2004 Volkswagon 1.8 Passat: 2 issues

dirtboysdadJune 26, 2007

When the vehicle was about 5 months old, it began to buck one morning and a steady check engine light was on. The dealer told me to have it towed to them. When I arrived at the dealership I was told that there was nothing wrong with the car. They tried to make me pay for it until I told them to contact the tow truck driver who felt the buck and saw the engine light on.

Over the next couple of years, the same thing happened on about 3 occasions. To resolve the problem, I would just turn the car off and let it sit for a while and when I turned it back on the problem was resolved.

It went out of warranty about 5 weeks ago.

Saturday, I took it to the service station that has done the maintenance on the car since I got it. This servicing was to change the plugs and air filters. I received a call from the service station that when the car was turned on to move it into a bay, it was bucking and the check engine light was blinking. I was advised that it was an issue with the electric coils. I was also advised that this electric coil issue has been a known problem. All 4 coils were replaced and the bucking has stopped.

When I researched it on line, I learned that it had been a problem until about 2003 when recalls were finally issued.

IÂd like to find out if the issue has been known to continue in 2004 1.8 Passats or am I just terribly unlucky that this happened so soon after it went out of warranty.

2nd issue:

A steady check engine light came on soon after I left the service station. I took the car back on Saturday afternoon, it was checked and indicated there was a problem with the O2 sensors. They didnÂt believe it and reset the check engine light.

The light came on again almost as soon as I left the station but I drove the car for the rest of the weekend, taking it back to them yesterday afternoon when again they ran a computer check on the car  nothing showed up this time and the indicator was re-set. It came on again after IÂd driven about ½ mile and today is still on.

I was told that if the O2 sensors were bad, my gas mileage would drop. (I put gas in the car yesterday morning. It does seem to be using more gas, but I didnÂt notice when I put gas in it if the tank was filled to the top or not. The station I went to tends just to round off the dollars and not fill the tank to the top.)

What could be going on with the car? Is it natural that both the coils and the O2 sensor would go at the same time?

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My experience and that of others with VWs is that VW seems to have a real reluctance to get rid of "iffy" parts. My VW had the bad plastic power-window regulators which were said (by VW) to have been replaced in 2002. My VW is a 2003. So it would not surprise me at all that your '04 Passat might have the faulty coils in it. If you have service reports which illustrate this problem and can refer your dealer to the TSB (Technical Service Bulletin), this problem should be covered under warranty and not by you. At the very least, you should be offered some consideration for the repair, IMHO.

While I'm no VW mechanic, I've logged a lot of time with them. My gut says the O2 sensors are an unrelated problem. How many miles do you have on the car?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:09PM
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About 44,000 miles, steve_o.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 1:21PM
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You might also see if the O2 sensors are covered under the 50,000-mile emissions-control warranty. I definitely would talk with someone above the service writer about the fact that this has been an on-going problem and that you have the records that prove it. If you can, I'd consider another dealer, as well. Dealers definitely are the weak link in the VW chain. You could take a look at 1.8t's dealer ratings (site appears to be down right now).

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 10:33AM
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