It's over. She's gone. What to do with the remains?

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Thread: It's over. She's gone. What to do with the remains?

  1. #1
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    Question It's over. She's gone. What to do with the remains?

    All,
    My 2003 V6 Passat Wagon may have reached the end of the road. At 180,000 miles the transmission has developed a very hard downshift from 3rd to 2nd. I've maintained this car myself for 15 years and know it well. My research suggests it needs a new valve body, but it could be a number of things. A new valve body will be around 1000 if I do it myself. I took it to the dealer for an state inspection and they wanted to throw a whole new transmission in for 7 grand. I'm not doing that. The engine runs great. The car looks good inside and out. She's been loved. But now it's time to say goodbye. I really don't want to take it to the junk yard. I thought I might give it to a charity, but they would have to fix the problem too.

    So what do I do with it? It seems a real shame to trash the whole thing because a solenoid is probably bad. I wish I had the time to devote to fixing it, but I'm just too busy with other stuff.

    My wife really loved this car and doesn't want to replace it. But, we looked at an Alltrack and she liked it, so I think that's what' we'll get. It's almost identical in size to the Passat, but a bit under powered. I may put a tune on it to fix that.


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  3. #2
    in dire need of an organic chemistry lesson
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    Shop around locally and get several quotes. See how much shops would charge to change the valve body (labor only since you provide the part). Once you have all the numbers on the table then you'll have a more clear picture whether it's worth it. Say for instance they would charge $500 for the labor. Then with $1500 you have again a running car. With $1500 cash you won't be able to buy a reliable or comparable car of any brand that would't need lot of parts and repairs. Again, get the numbers and go from there.

  4. #3
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    I've done the math. I'm confident that if I could accurately diagnose the source of the problem that I could fix it myself. If I knew that 1500 would fix it for sure, I would do that in a heartbeat. I've talked to a couple of independent VW mechanics and both told me that it could be a few different things (ecu, solenoid, valve body, mounts, etc., etc.) or a combination of things. I would have a spend a few hundred just to accurately diagnose it, and then it might be a few thousand to fix (worst case). The other factor is my time. I have become very busy lately with work and just can't spend the time to work on it. After 15 years, I'm ready to say goodbye. It's not just about the money. That said, it seems a shame to junk it. I'm just looking for a way to put it to good use if I can without spending more on it.

    If someone knows a magical way to diagnose it for sure without throwing parts at it, I'm all ears. I feel confident I can do any technical task that will help confirm the problem.

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  6. #4
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    can you go to a "pull a part" and get a valve body ,They are easy to remove and replace ,just requires pulling the pan
    Iowegian likes this.

  7. #5
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    I'm with cchief22. A valve body would probably be about $50 at the junkyard (very rough guess...) and it's a simple job to replace. Just make sure to get one from a similar car (V6 vs 1.8t and model year). It would probably take a day of your time but if it works you're done and if not, you know it's a bigger problem and the car needs significant work.

    Is it only 3->2 that is hard? Does it do in tiptronic mode also? I don't remember all the details about these transmissions but someone may know the likely cause. In any case, it sounds like you will need to pull the valve body at the minimum to fix it.

    Or you could put an up in the local CL that describes the problem as you did here and let someone else take the time to swap valve bodies and take their chances...

  8. #6
    in dire need of an organic chemistry lesson
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    Also, indicate whether the tranny has proper level ATF in it. Usually low ATF level causes a 2nd gear kick or hard shift (my observation).

  9. #7
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    I have considered the pull-a-part option. I could do that, but who know's if I'm getting a working valve body. That could be why the car is in the yard to begin with. I'm told this is a common failure of this model. Is there a way to determine if it's good or not without installing it? The hard shift is only from 3>2 and it does it in tiptronic mode as well.

    I don't mind spending 1000 buck on a valve body, but I don't want to do that and then find out the problem was something else.

    Putting on Craigslist is not a bad idea. No harm in that.

    I checked the ATF level it's fine. I thought about replacing with redline ATF, just to see if it helped at all.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackhole View Post
    I have considered the pull-a-part option. I could do that, but who know's if I'm getting a working valve body. That could be why the car is in the yard to begin with.
    That's always an issue with used parts but if you find one that was obviously crashed you'd probably increase the odds of a working trans. I may be spoiled since there are usually 10-20 B5.5's in the local yards so I have a pretty good selection of parts when I need to replace something.

    And if you do go this route, bring a battery powered driver and a good T27 bit. There are a ton of screws on the pan and it sure helps speed up the process if you have a powered tool.

  11. #9
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    Fair point. I didn't think about the crash angle. That may help. My pull-a-part has 8 or so passats and a few audi's that might have the same transmission. I'll think on that some more and see what they have.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowegian View Post
    And if you do go this route, bring a battery powered driver and a good T27 bit. There are a ton of screws on the pan and it sure helps speed up the process if you have a powered tool.
    But make sure you don't strip the bolts like what I did. I was never able to drop the pan again.

  13. #11
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    Have you pulled the TCM codes? If it were me, I'd also ask a transmission shop with 5HP19 experience what their opinion is. Fortunately I know a trustworthy one, but that's perhaps not common.

    There are two solenoids that change state for 2-3 and 3-2 shifts, both turning On for the downshift. If one is sticky, maybe a transmission fluid change would be worth it, and while you're at it, clean the MAF sensor with MAF cleaner spray. I use Valvoline Maxlife ATF, so if you try a fluid change, that's what I'd recommend.
    cchief22 likes this.

