200k mile mark reached - bostin
Well after 6.5 years and 136k miles, the Passat has reached 200k miles. I think I must have a very mild case of OCD as reaching 200k in a car was in one of those sad list of things to do which I must keep stored in a obscure part of my mind!

Car (B5 TDI 110 sport saloon) bought in June 2003 from a VW dealer on a 97 reg for 7k IIRC. I was the third owner with the previous owner apparently a butcher and giving the car a bit of a hard life - service was 5k overdue when I purchased the car.

Took a little bit of adjusting to a large car in my 20s (I bought the car as the cheapest access to the 110 engine rather than the model) and within a couple of months I'd somehow managed to break the catalytic converter having hit a dip in the road shortly before at a somewhat indecent speed. Fortunately VW stumped up for that repair through the 12 month unlimited mileage warranty. Only other repair in the first year was front suspension arms & related gubbins which were again covered under the warranty.

Once the 12 months were up, I switched to the local indies to keep the car serviced & to change the shocks to Bilsteins. Made a big improvement to the handling. Since that time, the car has been serviced every 10k, with cambelt changes at 120k & 180k. The front suspension has been the only major weakness of the car but if you treat it as a service item then it helps to soften the blow ;-). The climate change module also packed up a couple of years back but was replaced for a couple of hundred pounds IIRC.

Some of you may remember that I have managed to achieve some pretty high mpg out of this car and I'll come back to this. This may give the impression that I have treated the car with the upmost respect & kept it wrapped up in cotton wool. Nothing could be further from the truth! 75% of the time that I've had it, I have let's say, been "making progress". Performance wise the car is not fantastic but at the same time, it's no slouch. 0-60 comes up in just under 11 secs & I've seen 130 (speedo) on the autobahns on one of the many European trips it's been on. Overtakes (of which there have been many) are straight forward with sufficient torque at the important speeds to make things safe. Handling safe but not as dull as described by some.

Coming back to the mpg issue if driven with economy in mind & on roads mainly outside of the south-east, the car has achieved over 1050 miles on a tank which is a little over 75mpg. The car was still capable of achieving such figures a couple of months ago which suggests that the engine is still performing reasonably well. In town & driven hard on motorways, the car will still return 50+ mpg.

The body work is looking a little bit tired now with a few small dents & scratches although these are only really uncovered on its annual (at best) car wash! The bodywork is galvanised and no sign of rust to date. If you take a step or two back from the car, it's my somewhat biased view that the car stands up well in design & look terms when compared to equivalent age cars.

The inside of the car was one of the reasons that I bought the car in the first place. It's now dated but still a fairly pleasant place to be - I'm a sucker for those blue lights ;-). Toys include cruise, climate & trip computer which all still work. The central fan vents adjuster wheels snapped ages ago but I haven't bothered replacing them.

Size wise, it was bigger than our needs when we first bought it. Having said that however at well over 6ft I can sit behind myself comfortably. Now with a toddler in tow, the car is coming into its own & is standing up relatively well to the abuse. The boot is huge although access is limited for larger items.

So, now with 200k up, the question is what do I do now? I had always intended to replace it at this stage (6 years is a record for car ownership for me). However I'm now not so sure! Neither mpg nor performance appear to have made significant advances in the last few years and there appear to be question marks about the reliability of the engine technology to enable these cars to be produced to be in compliance of the emissions regs. The Passat still comfortably keeps up with traffic and matches the mpg. It is currently reliable & covers 20k miles a year. On the other hand, it is due a service (the more major 20k one) and needs four new tyres (I've run Kumho's throughout my ownership of it)....

I've managed to partly satisfy my probably irrational need to have a 'new' car by running an MGF as a weekend toy for the past year. So I'm leaning to stick with what I know but would welcome input from the backroom. What about a halfway house of a B5.5 Passat TDI 130 Estate? Prices seem high for what they are though....

Cheers & apologies for the length of post!


200k mile mark reached - Avant
Best to keep it till something major goes wrong. Regular servicing has probably been the key to its long life. Then you could look for another Passat or for the same money a newer Octavia.

If you crave a change, why not chop the MGF in for an MX-5 or BMW Z3 / Z4 (depending on budget)?

