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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 July 25th, 2019, 17:41   #1
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Montana, sometimes in SW Washington
Fuel Economy: 565 per tank
Default Blower only works on 4, a/c not at all

I apologize if I'm posting in the wrong forum, but I'm new and having a hard time navigating this website. I'm sure this subject has been done to death, but I can't find the info I need, so I'm sorry to clog the forum because I'm an idiot.
I have an 05 Passat wagon, bought used in 2015. Had to replace the oil pump and all that mess in 2016. The car was running well, except every once in a while the a/c would get a little warm, but then it would get cold again and stay that way for a long time. I figured I just needed to have the freon recharged and it was on the list of things to do, but didn't get around to it. Also, about a year ago, after I turned the lights on and off, there's been an intermittent clicking sound coming from the dash. Like a blinker, but that's not it. Unfortunately ever time I tried to show people this clicking sound it wouldn't happen. They laughed, but it was there, clicking intermittently, no pattern, no rhyme or reason and I never could figure out the source.
Then someone backed into one of my headlights and I had to have that fixed. When I got my car back, on a hot day, the a/c didn't work, nor did the blower except on 4. The a/c light will stay on until you turn it to 4, then it goes out. The body shop guy checked and recharged the freon for me and also the cabin air filter (I need a new one). He said the a/c clutch engages until you turn the control to 4. I have to believe him because I couldn't tell what he was pointing out with the engine running and had no idea what he was pointing at. Everything was spinning and belts were in the way. He said he wasn't a mechanic or an a/c guy, but he's trying to help as I'm 800 miles from home and there's no one in the area that I can find who's really familiar with foreign diesels.
I found this forum and searched for a similar problem. People on here have thought it was the 384 relay. Not sure, but at least y'all helped me find its location. I took it out, looked at it, can't tell whether the solders are cracked or not, so I put it back. Another forum on here, for a different model, said blower motor and/or resistor, which may or may not be under the glove box on the passenger side because I can't figure out how to get that cover off. (Do I yank the hard panel out because it's not foam, pry it with a screwdriver, unscrew all the screws I see and remove the glovebox, take the whole dash off? What?) YouTube videos simplify accessing it and, for me, unless you have that Jetta, it's not that simple. (It's not foam there.) Parts store guys insist it's the controls, not the blower, and got irritated when I questioned them. When I asked for prices on the resistor pack they couldn't find it, said it wasn't available, and it was probably integrated in the blower motor and not separate, so I'd have to buy the whole blower motor. Ummmm..... I don't have anyone else in this town to ask or the $$ to be buying/special ordering parts that may or may not be the problem, nor the $$ or time to take this TDI to a VW repair shop 70 miles away. (Same one that fixed the oil pump disaster. They're good and nice, but REALLY expensive.) This car is my only mode of transportation and eventually I get to go home. It'd be nice for the dog if I had a/c. Can y'all help? Thank you!
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Old July 27th, 2019, 15:50   #2
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Central Valley California

These cars are really quite nice when all things are working well, however they are just not a good car for someone that doesn't have the resources to keep them going. They can be difficult for an average mechanic to diagnose and very expensive to fix! What you really need to do is take it to the vw repair shop 70 miles away and let them fix it. Get a rental car if need be. Or better yet you might consider a car without so many gremlins.

Sorry. Just saying.
wtribe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 28th, 2019, 09:45   #3
Veteran Member

Originally Posted by wtribe View Post
These cars are really quite nice when all things are working well, however they are just not a good car for someone that doesn't have the resources to keep them going. They can be difficult for an average mechanic to diagnose and very expensive to fix! What you really need to do is take it to the vw repair shop 70 miles away and let them fix it. Get a rental car if need be. Or better yet you might consider a car without so many gremlins.

Sorry. Just saying.
Spot on my TDI wagon was one of my favorite cars ever. I regret selling it @ 225k miles.

However I am a firm believer that past ownership on used cars is EVERYTHING. Poor upkeep, delayed maintenance & iow quality parts create defered nightmares. Unfortunately VWs are high maintanance if you want what can truely be a great car.

Low mile CPO Jetta may be a good option for you if you have the budget to stay on maint schedual.
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Old August 3rd, 2019, 23:25   #4
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OK, now that we got the kick the guy when he's down out of the way, let's go for some help.
It's one of 2 things or maybe both.

The fan only coming on for setting 4 is the resistor. It is behind the glove box. Do NOT pull on thr door. It will break. With door closed remove 2 T20 screws ar bottom left snd righr. Open the door and remove 3 T20 screws across the top snd 1 each in bottom left and right.. The top wants to stick, but it will come loose. After you get the top loose slowly pull it forward and disconnect the light in the GB.

I slso remove the kick panel which is held in by s Philips screw snd the cover at the end of the center console, held on by a T25 screw. Removing these helps to get tje GB out.

Find the 4 pin plug at bottom of air box and unplug. The resistor is help in by 1 screw.

Replace this first. If AC still acting up, replace the HVAC controls. There are several how to's on this. Very straightforward to do. I have spares of both i can sell you if intersted.
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Old August 5th, 2019, 14:11   #5
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: MT

One more tip on top of the good info from the post above: these cars have reasonably effective "flow through" ventilation ability, in other words, if the car is moving at speed, there will be some airflow through the HVAC system even with the fan not running. It sounds like this is the situation you are dealing with, if I understood your description right:

Fan switch on position 1, 2, or 3 and A/C switch on: fan DOES NOT run but A/C clutch DOES engage.

Fan switch on position 4: fan DOES run but A/C clutch DOES NOT engage

If this is correct and if the driving you need to do is mostly highway driving at speed, as I guess it probably is if you have 800 miles to cover, then you might survive by selecting fan position 1/2/3 and turning on the A/C. The blower motor won't run but any air forced through the dash vents by the motion of the car will still be cooled by the A/C system which you say does function in those positions. Won't be as pleasant as it would be with the fan running but maybe enough to get home if you're doing highway speeds.

Where are you coming from and where are you headed? I am in SW Montana, Livingston area, not too many of these cars around this part of the country but there are a few (I have one), and Missoula and Bozeman both have repair shops that are competent with them.
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