Jeff
Jeff Dork
3/13/12 8:35 a.m.

Decided the SAAB was not the way to go. How about a Passat? I wish I could go out and buy a nice Honda/Acura or anything from Asia that works every time. But no, for some strange reason, I like cars from Europe. It's a curse.

What says GRM? I know it's going to have potential electrical issues. What else do I need to know? A friend of my mine in Denver has one and loves it. She did some tasteful mods (brakes and suspension if I remember) and still has it as her winter car when not driving her S4.

Thoughts?

As an aside, if anyone in the GTA knows of a nice euro sedan for sale with a manual gear box, let me know as I'm in the market

DukeOfUndersteer
DukeOfUndersteer PowerDork
3/13/12 8:42 a.m.

Depends on the year. Early B5 Passats have sludge issues. Make sure timing belts/water pumps are done. Manuals are definitely a better choice over those crap auto boxes that fail

EDIT: Sludge issues on B5s with 1.8ts. The V6s are a handful when it comes to timing belt changes

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker UltimaDork
3/13/12 8:52 a.m.

Had an '03 1.8T with full leather and winter package.

I loved the car. The seats and interior was among the best I've seen at any price range. It got great mileage (I can't recall exactly but something like 31 hwy), the 1.8T is a smooth, torquey motor that were this not a family wagon could have made real power. Mechanically, it never had a problem.

No complaints whatsoever except for it had a nasty habit of having issues that could not be limped home and were expensive. I have had issues with every car I've owned - but the VW had issues that made it die and require a tow. They were always easy fixes. Three times it was a coil pack. Once it was the MAF. Once it was the ECU. Once it was the fuel pump. It would not start under 0F so if you went somewhere w/o a garage you had to wait for it to get warmer before leaving. Always electronic and always immobile and all under 80k miles.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
3/13/12 10:25 a.m.

not sure on VW chassis codes.. my Father has an 02 Diesel Jetta that is very nice

NGTD
NGTD Dork
3/13/12 10:32 a.m.

If it is a B5 Passat (98-2001). I had one - they are very nice driving cars, but . . . . . . . . RUNNNNNNNN!!!!!!

I worked on it more than I drove it. Please for the love of (insert deity of your choice) don't do this to yourself. They are expensive to fix - think Audi prices not VW!

B4's (mid 90's) are okay and the B5.5 (2001.5 - mid year update - 20??) are supposed to be better, but still based on the same car, so be careful.

John Brown should be jumping in at any moment to agree with me. Get a Jetta or a Golf.

I have heard good things about the new version.

Ian F
Ian F UltraDork
3/13/12 10:37 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: not sure on VW chassis codes.. my Father has an 02 Diesel Jetta that is very nice

'99.5-04 Jetta = A4

same era (roughly) Passat = B5

The Audi A4 of the same era is also a B5, so that confuses folks sometimes.

I had a '98 A4 Avant 2.8Q, 5 spd. It was a nice car. In some ways I miss it. Definitely be weary of the timing belt. The one in my car broke on the drive home from the dealer. It was eventually fixed at no cost to me, but it took the local Audi dealer 2.5 months to do it. I ended up selling the car a couple of months later (couldn't deal with the mid-20's gas mileage).

slefain
slefain SuperDork
3/13/12 10:51 a.m.

I had a Passat. I sold it to Duke. I cried tears of joy when he got it limped out of my driveway.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w SuperDork
3/13/12 11:24 a.m.

I drove old Italian cars & I'm terrified of VW ownership.

I don't think anything more needs to be said.

slefain
slefain SuperDork
3/13/12 11:44 a.m.
m4ff3w wrote: I drove old Italian cars & I'm terrified of VW ownership.

That deserves to be printed in the magazine.

garaithon
garaithon New Reader
3/13/12 12:03 p.m.

A friend of mine just bought an 03 Passat Wagon with the W8, AWD, and auto trans. I keep waiting for the phone call that he is stranded on the side of the road...

It is really nice and is pretty fast for such a big car. He made sure he bought one with great service history and low miles. He has had it about a month and has only had an issue with the fan running full blast all the time. It seems to have gone away since we changed the front coolant sensor (there are like 3 of them) and cleared the codes a few times. It could also be the thermostat causing the problem, which is like $700 but its good for now!

Although he did own a Biturbo for a couple years and he never had any major issues with it, so maybe he will be OK. Either way he is the bravest car guy I know!

DukeOfUndersteer
DukeOfUndersteer PowerDork
3/13/12 12:06 p.m.
slefain wrote: I had a Passat. I sold it to Duke. I cried tears of joy when he got it limped out of my driveway.

I put a new coil pack on it, then got a sucker to trade 2 running cars for it!

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UltraDork
3/13/12 12:13 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: No complaints whatsoever except for it had a nasty habit of having issues that could not be limped home and were expensive. I have had issues with every car I've owned - but the VW had issues that made it die and require a tow.

My boss had a B5 Passat for quite a while - you speak the truth. I scooped him up from the side of the road a handful of times. I seem to recall he had coil pack issues too, and that the thing also ate a few catalytic converters.

Otto Maddox
Otto Maddox SuperDork
3/13/12 1:24 p.m.

I had a 2002 Passat Wagon that never left me stranded, but stuff would just arbitrarily die - the radio, the turn signals, etc. I traded it in for a Honda about the time it hit 30K miles.

bludroptop
bludroptop SuperDork
3/13/12 1:42 p.m.

I had a Passat once, it was a pretty darn good car. It looked exactly like this:

The newer ones scare me.

docwyte
docwyte Reader
3/13/12 4:47 p.m.

Guess I'm the exception then. We put 95k trouble free miles on ours. Literally did nothing but normal maintenance and one MAF.

I've also put 100's of thousands of trouble free miles on Audi A4/S4's. As long as you get one that's been cared for, it should be a good car, just like anything else.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
3/13/12 5:03 p.m.

I have a Triumph and Yugo and I wouldn't buy a VW Passat. What about Jags?

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
3/13/12 5:40 p.m.

i don't mind a car that's a finicky pile of crap, but speaking of passats, what's the upside?

noddaz
noddaz Reader
3/13/12 6:02 p.m.

The upside? If you like to work on cars, it's the car for you...

Ian F
Ian F UltraDork
3/13/12 7:10 p.m.

In reply to belteshazzar:

The upside is VW's of this era were such that it really seemed like the designers forgot the parent company also owned Audi and were effectively competing with themselves. These cars set interior finish and content standards for their price points that is still competitive against current cars a decade newer.

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