Edited by Avant on 10/12/2009 at 22:29

200k mile mark reached - boxsterboy
I agree that the shape of the B5 has stood the test of time well. The only thing that dates it is its lack of 'frivolity' in the details. Those are amazing economy figures, and at that mileage I would be tempted to hang on. What would you get (£) if you sold it?
200k mile mark reached - theterranaut
Still a great engine, the 1.9TDI.
200k mile mark reached - piston power
I can take my hat off to you at least you have it serviced regular thats the key to high mileage that engine can see another 200k if you carry on.

What you get now is a tough question at over 6ft with a family if the budget stretches audi, merc, another vw, lot to be said for the gerrys!
200k mile mark reached - daveyjp
Keep going. I had an Audi e-mag which featured some high milers. One was an A6 Avant 1.9TDi with about 350,000 miles on the clock. No major parts changed including the clutch and exhaust.
200k mile mark reached - Jcoventry
Keep it. If you get something newer, I bet you'll have more trouble with it. My dad is in a similar situation - he has a 10 year old Focus, and he thought about changing it, but since he has had no problems with his Focus, there is little reason to.
200k mile mark reached - Brian Tryzers
Agreed. Buying a newer car that isn't new (the Passat you mention would be at least four years old) brings with it more risk and certainly more expense than you are exposed to at the moment, given that your Passat is a known quantity and that any breakdowns-waiting-to-happen have happened already.

I had similar thoughts a while ago about my Volvo, which I've had since it was new seven years ago. Since it still does exactly what I want of it, feels nicely worn in but far from worn out like a well-kept Northampton shoe, and - best of all - costs me very little to own, only vanity or curiosity would prompt me to change it. It still looks good, and I'd probably just have another Volvo anyway, so I'll hang on for another year or two and keep putting aside the money I'm not spending on a new one.

Incidentally, the one thing that is worrying me about the Volvo is the cost of replacing all six airbags at ten years. If the Passat's already passed that mark, how big an undertaking was it for you?
200k mile mark reached - JohnM{P}
See this old thread regarding airbag life:
Having had to replace a Passat side airbag at some cost, and with a LagunaII with 8 airbags, it was a topic that interested me!
200k mile mark reached - John F
Keep going - got 242,000 out of our old 2.0l GL - original cambelt too! Was using about a litre of oil every 1000m when we got rid of it though. I remember retorquing the head bolts at about 130,000 - an extra third of a turn or so I seem to remember - after reading somewhere that head gaskets tend to fail round about then. Possibly old wives tale but at the time I reckoned I'd nothing to lose and possibly something to gain.
Cheapie oil and filter every 10K.
200k mile mark reached - John F
sorry - error above - one sixth of a turn, not a third.
200k mile mark reached - piston power
Keep going - got 242,000 out of our old 2.0l GL - original cambelt too!

Who are you trying to kid!
200k mile mark reached - John F
Keep going - got 242 000 out of our old 2.0l GL - original cambelt
Who are you trying to kid!

No-one. Had to change whining tension pulley around 140,000 [about to seize - easy job] but left belt alone as in excellent condition.
I don't change belts - just pick well made engines where they don't work hard and should last a lifetime. Currently A6 2.8 petrol 6yrs old and 102.000 - Focus 1.6 petrol, 10yrs old and 64,000.
They get an inspection and a squirt of belt dressing every 10k or so. The A6 belt looks tough enough to drive a motorbike, let alone a couple of tiddly little camshafts!

If it works don't mend it.
200k mile mark reached - John F
sorry - error again - [trying to do too many things this am at once] - A6 is 11yrs old.
200k mile mark reached - DP
I have heard from several very good mechanics that it is virtually impossible to accurately ascertain the condition of a timing belt with the naked eye. They tend to crack around the base of the teeth, and the only way to expose these cracks is to remove the belt, and bend the belt back on itself so severely that you actually run the risk of damaging it anyway. Due to the way the belt flexes in use, and the way the teeth are repeatedly loaded and unloaded, a small crack can turn into a belt failure remarkably quickly. That, and the properties of rubber deteriorate with age, repeated temperature extremes and flexing.

