TURBO: 2012-2014 Passat turbo failures [discussion thread]

phlfly

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Dec 20, 2012
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Passat SEL
It's bad the diesel cars are about to failed in US again. We are end up going with electric cars, I hate them so bad. Why do people not use warm up option during cold weather. Give ac car 5 min to warm up oil, and when you have remote start it's easy to do . It the end it's oil problem, I guess the oil is getting longer time to reach perfect temperature. Also some people should consider 0w-30 since it has low viscosity at very low temperature.
 

mountain-valleymotors

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2013 Passat TDI
Having a wide variety of experience with diesel engines in tractors, big trucks, pickups and cars, I would slightly disagree with your equations or premises. I would say, performance, reliability, emissions, low cost, pick three.

what can be done with a moderate tune is that by removing certain restrictions/operating parameters that are external to the engine itself, the engine/turbo can actually be operated in a more reliable and efficient manner. But it will come at the cost of increased emissions and if it is done right it won't necessarily be cheap.

So 1300+ degree EGT's within the first minute of start up at cold temperatures can be eliminated via an ECU tune, thereby reducing thermal shock to a turbo, but then emission control devices will not function as effectively during the warm up phase. Pick your poison.
 

TurboDieselPoint

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Having a wide variety of experience with diesel engines in tractors, big trucks, pickups and cars, I would slightly disagree with your equations or premises. I would say, performance, reliability, emissions, low cost, pick three.

what can be done with a moderate tune is that by removing certain restrictions/operating parameters that are external to the engine itself, the engine/turbo can actually be operated in a more reliable and efficient manner. But it will come at the cost of increased emissions and if it is done right it won't necessarily be cheap.

So 1300+ degree EGT's within the first minute of start up at cold temperatures can be eliminated via an ECU tune, thereby reducing thermal shock to a turbo, but then emission control devices will not function as effectively during the warm up phase. Pick your poison.
If you do that, the engine will create more PM during warm up and fill up the DPF faster as a result, causing more heat intensive active regens later on. Like you said, "pick your poison."

I will say, I agree that a DPF delete with a stock power level would increase turbo and engine reliability. I was simply addressing the "power adding" tunes with my tuning vs. reliability spiel.
 

mountain-valleymotors

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I certainly agree that simply adding more power to an otherwise stock vehicle without at the same time compensating for the extra heat/pressure in some way is a recipe for reduced reliability.
 

phlfly

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Personally, while I do think that a DPF delete will lessen the heat to the turbo at startup and know it will stop the car from performing a regen again, I think that a tune which increases power and torque over stock levels will stress the weak turbo even more. Tunes will command even more boost from the turbo, and during WOT runs have even higher EGTs and drive pressures than WOTs with the stock tune.

Look at the 6.7L Powerstroke, which is having a turbo issue that pretty much parallels what we are seeing here with the CKRA. Ford got a bit overly-zealous about employing as small a turbo as they could practically use so the truck would be more responsive and create less PM emissions for the DPF to filter out, but now many folks are seeing their turbos catastrophically and unexpectedly fail, sometimes multiple times on the same truck. The tiny turbos are simply being pushed to the absolute limit for their size, and that shortens their lifespan substantially. I would guess the same thing is happening over here.

What about the DPF delete 6.7L Powerstroke crew? Can you say "turbo blown to smithereens?" Commanding even more boost/power out of an already heavily stressed out turbo with a "power enhancing tune" for the sake of saving the turbo from failure is like trying to put out a grass fire by dousing it with gasoline, IMO. VW TDI, Ford, Isuzu Duramax, International, Cummins, GM ECOTEC, VM Motori Ecodiesel, etc. do NOT want to overbuild their engines or turbos relative to the expected power output. They would be wasting resources and building an inefficient engine if they did so. All the folks who think a diesel engine and its components' longevity will not be negatively affected by asking more power of it with a flash tune are incorrect.

