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VW B5 Passat TDIs This is a general discussion about B5 Passat(>98 (2004-2005 in North America)). Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old January 1st, 2017, 08:08   #1
skygrabber
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Default Opinions on buying B5 Sportwagon with bad auto trans.

An impulse buy got me a clean '05 wagon that is throwing trans codes but otherwise running, driving and shifting fine. Research looks like a new auto or 5speed swap is in its future plus the balance shaft was probably never addressed either. I'm not really up for doing all that myself and to pay someone to do it might not be worth the money spent.

I know the seller and he is cool with me backing out but I'm wondering if it is still worth getting for a quick flip or possible parts for my '05 golf auto? How much stuff is the same on these two cars? Anyway, all said and done I would have around 2k into it including purchase, transfer, taxes, getting it home etc.
Is flipping it for say $2500 realistic or am I fooling myself?
It's got around 160k on the clock and is clean for a 12yr old car.

Also, I'm seeing numbers of 3k-7k+ to have all the work done by an independent shop. That seems like a wide spread. I'd put 3k into it but at 7k it simply wouldn't be worth it. Anybody have all this done by someone else and are these numbers right?
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Old January 1st, 2017, 09:07   #2
Windex
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Almost nothing is the same between the cars. A couple of switches - that's it.

If you're talking about the 5spd swap with an EU tdi transmission... and the BSM delete, 7k is high. I would think $4k-$5kish if you were to pay someone and get a reasonable deal.

Also, the above does not include the Camshaft - bank on another $1k for someone to do that if needed.

They are really nice to drive once all issues are taken care of, but make the most sense if one is able to do a decent amount of wrenching themselves.

You can also get parts pricing down substantially if you are willing to live with the slightly higher revs that would come with an NA V6 transmission instead of the EU TDI unit.
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Old January 1st, 2017, 09:35   #3
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Yup, I pretty much thought not much was the same except the year and the TDI badge on the back

Yes, EU 5spd and BSM delete. 7k is high but even at 5k it's almost not worth doing. Like you mentioned with the camshaft, other things arise once you open things up.

I can do a fair amount of wrenching but my biggest problem with larger projects, call it ADD or whatever is that I love to start them and then lose interest and they sit and I start something else until everything gets in the way and I have to go back and remember where I left off
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Old January 1st, 2017, 10:43   #4
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If you can stay the course and do the wrenching, the BSM delete is $400 in parts, the EU 5spd last time I checked was about $2k from Frans.

$2500 plus your (assuming) low acquisition price would make for a very competent highway cruiser. I wouldn't trade mine for anything.

I deleted my BSM, and went for a 6spd in lieu of the 5spd.
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Old January 1st, 2017, 16:47   #5
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As Windex has expressed these are absolutely wonderful cars once all the known and well documented BHW issues and concerns have been properly resolved. There are basically three main concerns with the B5.5 Passat ( BHW) TDI and they are as follows-

1. Auto transmission concerns in the 125-170 mileage range. Not uncommon for the transmission to go bad. The trend is to convert to a manual transmission and the parts can be purchased from Frans at Dutch Auto Parts in the Netherlands. Replacement ZF automatics are also available, but most people convert to manual.

2. The factory chain driven Balancer shaft is a known concern and if not properly addressed, it will cause major and catastrophic engine problems. Most people have the balancer shaft deleted. Several years ago many of us had them converted to the geared balancer shaft setup.

3. Camshaft issues are not uncommon and typically the camshaft lobes go bad because of the PD injection design. They often need to be replaced and there are several options for a new camshaft based on your budget.

The timing belt kit will also need to be replaced since you or the technician will already be in there working. It would be a good maintenance idea for your car.

There are several other idiosyncrasies with the vehicle, but these are the big ticket items.
If you bought this wagon for $2000 and if the body and interior are super clean; you have done well and in my .02 you purchased it fairly. To buy all the needed parts and have the car properly repaired by a B5.5 TDI guru / TDI enthusiast; you will have about $5000 in parts and probably another $2000 in labor ( rough estimates).

$7000 + $2000 = $9,000. One hell of a car for $9000 !
If you can drive it for another 100,000 -150,000 miles then you most likely have your money back in both vehicle use and fuel economy.

Lastly, VW will never be selling another new VW TDI in North America ever again, so if you like the car; buy it and hire a guru to fix it for you. If you don't have the time to make repairs or you are not prepared to spend the money to fix it properly; you may want to walk away from the deal. This is just my .02 opinion.

Good Luck !

