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Aimee M.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Welp, our move to Florida went perfectly. Following a lightless towed Camaro was a little bit harrowing, and the towing car leaked oil enough to make Sagra a very dirty bug, but we reached the state line with no issues at all. :D

60 miles from the house, we did our last fuel stop. Sometime in that last stretch, Sagra's windshield cracked. A quick call to Geico and Safelite got a new one installed.

Now, at 103k miles, something weird has happened. Jamie my husband has been commuting to work. The car was working fine. Then, it wasn't. Sagra won't shift into first gear At All. Doesn't matter if clutch is in or out, car on or off, he says it feels like first gear does?kt exist, and if he pushes any harder heKs afraid to break off the shifter. He also can't downshift- the gears grind despite the clutch being in. He can only wait until the car comes to a complete stop before he can put the car into 2nd and take off again.

The whole reason I wanted a manual car was because theoretically weirdness like this is just NOT supposed to happen! What on earth could cause these symptoms, has anyone had them before? Please chime in.

We're sitting here at Fields VW because our extended warranty should still be in effect. Poor Sagra at a doctor's office again :(
 

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Premium Member
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1,086 Posts
Off the top of my head the following areas come to mind.

1. Clutch mastercylinder problem, not lifting clutch off of the flywheel.or low on fluid( Is you brake fluid levels ok? The brake master cylinder resevoiur feeds the clutch cylinder.

Shifter linkage problem. There are bushings in the linkage which wear and cause issues.

Shifter alignment

There is a procedure to align the shifter mechanism.

There should be a thread on this site for the alignment, and a do it yourself on the clucth master cylinder.
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The dealership is saying it is the shifting linkage. They were able to shift into 1st by loosening something, or maybe taking it off.

The linkage isn't covered under the warranty thing we got, so I suppose Sagra will have his first visit into Grandad's shop :(
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We got home, the plan originally being to get at the linkage, replace it, and prove that the grinding wasn't caused by that, and thus VW would have to service the synchronizer as that is an internal part covered under the warranty.

Grandad suggested calling a transmission shop he'd dealt with. They don't touch Beetles, but recommended a guy. That guy says (seriously paired down and based on half-understood explanation) that the synchronizer, while it won't let yoi shift into 1st going down the road, will synchronize, maybe? Anyway the stresses can shear gear teeth off, and those toothy bits will accumulate and block the ability to shift to 1st. It apparently happened to his 06. The better news is there is an easy way to check that theory- the fluid, in his words, should look like glitter. His shop wil also do the warranty work. He said he wouldn't let Fields VW work on a go-kart. I'm not a mechanic, but I recognize competence when I see it, and Fields did not have it.
 

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Peace Love & T.o.D.
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2,802 Posts
You are putting the cart in front of the horse.
If the linkage is out of adjustment, it will not let you find the gear. There is a great DIY on YouTube, look for Diesel Geeks Mk4 shifter adjustment


Sent from my Peace Love and "Six for Six" app
 

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5/23/10 <3
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11,414 Posts
I'd also say start with the shift linkage. If your syncros were failing, this would be an issue that you would have noticed for awhile, slowly getting worse. They don't tend to just fail that fast. The linkage will be quick, easy, and cheap to adjust. Start there long before taking the trans out and rebuilding it.
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sagra is at the mechanic for a new transmission.

We had to wait for an insurance adjuster to get there and approve things (since it was a second opinion and all). Then I heard that they wanted to put a refurbished transmission in it and Rob told them hell no. So we had to wait a bit more for the shiny new transmission to be shipped from Buffalo.
 

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Super Moderator
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14,832 Posts
I'm sorry to hear of that. Hope she is back on the road soon. :(
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Another update!

After a whole month (wow), we got Sagra back. It was immediately apparent to me that something still wasn't right, but Robert himself was not actually at the shop.

We learned from the desk lady when we picked up the car that the transmission is NOT, in fact, brand new, but a used one from LKQ (which is the company that bought out the U-Pull-It junkyard in Daytona and most other places I guess). Not sure what happened there. The bill says it was $2000, which seems exorbitant. She assured us that it has a 1-year warranty so if anything goes wrong with it we could just bring it back.