Oh, and it's not just the 6.7L Powerstroke that is negatively affected by tuning. Ask me about the 6.4L that was deleted and H&S tuned. Cracked and leaking up-pipe bellows, cracked heads, blown head gaskets, failed piston rings causing blowby like an erupting volcano, smoked transmission, ruined torque converter, u-joints on the way out, and malfunctioning transfer case. None of the above components were designed by Ford or International to put up with the increased power levels from the tuner, and failed as a result. Just because you can make more power, doesn't mean you should.

More Power...Reliability...Inexpensively. You can only pick two.


Rant over. Basically, I doubt the tuning would do anything but stress the turbo more.
I would agree with some. Porsche is using different material on turbo engines, even it's same engines. So I would think VW is precise in that, so it designed with significant margin already, since almost same engines have more power in Europe, but they have different turbo, but same valve train. So I don't think small increase mire will make different, even I can agree power comes with more maintenance. As I said before right oil make a difference even people will not agree with here. The VW recommended to use low ash oils that can be not good since ash is relative to detergent levels in oil. High ash = high detergent. The benefits of high detergents is apparent - extended drains and cleaner engines overall. Detergents help combat acids and moisture. Another example Older Porsches were recommended oils with high ZDDP level ( zink) level that help protect camshaft and valves, but what is interesting all these oils are what it's called Diesel oils (15/20W-40/50). So it could two things long interval worms completely ash and bearings are getting oxidation and eventually failed, or that oils( VW 507) is just good enough for Diesel engine.
 

VeeDubTDI

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VeeDub, do you know if Malone addresses this with their Stage 1 or 1.5 tune? I don't necessarily want to get rid of DPF altogether, as in my province we have such thing as AirCare inspection required for all vehicles after a certain age. The vehicles are tested with the engines at their normal operating temperature. I really couldn't care less about my cold engine being "clean", I just want some reliability in the long run.
I doubt it, but it's probably something that he could incorporate into an emissions compliant tune.

I have an email out to Mark Malone inquiring about this. I will let you know what he says.
Let us know what you find out! :cool:

Personally, while I do think that a DPF delete will lessen the heat to the turbo at startup and know it will stop the car from performing a regen again, I think that a tune which increases power and torque over stock levels will stress the weak turbo even more. Tunes will command even more boost from the turbo, and during WOT runs have even higher EGTs and drive pressures than WOTs with the stock tune.

Look at the 6.7L Powerstroke, which is having a turbo issue that pretty much parallels what we are seeing here with the CKRA. Ford got a bit overly-zealous about employing as small a turbo as they could practically use so the truck would be more responsive and create less PM emissions for the DPF to filter out, but now many folks are seeing their turbos catastrophically and unexpectedly fail, sometimes multiple times on the same truck. The tiny turbos are simply being pushed to the absolute limit for their size, and that shortens their lifespan substantially. I would guess the same thing is happening over here.

What about the DPF delete 6.7L Powerstroke crew? Can you say "turbo blown to smithereens?" Commanding even more boost/power out of an already heavily stressed out turbo with a "power enhancing tune" for the sake of saving the turbo from failure is like trying to put out a grass fire by dousing it with gasoline, IMO. VW TDI, Ford, Isuzu Duramax, International, Cummins, GM ECOTEC, VM Motori Ecodiesel, etc. do NOT want to overbuild their engines or turbos relative to the expected power output. They would be wasting resources and building an inefficient engine if they did so. All the folks who think a diesel engine and its components' longevity will not be negatively affected by asking more power of it with a flash tune are incorrect.

Oh, and it's not just the 6.7L Powerstroke that is negatively affected by tuning. Ask me about the 6.4L that was deleted and H&S tuned. Cracked and leaking up-pipe bellows, cracked heads, blown head gaskets, failed piston rings causing blowby like an erupting volcano, smoked transmission, ruined torque converter, u-joints on the way out, and malfunctioning transfer case. None of the above components were designed by Ford or International to put up with the increased power levels from the tuner, and failed as a result. Just because you can make more power, doesn't mean you should.

More Power...Reliability...Inexpensively. You can only pick two.


