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Kees

Franklin the 6 Speed Manual W8 Passat

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Was pleasantly surprised by the interest in my last post on my recently acquired manual W8 Passat. Thought I might make a small thread detailing things I do to it while I have it for anyone interested. Not sure how long I will end up keeping it. A friend of mine has named the car Franklin as she thinks it looks like it would be called Franklin. I dismissed it at first but then I went through the owner's manual and found the car's original purchasing receipt from Giltrap Volkswagen. To my shock, the first owner's surname was Franklin! So the name Franklin it is! 

My 540i failed WOF again today because of a leaky shock absorber so I spent today giving the Passat its first clean so that I could get a better understanding of what condition its in. 

I started off with a decent wash as the front of the car was caked in bugs from my drive up from Wellington over the weekend when I picked the car up. There was heaps of tar and other road grime on the car which indicates it probably hasn't been washed in quite a while. This notion became a bit more obvious later on. I probably spent a solid 2 hours just doing general cleaning of the wheels which had a bunch of baked on brake dust (some of which I'm still yet to get off). It's a bit of a shame but the wheels are quite significantly curbed so I'm not sure what I'll do about that. Probably will have them all refurbished at some point because they are probably worth a decent bit of money as they are factory 2-piece BBS. In the mean time I might just get some curb protectors to stick over the curbing because its quite an eye sore. 

Drying the car was not a pleasant experience. The paint is crying out for a polish and wax or ceramic coating as it feels really rough and was hard to dry as its not overly hydrophobic. I then discovered that there is trim over some roof gutters where one might mount a roof rack or something like that, and of course they were filled with grime. This is what really started to show me the car hadn't had a decent wash. I then cleaned the gutters around the windscreen which were also filled with grit. 

My attention then turned to the door jams. After giving the sills a wipe down, I cleaned all the hinges and then lubricated them all to displace any moisture and stop them from squeaking. Attention then went to the boot. I cleaned around the hinges and blasted out debris that was blocking the water channels past the rear lights and around the rear window. 

I then moved to the door cards. Wiped them down with some Turtle Wax leather cleaner. Surprisingly, the W8 has some really nice materials in it, reminds me alot of my S8, its just all the materials are shaped in a way that is very early 2000s so it does look dated. Door cards cleaned up really nice. Anyway, after cleaning the door cards, dash and centre console, I gave the car a quick vacuum. 

Following this I polished out some stubborn sun-screen marks with some Meguiar's ultimate compound. 

Over the weekend I would like to hopefully wax the car and wet-vac the carpets. The car has a strong cigarette smell which is particularly pungent when its been parked overnight with the windows up. I also need to source a couple centre caps for the wheels, find some boot gas struts, and then try sort the boot lock actuator which isn't working so the boot has to be opened with the key. Also want some new tyres because wtf are "Black Lions" lol. Passat isn't really a car to tear up a backroad so some Pirelli Dragon Sports like I have on my 540i will be just fine I reckon. 

Want to have the headlights polished ASAP too!! Want to have it serviced soon as the coolant is grotty and I have no idea what weight oil is in it. Apparently keeping clean oil in the W8s is extremely important. 

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Edited by Kees
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love the name franklin and the significance! 

I reckon those wheels wont cost too much to fix up if you spent the time to split it and get the lips repaired and polished back to shiny chrome.

the door cards came up very nice after the clean! 

Also, blacklion tyres are alright.. Is it the BU66?

nothing amazing but if they are in good condition with tread left I think its not a disaster tbh.

https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/blacklion-champoint-bu66

Most important is probably an oil change and coolant flush!

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2 hours ago, qube said:

love the name franklin and the significance! 

I reckon those wheels wont cost too much to fix up if you spent the time to split it and get the lips repaired and polished back to shiny chrome.

the door cards came up very nice after the clean! 

Also, blacklion tyres are alright.. Is it the BU66?

nothing amazing but if they are in good condition with tread left I think its not a disaster tbh.

https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/blacklion-champoint-bu66

Most important is probably an oil change and coolant flush!

Just had a look, they are the BH15 tyres. Surprisingly, the reviews show they aren't absolutely terrible. Apparently Black Lion branded tyres are largely sold in the Middle East. Still decent enough tread so I guess I'll just wait until they are completely worn and then get something else. They don't make much/any noise unlike the "Westlake" tyres that were on my Subaru when I first got it which were so awful. 

