2000 Volkswagen Passat Check engine / emissions workshop

Tiny
PSTRASMA
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 81,345 MILES
Check engine light recently went on along with the emissions workshop prompt. Took it a mechanic who provided fault codes 16805 Warm Up Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1 and 16815 Warm Up Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 2. The mechanic states both sides of the catalytic converter are warming up slowly (3 min vs. 1 min) and thus need to be replaced for $1800 parts plus $500 labor. Unfortunately, I am 1 year and 1,000 miles over the 8/80k emissions warranty. Just 8 months ago I had both rear oxygen sensors replaced for the same check engine/emissions workshop problem.

Researching this it appears there is a technical service bulletin 01 07 07 Jan 22, 2007 2010372 "Update Programming for Catalytic Converter System" The description states "On-bard diagnosis (OBD) for the catalytic converter system may be set too sensitive causing fault codes with out a defect in the catalyst system." It also appears there could be any number of problems with sensors, pipes, hoses, etc causing the faults. The mechanic claims this is not a computer problem and is standing firm that the catalytic converter needs to be replaced.

What should I do next? I am loathe to go to a VW dealer but sure would be happy if a simple computer update fixed things.
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Sunday, October 11th, 2009 AT 10:48 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
The converters don't have an internal heater in them that causes them to heat up. That occurrs from both checmical reactions and heat from the engine. Is the car running ok other than the light? I agree with you. You need an ECU firmware upgrade. This will allow the ECU to accept a wider range of readings from the cats / O2 sensors.

Now, if the problem has been going on for some time, there is a chance that the converters have been damaged. However, if it hasn't and the car is still running good, chances are they will be fine.

If the ECU hasn't had the upgrade, it needs to be done regardless of the converters present condition. Therefore, I would recommend contacting a different dealer requesting the firmware upgrade and see if that takes care of the problem. If it doesn't, then chances are you will need the converters.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Joe
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Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 AT 10:43 PM
Tiny
PSTRASMA
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Asked local VW dealer to apply EMU update per technical service bulletin 01 07 07 Jan 22, 2007 2010372 "Update Programming for Catalytic Converter System". Dealer claims that they attempted the EMU programming update per the bulletin, but got error indicating it was not compatible and could not be applied.

Dealer did diagnostic and also recommended catalytic converter replacement, $2600 total.

Are there any other options I should investigate? I am in California and the non-OEM parts I have found online state they cannot be shipped here. Could my existing catalytic converter be repaired if I go to a muffler shop?
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Friday, October 16th, 2009 AT 5:21 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Honestly, I wish I had something better to tell you, but they are non repairable. However, 2600 sounds very high. I just checked online (dealer retail) and I need to know if the car is AWD, auto trans, standard trans, and are they replacing both.

Let me know and I can get you the parts cost and the number of hours labor. THen at least you will know if they are overcharging you.

Let me know.
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Friday, October 16th, 2009 AT 11:31 PM
Tiny
PSTRASMA
  • MEMBER
Car is not AWD and is an automatic (Tiptronic) transmission. They are replacing both -- parts quote is $1000 for L and $700 for R converter.
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Saturday, October 17th, 2009 AT 10:29 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I hate to say it, but that is accurate. However, I believe it called for 4 hours labor to replace them. IF they are charging you 900 dollars labor, that is over 200 an hour. My god, how much do mechanics make where you are? I'm moving. We're luck to get 60 an hour here near Pittsburgh.
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Saturday, October 17th, 2009 AT 3:54 PM
Tiny
PSTRASMA
  • MEMBER
$80 / hr independent ($1800 parts + $400-500 labor)
$109 /hr dealer ($2100 parts + $600 labor)
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Saturday, October 17th, 2009 AT 4:59 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I wish I could copy and paste from the manual, but I can't. I would question them on the labor. A front wheel drive (NOT AWD) calls for 3 hours for both. That is according to Mitchell 1 OnDemand5. Com. THey are a very well known in the auto industry, so I trust what the say. THey list it as a 2.8L FWD Both. They say 3 hours labor and allow 2.2 hours for warranty repair.

The right one list at 1000.00 and the left 700.00. Keep in mind, that is a dealer price. I just checked Auto Zone's on line store and they have both. THey are 434 each. Here is the web page I found it on, but you need to get a user name (no charge) and login to access the page. Otherwise, it will just take you to their home page and ask you to login or set up a user name and password (no charge).

Sorry to be so wordy. I'm just trying to figure out a way to help save some money. The car I drive every day cost half of what they are asking to repair this for you.

Let me know if you have other questions.
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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 AT 12:11 AM

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