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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW Passat Family (NMS and B7) TDIs (2012+)

VW Passat Family (NMS and B7) TDIs (2012+) Discussion area for the 2012+ Passat TDI (North American and rest of world versions versions). The North American model was previously codenamed NMS (New Midsize Sedan) and the version the rest of the world gets is sometimes referred to as B7.

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Old September 19th, 2019, 08:05   #1
BroncoAZ
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Default 6MT, which gear for mountain grades?

Should I be in 5th or 6th gear for best efficiency on the grades?

Iíve had my Passat for a couple years and Iím curious is Iím driving it wrong. My regular commute includes I-17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix, this road includes a couple long 6-7% grades that I drive at 72 mph (speed limit 65) or 80 mph (where speed limit is 75). Iím usually the one passing everyone on the hill because I have a diesel Since purchasing my car Iíve run these in 6th gear without issue, I figured the torque of the TDI is happily shoving me up the grades. It appears that the consumption reading supports my decision as it doesnít drop below 20mpg in 6th, but hits teens in some spots in 5th. I donít believe Iím lugging the engine or anything in 6th, and the car never indicates a downshift on the gear indicator. When I get slowed down by traffic or dualing truckers I downshift to 4th gear and floor it up to 80-81 mph and then shift back to 6th and resettle at 79 mph.

My 2011 Touareg would usually downshift from 8th to 7th on these same grades, but the ratios are closer there than my Passat.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 12:11   #2
Tom in PT
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Stay in 6th gear.

I've paid a lot of attention to the instantaneous mpg readout in my 2013 Passat TDI DSG and it always indicates that running at a higher gear (at lower RPM) for a given speed produces better fuel efficiency.

So, in your situation leave it in 6th and let the transmission select the best gear given the load if you need to pass.

By the way, your economy is taking a big hit going 80 instead of the speed limit but I am sure you know that.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 12:38   #3
BroncoAZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom in PT View Post
Stay in 6th gear.
I've paid a lot of attention to the instantaneous mpg readout in my 2013 Passat TDI DSG and it always indicates that running at a higher gear (at lower RPM) for a given speed produces better fuel efficiency.
So, in your situation leave it in 6th and let the transmission select the best gear given the load if you need to pass.
By the way, your economy is taking a big hit going 80 instead of the speed limit but I am sure you know that.
Tom,

Thanks for confirming what I was thinking. My car is a manual, so the selecting is up to me.

As for the mpg hit at 80, my lifetime average is in the fuelly link. 40.9 mpg is good enough for me. I donít know how much better it might be at 75 vs 80, but Iím guessing I lose much more mpg accelerating from 55 to 80 in 4th gear at full throttle after getting cut off by idiots going up the hill.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 13:02   #4
Graham Line
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Difference in fuel economy in a 6MT Golf can be a 10% loss at 80, rather than 75. The Passat is heavier but has better aero.
Up long grades, I frequently drop the Golf down a gear. It depends how much I'm carrying in the car. Optimum seems to be around 1900-2000 rpm.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 13:02   #5
IndigoBlueWagon
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The only thing I'd worry about is that running under a heavy load (steep grade) at relatively low RPMs can drive EGTs pretty high. At 75 you're probably right around 2000 RPM. I'd be inclined (pun intended) to drop it down to 5th. I don't think the instantaneous FE readout is that useful: I don't think it would materially affect FE.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 21:19   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndigoBlueWagon View Post
The only thing I'd worry about is that running under a heavy load (steep grade) at relatively low RPMs can drive EGTs pretty high. At 75 you're probably right around 2000 RPM. I'd be inclined (pun intended) to drop it down to 5th. I don't think the instantaneous FE readout is that useful: I don't think it would materially affect FE.
I had considered the EGT aspect enough to ask my buddy (shop foreman at VW) about it. His answer was that the cars are sophisticated enough that it would reduce power before I could cause any damage. On my diesel truck I set my hill speed by the EGT gauge when towing, but there is no gauge in the Passat or Touareg. If I read it right, the dieselgate warranty covers the engine block/rotating assembly itself, so if I grenade something they replace it. I will not be keeping these cars past the warranty.

Youíre spot on with the RPM. On the tack it looks like 2010 at 75, 2070 at 80. I could use my Bluetooth scan tool and get an accurate RPM, but I think itís close enough. Iíll check the RPMs in 5th at those speeds, I want to say theyíre about 300 higher.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 00:11   #7
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What IndigoBlueWagonsaid.

I have a ScanGuage-II and monitor EGT. Even on moderate grades the EGTs can get quite high, over 1300F. 1300F+ is OK for short durations as zipping through the gears but not as a sustained load.

For climbing grades I drop a gear and it lowers the boost and EGTs. I drove out to Denver last year for a wedding. On some of those grades I even dropped to 4th. What I do while climbing a grade is keep the RPM between 1800 and 2000. That takes enough load off the turbo and keep the EGTs down a bit.

Yes, the ECM will cut boost if the EGTs get too hot for too long, but then that forces you to drop a gear anyway because you're also loosing power.

Drive more and worry less.

