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The 1.8t engine can and does sludge up if you dont do regular oil changes with synthetic oil, i hope it is just the sending unit, do a internet search.
its as easy as changing spark plugs, you can get the special socket from harbor freight for around $5 or get a loaner from advance or auto zone, the socket has a split in it so you can put it on (passing thru) the o2 sensor wire, you can spray the sensor with some pb blaster to aid removal, sometimes its best to tighten a little before undoing, it helps it break free. Its very easy, but on some cars access can be a little difficult, but by using extension bars etc it can be done. Ive done mine on the vw passat twice front and rear.
if you replace your intake gaskets (upper and lower) use the latest updated lower gasket that is aluminum, my mother in law had this done then gave us the car, within 3 years it had failed again, the repair shop had used the old style plastic lower gasket, so this time i did it and flushed all the dex cool (bad stuff)out of the engine and replaced with peak antifreeze,also replace the two plastic coolant elbows but get them from the dealer do not use the doorman ones from auto stores as the rubber o ring is slighty smaller and WILL fail within 4 months.
more than likely the cable has snapped to the hood release, a few people have had this problem go to www.passatworld.com and search the forums for your answer.....it can involve drilling into the hood
it could well be your idle air control valve an easy and cheap fix, also check for vacuum leaks
ignition coils, find a new shop. what codes are they getting?
more than likely the abs module, its a very very common problem www.passatworld.com has a thread on it lots and lots of people including me have had this. take it off and send it off to be fixed $100-$200 its a design flaw, buy a new one and you will have this problem again, so get it fixed and put some painters tape over the flashing lights, thats what ive done.
its a 18mm? plug on the side of the pan, do not open the hex plugs that is the transmission.
about $100-$200, you remove it and send it off, do some searching (module masters?) and you will find write ups