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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I had trouble with my 2002 Passat Wagon (1.8T) slipping between 2-3. I took it to a transmission shop and they said the clutch is starting to go, but after I used the Blauparts kit to change my transmission fluid I'm done with that particular shop. Just sloppy work, so zero trust.

OK - so after the transmission fluid change the car is shifting MUCH better. I'm still getting a bit of a surge from 2-3, but all the other gears are super smooth. I may try another drain/fill with Ravenol to see if that helps. The fluid that was in there - replaced by the shop about a year ago - looked dark and awful.

My question to the group is whether I can drive a certain way to get the most life out of the transmission. By design the shifting is super fast, like up to 4th gear when I'm still under 40 mph. Assume this is to help with gas mileage. I find that if I use the TIP and let the RPMs get higher in 2nd, then shift to 3rd, it seems easier on the transmission. No idea if this is true. I ride bikes a lot and wonder if it compares to shifting in that the torque needed for fast shifting into higher gears is a lot - shift fast and you have to put a lot more force into pedaling.

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated!

Graham
 

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I can't give any kind of scientific or proven methods of driving but...
My wife's GLX V6 surges a bit too. Like you, when light on the throttle its already in 4th gear by the time I'm at 40-45 mph. Getting on the breezeway when I'm standing on the gas pedal it'll run up to 4500 rpm's easily before it shift's.
Off the top of my head I can't remember mileage on that car (144k-ish miles) and it still has the original oil fill from the factory. The transmission pan has never been removed on that car.

I gotta say it.
Just make sure you're aware of the PROPER transmission oil fill procedure for this car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks much for the fast response, and 100% agree on the procedure. That is why I'm bitter about the shop. I did it totally by the book, all the way down to monitoring the transmission fluid temp, and I ended up replacing ALL the pan bolts because over half of them were so rusty no one could ever tighten them down to the same torque. I started doing that with the original Torx and many of them kept stripping, so I just replaced them all. Hence my suspicion list for the shop:
  • Not sure if a high-quality fluid like Ravenol was used
  • No insight into how they filled - could have been low
  • Gasket was a rubber one (guessing that is fine but who knows)
  • Torx were in awful shape and none were replaced, so no way they could have tightened them consistently
  • Had to return due to some drips and they put sealant in with the gasket
  • Drain plug was missing an o-ring
  • Plastic top cap for the hose direction was missing from the pan
For a while I debated going in on the extra stuff for this (another set of jack stands, pump, etc.) but I'm glad I did. Like so many other things I now know exactly what is going on, and I can check/replace the fluid in the future. Preaching to the choir in this forum I know. Somehow always worth the money to learn and have control over maintenance where it makes sense.

Graham
 

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My guesses ....
the fluid was dark because there is burnt clutch material in it
the surge between 2-3 is because the clutch is slow to engage and the ECM/TCM rev-up while the clutch(s) are still slipping

so the way to get the most life out the trans is to

make sure the fluid is full and of high quality
minimize the amount of slippage on the 2-3 shifts by using TIP mode and trying the feather the throttle appropriately, knowing that those shifts are compromised
and if 2-3 shifts are slipping all the clutches may be worn so driving the car gently can't hurt

Of course, at some point the clutches will just slip due to normal torque and then it's time for new trans but that day could be a long way off.
 

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Thanks much for the fast response, and 100% agree on the procedure. That is why I'm bitter about the shop. I did it totally by the book, all the way down to monitoring the transmission fluid temp, and I ended up replacing ALL the pan bolts because over half of them were so rusty no one could ever tighten them down to the same torque. I started doing that with the original Torx and many of them kept stripping, so I just replaced them all. Hence my suspicion list for the shop:
  • Not sure if a high-quality fluid like Ravenol was used
  • No insight into how they filled - could have been low
  • Gasket was a rubber one (guessing that is fine but who knows)
  • Torx were in awful shape and none were replaced, so no way they could have tightened them consistently
  • Had to return due to some drips and they put sealant in with the gasket
  • Drain plug was missing an o-ring
  • Plastic top cap for the hose direction was missing from the pan
For a while I debated going in on the extra stuff for this (another set of jack stands, pump, etc.) but I'm glad I did. Like so many other things I now know exactly what is going on, and I can check/replace the fluid in the future. Preaching to the choir in this forum I know. Somehow always worth the money to learn and have control over maintenance where it makes sense.

Graham
Changing the fluid again might be bad.
The debris in the fluid can help to bind the clutches inside the transmission together as it ages.
The pump might also be weak and not locking the clutches together fully.
Drive it until it gets worse, might be years, and then consider having that transmission remanufactured or rebuilt by a reputable transmission shop that is familiar with these ZF transmissions. A good low mileage used one is an option too and I have seen them as low as $400 plus shipping. Then find a good shop that can install it, flush the cooler, and test it for maybe $600-800 plus parts unless you can install. ;)
 

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For ATF, all that I use is Valvoline MaxLife synthetic, available at Wal Mart for instance in gallon jugs.

A slow 2-3 shift is either going to be hydraulic-related (restriction at the solenoid valve or elsewhere in that circuit) or worn-out clutch plates. My daughter had a Jetta that flaired during some shifts, and I finally had a trans shop rebuild it. His conclusion: "the clutches were just worn-out".

You say that you used a Blau kit. I assume that means the filter was changed too?
 
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