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Rave's Passat 1.9TDI - 26/7/19 Alternator fixed* for 16 quid

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Can't be much help but my older AFN code TDi Passat has the no power below 2000ish RPM/shit off a shovel above symptom, so I'll be looking closely at the fix suggested earlier. 

I don't mind working on the car although I would agree certain jobs are harder than necessary. I've changed shocks, springs and various suspension arms on mine and it's honestly easier to take the complete strut off and use the spring compressor to do the job on the floor. (Pic 1 is the arms coming off +2 is of the top bolts, there are three each side)

I bought the cheap set of upper arms via eBay and they're OK, but don't last anywhere near as long as the originals which were getting on for 20 years old at the time. I do a lot of miles and one needed changing for the next MoT.  I now need to change the lower arms as they creak and one is knocking.

Anyway, watching with interest.

*edit*

If you're taking exhaust bits off have a look at the cat - mine was broken and the matrix had blocked it meaning no power, struggled to do 70 some days! I also cleaned my inlet manifold out with oven cleaner and blocked the EGR but mine is a simpler design. (pics 3-7, 5 is the blanking plate I made)

 

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#hmc parts darts- have you tried running it with the maf disconnected and did that make any difference; not totally classic signs of an “out of spec” maf but poor economy can be a clue.

Great to see the old bus get another 12 months, does the wierd VAG trinket solar panel in the sunroof still kick the blower fan in on a hot day? Great idea but I wonder how many blower motors  it’s been through.

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As an inside I’ve really noticed supplies of b5.5 passats in reasonable order drying up- it seems most of the ones left have really been run into the ground.

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Just now, HMC said:

does the wierd VAG trinket solar panel in the sunroof still kick the blower fan in on a hot day? Great idea but I wonder how many blower motors  it’s been through.

That's a rare option - remember seeing one for sale on eBay with that spec. Blower motors aren't hard to change anyway, mine's on #2 and been out recently to be WD40'd as the squeaking at low speed drove me insane!

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8 hours ago, HMC said:

#hmc parts darts- have you tried running it with the maf disconnected and did that make any difference; not totally classic signs of an “out of spec” maf but poor economy can be a clue.

Great to see the old bus get another 12 months, does the wierd VAG trinket solar panel in the sunroof still kick the blower fan in on a hot day? Great idea but I wonder how many blower motors  it’s been through.

Yeah, it's been bloody hot here the last couple of days and I was perplexed to get in today and find the fans going full pelt, until I remembered the sunroof! It seemed to be cooler in the car than you'd expect a black leather interior to have got, so it appears to work. Unfortunately though, once on the move, I can't get anything other than warm air out of the vents, the air con appears to do nothing and even on 'econ' mode the air coming out is hot. I noticed when I was changing the battery that the top cover for the pollen filter appears to be missing, so I daresay it's just drawing air straight from the hot engine bay. Anyway the sunroof opens fine so I got some ambient air in that way instead :) .

I'm still none the wiser as to the fault, it seems to start hesitating and blowing smoke at about 1500rpm. I've now managed to rescue my Pug and Jag from my mum's and sorn them on my driveway here so tomorrow I'll have a look at the Passat's vacuum pipes and try disconnecting the MAF. Further googling suggests that the dual action fuel pump / vacuum pump can give trouble, so that's another possibility for the list. I did have a quick drive round the block reading the boost pressure with my ELM327 and Torque, and it registers a very slight vacuum at idle and reasonable looking boost levels on the move. I'm still not convinced that there isn't a boost leak I haven't spotted, as the poor running is still accompanied by a noise that could be rushing air, but could also be a number of other things. It did 55mpg for the very gentle 70 mile round trip today, I'd have expected well over 60 when it was running right on a day as hot as today.

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8 hours ago, HMC said:

As an inside I’ve really noticed supplies of b5.5 passats in reasonable order drying up- it seems most of the ones left have really been run into the ground.

A combination of that, and the owners discovering what an absolute pig they are to work on, I suspect! Still, this one feels much better with its new dampers, I'll probably do the rears if I get it running right again, as when it ran properly I think you'd struggle to find another reasonably priced car that provides a similar combination of space, comfort and 60mpg. I'll keep plugging away at it.

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10 hours ago, Rave said:

I can't get anything other than warm air out of the vents, the air con appears to do nothing and even on 'econ' mode the air coming out is hot.

A small point, but I doesn't "econ" mode turn the a/c off on these? Rather than a button with a/c or a snowflake icon or similar to switch the system on, it has econ to switch it off.

