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I was thinking of fixing. It was a private party sale, from further reading, I am not so sure that all applies unless I prove fraud.
It's not bad yet, just some noticeably firm shifts, and seems the valve body would be the most likely culprit.
I am asking how to approach the problem. Which level of Ross-Tech would I need to DIY it? Which valve bodies and solenoid sources are good?
My comments were based on comment regarding the Ross-Tech(RT), assumed that you had not used the RT and were looking for less expense steps, looking for ideas to perform prior than spending money.

#1 If the RT tool is available and will be less then $100 I would have it performed, and if there are indications as to the Solenoids, etc. ask the person to give you (or you do it ) a print our or list of items that need attention or replacement, then ask for a written estimate. Then take it to the closest VW dealer and ask them what they would estimate the repair or adjustments would cost. You should not have anyone other than the VW dealer working on the transmission, electronics and or the engine.

#2 Clean trans fluid is better than dirty, but is not a good indicator of transmission performance. It sounds like the previous owners was having issues, and changing the fluid is inexpensive and is usually the first and least expensive step to correcting issues. Forget about using the fluid as an indicator of any thing more than just clean fluid.

#3 Once you have received the VW dealers estimate, and if you can still negotiate the price or return the car..... ask to see if he will pay for the repairs and if he says no than ... if you still unsure return the car.

#4 There is a reason every automaker has a warranty on their brand new cars, is because people are spending an amount of money that has a risk involved, realize that when you are purchasing a used car even if the car is prefect the day you buy it ... doesn't mean the trans or engine won't fail the first month. I had a buddy many years ago who's parents gave them there five year old Alfa Romeo Sedan. They gave him the car at age 16 because they had had so many problems with the car that they didn't think it was realizable. If I remember correctly, the manual transmission had to skip 2nd gear ... because it didn't work.

He drove the car for over six years, and never once did he have a problem, and the car was well into the 100K miles.

My Uncle, told anyone who purchased a used car he was selling, "You should put $1k aside of potential problems." That was back in 1975. Today the number would be closer to $4K.

If you have purchased the car and now own it, any Engine, Trans or electronics issues should be repaired by a VW dealer. Yes, they might charge you double, but it worth every penny.

TTYL

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
My comments were based on comment regarding the Ross-Tech(RT), assumed that you had not used the RT and were looking for less expense steps, looking for ideas to perform prior than spending money.

#1 If the RT tool is available and will be less then $100 I would have it performed, and if there are indications as to the Solenoids, etc. ask the person to give you (or you do it ) a print our or list of items that need attention or replacement, then ask for a written estimate. Then take it to the closest VW dealer and ask them what they would estimate the repair or adjustments would cost. You should not have anyone other than the VW dealer working on the transmission, electronics and or the engine.

#2 Clean trans fluid is better than dirty, but is not a good indicator of transmission performance. It sounds like the previous owners was having issues, and changing the fluid is inexpensive and is usually the first and least expensive step to correcting issues. Forget about using the fluid as an indicator of any thing more than just clean fluid.

#3 Once you have received the VW dealers estimate, and if you can still negotiate the price or return the car..... ask to see if he will pay for the repairs and if he says no than ... if you still unsure return the car.

#4 There is a reason every automaker has a warranty on their brand new cars, is because people are spending an amount of money that has a risk involved, realize that when you are purchasing a used car even if the car is prefect the day you buy it ... doesn't mean the trans or engine won't fail the first month. I had a buddy many years ago who's parents gave them there five year old Alfa Romeo Sedan. They gave him the car at age 16 because they had had so many problems with the car that they didn't think it was realizable. If I remember correctly, the manual transmission had to skip 2nd gear ... because it didn't work.

He drove the car for over six years, and never once did he have a problem, and the car was well into the 100K miles.

My Uncle, told anyone who purchased a used car he was selling, "You should put $1k aside of potential problems." That was back in 1975. Today the number would be closer to $4K.

