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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 vw beetle convertible. I just bought it Feb.11 ive replaced motor mounts, spark plugs, and thermostat. But it still shifts hard from 2nd to 3rd &3rd to 4th. It seems to only do it when its warmed up. It also does this thing where PRNDS all light up with brackets around them after 10min. of driving. Someone please help me on this because I dont have much $ and dont wanna waste it on transmission if its not even that! :(


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Common problem. You need your transmission valve body overhauled.

Unfortunately your car did not get the valve body repaired under the 7 year/100k mile extended warranty, VW extended the warranty due to all the problems.

How many miles does your car have on it now?

The 6 speed Tips are generally pretty good and just need the valve body reworked.

I sent mine out to a shop in CA that reworked my valve body, cost me about $550, plus shipping and fluid I was at around $700 for the work on my car. I did all the removal and installation myself.

I prefer to rework the valve body from the car rather than a complete exchange.

If you have a shop do the work, I would say expect about $400 labor, otherwise they are ripping you off. The job is actually pretty easy to do if you can get the solenoid wiring disconnected. A bit tricky so you do not break any of the solenoid caps.

So I would expect a decent price to be just under $1100 from a shop. Some shops may try to see you a transmission, but do not fall for that. Also do not expect a transmission software upgrade to resolve your problem, software will not correct the mechanical problems in the valve body.

Where are you located??

Do you have anyone that can do the work for you?

If you remove the trans pan and it is pretty clean, then it is worth spending the money on the valve body rebuild.

You will also likely get hard 4-3 downshifting next since you just have upshift problems now. The warmer the fluid, the harder the shifting.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for replying. I was hoping it wouldn't be something like that :( I talked to volkswagen dealer today and I told them the problems. They asked about the [P][R][N][D]...if it did that and it does. .ive even took it to Aamco transmission place but they wanted 650 just to open it and see what the problem was. The codes that come up are I 045 tiptronic 17116 73 gear ratio 2 2181 cooling system. I live in Texas in a smalltown 45 min from Houston . Aamco also said pressure hydraulic is good. 74, 490 is the mileage
 

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I have a 2003 1.8t 6 speed Tiptronic vert that I purchased new.

At 73k miles the valve body had eaten its self up. Your is right on time!!

Assuming the car has not been driving for a LONG time with the valve body bad, then likely the trans is fine, but to know for sure, you need to drop the trans pan and see how much metal, if any, is in the pan. Some very fine metal particles is normal and ok.

Skip Aamco, they love to put the trans apart, then tell you they will credit the cost of the inspection to your $5000 repair!!

If you can live with the car off the road for about 7-10 days, you can send you valve body out for repair. If you cannot live with the car out of service for more than 1 day, you can purchase an exchange rebuilt valve body and have it installed.

You need to call around and find a honest trans shop that know the history on these transmissions and will install a rebuilt/exchange valve body for you.

Again, the shop should not charge more than 4 hours of labor. So I would say about $400. The job is actually pretty easy overall.

Where did you get your codes read? Dealer or Aamco.

Aamco will read codes for free and should give you a free estimate, however, they usually give you worse case estimates even if you do not need to spend $5k!!

You really need to get the transmission repaired. If you continue to drive the car, you can damage the transmission further and it will cost you big money.

I never had any codes or problems with the shift indicator, you may have a bad solenoid and/or too much hydraulic leakage in the valve body due to worn valves and valve bores.

I would say likely you could get away with just the valve body being reworked, however, you may need to confirm 100% what the codes you are getting from the transmission are.

It may be possibly someone tried to change the fluid at one point and the fluid is actually a bit low as well??

Fluid fill and level verification is from the bottom drain plug in the trans pan. It is a rather ingenious way to fill and check the level, many people just do not understand how it works!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thats what I had thought about Aamco. Ugh this sucks :( okay thank you so much for the help! Oh and aamco was the one who gave me the codes ...
 

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Also be prepared to replace your oil pickup for the engine as well.

If your oil light ever comes on when driving and you get a beeping from the dashboard. Your oil pickup WILL need to be replaced. Again, not a hard job, parts are cheap. Oil pickup and O-ring are around $25. Oil pan does not even have a gasket. Oil pan removal and re-installation should be about 2.5 hours of labor. Very easy job, back 4 bolts a bit tricky.

You might be a bit luckier due to where you live, but if you bought the car used, you may not know the full history.

My car sat for 3 years due to the oil pick up and transmission problems. I just could not drive it and did not get around to repairing it until about 9 months ago.

Wife needed reliable transportation and too many problems at once, 3 years ago when we got my wife a replacement car, we were only offered $5k for a trade in on the car with only 72k miles. There was NO way I was taking only $5k for the car 3 years ago, so I just parked it until I could get around to sorting out the issues.

Now my 16 year old daughter has a pretty nice car to drive!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
if I were to take out the valve body myself and put it back in . How would I put transmission fluid back in ? Do I need a certain tool?
 