Apologies if this is an egg sucking exercise :)

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6 hours ago, mrbenn said:

A small point, but I doesn't "econ" mode turn the a/c off on these? Rather than a button with a/c or a snowflake icon or similar to switch the system on, it has econ to switch it off.

Apologies if this is an egg sucking exercise :)

I know, but I should have been clearer, sorry. I tend to find, though this may well be a superstition, that if the air-con isn't working properly on a car, the compressor still running and stuff seems to slightly heat the air up if anything.

I might try re-gassing it at some point.

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On 6/30/2019 at 2:47 PM, HMC said:

As an inside I’ve really noticed supplies of b5.5 passats in reasonable order drying up- it seems most of the ones left have really been run into the ground.

Rust, water leaks seeing off various electrics is killing them off. Door locks are crap and are £200 each from VW . Yes, diesels are dirty things but for the money a good one is worth keeping.

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I left it a bit late in the day to have a fiddle with the car today, but eventually had a poke around under the bonnet as the light was starting to fade. I removed the (pretty pointless) plastic cover over the airbox and removed the plug to the air mass sensor. A couple of pins looked a bit dirty so I plugged it and removed it again a couple of times to try and clean them a bit. I then noticed that the pipe from the airbox to the turbo was completely loose! Either it's loosened itself, or more likely I forgot to tighten it up again when I changed the air filter 😳 . So I nipped it up tight and went for a drive to see if that made any difference- it seemed to me quite likely that once the turbo started sucking it could well have pulled the pipe off the airbox and allowed air to get in that the mass sensor wasn't seeing, which might cause confusion, though really this ought to result in the ECU thinking it had less air to play with and injecting less fuel, I'd have thought.

Anyway, the upshot was that it seemed to be a bit less smoky, but still ran basically the same. So before I set off home after picking up my wife from her friend's house I disconnected the MAP sensor. That immediately illuminated a warning light I'd not seen before, which turns out, oddly, to be the ESP warning light. The engine ran lovely and smoothly then with no apparent smoking, but also apparently no boost and hence not much power. Halfway home I stopped and reconnected it, but not really thinking it through I did it with the engine stopped but the key in the run position so the headlights were on. It then threw the engine light and put the message 'emission workshop' on the MFD. Switching off and on again didn't cure it.

Anyway the lovely smooth running with the MAP disconnected suggests to me that the engine and the injectors are most likely sound, and that it must be either a sensor or vacuum / boost control problem of some sort, or a boost leak I haven't found. Tomorrow I'll see what the fault code says and try and clear it; have a proper look at the vacuum pipes; try running it with the air mass sensor disconnected; and try disabling the EGR by removing the actuator pipe and plugging it with a bolt.

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I've just caught up on this thread since i last replied back in 2018 - it sounds like we are having similar woes lol

mine is now about 198000 miles in, and the cracks are beginning to show - the current issue is that the engine seems to lose boost when you give it too much loud pedal... if you drive gently, you can feel it come on boost, but if you try and hammer it, it suddenly goes flat and wont accelerate for shit.

i'll have a good look at some point, and report back anything i find in case it helps your cause :-)

also, im only averaging 36mpg... so something seems a little amiss there.

good luck,

Lee

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No worries. It's easy enough (as in it's a fiddle, but still easily a DIY job) to get the exhaust manifold off the turbo and squirt a load of foaming oven cleaner in to try and free off the vanes- I did mine, but I don't think they were actually stuck in the first place since it made no difference. You can see if the vanes look sticky- find the rod between the actuator and the turbo and note its position. Then start the engine, or better still get someone else to start it while you watch, the actuator should pull the rod up about 15mm. Then switch off the engine and see if it returns cleanly. If not, or if it doesn't move up when the engine is started, they're sticky.

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Well well well...touching wood with my fingers crossed, I seem to have made some progress here. This evening I disconnected the air mass sensor and took it for a drive round the block. Once I'd got the temp needle off the stop I floored it a few times up to maybe 3k RPM. The result was that it went a bit better than it did with the MAP sensor disconnected, and generated an 11-12 PSI boost reading on Torque, with no smoke. However it was still clearly well down on power. It threw the engine light once I'd stopped and restarted.

