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Discussion Starter #1
while driving home last friday in bumper to bumper traffic my 1999 beetle started shifting oddly ( auto trans with 140,000 miles) took it to dealer and they didnt have any answers other than maybe change fluid at about $600 ( nice job VW on the no dipstick and special fluid )
any ideas anyone ???
It has always shifted rather abruptly since i bought it ( used) for my daughter about 8 years ago . anyway
i might change the fluid and filter by myself. that couldn't hurt, i suppose .
thanks for any further info ed
 

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If you do a bit of searching on this forum, you'll find that the four speed auto transmission in the early New Beetles is "weak". It sounds like yours is starting to go. With as many miles as you have on yours, I personally doubt that changing the fluid will help. The usual solution to the shifting issues is a new (rebuilt) transmission with a new valve body. Unfortunately, these are not cheap.
 

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If you do a bit of searching on this forum, you'll find that the four speed auto transmission in the early New Beetles is "weak". It sounds like yours is starting to go. With as many miles as you have on yours, I personally doubt that changing the fluid will help. The usual solution to the shifting issues is a new (rebuilt) transmission with a new valve body. Unfortunately, these are not cheap.
I concur on all comments. Mine totally went out about a month ago @ 166,000 mi. Tranny actually locked up while driving.

A seasoned.VW mechanic should be privy to the history of the O1m auto trans., including the bogus claim of "lifetime" tranny fluid and the subsequent valve body failure because of their claim. Them saying "they dont know whats wrong", is a statement that I don't find honest.... out of ignorance at best.

if you can do the filter, and fluid change yourself, I would do it and pocket the savings.

I hope you get many more miles out of your transmission than what I had.

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Can you describe what you mean by shifting oddly?
 

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Dealer should know at a minimum without even thinking about it or looking at the car you will need a valve body replaced or reworked. Might even need a transmission.

I would not have the "stealership" perform any of the work on the car, they are too expensive and do not give you any options!

Transmission fluid change is a pretty easy DIY. You do not need special fluid. You can use Mobile 1 synthetic without issue in most of these transmission.

If your trans pan has the thicker rubber gasket you can likely reuse it was well and skip the filter screen as that can be cleaned if needed.

Here is some info on fluid change, this pertains to the 6 speed auto, but overall the idea is still the same for the 4 speed -

http://newbeetle.org/forums/826380-post33.html

http://newbeetle.org/forums/826480-post35.html

http://newbeetle.org/forums/826549-post38.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Trans shifting issues

Thank u for all the responses on the trans issue.
First off , the dealer wasnt as blunt as i might have projected. The service manager knows how much trouble this car has been so suggesting a new / rebuilt transmission
is , im sure , out of a reasonable persons budget ( im sure in the multi thousands )
By shifting oddly .. I mean first gear up to about 4000 rpm before lurching into 2 nd gear .
Im picking up car tomorrow .. Well see whats happening .
Thanks again everyone for the advice and comments
Ed ..
 

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VW extended the warranty on most of the automatic transmission to 7 years/100k miles due to all the issues they had with them.

Unfortunately you are beyond this window, but if you decide to sort the trans out yourself, you can usually get your valve body reworked for about $500, add shipping and fluid you are around $650-$700 DIY if you can live without the car for a few days.

Likely your problem is valve body/solenoids.

The good part is once the pan is off the trans, as long as there is not a lot of material in the trans pan, then a valve body rework will likely sort your issues.
 

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Thank u for all the responses on the trans issue.
First off , the dealer wasnt as blunt as i might have projected. The service manager knows how much trouble this car has been so suggesting a new / rebuilt transmission
is , im sure , out of a reasonable persons budget ( im sure in the multi thousands )
By shifting oddly .. I mean first gear up to about 4000 rpm before lurching into 2 nd gear .
Im picking up car tomorrow .. Well see whats happening .
Thanks again everyone for the advice and comments
Ed ..
Yep, that was the issue with my bug. At 2000 rpm she would rev high, as if the clutch was slipping trying to get into 2nd. I would back off the gas and she would fall into 2nd.

