I have acquired a 1996 Passat. None of the Doors would unlock. The driver's door was open, but a bungee cord was used to keep it closed. None of the door plungers would work. I fournd that the driver's door handle (micro switch) was bad
and replaced it and the bi-pressure compressor in the trunk which had burnt out. I also repaired a crushed air line in the trunk. Since the driver's door would open, I was able to remove the door panel and access the lock mechanism. I can now use it normally. I disconnected the pneumatic servo in the driver's door and plugged the hose there. When turning the key, the pump comes on but the servos in the other three doors do not activate. I have tried using compressed air (figuring a higher pressure would pop the plungers up, but it did not happen. I do not hear any air leaks. The shop manual is not much help with this. Is there any way to get the other doors open w/o destroying the door panels? There seems to be too many deterants to using a wire or a slim-jim to trip the locking lever that the plunger/servos tie to.
If the key doesn't work on the front doors and air pressure doesn't work, you will probably have to remove the door panels and disable the system or find the leak or bad actuator.
I would also check fuses as well.
Check with VW and see if there is a TSB concerning this condition.
June, 14, 2008 AT 12:38 PM
I have found (the front passenger door) that the locking release mechanism(spring/shaft) on the lock assembly to be corroded enough that when the locking lever is pushed down, the pin of the latch release will not drop into place to be engaged by either inside or outside door handles. By using a borescope and a piece of small diameter pex tubing I was able to apply rust desolver/lubricant to the spring/shaft assembly. After a couple of days, it went to working. I have now done the same to the two back doors and praying for the same results. I have been able to gain sufficient access by gently prying the top of the inner door panel out, w/out damaging the door panels.