Volswagen - All Models

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Auto Defects > Volkswagen

February 2001

Dear Volkswagen Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your VW. CAS has received numerous complaints from consumers on stalling, premature brake wear, engine and transmission failures, defective heater cores, and unintended acceleration.

Through the 1993 model year, door-mounted shoulder belts or motorized belts were installed in all VW models except the Cabriolet, which had an airbag. For several years, the door-mounted restraint lacked a lap belt, allowing occupants to "submarine" in a crash. Moreover, footwell intrusion during the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) 40 mph frontal offset crash test contributed to the marginal performance of the 1994-98 Golf/Jetta. In contrast, front and side airbags, safety belt tensioners, and belt force limiters enabled both the 1998 Passat and the 1998 Beetle to perform well in the offset test making them an IIHS "Best Pick" when compared to other vehicles of similar weight and size.

Aside from occupant safety, VW bumpers have been among the industry's weakest, resulting in extensive damage in minor accidents. In 1992, responding to CAS efforts, VW recalled 650,000 Golfs and Jettas for leaking heater cores that sprayed occupants with scalding engine coolant. Several years later, 164,000 1987-93 Foxes and 8,100 1988-90 Corrados and Passats were also recalled for leaking heater cores. Hot coolant leaks also led to the recall of 6,217 1992-94 Corrados in 1998.

VWs have been plagued with fire and stalling problems. VW recalled nearly 531,000 vehicles since the mid-1980s for fuel fed fires and more than 323,00 vehicles for stalling, primarily due to faulty fuel pumps and systems. The 1998 Beetle got off to a bad start when a faulty fuel pump, which causes wiring fires in the engine compartment and/or stalling, forced VW to recall all 8,500 1998 Beetles. In 1999 Golfs and Jettas, the small gas generation device used to tighten seat belts in a crash can ignite a mat in the door pillar.

You'll find more information on these and other VW problems and what you can do about about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Honda on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

VOLKSWAGEN FACT SHEET
Cabrio Corrado Cabriolet Eurovan Fox Golf Golf III Golf GTI Jetta Jetta III Passat
Volkswagen technical service bulletin (TSB) numbers are in parentheses.

A/C & Heater: Poor cooling 1993-94 Corrado, 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, Passat, 1995 Cabriolet (87-94-02); Noisy expansion valve 1993-94 Corrado (87-95-02), 1993 Passat (87-95-01), 1994 Corrado, Passat (87-93-06); Poor air distribution 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (85-94-01); Side windows fog w/heater on 1992-95 Passat (80-93-02); A/C musty odor All to '01 (87-99-01).

Electrical/Instruments: Bad turn signal &/or headlight dimmer/flasher switch 1992-93 Corrado, Passat (94-93-02); Fuel/coolant gauge malfunction 1992-93 Corrado, Passat (90-93-09); Alarm system malfunction 1992-93 Corrado, Passat (90-93-07); Incorrect fuel level indication 1992 Passat (90-93-01); Intermittent electrical problems 1992-93 Corrado, Passat, 1993 Cabriolet, Golf III, Jetta III (ATRATB132).

Engine/Driveablity: Drifts/pulls 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox, 1992-94 Corrado, 1993 Eurovan, 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1992-96 Passat, 1995 Eurovan, 1995-96 Cabrio, 1996 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta (44-95-02, 44-94-01); Front end knock 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (40-95-01, 40-94-01); Sulfur odor 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox, 1992-94 Corrado, 1992-95 Passat, 1993 Eurovan, 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995 Cabrio, E (26-94-01); Oxygen sensor fails 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Corrado, Cabriolet, Fox, Passat, 1993 Eurovan (26-93-02); Pulsating/clicking from engine &/or right front 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (24-94-04); Poor driveability 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox, 1992-94 Corrado, Passat, 1993-94 Golf III, Jetta III (24-94-01); Engine runs rich 1992-93 Cabriolet (24-93-10); Intermittent lack of power 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox (24-93-07); Idle speed hunts when cold 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox, 1992-94 Corrado, 1992-94 Passat, 1993-94 Golf III, Jetta III (24-93-06); Poor fuel system performance 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox, 1992-94 Corrado, 1992-95 Passat, 1993 Eurovan, 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995 Cabrio, E (20-94-02); Coolant pump leaks 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Corrado, Cabriolet, Fox, Passat, 1993 E (19-93-01); Coolant leaks &/or droning noise 1992-93 Passat (19-91-01); No start 1992-94 Corrado, 1992-95 Passat (01-97-07), 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995 Cabrio (01-97-06); Misfire 1998-99 Passat w/1.8L Turbo & 2.8L (01-99-07 & 01-99-08); Turbo failure 1998-99 Passat w/1.8L (21-99-01).

