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gomi_otaku, VW Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 3428
Experience:  VW FastTrack '00-'01, VW Academy Chicago and Seattle '00-present, VW Certified
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2002 VW Passat: cam shaft..seals..burning oil..the low oil light comes

Customer Question

i was just informed that my 2002 VW Passat needs new cam shaft seals. it has been burning oil very rapidly and the low oil light comes on even before the 3k mark. Have you seen this type of problem before? it has 88k on it. They are also telling me that the timing belt is going to need to be replaced here shortly also.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 8 years ago.
Normally the actual cam shaft seals (round caps at the end of the cam shaft area, seated under the bearing caps) don't leak. Usually the problem is the camshaft adjuster seals, which have a rubber crescent seal which leaks. If you have a 1.8T I would worry more about sludge problems if the light comes on (less usual on a V6) The timing belt should be replaced before 105k, on a 1.8T I would replace it or have it inspected well starting at about 85k for sure, on a V6 the water pump is more prone to fail or leak and take out the belt oir rollers.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It is a V6, not turbo. they are telling me that the labor time is about 10 hours or so to perform this type of job. Does that sound right?
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 8 years ago.

We charge about 7-7.5 to do the cam tensioner seals. This involves removing both valve covers (replacing the cover gaskets) loosening the cam tensioner, replacing the seals and cleaning up the contact surfaces, reinstalling, cleaning up oil on bottom and back of engine.

If they are actuall talking about the cam seals, it's not much more to do them since you just need to remove a couple more bolts to loosen the bearing caps on each end- I don't think I have ever seen one of the cam seals leak unless someone has been in there previously to loosen the bearing caps, and didn't get it aligned right again- I'm guessing they are talking about the tensioner seals.

I can't imagine running through enough oil in 3000 miles to set off the oil light, even with these seals leaking- they don't tend to "stream" oil.