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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it’s that time of year we can start thinking about this again. Ol' man winter is going to get the better of our transmission fluid. So basically we all know the fluid does not agree well with cold weather becasue it tends to "gelling up" due to the viscosity changes. First gear to second seems to be the worst in my Minnesota mornings. There are mornings you will find me sitting on the side of the road at the end of my block due to the fact I can not get into second. So my question is this what can be done I would like to hear feedback on:
- Will changing to synthetic fluid decrease "gelling"?
- Would an oil pad heater keep the syncros warm and smooth? (such as http://www.padheaters.com/ )
-Are there any lubes you could use that would aid?
The goal of this posting is to come up with solutions that work not one after another complaint about something that is unfortunately a harsh reality to us northerners.
I look forward to the ideas.......
 

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Dude, where the heck do you live?
I've never heard of this issue with passats in the Cities
MT or AT?
Have you ever chnaged the fluid?
 

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just another thought, worn engine and tranny mounts are the usual causes to hard shifting. you might want to verify yours are in working order before jumping to changing the tranny fluid.
 

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i thought the stock OEM tranny fluid was full syntecic:hmmm:
Just like it's "lifelong" fluid too, eh? :poke: Just joking...

I am running Redline D4 and I'm getting some hard shifts (Tip) cause of the cold too....so unless my tranny is jacked up, regardless of fluid, you'll still get occassional hard shifts. Not sure if this will help as you have a MT, but thought I'd throw it in the ring
 

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Do have trouble shifting into other gears besides 2nd? From what I've read on this board and experienced myself, shifting into 2nd is difficult in cold temperatures for just about everyone. I find if I give it a little more time between the shift I can get it into second. Sometimes though I just skip 2nd and go right to third if the road conditions are right.
 

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Shifing up or down to second is hard for me on cold mornings too... Every other gear is fine... I was also wondering if Redline would help....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It seems to be just 1st and 2nd gear. It does get better if you let the car warm up a bit. I have not tried to go right to 3rd, but it seems like that would work.
 

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sorry to say but you are all most likely wrong. I had the exact same problem and the diagnosis after tearing down the transmission, synchros and synchro sleeves are warn due to driver abuse. (i bought my car used and it started first winter).

Your synchros are warn when the oil is thick they have trouble grabbing and then you get hard shifting, when it becomes worse it will make grinding noises. The only way to alleviate the problem is to do what I did and give your car to a shop that will tear it down and replace the synchros and sleeves. You will most likeyl need new synchro 1, 2 and synchro sleeve for 1 and 2.

Trust me this is the reason it is shifting hard, i thought about it and tried changing fluids and different ideas for a year and went to many different garages and tranny shops. In the end i decided to get it done and after I got the car back no more hard shifting or occasional second gear slight grind.

BTW the factory fluid is not synthetic it is MINERAL BASED, just like it says in their computer when you order replacement fluid. And that is the correct fluid for the manual trannies.

:Yikes: but i went through this for almost 2 years until i had it fixed and the car is so much better now.
 

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sorry to say but you are all most likely wrong. I had the exact same problem and the diagnosis after tearing down the transmission, synchros and synchro sleeves are warn due to driver abuse. (i bought my car used and it started first winter).

Your synchros are warn when the oil is thick they have trouble grabbing and then you get hard shifting, when it becomes worse it will make grinding noises. The only way to alleviate the problem is to do what I did and give your car to a shop that will tear it down and replace the synchros and sleeves. You will most likeyl need new synchro 1, 2 and synchro sleeve for 1 and 2.

Trust me this is the reason it is shifting hard, i thought about it and tried changing fluids and different ideas for a year and went to many different garages and tranny shops. In the end i decided to get it done and after I got the car back no more hard shifting or occasional second gear slight grind.
Each car is different so some may be correct in their own situations and circumstances.

I changed out my gear oil in 2005 when I replaced my clutch. I ended up using Penzoil full synthetic gear oil available at a local Audi dealership. After that change, my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear shifts (when in the deep freeze of a Minnesota winter) were much worse than a week before in the same temperatures. In other words shifting became much worse after changing gear oil.

My syncros are fine. I know this because I have owned the car since it was new, and I don't "slam" shift it ever. I also tend to not use the clutch by match rev shifting in most cases. I only really use the clutch when performance driving, or during starts and stops. I don't really even get close to pushing the synchromesh limits even when I am driving hard in the Passat.

I still need to change out my gear oil with a better Synthetic (Red Line or Silkolene). Hopefully then I will gain back my smooth shifts, and have less of a hard gear change during the really cold mornings!
 

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Both of my new VWs (03 Jetta GLI VR6 6-Speed & current 05 Passat 1.8T 4MO 5MT) were bought new, never abused, and both had balky shifting in the cold weather until the car warmed up...........