Last edited by deming; January 2nd, 2017 at 07:05.
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Old January 1st, 2017, 20:48   #6
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Yup bored of my wagon, but every time I consider replacing it...well it's still here. Just nothing else that fits the bill quite the same.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 08:54   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uberhare View Post
Yup bored of my wagon, but every time I consider replacing it...well it's still here. Just nothing else that fits the bill quite the same.
I feel the same way.
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Old June 29th, 2019, 08:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uberhare View Post
Yup bored of my wagon, but every time I consider replacing it...well it's still here. Just nothing else that fits the bill quite the same.
I still regrete selling my B5.5. @ 225k, the trans CEL intermittantly set. Still looked, & ran like the day it was new. I just installed a Kenwood DNN992, that in itself should've kept me in it... The new owner got a hell of a deal and planned to convert it to manual.

I replaced it with a 2011 CPO JSW TDI. 6M. That lessened the sting and I love the 6 manual but it will never be the car the Passat was. In hind site I would have kept the car & converted it.

If the car is solid, has good maint. hiistory and low $ buyin, IMO, do it. If you can ride out the cost and time needed to address the mentioned issues, do it
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Old June 29th, 2019, 12:29   #9
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i have a good working ZF trans if you were looking to swap it out and back...

not sure where you're located.
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Old July 4th, 2019, 14:59   #10
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I am in $7000 ish. And that includes doing some body repair and paint match. Dang deer. The one regret is greeting a GGB trans(FHN). The split between 2 and 3 is pretty big. Others mentioned be cautious. I thought with a tune it would be fine. But as a comuter on street roads it is a slight issue.

It is a cruiser on the highway. 5th with four riders over parleys back and forth to Park City, I do not have to downshift. Awesome! Quieter than my ‘11 accord.

34 mpg around town. 42 on a drive to St. George, UT.
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Old July 5th, 2019, 09:03   #11
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I have an FHN transmission and never noticed that the split between 2-3 is big. Feels like a normal rpm drop to me.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 04:59   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deming View Post
If you bought this wagon for $2000 and if the body and interior are super clean; you have done well and in my .02 you purchased it fairly. To buy all the needed parts and have the car properly repaired by a B5.5 TDI guru / TDI enthusiast; you will have about $5000 in parts and probably another $2000 in labor ( rough estimates).

$7000 + $2000 = $9,000. One hell of a car for $9000 !


Good Luck !
I agree, and those numbers are about right. I have about 9k into mine, including a parts car that will give me interior and a hood. I do love mine but have run into "project fatigue". What's left for me? Body, Interior, Audio... My personal Garage is full of other projects, so I can't find the space to get this in, for some reason. I just drive it. It is a great car, hi-way cruiser for sure. I agree with the general advise to have a pro or enthusiast do the heavy wrenching, unless you have shop space, tools and fairly advanced skills. While not impossible to do on your driveway, it's a big job and parts are everywhere. Having a lift really helps. You will also have to get the computer re-programmed to "auto-delete" at minimum, so, might as well have a Stage two tune thrown in! You'll have it all apart, so, why not put in a nice heavy clutch while your at it? Mine chirps the tires in two gears and is a blast to drive, VERY quick. I bought all the conversion parts from Frans at Dutch... I found the parts car, a standard shift gaser with no engine/trans, AFTER I bought everything! So, I have all the shifter/linkage/pedal parts to do another conversion if anyone is interested. I had all the heavy lifting/programming done by Mike McCann, of 413 Auto in Westfield, MA. Very good guy, skilled TDI Guru for sure, Malone dealer, very experienced, and extremely fair. His prices are fair, not a gouger at all. Good Luck with the decision! If I were to do it again I would have held out for a PERFECT car, no body dings or interior snafu's. ...and I mean NONE... PERFECT. Garage queen. Mine is pretty good... my son insists I don't need a paint job... I see every ding and imperfection though, so the project is "just not done yet". Once you have 9k into it, adding a pro paint job puts it close to "not quite worth it" territory, IMHO. However... if no one buys it, and I find the time...

Last edited by duteman2; July 16th, 2019 at 11:08.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 13:02   #13
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Would definitely be worth doing a manual conversion, comparatively a mk6 jetta tdi isn't nearly as nice of a car for similar money, this gen passat is essentially an audi underneath and was priced high new. Toughest motor available too, know a fair number of people running 250hp+ through these blocks.

BHW manual wagon is the only ride I'd consider giving up my bew wagon for, or maybe an imported 530d. Becomes a harder sell if you're passing mk6 CR prices though, but the passat suspension is much better and an aftermarket android deck would make up for the creature comforts.

Every once in awhile a clean one pops up for sale, have seen sedans going for 55-7500. Although it's a smaller market, manual diesel wagons fetch a big premium and you'd probably be able to recover most of your cost if the vehicles in good running order down the road. That is not something you can normally say for any modifications.
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