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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,530 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Volkswagen Passat engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Volkswagen Passat Owner Comments

problem #19

Jan 042010


  • 141,000 miles


Excessive and increased rattling noise noticed on my 2005 Passat tdi. Evaluation revealed that the chain and tensioner driving the balance shafts and oil pump was failing and needed replacement. Service technician states that this is a common problem and VW has issued a gear drive to replace the chain, however there is no recall or tsb therefore the cost of the repair is the owner's responsibility. Over $2000 to repair.

- Colgate, WI, USA

problem #18

Feb 012010


  • 66,300 miles
Oil sludge, oil pump failure, engine failure, now my 2005 VW Passat needs a new engine, this is a VW manufacturing defect in the 4 cylinder 1.8 turbo engine because the turbocharger gets to hot and cause the expensive synthetic oil breakdown and it sits in the bottom of the oil pan until it gets sucked up by the oil pump and this causes your engine to fail.

- Pennsville, NJ, USA

problem #17

Dec 282009


  • 94,245 miles
Numerous reports of VW bhw diesel engine oil balance shaft / chain failure are reported. Volkswagen of America refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for repair despite the fact that VW has recognized the issue and changed the design. Failure of the balance shaft / chain results in immediate lack of power creating a potential life safety hazard. VW of Canada has acknowledged responsibility in some documented cases. VW of America should be compelled by government authorities to resolve the matter on behalf of us citizens.

- Pittstown, NJ, USA

problem #16

Apr 092009


  • 123,122 miles


Balance shaft module, which drives the oil pump, has a chain drive. This drive was getting very noisy. If the chain were to fail the engine would loose all oil pressure. I had a shop replace the balance shaft assembly, which includes the oil pump, with the new and improved geared balance shaft module. (old part is no longer available).

- Louisa, VA, USA

problem #15

Feb 102009


  • 62,000 miles
Vehicle affected is a 2004-2005 Volkswagen Passat tdi equipped with a 2.0L diesel engine. Codedbhw. The oil pump balance shaft module and chain are week in design and are failing without any warning to the driver. When this failure occur the engine is starved of oil and internal failure is imminent. Safety of operation becomes compromised at this point since an engine failure at highway speeds removes all power steering and braking features and the driver is along for the ride until getting the vehicle to a stop by use of E-brake or other speed reducing maneuvers and hopefully avoiding a collision. This failure is being reported at a broad range of mileage starting with 45,000 and up. Its main sign is a loud chain rattle or abnormal vibration while at idle. Volkswagen has issued an upgraded part but no further guidance was issued. There are no recalls or warranty repairs as of right now. All owners are upgrading there vehicles with a gear driven assembly at a price tag for the repair of $3000.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #14

Mar 272009


  • 44,867 miles
My VW Passat wagon gls tdi (diesel) engine has been making a loud noise and vibration at stop over the last year and worsened until I had it repaired. I took it to an independent auto shop and was told the chain driven oil pump and tensioners were making the noise. The brilliant mechanic replaced the parts with a gear driven oil pump and the vibrations and noise stopped. I think this is a design flaw and should be recalled by VW. The mechanic said that the oil pump chain tensioners were close to breaking.

- Wilmette, IL, USA

problem #13

Mar 042009


  • 41,000 miles


Excessive noise from oil pump, chain unit, and chain (and possibly balance shaft) due to original equipment design. I believe a failure is imminent and within 100 miles. Failure of the balance shaft assembly and the engine oil pump system drive can lead to catastrophic engine failure with loss of oil pressure, broken oil pan, broken front engine seal flange, and damaged crankshaft. This can result in damage to the extent that the engine must be replaced. If this occurs while the vehicle is in traffic, it can lead to a collision with injuries or deaths. My vehicle is still under warranty, however, it is unclear that the extensive parts and labor to repair will be corrected by VW dealer due to the limited number of vehicles such as this in North America.