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Search my name on the forum, I described how to fill transmission with about $10 worth of parts. I think the thread was titled Towed??? It was a long thread about a 2.0l as I recall??

I can give you some short cuts, you can reuse the pan gasket and filter and use Mobil1 synthetic ATF.

I used Pacific Coast Transmission in CA. Johnny and his crew turn the valve body around usually the same day and they know their stuff.

Take pictures of wiring. There are about 15 wire connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok thanks! Also I have another question. If the so called code aamco pulled up about the tiptronic is right. What would that mean? That its also the tiptronic as well? Because the maunal shifting doesnt work only if I turn the car off in neutral then cut the car back on and push the shifter over to the right and it works then?
 

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Once the trans goes into limp mode, you need to turn car off to try and clear limp mode. I did not get a chance to research the exact codes, but likely they are due to bad solenoids and worn valve body.

Let's hope someone has not been in the trans so far.

My trans was fine as for material in the trans pan. I have put about 5k miles on reworked valve body.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay thank you so so much! Ive called alot of places and found a place that works on VW and they said they would do diagnostics for free. :) I will update this once I get it looked at and hopefully fixed!

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I have lived this nightmare, you need the valvebody reworked and the solenoids are likely worn. Most valve body rework jobs include solenoid overhaul/repair.

Do not get sucked into some BS story about software or just replacing a solenoid or internal trans wiring harness.

Again, VW had SO many problems they extended the transmission warranty to 7 years/100k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I took it the day before yesterday and I was told that they would have to open it up. They also said my transmission oil was full but muddy and dark meaning it was overheating...I typed my vin into google to see if anything popped up and before I bought it from this one dealer it was sitting at another dealer for a few months with the mileage of 74388 ..so im guessing they were also trying to sell it messed up like tht. My mileage is still at 74xxx I jus dont know the exact..so thats a good thing right? Like it hasnt been drove alot....I hope

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I would spend no moneys on "opening" up anything.

Unless the trans has really been abused at this mileage, all you likely need is a reworked valve body.

If the $500 would include replacing the valve body if you paid for the reworking and the $500 covered the fluid & filter and valve body replacement, I might consider it???

To pull the pan and ever put the old fluid back in I would pay no more than $150 MAX.

Do not pay $500 for anyone to inspect the trans, it is a waste of money.
 

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I was told it was for the whole job of putting whatever needed ti be done to it..I just pay for my part and thats all...this shop has been there since 1980..so im hoping he is a good one and not the kind to rip someone off. .I read only one good review on him. Because that was all there was.. he said he would call me friday to let me know...I felt like calling today but i dont wanna be a bother lol

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If the will only charge you $500 to swap valve bodies and this includes fluid, filter & gasket, this is not far off the mark. If it is $500 labor, this is a bit high in my opinion. A shop should have the valve body out in under 1 hour, more like 45 min if they know what they are doing.

If they allow you to get the valve body or send yours out, expect around $600 with shipping for a reworked valve body unless this shop REALLY knows what they are doing with a valve body. If they a not a mainstream trans shop, do not let them attempt to rework the valve body.

I would suggest if you have either let you take a picture of the trans pan or provide you a picture of the trans pan after it is drained, but before it is cleaned out. The problem is if there is ANY metal in the trans pan, they will say there is metal and the trans needs to be overhauled.

Problem is ANY auto trans with OVER say 20-25k miles will have some metal in the pan, this is NORMAL. As long as the trnas magnets do not look like a Chia pet, you should be fine. I have pictures of BAD magnets here on the forum in a different post if you search.

Its like someone opening up your engine at 75k miles, saying you have carbon build up and need to overhaul the engine. At 70k miles EVERYTHING is worm, but you are not expecting another 200k out of the trans, you just want to get another 75k or so for $1000-$1100.

Good luck with this, do not be over sold on something you really do no need. Be ready for the $4k plus conversation regarding your transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Oh man! I just found out today how much everything is to fix ! Mechanic told me it was going to be $2598!!!! $1371 for the trans rebuild kit, 275 torq converter, fluids 220, 155 taxes, 577 labor....he said my trans was damaged...this is my 2nd beetle and I never had problems like this ...

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Money is you only need the valve body reworked.

EVERY trans shop will want to give you the full enchilada.

Do you have a picture of the trans pan when it was removed??

I would push for an answer to what the "damage" is. The labor appears to be low, but not sure where you are located and what the labor rate is.

I would push for just a valve body as I would find it hard to believe at this mileage the trans was damaged, but it depends on how long the car was driven with the bad valve body.

The valve body repair/exchange should be under $1k at the prices I am seeing this shop quote.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I dont have a pic but my dad seen it and he said it had quite a bit in it..it also sucks because this place is about 45min.away And i have 2 little girls or else I would be there talkin to this guy trying to have him explain everything to me..so is the valve body diffe re nt from the trans? Im going tomorrow to go pay him some of the money and I will have some one there with me so im going to be asking a ton of questions. ..
 
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