Is a 1.8t really that bad?

FletchMan

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Apr 1, 2006
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Black Hills
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2006 Jetta, 99.5 Jetta...previously owned 2000 Beetle and 1990 Jetta 1.6
I really need to get another car and just can't seem to find a TDI that's both as close and cheap as I want.

I have located a 2000 Passat with a 1.8t and have read lots of problems with these cars. Of course I never know how to take that since no one posts there wild success but voices complaints loudly.

Does anyone have experience with these? Should I run and look for something else if it has to be a gasser or should I take a chance? This has 147K on it but looks in great shape. One side says it must be ok if it made it that far while the other tells me it's surely almost dead then? Anyone? Thanks.
 

cevans

TDIClub Enthusiast, TDI Parts Ninja Vendor , w/Bus
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Hingham, MA
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2015 Jetta TDI 6spd // 2015 Bettle Conv. 6-Speed
1.8t Passats are wonderful cars if synthetic oil has been used the whole time, the 2000 model year is smack-dab in the middle of the "sludge" issues.
 

FletchMan

Veteran Member
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Apr 1, 2006
Location
Black Hills
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2006 Jetta, 99.5 Jetta...previously owned 2000 Beetle and 1990 Jetta 1.6
So would it be safe to say that if it made it over 140K that there's a good chance the motor had a fairly steady diet of synthetic oil?

Anyone have experience with swapping out a 1.8? Is it difficult? Expensive to find a replacement? Thanks, again.
 

The J

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Long Island, NY
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'03 Jetta Wagon
The 1.8t is a great motor in my opinion. My last GTI had 100k before I sold it and it never had a mechanical issue. I used synthetic its whole life. Chipping them really brings them to life.

Plan to replace the vacuum lines, check brakes and clutch, timing belt history and turbo shaft play. The turbo, just like on the TDI, can last 300k or die early at 100k. Check compression too.

With that mileage, just realize you are prone to bushings being worn and old, interior getting worn, paint fading, etc. That's the lesson I've learned with my TDI. The motor may last, but that sh!tty VW soft touch plastic will peel, headliners will droop, and things will rattle when you buy a car with a lot miles.
 

MAXRPM

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00 Jetta and 99.5 Golf, 2015 Passat TDI,BMW 2
1.8T has a flaw, the oil pick up galley is too small, dealer sell an upgrade one now, but if you are not very careful about only using syn oil 5W-20W or 5-30W or you let the oil in the oil pan for too long, you will ruin the engine, oil sludge plays a deadly role on these cars.
 
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FletchMan

Veteran Member
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Apr 1, 2006
Location
Black Hills
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2006 Jetta, 99.5 Jetta...previously owned 2000 Beetle and 1990 Jetta 1.6
Thanks for the info. It's at a VW dealership so I guess I'll ask some questions about the oil use and see where it goes from there.

Part of me says this is really stupid but for the price, it's a nice car that hopefully has lots of life left in it.
 

Seatman

Top Post Dawg
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Apr 23, 2010
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Scotland
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2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
It's a suprise you have so much trouble with that engine, we have the 1.8t in various power grades in loads of cars without to much trouble. Mostly seems to be coil packs that go.

That pic does look pretty disgusting though
 

milehighassassin

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Fort Collins, CO
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2005 Golf TDi PD, Reflex Silver
That pic is actually a BMW motor. If the car was maintained properly it shouldn't be an issue. I never had coil pack issues after the update/recall. I know some did have issues even after. There are after market options available for around $150-$200 if they are that big of a pain. I found torquing the plugs down properly and using a COPPER plug helped out a lot. You have to change the plugs more often but the copper plugs were so cheap I changed them every 10k miles. Super easy to change as well.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Some views from a guy who services them regularly:

1: there are several "1.8t" engines, and they cover two VERY different engine families, EA827 (early) and EA113 (late). Like the difference between an AHU and an ALH, respectively. Passats from 1998 through early 2001 will have the early type, 2001.5 to 2005 wil have the later type. Audi A4s got the newer type a year or so before the Passat. All Golf, Jetta, NB, TT use the later type. There are about 7 different 1.8t engine codes, too. They cover 150, 170, 180, and even 225hp versions.

2: the versions found in Passats (and their stablemate, the Audi A4) are NOTORIOUS for sludging problems, primarily due to their smaller oil capacity because of the shape of the oil pan that must hump over the subframe. The TSB that stated to use the larger spin-on filter, like the older diesels use, helped that somewhat.... but they still do not hold as much oil as the G/J/NB/TT.

