Skip to main content

Volkswagen Transporter problems (1990 - 2015)

Volkswagen T5

Researching Transporter T4 and Transporter T5 problems? Here at Haynes we can help you minimise the cost of running your VW T4 and T5 from 1990 - 2015.

Here we explain what problems you may encounter – if your VW T4 or T5 is making a strange sound or vibrating when it shouldn’t be, we can help you to find out what’s wrong and show you how to repair it. And avoiding garage labour charges has to be a good way to save money. On top of that, we can also show you how to service, maintain and repair your T4 or T5 yourself.

The T4 Transporter (1990 - 2003) has weaknesses that include a fuel gauge and temperature gauge that show incorrect readings, and a loose driver’s airbag inflator housing.

VW Transporter T5 (2003 - 2015) problems include an ABS/ESP light that sometimes lights up, fuel leaks, faulty seats and a dodgy handbrake.

But don’t worry, because fixing these is both inexpensive and pretty easy. Just follow our lead and your T4 and T5 will be back on the road in no time.

VW T4 Transporter

VW T4 Transporter recalls

The VW T4 Transporter is no different from any other vehicle in that it has been the subject of the odd recall throughout its extensive life.

It was recalled in Australia because a bolt connection in the steering system may become loose when subjected to high steering forces, resulting in steering failure. Check that the work was carried out by your VW dealer.

Volkswagen T5

Volkswagen T5 Transporter recalls

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts issued a recall for the T5 2003 - 2015 in July 2006, for models made in 2004 to have their handbrake levers inspected.

Affected T5s should have had their levers replaced by the VW dealer at no cost to the owner - check yours has had the work done.

What common problems does the T4 Transporter have?

Some examples of the T4 Transporter have been known to suffer from a sticky lower running rail on the sliding side door, while higher-mileage examples might be in need of a clutch swap before too long. An oil-pressure-warning light flashing is an issue on some 1.9-litre turbodiesel models.

The headlights are a known weak area, and benefit from an upgrade, which is easy to carry out. Models with electric windows and mirrors can also suffer from chafed wires, leading to them failing to operate. And the oil cooler can become damaged.

However, there’s little to worry about if you have a Haynes T4 Transporter 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

What common problems does the T5 have?

Some examples of the T5 have been known to suffer from a timing fault that makes its engine difficult to start, and a faulty EGR valve can cause rough running. Some rear-drive models have suffered oil leakage between the engine and gearbox, while the fuel gauge has been known to be slow to respond after the vehicle has been refuelled. The exhaust system has also caused an issue – symptoms include a small of exhaust fumes and whistling noise from under the bonnet.

However, solving these issues needn’t be too tricky as long as you use the Haynes T5 2003-2015 manual or Autofix.

Volkswagen T5 dashboard

Does the T4 Transporter have sliding door problems?

Yes. The T4 Transporter has a sliding side door, and the lower rail is often exposed to the elements when open.

This can cause the operation of the door to become sticky and if left unattended can cause corrosion, which is a whole lot more serious and expensive to fix.

If you notice that your sliding side door doesn’t move as freely as perhaps it once did, make sure you clean out the rail and give everything a good squirt with WD40 or similar every couple of weeks.

You can easily see how to maintain the sliding side door and rail in the Haynes T4 Transporter 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

Does the T5 have timing problems?

The T5 2003-2015 sometimes suffers an issue that causes the engine to fail to start.

This problem generates fault codes P3007, 19463 or 4C07. If any of these codes is found, the problem is likely to be the camshaft position sensor.

First check the wiring for the sensor, and if it is undamaged, then replace the sensor itself.

You can easily fix this issue on the T5 with the Haynes T5 2003-2015 manual or Autofix.

Does the VW T4 Transporter have headlight problems?

One of the major weak points of the T4 Transporter is its headlights, which are recognised by owners and fans as being not bright enough.

However, many aftermarket suppliers offer a plug-and-play headlight upgrade, which you can easily carry out yourself using the relevant headlight replacement procedure in your Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

If you just need to change a bulb, check out our FREE bulb-replacement video below.

Will my T5 have EGR valve problems?

It isn’t unknown for the Transporter T5 2003-2015 to suffer a blocked EGR valve. The symptoms include an engine that stalls, engine judders, and rev fluctuations. The vehicle will also generate fault codes P0403 or P0407.

The solution is to replace the EGR valve and EGR cooler.

Helpfully, this is covered in depth in your Haynes T5 2003-2015 manual or Autofix.

To check all the fluids in your T5, just watch our free video below.

Does the T4 Transporter have clutch problems?

Many examples of the T4 Transporter will have covered many kilometers. While the clutch in 1.9-litre diesel and 2.5-litre diesel is known to last up to 260,000km, you’re going to have to change it sooner or later.

Happily, this is a job that’s covered in full in the Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

Is the T5 known to have oil leaks?

It doesn’t matter whether your T5 is front or rear-wheel drive, or if it has a manual gearbox or a DSG, it can leak oil between the engine and gearbox.

The fault lies in poorly threaded holes for the six bolts that secure the flywheel.

Depending on vehicle you will need to remove the gearbox or remove the flywheel, clean up the bolts, and refit it with thread-locking compound on the bolts.

It sounds like an involved job, and yes it will take a few hours, but it’s fully covered by your Haynes Volkswagen Transporter T5 2003-2015 manual or Autofix.

Volkswagen T5 seats

Does the T4 Transporter have oil pressure problems?

The good news is that the T4 Transporter tends not to have oil pressure problems. However, the oil pressure-warning light has been known to flash when the engine is running.

The cause is not the engine, rather it is damaged alternator wiring near the alternator itself. A further clue that this is the problem lies in the fact that the battery charge warning light does not illuminate.

You can trace the wiring down near the alternator using the relevant alternator procedure in the Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

Does the T5 have fuel gauge problems?

Sometimes, the fuel gauge on the T5 2003-2015 can be slow to respond after you’ve filled up the fuel tank.

The issue lies with either a blown fuse or a faulty instrument cluster. First, check the relevant fuse. If it’s blown, replace it. If the instrument cluster is at fault, you’ll need to disconnect the battery and replace the cluster.

Again, this is a comparatively simple procedure that is explained in the Haynes Transporter T5 2003-2015 manual or Autofix.

VW Transporter T4

Does the VW Transporter T4 have oil cooler problems?

If you notice one day that the oil and coolant in your VW Transporter T4 are mixing at some point, the cause could well be a damaged oil cooler. It has thin fins which are easily damaged, and could require replacement.

It’s a comparatively easy job to replace the cooler, and it’s covered in full in your Haynes Transporter T4 1990-2003 manual or Autofix.

Does the T5 have exhaust problems?

There have been reports of the T5 2003 - 2015 suffering a problem that manifests itself through whistling noise from under the bonnet and a strong smell of exhaust fumes in the cabin.

A faulty exhaust manifold gasket is the source of the issue, but the repair is not a daunting one.

First, you’ll need to remove the engine undertray, then remove the turbocharger. At this point you’ll be able to replace the faulty gasket.

This fix is fully explained in the Haynes Transporter T5 2003-2015 manual or Autofix.