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Oil Sludge Problems Plague VW & Audi A4

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Old 09-01-04, 06:26 PM   #1
Gojirra99
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Default Oil Sludge Problems Plague VW & Audi A4

Oil sludge woes plague VW; automaker to pay for engine repairs, extend warranties

RALPH KISIEL | Automotive News
Posted Date: 8/30/04

DETROIT - In the latest example of Volkswagen of America Inc.'s quality woes, the automaker is warning 426,000 VW Passat and Audi A4 owners of an engine oil sludge problem.

Affected are 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines on 1998 to 2004 Passats and 1997 to 2004 A4s. VW won't say how many engines have been replaced or repaired, or what it is spending to fix the problem.

Owners began receiving letters from VWoA this month. Remedies range from extending warranties to covering repair costs. That includes replacing engines.

Sludge buildup causes engine performance to deteriorate. In extreme cases, sludge can cause engines to seize.

The timing couldn't be worse. VW Division has old products, and sales are down 11.5 percent for the first seven months compared with the year-ago period. And it has only been a year since VW voluntarily recalled more than 500,000 vehicles because of faulty engine ignition coils.

VW is not alone in grappling with engine oil sludge complaints. Last week the Center for Auto Safety in Washington demanded that the Chrysler group fix sludge problems and extend warranties on 2.7-liter V-6 engines in its 1998 to 2002 vehicles.

Confirming that VW has received "numerous reports of problems," VWoA spokesman Tony Fouladpour said that VW is extending factory warranties from five years to eight years. Warranties are transferable.

Changes for '05

VW is requiring its dealers to use synthetic oil and a larger oil filter in the 2005 Passat and A4. Some 2005 A4s are in dealerships. The 2005 Passat will arrive in October.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration source said the agency has had 12 to 15 sludge complaints for 2000 to 2004 Passats and A4s. One complaint was about an engine seizure.

VWoA will pay the cost of replacing an engine. For example, an independent repair shop in Tennessee that just replaced a sludge-damaged engine in a 1999 Passat charged the customer $2,500. Of that, $1,400 was for labor. The customer would be eligible for a reimbursement if he can show that he was having the oil changed as recommended.

VW dealers are seeing the problem mostly with owners who don't follow the recommended oil change intervals, said Gene Langan, of Gene Langan Volkswagen Inc. in Glastonbury, Conn.

"I've seen a few cases," he said. "It seems to happen mostly when we can't verify oil change history, when people don't do them for 20,000 miles. I think that this is a problem that is pretty broad in the industry right now."

VW owners will pay more for an oil change with synthetic oil, Langan said. An oil change with regular oil costs about $30, he said. It's about $65 with synthetic oil.

In its letter to Passat and A4 owners, VW says that it will cover necessary engine repairs if oil sludge causes a problem and the vehicle owner could provide proof of oil changes. Oil changes would have to be according to VW-recommended maintenance schedules. VW recommends that oil be changed at 5,000 miles or six months.

How it occurs

The letter states that engine oil sludge occurs when old, dirty engine oil thickens and cannot continue to provide correct lubrication. It says the condition occurs primarily when the engine is operated at oil change intervals beyond those prescribed in the owner's manual.

Fouladpour said VW decided to contact owners after studying the oil sludge problem that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. faced two years ago.

Toyota in April 2002 notified 3.3 million owners of 1997 to 2002 Toyota and Lexus vehicles with certain V-6 and four-cylinder engines that it would pay for sludge-related repairs for eight years from date of purchase. At the time, Toyota said that it had received about 3,400 sludge-related complaints.

"We looked at that and learned from their experience," Fouladpour said.

VW builds most of its 1.8 T engines at its Gyor, Hungary, engine plant.


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Old 09-01-04, 06:53 PM   #2
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Is this engine caused or people caused i.e not changing the oil? Toyota had a similar issue but it was with people negelcting to change the oil...
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Old 09-02-04, 06:00 AM   #3
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Exclamation Audi & VW have oil sludge problems:

Look like Audi & VW have an oil sludge issue with their 1.8L Turbo 4 cyl engine.