However, Sagra went back to the shop Monday. In driving the car from the shop to Jamie's work Friday, it was very apparent that the shifter was... ODD. The stick didn't really want to go into certain gears as I was driving along. I'd have to try to shift, and push the stick pretty hard to get it to go all the way into gear. Jamie's test drive once we got to his store was more informative- he still cannot downshift while driving. I don't downshift.

Since the shop isn't open on the weekends, we went ahead and took Sagra home. Jamie drove it back and forth to work one day, and we also went on one trip to Walmart. On the way back from Walmart, Jamie lost the ability to shift into 1st gear just like before. Sitting in the driveway as I opened the gate,he also lost 2nd gear, and ended up flipping around the yard in reverse to get parked. He drove it very carefully with a few stalls (still, I'm impressed, starting in 3rd all the time) to the shop Monday morning. Robert was again not there, but the other man assured us they'll look at it and take care of us.

I really want to like the shop. Robert himself seemed to know a lot about Volkswagens, and while I wish we could catch him to talk, it IS basically a 1-man shop so I understand how busy he must be. I'm just confused as to how exactly they could have returned the car to us as "finished" when even non-mechanic me could feel that something was still not right.
As for how long repairs have taken- I blame the extended warranty company. From what the office lady was telling us, those people are impossible to work with and are the reason why things took so long, though she never said it in so many words. She's very nice :)

So anyway, it's a REALLY good thing Jamie's dad is living in his semi truck with the kids at their Grandma's for the summer, cause we're lucky we have something to drive.
 

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A used transmission; doesn't sound like what you agreed to; I would contact the insurance company asap, see what is up. I think; I would insist on a new transmission or at least a professionally rebuilt unit direct from VW:

This doesn't seem too bad; for a rebuilt unit directly from the vw dealer, if this is the right one for your car (less then the used LKQ junk yard unit):

http://www.jimellisvwparts.com/prod...n--MANUALTRANSMISSIO/5140913/02J300047NX.html

When it comes to this warranty stuff; you really have to be on top of it and be firm, to get what you need, good quality parts/repairs for your car.
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I can do nothing without getting ripped off and taken advantage of, Billymade :p This is why Jamie is doing everything and not little ol' me.

But you're right.

Robert at Import Auto ended up rebuilding Sagra's original transmission for us for no charge. Jamie had him do some sort of clutch conversion as well while everything was appropriately apart. Robert didn't charge us labor on this either, just parts :)

We got Sagra back today for $760.
2nd gear grinds when trying to shift regularly, but that is apparently something that a rebuild will not fix. I did not know this- I thought a rebuild was a replacement of all the parts, not just gaskets, and that you just had to assemble everything yourself. It's not. Seems kind of stupid to me. If you go easy on the shifter, 2nd comes without grinding, and everything else works fine.

I swear I still hear a strange rumble-buzzing noise that was not present before the transmission broke the first time.

I'm not certain of the details regarding why, but we will take Sagra to a VW dealership again to try and get things perfect. Robert recommended the one on OBT, I guess the man who trained him to work on these transmission works at that one. Fields VW will never see us again.

We asked for the old parts, and Robert was happy to give them to us. A little golden ring is in 3 pieces, you can see teeth not quite the right shapes, and pieces of the clutch, I think, actually fell to the floor when he was handing us the flywheel.

Jamie is going to go back to Fields VW to try to get the diagnostic fee back, since the dealership was dead wrong about everything.

Anyway. I have my car back for a little while, but this is not over. I completely cleaned and detailed his inside to show I love him, and tomorrow after Jamie gets home, he will get a thorough bath too. I might have some stuff to unfog the headlight lenses.
I updated Sagra's photo thread too.
 

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Hey, sorry to hear about your trans issues and woes:

"2nd gear grinds when trying to shift regularly, but that is apparently something that a rebuild will not fix. I did not know this- I thought a rebuild was a replacement of all the parts, not just gaskets, and that you just had to assemble everything yourself. It's not. Seems kind of stupid to me. If you go easy on the shifter, 2nd comes without grinding, and everything else works fine."

