Finally!!!....A B5 Passat with a manual transmission and rotary pump engine!!!
All about the “KMH Motors” B5 VW Passat / Audi A4 TDI
The motor and all ancillaries were changed to TDI spec. In Europe, this exact combination of engine and body are commonplace, but of course, VWOA did not think that this car would sell well here. There are actually 3 original ’98 Passat TDI sedans that do exist in the US.
The motor itself was a bolt-in affair expect for some custom made motor mount brackets and plumbing for coolant and boost hoses. Many parts that were needed to make this car came from either a Euro spec Audi A4 / Passat TDI, or an American B5.5 Passat TDI.
The transmission is sourced from a Passat V6 2.8, which has taller gearing than the 1.8t that originally came in the car. The gearing of the V6 is not quite as tall as the TDI transmission only available in Europe for this car, but is close enough when considering the cost and difficulty of shipping a transmission from Europe. The 5th gear cruising RPM at 70 mph is about 300 rpms higher than what the TDI transmission would be.
Q: So what if I need replacement parts?
I have compiled a list of what parts the car takes in the cases that are different than what the factory original part was on the car.
Q: Will I have to wait 2 weeks for a European spec. part to come in if it breaks?
Probably not. The only possible wear part that is Euro only is the VNT 15 turbo, and this could be interchanged with the B5.5 VNT17 turbo quite easily if necessary. Nearly all of the wear items are either from a US spec:
-98 Passat 1.8t
-98 Jetta TDI
-2004 Passat TDI
Q: So why would I want this car more than a 2004-2005 Passat TDI?
1. NO balance shaft module to replace in the tune of $3000! For those that are unfamiliar with the BHW engine found in the B5.5 Passat TDI, they have a failure prone balance shaft module that smoothes the engine vibration at idle. The problem was that this gear that is integrated into the oil pump drive is driven by a chain that WILL inevitably wear out and break eventually, rendering your oil pump immediately useless.
2. Manual transmission! Well, do I really need to explain this one? Other than the obvious, you will get back into the range of 40-44 mpg over an auto transmission that will almost never see more than 38mpg. I have been observing about 42 mpg with mixed city and highway driving according to the stock MFA equipped on the car with winter fuel and warm-up conditions.
3. Rotary pump engine! In my opinion of a long time TDI owner and mechanic, the traditional rotary pump, 8 valve engine is the best and most reliable engine that VW ever made. It came in many different forms and years, but it is tried and true compared to the Pumpe Duse engine that followed it. The rotary pump engine can run high (100%) concentrations of biodiesel without problems unlike the Pumpe Duse engine due to the extremely high (400 deg.) operating temperature of the injectors. Also, the camshaft and lifter assembly is MUCH more durable than the problematic Pumpe Duse engine. The camshaft and lifter assembly usually requires replacement in the Pumpe Duse engine around 150k-200k miles or less possibly, costing approximately $1200 for parts and labor.
Q: Why would I want this car more than an MK4 Jetta Wagon?
1. Space! The B5 actually has enough rear leg room for adults while an adult is seated in front of them. Parents (like myself) will also note it has enough room for a car seat either front or rear facing without cutting into front seat space.
2. Refinement! The B5 has better suspension, more sound deadening, and more standard comfort features than most MK4 Jetta / Golf.
3. The fuel tank capacity is also about 2 gallons larger than the Jetta wagon at an OEM claimed 16.4. (Though many TDI owners have learned how to get 1-2 more gallons in.)
Q: Why would I want this car more than a B4 Passat TDI Wagon?
1. There were only 1200 made, and less in existence as time goes on so they are very hard to find.
2. Mostly produced in 1996, they are really starting to show their age in mechanical wear, rust, and style.
3. The early 1Z engine found in all 1996 and some 1997 Passat TDI’s had problems with pistons and piston rings wearing out prematurely, making for very costly repairs. The injectors were also not as durable as the later ’98 and up units.
4. Like any car or truck ever made the first year of any model / engine always had more issues than the subsequent years.