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Last edited by BKmetz; September 20th, 2019 at 00:16.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 00:59   #8
BroncoAZ
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Originally Posted by BKmetz View Post
What IndigoBlueWagonsaid.

I have a ScanGuage-II and monitor EGT. Even on moderate grades the EGTs can get quite high, over 1300F. 1300F+ is OK for short durations as zipping through the gears but not as a sustained load.

For climbing grades I drop a gear and it lowers the boost and EGTs. I drove out to Denver last year for a wedding. On some of those grades I even dropped to 4th. What I do while climbing a grade is keep the RPM between 1800 and 2000. That takes enough load off the turbo and keep the EGTs down a bit.

Yes, the ECM will cut boost if the EGTs get too hot for too long, but then that forces you to drop a gear anyway because you're also loosing power.

Drive more and worry less.

The RPM while climbing grades at 80 mph in 6th gear is 2080, so above the range you suggest. If I get slowed by traffic I downshift to 4th gear to get back up to speed, I donít just floor it in 6th and hope it gets back to speed. Iíve been driving the grades in 6th for the past 32K miles Iíve had this car. Iíll have to see if I can monitor EGT on the Torque app. Please donít take my response as blowing you off, I completely understand where you are coming from and appreciate the answer.

Sustained 1350+ in my Cummins will melt the aluminum pistons, which is why I drive it by the EGT gauge when towing.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 03:28   #9
IndigoBlueWagon
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You did ask our opinions, right?

I posted about dropping down a gear because I have an EGT gauge in my ALH and have seen them get high when accelerating at low revs in 5th. Even if your car has a limiter that will reduce power, I would think that by the time that kicks in you've already risked damage to the turbo. These cars have tiny turbos that run hot already, and Borg-Warner turbos in older VWs have proven fragile at high altitudes. There an active thread here now about a BEW owner on CO who only got 25K out of a replacement B-W turbo on a tuned car.

I don't baby my car, but I'll give the hardware a break when I can. Dropping down a gear is an easy way to do it. Of course you should do what you want. But if you ask...
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Old September 20th, 2019, 08:03   #10
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5th gear on the steeper slopes. Pay no heed to the shift indicator on the dash.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 08:04   #11
BroncoAZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndigoBlueWagon View Post
You did ask our opinions, right?

I posted about dropping down a gear because I have an EGT gauge in my ALH and have seen them get high when accelerating at low revs in 5th. Even if your car has a limiter that will reduce power, I would think that by the time that kicks in you've already risked damage to the turbo. These cars have tiny turbos that run hot already, and Borg-Warner turbos in older VWs have proven fragile at high altitudes. There an active thread here now about a BEW owner on CO who only got 25K out of a replacement B-W turbo on a tuned car.

I don't baby my car, but I'll give the hardware a break when I can. Dropping down a gear is an easy way to do it. Of course you should do what you want. But if you ask...
Yes I did ask and I do appreciate the responses. I hadnít read about turbo issues at high elevation on some models, but seeing as one of my grade climbs goes from 3500í to 7000í it is pertinent to the question. Iíll try 5th gear on the hills on the next trip and see if it feels much different.

I kind of wonder what a DSG car would do on these climbs, would it downshift itself or would it stay in the higher gear? Itís been so long since I had the DSG Jetta that I donít remember.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 08:25   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbobrick240 View Post
5th gear on the steeper slopes. Pay no heed to the shift indicator on the dash.
Indeed, it would have you upshifting at 1200 RPM. I like to be around 2000 RPM when I upshift.

Before I bought my 2014 I had a 96 Passat with a 1Z engine and a 5-speed. The 2014 Passat with the CKRA engine and 6-speed was so quiet and smooth I forgot to upshift all the time as I was used to the gearing, power band, and engine noise of the 1Z. Also, the sweet spot for the 1Z was 1800 to 2000 RPM, a bit higher than the CKRA (and now my CVCA) which is 1500 to 1800 RPM. Many times I had driven miles in 4th or 5th gear before I noticed the upshift arrow on the gauge cluster.

Drive more and worry less.

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Old September 20th, 2019, 12:08   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKmetz View Post
What IndigoBlueWagonsaid.

I have a ScanGuage-II and monitor EGT. Even on moderate grades the EGTs can get quite high, over 1300F. 1300F+ is OK for short durations as zipping through the gears but not as a sustained load.




AFAIK the EGT safety limit of the ECU is up around 1600F at least that's what I've seen in our '15 Passat trying to pass up hill at 85+ before temps started to fall, which was right when I backed off. I've only done that once or twice and its not an every day commute experience. If I had the OPs commute, I would prob drive in 5th and not thing twice about it.

1300 is right around regen temps so can't be that bad for it.
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Old September 21st, 2019, 09:18   #14
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BroncoAZ: I have a ScanGauge II I'd be willing to part with. I always had mine velcroed to the steering housing. It really was useful.
Let me know via PM.
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Old September 28th, 2019, 11:13   #15
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The rule of thumb is/was to use whatever gear you'd be in going uphill, use the same going downhill and let your engine do some braking. Using your brakes only is not a good idea. Some very steep hills have emergency ramps going down because overheated brakes do not work very well.
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