So then I plugged the mass sensor back in, and pulled the vacuum pipe off the EGR valve, and stuck a bolt in it to close it off. That restored full go, so I carried on driving it for a bit to get it fully up to temp. It didn't seem to be smoking much at all, so having rung my wife to make sure that I wouldn't be late for dinner, I decided that I should really take it to the nearest bit of dual carriageway, which unfortunately is still only a 40 limit, but. After nearly hitting a dickhead in a Fiat 500 who pulled out in front of me on the World Of Leather Roundabout and then proceeded to turn right from the middle lane, I gave it the berries up the first bit of dual carriageway. It still smokes a bit at full throttle over 3000RPM, but it quite possibly always did, and I wouldn't call it egregious. At normal engine speeds it now makes fairly rapid progress with no smoke visible in the mirrors. There was no surging or hesitating. I'll have to take it for a proper run to see whether it's back to its previous levels of fuel efficiency, but I'm hopeful.

If it is 'fixed', then it's a slightly weird state of affairs, as all I've done is stop the EGR valve actuating, it's still fully connected and not blanked off. So it's clearly not stuck open all the time, but must somehow be getting stuck open when it shouldn't be once it's in operation. I probably should try and get it working properly again, as I don't actually want to be going round blowing excessive amounts of NOX out of the exhaust, and it apparently helps the engine to warm up more quickly from cold. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it- give the valve a proper soak in a bag of petrol maybe, and check/replace the actuator vacuum hoses.

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Later EGRs are notorious for getting clogged up and filling the manifold with black death - if it's not too much of a chose, taking both off and giving them a good soak in oven cleaner (I buy Dr Magic out of Poundland) cleans them up. Make sure you have lots of ventilation and wear gloves, it's nasty stuff that makes me cough.

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I've already had the EGR off, it was sooty but it and the manifold didn't look excessively clogged, like maybe a 2mm thick layer of dry soot rather than 5mm of oily clag. I've decided against a ghetto remap for the sake of the clutch and elderly gearbox, so I think I'll leave it be TBH! :)

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First actual FTP in this car on Friday. I have a query below, so skip to that if you don't want to read the tale of woe.

As I mentioned when I bought it, this car's primary purpose in my ownership has been to get us to away football matches as cheaply as possible, and when it works, it does that well, well over 50mpg is achievable at 70mph even with 4-5 people on board. So it was pressed in to service again to try and get us to a pre-season friendly at Nottingham Forest, which would have been a new ground for me.

We normally set off really early so we've got contingency time, but due to work and other commitments on Friday my passengers were only available from 2pm. That should have been plenty to get us to Nottingham for a 19:45 kick off, but it was apparently 'Hell Friday' when all the kids break up from school and everyone sets off for their summer hols. Now what with the car being a smoky old diesel even when it's running OK I am a bit mindful of needlessly spewing out clag and NOx in urban areas so tend to kill the engine while waiting at traffic lights. With 4 of us on board and on our way to Staines to pick up the 5th I turned it off at some lights...and it refused to restart! I jumped out in a panic, managed to shove 2 tons of car and passengers up to about 5mph, and jumped back in to bump start it in 1st. OK, so the battery's fucked, thought I, I'll just not switch it off until we get there, if we've bumped it once we'll be able to do it again to get home. The battery light was not illuminated.

In some stop start traffic on the M25 a couple of dash lights briefly flicked on and off so quickly I couldn't see what they were. The Sat Nav, a posh TomTom with traffic built in, sent us up the M40, I guess it thought the M1 was not running well. Things were going fine and the lights didn't reappear, even through some more slow traffic past Bicester. But approaching Banbury the dash suddenly lit up like a christmas tree and the clocks died. When the wipers started to slow down (it was chucking it down with rain by that point) I knew the game was up and took the exit. The wipers then died, but I managed to limp it into a nearby shopping development; the engine died as we rolled in but I had enough momentum to get it neatly into a space.

I called Auto-Aid who said they'd be an hour. Thinking it was the battery at fault I decided to run to the nearest Halfords, which was a mile away. That turned out to be a most unpleasant trip down the verges of a load of dual carriageways with no pavements, in the pissing rain, but I got there, told them the car reg, and they sold me an 096 battery and a basic tool kit. I caught a minicab back, because sod carrying a car battery back the way I came.

I'd just got the battery in when the breakdown van arrived. I said 'since you're here, test the alternator for me', so he did, and pronounced it to be kippered. The car started up on the new battery, but this time the battery light was on. There were no direct trains to Nottingham and my friends didn't fancy trying to get home on the train after the game at all, so at that point we had to admit that the game was up and asked them to recover us home. Since they'll only do one drop off we got them to go to my mate's house, he ran the other couple of people home in his car and I drove the Passat the last 10 miles just on the new battery, which was a bit scary as I only had the sidelights on and it was pissing down. I made it home though.