If you went to all the trouble of changing the tensioner, I really don't understand why you didn't spend an extra fifteen quid, and the couple of minutes extra time it would have taken to pop a new belt on while you were in there.

Edited by DP on 11/12/2009 at 15:25

200k mile mark reached - bostin
Thanks for the input to date. I guess that the car is worth less than £1k so not a great asset to realise in that respect. As for replacing the F with an MX-5... i don't think so! The 5 is a great car but too small a cabin for me and it's not british. Would love a z3 2.8 but the running costs scare me e.g. tyres. The tf 160 on the other hand ;-)

Edited by bostin on 11/12/2009 at 18:32

200k mile mark reached - John F
repeated temperature extremes and flexing.
If you went to all the trouble of changing the tensioner I really don't understand
why you didn't spend an extra fifteen quid and the couple of minutes extra time
it would have taken to pop a new belt on while you were in there.

Couple of minutes? 'Pop - on'????!!!!! As an amateur with just a box of spanners and sockets it would have taken me ages to remove the self-tensioning ribbed belt that drives all the other things. This has to be removed to get the cambelt off. The bottom cambelt cover looked impossible for me to remove - v little space to work.

It was far easier just to replace the tensioner before it fried a perfectly good belt. After all, the original equipment belts [unlike some of the fake rubbish they are replaced with] are made to last the reasonable life of the engine. Which it did.
200k mile mark reached - DP
So you removed the tension on the belt without timing and locking the engine first?

That could have gone disastrously and expensively wrong. Just one tooth of movement on crank or camshaft is all it takes. And when you apply tension to the belt, it is easy for things to move if they're not locked in place.

I also have never heard of a belt being designed to last the reasonable life of an engine, and certainly never seen one which the manufacturer recommends is re-tensioned once used.

You got away with it, and fair play to you, but I think there was a considerable amount of luck involved here.

Edited by DP on 12/12/2009 at 17:06

200k mile mark reached - Jcoventry
They get an inspection and a squirt of belt dressing every 10k or so.

That's funny. I had to look up "belt dressing", didn't even know such a thing existed. But after reading just a few websites online, I soon came to the conclusion that belt dressing does little but introduce problems in the future. The general consensus appears to be that belt dressing is fine as a temporary "fix", but its not a solution for a belt that actually requires replacement.
200k mile mark reached - barney100
200k though commendable is commonplace on the Volvo high mileage register at the owner's club. Many would challenge the starship Enterprise for miles done. The bloke with the old Saint type Volvo in New York has done an unbelievable amount of miles ....have a look....made my old 940 with 209,000k look like it wasn't even run in yet.
200k mile mark reached - v8man
My wife's Passat B5 110 Tdi is on 162,000 miles. Still runs fantastically returning an average 50mpg, not bad for an auto box!

It used to my car up to 2 years ago when I got my 2006 Jetta 140Tdi sport. The majority of the mileage was motorway use.

My Jetta is on a 56 plate and is now showing 105,000 miles. I can get 64mpg out of it when driving 'sensibly'.

One of the things I like about VW's is the interior dose not seem to fall apart with age and everything still has a nice solid clunk feel to it.
200k mile mark reached - DP
My S60 is on that register. Makes 150k look like it's showroom fresh in comparison to some of the insane mileages listed on there.

Volvo's association with durability goes back decades. My grandfather was running 300+ k 240s and 245s in the 70's and 80's with very few problems. They are beautifully built cars.
200k mile mark reached - piston power
Keep going - got 242 000 out of our old 2.0l GL - original cambelt

Spoke to a few folk in the trade no one has seen that mileage from a timing belt, so you must be very lucky.

Did you have the car from new? was it serviced regular by a garage or yourself?
200k mile mark reached - Alby Back
Well done....um....bostin result as I believe they say in Brum !

Betsy the Mondeo isn't far behind. I'll announce her double century in due course.


( which wull be pure deid brulliant by the way y'ken....)

Edited by Humph Backbridge on 12/12/2009 at 18:12

200k mile mark reached - craig-pd130

Excellent report, Bostin. If you do think of upgrading, a B5.5 PD130 would be a good choice, especially with the Sport pack (6 speed gearbox and hi-torque engine), the combination is truly excellent.