Rant over. Basically, I doubt the tuning would do anything but stress the turbo more.
So far we haven't seen failures in higher power applications (granted, there aren't a whole lot of them running around). Instead, the failures seem to happen to regular people who drive regular routes, predominantly in colder weather. There is a trend developing and to me, it indicates cold operation stress. As long as you allow a proper warmup, I don't think a reasonable* engine tune with emissions systems deletes will create unacceptable stress levels, while actually reducing stress levels when cold.

*reasonable = staying within the turbo's safe operating parameters
 

VeeDubTDI

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I think that's likely better explained by the forum demographics.
The reported failure rate seems to be roughly 50/50 between DSG and 6MT. That's obviously not in line with production numbers (where there are many fewer manuals rolling off the assembly line), but mostly in line with what I see in the demographic of people participating in the forum discussions. The "enthusiast" community attracts a much higher percentage of manual transmission drivers, and as a result we're seeing a higher reported failure rate here than production ratios would otherwise suggest.
So far we have received 76 responses to the poll with 51 DSGs and 26 manuals. I'd consider this to be preliminary data, but the trend isn't agreeing with your 50/50 theory.

I would say that manuals are more susceptible to rapid pressure changes (and increased stress) in the turbo than the DSG, due to the nature of having to lift off the throttle between shifts. The DSG does lift a bit between shifts, but not nearly as much as what happens when driving a manual transmission. What you end up with in the manual is very rapid turbocharger speed changes pretty regularly as you accelerate through the gears, while the DSG is a lot smoother with boost delivery and more consistent turbocharger speed.

<end more speculation on my part>
 

Av8r3400

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Wisconsin
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Now What??

I think we may be looking at being the owners of the next 6.0 chicken-choker debacle or the modern Edsel that will have no trade or resale value.

I love the Passat, but I am beginning to hate the motor. It sure isn't up to the level of my '01 Jetta TDi.

At this point I'm considering a move to dump this car for something else before the bad reputation takes hold. I'm just not sure what to move to… :(
 

jrm

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by the time most of our warranty's are expired im sure there will be a non-power adding simple delete option available. My friends driving 6.0's and 6.4's with deletes on the EGR and exhaust are happy campers- almost as happy as I am when I jump into my old iron block cummins
 

mountain-valleymotors

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Come on people don't panic yet. So far VW has been pretty good about replacing the defective turbochargers. It is bound to be costing them enough money that they are looking for a fix. If for some reason they don't come out with a fix, the aftermarket will. If it is an ECU tuning issue(which I am inclined to think it is) then then it can be addressed fairly easily.

By the way, have any of our Canadian members monitored their EGT's at cold start warm up? My theory is that Canadian cars have a different ECU strategy for warm up that doesn't spike the temperatures as high - thus we have a lower failure rate in Canada than we do in the northern US.

This may also be why other CR TDI's are not suffering turbo failures. I realize the turbo in the Passat is different, but it isn't that much different in terms of basic operation and materials out of which it is constructed. I have a 2012 Jetta TDI on my lot. I am going to take it out this morning and monitor EGT's on warm up and see what the exhaust warm up strategy looks like on that car.

Also I concur with VeeDub that manual transmission cars provide a different operating environment for the turbo than DSG equipped cars and that the higher failure rate among manual transmission owners is due to this. If you have thermal shock issues to the shaft or impeller of the turbo and you compound the stress by rapid oscillation of load, the metal will fatigue much more quickly than a turbo with more consistent load. Also, it is more difficult for the ECU to anticipate engine operating parameters with a manual transmission since it cannot control shift points or timing. Therefore it has to wait until the clutch is depressed to adjust fueling rather than anticipating the shift and adjusting fueling slightly ahead of the shift.
 

Nebelwerfer

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My car deos the same as the ones in the US.

Mind you, our cars come with engine heaters as stock options. Wonder if that's a possible reason why there's so few failures up here, where it's significantly colder.

Regards
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
I don't think you can get accurate statistics manual/automatic, since Volkswagen seems to be selling more of these with automatics than manuals, that would skew the numbers.
 

tdiatlast

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...This may also be why other CR TDI's are not suffering turbo failures. I realize the turbo in the Passat is different, but it isn't that much different in terms of basic operation and materials out of which it is constructed. I have a 2012 Jetta TDI on my lot. I am going to take it out this morning and monitor EGT's on warm up and see what the exhaust warm up strategy looks like on that car.

