Shed of the Week: Volkswagen Passat V6

A few years ago, Shed bought a Passat Estate sight unseen from an eBayer in Cumbria. Same colour as today's Shed of the Week, but a B5.5 1.9 diesel rather than the somewhat rarer B5 2.8 petrol V6 Syncro winter special that we have here.

After an incredibly convoluted train journey, Shed eventually arrived at the sort of deserted one-platform station you see in 1960s art-house films directed by angry young men. In a light but penetrating drizzle, Shed trudged to the seller's establishment. This turned out to be a 'non-specialist garage', as dodgy old-school motor traders are sometimes called.

The Passat looked OK from a distance, as does Mrs Shed when you're looking through the wrong end of a dirty telescope. The nearer he got to it, the more uneasy Shed felt, and that was also the case for the Passat. It seemed a lot more tired in the flesh than it had looked in the eBay ad. The windows were very steamed up, which is definitely not something that ever happens when you're sitting in a car with Mrs Shed.

Pausing only to execute a battery swap - a groin-busting operation not recommended for anyone trying to avoid an operation - Shed set off for home, with the garage shutting very early as he was leaving. Apart from the pervasive smell of damp, all seemed well-ish, but over the next few days a series of strange electrical events began to unfold. When you wanted one thing to happen, something quite different would occur. So you'd go for main beam and the sunroof would open. Pressing the horn would bring a lovely warm glow to your backside as the heated seats kicked in. Attempting to indicate would set off all four winkers at once.

Turned out the drain holes in the battery tray had blocked up, as they do in all Passats apparently, re-routing who knows how many gallons of Cumbrian rain into the passenger side carpet, front and rear. That needn't have been a major issue in itself. After a scant two weeks of drying out using a combination of expensively-hired dehumidifier and two sacks of granulated horse bedding, it was possible to do quite long trips in the Passat without any mushrooms growing on your trousers.

The big problem was the fact that VW, in its infinite wisdom, had located an important 'comfort' ECU under the passenger side carpet. Wiring that had left the factory in strict Germanic order had turned into a more artistic, Italianate almost, vermicelli mush. The ECU was receiving instructions from the driver but then passing them on in a frustratingly random fashion to whichever wire seemed most up to the job at the time.

Shed came out of that experience a wiser, more cynical and fortunately richer man after he managed to offload the Passat onto a delighted vicar who clearly loved the masking whiff of concentrated Febreze. A nice bit of karmic revenge there for Shed's miserable Catholic upbringing and short-lived career as a choirboy.

This Passat looks like a lot more solid bet. The miles are remarkably low for a start. The MOT record confirms that this car rarely did more than 3000 miles a year in any of the last ten years. The MOT history also reveals it's had a fair bit of work carried out on the front suspension, which does take a beating in these 2.8s. Syncro suspension is fully independent front and rear. The 4x4 system is Torsen and the petrol drinking heavy. LPG conversion might be worth a few minutes' research.

Considering the mileage, the half-leather upholstery looks oddly baggy, and who knows what sort of mutant insect headbutted the front end above the numberplate. At least that dent in the offside rear door looks soft enough to pull out.

Mrs Shed never liked the soggy Passat, not so much for its sogginess but for the fact that she found it to be a clumsy town drive. "It's too big," she moaned, for the first and almost certainly last time in their long and terrible relationship.

Still, despite his bad experience, Shed would have another Passat Estate, maybe even a Syncro like this 'un. So if you're selling one and the chap who comes to look at it heads straight for the carpets, mind your manners: it might be Shed.

Here's the ad.

Blue, Here we have for sale a VW Passat 2.8 V6 which has covered only 78,000 miles and comes with a full service record. New MOT will be provided on sale., 3 owners, Electronic Air-Conditioning, Climate Control, Electric Windows (Front), 'Gamma' Radio Cassette with Rear Speakers, Air Bag Driver, Air Bag Passenger, Central Door Locking, Power-Assisted Steering. 5 seats, HPI CHECKED, VOSA HISTORY CHECKED. PLEASE CALL FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO BOOK YOURSELF A TEST DRIVE TODAY. ON SITE CUSTOMER PARKING. WE ARE OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK. OUR SITE POSTCODE IS SN3 3JW. ONLY A 5 MINUTE DRIVE FROM THE M4 MOTORWAY JUNCTION 15, Experian auto check clear, £1,495 p/x considered
2.8 V6 Syncro 4dr





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Comments (47) Join the discussion on the forum

  • tezzer 15 Sep 2017

    Handy load lugger, or tip run car !

  • gmackay2 15 Sep 2017

    Had 2 of these in saloon format, a manual one which I put about 50k on in under 2 years and an auto one which I only had for about 8 months. The auto gearbox suits the engine better, but the manual gives overall better mpg. Mostly averaged about 30-32mpg with the manual one.

    They are not quick cars and nor do they handle very good either. A remapped 130tdi Passat with sport suspension leaves it for dead! The standard suspension on the syncro/4motion cars is quite soft and decent after market kits are not that common. Also I seem to remember the brake discs on the rear being the same as an A8 and not any other Passat or A4? The interior of that one looks very worn for 70k........ Both of mine with much higher miles never looked as worn as that. Also the seats are not that comfy for longer journeys I found.

    Oil leaks are common on that V6 mostly rocker cover gaskets weeping. As with all b5/5.5's they love suspension arms. Buy cheap and you will constantly be chasing rattles and knocks. Do it all at once and use good quality arms and then get a full 4 wheel alignment check and they ride a lot nicer then.

    If you must have a petrol/v6 and 4x4 then get one. Otherwise by a sport tdi passat and remap it. It will be cheaper to run long term and handle better too.

  • J4CKO 15 Sep 2017

    Is it just me or were these better int a lot of ways than the later model, I remember them being a bit of a minor sensation when they came out, good looking, comfy with a very nice and good quality interior, plus the 130 BHP diesel was very effective and gave great MPG, the later ones looked less attractive and seem to have more issues.

    These these never seem to look down at heel really

  • grumpy52 15 Sep 2017

    I have looked at a couple of this style Passat and every one of them has had a list of faults just like the first one described in the article .
    They all seem to suffer from central locking and window faults at some stage .
    Lots available locally and all in the death throes of the final journey to the "recycling " yard .

  • Jonny_gti 15 Sep 2017

    decent for the money, I thought the 2.8v6 in this would have been the same as the mk4 Golf 4mo lump but it seems its a slightly different unit 190hp with a 30v ? seems strange do these still sound as good as the golf's?

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