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In July 2003 Passat with 1.8V engine, suddenly started smoking under the hood and all radiator fluid poured out. Backyard mechanic said a hose had come off and we needed a new one, the one on the bottom from the radiator. Also claimed a thermostat would be needed. Said he would come back the next day to fix but never came back. Found someone else to put on the hose and change the thermostat but still kept overheating. Diagnosis..water pump.

Towed to a garage and was told we needed a #4 spark plug before he could tell me what was wrong and that he had done a diagnostic, which he charged me $60 for without telling me. I asked him what the diagnostic showed and he said he could not tell me until he put in the spark plug. I took the car from him and sent it to another garage to have checked and was told it needed a water pump again but this person did not have time to do the job, he said.

Towed to Volkswagen dealership to have checked and was told they did a $105 diagnostic and determined there was too much oil, which they would try to suck out. LOL(?) After that, he claimed I needed a thermostat, even though I told him one was just put in. He said it was not put in right. Wanted another $400 on top of the $105 diagnostic and $85 oil change. He said he'd stake his reputation on a thermostat, so I had it towed to another, cheaper garage to do the thermostat.

When this guy got the car, he immediately said the car needed a water pump, so he did not put in the thermostat and said he could not do the water pump. Had a more experienced mechanic put in the thermostat and I could tell the difference but still it overheated and we had no heat or defrost, which was how it was when the problem started. This mechanic said it was the Turbo Engine. It is a 1.8V or something? I just dont know what to do. My daughter starts work very early in the morning and has no other way to get there but there is no heat and no defrost. We can drive it about a mile before it starts to over heat, provided the cap on the reservoir is loose. It seems that no one really wants to fix this car and I dont know what to do. We will be ready to get another car in a couple of months but need this one to carry on for now. Any suggestions, please?
 

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you have a 4 cylinder inline turbocharged motor with a displacement of 1.8 liters cubic.

if you were local to dallas, i would LOVE to take a look at it, i really get into weird stuff like this.

the need for the spark plug, and the oil change is questionable. if there was actually a need for some reason, who knows? could have been. we won't focus on that right now.

primary issue #1!) car loses coolant, and starts to overheat. main source of fluid loss should be obvious, and repaired. if it has been, then next phase.

2) thermostat! - is it new? if it is, cool! added question... at this point the car holds coolant, correct?

phase 3) - engine still overheats! - these 1.8's have a water pump on the front of the engine (like near the radiator) that is driven by the timing belt. for a shop to say that they can't do it is a load of crap. they are just scared off by it "being a typical german car" and aren't taking the time to do you right. i did mine at home in my apt. driveway. replaced the head while i was at it ;)

my guess here is that if the water pump truly is dead, you will see a VERY quick rise in temperatures to the effect it will start to overheat really quickly. within a couple minutes. the impeller (fan) of the pump is made of plastic, and when it's replaced it needs to be replaced with one ALSO made of plastic. the metal ones are nice, but if the fan ever binds, your belt is shredded, plastic fan binds and all you have is overheating, and the motor can be repaired.

if the car has not had it's timing belt replaced, it would likely need it ANYWAYS. replace T-belt rollers, and tensioners while there.
 

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I can think of no reason why diagnostics would be impossible to perform without aspark plug in place. I've actively had VCDS running on my car with not only all four plugs out, but the coils as well. The most it does is register a code for intermittent open circuit on the coil circuits.

On a 1.8T an oil change never hurts, but 85? Ouch. It's never more than 50 for a proper DIY. Typically I get 5qt of Castrol Edge 0-40 European and a WIX filter on special for $35 from Oreilly's. DIY oil changes are pretty basic.

the impeller (fan) of the pump is made of plastic, and when it's replaced it needs to be replaced with one ALSO made of plastic. the metal ones are nice, but if the fan ever binds, your belt is shredded, plastic fan binds and all you have is overheating, and the motor can be repaired
I'm fairly certain that binding of the impeller is not known to happen commonly, let alone at all. Assuming proper installation, there would be nothing for a metal or plastic impeller(fan) to bind on. What could bind would be the bearings or shaft of the water pump, which could snap the belt regardless of the impeller material. It is always recommended that you install a metal-impeller water pump for longevity. ECS tuning timing belt kits come with a metal one of some german brand. Water pump binding is pretty much a non-issue. The plastic impellers can break, potentially sending shards of plastic into the cooling system(but hopefully they remain close to the water pump port) and obviously reducing or completely losing pumping action.

