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What is left to break?; How many things can break in one car? (a venting session)

2586 Views 32 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Emry
In the 5 years I've had with atia (B5 v6 5spd) I feel like if it is possible for it to break, it has, twice. I'm wondering if there are other common failures someone has had that this car hasn't. I feel like I should get a prize for having a passat that ALL common failures were shown. This list doesn’t include wear items like clutch/brakes. It's a 5-speed v6 so no limp mode and turbo issues. Also I haven't seen barney blood yet, but they were preemptively replaced.

What has broke in the last 5 years and 76k miles:

Rear view mirror went black
Rear window glass pin disintegrated
Rear defrost
Driver's side door:
window track destruction
door open handle broke
plastic cover that you remove to get the door skin off (2x)
window switch assembly (3x)
mirror switch
mirrors fold in but not out
speaker rattle
key broke off in trunk lock

Fuse #5 (HVAC, steering controls, heated seats)
heater core
dome lights come on and off as they wish
seat wobbles
seat adjustment only when car is on
screen in cluster cuts off corners (but still works)
trunk opening (electrical), and the key lock (mechanical)
glove box light (disintegrated while shorting out)
glove box door (2x)
visor lights
heated mirror wont heat

every ball joint in the house at least twice!
3 days of fun with each pinch bolt, (now annually removed and re-greased)
calipers fused on (had to cut one out)
brake lines
CV shafts (4x)
abs module (3x)

Vac lines
coil unit (2x)
spark plug wires (3x)
water pump
plastic that shows where TDC is
SAI fan plumbing
all PCV hoses
o2 sensor connections
Seven and counting flex pipes welded in
oil pan (2x)
bad coolant leak from back of engine (still can't find, ~1/2 quart a day of water added)
valve cover gaskets (2x but one was preventative)
most camshaft seals (2x)

2 keyfobs
fell off and ran over corner marker light and belly pan at speed
car was impounded and they went muddin in it, still finding mud in new places
hood latch

I guess what im wondering is, anyone feel my pain or had a similar experience? I still do love her, but it's hard when 3/5 of the years I am greeted by beeping and/or STOP displayed every time I turn the key, and randomly while driving.

Either-way I feel better now.

Vehicle Car Vehicle door Family car Compact car

(The pull cord is to open the door)
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I dunno, but that seems very excessive. Two coil assemblies, and three sets of plug wire in 76K miles? I still have the OE coils and wires on my 2.8 at 260K. And ball joints bad twice? Our 1.8T wagon is still on the originals at 175K miles, and I had over 200,000 on my A4 at the first and only control arm change. Some of your troubles seem self-inflicted, such as the broken key and the twice-replaced pans. Do you park near an acid factory or something? All that disintegration of parts seems abnormal to me.
LoL :lol: my experience has been that if you start saying these things they label you as "Trouble Maker". :crazy:
bad coolant leak from back of engine (still can't find, ~1/2 quart a day of water added)
Most probably your coolant flange is dying (or is already dead). Adding water is not gonna help ya. Just get it fixed ASAP. With the winter on the corner water will freeze out and you'll be sorry. The car needs G13 coolant not just water.
The leak started about 2 months ago, and it's getting close to next in line to be fixed. I was adding G12 to it for the first month, but the leak is much worse now and it's just distilled water in there until fixed. Since the leak started I fixed the door latch, alternator (royal pain), and cv shaft. Next up is fuse #5 (need defrost) then I can tackle the coolant leak is up next.
The oil pans were both self-induced yes. The last one it took a while before I could find one (cheap) and was pouring in a quart of mobil1 every few days. The joke was when someone asked me when the last time I changed my oil? Dude, I'm changing my oil RIGHT NOW.

Also, I'm in akron/cleveland area, the roads are bad around here, and in the winter all the roads are white with salt. A friend of mine ended up totaling out his car after hitting one (nowhere to swerve, truck tailgating him, $3k in damage)

I'll check the coolant flange tonight, I had assumed it was the heater core again as fuse #5 (including hvac) shorted at the same time but the carpet isn't wet. The drip is from where the AC would usually drip condensation.
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The coolant flange is a 1.8T problem, not V6. It has just started leaking on our '99.
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Note that the OP's profile says his car is a 2001.5. That's coming up on 15 years old. And I suspect the 76k is for the above repairs, not the total mileage - yes? if so, what's the current mileage?

That said, the list of repairs is just ridiculous. SEVEN flex joints? THREE ABS modules? With all due respect, either the repairs have been ineptly done, or the OP is incredibly careless with his car - possibly both. My car is a little newer, a 2004. But in the last 80k, my total repairs aside from wear items have been ONE motor mount, ONE set of CV boots, and ONE jack flap. Total mileage 112k.

I have no complaints.
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or the OP is incredibly careless with his car
ُThe part that says "The pull cord is to open the door" in the posted picture is indeed worrisome. If th ecar is in that condition I'm not surprised about anything.
Current mileage is 176k, I got it with ~100k on it from a crook. There is evidence it had been in an unreported front end accident. I didn't care when I found out, because the love had started.

