VW Beetle Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, so I need to give you some back-story to fully understand my situation. I’m not mechanically inclined and I don’t know ANYONE who knows Beetles or VW’s. Please bear with me.

Bought a ’04 Automatic Convertible 6speed triptonic in 2013 knowing it had transmission issues but bought as a project. Life circumstances had me putting bug in storage until May 2014 and it was taken to two mechanics (where I use to live) for diagnostics. Both said transmission needed to be replaced and after much research, agreed that was likely the case. Paid over $3500 for a used transmission to be shipped from West Coast and installed by mechanic #2 (foreign auto repair shop) Drove bug for about a week (drove fine) then had to ship it to where I currently live. Bug sat for over a month in transport, when it arrived, I started driving it around (late June 2014) Within a week or two, it started shifting hard, brought it to a local mechanic (mechanic #3, reputable general mechanic shop) and they diagnosed the gearshift needing to be replaced. $700 and a couple days later (July 2014), the hard shifting started up again. Took bug back to mechanic #3 and they diagnosed that the transmission was bad and needed to be replaced or rebuilt. Transmission company that I bought used transmission from AND mechanic #2 both denied anything wrong, pointed finger at each other and basically, would not help. Mechanic #3 quoted over $3000 for another used transmission and install so I chose to put bug in storage for fall/winter and deal with the issues once the weather started to get nicer. Pulled bug out this past week, installed new battery, zipped around and within 3.5 miles the hard shifting started up again.

Took bug to a local transmission shop (mechanic #4, both foreign and domestic transmission rebuild and repair) for a diagnostic and quote. Figured they mainly work on transmissions, they may be able to give me more details. Turns out they have worked on a few beetles but not many and they even had to do some research. They said transmission needs to be replaced/rebuilt and quoted me $3800 for a rebuild. Was also offered another used transmission with low miles, installed for $2200 and 6 month warranty but if I go this route, 6 months from now I could be in the same position I am today. Currently the bug is sitting at their shop waiting for me to make a decision.

To recap – I’ve put less than 800 miles on the (new) used transmission installed in May 2014 and if I go with the rebuild, I will be spending over $7000 in less than a year for one used and one rebuilt transmission.

I’m lost. I just don’t understand how this transmission could fail so badly, so quickly. I mean, 800 miles? Maybe I’m super unlucky? Or am I just not getting the right mechanic looking at the bug? How many more quotes/mechanics should I go to? Closet VW specific shop is the dealership, the other few shops that are VW specific are hours away and everyone else closer are foreign repair shops that do work on VW's, but beetle would still need to be towed. I'm scared to take it to the VW dealer and have yet another person screw me over but I am thinking they may be the best option for diagnostics, considering. Then I read this in another thread “Be careful and do not fall for a transmission rebuild or a transmission software update.” Can someone explain what the valve body is, how you diagnose it and replace it? I plan on calling the transmission shop on Monday for a printout of the exact codes thrown – should I be looking for something specific or asking specific questions? If it is the transmission that is failing what would the codes be? What about for the valve body and solenoids?

I don’t want to spend another $3500+ on this beetle, no matter how much sentimental value it has, and I don’t want to get fu**** over when this could be a less expensive fix. But I also really don't want to get rid of the bug as everything else is great on it. Was hoping it would last me at least another 1-2 years.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

In case you ask:

- bug has 64,XXX miles on it
- all fluids and filters were all changed prior to used transmission install as well as speed sensors (around the 63,XXX mark) and changed again when the used transmission was installed (except sensors)
- NO lights (check engine or otherwise) have ever come on during this whole deal
 

·
5/23/10 <3
Joined
·
11,412 Posts
You need to get the car to a VW specific shop and get the car hooked up to a VW specific code reader. There likely are codes popping up that can help guide you to what is the problem.

That said, VW auto transmissions in this era are known to have problems. The probability that the used unit had issues isn't small.

