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Okay guys here it goes. I am going to be getting a 98 bug soon (2.0 gas auto), it has a rebuild automatic but I have not heard many good things about it and basically heard its expensive junk. And as we all know 5 speed is better and more fun.
So I have read up on it online and the swap doesn't seem bad and I will be doing it at my high school in autoshop so I have no concerns about the work itself. My concern and where it gets vague is the electronic side of the swap I have read through this page VW Beetle Golf Jetta Automatic to 5 Speed Swap and it is pretty good at describing it all until it talks about the ecu work that needs to be done. I know it says I need the Vag-Com program but it all gets a bit confusing what ill need. I am looking for someone to point me in the direction for this part, like urls to the program I need (a free trial version will be 100% good because ill only need it for this swap) a url to the cable ill need to plug into the car would be wonderful and if someone has a video of step by step on the reprogram part itself or if someone has done this before would be amazing.
Thanks for all of the help!!:)
 

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Where are you located? The trial versions won't let you do what you have to do. A cable for a 98 is as cheap as $9 but the reg for the software is $99.

That said you literally change a tick box in the computer coding for "automatic"... the car will work but cruise will be interesting (hitting clutch will let engine free rev instead of kill it... because auto coding doesn't look for cruise kill switch on clutch pedal). Other than that, really, it's basically all mechanicals and electrical to make the cruise work. If you don't have, or want, cruise the swap is even easier.

My 2003 needed new pins in the ECU (harness was already wired up for manual, oddly) to get the cruise working right. ANd I had a stutter in 2nd gear at slow speeds till we converted over to manual trans coding in the ECU. The missing pins were for the clutch cruise kill switch, and the only way I had cruise was to code the ECU as automatic.

It'll work right away, just not perfectly. But well enough to survive on till you can meet someone with VCDS to recode the ECU for you.
 

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I've still not gotten confirmation that you change the coding in the ECU for a gasser like you can with a diesel. There are no good gasser how to documents out there like there is the TDI.

OP - there is a great how to at TDI club on the auto to manual swap. Again, not sure if the ECU coding stuff works! but most things should be the same. Also has info on wiring changes, etc to make everything work. We did the swap on my husbands 01 Jetta TDI and everything works great.


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Discussion Starter #4
Where are you located? The trial versions won't let you do what you have to do. A cable for a 98 is as cheap as $9 but the reg for the software is $99.

That said you literally change a tick box in the computer coding for "automatic"... the car will work but cruise will be interesting (hitting clutch will let engine free rev instead of kill it... because auto coding doesn't look for cruise kill switch on clutch pedal). Other than that, really, it's basically all mechanicals and electrical to make the cruise work. If you don't have, or want, cruise the swap is even easier.

My 2003 needed new pins in the ECU (harness was already wired up for manual, oddly) to get the cruise working right. ANd I had a stutter in 2nd gear at slow speeds till we converted over to manual trans coding in the ECU. The missing pins were for the clutch cruise kill switch, and the only way I had cruise was to code the ECU as automatic.

It'll work right away, just not perfectly. But well enough to survive on till you can meet someone with VCDS to recode the ECU for you.
I am located in central Indiana about 30 minutes south of Indy. 99 bucks for a program isn't too bad, what all can it do? If it can do scans and maybe let me play with the ecu some I may just buy it. Is there a link to the cruise swap deal so I can have proper cruise control. And I also read somewhere that you can use a tdi transmission for a better 5th gear. Is there a link online that says the gear ratios of the tdi manual and the gas manual transmission? Right now anything is going to help me thanks for it all!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've still not gotten confirmation that you change the coding in the ECU for a gasser like you can with a diesel. There are no good gasser how to documents out there like there is the TDI.

OP - there is a great how to at TDI club on the auto to manual swap. Again, not sure if the ECU coding stuff works! but most things should be the same. Also has info on wiring changes, etc to make everything work. We did the swap on my husbands 01 Jetta TDI and everything works great.


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well at least I know someone did it lol. how hard was the swap for you guys and about how long did it take? And is the link I put in the first post a good link to use for reference?
 

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And if it is a big hassle to reprogram the ecu and if a new one would work from a different 98 2.0 gas five speed could be dropped right in to rock and roll I can get a used one from a local import yard for like 80 bucks so that may be a better route if it can be dropped in and used. I also have access to ALLDATA so I can get wiring diagrams to help if need be for cruise stuff. I may jump on that Monday when I get back to school to give it a look.
 

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ross-tech.com - honestly, I'd say invest the $250 for their cable (comes with the software) it'll work on newer cars as well as that 98. However $99 gets a license key for VCDS-lite, and that can be used with any "VAG-Com Cable" sold on ebay. The Ross-Tech cable is CANBUS enabled, the ebay cables are not... your 98 lacks CANBUS so it's not really important. Just FYI. Buy what makes the most sense for you.