- West Wyoming, PA, USA

problem #12

Feb 242009


  • 90,000 miles
Loud noise in the lower half of engine prompted evaluation by mechanic. Problem was from failure of chain driven balance module. This failure was due to faulty design that VW has admitted to by virtue of no longer manufacturing this unit and replacing it with a totally re-engineered balance shaft module that is gear driven. Complete failure of this unit while operating the vehicle could result in a collision that potentially could be fatal. VW refuses to be responsible and admit their error in design to the public, hoping to avoid a costly recall campaign. In the meantime VW owners are having to pay $2500 to $3000 for this repair. At the same time this is a recognized problem with the same engines in europe and VW has re-engineered the parts for North America for replacement. VW needs to be held responsible for this design failure and the affected engines in North America need to be repaired at VW's expense before someone gets killed.

- Kingsville, MD, USA

problem #11

Feb 252009


  • 55,555 miles
Imminent failure of major engine component due to poor VW design. This involves the oil pump drive chain mechanism that should be replaced with vws new gear drive via a recall. Broken chain drives are piling up yet VW refuses to acknowledge the potential harm and damage that could occur. Visit for details.

- Los Lunas, NM, USA

problem #10

Feb 242009


  • 58,000 miles
I am an owner of a 2005 Passat tdi gls wagon with 58,000 miles on it. I am writing to seek help in getting Volkswagen of America to recognize there is an inherent problem with the engine's balance shaft assembly. I am a forum member, which has participants that are career mechanics who work on tdis specifically. Through their experience they noted this problem will sooner or later affect the some 20,000 2004-2005 Passat tdi's with the bhw engine code. The balance shafts in this engine are driven by a hex shaft off the chain driven oil pump. This unfortunate design subjects the chain to stresses it cannot withstand. On various Volkswagen (VW) forums, especially, there are a significant number of chain failures being reported. Of course, when the chain driving the oil pump fails, the engine is starved of essential lubrication. Recently, Volkswagen in europe recognized the problem and designed a repair which changes the chain driven oil pump to a gear driven oil pump. This appears to be a permanent fix to the original design defect. Here in the states, you can no longer order the original chain pieces as a replacement. The repair is quite expensive. Parts will cost in excess of $1,400 and labor will be in excess of $1,500. I believe it is now obvious that all the bhw engines will fail unless the gear driven oil pump/balance shaft modification is undertaken. Our own Passat has been getting a bit louder this past year which is the first sign of this imminent failure. It is unfair to expect owners of these vehicles to pay for the repairs. The problem originated with a flawed design which will lead to total engine failure. This could lead to a serious accident if the failure happens while the car is on the road. The NHTSA cannot let this happen to american owners. Volkswagen of America has to recognize and inform the Passat tdi owners of this problem, and help to rectify the situation to the satisfaction of their loyal owners.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #9

Feb 202009


  • miles


Design flaw of 2004-2005 Passat tdi vehicles sold in usa and Canada involving the balance shaft module and its chain driven oil pump design. The chain has been reported to fail with no warning. VW has issued new design to replace the old but has not commenced and recall as of yet.

- Novi, MI, USA

problem #8

Feb 012009


  • 91,000 miles
2005 VW Passat tdi had a loud noise coming from the engine like marbles in a blender. The car also shook violently. It got progressively worse over time until it was unbearable. The noise and vibrations were constant - whenever the car was running. I finally took the car into the shop and it turns out the timing chain that drives the oil pump and balance module was bad. The shop had to replace the entire oil pump and balance module due to a redesign from VW. The new design is now gear driven. The old parts are available at the shop that did the replacement. It looks like VW did upgrade the parts back in the early part of 2008 but they have not notified their customer base nor have they issued any recall. If the chain were to break there would be oil starvation to the engine because the chain drives the oil pump. This could lead to catastrophic damage and also life threatening injuries if this were to happen while the vehicle was in motion. I'm very lucky that I repaired my car when I did. Total cost for the repair was around $2400.

- Hazel Park, MI, USA

problem #7

Feb 082009


  • 102,000 miles
Eventual failure of chain driven oil pump and balance shafts, resulting in a sudden loss of power and destruction of the engine, leading to a potential life/safety situation in this 2005 Passat tdi. This method of driving the oil pump and balance shafts is a Volkswagen acknowledged engineering flaw as noted in technical product information bulletin 2016429/2. not wishing to replace an engine that as a result of said failure, might potentially place myself and passengers in a life threatening situation, I have proactively changed out the chain-driven oil pump/balance shaft module for a gear driven assembly at a cost to myself of $3000. I believe VW needs to step up and issue a recall for this model.

