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Jake, VW Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 2429
Experience:  Over 30 years experience with VW, Audi, BMW. Factory trained, former Shop Foreman, Service Manager
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The oil pressure warning light and engine light came on after

Resolved Question:

The oil pressure warning light and engine light came on after a rapid acceleration. Oil level was OK, dealership diagnostic said pump OK, dealer did oil change to rule out possible oil filter problem, but engine light indicates oil pressure is still low. They want to tear down my engine and check for sludge because they say Turbos develop this problem (very expensive). Just had a thought--I have been hearing a high pitched whirring sound upon acceleration over the past month (odd since my car is normally very quiet). Could the serpentine belt be worn or slipping and, upon acceleration, trigger a "code" or warning light in my car's computer that is unrelated?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Jake replied 8 years ago.

Thank You for choosing Just Answer for your query. Yes, I can help you.

The warning system indicates an oil pressure problem. If the oil pressure monitoring system does not see the proper amount of oil pressure to lubricate and protect the engine it will illuminate the light and sound the light and sound the warning. This is a “fail safe” system, so if a sensor was to fail it would also trigger a warning.

The “sludge” issue is VERY common and likely the cause of your vehicle‘s condition. I am surprised they even did an oil and filter change. The high pitched noise you hear is likely the turbo being starved for oil. It will likely require replacement.

All 1998 - 2004 1.8T motors (AEB, ATW,AWM, AUG) in all VW an Audi models are subject to this condition. I believe some confusion lies is in the term “sludge”. I have always taken issue with the use of this term to describe the condition. I think this is translation error from German to English. The issue is oil deposits, in the way of black flakey particulates, building up on the inside walls of the crankcase and crankcase ventilation system. If you remove the oil filler cap and look at the underside you will likely see the buildup of these deposits. Over time these particulates flake off and work there way down into the oil pan eventually plugging the oil pick-up screen. This restriction in turn restricts the passage of oil to the point where oil pump can no longer supply the specified quantity of pressurized oil to the system. The oil pressure warning system, picks up on this lack of pressure, illuminates the light and sounds the warning.

If this is the condition of your vehicle (light just started to come on) the engine has likely not been damaged. But, it sounds like your engine could be past this point it may require replacement as well as the turbo.

After confirming that there is an oil pressure issue the extent of damage to the engine, if any, is determined by inspecting the camshaft journals (bearing surface) for any signs of lubrication failure. This is the first component to get damaged if oil starvation was excessive. If the journals are OK repairs would consist of cleaning the crankcase, replacing the oil pickup tube with strainer or pump/strainer assembly, replace oil feed line of the turbocharger, replacing ALL crankcase ventilation system hoses, pipes and pressure regulating valve as described in the service bulletin. Then a special engine flushing system would be hooked up to the lubrication system and flushing procedures would ensue. After which the vehicle would be restored to running condition.

If upon inspection at least one camshaft journal is damaged, the engine and possibly the turbo charger would be replaced.

Only synthetic oil with the VW 502 00 grade standard should be used as well as the larger oil filter specified by your dealer.

You should try and assemble ALL your receipts for oil changes, even if it‘s just receipts for oil and filters and some kind of a log indicating when you changed the oil yourself. If it was serviced at the dealer, better yet. Also if the vehicle was serviced at a dealer, they should have informed you of the recommendation to use only the VW 502 00 standard oil and larger filter. If you can prove the services were performed at the intervals prescribed in your maintenance booklet they should honor the 8 years unlimited mileage extended warranty for this “oil sludge“ issue. If you do not receive satisfactory resolution, you can contact VW customer relations at 1-800-822-8987. They can best advise you on how to proceed.

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