99 Passat Transmission Problems...I need help badly.
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  1. #1
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    99 Passat Transmission Problems...I need help badly.

    So, I got my 1999 B5 Passat 6cyl with tiptronic fall of 2009. Ever since I got it there have been minor issues...replaced airbag sensors, replaced headunit..little things.

    However, whenever I turned onto an inclined road, the trans would "jump" between 1st and 2nd. It felt like the car went from 1st to neutral, revved up to about 5k, then shifted to 2nd with a little jump... I just ignored this.

    Today while driving, my car just entirely started f'ing up. It would go from 1st to 2nd with the typical little jump on flat roads, then from 2nd to 3rd it did it again, but took a while to jump into 3rd. Same thing going into 4th, but even longer. THEN my little display on my dash went into what I believe is "limp mode" and the car would accelerate ridiculously slow until I got to about 45mph.

    After searching for what seemed liked forever and finding almost nothing, I'm praying to God that it's the ECU or wiring thing that supposedly rots out, and not a trashed transmission.

    Another little problem I've had it with my ABS. On dry roads every so ofter the ABS will gently kick in for a brief second...I don't understand this at all. I'm assuming that my ECU is on the fritz and needs to be replaced. Can anyone at all help me out before I take it in to my local VW dealership? I'm looking for any help I can get before I'm forced to cash out at the dealership...

    Finally, a less problematic dillema I'm currently facing; my interior lighting sometimes doesn't work. Sometimes it's perfect, others it has to be played with a little bit... Occassionally it doesn't work at all. At this point, I'm getting ready to sell this thing. I couldn't be more upset.

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  3. #2
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    If the transmission fluid has never been changed, it is long overdue. The fluid is not lifetime as VW implies. There are instructions on how to do it in the infobase and several places online like taligentx.

    ABS problem could be dirty wheel speed sensor or one that is not pushed in all the way.

    For your electrical problem start with a check for wet carpets under the dash. Lots of problems occur when the modules under the carpet get wet. Then check the usual suspects like fuses, battery cables, and grounds.

    And, no, you really don't want an ECU problem or a harness problem.

    Good luck!

  4. #3
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    answers in bold below
    Quote Originally Posted by ruhs1992 View Post
    So, I got my 1999 B5 Passat 6cyl with tiptronic fall of 2009. Ever since I got it there have been minor issues...replaced airbag sensors, replaced headunit..little things.

    However, whenever I turned onto an inclined road, the trans would "jump" between 1st and 2nd. It felt like the car went from 1st to neutral, revved up to about 5k, then shifted to 2nd with a little jump... I just ignored this.

    Today while driving, my car just entirely started f'ing up. It would go from 1st to 2nd with the typical little jump on flat roads, then from 2nd to 3rd it did it again, but took a while to jump into 3rd. Same thing going into 4th, but even longer. THEN my little display on my dash went into what I believe is "limp mode" and the car would accelerate ridiculously slow until I got to about 45mph.
    sounds like you are low on transmission fluid - the flares in RPM have been a clue in past Tiprtonic problems

    After searching for what seemed liked forever and finding almost nothing, I'm praying to God that it's the ECU or wiring thing that supposedly rots out, and not a trashed transmission.

    Another little problem I've had it with my ABS. On dry roads every so ofter the ABS will gently kick in for a brief second...I don't understand this at all. I'm assuming that my ECU is on the fritz and needs to be replaced. Can anyone at all help me out before I take it in to my local VW dealership? I'm looking for any help I can get before I'm forced to cash out at the dealership...
    chances are the ABS sensor faces need to be cleaned. pull them and wipe them off. it is a little easier to pull them if you remove the wheel first. start with the two fronts, and then take it for a test drive; if it continues, do the rears as well - they are more difficult to get to, in my opinion.

    Finally, a less problematic dillema I'm currently facing; my interior lighting sometimes doesn't work. Sometimes it's perfect, others it has to be played with a little bit... Occassionally it doesn't work at all. At this point, I'm getting ready to sell this thing. I couldn't be more upset.
    played with how? need more info

  5. #4
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    I'll get the fluids checked out and the abs cleaned up, thanks.

    When the lighting is switch on, as I press the button it will turn on... As soon as I let go of the switch the light will turn off even though the button is on.

    By the way, I just drove to a class and noticed that when it hits third, I believe it either skips to 4th or goes back to second. Also, once the dash goes to limp mode, the car doesn't seem to want to go back to first..

  6. #5
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    souds like or seems like jimbo1stgear gave you all yhe info u needed

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruhs1992 View Post
    When the lighting is switch on, as I press the button it will turn on... As soon as I let go of the switch the light will turn off even though the button is on.
    Could be a bad switch. You're talking about the main lights, right?

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruhs1992 View Post
    I'll get the fluids checked out and the abs cleaned up, thanks.

    When the lighting is switch on, as I press the button it will turn on... As soon as I let go of the switch the light will turn off even though the button is on.