If you have purchased the car and now own it, any Engine, Trans or electronics issues should be repaired by a VW dealer. Yes, they might charge you double, but it worth every penny.

TTYL

Bill
You were correct in your assumptions, I haven't yet purchased a Ross-Tech as I am trying to discern whether to keep or negotiate repairs... Also, the previous owner has been a stand up guy throughout, if I give him the benefit of the doubt and take him at face value (not at all easy for me, I am something of a skeptic), he claims not to have had issues, and he recently changed ATF -- then ATF flush makes sense as a first step.

Knock on wood, and too soon to tell, but so far the T-IV seems to be working. The first flush, I perceived mild intermittent firm shifts, but it seemed to me that firmness was attenuated (this could have been wishful thinking). After the second flush, I took it out on a 30 plus mile city driving with steep hills, and pushed it a bit in Tip mode -- it performed flawlessly. Caveat: the ambient temperature may have been cooler. The car is a dreamy drive. It is just such a pleasant cruiser which to me belies it's cuteness, and is quite different than early Bugs.

Funny, I told my daughter and wife that we need to have $1,000 set aside, I guess I am still thinking in 1975 dollars ;)

Thank you for all of the smart ideas and sharing your wisdom and experience. I intend to do one more flush, and will update.
 

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Consider, having someone with a vw scan tool; scan the car for codes, even a cheap $20-$50 "vag" type scan tool sold on amazon, could read vw specific factory codes. In particular, any that are stored in memory, for the transmission or other codes, you should check out as well.

As noted above, a prepurchase inspection from a vw dealer or independent vw specialist; maybe a good investment, to evaluate the car. They would also, read any trouble codes, give a opinion on the hard shifting issue, a thorough head to toe eval and provide documented evidence for the return or price negotiation.


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You were correct in your assumptions, I haven't yet purchased a Ross-Tech as I am trying to discern whether to keep or negotiate repairs... Also, the previous owner has been a stand up guy throughout, if I give him the benefit of the doubt and take him at face value (not at all easy for me, I am something of a skeptic), he claims not to have had issues, and he recently changed ATF -- then ATF flush makes sense as a first step.

Knock on wood, and too soon to tell, but so far the T-IV seems to be working. The first flush, I perceived mild intermittent firm shifts, but it seemed to me that firmness was attenuated (this could have been wishful thinking). After the second flush, I took it out on a 30 plus mile city driving with steep hills, and pushed it a bit in Tip mode -- it performed flawlessly. Caveat: the ambient temperature may have been cooler. The car is a dreamy drive. It is just such a pleasant cruiser which to me belies it's cuteness, and is quite different than early Bugs.

Funny, I told my daughter and wife that we need to have $1,000 set aside, I guess I am still thinking in 1975 dollars ;)

Thank you for all of the smart ideas and sharing your wisdom and experience. I intend to do one more flush, and will update.
Glad to help and appreciate the feedback. If you purchase the car my first suggestion is to find a 'Pull a Part" and pull the power window motors off the doors, and consider pulling the window regulators as well ... taking the parts off will make you a VW expert .... very easy and you will save a ton of money ....the power motors usually sell for less the $30 bucks the same with the regulator ... and the money you save is huge.... It is hard to by quality parts from aftermarket manufacturers. I went through three brand new aftermarket manufacturers ... each one came with an issue. Then went to a pull a part the first time they had a convertible ... and pull the OEM part and it worked perfect. Still on the car.

Good Luck

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Glad to help and appreciate the feedback. If you purchase the car my first suggestion is to find a 'Pull a Part" and pull the power window motors off the doors, and consider pulling the window regulators as well ... taking the parts off will make you a VW expert .... very easy and you will save a ton of money ....the power motors usually sell for less the $30 bucks the same with the regulator ... and the money you save is huge.... It is hard to by quality parts from aftermarket manufacturers. I went through three brand new aftermarket manufacturers ... each one came with an issue. Then went to a pull a part the first time they had a convertible ... and pull the OEM part and it worked perfect. Still on the car.