The valve body is a common fail point. I would bet that could be your problem, which is a lot less than a transmission.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've already made an appointment at the VW dealer for Monday morning for a diagnostic. Are there specific codes I should be looking for? Once I get the codes, is there a place I can input them and get a better understanding of what is faulty?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts
The Ross Tech Wiki; is a good place to start: Ross-Tech Wiki

VW dealerships; usually, replace whole assemblies, I would get a VW scanner and see what the codes are. You can buy VCDS a factory level scan tool or get a cheap VW compatible scanner off of amazon.com (vas 450, many other "vag" scan tools). Once you get the trouble codes; people here, can chime in with their experiences.

vcds: the industry standard VW factory level scan tool:

Ross-Tech Store: VCDS

vs450 on the low end:

Amazon.com: vag scan tool: Automotive

higher end new VW scan tool from Foxwell

ECS News VW/Audi VAG Professional Scan Tool By Foxwell

I would say; based upon your experiences, you NEED to have a scan tool to get a sense of what is going on and to hopefully, not get taken by repair shops and be totally dependant on what they tell you. Diagnostics is hard and takes skill, experience; replacing a whole transmission, is a easy solution but it maybe something less expensive, like just the valve body. Then again; replacing a valve body, is not a guarantee that it will fix the problem either.

Get a scanner; post up on those codes and people here, will do their best to help! :)

PS: what is the general area; where you live? There maybe VW owners in your area; that know quality VW repair shops, that can help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Billymade - was looking at scanners last night so I just placed an order for one and it should arrive within a few days. I may hold off on taking it to the VW dealer till I can read it myself - potentially save a $100+ bucks. I'll report back with the codes.

By the way, currently live just outside of Saint Louis, MO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Too bad you showed up here after all this worked was performed.

Your original transmission with under 70k miles would not likely need to have been replaced, just the valve body overhauled.

Hopefully this is the current issue, but with a trans swap and rebuild to the replacement transmission, all bets may be off at this moment.

As for expecting/reading codes at this point, not likely going to help here. Unless the Transmission shift indicator currently has [] around all the letters like [P][R][N][D]... then there will not likely be any useful codes.

What happens to these transmission under most conditions, somewhere around 60k+ miles depending on if they were primarily driving in the city they will start shifting hard. Usually the warmer the engine/transmission fluid gets, the harder/harsher the down shifting becomes. To the point you think the transmission may want to fall out of the car.

Most hard shifting is usually downshifting from 4-3 and 3-2 but the transmission can also have some hard/delayed upshifting or flaring while upshift, usually in the lower gears 4th and lower, because these are the gears that shift FAR more often than 5th and 6th.

What happens is a combination of valve body bore wear and solenoid problems. There are numerous shops that rebuild just valve bodies for these and other transmission that know all about this issue. The dealerships and most national chain transmission shops are CLUELESS about this problem. Often national chain or smaller independent shops may rebuild the transmission and reinstall the faulty/worn orignal valve body and send the same problem out the door. Rebuilding a transmission that never needed rebuilding and totally missing the problem with the valve body.

There are also issues with shops properly refilling the transmission, this is actually very easy even for a DIY person to handle, special tools are really not needed, you just need one small piece of threaded pipe and a $7 hand pump from the parts store to fill the transmission correctly.

There are also some magnets in the shifter selector that come loose and can easily be reglued if needed. It should like the shift lever assembly has been replaced at this point based on your comments?

Although it is a good idea you purchased a scan tool that can likely read transmission and other codes, I really doubt in this case it will be able to help much.

Need a MUCH better explanation of what/how the transmission is behaving.

The person/shop that replaced the transmission with a "used" unit likely did nothing wrong other than install a "used" transmission with a worn valve body and the exact same or even worse issues than you had to begin with. The place that supplied the "used" transmission does not know the history or how the transmission operates, they sell a used transmission with a warranty, they are out nothing if you come back for another transmission, they do not pay to swap the transmission, they just provide a replacement, so their profit margin is MUCH smaller if you show up and request a replacement.