I've ordered a replacement regulator for the alternator for 16 quid from ebay, hopefully that will sort it, the brushes on the old one look fairly worn, and I know from previous experience with my Mondeo that regs can just fail without warning anyway. It's annoying as I was going to do a trip to Tadcaster and on to Chester-Le-Street to pick up some wheels from gm in the Passat next week, will have to take the Mondy now and lump out an extra 40 quid in fuel.

So here's the query for the TL/DR crew: the battery Halfords sold me for 100 quid is an 096. It's 278mm long. The battery that came out claims to be a 105, and is maybe 310mm long. The terminals just about fit on the smaller battery, though they don't quite slide all the way on, however the retaining clamp doesn't fit at all. I've had a look on the Halfords site and they don't seem to sell a 105 battery. Everyone lists an 096 as the correct replacement for a B5.5 Passat TDi, and indeed a video I found on youtube of how to change it shows that a lot of them did have that, with a different clamp to suit (there are holes in the battery tray for it by the looks of things, but mine clamps to the chassis). This car is an absolutely top of the line model with all the toys, so I guess it got a bigger battery to suit.

Now Halfords sold me this battery in good faith, and I've slightly misused it by driving 10 miles with no alternator. However I pulled it straight out yesterday after the rain had stopped and found it had 12.3V in it, I then gave it a full charge with my smart charger and it's now showing over 13V. It's not physically marked. Would I be an arsehole if I took it back to my local Halfords and asked for a refund as it's the wrong size? I would be inclined to swap it for the correct larger battery and pay the difference, because then I'd have a known good battery with a 4 year warranty, but as far as I can see they don't actually sell it. I'll be keeping the tool kit I bought at the same time as it looks pretty handy.

I've also no idea what the battery should be. I've just been to measure the original, and it seems to be 315 x 175 x 190. The one that I put in after that one died is 315 x 175 x 175 and seemed to be working fine before the alternator died, although it also had the problem of the terminals being a smidge too large.

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Mine's a B5 and has a 110 fitted. Given excellent service for years, probably at least 10 now.

Halfords may be able to order a different make one in for you - if it doesn't fit, return it! 

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Our passat had a recon alternator last summer. Oddly, the one that it replaced looked like it had been fitted only fairly recently - lots of piss poor quality parts knocking about.

Nowadays they are just like any other old car - don't get sucked into spending ££££ on it.

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I'm hoping that the 16 quid regulator will get it going again, but TBH since it's got 11 months MOT left if I have to drop a couple of hundred on a whole new alternator I will, it'll pay for itself over the course of a football season. Unless something else breaks, obv.

Anyway Halfords took the battery back with no quibbles, they've got a multimeter mounted on the till, I guess for that very reason. Glad I topped it up!

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Well, finally found a job on the Passat that's easy at least- by the law of averages it was bound to happen eventually. I took the alternator regulator off last week, and ordered a replacement from ebay. It arrived with the socket slightly broken, I suspect from the postman forcing it through my letterbox, but fortunately not in a way that's likely to have any effect. I will inform the ebay seller in case of problems down the line. Here's the end of the alternator with the old reg removed and the slip rings visible (I've reinstalled the outer cover just so it and the fasteners don't get lost):

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If you click to enlarge you can see one side of the slip ring is quite worn, but there's still copper there. I don't know why they wear unevenly, must be some sort of electrical effect, my Mondeo one was the same. The brushes on the old reg are similarly unevenly worn. Hoping that was the problem, anyway.

There's loads of room to work, just got to be careful not to clonk the dipstick as apparently they can break off, causing arseache:

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Here's the new one installed:

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Reinstalled the battery, started the car, and...

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Hurrah! I'll try and take it for a reasonably long test run before I risk taking it to Sheffield for our first big away day of the season, but fingers crossed it's fixed now. That's two cars with alternator faults that I've now fixed (touch wood) simply by replacing the reg. The Mondeo one was about 30 quid, but you had to remove the alternator to swap it, so that was just a financial saving; but on this car it was 16 quid and a way easier job than taking the alternator off, so a win all round. It seems to me that people are overly keen to go with the whole new alternator option when they give trouble.

So then I figured I'd try and figure out why the car would only blow hot air out of the vents. You can apparently get the Climatronic system to do a self-diagnosis, so I did:

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The four codes were 214, 256, 4F7, 4FA. The first two are voltage codes, I think, and the other two are the temperature and recirc flap valves. I'll do some googling to see what might be causing the problem, I'm hoping something like a blown fuse, but if anyone has any ideas in the meantime...

Edit: actually before I do anything I'll clear the fault codes and test it out on whatever test run I decide to use the car for, it might just be that the failing alternator didn't have the power to move the servos...

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