3: they use some oil, and this, if not kept in check, also makes for sludging issues if people do not keep the oil topped up.

4: they need 505.02 spec 5w40 oil. This requirement was also listed in the TSB, since lots of places were just putting any old synthetic (usually 5w30) or worse, just bulk 5w30 rando-lube oil, and possibly a crappy filter.

5: they have a timing chain. Volkswagen CANNOT make chains that last, period. If the chain itself does not stretch out and start flapping about because the tensioner show wore out, its the electrical part of the cam phaser (all later 1.8t engines have variable intake cams) that fails. These are expensive parts, and a pretty big job to replace.

6: early ones had timing belt issues, that were remedied with a new style belt and tensioner, and they are NOT compatible with the old stuff. Lots of people would put a new style belt on an older engine with an older tensioner, and they would not run right. Gotta replace it all together.

7: plastic water pump impellers are about thrice as likely to break on these than on TDIs, presumably because the engines spin faster.

8: the breather system, the vacuum system, and the turbo control system are probably one of the most complex, over engineered messes of molded rubber hoses, check valves, and plastic bits you will ever see in your life. I've spent MANY hours chasing down intake/charge air leaks. The AWM engine in the 2001.5+ Passat has no less than FOURTEEN one-way check valves, and they are so common to rot away and cause all sorts of problems I keep about 10 of them on the shelf here.

9: most 1.8t applications have secondary air injection, which is an emission control system specifically designed to get the catalyst up to temp and provide endless income for automotive technicians. How a system that only need work for about 30 seconds after a cold start can cause so much trouble is beyond me, but whatever, I did not design it. Simple enough system, but they ALWAYS are breaking, and parts are expensive.

10: manual transmission 1.8t cars use DMFs, and they fail even more than they do on TDIs. Through 2000 Passats' ZF autobox has a design flaw in the valve body that causes some trans problems. Other 1.8t engines got bolted to 01Ms (yes, you can laugh, I did).

11: most 1.8t engines have an electric vacuum pump, to assist the brakes. These are located in a lame spot down low on the G/J/NB/TT, exposed to the weather, and can fail, and are very expensive. Passats and A4s not so bad, as the pump is located up in the engine compartment next to the PS reservoir.

12: all the later 1.8t engines eat coil packs. They eat them like a fat guy eats candy. VW keeps recalling them, they keep redesigning them, they keep eating them. I *think* the latest versions, which have only been around for a few months now, may be better.

13: the 1.8t engines, like all modern VAG gas engines, often have catalyst failures, as well as lambda sensors and MAF sensors. They are VERY finicky about fuel control, and do not tolerate much of anything out of whack.

14: they require premium fuel. If you use regular, not only will you have slightly reduced power and poorer fuel economy (because they ECU will pull timing from the knock sensor input), but you will also run the risk of cooking the turbocharger, as EGTs go up when timing is retarded. So you may save a whole 75 cents when you fill up, but you will spend $1200 every 50k miles replacing the turbocharger.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
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Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Sounds like a brilliant setup...
Define brilliant... the 1.8t (in some form or another) has made Ward's 10 Best Engines list more than once, and has a very good specific output given its small size. If you take REALLY good care of them, they are generally a nice engine. But they can be fragile, and their complexity insures they need attention somewhat frequently.
 

That Guy

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Jan 23, 2009
Location
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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2001 MKiv Golf TDI
Oilhammer....you say that the chains they use are trouble.

My 09 GTI has a TSI engine. It has chains all over the place in there.

Have you seen any trouble with these yet? You've got me a wee bit worried.
 

compu_85

Gadget Guy
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Sep 29, 2003
Location
Springfield VA
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... None :S
My father's 2004 1.8T passat is fast approaching 200k miles! No major problems, but it does have a dead SAI pump, and some of the check valves are dead for sure because it complains the gas cap is loose when it isn't (It even has a loost gas cap light... not covered in the owners manual :rolleyes: )

-J
 

supton

Top Post Dawg
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Location
Central NH (USA)
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'04 Jetta Wagon GLS
Define brilliant... the 1.8t (in some form or another) has made Ward's 10 Best Engines list more than once, and has a very good specific output given its small size. If you take REALLY good care of them, they are generally a nice engine. But they can be fragile, and their complexity insures they need attention somewhat frequently.
Fair point. It seems too fragile to me for daily usage. Good enough for some, not "reliable" enough for me. Or is durable the right word? I guess it's reliable, as long as you replace all those parts before they actually break. But to require a constant stream of repairs...