Depending on the mileage of this car I might recommend a full timing belt job with this kit(same one I've used twice now on my stepdad's and my own passats) at this point, as that includes the timing and accessory belts, timing belt tensioner and roller, water pump w/ metal impeller, and a thermostat plus housing and o-ring. It also includes enough coolant concentrate to mix 1:1 with distilled water in order to fully replace the coolant lost by doing the job. Fair warning though, getting out the old T-stat housing is a female dog and a half. It also involves moving the alternator out of the way.

If that fails to solve the overheat problem, then the cooling system probably needs to be flushed.

As an aside, considering terminology used, it reminds me of something. The only fan I've ever seen bind is the cooling fan on my stepdad's passat. And that was because of improper installation; in other words, I failed to use threadlocker on the bolts holding the fan pulley to the fan clutch when I replaced his fan clutch. They slowly backed out and then jammed against the accessory bracket, shearing off two out of three bolts, locking the pulley, and snapping the serpentine belt. Shameless plug reminding everyone about the importance of threadlock(for a TB job, use it FOR SURE on the four crank pulley, 2 tensioner and 3 water pump bolts).
 

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I don't think this person is looking for tips on fixing the issue on their own. Not knowing if their oil was in fact overfilled. Allowing them to do an oil change instead of simply sucking some out. They questioned the sucking out part. Plus they don't seem to know what kinda car they have. No disrespect to the owner.

There is no reason a decent shop can't repair these issues. I would not go back to any of the places you've already taken it too. They are obviously incompetent.

Hopefully the leak has now been fixed so you are left with the over heating and no heat. Correct??

The no heat is most likely due to the system not being bled correctly and also having a bad water pump and or thermostat will certainly add to the no heat issue.

May I suggest you get on FB (if you have one) and ask around for a reputable shop. Do a search for shops that work on VW/Audi's and call them 1st. Tell them what's been going on before you spend more time and $ on a place that can't do the work.

Once you find a place have them look things over while they are taking care of this issue and give you a list. In order of needed/recommended repairs.
 

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In July 2003 Passat with 1.8V engine, suddenly started smoking under the hood and all radiator fluid poured out. Backyard mechanic said a hose had come off and we needed a new one, the one on the bottom from the radiator. Also claimed a thermostat would be needed. Said he would come back the next day to fix but never came back. Found someone else to put on the hose and change the thermostat but still kept overheating. Diagnosis..water pump.

Towed to a garage and was told we needed a #4 spark plug before he could tell me what was wrong and that he had done a diagnostic, which he charged me $60 for without telling me. I asked him what the diagnostic showed and he said he could not tell me until he put in the spark plug. I took the car from him and sent it to another garage to have checked and was told it needed a water pump again but this person did not have time to do the job, he said.

Towed to Volkswagen dealership to have checked and was told they did a $105 diagnostic and determined there was too much oil, which they would try to suck out. LOL(?) After that, he claimed I needed a thermostat, even though I told him one was just put in. He said it was not put in right. Wanted another $400 on top of the $105 diagnostic and $85 oil change. He said he'd stake his reputation on a thermostat, so I had it towed to another, cheaper garage to do the thermostat.

When this guy got the car, he immediately said the car needed a water pump, so he did not put in the thermostat and said he could not do the water pump. Had a more experienced mechanic put in the thermostat and I could tell the difference but still it overheated and we had no heat or defrost, which was how it was when the problem started. This mechanic said it was the Turbo Engine. It is a 1.8V or something? I just dont know what to do. My daughter starts work very early in the morning and has no other way to get there but there is no heat and no defrost. We can drive it about a mile before it starts to over heat, provided the cap on the reservoir is loose. It seems that no one really wants to fix this car and I dont know what to do. We will be ready to get another car in a couple of months but need this one to carry on for now. Any suggestions, please?
Where in CT are you? I can probably recommend one or two people/shops.
 
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It is 100% your water pump I have done many of these. When the old pump is removed you will find the impeller almost non-existent.
 

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If the motor is overheating and spewing coolant in that short amount of time after starting up, then I agree with others that it is your water pump that's failed.

Looks like it's time for a complete timing belt job, which includes the water pump.

I'm ballparking a price of $650-800 at an independent VW shop. Probably $1200-1450 at a VW shop.

Someone who is familiar with these engines can usually confirm a failed water pump during a thermostat replacement, because the water pump impeller is visible when the thermostat is out--you can see/feel a broken pump impeller.
 

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I HATE to condemn things as 100% unless i put my eyes on it and see that yea, it's F'd. but i agree 100%. symptoms indicate a failed impeller.
 