The Passat is better than the Jetta was, but on a cold morning, the 1-2 shift is still balky until the car warms up. A double-clutch going into 2nd normally cures the problem........

Ben
 

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"I also tend to not use the clutch by match rev shifting in most cases. I only really use the clutch when performance driving, or during starts and stops. I don't really even get close to pushing the synchromesh limits even when I am driving hard in the Passat."

Isn't this worse on the synchros than if you had used the clutch?
When the clutch is disengaged, the synchros can change the speed of the input shaft quickly. When you don't use the clutch, even if you are a couple hundred rpms off, you are asking the synchros to work against an input shaft that is locked to the engine.
 

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Isn't this worse on the synchros than if you had used the clutch?
When the clutch is disengaged, the synchros can change the speed of the input shaft quickly. When you don't use the clutch, even if you are a couple hundred rpms off, you are asking the synchros to work against an input shaft that is locked to the engine.

Nope, not if you are patient.

The key is to wait until the speeds are approximately equal. The car will tell you when that is the case, and after you get the hang of it, you will know exactly the correct sound / feel before you even attempt to move the lever.

It may be harder on the synchro the first couple of times you do it when you learn any given car / truck, but when you do it correctly, the synchro will not have to do much at all when you learn the proper RPM drop, and feel.

You can tell when the synchro is working hard when you hear the "weeeeeerrrrrrrrCLICK" (Totally non technical :( ) sound when going into gear.
 

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Nope, not if you are patient.

The key is to wait until the speeds are approximately equal. The car will tell you when that is the case, and after you get the hang of it, you will know exactly the correct sound / feel before you even attempt to move the lever.

It may be harder on the synchro the first couple of times you do it when you learn any given car / truck, but when you do it correctly, the synchro will not have to do much at all when you learn the proper RPM drop, and feel.

You can tell when the synchro is working hard when you hear the "weeeeeerrrrrrrrCLICK" (Totally non technical :( ) sound when going into gear.

shifting without using the clutch and rev matching the gears is so bad for teh synchros according to many tranny shops and a vw specialist shop. Although i had one of them tell me it is possible but very bad for synchros and said to ALWAYS push clutch to floor.

Your synchros are still a problem i think, not the gear oil. What I have learned from these garages is that a lighter gear oil will let the synchro bite easier and shift smoother in the cold. The synchros have grooves on the inside that get warn down and unable to slow down the shaft fast enough, but they are better whenever the oil is warmer adn thinner, hence the change to different gear oil can hide the problem but will not solve. So yes gear oil can change it however fucked synchros that are slighly warn will work pretty good once you find the right oil.

Basically : i spent so much time and got so many opinions and had my car driven by countless professionals who almost all came to the same conclusion for my hard shifting, notchy shifting when cold problem. Synchros warn.

The problem was very minor, I mean i drove all summer without any problems and during teh winter it was only the first few mins and it wasnt that bad, but I wanted perfection. Could not live with sometimes have problems

Main thing I learned is to never Power shift, what you described up there, matchig the revs and letting the gear slide in without using the clutch, and to never shift with half clutch, sure it will go in easy, but you will cause damange over time to snychros and one tranny shop said even the shift fork can get damaged.

I am trying to help fellow passat owners after being tormented by thsi problem for so long. Please do not advocate ideas of shiftining without a clutch that industry professionals have awknowledged is very bad to other people. I dont want other people to go through teh same problem I had. It is not only very expensive to fix but also bothers you every time the car wont shift properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So if there is a gear oil that will decrease the likelihood of experiencing hard shifts, what would it be. Has anyone had good results from a specific oil? And roughly what is the coldest you have experienced these oils performing well?
 

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hey it may not be synchros, but from what i went through and how much i learned from these different mechanics and transmission specialists is that this all sounds like a synchro problem, just want people to have another possibility if this problem is driving htem insane. Since at the beginning I thought it could be a million different things. Some people said fluid, some said transmission or engine mounts, some said shifter unaligned, shift linkage messed up, fluid low, and synchros or something else internal to transmission.

However it was synchros and synchro sleeves in teh end. for the 1-2 shift problem that is about a $1500USD repair job.

Lighter fluids will help it shift in cold. One shop put ATF in my car to try out for 3 days and it was noticably better in cold, but you shouldnt run ATF permanently.
 

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I also have owned my '03 1.8t since it was new and I purchased it right before going into a MN winter. The first winter it had the hard 2nd gear shift and every winter after too. I had it into the dealer a couple of times to have them look at it and they said this was normal for these cars. I have never abused the synchros on my car, so I know the problem isn't that (at least for me). I'm just a little more patient with the car in the winter when the car is cold and have gotten used to this "feature" of the car.
 
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