The shop that rebuilt the transmission likely did not touch the valve body, they put never addressed the problem and put it back into the rebuilt transmission. This also assumes the transmission was rebuilt properly to begin with.

You also need to be careful who/what forum info you listen to. You need to listen to someone that has HAD a 6 speed Tiptronic with the valve body problems and likely resolved these.

I happen to be an ORIGINAL owner of a 2003 NB Convertible 1.8t GLX with a 5 speed Tiptronic that started having transmission problems probably as early as 30-45k miles. Software updates for the transmission were attempted with no improvement. By 70k miles the transmission was slamming during 4-3 or 3-2 downshifts once the trans was very warm and the fluid was thin.

There were NEVER any codes or clues as to what was going on, never any transmission errors.

I personally removed the valve body and found a shop that would rebuild MY valve body rather than an exchange unit and the overhauled valve body resolved my problems and I have put about 15k miles on the same transmission since, the car has about 90k miles now and is still shifting fine without issues.

I cannot say for sure over the Internet that the valve body/solenoids are the main problem with your car, but it is highly likely. You need to find out if the shop that "rebuilt" your transmission rebuild/bored out the valve body and installed newer oversize spool valves and inspected and tested the solenoids or swapped the valve body with a rebuild unit or never touched your current valve body.

This will likely be the best clue as to what is going on and what the next step will likely be.

Hope this info is helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@jfoj I haven't had the transmission rebuilt *yet* - just the swap. That's why I came on here, to figure out if it was indeed the transmission itself before spending another $3000+ I haven't seen the [] you described except once/twice *before* the original swap but then again, the car has been sitting in storage for months and I only drove it a short distance this past week. I'm not going to worry about the fact that I may have swapped the transmission without needing to as that money is long gone and no help from either the mechanic who installed it or the shop who sold it. I just dont want to pay more than I should now.

For the first 3-5 miles, while it is cold, the transmission runs great. After it warms up, the transmission will hard shift, jerk, stick, etc in 1-4. Especially 1-3 after stopping at lights, stop signs, etc. Haven't gotten it up to 5-6.

From the description of the steps the transmission shop gave me, they would buy the rebuilt transmission from one of their suppliers, have it shipped to their shop and they would swap them out. They did not mention anything about doing anything to the valve body - I would assume the supplier would have already replaced or rebuilt the valve body prior to shipping but won't know till I ask if that is the case. The transmission shop mainly does rebuilds but said for this type of transmission, by the time they buy all the parts and rebuild it, it would cost the same as an already rebuilt one from their supplier. If this is true or not, I don't know.

While it's great you were able to remove, have your valve body repaired and replace youself, what about those people who aren't mechanically inclined?? Same goes for refilling the transmission.

@billymade thanks for the TDI list, looks there is only one nearby so I'll give a call on Monday and see if they can help. I'll look into the Facebook group too. Bought one of the scanners off amazon, on my phone so dont have the exact one on hand but it had a ton of + reviews and figure it will get me started. Should be here by Tuesday night.

I guess my next steps at the moment are to wait for the scanner to come, scan the computer and see what codes, if any, come up. I'll likely call around on Monday and get an idea of who can do a valve body rebuilt or swap in case that is the issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
The fact the transmission runs fine while the car is cold is a good thing.

I need a MUCH better description of the shifting behavior. You are saying things like 1-4 and 1-3. I need you to be clear.

Are you saying the transmission shifts from 1st to 3rd or 1st to 4th? You can watch the instrument cluster and see what gear the transmission is being commanded to shift into, does not always mean the transmission will actually make it into this gear!

You need to describe both the UPSHIFTING and DOWNSHIFTING behavior. Also you need to be clear like shifting from 1-2 is hard, late, slips.

