset to the Passat community with 16 years of knowledge on the beast we would love you to continue helping the people here. I think I have thought the way you did with about every vehicle I have moved on from since I do my own repairs you get attached. :thumbup:
I too am having a tough time even thinking of replacing my car. While researching it's replacement (either a new B7 Passat or new Golf Sportwagen), I keep thinking maybe I should just keep it. Then I realize the money I would put into it would be better spent on a new car. If I had only planned to commute in it, I would keep it, but I plan to start cross-country trips again and a new car would be the best choice. Since my wife can not drive it, she would be upset if I don't get one she could drive.
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I feel you on the timing chain tensioners. Just found out that my 2012 CC has one of the faulty ones, so it's spent most of the past few weeks parked 'till I can get the parts and tools to replace it. That being said, you've got a 2013 and depending on who you ask, they started using the updated tensioner in mid 2012 or mid 2013. You can check it to see if you need to worry :)

Though vehicle replacement is still a ways off for us, I keep telling myself I want to keep the Passat for as long as possible. I've always wanted to keep a car until it has an unreasonable amount of miles on it, just to say I've kept it going that long. We shall see what crossing that 200k threshold brings though.

Have fun in your new Audi, and thanks for your years of support and help on this forum!
we all bow our heads in a moment of silence and reflection, we all know one day we will too,"have to let go" ....... all kidding aside sorry to see it go,but do us all a favor and keep commenting and troubleshooting on here ,your insight would,was,and is appreciated. Thanks
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Be gentle with that CVT in your "new to you" Audi. When they go, you go looking for another CVT transmission (non-rebuildable). You'll also want to treat anything driven off the camshaft on that engine as if it were the CCT on any AEB/AWM 1.8T. Keep your ears "peeled" for engine noises and tell anyone else who drives it to do the same.

You shouldn't expect to get the same life out of the Audi as you got out of your AEB Passat. Yes, of course they are different cars, but VW/Audi took some of the drivetrain robustness away (cam driven components, timing and balance shaft chain tensioners -vs- a belt and the CVT isn't a manual) in 14 years of production.

Hope you and your wife enjoy it though.
Timing chain tensioners seem to be a problem in general. Before I got my Passat, I had a Nissan Sentra that needed them replaced twice in three years. Hopefully VW/Audi will design them better than Nissan did in 1998.
Our problem is that the B5 Passat wagon fits our needs so perfectly that it is impossible to identify a suitable replacement candidate in North America. Our current plan is to keep it running as long as we reasonably can, and since we can't get a new Eurospec Passat wagon on this side of the Atlantic, our best eventual prospect is to give up 12 cu ft of sometimes-needed cargo space and the flip-forward rear seat cushions and get a Golf Sportwagen.

Since I currently put only about 1000 miles/year on my 1996 A4, thanks to public transit, my bicycles, and my running shoes, our best shot might be to replace it with a Sportwagen, which would then become my wife's daily driver, thus preserving the Passat wagon.
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