Please do. My 09 EGTs during warm-up don't come close to the Passat's.
 

tdiatlast

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Nord: With all due respect, you're repeating yourself. Your lengthy posts have merit, but weaken with repetition.

As for ECU/HVAC being somehow related, I don't buy it. Our HVAC is currently producing temps well above the temp requested (70f requested), and seems very reluctant to drop. I'm out of the 3/36 warranty, but I'll find out soon what's going on.

So, my HVAC is acting weird, but my turbo is still running.
 

rustycat

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seattle
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I just want to offer a small suggestion regarding turbo failure reporting. One of the arguments that we all embrace to some degree is the skewing of the percentage of overall failures because of the nature of forums to attract people that have experienced a problem and are looking for answers after the problem has occurred. So, I wonder if it would have merit to include a question in the reporting page to ask whether or not the unfortunate soul who has had a turbo failure was a member of the forum prior to the failure or joined after the failure in a quest looking for answers to the failure.
 

VeeDubTDI

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nord said:
I'll repeat (for what it might be worth) the one detail that continues to bother me. The ECU lost control of our HVAC system just prior to our turbo failure. Why? How? Was the subsequent turbo failure somehow related, or were the two problems unrelated?
I don't think the HVAC failure is at all related to turbo failures. The HVAC controller is completely separate from the engine computer, although there is some feedback from one to the other for fast idle and perhaps some other stuff.
 

psd1

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I just want to offer a small suggestion regarding turbo failure reporting. One of the arguments that we all embrace to some degree is the skewing of the percentage of overall failures because of the nature of forums to attract people that have experienced a problem and are looking for answers after the problem has occurred. So, I wonder if it would have merit to include a question in the reporting page to ask whether or not the unfortunate soul who has had a turbo failure was a member of the forum prior to the failure or joined after the failure in a quest looking for answers to the failure.

Maybe, but one of the things we have asked people to do when they have these failures is to ask their servicing dealership about other turbo failures, and there have been a lot. I we have ONE member with ONE turbo failure reporting that the dealership he spoke to reported 7 failures, I think it would be safe to assume that VW wide there have been a lot more than 64 failures on NMS TDI's.

CarbonVW was a memeber on this board who worked at a delaership, he reported repairing at least 6 at his delaership last year, is it reasonable to believe that all 6 of those were reported by forum members as well? Unfortunately CarbonVW has gone ghost. I have PM'd him looking for updates, but all I get is crickets.
 

knownikko

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So far we have received 76 responses to the poll with 51 DSGs and 26 manuals. I'd consider this to be preliminary data, but the trend isn't agreeing with your 50/50 theory.
Yeah, I'll concede that point. The number of failures reported on manuals would seem to be higher than even the skewed ratio here could account for.
 

Turbo__Diesel

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Losing faith quickly

Come on people don't panic yet. So far VW has been pretty good about replacing the defective turbochargers. It is bound to be costing them enough money that they are looking for a fix. If for some reason they don't come out with a fix, the aftermarket will. If it is an ECU tuning issue(which I am inclined to think it is) then then it can be addressed fairly easily.
Really? So I should keep this POS in hopes that VW MIGHT fix it? Or better yet, an aftermarket fix? I'm sure that will be free. I put down north of $30k to have 5 turbos fail, have the manufacturer just keep throwing their same crap part at my problem, and now I should just grab my ankles a little while longer until an aftermarket fix comes along? So unless VW comes up with a serious fix, when this thing hits the lemon law limits (2 more turbo failures or two more weeks in the shop), I will request my money back.
 

mountain-valleymotors

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Well I took the 2012 Jetta out for a ride this morning and the EGT's didn't go anywhere past normal operating temperatures during the warm up. 800-900 degrees was about max the way I was driving it.
 

mountain-valleymotors

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Really? So I should keep this POS in hopes that VW MIGHT fix it? Or better yet, an aftermarket fix? I'm sure that will be free. I put down north of $30k to have 5 turbos fail, have the manufacturer just keep throwing their same crap part at my problem, and now I should just grab my ankles a little while longer until an aftermarket fix comes along? So unless VW comes up with a serious fix, when this thing hits the lemon law limits (2 more turbo failures or two more weeks in the shop), I will request my money back.
Turbo Diesel - I wasn't addressing this post to you. You have good reasons to switch to some other car as it is obvious that something just doesn't work with the way you all are using the car. I was commenting towards people that haven't even had any issues yet and still want to jump ship.
 

