By February 10, 20120 Comments Read More →

VW Passat Turbo – Loss Of Power

Reader Question

I have a 1998 VW  Passat 4 cyl turbo. I was driving the car,and being stupid,when I pulled up at a red light,I decided to drop the car into 1st gear “It has a automatic transmission” and I normally keep the car in overdrive while driving.So when I pulled off from the red light,I accelerated pretty hard,and pulled into 2nd when the rpms got around  4,000 or 5,000 then suddenly as I was about to shift into 3rd the engine starting bogging down, and went to a rough idle, I then tried to hit the gas  pedal,and the engine would stall even more.

So basically, now when u start the car up,it idles around 1,000 ,and idles with a miss, as soon as you try to hit the gas the car will either die, or bog down really bad, almost like an old car with a carburetor that’s been flooded out. The odd thing about this,is I had the same problem with my Cadillac,while doing the same stupid thing,so it makes me wonder if it has anything to do with dropping the car into low gear and accelerating hard?

When this happened in my Cadillac, I was able to pull the throttle cable under the hood and rev the engine up really high, and it started running fine, it was almost like something got blocked up,and when I reved the engine up,it unblocked it.I have a little knowledge about cars, so was gonna try to clean the throttle body out,and check all the vacuum hoses,and check a few things before I take it to the dealer. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for your time. I am a hvac service technician by trade,so if I can ever help you out with any hvac problems, let me know.



Hey there Jason,

Hopefully nothing major happened here. I would be a little suspect of the spark plug wires first, having had a massive spike in electricity sent through them they might have been old and due for a change and that sent them over the edge.  it would be a pretty cheap guess if they have more than 40K miles on them, I would just replace them and probably the spark plugs as well as maintenance. You might just have an old fashioned engine miss. 1 bad spark plug wire will turn your car into a 3 cylinder vehicle.

Second thing that comes to mind, a weak electric fuel pump.  Can you have someone bang lightly on the bottom of the fuel tank with their fist or block of wood as you are raising the idle…does the roughness and miss go away?  If it does, you probably have a weak fuel pump.

3rd thing that comes to mind, vacuum hoses, wires pulled apart etc. etc. sounds like this was a violent encounter and things could have been pulled loose under the hood

lastly, a problem with the turbo…..which could be very expensive, and is why I mention it last so you can rule out all the easier cheaper stuff first.  The turbo will require the dealership to check out for you.  That turbo spins faster as the engine RPM goes up, so it was probably really spinning fast and hard.  A faulty turbo will give off symptoms like you describe.

Thanks for your A/C offer, if I have an issue one day I will take you up on it.

Have a great day, keep me posted as to what you find will ya?

Austin Davis

Posted in: Running Problems

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