    By the way, I just drove to a class and noticed that when it hits third, I believe it either skips to 4th or goes back to second. Also, once the dash goes to limp mode, the car doesn't seem to want to go back to first..
    Definitely check the trans fluid level. When you do so, make note of what it smells like. If it smells burnt (apparently it's absolutely horrid smelling so you'll know) then you have clutch pack/ torque converter problems. If not re-fill and see what happens. Alternately it may be a valve body issue or an electrical connection to the valve body.

    When it goes into limp mode the torque converter stays open and the trans internals go into direct 1:1 drive mode which is 4th gear. That's why it doesn't feel like it's shifting. Get the car scanned to see what, if any codes the trans is showing.

  9. #8
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    So I took the car in on Friday and gave them the weekend to check it out. I didn't gt the codes, but they told me that their scanner said we needed to replace the entire transmission... About $4500. That is way too expensive. Should I take it elsewhere and get a second oppinion?

    Does someone on this site live in the southwest Michigan area that could maybe take a look at it for me?

    If it is the transmission, then I'm just going to buy a new car and part out/ sell the one I have now. Can anyone help me out here? Don't have a lot to spend, maybe 5grand TOPS... depending on what I can get for my carnow.

  10. #9
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    That's what you'll pay for a new transmision if you want to go that route.

    I suggest you get a second opinion. I had my transmission fail at 62K miles/2 years ago, had it rebuilt by AAMCO for about $2100, been working fine since then despite a scare this year (turned out to be bad wires/plugs causing misfires and shaking, not the transmission's fault).

  11. #10
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    I certainly wouldn't be thinking a new transmission in an 11-year-old car. When I checked into it, I was told a used, guaranteed transmission would be about $1500 plus installation, and a local import transmission shop quoted $2500-3000 to rebuild mine, complete with installation.

    BTW, when I talked to the nearby AAMCO, they told me they didn't actually work on ZF's, they sent them out to another local shop. So your results may vary; but generally, people don't recommend AAMCO for VW transmissions.

  12. #11
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    Found a used trans with 77k miles on it from a different 99 passat automatic. It's through a local shop http://www.autosportsunlimited.com/ for $700. Supposedly has been tested by the shop...good deal?

  13. #12
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    What kind of warranty are they offering with that transmission?

  14. #13
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    I still recommend a fluid change first, then spending big bucks if you feel so inclined. Take it to a shop that knows how to do German cars and not the dealer. The dealer does not "do" transmissions (they don't repair them they replace them!) and they actually believe the fluid is good for lifetime.

  15. #14
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    Replace the fluid and filter first!..

    This is an inexpensive procedure to truly determine the health of the tranny. I have had vehicles (Volvo comes to mind!), when I thought the tranny was toast (slipping, hard shifting, etc.). Changed the filter and fluid and back to normal!

    Jet Wrench

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Wrench View Post
    This is an inexpensive procedure to truly determine the health of the tranny. I have had vehicles (Volvo comes to mind!), when I thought the tranny was toast (slipping, hard shifting, etc.). Changed the filter and fluid and back to normal!
    Mmmaybe... Have you done this on a Passat? A fill of the proper fluid is over $100 right out of the gate. If you use OEM parts, the fluid, filter, gaskets, ancillary seals and labor will be over $400. Given the symptoms described, IMHO this would be a waste. Sign on the wall at the transmission shop I use:

    "New fluid will not fix a broken transmission."

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts13 View Post
    "New fluid will not fix a broken transmission."
    Fluid problems can make a good transmission act broken. In fact, if no one's dropped the pan in over 10 years I say this is worth a shot instead of dropping thousands or giving up the car.

  18. #17
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    Regarding the fluids, I was reminded that we had them changed when we put new seals on the oil pump...$50 seals with a $1000 transmission drop...

    HOWEVER, we contacted Auto Sports Unlimited by phone today and talked to a guy named Kurt(or Kirk) about the problem. He chuckled and said it was probably the ECU wiring or something similar. We're driving out to the shop in Zealand tomorrow. I'll keep everyone updated.

    By the way, if it was actually transmission problems, would the car always remain in 4th or reverse only? My car can shift into first, second and third...It just doesn't choose to do so. Occasionally, it does hit one of those gears just fine though.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruhs1992 View Post
    HOWEVER, we contacted Auto Sports Unlimited by phone today and talked to a guy named Kurt(or Kirk) about the problem. He chuckled and said it was probably the ECU wiring or something similar. We're driving out to the shop in Zealand tomorrow. I'll keep everyone updated.
    Good Luck! And if you have it, remember to punch out the first guy that looked at the transmission. It's only right...

  20. #19
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    Good and bad news...

    Bad news: Ironically, the car did need a new transmission.

    Good news: Kurt from http://www.autosportsunlimited.com/ installed a trans with 70k and checked everything up for $1060. About 4k less than the dealership's estimate.

    Major props to http://www.autosportsunlimited.com/
    Literally a huge warehouse filled with everything you could imagine for any audi or vw. Located in Zeeland, Michigan.


  21. #20
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    wash that poor thing!!!

    glad u got er fixed.

  22. #21
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    1k Installed for a relatively low mile tranny is a great deal!

  23. #22
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    Glad to hear you got it taken care of!......

    You got a good deal for 1K, that could be the price of just the transmission elsewhere! Good luck with swap!

    Jet Wrench

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