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Thread: REM's VW question re-posted; slipping VW transmission

  1. #21
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    Dom,

    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Sounds to me that your tranny has multiple issues.

    1) the stumbling when slowing down sounds like a sticking torque converter lockup switch

    2) the slipping could be worn clutch discs, or incomplete engagement because of stuck valves from debris, or just some bad solenoids or wire connections in there.

    3) all this stuff easily could be some messed up electrics, or an internally filthy tranny.

    I can't believe VW says not to change the fluid for the life of the tranny. That is insane!
    Thanks for the reply. Had it in to a tranny shop and they said the fluid level was good and the color was "starting to turn". So it doesn't sound like it was filthy. Sounds like you're saying that a flush might be worth the investment.

    Which specific "messed up electrics" are the prime suspects? Are the ones you mentioned all internal?

    As far as VW's "lifetime sealed unit", what they're not telling you is that if you follow their instructions, "lifetime" will be 60-90k.

  2. #22
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by REM View Post
    Dom,



    Thanks for the reply. Had it in to a tranny shop and they said the fluid level was good and the color was "starting to turn". So it doesn't sound like it was filthy. Sounds like you're saying that a flush might be worth the investment.

    Which specific "messed up electrics" are the prime suspects? Are the ones you mentioned all internal?

    As far as VW's "lifetime sealed unit", what they're not telling you is that if you follow their instructions, "lifetime" will be 60-90k.
    Many modern automatics have (among other electronically controlled functions), a torque converter lock-up switch and a throttle valve switch that governs up and down shifts, based on engine load, etc. A fault with either of these could produce some of the symptoms you're experiencing.

    I'd still want to have a look inside the pan (and have the old filter out and replaced) regardless, given the mileage, etc.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Many modern automatics have (among other electronically controlled functions), a torque converter lock-up switch and a throttle valve switch that governs up and down shifts, based on engine load, etc. A fault with either of these could produce some of the symptoms you're experiencing.
    Are those switches internal or external?


    I'd still want to have a look inside the pan (and have the old filter out and replaced) regardless, given the mileage, etc.
    I'm thinking of doing just that. I need to find a mechanic who knows transmissions that I can trust who can look at the particles in the pan and give me an honest evaluation.

  4. #24
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "Are those switches internal or external? "

    I'm not familiar enough with late model VWs to say; Dom? Any of you guys know?

    "I'm thinking of doing just that. I need to find a mechanic who knows transmissions that I can trust who can look at the particles in the pan and give me an honest evaluation."

    A question: Do you do your own oil changes? If yes, this is something you could probably do on your own. The main difference is that the transmission pan, unlike the oil pan, probably does not have a drain plug. (The manufacturers stopped providing them, allegedly to encourage people to remove the pan so as to get the old filter out rather than to just drain the fluid, etc. But more likely, to make DIY service more of a PITAS and thus increase dealer's profits.) This means you'll have to deal with dropping a pan that's got several quarts of messy fluid in it. But if you use a large catch pan (and dress in old clothes!) it's no big deal. If you can jack up/safely support the car, crawl underneath and using a ratchet/socket set, back out maybe a dozen bolts that hold the pan in place, this is a job you can definitely do on your own.

    And, it's not necessary to be a trained expert to "read the pan." If you find more than fine, silty-looking grains of stuff (normal wear and tear) you likely have problems. Bigger stuff that looks like bits of shredded tin, any chunks of metal, etc. almost certainly means major internal problems.

  5. #25
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    I'm sure all the switches and electronics are internal (not 100%, but have never seen it any other way). VWs are a trick to be honest. I don't really have any experience messing with them. I know enough about VWs to know they do things a bit different.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    I'm sure all the switches and electronics are internal (not 100%, but have never seen it any other way).
    So, if they're all internal, we're still talking about a major (i.e., expensive) job of removal, disassembly, repair, and reinstall, right? Or, could you access the internal switch and other electric components while the tranny is still on the car? If not, and the tranny has to be removed, it wouldn't be much cheaper than having the tranny removed and completely rebuilt. So, tell me why I should be happy if it's "just a switch".

    First thing I think I want to do is get a second opinion and see if those codes really came up.

    Any further thoughts?
    Last edited by REM; 10-12-2009 at 04:46 PM.

  7. #27
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Well, just because a switch is internal doesn't mean you can't drop a trans pan, or remove an inspection plate to access them. I've changed a couple torque converter lock-up switches without removing anything more than an inspection plate on a number of occasions.

    I understand your concern and attempts to discover the problem before condemning the tranny. All it takes is one bad diagnosis to turn this into a multi-thousand dollar repair. I am not saying that it's not though.

    Did you say the year, engine size, model, etc of this unit?

    I am going to check the previous posts for that information.

    If you have not, please list it.