- Clinton, WA, USA

problem #6

Jan 012009


  • 59,999 miles
I have not had failure yet, but there are several individuals who own the same exact car I own, a 2005 VW Passat tdi. There is an ongoing concern at several news groups including and other diesel enthusiast newsgroups about the oil pump chain unit that is in the VW bhw 2.0 turbodiesel engine. Many of these cars when they get out of warranty at 60K will start to have engine noise which is indicative of the oil pump chain unit chain weakening. This condition leads to complete failure without general warning. This is a disaster waiting to happen. VW in europe has developed a fix for this engine that involves installing a gear system instead of the chain and tensioner system for the engine balancing system. There are several episodes of people having the engines fail while on the road. I am concerned as an owner of this particular engine VW Passat. There were about 12 thousand of these imported into the usa. I know of at least four individuals who have had this situation happen to them and their Passat. The repairs are not cheap in the neighborhood of $3000 at a bare minimum with up to 9 thousand for a new motor, even despite owners using the proper specified motor oil.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #5

Oct 162008


  • 82,000 miles
The balance shafts in this engine (2005 VW B5 Passat tdi) are driven by a chain off the motor which also drives the oil pump. This unfortunate design subjects the chain to stresses it cannot withstand. Ours let go at speed with my family of five on board. Fortunately no one was injured at the sudden deceleration in traffic. A fix has been mandated in the ECU but not in the us. There is no current official "fix" from VW America. The expectation is the engine will self destruct and the customer will be required to purchase an entire $5000-8000 motor with a replacement gear assembly. Volkswagen technical product information 016429.

- Batavia , IL, USA

problem #4

Oct 092008


  • 60,877 miles
I own a 2005 VW Passat gls tdi sedan diesel and the oil pump balance shaft assembly including oil pump drive chain, tensioner, and sprocket are bad and making a horrendous noise. The vehicle has just over 60,000 miles but, is out of factory warranty. The VW dealer the vehicle was taken to has no idea of such a problem. My research has proven otherwise. It is said that if such a failure occurred at highway speeds, disaster could result. Apparently, there is a fix for this issue which entails the removal of the whole oil pump chain drive assembly and replacing it with a gear driven assembly. I feel this should be considered a factory defect and safety issue to where VW issues an immediate service bulletin followed by a mandatory recall campaign.

- Anaheim Hills, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 282007


  • 25,500 miles
August 2007 I got an oil change from the 10 minute oil change place in North arlington, NJ. The first week of October my engine seized due to sludge. I always get my oil changed on a regular basis (3,000 miles) not the suggest 5,000 in my car manual. The 10 minute oil change place does not have a computer system to produce records and unfortunately I have only one receipt from the August 2007 oil change. So I went through all my old charge card receipts and debit receipts from my bank to prove that I did get my oil changed. However gensinger Volkswagen in clifton, NJ and Volkswagen of America the corporate office said that my receipts were not "proof enough" that it was my car even though some of my receipts had the oil change place twice in one month which proves that I got an oil change & my husband got an oil change. So since October 2007 my car has been undriveable and has sat in my driveway ever since. I have continued paying for my lease and my insurance on this car even though my car is undriveable. This 2005 Passat has only 25,500 miles on it and this engine should have never seized. Volkswagen Passats are known for heavy sludge in their engines and yet this company does nothing about it! I now have to pay for a new engine before I turn this leased car back. Please do something about this awful company.

- Rutherford, NJ, USA

problem #2

Jun 072006

Passat 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,600 miles
: the contact stated while driving 35 mph uphill, there was popping noise followed by a loss of all power. After the initial engine stall, the engine was restarted, but stalled again. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for inspection. The dealer determined there was a failed connection of the inter-cooler hose and pressurized hose that connects to the turbo charger. The dealer replaced the hose fittings on the turbo charger. Updated 6/27/2006 - the consumer feels that the hose connection mechanism wasn't sufficient to support the high pressure created by the turbo.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #1

Jul 062005


  • miles
2005 Volkswagen Passat developed problems with stalling. The consumer was told by the dealer, the engine was damaged.

- Matamoras, PA, USA

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