Transmission: ATF leaks 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995-96 Cabrio, 1996-97 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, Passat (39-97-01); Won't go forward in any gear 1995 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995-96 Passat, 1996 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta (38-97-01); Will not move in Drive 1992-93 Corrado, Passat, 1993 Eurovan w/AG4 (096 or 098) A/T (38-93-02); Will not shift into Reverse 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995-96 Cabrio, 1996-97 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta (34-97-04); Pops out of gear 1996-97 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1997 Passat (34-97-03); Shifter hard to move 1996-97 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, Passat (34-97-02); Shift lever vibration/knock 1992-99 Golf, Jetta, 1993-99 Golf III, Jetta III, 1992-97 Passat, Golf, Jetta, 1997 Golf GTI (34-97-01, 34-99-01), 1998-99 Beetle, 1999 Golf, Jetta (34-99-02), 2000 Beetle, Golf, Jetta (34-99-04); Shifting difficulties 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, Passat, 1992-93 Cabriolet, 1993 Eurovan, 1992-94 Corrado, 1994 Passat (30-93-04), 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (30-93-03), 1998-99 Beetle (37-99-01), 1998-99 Passat (37-99-02); Clutch pedal noise 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (30-93-02); Clutch pedal vibration 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (30-93-01); Front bushing wear All models w/A/T (ATRATB8754); ATF in differential 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Fox, 1993 Cabriolet, Eurovan, Golf III, Jetta III (ATRATB255); Bind in Low & Reverse 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Fox, 1993 Eurovan, Golf III, Jetta III (ATRATB131).

W/S Wipers: Chatter/poor cleaning/streaking 1992-93Passat, 1993-94 Golf III, Jetta III (P9376004); Blades skip 1992 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta, 1992-93 Cabriolet, Fox, 1993 Eurovan, 1992-94 Corrado, 1992-95 Passat, 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995 Cabrio, Eurovan, 1996 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta (92-95-02); Intermittent operation 1992-93 Corrado, Cabriolet, Passat, 1993 Eurovan (92-92-02).

Other: Noisy DRL relay 1993-95 Jetta III (97-93-01); Exterior door lock freezes 1994-95 Golf III, Jetta III, 1995-96 Cabrio, 1996 Golf, Golf GTI, Jetta (57-97-01); A-pillar wind noise &/or water leak 1995 Cabrio (57-95-03), 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (57-95-07); Trunk lid contacts tail light lenses 1993-94 Jetta III (55-94-01); Hood release inoperative 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (55-93-03); P/S pressure line vibration/noise 1993-94 Golf III, 1993 Jetta III (48-93-03); ABS warning light stays on 1993 Eurovan, 1993-94 Corrado, Passat (45-93-01); Cracking noise from brakes 1993-94 Golf III, Jetta III (40-93-01); Sunroof noise/vibration 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (60-94-05); Sunroof popping noise 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (60-94-03), 1995 Passat (60-94-04); Sunroof water leaks 1993-95 Golf III, Jetta III (60-94-01); Instrument panel wind noise 1998-99 Beetle (50-99-01); Trunk lid hard to open/close 1998-00 Beetle (55-99-01) Poor AM reception 1999-00 Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat (91-99-11) .

MAJOR SAFETY RECALLS
Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Information Services, 202-366-2768.

Brakes: 575 1985 Golf - Reduced effectiveness (84V-137); 1,700 1988 Jetta - Booster splits (88V-144); 8,000 1987-89 Jetta - Lines chafe (89V-221); 11,000 1990 Golf, Jetta - Front brakes lack cooling ducts (90V-142); 465 1991 Jetta - Front hoses crack (90V-173); 76,000 1988-91 Golf, Jetta - Lines leak (93V-129); 24,000 1993 Eurovan - Emergency brake releases (93V-138); 153,000 1993-95 Jetta, Golf, Golf GTI - Rear line chafes & leaks (98V-160); 20,000+ 1998-99 Passat - Insufficient booster vacuum (99V-131.001).