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In July 2003 Passat with 1.8V engine, suddenly started smoking under the hood and all radiator fluid poured out. Backyard mechanic said a hose had come off and we needed a new one, the one on the bottom from the radiator. Also claimed a thermostat would be needed. Said he would come back the next day to fix but never came back. Found someone else to put on the hose and change the thermostat but still kept overheating. Diagnosis..water pump.

Towed to a garage and was told we needed a #4 spark plug before he could tell me what was wrong and that he had done a diagnostic, which he charged me $60 for without telling me. I asked him what the diagnostic showed and he said he could not tell me until he put in the spark plug. I took the car from him and sent it to another garage to have checked and was told it needed a water pump again but this person did not have time to do the job, he said.
I can't imagine why you would need a #4 spark plug for diagnoses, unless it was completely missing, Which I highly doubt.
So all you got out of this is, was a tow charge, a $60 charge for a non-discussed lame-assed diagnostic which netted you nothing but you missing money from your wallet.
It's good it ended there before it got any worse.

Towed to Volkswagen dealership to have checked and was told they did a $105 diagnostic and determined there was too much oil, which they would try to suck out. LOL(?) After that, he claimed I needed a thermostat, even though I told him one was just put in. He said it was not put in right. Wanted another $400 on top of the $105 diagnostic and $85 oil change. He said he'd stake his reputation on a thermostat, so I had it towed to another, cheaper garage to do the thermostat.
Proof positive even the dealership is worthless in some cases.
Suck the oil out. Huh? Drain oil and pour oil in until correct level. Easy peasy.
So now you have another tow charge and another $590 for a bunch of work that netted you nothing really.

When this guy got the car, he immediately said the car needed a water pump, so he did not put in the thermostat and said he could not do the water pump. Had a more experienced mechanic put in the thermostat and I could tell the difference but still it overheated and we had no heat or defrost, which was how it was when the problem started. This mechanic said it was the Turbo Engine. It is a 1.8V or something? I just dont know what to do. My daughter starts work very early in the morning and has no other way to get there but there is no heat and no defrost. We can drive it about a mile before it starts to over heat, provided the cap on the reservoir is loose. It seems that no one really wants to fix this car and I dont know what to do. We will be ready to get another car in a couple of months but need this one to carry on for now. Any suggestions, please?
Another tow charge and yet the last guy netted you nothing again.

Ok, for starters. You have a Passat with a 4 cylinder which is 1.8 liters in size (liters is the measurement to note the size of the engine) and it is turbo charged.
So for you knowledge (when you go the next garage) that is depicted as follows. Passat with a 1.8t engine.
Passat with a 1.8t engine. With this simple phrase, any reputable mechanic should know exactly what this is and what they are up against, no matter what the problem might be.

We can all sit here all day long and tell you how to fix it, but that is obviously not what you need.
What you need is sound information on a diagnoses and a trust worthy source of information and a trustworthy shop to do the repairs.

As some of the others have said and now including me, I'm putting all bets on the water pump. I would also have the person check to make sure that the thermostat is indeed installed properly and that the coolant system is flowing freely (no clogs in the system). Also, there is special coolant that goes in your Passat. It is called G12 or G13. G12 and G13 is a number given to the coolant that says it is compatible with your car. G12 or G13 coolant is purplish-pink (lilac) in color. If there is any other color than that, it is the wrong coolant and needs to be changed when the car gets taken in for the necessary repairs.

So first things first. You need to stop the hemorrhaging of all that money your losing with no results.
At this stage of the game I would wait for VAGguy or some others to point you to a reputable shop that will do exactly what you need, nothing more, nothing less.

I can understand how this can be very stressful for you, but put yourself at ease.
You came here to this Forum, that was the first move in the right direction. We here at PassatWorld will continue to point you in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You are right, it overheats very quickly unless the outside temperature is low. Yes, the thermostat was new both times. The car would hold fluid but the last person to work on it noted the fluid in the reservoir boiling so he left the cap loose to let out the air and it boils out. It does slow down the time it takes to overheat though. I was told if the water pump was bad, it would leak but there is no leak, at least from what I've been told. I dont know if the turbo engine has anything to do with it but thats what I was told by the last mechanic. Also, there was a problem with the power steering fluid and discovered it needed a rack and pinion, which I've been told was not put in correctly and is making a thump, whenever you back up while turning the wheel. This is my daughters car. She just bought it 5 months ago and it has been nothing but trouble since the first week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Supposedly the diagnostic was already done and had given two codes before he felt the need for the spark plug. He did mention that water was found in the place where the spark plug is housed. I got the feeling that he wanted to charge me for something and probably felt that I couldn't afford the job for a water pump, so he intended to get whatever money he could. He also said, before I brought the car to him, that if it was a 6 cylinder, he would not be able to work on it. I called one dealership who specialized in foreign cars and he told me he could not put on a thermostat because the car was a 6 cylinder and he didnt work on 6 cylinders. This is so crazy. If they 'd tell me what is wrong, I could go ahead and get it fixed, even with the cost of a water pump and timing belt replacement. I do think they might be using the wrong antifreeze. The first mechanic used only water, not distilled. The second one used Preston 50/50. I've only seen green fluid and right now I'm seeing what appears to be water.
 

