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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 February 25th, 2009, 12:19   #1
joem
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Default How is the Passat TDI in the snow?

I had a 2002 Passat 1.8L 2wd auto GLS that got wrecked in 2005. It was the best car I ever owned. I owned it on long Island and drive it with ease in the snow covered Flat Terrain.

I now live in snow country and would like a 04/05 Passat TDI. The problem is my slick snow covered driveway is a 100' climb in 850 running feet. Our 2006 Subaru Forester and 2005 Dodge Cummin 4x4 climb it like squrills climbing a tree with ease 90% for the time. I have a knock around 96 Crown Vic that just sits in the barn half the year due to the driveway.

Do you think I need to just get another 1.8L gas w/ the addition of 4Motion or will the front wheel drive TDI work well?

Thanks
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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:33   #2
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How deep is the snow? With good tires and less than 4-5 inches (not plowing), it should be no problem if you also have the ASR, ESP and ELD options.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:41   #3
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What does each of these options do? Where I lived befor I never had to research what they did.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 13:47   #4
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A guess, but with the Passat's simple traction control, front wheel drive and some really good snow tires, I think it will work, if the snow's not too deep. I would get some really grippy snow tires like blizzaks.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 13:58   #5
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ASR=anti slip regulation, prevents wheel spin (via ABS IIRC)
ESP=Electronic Stability Control
ELD=electronic locking differential
These came with the cold weather package that included heated mirrors and seats IIRC.
"The ESP system works in conjunction with the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Anti-slip Regulation (ASR) system as well as components of the Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) system."
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Old February 25th, 2009, 14:19   #6
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Most, if not all 04s came with ESP. A lot of the 05s came with just ASR since VW chose to de-content the vehicles to keep the price tag the same, but with less on them.

EDL is nothing more than the ECM cutting back power to the wheels when it gets a signal from the ABS controller.

ASR applies the brakes to the spinning front wheel. It helps to get the car moving from a stop sign/light, for example.

ESP is definitely a nice-to-have item on icy surfaces. It will apply the brakes to any of the wheels as necessary to assist in keeping the car from spinning out. Obviously, it works best at lower speeds.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 14:21   #7
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Get some real snow tires for the vicky, the ones with the "alpin mountain" logo on them, not some phony all-season tires.
Get them in the narrowest width (first three numbers in the size) that will fit on your rims.
Get them in a tall aspect ratio to keep close to the summer tire's tread diameter.
My worst winter car was an '84 Volvo 760, open diff, no ABS, no traction control, 205-50-15 snow tires.
My second best winter car was that same Volvo with a set of 155-80-15 Hakkapeliitta NR-08.



EDL uses the ABS sensors and applies brake force to the faster spinning drive wheel. It doesn't "lock" the diff, but tries to keep both drive wheels within about 100 rpm of each other. There is no comparison the the non-driven wheels. There is no torque reduction. It is possible to merrily spin both drive wheels while the rears are stationary.

ASR reduces engine torque as a next stage after EDL by comparing the, by now, matched drive wheel's speed to the non-drive wheels' speed and then reduces engine power to try to keep the both front tires from spinning and reducing traction.

ESP is the nuts! This compares all four wheels' speeds and somehow (steering angle sensors? Gyroscopes? Voodoo?) determines which way the car is pointed and from the speed differentials deduces which way it's actually moving. It will then apply braking to any wheel independently to attempt to bring the wheel rotation speeds and the steering angle back into co-ordination.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 14:30   #8
joem
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Great info! My problem is the icy packed down snow and not the deep stuff. when it is deep I have the truck to use. I keep up on my plowing chore, but when it re-freezes at night "Away you go" especially on the way down to the road.

I know I feel confident I could get around 30 mpg with the 1.8L 4motion in my area which is mostly rural. Having the choice I would rather get in the 40's with the TDI.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 14:38   #9
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You're in NY state. Studs are legal in the winter. Get a set of four studded snows for the Crown-V, leave the nicer cars home until the roads clear.
Even a TDI with alphabet soup for options will need some snow tires so you'll be buying some no matter what.
Snow tires.... or snow tires and another car payment....
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Old February 25th, 2009, 14:43   #10
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IMO the TDI Passat doesn't make a lot of sense. It cost more, doesn't get exceptional fuel economy and is unavailable with a manual transmission. The 1.8t will probably be much cheaper to acquire and will likely get 80% of the fuel economy of the TDI. I would say get the 1.8t even if it's not a 4motion.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 15:17   #11
v8volvo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew_S
IMO the TDI Passat doesn't make a lot of sense. It cost more, doesn't get exceptional fuel economy and is unavailable with a manual transmission. The 1.8t will probably be much cheaper to acquire and will likely get 80% of the fuel economy of the TDI. I would say get the 1.8t even if it's not a 4motion.
Careful... those words are blasphemy around here!

In the big Seattle snowstorm in December, our Passat didn't perform very well. However, I think that was almost completely the fault of the stock Continental EcoPlus tires it had on it.

What makes a car good in the snow mostly has to do with good steering, good balance, a manual transmission, and a low center of gravity. The Passat has most of those, and FWD and all the electronic aid stuff helps too. Plus the diesel torque is easy to modulate, very precise throttle control on these. I think it has the potential to be a very good snow car with the right tires. The only liabilities are the auto trans and the ground clearance, which is low enough that it's easy to drag nose or tail or get high-centered if the stuff is deep and they haven't been plowing. (speaking from experience...)

As Lug Nut said, the most key thing of all are a set of really good tires. You don't need a big 4x4 to get around well in the white stuff if you have proper rubber. My Rabbit with narrow studded snows on it never once got stuck in the big storm, and we have steep hills in Seattle! I cruised past lots of stuck Subarus and SUVs with all-seasons on them that didn't make it.

The only other reservation I'd have about the TDI in the snow is that the diesel doesn't really love cold weather. Your MPG will not be great sometimes, since these things really need to be warm to get full efficiency. Perhaps no better than the small gasser under some circumstances if your trips are short. Invest in a TDIHeater if you really want a TDI and will be doing a lot of that. The BHW motor has some serious problems (ceramic glowplugs, plastic waterpump impeller, and of course the balance shaft drive issue), but with those fixed it is probably a pretty solid mill if you watch for cam wear. The 1.8T and V6 are far from perfect either... coilpacks, sludging, water pumps, etc may make the BS issue seem like nothing!
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Old February 25th, 2009, 15:48   #12
vwtom
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I live in the country and drive snow and ice covered roads for a good part of the winter, especially the past two. I think this is a great car for winter driving handling. I have a 2004 Escalade and prefer the Passat over it in most conditions.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 17:46   #13
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All I know is when I tried to spin the car loose on a snow covered parking lot, I couldn't. Driving on snow covered streets was a breeze with good tires. But then, this only happens a couple of times a year where I live.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 19:06   #14
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Buy yourself a Subaru Outback XT or an Outback with a 5 speed manual transmission and put new Nokian WR tires on the vehicle and you will be most pleased.

The Passat is as good as any other FWD car. It lacks in ground clearance, so deep snow is a NO NO. If you must drive a Passat TDI Wagon; get Nokian WR all season tires and put a Panzer plate on underneath of the engine.

Thanks
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Old February 25th, 2009, 19:25   #15
NHV10
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Default Nokian Hakapellita 2 are great

I have 4 studded Nokian Hakapellita 2 which are great on snow and ice. I haven't driven in deep snow but on icy and snowy roads with a couple of inches of loose or packed snow, they are fine. The Passat with these tires is infinitely better in snow that a Volvo XC70 wagon with all-season Continentals on it.
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