Most of the valve body issues are hard or jumpy UPSHIFTING between 2-3 and 3-4. With HARSH downshifting 4-3, 3-2 and sometimes 2-1.

Fluid fill is important and it OFTEN is done incorrectly.

Do you how many miles the "used" transmission was supposed to have on it?

You have to be VERY careful with transmission shops, they use a lot of scare tactics trying to get you to rebuild a transmission when it may not be necessary. Saying things like the fluid smells burnt or there is metal in the pan. Almost ALL transmissions, even shortly after rebuilds have metal in the pan. The amount of metal is the key.

As long as the magnets in the pan do not look like Chia Pets, yo should be in pretty good shape, you also have not much to loose if you have the valve body rebuilt and the problems are not resolved, you still will need the transmission rebuilt and the and the valve body can rebuild can be skipped and the rebuilt valve body can be reused in the transmission as it is being rebuilt. BUT again, all the transmission shops use scare tactics and/or say they do not rebuild these transmissions. If they do not rebuild these transmissions, they are not a "real" transmission shop.

See my thread here - http://newbeetle.org/forums/transmission-talk/60709-auto-trans-level-check-fill-info.html

As long as the magnets inside the transmission pan do not look like the ones I have pictured in that thread, you are in good shape (this is not what my magnets looked like, not a picture of my transmission pan!).

EVERY VW New Beetle with the 6 Speed 09G Tiptronic needs the valve body rebuilt by 75k miles, trust me. So it is likely and hopeful this is what your current transmission needs.

Also not sure I would let the dealer do this job, they MAY suggest a new replacement valve body, but they will likely suggest a complete replacement transmission.

Rebuilt valve bodies are around $500, for shop that knows what they are doing, to replace the valve body with a rebuilt unit they should charge about 3 hours of labor plus fluid and maybe a filter and gasket kit. $1000-$1000 would be MAX I would say you should be expected to pay, HOWEVER, so many shops way over charge and mark up parts.

I think I did this job on my back, never working on a VW automatic transmission before in under 2 1/2 hours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Scanned the bug this afternoon - had 18 "checkpoints" that could be scanned and the only code that was thrown was for the driver side window, which I knew needed a new regulator. Zero codes for the transmission, engine, etc :( Made an appointment with VW for the AM and hope they can give me better news.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,839 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, went through it twice and those were the only codes. I didn't clear the codes as I wanted them to pop up for VW too. Nothing that points to anything transmission related but as @jfoj pointed out, they may not come up (at least in his case they didn't)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Typical valve body issue. Codes are usually only for electrical issues. Valve body will not trigger codes. Solenoids may, but if you have no brackets [ ] on the dash, no codes is typical. Not sure I would allow the dealer to do the repair, they are the most expensive, most conservative and will want to swap the trans but only after they try to sell you transmission software updates.

If the dealer will do a new valve body install for $1100 or so, go for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I just went through this last week( minus the used trans) I agree that it sounds like a bad valve body. We were able to purchase a new valve body from the dealership for $800 and I couldn't believe the difference in the car. Before it was replaced it would shift perfect until it warmed up ( about 5 miles ) then it would shift so hard it felt like the tranny was gonna fall out of it. I really wrestled with the thought of putting that much money in it with out knowing "for sure" but all the transmission shops that actually said they would work on it wanted to tear it down first before giving a price. Funny thing is that none of them agreed that it was probably the valve body.Be careful of normal trans shops and find a VW specialist to perform the work.

Good luck,
Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
If the magnets in the pan do not look like Chia pets, expect some metal, this is NORMAL.

Valve body is the weak point on the 09G 6 speed Tiptronic. If the problem valve body is address quickly, there will be very little accelerated wear in the trans.

Have heard few clutch pack/clutch lining failures or hard failures if these cars are not abused.

Valve body self destructs/wears prematurely, nothing you as an owner can do about it. Fluid change will not extend the life of the valve body, but this is not a reason not to change the fluid regualarly.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top