    I will check service recalls and common issues for that particular unit this week for you.

    note: I just checked and see all the info for the car. I will do some research this week in my free time at work for you.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Well, just because a switch is internal doesn't mean you can't drop a trans pan, or remove an inspection plate to access them. I've changed a couple torque converter lock-up switches without removing anything more than an inspection plate on a number of occasions.
    That's what I was hoping you might say. Can you state, generally, whether most electrical components are, or are not, accessible without removing and opening up the tranny?


    I will check service recalls and common issues for that particular unit this week for you.
    note: I just checked and see all the info for the car. I will do some research this week in my free time at work for you.
    I appreciate that, Dom. Thank you very much.
    Last edited by REM; 10-12-2009 at 09:36 PM.

  9. #29
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    I don't know shet about VWs man. Other than general maintenance, they are alien to me!

    No problem on checking up on it. I will keep you posted if I find anything. In the mean time I would suggest doing some research with buddies and find a connection to a friend of a friend you can trust at a tranny shop.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by REM View Post
    I had the car in to AAMCO. They told me the car is showing Codes 17114 / PO 0730. They said fluid level is good, and color is starting to turn. Surprisingly, they stated that they didn't get a code for a bad thermostat that was showing up consistently for the last several months, and the thermostat problem is still there. They said the problem is definitely internal damage . . .

    I've been reading up on Code 17114 and it appears that it's a generic code that doesn't really pinpoint the problem. How do I even know if the car generated those codes? Does the VAG-COM print out a report?

    Time for a second opinion, I think.
    The above is what I said a week ago. Well, here's the latest. I took the car to an auto parts place that does a free Code check. What they found was what I expected, and suspected. No transmission Codes at all appeared. Only the cooling system Code P2181 that I was aware of.

    So again I ask: How do I even know if the car generated those bad transmission codes at AAMCO? And why didn't his check of the codes reveal the P2181 code that's been there for several months? And the fact that the guy at AAMCO gave me some b.s. reason for why he couldn't give me a printout showing the bad codes makes me even more suspicious.

    So next step is to have the fluid drained/replaced or flushed, have the pan cleaned and examined, have someone check the electrics and whatever else can be checked from underneath, and see how the tranny acts.

    One last thing: When I put the tranny into Sport Mode, where you shift manually, it seems to perform just fine.

  11. #31
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "One last thing: When I put the tranny into Sport Mode, where you shift manually, it seems to perform just fine."

    That is a very important clue!

    If a mechanical problem existed such as burned up clutches, etc,. then the transmission would slip all the time.

    If it works normally in Sport mode, then the problem is probably related to the electronics.

    In Sport mode, the transmission's overdrive (and lock-up converter) are typically locked out, to provide more aggressive gearing for better performance/feel.

    That's where I'd begin to look.

    PS: The OBD scan port (where you get the trouble codes) is located just under the steering column/dash area. If you have an OBD scanner or have a friend who has one, you can find out what codes are being churned out by your car's computer in 30 seconds with no tools (other than the scanner).

    Also, if you have Advance Auto Parts in your area, they will retrieve your trouble codes (using their scanner) for free. I'm not sure, but NAPA and Pep Boys and other such stores may offer the same service....

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    "One last thing: When I put the tranny into Sport Mode, where you shift manually, it seems to perform just fine."

    That is a very important clue!

    If a mechanical problem existed such as burned up clutches, etc,. then the transmission would slip all the time.

    If it works normally in Sport mode, then the problem is probably related to the electronics.

    In Sport mode, the transmission's overdrive (and lock-up converter) are typically locked out, to provide more aggressive gearing for better performance/feel.

    That's where I'd begin to look.

    PS: The OBD scan port (where you get the trouble codes) is located just under the steering column/dash area. If you have an OBD scanner or have a friend who has one, you can find out what codes are being churned out by your car's computer in 30 seconds with no tools (other than the scanner).

    Also, if you have Advance Auto Parts in your area, they will retrieve your trouble codes (using their scanner) for free. I'm not sure, but NAPA and Pep Boys and other such stores may offer the same service....
    Eric,

    Thanks for the info on Sport Mode. Do you agree that it makes sense to do a flush or fluid/filter replacement first and see if that solves the problem? (I guess that while the pan is off, they could inspect whatever is accessible from underneath.) Could the whole thing be due to a clogged filter?

    And FWIW, I'm not 100% sure, but the irregular shifting and slipping seems much more noticeable when I'm accelerating through a fairly sharp low speed left turn (not on right turns). This makes me think that the g force of the turn is causing a momentary fluid starvation in part of the box. This could be due to a low fluid level or clogged filter. Make sense?

    Regarding the scan, see my previous message. I had it done yesterday. No faulty transmission codes showed despite the fact that AAMCO told me about two bad ones. Moreover, the only code that showed was P2181, which is a cooling system code that's been there for several months (bad thermostat). AAMCO mysteriously didn't see that code. How do I know that AAMCO even hooked up the scanner ??? (Guess what I'm thinking)
    Last edited by REM; 10-17-2009 at 06:14 PM.

  13. #33
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "Thanks for the info on Sport Mode."

    You bet!