After that statement from them; I would NOT trust their judgement or the quality of their work! Just because the second gear grinds and they may have seen this before, DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT! HELLO?!? They "fixed it"; pushed it out the door and now do not want to deal with the issue, further... get it?

The second gear grinding is NOT "right" or "normal" but it is not a uncommon issue in my experience. I had a brand new 2000 1.8T GLX with the 02J 5 speed; right off the lot, it ground gears... going into second. I had never had; a brand new car before and so, I thought it might need to "break in". The issues never went away; I had my local vw dealership "rebuild" it, they put new syncros in and the issue remained. There were many threads in the past; about this issue and there did seem to be those, who had the problem fixed. I also drove a Audi TT (1st generation); with the SAME transmission and after not driving my old one for a number of years, when I drove the TT... I GROUND THE GEARS THE SAME WAY! So, it made me realize; I wasn't crazy but some of the 02J's seem to exhibit this issue. I ended up; getting a buy back on the 2000 GLX, because of grinding gears and a whole host of other issues... a LEMON, in my view at the time. I now have the 02 NB TURBO S with the 02M six speed; which has other problems (shift forks fail). So, as you can see; there doesn't seem to be a PERFECT vw trans out there.

Having said all that; back at the time (2002); when I had my car bought back by vw, I didn't know or have experience, as much with these cars. The "fixes"; I have seen, seemed to be "hard parts" inside the transmission and now, I wonder if the hydraulic system, was working as it should as well. The "second gear crunch"; seems to be well documented.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=02J second gear grind

Read the MANY threads; on this issue: people bring up:

1. internal problems (possibly syncros); (what did they replace inside the transmission; what did they "rebuild")

2. fluid type: improving or making the grinding issue worse (what fluid type; did they put in the trans after the rebuild? FULL SYNTHETIC RECOMMENDED: VW OEM, Mobil 1, Valvoline, etc.; is it the correct fluid type and meet VW recommendations and specifications?)

3. hydraulic issues? (What did they replace: the slave cylinder and the master cylinder? Was the system fully/correctly bled; as it should be? I use the Phoenix system reverse bleeder system/tool with excellent results) this is their economy model but it works:

PHOENIX SYSTEMS: V5 DIY Reverse Brake Bleeder $64.99

http://www.brakebleeder.com/products/best-sellers/v5-diy-reverse-brake-bleeder/

4. adjusting shifter linkage? Is it correctly adjusted?

There are a number of places that rebuild VW transmission; I would contact them and discuss, your problem with them and see what they advise.

This places; REALLY seems to have nailed down the typical issues with the 02J:

Rebuilt 020, 02a & 02j VW Transaxles
vwtransaxles.com
503-735-5532

http://www.vwtransaxles.com/

These guys; advertise on VWVORTEX and support the transmission forum there: they really seem to emphasize transmissions in their repair services they offer:

Contact Information

Phone: 717.272.0916
aptuning.com

Shop Hours:
Monday-Friday: 8AM-6PM EST
Saturday: 9AM-2PM EST


http://www.aptuning.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12&Itemid=8

I personally; don't have "answers" for you but I hope, that what I have said... may help you in your process of finding a solution to your trans problems. Keep us posted; as your troubleshooting, process of finding feedback/advice from VW trans specialists and getting it repaired, progresses! :)
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks billymade.
For now, we are really happy to have Sagra back, and Jamie is driving back and forth to work. We were under quite a bit of financial strain in these last 2 months before we're free of a lease.
Grandad bailed Sagra out for us, we'll pay him back later when we can.
 

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Aimee M.
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Grandad went into the hospital for a time after holiday chaos was done with, so when got back out and things around here settled back down, I started making calls.

Frankly, I could not believe that a dealership here in Florida didn't have the same courtesies as King GM. Seriously- I cannot be the only person on the planet who doesn't just have multiple working efficient cars so that when one breaks I can just go hop into another one.