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Being told having a bad water pump WILL leak is just plain false.
A turbo charged engine has nothing to do with the engine overheating.

And now their is a new piece to the puzzle.
Power steering fluid does not determine that a new Rack and pinion is in order. The proper name of a rack and pinion is a Steering Rack.
Their may have been an issue with the steering rack but that is not determined by fluid alone. If fluid was leaking from the steering rack, that is symptom of a faulty rack, not because of fluid. If the car makes a thumping noise now when backing up, that needs to be accessed and addressed.

However, considering your current state of affairs with this car, you need to be guided to a place that can give genuine honest help and get you back on track to where you need to be.
You need to listen to us here on PassatWorld so we can get you the proper help you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Everyone I have spoken to gives me an estimate of $1000-1300, even those who are not Volkswagen dealers. The Volkswagen dealer charged me $105 for a diagnostic plus $85 for the oil change and then wanted $450 to put in a thermostat. We didnt allow him to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would do that but I'm concerned that one mechanic told me something about a cracked head or something, though he had not looked at it. I'm afraid they will put in the water pump and then find something more outrageous wrong with it.
 

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Supposedly the diagnostic was already done and had given two codes before he felt the need for the spark plug. He did mention that water was found in the place where the spark plug is housed. I got the feeling that he wanted to charge me for something and probably felt that I couldn't afford the job for a water pump, so he intended to get whatever money he could. He also said, before I brought the car to him, that if it was a 6 cylinder, he would not be able to work on it. I called one dealership who specialized in foreign cars and he told me he could not put on a thermostat because the car was a 6 cylinder and he didnt work on 6 cylinders. This is so crazy. If they 'd tell me what is wrong, I could go ahead and get it fixed, even with the cost of a water pump and timing belt replacement. I do think they might be using the wrong antifreeze. The first mechanic used only water, not distilled. The second one used Preston 50/50. I've only seen green fluid and right now I'm seeing what appears to be water.
Prestone coolant is indeed the wrong coolant. Any green coolant is the wrong coolant.
But don't let that bother you at this moment.
What needs to happen here is you get the water pump checked out for proper diagnostics and replacement.

All this BS these other mechanics are telling you is just that, BS!
These idiots are misinforming and confusing you. It's a common tactic for people not in the know. Plus the fact that guys are genuinely idiots because they can't figure out what ultimately is not that complicated of a problem to begin with.

Any other information you have or have been told please post it up.
Take my advice, stop listening to these morons who have led you astray. Stay tuned to us here on this forum and someway, somehow we'll get you to where you need to be.
 

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I would do that but I'm concerned that one mechanic told me something about a cracked head or something, though he had not looked at it. I'm afraid they will put in the water pump and then find something more outrageous wrong with it.
Ok, here is some more education for you.
Your car has an aluminum head on it. Aluminum doesn't crack. It may warp but it will not crack.
And quite frankly, the chances of this being a problem is very slim to none.

Proper diagnostics will determine what needs to happen BEFORE any more work or parts are just tossed at the car.
 

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Your car has an aluminum head on it. Aluminum doesn't crack. It may warp but it will not crack.
And quite frankly, the chances of this being a problem is very slim to none.

FWIW, the heads on the 1.8t can crack, I had one myself, cracked somewhere around cylinder 3. I am not saying this is the issue here. Easy way to find out is pull the plugs, pull the fuse on the fuel pump and crank it, if coolant comes shooting out, the head is cracked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I truly thank you but is it possible the Volkswagen dealer didnt know if it was the water pump, even with a diagnostic? I've never had this problem before with garages and I cant imagine that out of at least 8 different people, nobody knows what the problem is. Thats very scary. The cracked head I was told about, I think, is the head gasket which they say is very serious. I was afraid if I got the water pump replaced, it would turn out to be the head gasket.
 
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