I too hope the valve body will remedy your issues. As for me, I don't want to put any more cash into the auto tranny. I'd rather put that 500+ dollars into a 5 speed swap.

All the best to ya. Keep us posted.

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks everyone

gonna get the car this afternoon good news on the valve body i can afford $700 not thousands for an old car.. but it is fun to drive !!
have good day everyone !!
 

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You can search around for reman valve bodies, but I prefer to have the valve body from the car reworked rather than installing something that my be tuned slightly differently than what is in your car.

I used Pacific Coast Transmission

Home Page

for my 6 speed rework. Johnny was a really good guy to work with, they usually turn the valve body around the same day or the next day. Nice packaging on the return, they warranty their work for 2 years and they use an engraver to label all the solenoids and parts they rework so they know "they" have been in the valve body.

This was one of the few places I contacted that offered an exchange valve body, but agreed if I would have the down time on the car, that reworking my current valve body was a better option. So this is another reason I went with Pacific Coast over a swap house.

Search around and ask any of the shops you contact about the transmission wiring harness for the 4 speed. Many suggest replacing the wiring harness in the transmission, not sure if this is due to connector problems or what the issue is. I did not change the harness in my 6 speed. I know the solenoid connectors are a bit small and tricky to remove. I also tightened up temp sensor connector and another detent connector a they seemed a bit loose.

Also take pictures of the wiring to the solenoids and mark them as needed. Although you only have a 4 speed, still a lot of wires and wire supports and they need to all go in the correct location. It will save you A LOT of time when you go to reassemble.

A BIG suggestion if you do the job yourself and have a scan tool, before you put the pan on, turn the ignition on and run the trans though all the gears without the engine running to make sure you do no get a CEL or have the trans shift indicator on the cluster show it in limp mode or a fault condition. It is easy to miss a connector or not fully plug a connection in on the valve body. If you have a connection issue, you will get an immediate CEL and likely have the cluster show the trans in limp mode. If you do this before you install the pan and fill with fluid, it will save you a lot of time!!!

Ask me how I know!!! The 2nd drain and refill goes MUCH quicker. Just a word to the wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks for the info

the dealer just told me the trans was LOW on fluid and was going to fill it. hope that makes a difference..
 

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the dealer just told me the trans was LOW on fluid and was going to fill it. hope that makes a difference..
That sounds odd.
I'm not sure that a VAG-com can read the trans fluid level. Our transmissions have no diostick, so I don't know how in the world they can tell you the fluid was low. Maybe some of you all subscribed here can educate me on this.

Sorry to be so cynical, but the dealer seems as if they're trying to milk you out of some cash.


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No dipstick and not electronic way to check the trans fluid level.

Only way to check the fluid level, if it is low, is to add fluid.

Actually the fluid check and fill is pretty slick on these cars, you pull the trans drain plug and add more fluid until it starts to leak back out. The fluid is checked with the engine running and the trans fluid around 100F as I recall?

If the trans is low on fluid, where is the leak?

Suggest you pull the trans pan at some point and change the fluid anyway.

Fluid could be low, but you could still have a valve body issue as well.
 

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No dipstick and not electronic way to check the trans fluid level.

Only way to check the fluid level, if it is low, is to add fluid.

Actually the fluid check and fill is pretty slick on these cars, you pull the trans drain plug and add more fluid until it starts to leak back out. The fluid is checked with the engine running and the trans fluid around 100F as I recall?

If the trans is low on fluid, where is the leak?

Suggest you pull the trans pan at some point and change the fluid anyway.

Fluid could be low, but you could still have a valve body issue as well.
You are correct.
That's the exact same method I used when I changed my filter and fluid.

To the OP- if you can do this or know someone that can do it for ya, you'll save a lot of money compared to what the dealership will squeeze you for.
 
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