NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2001 Volkswagen Passat

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2001 Volkswagen Passat, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA03020

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: October 07, 2003
    • Date Closed: April 23, 2004
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: This investigation involves the Volkswagen (VW) passenger supplemental inflatable restraint (psir) lid utilized in MY 1998-2002 VW Passat.the psir lid may detach from the instrument panel during air bag deployment.the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened the preliminary evaluation on May 23, 2003 to determine whether alleged psir lid detachment presents an unreasonable safety risk to passengers in the vehicle.ODI's investigation reveals that detachment of the psir lid during air bag deployment may occur for two reasons: 1) the shape of the psir lid, and the length of the attaching tether, may snag the air bag during deployment applying additional pressure on bolts that fasten the lid to the instrument panel (ip); and/or 2) the original psir lid design (subject vehicles) utilized six grade 4.8 mm carbon steel tack weld bolts which may not be as strong as the new design psir lid consisting of six grade 8.8 mm carbon steel press bolts that are heat treated.ODI concludes that detachment of the psir lid is a defect because the lid should remain attached to the ip after deployment of the airbag.however, after analyzing VW's responses, and test data collected by VW and faurecia, the psir lid supplier, ODI believes that further investigation would not likely identify a safety-related defect trend because a detached psir lid and parts do not project towards a passenger during deployment of the airbag.the test data shows that the airbag pushes a detached psir lid upwards into the windshield during deployment, and away from the passenger compartment.it is highly unlikely that a passenger would contact the psir lid or associated parts during air bag deployment.therefore this engineering analysis (ea 03-020) is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. For a detailed discussion of the psir lid and testing, see the attached report.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE03021

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: May 23, 2003
    • Date Closed: October 07, 2003
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: ODI opened a preliminary evaluation (PE03-021) based on two reports of failed bolt studs that attach the passenger supplemental inflatable restraint (psir) door cover to the instrument panel (ip) on the Volkswagen (VW) Passat (model years 2000, 2002).VW has indicated to ODI that it has no additional reports.VW implemented a process change on March 1, 2002.this process change consisted of changing the bolt application that fastens the psir door to the ip from a weld on application to a press on application.VW also changed the material of the bolt.VW stated that the changes were made to ease production by eliminating a welding process.ODI has upgraded its investigation to engineering analysis (EA03-020).

  3. INVESTIGATION: Engine Compartment Fire

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA11002

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: January 26, 2011
    • Date Closed: February 17, 2012
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System
    Engine And Engine Cooling

    Summary: In July 2010, the Agency opened PE10-027 to investigate allegations of coil on plug (COP) ignition coil fires in MY2002-2003 VW Passat vehicles.The investigation was upgraded in January 2011 to include all MY2001-2007 4-cylinder VW Passat, gasoline, turbo-charged vehicles.Based on the analysis of VW's response, and including ODI's consumer complaints, ODI has since identified 135 unique engine fire reports attributable to the COP coils.After further review of the details as contained in each report, ODI determined that 43 of the 135 fire reports were actual fire/flame incidents, 83 fire reports were thermal events (smoke, spark, heat or wire melt), and another 9 fire reports were undetermined in severity due to the lack of information.These COP coil fires were characterized as initiated from within the COP coil circuit located at the top of the engine block and below the plastic engine cover.The fires observed were contained in the engine compartment and did not reach into the passenger compartment in contrast to those caused by an overheated catalytic converter examined in ODI-s investigation in 2007 and 2008.There were no reports of crashes or personal injury in this examination.A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.Accordingly, this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.The agency will monitor this issue and reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstancesSee the Closing Report for additional details.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE07024

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: May 10, 2007
    • Date Closed: September 28, 2007
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Ignition

    Summary: Many of the fire reports allege that the vehicle fire was attributed to ignition coil failure.VW provided additional data regarding its analysis of vehicle fires and a detailed description of the three different engines and ignition systems for the subject vehicles.odifinds the need to further investigate this issue.to facilitate acquisition and analysis of additional information, this investigationhas been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA07-014).