I'd say the ECU swap might be easiest/best... but worth looking at the ECU coding. I forget where I saw it. I know it was in the engine controller and I think in long coding.

Take lots of pics!
 

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Thanks! and an offer just landed in my lap... a family friends son just wrecked a 2000 bug 2.0 five speed. (ice and hills make bad combos) I can get parts dirt cheap from it the 98 im getting has a blown motor too the 2000 that was wreck is darn near mint in everywhere with zero problem, so if I was to get the motor and trans out of the 2000 and the ecu is it possible to put the motor trans and ecu from the 2000 on a 1998?? or would I also need the wiring? Plz help! Don't want this offer to pass me by
 

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Thanks! and an offer just landed in my lap... a family friends son just wrecked a 2000 bug 2.0 five speed. (ice and hills make bad combos) I can get parts dirt cheap from it the 98 im getting has a blown motor too the 2000 that was wreck is darn near mint in everywhere with zero problem, so if I was to get the motor and trans out of the 2000 and the ecu is it possible to put the motor trans and ecu from the 2000 on a 1998?? or would I also need the wiring? Plz help! Don't want this offer to pass me by
DO IT!

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I am currently looking for a diesel transmission to put in mine when the clutch goes out. It is like switching from 4.11 gears to a set of 3.73's. But, if I had your deal. I would totally go for it and do the swap. :)

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I am currently looking for a diesel transmission to put in mine when the clutch goes out. It is like switching from 4.11 gears to a set of 3.73's. But, if I had your deal. I would totally go for it and do the swap. :)

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I really want to I posted a while ago in the technical section again about a deal with mine and a 2000 and would like some info on that. thanks for all your help!!!!!
 

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I don't know if you'll need wiring or not. 00 or 01 they moved to a drive by wire motor. I don't remember exactly when, but I know my 02 had a drive by wire motor.

The 99.5+ transmission shifter is a LOT better than the 1998 and 1999 model (which was a MK3 shifter base, same as early 99.5 Golf and Jetta cars).

Having a donor really helps. Get the whole car and swap... you can move it all if you need to.
 

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I don't know if you'll need wiring or not. 00 or 01 they moved to a drive by wire motor. I don't remember exactly when, but I know my 02 had a drive by wire motor.

The 99.5+ transmission shifter is a LOT better than the 1998 and 1999 model (which was a MK3 shifter base, same as early 99.5 Golf and Jetta cars).

Having a donor really helps. Get the whole car and swap... you can move it all if you need to.
Yeah im thinking about the same things and I may take the 2000 that is wrecked (needs left fender left door and stuff for the rear two wheel stuff I will know more info tomorrow) but the 2000 is already ready and set up with motor and trans how I like it and it has some more options than the 1998 like a sunroof and leather seats and a cd changer. so I may just take the 1998 body parts and slap them on the 2000. if that would work. just weighing all my options right now
 

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I did a TDI 5 speed swap in my 98 Beetle 2.0 last year. RPM's at 70 mph went from 3500 to 2520. The car drives great. It is much quieter at highway speeds. I did lose cruise with the swap. I assume that the ECU monitors RPM's vs speed and it is outside of a limit. I have VCDS but have not looked for a setting that may fix the cruise. 4th gear is now close to the 2.0's 5th gear so cruise does work in 4th gear, so I know everything is wired up ok. I live in Cincinnati and if I slow to 50 on some of our hills a downshift to 4th is needed. MPG's went from 29 to 33-34.

I would probably fix the 2000 Beetle that already has engine and trans the way you want. Putting on a new fender would be much easier than an engine, trans, ECU, and possible wiring swap. I don't think you can recode the ECU on the 98 for a manual. You would probably need an ECU from a 98 5 speed.
 

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I did a TDI 5 speed swap in my 98 Beetle 2.0 last year. RPM's at 70 mph went from 3500 to 2520. The car drives great. It is much quieter at highway speeds. I did lose cruise with the swap. I assume that the ECU monitors RPM's vs speed and it is outside of a limit. I have VCDS but have not looked for a setting that may fix the cruise. 4th gear is now close to the 2.0's 5th gear so cruise does work in 4th gear, so I know everything is wired up ok. I live in Cincinnati and if I slow to 50 on some of our hills a downshift to 4th is needed. MPG's went from 29 to 33-34.

I would probably fix the 2000 Beetle that already has engine and trans the way you want. Putting on a new fender would be much easier than an engine, trans, ECU, and possible wiring swap. I don't think you can recode the ECU on the 98 for a manual. You would probably need an ECU from a 98 5 speed.
thanks for all the help! I am planning on swinging the and getting both the 1998 and the 2000 and putting the parts together on the 2000. gotta get a couple things off my plate should have them in a couple weeks. I will be on here quite often when I get them both lol! And again THANKS for the help!!!
 
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