Most parts I get are used. The abs controllers have all failed in the same way. Driving along and suddenly STOP displayed on screen and no longer able to communicate to it with a vagcom after a week of seeing stop flash for a second then go away. I read it's a common failure in other cars that use the Bosch 5.3 or 5.7, and there are companies that will repair the small feeder wires inside it's gel filled interior that break (tried it once myself and failed). The ones I get are from pull-a-part or similar self-serve junkyards. There all the same age, it's just a matter of how many hours they have been in a car operating vs how many hours the have sat unplugged in a junkyard. I'm confident if I had spent $1k on a new replacement it wouldn't have broken again in the life of the car, but that's not possible for me these days.

The flex joints are ridiculous. I have nothing left to weld to. I have been at a self-serve junkyard the day a passat comes in and someone has already been there and cut off the factory flex pipes. The clear answer is rip out and fab an entire new exhaust that is mounted better, but it's a money issue so I just keep patching.

Until last year the thought of something like that door handle would send a chill down my spine. I would laugh off the thought and get back to my bi-weekly claybar and wax. Please believe until it's recent sunset this car got everything it ever wanted, and gave me all I ever asked of it.

I was really hoping someone would say something like Yes! No bolt left unturned, Bank be damned, she'll never die! It's looking like i'm alone.
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Note that the OP's profile says his car is a 2001.5.
In the profile I list as a 2001.4 as kind of a joke. It was mfg'd in April 2001, It is pre-facelift but came with the a-pillar airbags and clear side markers.
Send one of your failed ABS controllers to one of the resoldering/rebonding services, so that you will have a handy spare the next time one fails.
These cars do not match Toyota's levels of reliability, but the driving experience is superb.

Over 14 years and 60k hard urban miles, I have had to replace coilpacks, ECU power relay, ABS control module, mirror switch, CV boots, vacuum lines, F-hose, L-hose, PCV pressure regulating puck, oil cooler, O2 sensor, and MAF sensor. From what I have read in this forum, my experience is pretty typical. (My son's 2002 A4 has needed a coolant temperature sensor flange, an oil cooler, and a power steering rack -- also very typical failures for these cars.)

Mechanicals, body, engine, and transmission are sound, but most rubber and plastic parts and some electrical parts leave a lot to be desired.
Wadia, your tale is sadder than most, because you actually know a lot about the car, unlike some who don't, and just ignore maintenance. Your taking care of the pinch bolts preemptively is just one example. But you have done some counter-productive things, like the ABS controllers that Scott pointed out. Your time has got to worth more than three trips to the salvage yard, and all the installation work. I also saw write up on fixing those things, and figured that for $100 or whatever the module company charges, it was cheaper than me attempting to learn how to solder an aluminum wire coated with gel. Are you doing the work, or is it a mechanic who is telling you it needs all these things? By the way, I saw that you listed "water pump" but not "timing belt service" as most would expect. If you've driven the car for 76,000 miles and have not changed the cam timing stuff, it would be about due. Any chance that the belt and rollers are still the originals at 175K?
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Thank you ylwagon, I have done the timing belt with all the fixins twice, I wasn't able to reliably determine if the previous owner had when I bought it so it was first, and then at ~160k started hearing bearing noises from the waterpump area, couldn't enjoy driving it anymore with that knowledge. On removal it couldn't have had more than a few hundred miles left in it as it was difficult to turn by hand. I do everything myself, most times I wouldn't have the cash anyway, but I feel I do much better work. It is me after all that it is tasked not to kill. If a hunk-o-metal part looks bad i'll grind it down and paint it. If there is gasket material left on a surface I'll spend a romantic evening with my dremel, atia (the car), and beer.
And yes ladies.... I'm single :)
I also saw write up on fixing those things, and figured that for $100 or whatever the module company charges, it was cheaper than me attempting to learn how to solder an aluminum wire coated with gel.
I sent mine to CheapABS and Steve repaired mine for $100. Three years on and it's working fine (knocking on wood).
what it is, is that you have to stop buying crappy aftermarket parts ;)
([]) E |\/| POWER
every ball joint in the house at least twice!
CV shafts (4x)
abs module (3x)
coil unit (2x)
spark plug wires (3x)
Seven and counting flex pipes welded in
oil pan (2x)
Something has been drastically wrong to require these, I suggest you try to find out what.
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what it is, is that you have to stop buying crappy aftermarket parts ;)
I think you're on the money there. Far too many junkyard parts, at least. Replacing known failure-point parts with used ones, already well on their way to end-of-life, seems counter-productive. I suspect the axles are the same, used or aftermarket. I've never had to actually replace an axle, though they do need to be rebooted periodically. Aftermarket parts I've never had luck with; many VWs over many years have reinforced that point beyond question. Even something as simple as a coolant reservoir I use original parts.
And yes ladies.... I'm single :)
With all that time spent doing maintenance, when would you ever find time to date? :lol:

I've got a '99 1.8T with 188K and I haven't done but a small fraction of things on your list to my car. I think the only interior item was the mirror switch, which is fairly common. I did replace the master control switch cover panel on the driver's door recently as it had cracked ($8.95 on ebay for a new one). I've gone through quite a few drive axles, but many of them were Chinese junk that eventually got replaced with a set from Raxles. Ball joints and control arms are normal wear and tear as is the water pump. I can only assume that other plastic parts have deteriorated with age and abuse. Anything plastic in the engine compartment should be treated with kid gloves after 15 years as it will disintegrate if you look at it cross-eyed.
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