Coolant flush and fresh oil are definitely top of the priority list. Will hopefully have that done next week after my E34 gets a couple new shocks as at the moment the Passat is in the storage garage away from my house that the 540i usually lives in. 

After that, wheel clean up and headlight polish and I think the car will be looking quite tidy all things considered. 

 

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38 minutes ago, Braydon said:

Love it, still can't get over the fact it's manual!

Honestly, same! 😂

When its parked up my brain keeps thinking its a boring old VW until I go take it for a drive, hear the exhaust and roll through the gears! 

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Thought I would do an update on how the manual W8 Passat is going so far. 

In the month and a half I have had it, I've already done over 2500km! Since I am yet to find an undercover spot for it, I've been parking it at my house which has been bad for my wallet as I've been taking it out every other night for a cruise from the shore to Auckland CBD and back. It's really surprised me on how nice it is to drive. 

So far, not a ton of issues, but not trouble free either. My intermittent check engine light has become a permanent one and its fuel intake issue seems to be getting worse. W8 Passats have a highly sophisticated (over complicated) fuel tank setup. Volkswagen, in their wisdom, decided that because the Passat was getting a 4.0L W8 engine, it should have a bigger fuel tank capacity. Instead of making the fuel tank bigger, they decided it would be better to add a second 20L tank in the spare tyre well to compliment the standard 60L tank, and then have an internal fuel pump to pump fuel from the 20L tank to the 60L tank when required. This means the car has no less than 4 fuel level senders! The fuel tank also has its own control module which figures out combined fuel level of the two tanks which is then shown on the fuel gauge. 

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The fuel gauge in my car does not work, most likely as a result of the fuel tank control module being faulty, or one or more of the fuel level senders not working. However, this wouldn't bother me if I could at least fill the car up. If I could fill it up I would just go 400-500km and then refuel. When I first got the car, if you didn't hold the pump at an angle, the pump would click off every litre. But if you had it at the right angle, fuel would go in just fine. However, over the last few weeks, unless you have the pump at an absolute dribble, the pump will click off every 30 cents or so, which means putting as little as $20 worth in takes about 5 minutes. Very, very annoying. 

It means I don't know how full my tank is because I can't just fill it up as the pump clicks off every second so I have no idea where the "top" is, and of course, my fuel gauge doesn't work! 

I stuck a borescope camera down the filler neck and it showed fuel seems to be sitting at the first bend which is in line with the top of the 60L tank. This would show that the car appears to be overfilled with fuel, yet I'll drive 200+km, and then still have trouble getting fuel into the car. 

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Doing some reading online, I hypothesise the charcoal canister in my car is damaged. The charcoal canister breathes the fuel tank. What I think has happened is when the fuel gauge broke, one of the previous owners thought it would be a clever idea to fill the tank right to the top of the filler neck to hold as much fuel as possible. However, what this does is allow fuel to get into the breather line and turn the charcoal canister into a concrete-like substance, which means it won't be doing any breathing. In a normal Passat the charcoal canister is easy to get to, but of course, in a W8 it is sandwiched by the additional 20L tank, meaning you have to drop the whole fuel tank just to get to it! 

Currently I just go to the petrol station at night so I don't annoy too many people by being slow, put some music on and stand there for 15 minutes to put a bit of fuel in, and then work out how far I can go. My current plan to sort this is to try find the charcoal canister line so that I can vent the tank to atmosphere, and bypass VWs complicated system of sending the gases to the engine. 

 

Anyway, on to things that have been done, so far: 

A few days after my last post about the car I had it serviced. The oil looked alright but the previous owner couldn't remember when he had last changed it, and what oil he had put in it. The coolant looked pretty grotty so I was keen to have that flushed out. I took the car to Weissach Motors on the North Shore who are Porsche and VAG specialists, after my parents recommended it to me as they had done rear shock replacements on my mother's 911. The car got some Liqui Moly 5W-40 and had the cooling system flushed. Apparently, the reason the coolant looked grotty is Volkswagen used a material in the cooling system that does not like regular tap water, which over time makes coolant look bad as it degrades. 