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05004

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: August 11, 2005
    • Date Closed: December 08, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Ignition:Module

    Summary: By letter received on June 24, 2005, Mr. Ronald M. strickland of raleigh, nc, submitted a petition requesting that the Agency investigate the performance of the ignition coil plugs on model year (MY) 2000-2003 Volkswagen jetta, golf and Passat sedans.the petitioner alleges that he had experienced multiple stalling events as a result of one or more ignition coil plugs malfunctioning on his 2002 VW jetta sedan.as a result of the engine stalling, the petitioner experienced a loss of power steering and increased braking efforts when he pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road to control the vehicle.after a few minutes parked on the shoulder he was able to restart the vehicle although the engine operated at reduced power.VW issued a customer satisfaction campaign (csc) on January 31, 2003 to instruct their dealerships to inspect the vehicles for any malfunctioning ignition coil packs and to replace them at no cost to the consumer.consumers were notified to bring their vehicles to their dealerships via owner letters mailed out on June 6, 2003.while VW initially instructed the dealerships to only replace the malfunctioning ignition coil packs, a revised csc was issued to dealerships in December 2003 and January 2004, instructing dealerships to replace all ignition coil packs regardless of their performance.a reminder to the dealerships was sent by VW on April of 2004.although the concerns of the petitioner could theoretically create a safety problem, the risk is very small, due to the engine still running on either 3, 5, or 7 cylinders.there are no reported crashes or injuries due to the alleged defect.once drivers are aware of the problem (loss of power due to one of the ignition coil packs malfunctioning), drivers are able to take precautionary and compensatory measures and still maintain control of their vehicles.in addition, four fires were reported to ODI.these were ignition coil burnouts with no additional damage to the vehicle and were localized on top of the engine. During the last 24 months the number of stall and drivability complaints reported to ODI has greatly diminished from a peak of 195 in January of 2003 to only 3 in August of 2005.this coincides with the csc released by VW.a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA07014

    Component(s): Electrical System:Ignition
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System

    Summary: The manufacturer notified NHTSA on 04-Apr-08 that a safety recall action would be initiated to remedy the issue.in June 2008, the manufacturer issued a technical service bulletin (code 26E5/R5) regarding the specific procedures to be employed in this campaign.vehicle owner notification letters were sent beginning approximately June 13, 2008.the campaign was assigned NHTSA no. 08V-156.this recall affects all MY 1999-2005, 5th generation gasoline-powered Passat sedans and station wagons.approximately 412,000 vehicles are affected.corrective action will consist of installing additional exhaust system heat shielding to mitigate the potential thermal effects of engine ignition problems.based on this action, the subject ea has been closed.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE08008

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly:Pressure Relief Devices

    Summary: Volkswagen (VW) is recalling certain VW Passat 4motion and Audi A6 quattro and allroad quattro all-wheel drive passenger cars.VW vehicles subject to recall were manufactured from November 22, 2000 through May 31, 2005 and Audi vehicles subject to recall were manufactured from June 2, 2001 to June 1, 2005.the NHTSA recall number for the VW vehicles is 08V-156 (VW also is correcting defects related to heat shield and fuel line hazards for these vehicles and for 1999-2000 Passats in this recall action.)the NHTSA recall number for the Audi vehicles is 08V-157.since 2006, ODI has received 17 complaints of fuel leaking from the subject vehicles' fuel tanks.the 400 complaints shown above may include duplicate reports to ODI and the manufacturer. While the consequence (fuel leaks from the top of the tank) is similar for both the Passat and Audi subject vehicles, differences in design and construction require a different remedy for each vehicle.on the Passats, the ventilation line could have been installed improperly with tension and with an incorrectly positioned cable tie.the tension could cause cracked or broken nipples on the fuel tank rollover valve.on the Audi vehicles, a material change (effective June 2, 2001) with different aging characteristics used for the rollover valve and the use of an inflexible aluminum ventilation line could cause cracking of the nipple on the rollover valve.VW is recalling all vehicles subject to these defects.it will inspect Passats to ensure that the vent line is tension free and correct the installation if tension is found.if a crack or fuel leak is found, VW will replace the fuel tank.Audi will repair all subject vehicles by reinforcing the fuel tank rollover valve with an epoxy adhesive.this investigation is closed.

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