I guess if you drive less than the "average" 12k/year, then it's a great setup, that won't see the issues you list until much later down the road.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
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Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Oilhammer....you say that the chains they use are trouble.

My 09 GTI has a TSI engine. It has chains all over the place in there.

Have you seen any trouble with these yet? You've got me a wee bit worried.

Yeah, that is a totally new engine family, EA888. And the court is still out on those. You'll have to let us know how it plays out.

I'd still be certain you are only using the proper oil and good filters, and keep it topped up. But even with those, VAG has once again chosen to use a tiny, single-roller chain setup (like a bike chain), not the larger, multi-layer link setup, like some other manufacturers use.
 
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That Guy

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Location
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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2001 MKiv Golf TDI
Hmmm....considering the stress that some people probably put on these sporty cars, that chain is a bit depressing.

PS: I'm done hijacking the thread. :eek:
 

Seatman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Location
Scotland
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2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
Oilhammer....you say that the chains they use are trouble.

My 09 GTI has a TSI engine. It has chains all over the place in there.

Have you seen any trouble with these yet? You've got me a wee bit worried.

We've got loads of the tsi engines but no real problems to speak of that I've seen yet. I'm on this site a lot because I have a Seat

http://www.seatcupra.net/forums/index.php

The Seat cars use all of these different engines, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 2L, 2.8V6, 3.2V6, some form of V5 too and that's just the petrol ones.
 

greengeeker

Vendor
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Feb 8, 2006
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS
We really enjoyed our 2001 (B5, ATW) Passat and had no major issues during our ownership. We would have kept it but we had to upgrade to a Eurovan...put in an order for one kid and got two. ;)

Here's a thread I started when I was doing research: 1.8T Questions

Ownership summary:
- Duration: 3 years
- Miles: 29,000
- Maintenance: $1500
- Fuel: $2800
 

Seatman

Top Post Dawg
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Location
Scotland
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2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
EIGHT gas engine choices? How many real engine choices do they have?

I pressume you mean tdi lol, there's loads of them too but they're all just variations really, loads of engine codes but three main groups the same as you guys, VE, PD, CR. There's a few more 110 options as well as everything from 115 - 170 on the PD's. I think you guys would like some of the other vag group cars though like the Seats, Skodas etc, some really nice designs.
 

supton

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 25, 2004
Location
Central NH (USA)
TDI
'04 Jetta Wagon GLS
That's wild. This side of the pond we're lucky if we get two engine choices. Ok, maybe it's not that bad: but I want to say 2 is about the average engine choices for a given make/model. Some have no choice, others may have three (4, turbo 4, V6).

And diesel is almost never an option.
 

racer4

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2011
Location
Northeast PA
TDI
2010 Touareg, 2011 Jetta
I'll have to give a thumbs up for my 98 a4 1.8t. It's been a very reliable car for me. Some minor engine issues: bad ignition control module (as far as the coils go, I'm still running on the originals at 115k!), melted check valves that oilhammer mentioned, and a cracked cat. That's it for the motor problems. I've been using Castrol Syntec 5w-50 since 40,000 miles and have zero sludge issues. It tends to burn through plugs pretty quick, but if you keep up on that it'll be OK. Chipping really woke the car up too. I think I was lucky getting the non-DBW AEB motor!
 

Seatman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Location
Scotland
TDI
2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
here's one of my favourite looking vag cars with the 1.8t in it



That's in pretty standard form too. I think it's about 225bhp standard but there's a few of them around well over the 300 mark.
 

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Seatman, what is that? It's funny that I'm not much for looks in thinking about cars, but that one and the 2000 Audi A4 I saw yesterday really revved my motors.
 

Seatman

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Location
Scotland
TDI
2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
Seat Leon Cupra R on about a 2005 ish plate, here's another nice one, this was a friends Audi A3 quattro on a 2000 plate with the 1.8t engine too, really nice looking car.

 

whitedog

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Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Maybe it's just the red color that I like.

Edit: Definitly the red color. I saw a mouse-grey A4 of the same vintage as a red one and it was blah where the red one looked great.
 
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