  14. #12
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    the body is probably primo to (comment from the rust belt) ,I sorta read fast so might have missed it ,have you done tranny filter and fluid recently? also the solenoids are pretty easy to change out and they are all interchangable I believe, man it's worth a shot

  15. #13
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    I second the Valvoline Maxlife ATF. I've had this issue for the last 80,000. At first I replaced the snub mount, motor mounts and trans mounts which helped, but the Maxlife made it so I could live with the issue. I'm at 215,000 miles now and am sure I can make it to 300,000. It helps to have a garage because the car still looks great.

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitty40 View Post
    I second the Valvoline Maxlife ATF.
    I have a mixed feeling/experience with MaxLife. When I filled the tranny several years ago with it the transmission never was the same. I started getting sluggish shifting and maybe some mild slipping too. I am a firm proponent of using VW genuine ATF. Yes it woll cost more but it's worth it every single penny. Learned hard lesson the hard way.

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emry View Post
    I have a mixed feeling/experience with MaxLife.
    I think that something else, coincidentally, was going on with your trans, because MaxLife has worked perfectly in three different 5HP19 transmissions in our family cars.
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  18. #16
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    I would get the trans scanned 1st. It could be as simple as a bad solonoid but they are pretty robust in that it is kinda rare they go out.

    It could be a faulty TCM, the wiring or internal mechanical issues.

    I had to take mine to 3 different transmission shops before the last one found I had a short in the wiring which in turn shorted 2 solenoid's and the TCM. Other shops wanted to toss another trans in it for around 5k IIRC. Out the door at the last place it was like $
    1700

  19. #17
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    I would take it to these guys and, if they don’t take a fright to a (gasp) ZF tranny, ask for a diagnosis. You can say flat out that you don’t want the tranny pulled, and you don’t think it’s worth a full rebuild.

    Friendly Transmission Service Inc - Transmission repairs High Point, NC

  20. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ylwagon View Post
    I think that something else, coincidentally, was going on with your trans, because MaxLife has worked perfectly in three different 5HP19 transmissions in our family cars.
    There is a mixed signal about MaxLife in many online VW forums. I've read lot of them. Many people are happy with it and many have reported transmission slippage and other issues using it.
    All I know is that as long as the original VW ATF was in my tranny it used to shift very smooth like a velvet. After draining and refilling twice with MaxLife the shifting got sluggish. Whether this was due to MaxLife usage I cannot say for certain but I didn't do anything else to it. MaxLife claims that it can be used for multiple cars and models. This is a bit hard for me to believe as ZF trans is very picky with the ATF viscosity at different temps. It's not like it won't work but whether it works according to ZF spec is another question. Given the age of my car I'm not gonna change the ATF to OEM which is perhaps not worth trying. But I wish I had gone with the original fluid then. I understand perfectly that others may have a different experience.
    Last edited by Emry; 06-25-2019 at 06:14 AM. Reason: typos

  21. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ylwagon View Post
    Have you pulled the TCM codes? If it were me, I'd also ask a transmission shop with 5HP19 experience what their opinion is. Fortunately I know a trustworthy one, but that's perhaps not common.

    There are two solenoids that change state for 2-3 and 3-2 shifts, both turning On for the downshift. If one is sticky, maybe a transmission fluid change would be worth it, and while you're at it, clean the MAF sensor with MAF cleaner spray. I use Valvoline Maxlife ATF, so if you try a fluid change, that's what I'd recommend.
    Glad someone mentioned MAF. That is responsible for a lot of harsh downshifts, it seems.


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  22. #20
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    The B5/5.5 Passat wagon is simply the best-sized, best-configured car ever sold in the US, but you already knew that.

    What is the maintenance history on your transmission? A full pan drop with filter and fluid change every 60K miles or so is good insurance.
    cchief22 likes this.

  23. #21
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    I've been where you are. Did all the supposedly "simple" steps.

    N91 Solenoid was the fix. Super easy. Honestly... Super, super easy.

    Put a new trans filter in and use Pentosin fluid when you do it. You'll have about $300 in it for the solenoid, fluid and filter, and about 2 hours of time. You can do it! Keep her on the road :-)

    Here's my post in the trans hard downshift thread you can refer to: https://www.passatworld.com/forums/b...ml#post4504125
    ylwagon and John_E like this.

  24. #22
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    I Just had my done by https://zftranspart.pinnaclecart.com/index.php?p=home. by Eriksson Industries , Nad or Nora did it just under 600 with shipping, they do good work
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  25. #23
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    Tangential to the main topic at hand, harsh 1-2 shifts and 2nd gear stumbles motivated us to dump the 2005 Camry. For these transmissions, it is evidently a sign of impending doom.

  26. #24
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    I dealt with something very similar to this in the past. Try unplugging mass air flow sensor and go for a drive. I had a 1.8 wagon that ran great. One day it started shifting extremely harsh. It literally felt like you hit a giant pothole. I thought trans was cooked. Then one day I unplugged it doing something and forgot to plug it back in and it shifted smooth. Once I realized I left it unplugged I plugged it back in and it was right back to the harsh shifts. I pulled used sensor off another car and all was great. Try it you have nothing to lose. Mind you I had no codes and it ran great.
    VAGguy likes this.

  27. #25
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    Let me know if it helps at all.

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    I

  29. #27
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    I would look at the tyranny the code is on the bottom small aluminum shield get code and model , if you go to pick and pull look for the same code pull the valve body cost 50-100 with the solenoid pack, send to Eriksson Ind. (Wentworth Engr) talk to Nad is highly recommended by ZF In Chicago, I have my valve done cost 450 plus fright charges, Look on U-Tube has great video's on how change out valve body's, Or take the one out of your car and that off, they take a week to overhaul them send it back to you.

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