Weissach Motors have a very slick email system which sent me a detailed inspection they had carried out on my car while it was there for service including photos of issues. A few things came up which I wanted to sort. Front CV boots were both split, with one leaking grease. Brake hoses had some cracking and there were some perished bushings in the front end. Hopefully next week the car will go in to have all this stuff sorted. 

I also had a nail in my front left tyre, so tyres jumped closer to the top of my "to-do" list, especially since the rears had un-even wear and pretty low tread anyway.

The battery was also terrible so I replaced that with a Century one. 

One thing that I felt let down my Passat were the wheels. The factory BBS wheels are a cool looking wheel, but mine were in very, very bad shape. I took them to Wheel-Fix It, and since the centres were oxidising and all the lips were very curbed, to have them properly sorted they would need to be chemically stripped, which would cost close to $3K. They were so bad in fact, the guy said it would be best to find a new set and refurbish them instead. 

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Considering I also needed new tyres, I started looking at a more affordable way to sort the wheels. I began searching for another set of W8 wheels, however seeing as W8s are quite rare, and to my knowledge the BBS wheels on W8s didn't go on any other Volkswagen, I couldn't find anything. 

I then thought about buying another W8 just for the wheels. I looked on Facebook Marketplace, hoping to find a very cheap W8 with somewhat decent wheels, however I couldn't find anything. 

I then had a look on trademe, and to my surprise I found a silver, NZ New auto W8 Passat, also with the rare Recaro interior, and with much tidier wheels wrapped in Bridgestone RE003s for sale at a dealer in Hamilton. It had been for sale for over 5 months so I drove to Hamilton with a mate and offered the dealer a fair amount (only about $1200 under asking price). 

I now had two silver NZ new W8s. We drove the cars home in tandem which must have confused other motorists seeing two; largely identical W8 Passats driving together. 

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We swapped the wheels that night, and I was pretty happy with how it improved the look of the car. Driving both cars also made me realise how special the manual one is. They feel very different to each other. The auto is a nice cruiser but is way too laid back especially around town and very boring compared with the manual. The auto one went back on trademe that evening. 

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Now that I had two W8s, I set about sorting a few things on my manual car, using bits from the auto one. My manual one was missing its boot gas struts, and had a faulty boot lock actuator, meaning you could only open the boot by putting the key in the lock. 

I swapped the gas struts and then the actuator. Of course the screws holding the actuator in place are located face up to the boot skin so you have to take the entire bracket holding the lock and plate lights off, and then squeeze the screw bit and a small ratchet in to get the actuator off. Got there in the end, and now I have a boot that opens by holding the button on the key. The button inside the car and the handle seem to intermittently work now when they feel like it. 

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That night I took the car out to get some petrol as I was so pleased with how it was going, and was proud of how tidy the car was starting to look. Of course 3 minutes out from my house a tree branch fell down onto the car, leaving a nice dent in the bonnet which I will have to have pulled out. The bonnet is double skinned so will be a bit of a pain to sort as you can't get it from the inside. Was pretty pissed off. 

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To cheer myself up a bit, I had my headlights polished and coated at Renew Car as they were yellowing and were faded in some areas. Car looks a bit fresher with polished headlights now. 

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I also continued cleaning the interior. Did a wet-vac of the carpets which has helped remove the cigarette smell from the car, and I sorted out the peeling wood veneer trim with some 3M Outdoor Mounting Tape. 

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So that just about covers what I have done to the W8 so far. 

Took it out for a few photos over the past couple days:

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Edited by Kees
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Car looks great, don't you just hate nature !!! 

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9 minutes ago, Twistee said:

Car looks great, don't you just hate nature !!! 

Thanks! Haha yeah, we should burn all trees!! 

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Looks fantastic!
Got to love when you end up with two 😂

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2 hours ago, Braydon said:

Looks fantastic!
Got to love when you end up with two 😂

The neighbours all rolled their eyes when the second one turned up 🤣

Ended up having a chat to the guy who lives opposite me. Turns out he owned a manual W8 back in the day. Crazy coincidence since I think there were only ever about 10 in NZ, with roughly 4 left now! 

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At least it will make your E34 look like a Corolla in maintenance costs

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