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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2003 Passat AWD 4motion with 163,XXX miles on it that has been an overall great car for many years now. I just had lots of work done on it hoping to keep it running for years to come, but am now experiencing some issues with the transmission :/

Just recently, among other work, I had the transmission fluid and filter changed. The mechanic who did the work drove the car and noticed a slight "clunking" noise as the car downshifted into 2nd or 1st gear, but couldn't pinpoint it and wasn't an "expert" on these transmissions.

I had never noticed the clunking before, but probably because I wasn't aware of it... Now I hear it almost everytime I come to a stop, unless I'm super conscious about my breaking and "ease" the shifting.

Also before I had work done on it I had almost never noticed the transmission "slipping" - and now I think I am experiencing that. Sometimes when the car is cold and I turn it on and put it into gear it "jumps" into first gear and "stutters" into reverse. Also, when I'm driving around 30-40 miles an hour I will let off the gas, and as I slowly put my foot onto the petal it definitely seems to "slip" and I have to push down harder on the petal to get it to stop slipping. At that point it catches and works normally. *sigh* ... I usually baby my car but it seems like if I am a little harder on the gas petal the transmission doesn't seem to "slip and stutter" as easily... But it has become a regular thing that this point and it scares me.

Sooo I guess my question is, is it only a matter of time at this point? I thought about putting some Lucas Transmission Stabilizer in it, but I know that's only a temporary fix. Would it help me make it through the winter here in CO?

Or should I quit while I am ahead and use all the work I recently got done on it to sell it? I was hoping to make the car last but I don't know if I am willing to invest in a new transmission at this point..

Please, any advice, comments, questions... I am at a loss for words right now and am in need of some advice.
 

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Did it start acting after the fluid change? Is the mechanic one that is familiar with German cars in this case Passat? Not many mechanic shops can handle German cars. Was it the first fluid change? What type of fluid/ filter did he use? I would first check the fluid level. That downshift clunking I had was gone after I changed the fluid with Pentosin atf and Meyle filter.
 

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Never use anything in the trans to help fix an issue. It usually will make it worse.

If the mechanic that did the work is unfamiliar with these cars I would get it to a mechanic that knows VW's. There may not be enough trans fluid or might be the wrong kind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Never use anything in the trans to help fix an issue. It usually will make it worse.

If the mechanic that did the work is unfamiliar with these cars I would get it to a mechanic that knows VW's. There may not be enough trans fluid or might be the wrong kind.
The mechanic is familiar with VW's, he works on them and restores them. The fluid is at the max line, ive checked.. He used Castrol Transmax All Foreign. the only thing I can picture is maybe its the wrong fluid, OR maybe its past the 150,000 mark when these trannys are known to begin failing?
 

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The symptoms that you describe can be from low fluid - I know because I had a "German car expert" do a fluid change once, and he did it wrong despite being told by me just how to do it. But how do you know the fluid is "at the max line"? There is no max line to look at, so I'm doubtful that it is correct. But don't, don't push the gas when the trans slips, attempting to get it to go. This will only lead to real internal damage.
 

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Swap an 01E into it, and drive it manual....:) I know that's not what you're looking for....it won't hurt to put the right fluid into it, even though your guy told you otherwise. I can empathize with you about needing things squared up, because as they say, "winter is coming." I'm in a similar situation (not the transmission) trying to make sure everything is squared away for Utah winter in the Wasatch. We had so much snow last winter that the snowblower couldn't throw it high enough.....we also had a moose die in our backyard from the harsh conditions....NOT a good time to have your car take a break....

Anyway, my 2 cents...keep it. But that depends on how much you love the car. You probably won't find anything like it for even close to the price of fixing it, and it's a GREAT all season car.
 

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Was this your first transmission fluid change? You should have had at least one, preferably two, previously.

When I bought the 1996 A4 quattro (66K miles, 9 years old), I had a full pan drop and fluid and filter change done. I had a drain-and-fill done three years ago at a good local VW/Audi indy shop and subsequently experienced slippage. I brought it back for a full drain-and-fill, and it has been working like a champ ever since. The two brothers who run the shop told me they were very careful to fill it precisely according to instructions (temperature, drip rate, etc.).

If you are lucky, you are currently either underfilled or have new fluid contaminated with leftover residue, in which case another full pan drop may sort things out for you. When properly cared for and not abused, these are very good transmissions.
 

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Sounds like the ATF level is low, it must be checked with the car level, engine running, and the ATF at about 35 to 45 degrees C.

The wrong ATF could also be the cause. I suggest you drop the pan, drain and re-fill with a suitable ATF.
You might need to do this 2 or 3 times to get enough of the wrong ATF out.
Follow the instructions in the link posted by VAGguy in post #6.

You should avoid driving it until this has been corrected.


Similar issue:
http://www.passatworld.com/forums/volkswagen-passat-b5-discussion/537793-weighing-my-options-please-help-2.html
 
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