Jetta GLI Manual Tranny Question/Reverse Problems

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by TimothyCaseTimothy, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    Maybe a basic mechanical question, but what the heck...

    I have a 2003 Jetta GLI 6 speed that I bought from a gent on this forum a few months ago...seems like intermittently the car does not like to shift into reverse, especially on chilly mornings or after the car has been sitting for a while...

    I just figured out a workaround of sorts...if I shift into first and give the motor a bit of gas and then shift into reverse while the motor is coming down in RPMs (from like 3-4k) it'll shift into reverse no problem...

    Any tips on what to look at or for, common issues, etc.? Tranny fluid looks good, shifts very smooth after driving for a bit, the rest seems to be smooth as silk...

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!

    Tim
    #1
  2. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    Doe the clutch seem to engage close to the floor? The clutch slave or master cylinder could be failing. Check the fluid level.
    #2
  3. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    Clutch seems like it's traveling normal (down and up)...
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  4. Big Bird 928

    Big Bird 928 Long timer

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    When was the last time the trans oil was changed? almost sounds like it is gumming up if the clutch is working right.
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  5. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    #5
  6. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    I took it in for an oil change and they said the level was normal and it uses 60 weight, which I guess is common for many cars...
    #6
  7. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    I've been wrenching on VWs for a bit ( since 1974 ).

    As I indicated in my previous post, I suggest that your reverse selection problem
    will be solved by the shift cable adjustment, assuming the adjustment is done
    correctly.


    However it IS also a good idea to change the transmission gear oil. By far the best
    stuff to use is the stuff VW sells. I've tried every gear oil you can name and all the
    others just don't work as well as the VW "G50" or "G52" stuff. If shifts better when
    warm and when cold. It's expensive and it is worth every penny.


    The VW parts man will know which gear oil you need if you tell him the year and
    model of your car. The stuff costs over $30 per liter but it IS the best. Pay the money
    and enjoy the way the transmission shifts. The VW stuff is 100% synthetic and has
    a viscosity which lies between Redline MT90 and Redline MTL. But the synchronizers
    work a lot better with the VW gear oil than with Redline or other brands.


    .
    #7
  8. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    The correct spec for the gear oil in your car is 75W90 GL4.

    It is important to make sure gear oil which meets GL5 spec is NOT used.


    Your transmission does NOT use 60 weight. No watercooled VW with a manual transmission
    has ever used 60 weight gear oil. If that shop added the wrong oil to your transmission
    you need to change the gear oil ASAP.


    Lighter or heavier oil will cause poor shifting. Do yourself a favor and buy the
    Bentley manual for the car so you can increase your knowledge, and also find a
    mechanic who knows VW / Audi cars. Taking VWs to any old garage is often a path
    toward the car's useful life being shortened. It is false economy to allow people who
    are not expert on VWs to work on your car.


    .
    #8
  9. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    Roger. Any mechanical idea why it would shift into reverse easier while coming down from RPM's in/from first?
    #9
  10. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    If the above problems were happening shifting into *all* gears would be difficult
    because the clutch would not be releasing fully and thus synchronization
    of the speeds of the gears in the transmission would be adversely affected,
    and gears would tend to "grind" when shifting. The OP did not mention any such
    symptoms so I have to assume he really is only having problems shifting into
    reverse.


    The symptom of reverse being the only gear which is difficult to select points to
    a linkage adjustment problem as the most likely cause of poor shifting.




    .
    #10
  11. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    In the morning (cold lately), all of the gears are tough, but are good once down the road a bit and then are very smooth...normal on a cold day?
    #11
  12. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    There may be a bit of slop relative to a shift fork inside the transmission which
    is allowing you to shift more easily into reverse by shifting into first gear beforehand.
    The stuff I am talking about is all INSIDE the transmission case and you cannot access
    it without disassembling the transmission. Your trick of shifting into first is probably moving
    a shift fork just a bit and this is compensating for the shift cables being maladjusted.



    The important thing is to get the shift cables adjusted correctly so the transmission
    is not being asked to do something which it was not designed to do. I suggest you
    watch the video I posted the link for and read the post I linked to and adjust the
    cables. If you lack the tools or don't feel comfortable adjusting it yourself, find
    a good independent VW shop and pay them to do it. They should not charge more
    than .5 hour labor for this job and I suggest you make sure they are willing to
    do the adjustment for such a price so you don't get overcharged.



    I think if you watch the video and read that post you should be able to do it
    yourself, even if you are not "mechanically inclined". Do the adjustment with the car
    parked where it doesn't have to be moved suddenly so you have time for trial and error.
    I say this because if you go too far in the wrong direction you may find you won't be able
    to shift into fifth or sixth gear. The idea is that when the adjustment of the cables is
    correct all the gears can be selected easily. By the way unless you "force" the shifter
    to go into a gear you cannot do any damage by a trial-and-errror process of adjustment.
    If the transmission won't shift easily into a gear, DO NOT force it and shut the engine
    off and tweak the cable adjustment again and then start the engine and try to shift again.


    It is essential to have the engine running when you test the shifting.


    Good luck, and let us know how it goes.



    .
    #12
  13. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    If you are in Denver as your info indicates, yes it is 100% normal for the shifting to
    be stiff on a cold morning. When I say cold I mean when it is below 35 degrees F.

    It is also normal for the shifting to become easier and smoother once the engine
    and transmission are warmed up. From what I read this is what your car is doing,
    so I doubt your transmission has internal problems.


    If it is much colder than 35 degrees, then the car will probably shift stiffly for the
    first 20 minutes you drive ( assuming you began your drive with a dead-cold engine ).


    Parking the car in a heated garage will help the car shift better from a cold start,
    but most of us don't have such luxuries ( I sure don't ).


    If all the gears other than reverse shift well once your car is warmed up,
    the shifting problem is more than likely due to the shift cables being mis-adjusted.


    .
    #13
  14. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    Thanks all...I really appreciate it...keep the suggestions coming and I'll report back on Tuesday after my mechanic appointment...currently parked nose out. :rofl
    #14
  15. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    I hope the shop you are going to take your car to has a tech who has experience
    adjusting VW / Audi shift cables. It's not rocket science but someone who has done
    it before will know exactly what to do and that's always better than someone starting
    from zero knowledge.


    .
    #15
  16. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    It's an Audi/VW mechanic and shop that's done work on my Allroad...
    #16
  17. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    I would tend to think shift cables too, but just for the hell of it:

    Start the car, hold the clutch to the floor and shift between all the gears, including reverse. Keep holding the clutch to the floor and shifting for a minute or two. Is it getting harder to engage each gear? That'll tell you if you've got a leaky slave or master cylinder...
    #17
  18. TimothyCaseTimothy

    TimothyCaseTimothy Been here awhile

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    It doesn't do that for sure...
    #18
  19. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    My garaged 08 GTI is a little balky into reverse occasionally as well. I put it in 1st gear and rock it forward a couple inches, and then its fine.
    #19
  20. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

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    +1

    Put your foot under the clutch pedal and see if you can move it back toward you... Does it move to a higher point and remain there??
    #20