Good Luck

Bill
Thanks for all the useful information, I very much appreciate it.
Update: Replaced fluid for a 3rd time, drove it for 180 miles without issue. After the second fluid infusion, I did hill repeats on Burma Road on Vashon Island which has three pitches, two at 25%. At the top of the hill there was a noticeable 1-2 shift, but not nearly as bad, probably acceptable, and not noticeable to an unwitting passenger. no codes on VAGcom. This went away within 1/2 mile of normal driving and was silky smooth. After the 3rd drain and fill, no issues, no codes on VAGcom. We decided to accept the car. I suspect I will have a valve body replacement in my future, but as it is now, it is working as designed. My son and I feel confident we can accomplish this if needed. Thanks again, I appreciate these communities and those who contribute in the spirit of helping others.
 

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You might go ahead and do a kick down reset with vcds, since you did the fluid changes. This resets the fuzzy logic learned settings; these learned settings, takes into account trans wear, possibly how the old fluid, how 1st/2nd was acting and the previous owners driving style. The reset, helped improve shifting; in the 09G i was working on.



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Thanks for all the useful information, I very much appreciate it.
Update: Replaced fluid for a 3rd time, drove it for 180 miles without issue. After the second fluid infusion, I did hill repeats on Burma Road on Vashon Island which has three pitches, two at 25%. At the top of the hill there was a noticeable 1-2 shift, but not nearly as bad, probably acceptable, and not noticeable to an unwitting passenger. no codes on VAGcom. This went away within 1/2 mile of normal driving and was silky smooth. After the 3rd drain and fill, no issues, no codes on VAGcom. We decided to accept the car. I suspect I will have a valve body replacement in my future, but as it is now, it is working as designed. My son and I feel confident we can accomplish this if needed. Thanks again, I appreciate these communities and those who contribute in the spirit of helping others.
Great Job ... you should be proud of you hustle.

Changing the Trans Fluid is messy but it is the key ... I would change the fluid every year ... the amount that comes out ... is the amount that goes in ....and if you don't mind the extra work clean the plan, magniets and filter .... I spend a ton of time trying to be expert on the cars in my family's drive way.

When my wife purchased her Saab 93 with five speed asian transmission. It was a "Lifetime" transmission. I have heard (1) like brake fluid if you keep moisture out - - the fluid doesn't wear out .... but with heat build up and living just about any where "Moisture" destroys that thought. Another told me that the fluid doesn't get dirty ... then why is the transfluid a dark burgandy color at 60K ? And two OEMs simply said, that no one ever puts the correct fluid into the transmission, which ends up destroyin the transmission .... good luck ... let me know in a year how its going .. Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
It's baaaack. It is improved but intermittently has issues with 1-2, maybe 3 shifts -- only in stop and go traffic, and not all the time, at least I cannot reliably induce it, but it has to be hot and in stop and go. Works fine 99.44% of the time. It does not throw codes.

If it is not throwing codes and I get a VCDS will it be able to pick up anything if it is not doing it, or to provide information of value, would I need to induce the blunt shifts for it to be of help?
 

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Fluid changes can help but if the wear in the valve body and the shifting solenoids are causing sticking, issues, no amount of fluid/filter changes will fix rhe primary problems. As noted, first scan for codes with vcds and view live data; see what might come up and gives clues, as ti the cause if the shifting problem. There can be many other possible problems; and I listed above and many do not require a full transmission removal but worst case scenario, removal, full tear down for inspection and replacement of bad parts and full rebuild may be necessary.

Historically on this site, we have had members with a very high success rate; doing correct,vcds enabled diagnostics and fixing external problems and remanufactured replacement valve bodies, have solved the shifting, problems for many!


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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
To get a sense of the solenoid problem and what is involved in the typical repair, check out some videos on YouTube:



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Thanks, I figured that I would likely need to replace the valve body in the near future, so I have watched a few videos. Our plan is to have the car get my daughter through college ~5 years. I was thinking that it might be smart to replace it now especially while symptoms are mid and intermittent to minimize the wear on the internals.
 