    "Do you agree that it makes sense to do a flush or fluid/filter replacement first and see if that solves the problem? (I guess that while the pan is off, they could inspect whatever is accessible from underneath.) Could the whole thing be due to a clogged filter?"

    Yes. Given the mileage, I'd do a drain/refill & fluid replacement as "normal service." (This ought to have been done, in my opinion, at around 40,000 miles and every 40k thereafter.) I'd also like to have a look inside the pan and yes, a clogged filter could definitely create problems - especially if there's no bypass in the system (I don't know whether your transmission has this feature, offhand). In an automatic, operation is controlled by hydraulic action, through circuits inside the valve body. If passages get clogged or accumulators get sticky, etc., then you get problems with shift quality/feel and so on.

    Bottom line: The fluid/filter need to be replaced anyhow. And with the pan exposed, you will know whether there's debris/chunks in there - or not. This will give you peace of mind that (a) the fluid/filter are changed and thus fresh, etc., and (b) the transmission is mechanically ok (no debris/chunks in the pan)...


    "And FWIW, I'm not 100% sure, but the irregular shifting and slipping seems much more noticeable when I'm accelerating through a fairly sharp low speed left turn (not on right turns). This makes me think that the g force of the turn is causing a momentary fluid starvation in part of the box. This could be due to a low fluid level or clogged filter. Make sense?"

    I have never heard of that happening, but that doesn't mean it couldn't. There's not as much air space in the sump of an automatic transmission as there is in an engine oil pan so it'd be harder to uncover the pump pick-up.I think the transmission would have to be low on fluid to begin with - and then you'd need to subject the vehicle to some pretty extreme lateral forces to get it to the point that it was sucking air... but maybe it's possible.

    PS: You have confirmed the fluid level is right... right?


    "Regarding the scan, see my previous message. I had it done yesterday. No faulty transmission codes showed despite the fact that AAMCO told me about two bad ones. Moreover, the only code that showed was P2181, which is a cooling system code that's been there for several months (bad thermostat). AAMCO mysteriously didn't see that code. How do I know that AAMCO even hooked up the scanner ??? (Guess what I'm thinking)[/QUOTE]"

    Extra cheesy. That shop is either incompetent or crooked. Either way, you do not want to do business with them!

  14. #34
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    Happy Ending

    I finally found a trustworthy tran shop in my area. They checked the TCM and found no codes. I had them change the fluid and strainer. They found a little metal in the pan, but just a little. Within the range of normal, they said. No observation of clutch material. They said the fluid level was low. They thoroughly cleaned the pan and put the new fluid and strainer in.

    I drove the car out and its perfect. Silky smooth upshifts and downshifts. No stumbling anymore as I roll to a stop. Smoother, quieter operation overall. The car seems a bit quicker too. The car feels like it's two years younger.

    Remember when I brought it to AAMCO about a month ago and they insisted that the tranny has to come out for a total rebuild, and they mysteriously found the codes (which no one else found) that supported their diagnosis?

    AAMCO = All Automatics Must Come Out

    Thank you to everyone here who made me a much smarter consumer.
    Last edited by REM; 10-30-2009 at 11:29 PM.

  15. #35
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Happy to hear it!

    Very nice.. another satisfied cartomer.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
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    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  16. #36
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by REM View Post
    I finally found a trustworthy tran shop in my area. They checked the TCM and found no codes. I had them change the fluid and strainer. They found a little metal in the pan, but just a little. Within the range of normal, they said. No observation of clutch material. They said the fluid level was low. They thoroughly cleaned the pan and put the new fluid and strainer in.

    I drove the car out and its perfect. Silky smooth upshifts and downshifts. No stumbling anymore as I roll to a stop. Smoother, quieter operation overall. The car seems a bit quicker too. The car feels like it's two years younger.

    Remember when I brought it to AAMCO about a month ago and they insisted that the tranny has to come out for a total rebuild, and they mysteriously found the codes (which no one else found) that supported their diagnosis?

    AAMCO = All Automatics Must Come Out

    Thank you to everyone here who made me a much smarter consumer.
    This is great news!

    And also a cautionary tale to others out there who may have a similar problem. Get a second opinion if you have any doubt about what a shop is telling you go with your gut.

    REM could have been taken for $2,000 for a repair he did not need.

    PS: We hope you'll stick around/tell friends about this site. Your post/thread has been top drawer!

  17. #37
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    Eric,

    I ain't goin' anywhere.

    << REM could have been taken for $2,000 for a repair he did not need. >>

    Or as much as $5,000.

  18. #38
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by REM View Post
    Eric,

    I ain't goin' anywhere.

    << REM could have been taken for $2,000 for a repair he did not need. >>

    Or as much as $5,000.
    That's good to hear!

    I don't want to slam AAMCO across the board (these are franchises and I'm assuming some are better than others). But what they tried in your case was criminal fraud/larceny in my opinion. If they do this sort of thing routinely, they're apt to end up getting a wood shampoo at some point, too...

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