Engine/Driveability: 12,000+ 1985-86 Quantum - Idle stabilizer (87V-069); Heater core ruptures 650,000 1985-90 Golf GT, Jetta (92V-050), 164,000 1987-93 Fox (95V-105) & 8,100 1988-90 Passat, 1989-90 Corrado (96V-115); 6,217 1992-94 Corrado - Coolant leak into passenger compartment (98V-195)

Fires: 100,000+ 1985-86 Golf, Golf GTI & 1986 Vanagon, Syncro - Post collision fuel leaks (86V-029, 86V-149 & 87V-051); 12,000 1986-87 Vanagon, Vanagon Camper - Fuel filter leak (88V-038); 2,000 1991 Fox - Metal fuel lines leak (91V-087); 9,500 1985 Jetta - Brake line clip melts (84V-144); 51,000 1987-90 Cabriolet & 1987-88 Scirocco - Fuel tank leaks (91V-201); Engine compartment fuel leak: 18,000 1990-92 Cabriolet - (92V-058) & 340,000 1989-92 Corrado, 1990-92 Fox, 1988-92 Golf, Jetta & 1985-91 Vanagon (92V-058-001); 7,500 1987-89 Cabriolet - Rear fuel tank cracks (94V-065); 201 1997 Eurovan - Punctured fuel tank vapor canister (97V-016.001); 8,500 1998 Beetle - Engine compartment wiring fire &/or stalling (98V-100); 36,258 1999 Golf, Jetta - Mat on B-pillar ignites from seat belt pre-tensioner gas (99V-022); 11,400 1993 Eurovan - Fuel hose connection leak (00V-039).

Stalling: 4,000 1985 Scirocco - Fuel hose disconnects (84V-152); 15,500 1986-87 Vanagon, Vanagon Camper, Syncro - Restricted fuel flow (87V-052); 278,520 1985-87 Golf, Jetta, Scirocco, Cabriolet - Fuel pump seizes (87V-053); 8,500 1990-91 Corrado - 4,300 1992-93 Corrado w/VR6 engine - Wiring harness (93V-102); 34,000 1993-95 Corrado, Golf, Jetta, Passat w/VR6 engine - Radiator fan seizes (95V-178); 8,500 1990-91 Corrado - Improperly seated fuel pump (91V-068).

Steering/Suspension: 10,000 1987 Golf, Golf GTI - Alloy wheels come off (87V-063); 138 1987 Fox - Rear wheel contacts body (87V-162); 130 1987-88 Vanagon Camper - Tire loses air (88V-076); 104,000 1987-89 Fox - Steering wheel comes off (88V-187); 225 1990 Jetta - Power assist loss (90V-007); 890 1991 Cabriolet - Front wheel misalignment (92V-064); 1,200 1993 Passat - Axle separates from strut (93V-118); 8,350 1993 Eurovan - Inoperative steering system (94V-058); 25,000+ 1998-99 Passat - Tie rod seals fail (99V-248).

Unintended Acceleration: 300 1987 Vanagon, 1988 Vanagon Camper, 1989 Syncro - Throttle cable/cruise control sticks (89V-067); 550 1991 Jetta - Cruise control sticks (91V-064); 11,300 1990-91 Cabriolet - Throttle interference (91V-162); 12,650 1990-92 Passat w/16v engine - Throttle sticks (92V-131); 5.000+ 1998 Passat - Throttle plate sticks (98V-134).

Other: 21,000 1985 Golf GTI - Front seat belt inoperative (85V-031); 18,328 1985 Vanagon Camper - Passenger door latch fails (85V-152); 2,397 1987 Vanagon Wolfsburg - Rear seat mounts fail (87V-083); 1,600 1987 Vanagon - Shift lock inoperative (87V-085); 784 1988 Golf, Jetta - Seat belt inoperative (87V-182); 8,500 1990 Cabriolet - Airbags inoperative, (91V-215); 29,500 1990-91 Vanagon - A/C housing falls (93V-175); Jack collapses: 600 1988 Vanagon (88V-056) & 104,000 1993-95 Golf, Jetta (95V-054); 238,000 1993-96 Jetta, Golf, Golf GTI - Hood flies up (98V-160); 67,076 1999 Jetta - Interior padding insufficient to prevent head injury (99V-251).