Dieselgate TDI rescue - and saved $25K
March 24, 2019
Was debating buying one new for $38K+ in 2015. Then the news came out that VW was cheating the EPA. all cars removed from dealer inventory and buybacks where the only sales transactions. then they sat in compounds for 2 years. recently VW began releasing them with stickers under hood that they updated software and are EPA-approved. Now they are clean diesel - the US auto and electric car mfg political influence did their level best to kill sedan diesel and they pretty much did it. Hurray for them. Well, I traded whatever I could to get one. Driving comments: This is a Chatt TN made car and its not having the 100% german feel being the North American Model. This is due to supplier base. The struts are supposedly SACHS but they are sorry -- and im not sure we can use the DE-passat shock due to higher ride height. so suspension is a bit bouncy bouncy and not up to German snuff in my book. Bilstein does make a $100/pair gas charged strut to replace, but I put them on my volvo and was only happy with them for the first month. still looking for the better option while rolling OEM. maybe gas leaked out while they sat - but at 12K miles I wanted to swap them out. VW cheaped out on those struts. They also cheaped out on low grade bridgestone OEM tires. Car was lemon buyback from 75mph vibration in drivetrain, dealer changed axles at 8K. My tire shop reported its due to the tire grade. a proper road-force balancing will lessen the vibration, and a good alignment, but the real answer is to swap those tires - but who wants to pay out of pocket on a new car - the dealer once swapped in new bridgestones but was same problem. ours balanced out finally after 2 visits to shop. The backup camera is slow to come on. The fender stereo sounds really great and had HD with SD card, internal HDD to copy songs into, and high def HD RADIO, but it lags showing backup camera and even takes a long time to wake up or change volume levels. its concerning and I hope that doesnt get worse. I do like the stereo. heated seats are comfy. VW formally does not recommend using a roof rack on this passat. but I got a Thule system that seems to fit just fine and hauls surfboard or 2 bikes without an issue. I just wish they had made gutter rails with threaded spots to mount roof rails - I think the new model is the same. unfortunate.
Engine - performance:
Post software mod - The S mode doesnt up engine performance, but it does hold gears longer on shift.
from a dead start it will burn the tires off and chirp on shifts at WOT (wide open throttle). it is a torque monster. I love it. but it burns fuel.
fuel economy on open road is about 40 in city, 60 on a 55mph high with cruise, 55 at 70cruise, 45 at 80cruise. if there is traffic then MPG is about 15% higher - the higher ride height does cut into economy a bit, IMO. with cruise off you will see the 30/42 rating on the OEM sticker. cruise really helps this diesel - and all diesels. I routinely see 60+mpg in town on 45mph roads with cruise on. This car sips fuel.
transmission - I love the DSG transmission. it really feels like a stick shift because it nearly is one. downside is the 40K fluid change that has a strange process of adding fluid into the drain hole and no dipstick. VW really intends to take the $$ from this service -- but as I dont trust that dealers do the work I will be scanning youtube for ideas.
alignment - at 11K this car was not in proper alignment. it was the rear that was out of spec. fortunately it was adjustable OEM and no adjustment kit was needed. it rides really nice now. I love the transition feel of this car in turns, despite the clown-car struts.
Fuel filter - the fuel filter is super easy to access under hood and only a few torex bolts to remove. BUT, dont change it yourself. A complicated high pressure pump startup, repressurization process requires a VAG computer to properly prime and bleed out the tank and head HP pump. This system runs over a thousand PSI, and if not bled correctly it will burn out a pump pronto. so every 40K I will source VW directly, ask for the old filter back, and see if I can watch the mechanic do the bleed-down.
Diesel fuel - in central florida 99% of the gas stations have a diesel pump. a safety mechanism prevents inserting gas sized filler nozzle.
Warranty - VW extend the powertrain warranty on TDIs. thanks dieselgate lawyers
Overall - I absolutely love this car. So does my wife