I had called David Maus, and was told that no, they did not provide a courtesy car. Not only that, but there would be a $750 diagnostic fee AND once they had my car all in pieces, if they found something wrong not covered under warranty (meaning we would not pay out of pocket to have it fixed) the dealership would NOT put it back together as it was and let us leave. Sagra would be hostage.

I was devastated. I called VW Customer Care directly. That call didn't really help any, but the nice young man let me poor out my troubles and offered a small list of other dealerships in "my area". That made me feel a little less helpless and distraught.

After another few days of calling around, I found out a few other things. The warranty company told me that all they did was shell out money for a transmission and they "preferred" used parts. I don't know exactly what that means except Import Auto was the one that found and selected a used LKQ transmission. It cost $1750 and money was paid out for it June 26th. It has a 1 year warranty from LKQ, I believe.

So basically this means that if the transmission was faulty- as it can be from a junk yard, it would have been Robert's responsibility to pursue warranty replacement to fix that situation- same as if I had gone to the LKQ myself. Instead, he chose to rebuild Sagra's original transmission.

The warranty company said if the transmission issue was still unresolved, it was the responsibility of the shop that did the work to make it right.

I wasn't entirely certain the grinding was related.
In any case, I called Robert and confirmed that there were no hard feelings, between him and us, or between him and the warranty company. I explained that we still has an issue, and because we still needed a loaner car, we were thinking of trying a dealership if we could find one that would help us. He gave me the information for David Maus again.

It turns out there are TWO David Mauses- North and South, and I'd called the wrong one. Hooray, there was hope!

Instead of calling, I went through their contact form online and sent a note. I think better in writing, and I wanted to be able to recall exactly what was said or agreed to, since Jamie wasn't involved yet (and I tend to get myself ripped off easily).
My letter was addressed to the service director so hopefully it would go right to him. I gave a brief summary of everything that had happened so far, making sure to include Robert's name and how I was referred here. I put in a comment about the very real frustration I was feeling- at this point, I loved my husband for the wonderful gesture of buying me my dream car- but I was at the point of telling him to go trade Sagra in for something else he liked, and not deal with this nightmare anymore. I ended with specific reasons why we were having trouble- no loaner car to use, no immediate pocket money to cover a diagnostic fee yet again, and I asked if there was any way his dealership could help us.

Not even 30 minutes later I get a phone call. Keith the service manager said a loaner car would be no problem, and he did indeed know Robert and was friends with him (though couldn't get a hold of him just then) and because of that would talk with him personally about the transmission, and this would allow him to comfortably waive the diagnostic fee for us though he had no experience with the issue or the car. He wanted me to confirm that "synchro and hubs" were covered under our warranty as well as "rack and pinion" for the power steering.

Oh yeah- Sagra developed a power steering fluid leak a month or so ago. Robert has topped off the reservoir twice- once when it first happened, and again for me because I had to drive Grandad to a check-up appointment after his hospital stay. Robert said the leak looked like it was from the rack, so that's what I had told Keith.
The passenger airbag light has also remained on recently.

On Jamie's first day off, we drove an hour and a half down to south Orlando to take Sagra to David Maus. We were helped after just a few seconds of looking lost in the controlled chaos. They are a very busy dealership.
Keith was at lunch, but another nice man took down all the necessary information. We inspected our champagne gold loaner Jetta and pointed out a few shallow scratches on the bumper. We were all ready to go then, and Keith made it back from lunch. We were able to meet him face to face and Jamie thanked him for working with me, because it meant a lot to him for people to be nice to his wife. I thought it was very sweet.

Anyway, it's been...exactly a week.

We just got the final call this morning. The transmission cannot be fixed- it has to go back to Import Auto. The power steering is fixed, it would have cost like $900 or so, but its diagnostic is $89 or so, and fluid is not covered, so that's another $24. The passenger airbag light staying on is not something the warranty covers. $100 is the warranty deductible, so we owe something like $215.

It'll be a few days before we can drive down to get Sagra because Jamie's work hours are pretty much a match with the dealership's, but that's fine. It sounded like they would arrange it so we could drive down Sunday on Jamie's first day off. The service department is closed, but sales will be open and could get us Sagra and take our payment.

Now I have to call Robert....
 
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