The A-road overtaking punch in 4th gear makes it very effective when getting from A to B quickly is a priority and the lowered suspension is just as comfy as the SE but gets rid of the roll and wallow.

I only did 65K miles in mine :) but averaged 46.5mpg over the life of the car. I too had to replace a front knuckle joint (only one, luckily)
200k mile mark reached - 659FBE
The Mk1 Skoda Superb is the same car with a 4" longer wheelbase. As a marketing "lemon", these go for little money now and are worth a look if you don't need an estate. Avoid ex cabs.

The 5 speed AWX diesel (130 PS) is the model of choice - avoid the 6 speed transmissions, all autos, V6 engines and DPFs. If you want folding rear seats with this running gear, there is a fairly narrow window of cars produced - most '05 cars (10th digit in VIN, ignore registration) will have this. Correct engine oil is essential.

As a general "Skoda" observation, the provision of spares for this car via "Skoda" dealers is abysmal - they didn't sell any of these cars and don't keep the bits.

I recently went to Leicester and had a door mirror glass broken by one of the inhabitants - luckily no other damage. I didn't fancy a return drive to civilisation without it.

Knowing that most dealer's stocks of Superb parts could be housed in a shoe box, when I got this car I looked in a car park for a Passat of the same model year and with the same running gear. I took down its VIN and its registration number and kept them in the car.

It took only 10 minutes in the VW dealer in Leicester to get the (heated) glass - the provision of old Passat spares is quite good. It can be fitted without tools if you have thin gloves to avoid glass injuries.

I would recommend any Skoda owner to have the equivalent VW details in their car for unforeseen replacements. It saved me a lot of time. VAG are really stuffy about the supply of "VW" bits for fitment to Skodas.



Edited by 659FBE on 13/12/2009 at 18:04

200k mile mark reached - craig-pd130

@659, why do you suggest avoiding the 6-speed box? I found the AVF motor & 6-speed 'box a great combination ...
200k mile mark reached - 659FBE
The 6 speed unit has not proved to be reliable - there are a lot more out there now and a pattern is beginning to emerge. You were lucky.

On the B5.5 there is no room for a longer gearbox, so an extra speed was fitted within the original space envelope. This entailed shortening the distance between the pinion bearings which increases the bearing loadings significantly. The 6 speeder hence has a central cast iron section to take the reaction forces from these bearings - the 5 speeder is all Al or Mg.

I rather like having synchromesh on reverse - you lose this with the 6 speed box. (But it's a bit of a gimmick).

In reality, the torque of the diesel is such that you really don't need 6 speeds at all - the thing just pulls like a train. The top speed gearing is almost the same for each transmission - the 6 speed unit gives 120 engine rpm less at 70 mph than does the 5 speeder - so not worth having in the UK.

Likewise, the torque increase of the AVF over the AWX is within the variations you will find between individual engines - so not worth worrying about.

I suspect the 6 speeder was originally a marketing sop for Audi - there's no justification for fitting it and as the gearchange is rather unspectacular (considering the direct linkage) I'd rather make fewer of them.

200k mile mark reached - craig-pd130

I liked the shorter 4th gear, which was 20.5mph / 1000rpm, it gave 40-60 in 4th in under 5 seconds which made for very safe, punchy A-road progress ... especially with the trademark PD instant shove.

Having had a BGT, any gearchange action is an improvement :)

200k mile mark reached - LikedDrivingOnce
Top Reply, 659!
I don't know your background (and it's none of my business, anyway), but you talk like someone with inside knowledge of VAG cars.
Do you know if nasties in the current range of Audis, such as the one that you've just described with the six speed gearbox?
200k mile mark reached - John F
Did you have the car from new? was it serviced regular by a garage or

Bought from a Nottingham dealer, a 'nearly new' ex Hertz rental with only 4,500m if i remember rightly. Serviced only by me.
Yes, I took great care it didn't jump a tooth on the crank/cam pulleys. Before this car we had a GL5 estate - its belt went to 190,000 from about 60,000 [when the water pump failed - changed belt as well even though pefectly OK].

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