VW Extends Warranty on Passat, Audi

The Daily Auto Insider
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
September 2004


Volkswagen has sent letters to about 425,000 Audi A4 and VW Passat owners saying it has extended its warranty coverage for the 1.8 liter, turbo four-cylinder engine that powers 1998 to 2004 Passats and 1997 Audi A4s because of certain problems relating to oil sludge, which can cause engines to falter, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The company sent the letters after receiving reports of engine-component problems relating to oil sludge, a buildup of old, dirty engine oil which can deter engine lubrication, the story said.

Volkswagen told customers in the letter that it has extended the warranty on oil-sludge-related repairs to a fully transferable, eight-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Volkswagen is offering the warranty in addition to the existing five-year, 50,000-mile warranty that generally covers the vehicles. News of the situation was reported this week by Automotive News, a trade publication.
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Old 09-02-04, 07:54 AM   #4
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Probably another case of either people not changing their oil often enough or the manufacturer recommending too-long change intevals for the conditions under which the engines operate. We saw this with the Toyota / Lexus 3.0L V6'es....oil sludging, gelling, and ruined engines from a combination of hot oil temperatures due to the design of the narrow engine oil passages and people just simply being lazy and not changing the oil. The turbos in the VW 1.8 undoubtedly add a lot of heat to the engine and oil, and, like a lot of turbos that are not adequately cooled by water jackets or intercoolers, can literally cook regular petroleoum-based oil and turn it into solid carbon if the engine is not idled for a minute or two before shutdown....the oil pressure goes to zero and the hot turbo bearings continue to spin with no lubrication.
Using full synthetic oil, of course, can alleviate some of these problems, but many people balk at the expense of using it....and in most engines, most of the time, in most moderate-climate areas, it is probably not needed. But, obviously there are some exceptions.

I'll reserve further judgement until we know more of the details but I would bet that it is probably connected at least partly to what I have described.
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Old 09-02-04, 08:16 AM   #5
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Lightbulb Shift this thread?

1SICKLEX, you might want to shift this thread up and combine it with the one started by lexusfreak....he already has another one in CAR CHAT on the same topic. That can get all our 2 cents in together on the same thread.
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Old 09-02-04, 10:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by mmarshall
1SICKLEX, you might want to shift this thread up and combine it with the one started by lexusfreak....he already has another one in CAR CHAT on the same topic. That can get all our 2 cents in together on the same thread.
THanks. Done.
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Old 09-02-04, 11:02 AM   #7
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it's stranger how the car companies will suggest 7500 miles between oil changes when you KNOW that the car really needs fresh oil more frequently than that...
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Old 09-02-04, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by VSsc400
it's stranger how the car companies will suggest 7500 miles between oil changes when you KNOW that the car really needs fresh oil more frequently than that...
7500 miles is only under the absolute BEST of conditions....and then even that is stretching it some. This would include constant, moderate air temperatures, constant, moderate engine speeds, no stop-and go conditions, no heavy loads in the car, no dusty conditions, no short trips, etc.....
In other words, the 7500 miles would be two and a half trips coast-to-coast in springtime temperatures on Interstate highways with only light traffic, minimal stops, and at 55-60 MPH the whole way. How many cars, on the average, do THAT?
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Old 09-02-04, 12:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by mmarshall
7500 miles is only under the absolute BEST of conditions....and then even that is stretching it some. This would include constant, moderate air temperatures, constant, moderate engine speeds, no stop-and go conditions, no heavy loads in the car, no dusty conditions, no short trips, etc.....
In other words, the 7500 miles would be two and a half trips coast-to-coast in springtime temperatures on Interstate highways with only light traffic, minimal stops, and at 55-60 MPH the whole way. How many cars, on the average, do THAT?

AND.....( I have to quote myself here ) THIS assumes a PROPERLY designed engine, oil system, and cooling system....which of course may not always be the case either.
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Old 09-02-04, 12:03 PM
 
 
 
 
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