Originally, we bought our Volkswagen Touareg in Canada. It is a 10 cylinder diesel SUV with twin turbo chargers on it (one on each side). Within the first few months, we began to have some oil leaking into the air intercooler from one of the turbos which was diagnosed by VW but they stated that they had contacted the factory and this was not unusual and no repair was necessary. 'No problem, we'll just monitor it.' The only authorized fix at the time from VW headquarters was to clean out the oil and re-insert the sensor into the intercooler.
This same service was performed at every oil change several times before one of the turbo units shut down again. When my turbo began to fail sporadically, I went in to a VW service centre (still under warranty) and they put me off again saying they were unable to find the problem. I was in transit to Florida at the time so I finished another 20 hrs. of my trip with a car that could barely climb the hills on the highway and certainly I could not pass anyone but that was less of a problem as I could barely maintain highway speeds anyway!
Upon arriving in Florida at about 52,000 I took the car to a VW service centre and had to pay $600.00 to put back on a 5 cent rod retainer clip associated with the turbo and also clean the sensors again in the intercooler which temporarily solved the problem. Some time later on the same turbo failed again. I went in to a VW service centre in the area and asked them to please check the 'clips' on the turbo chargers that had failed before and also clean the sensors.
They came back having done a computer diagnosis of the car and stated that I had to replace the "˜engine control module'. We delayed that fix because the turbo had been sporadic and sometimes came back on its own. We were leaving on a long road trip with the car and we hoped that the problem would self correct. Early during the trip we realized that the turbo wasn't coming back and the car was a real dog on the road so we called "˜VW Customer Care' while driving and asked them to help us arrange the fix up in Canada.
We asked VW Customer Care to contact the Florida service centre that diagnosed the problem and determine what repair part was needed and then arrange that the part be shipped to Winnipeg when we arrived for a stop over there. Customer care seemed anxious to help us and they later called back to say the part that was needed would be in Winnipeg when we got there.
Upon arriving in Winnipeg we went to the VW service centre and again (as we always did with the service centers before) asked them to first check the "˜clip' again and clean the sensors still believing that this may be the problem and would save us a lot of money for the new part. They must have installed the new part arranged by "˜VW Customer Care' without doing this. When we went to drive away the car still didn't have turbo. We took it back and again asked them if they had checked the 'clip' and cleaned the sensors. The mechanic stated that he had not checked these.
So then he checked the clips and found that one was off. When we drove away the turbo still didn't work after spending almost $4,000 for the new engine control module and the labor to replace the clip! We didn't have any more time to wait for the car to be fixed as we were on our way to a wedding in Alberta. We drove the rest of our 10,000 mi. trip with no turbo. When we arrived back in Florida, we took the car in again to VW.
We told them what had happened. They diagnosed that the part put in in Canada was "˜not compatible with the other control module' on the other side of the engine (ie. Not compatible with this car!!!!) and that they would have to order a different module that was compatible. Luckily, I had kept the original control module. They installed it and finally the turbo worked again!!!
Neither the VW Service Centre in Winnipeg that installed the incorrect module nor the VW Service Centre in Florida that changed it back to the old one nor VW Customer Care folks that arranged for an incompatible module to be shipped to Winnipeg would give us any credit for the wrong control module ($1,500). VW Customer Care told me that it was between me and the dealers and both dealers said that it was not their fault and to get in touch with Customer Care!!! I was getting the run around but one thing I knew for sure I had not done anything wrong and VW was screwing me!
During the final fix in Florida I witnessed the mechanic drive the car into the parking lot and rev up the engine to high r.p.m.'s for several minutes in order to heat up the engine and particularly the exhaust system to burn off (pyrolize) the leaking oil (from the turbocharger that always had leaked oil from new) from the exhaust temperature sensors downstream of the turbocharger. He then immediately drove the car into the garage again and turned the engine off without cooling it down. As it turned out this fried the alternator which on this car is under the intake manifold right up against the engine which was really hot from his parking lot burn off! It turns out the alternator is water cooled because it is located in such a hot spot and it was always the recommended procedure to cool down the engine before turning it off especially after running it at such high rpms. The mechanics should have known this!! He finished the servicing and returned the car to me now commenting that suddenly the alternator light was flashing but he thought that it might go away. This light was not flashing when we came into the dealer or when he diagnosed that the car had the wrong control module!!!!
As I went to drive home that day, the alternator of course, failed. I returned to the garage just as the battery went dead. There had never been any problems with the alternator before and I had never seen the alternator warning light go on before. I barely crept back to the dealer with the failing alternator. They said that I would now need to replace the alternator (at my cost, of course) and that it was odd that it just happened to fail as I drove away from their garage. Because they felt bad for us (I assume) they said there was a free service VW 'recall' for the glow plugs on our car which would require that the intake manifold be removed anyway and that would save almost all on the labor for the alternator replacement. So we reluctantly agreed to that fix.
When we went to pick up the car they told us 'Sorry, the recall has been rescinded and you must pay the full amount for the alternator and the labor to install it' and the glow plug fix would have to wait until VW reinstated the glow plug recall. When I called the 'Customer Care hotline' after getting home that day, the 'recall' was still being advertised stating something like "˜bring your car in for this free service'. I called VW Customer Care again now to complain that the recall was still being advertised even though the service was being denied. Customer Care didn't Care! A week later the 'recall' in question was still being advertised on the 'Customer Care' hotline. I gave up checking that and I have no idea whether they ever corrected their hotline message. It may still be being advertised!!!
As we had been talking to 'VW customer care' long before this about the refund for the wrongly diagnosed control module they seemed to want to help. But when push came to shove they said sorry we can't help you now, you're out of warranty!! Don't call us again! We then wrote a letter to the president of VW America, Mr. Jacoby, and an assistant wrote us back saying sorry we won't help you!
As all warranty repairs must be approved and authorized by VW headquarters. We feel that they delayed work that should have been done early under the warranty again and again. Several of their Service Centers wrongly diagnosed the turbo charger problem and we had to pay for each of those wrong diagnosis. VW Customer Care was responsible for sending the wrong part to be put on our car which further added to the problem. As we understood later the part that had been delivered to Winnipeg was not even listed on the original diagnosis and Custome Car must have had to do more research to get the part # (incompatible one!!) and send the part that they did. None of the dealers nor VW America would stand behind their incorrect diagnosis of the engine control module, wouldn't take back the wrongly diagnosed part, denied repairs that were currently being advertised as "˜recall' on their hotline, and our alternator was ruined either knowingly on purpose or ignorantly (trained techs should have known better). All in all, we spent $14,000.00 on repairs in 6 months to get the car back on the road again. We feel really abused by all of VW.