Loki

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I have another theory on a cause of turbo failure. I have been wondering if our turbos use sleeve bearings or ball bearings. Based on AV8r3400's observation, I am assuming that these turbos are using ball bearings which are a relatively new method. I believe my older TDI's had sleeve bearings. The advantage of ball bearings is lower friction and faster response, but they can not tolerate as much oil flow which can impede their rotation and cause the balls to skid. There is a good comparison of the two types here http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/turbocharging.htm near the bottom of the page. There is a photo of the banjo bolt with a flow restriction, this is not the part used in our Passats but if they have ball bearings there must be a way control oil flow.

My theory is that at very cold temps the oil is too thick to flow thru the restriction and get to the ball bearings at the same time the emissions warm up is spiking the turbo up to 1300F. Slight damage to a bearing ball can cause a failure thousands of miles later.

I would like to monitor engine oil temp, but don't think there is a sensor for that. I am considering an oil pan heater.
 

VeeDubTDI

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I have another theory on a cause of turbo failure. I have been wondering if our turbos use sleeve bearings or ball bearings. Based on AV8r3400's observation, I am assuming that these turbos are using ball bearings which are a relatively new method. I believe my older TDI's had sleeve bearings. The advantage of ball bearings is lower friction and faster response, but they can not tolerate as much oil flow which can impede their rotation and cause the balls to skid. There is a good comparison of the two types here http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/turbocharging.htm near the bottom of the page. There is a photo of the banjo bolt with a flow restriction, this is not the part used in our Passats but if they have ball bearings there must be a way control oil flow.

My theory is that at very cold temps the oil is too thick to flow thru the restriction and get to the ball bearings at the same time the emissions warm up is spiking the turbo up to 1300F. Slight damage to a bearing ball can cause a failure thousands of miles later.

I would like to monitor engine oil temp, but don't think there is a sensor for that. I am considering an oil pan heater.
These turbos use traditional journal bearings, not ball bearings.

As for oil temperature, due to the oil-to-water heat exchanger, you can expect it to be pretty close to the water temperature... I would expect within 10 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
 

tncrom

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uh oh....looks like my turbo is going south too -- dealer wants me to get it in asap, and nurse it to get it there. He says parts are tough to get right now too, and no loaner cars -- I'm just thrilled.

So, I understand that a VW engineer gets wings at 100,000miles, and a rainbow from his rear at 200,000. What does he/she get for a failed turbo under 15,000 miles?
 

VeeDubTDI

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uh oh....looks like my turbo is going south too -- dealer wants me to get it in asap, and nurse it to get it there. He says parts are tough to get right now too, and no loaner cars -- I'm just thrilled.

So, I understand that a VW engineer gets wings at 100,000miles, and a rainbow from his rear at 200,000. What does he/she get for a failed turbo under 15,000 miles?
Nurse it onto a tow truck. Don't continue driving it. Another member just reported attempting to drive to the dealer with a failed turbo and it ended up seizing the engine.

What are your symptoms?
 

tncrom

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Hey,...thanks for reply. Symptoms are a distinct high pitched whine tied to rpms. More boost, more whine.
 

VeeDubTDI

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Okay. It hasn't failed completely yet, but it will let go any time, essentially leaving you stranded. I'd keep it parked until the tow truck shows up - make sure VW pays for the tow (included in your warranty).
 

tncrom

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Okay. It hasn't failed completely yet, but it will let go any time, essentially leaving you stranded. I'd keep it parked until the tow truck shows up - make sure VW pays for the tow (included in your warranty).
/Thanks,...calling them now.
 
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