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Start up noise

I have a 2005 VW Passat (6 cylinder, 35K miles) that has a unique noise as follows: it sounds like a metal deck of cards shuffling or a rotor. It happens 100% of the time on my 1st start of the day (car is in a garage in Los Angeles)for only 30-45 seconds and ONLY when the car is in Drive or Reverse. The noise stops when I put the car in Neutral or Park. After that amount of time it subsides and will not be heard again until the next morning (there seems to be about 15 hours of non-use needed to bring back the noise.) CAN YOU HELP ME? Mechanics have changed the catalytic converter and checked the heat shield. But they have not solved the problem.

Tracy, It’s Like D?j? Vu, All Over Again !

Tracy, what happened to the advice you got in Noise For The First 30 Seconds Daily ?


None of it was any good ?

Any more clues?


Tracy, When Did The Noise Begin ? Did It Start Suddenly One Day Or Come On Gradually ?

It didn’t start right after an oil change, did it ? Do you always get the oil changed at the same place with the same type / brand oil filter ?

I’m guessing here, I don’t know how the filter sits on that engine, but a wrong or sub-standard oil filter (not made to specs) may be letting oil drain from the engine overnight and rattle until the pump can repressurize the lubrication system.

The engine has sufficient lubrication if started within the time that the oil hasn’t drained down. Putting it in drive or reverse could load the engine enough to exacerbate the problem.


Tracy, VW Issued A TSB ( Technical Service Bulletin ) For Technicians That Addresses Knocking Noises Or A Rattle In All 1999 - 2005 Models With 1.8T, 2.8L, And 4.2L Engines.

If the vehicle is started after it’s been sitting for a “period of time” a slight rattle or knocking noise may be audible.

VW says that the camshft adjustment is hydraulically actuated and controlled by engine oil pressure and after a cold start, oil pressure inside the adjusters must be built up as quickly as possible (but they don’t say there is a way to do that).

Instead they say that the noise will last until the oil pressure is fully reinstated and that “this noise is normal” (my underlining).

It does not mention drive or reverse.

VW solution : Do not replace the cam tensioners or adjusters because it won’t eliminate the noise.

Special tools: none
Special parts: none.

In other words, if this is your noise, Stevie Wonder said it best, “Don’t You Worry 'Bout A Thing”.

See if your mechanic has access to the bulletin or will listen to the camshaft area.


Tracy ! Anybody! Hey! . . . I Feel Like I’m Having A Coversation With Myself.

Anybody there ?


So sorry!! Thanks for all of your advice. They changed the catalytic converter, messed with the motor mounts (both to no avail) and adjusted (changed?) the heat shields and that’s what fixed it. Many VW dollars and many months later. So there you go.

Leave it overnight at the dealer, let them start it up in the morning and find the noise, or am I missing something? All is good?

Tracy, Thanks For Letting Me Know. I’m Happy To Hear It’s Been Resolved.

VW didn’t charge you for all their “wrong” guesses ? What did it cost you to finally get it fixed ?


It cost me nothing because I began all the fixes while it was still under warranty. And VW picked up most of the rental charges I accrued. Just many many trips to VW. Thanks again. Wanna buy a 2005 loaded Passat with only 33K miles on it?

Tracy, Thanks For The Response. You Must Be Pretty Good At Not Being Pushed Around By Dealerships. They Usually Get Customers To Pay For Their Mistakes.

Thanks, but I’ll have to pass on that offer. It’s been a couple of decades now since my final VW.

Good luck,

This is a kind of aside. The noise you describe, while I realize it has been cured for your case, is just the same kind of noise that comes from a weak return spring in the starter gear. What happens is the gear goes out to engage the fly wheel gear teeth, then only partially retracts, and is buffeted by the fly wheel without being engaged, and the buffeting causes it to retract the rest of the way. I know it sounds impossible, and it may be on newer cars, but it happened to me once, back in the day.