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It really is best to address the issues as soon as possible; if you ignore it it will put stress on the transmission internals and could eventually damage things, requiring a full rebuild and tearing the whole thing apart, costing way more than just a valve body replacement.


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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
It really is best to address the issues as soon as possible; if you ignore it it will put stress on the transmission internals and could eventually damage things, requiring a full rebuild and tearing the whole thing apart, costing way more than just a valve body replacement.


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In researching valve bodies from reputable folks who rebuild reman and test, one asks for a couple of identifying features, a stamp in the corner and a hole count in one area; another company just asks for the VIN. The first will require me dropping the pan and possibly the valve body to identify, of course this creates lag time and/or extra work and trans fluid. Will the VIN method work properly?
I ordered the RT VCDS, should I go ahead and order the valve body, or wait? From what I have read, this is the classic presentation of a valve body issue. I realize that there are small possibilities that it could be something else, but applying Occam’s razor it seems highly likely to be the valve body. It runs perfect over 99% of the time, it only shifts bluntly when hot in stop and go. The problem goes away when it cools, eg driving at 40-50mph steady state or by parking it for a while.
 

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Again, to diagnose things properly, you should use a process of elimination, step by step, method of narrowing things down, researching clues, as to what might be causing the shifting issues; always starting by using vcds, would be the first step and look for trouble codes, view live data, see if anything looks like it is a problem.

I have discussed, the possibilities of shifting issues, pretty throughly before, the common problems we see consistently and you can go over what we have discussed, in the past, on this thread.

As for positively identifying the valve body; I am defintiely, not a vw trans expert and the pro rebuilders, would have more knowledge about that, then probably anyone else, aside from the vw dealer, which ALWAYS, orders parts by the VIN #. VW's and the oem Aisin AW, always puts part #'s, on the case and other identifying info, on the machined surface of the trans case.


Look on page #5; of this eRWin VW service manual for more info:

 

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As to ordering the valve body and doing a advanced exchange, type scenario, that is up to you. Around here, we try to use a logical diagnosis method and process; whereby, (if possible), you check for problems and confirm failures, before replacing expensive parts (many valve bodies are in the $700-$1200range). That is a expensive amount of money, to spend; on "speculation" or a "educated guess", rather then a confirmed failure and feeling confident, that a remanufactured part, will fix the problem. Again, we have had a high success rate; when members, have replaced their valve bodies but we strongly recommend, doing correct diagnosis with vcds, do your best, to go through "due diligence" with testing things, then repair as needed.

It would be a shame: to spend almost $1k, only to find out later; that you had a bad sensor, external plug, wiring harness was damaged or the shifter assembly was broken, causing the shifting issues. ALL of these issues, have been documented on this site; from members and on VWs that I have personally worked on. There are cases, where there are MULTIPLE issues; going on, that may require more then one repair, to finally fix the shifting problems.

Every repair situation, can be different and we cannot, correctly devine; what the problem is but can only relate, the anecdotal evidence of what we have seen historically and what repairs, have been needed, as related by members on this site before, where they have successfully, repaired their transmission. Thus, the need for correct diagnosis; leading to successful repair.

We try to encourage people, to stay away, from the "shotgun" approach to diagnostics: AKA: shooting the "parts cannon"!


252845


As always, there are NO guarantees; any of this will fully fix things and it could be a internal problem, requiring a full tear down, inspection of parts and a full rebuild.

We want you, to go into this diagnosis and repair process: with your eye FULLY open, that you may or may not, be able to fix things! Having said that: MANY on this site; have been able to successfully repair their trans, doing a logical and methodical, diagnosis and repair process, documented in the vw factory service manual and that makes you possibility of repair success, the highest possible, in a diy home mechanic, type scenario!!!!!!

WHEW!!!!: I hope you get the message: we encourage, hope everyone, has success in attempted repairs here and try out best to share info we have learned about, to those who are wiling to try, to do their own repairs. I hope, things work out for you! :)
 
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