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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ever since I bought my 2001.5 Passat GLX in late 2007 I have had a serious concern with the automatic transmission operation. I will describe the situation and associated symptoms to the best of my abilities below:
Engine movements
1. When the car is first started and in "warm-up" mode (RPMs at 1,200), and placed in gear (either R or D), the entire car "lurches" in one direction and there seems to be an immense amount of torque applied to the drive wheels. If the wheels are turned in either direction when the vehicle is placed in gear, the steering wheel "jolts" a few inches in either direction - it's almost violent. Opening the hood reveals that the engine is physically jumping about 1 to 2" up and down when placed in gear - almost cringe worthy. The movements are not a severe when placed in gear after the RPMs are in a normal range (800rpm), but the engine still moves a great deal.
I have had had the engine mounts changed, snub mount changed, and two transmission mounts changed. This did not solve the movement. Every independent shop I have taken the car admits the problem is not normal but cannot diagnose why the engine moves to such extreme means.
Upshifts
2. When the car is first started on a regular morning (60F), the 1-2 and 2-3 upshifts are harsh at best, though there is no apparent slippage. As the car is "warmed up" after about 20 minutes the upshifts get substantially smoother, yet then the downshift issues start.
Downshifts
3. During a regular 60F morning, as the car has been driven for a couple of minutes, the transmission will gradually start slamming down into the 3-2 downshift. This is representative of a two staged popping noise (less than half a second in length), a loud thump, and a jerk throughout the driveline that can be felt through the brake pedal and the entire structure. Continuing the drive for even longer will bring about the same behavior with the 4-3 downshift.
4. This problem has demonstrated to be, over the past two years, temperature related. If the car is started when it is reasonable hot out (75F+), the harsh downshift operation is immediately present during the first 3-2 downshift. When the temperature is even higher, (85F+), every downshift (5-4, 4-3, 2-3) has the same double pop, clunk, and shudder.
5. The downshift pop/clunk/shudder seems to be exasperated when the air condition is on (Climatronic set to auto). When the temperature is extremely hot outside (95F+), and the AC is on, the downshifts are downright violent.
6. Turning the car off and restarting it after a short trip exasperates the downshift issue. After a short 5 minute trip, when the car is shifted to park, turned off, and restarted, the downshift bump seems to get worse (my perception)
Throttle application clunk
7. Letting off and on the throttle at speed, especially in gears 2, 3, and 4 produces the same “popping noise”, a clunk, and a feeling of something “disconnecting”. Reapplying the throttle does the same as the car “connects” again.
Kickdown operation
8. Here’s the situation: You’re in 5th gear, going up a hill, or need to quickly accelerate. You use the kick down or just give a substantial throttle input. The transmission will shift to 3rd, the RPMs much higher, but as soon as you let off the gas or decrease the throttle input, as it shifts back into 4th and 5th gear, the same familiar “pop/clunk/shudder” appears, the transmission basically “dumping” itself back into the higher gears in a completely unpleasant manner.
MAF
9. Thinking that this could be a mass airflow issue, I attempted to unplug the sensor. Shockingly, the downshift clunk and shudder seemed to significantly decrease, though the same “popping noise” was still there, Unplugging the MAF brought other behaviors as well, most notably the transmission engaging in an extremely violent clunk and shudder as soon as it upshifted into 5th gear, feeling like it was “falling” out of gear and quickly hammering itself back into gear. This was definitely a split second of slippage, but was associated with a violent clunk which almost felt like the car had hit something. Plugging the MAF back in had the downshift troubles return, but the 5th gear catastrophic thump did not occur.
I replaced the MAF sensor with a new one, but the operation was the same as with the old. Count out the MAF..
TIPTRONIC Operation:
10. Adding to the confusion, the downshift pop/thump/clunk can be averted by simply downshifting using Tiptronic. There is still a relatively “rubbery” feeling about the downshifts, but no loud pop or clunk as when the transmission is left in “D”. The weird on/off throttle transition noises and clunks still continue.
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In conclusion, I have had the car at two dealerships and four independents for this problem. I had the fluid changed at an indy, who stated there was no metal shavings in the transmission pan, but new fluid did not solve anything. This problem has really gotten no worse or better over the course of the last 17,000 miles (what I’ve put on the car since buying it). The car currently stands at 99,500 miles, and as I stated previously there is an extended warranty on the vehicle. This brings me to the overwhelming problem I am having.
You see, the VW Helpline told the dealer that the problem was “suspected failures within the n75, n80, and n90 solenoids in the valve body”. The warranty adjuster came out and denied the claim since a VW dealer is obviously not going to engage in a transmission teardown (yes, I have had 3 dealers simply refuse to pull the valve body and test the individual solenoids).
Now, I would really appreciate some suggestions here…I can have an independent shop remove the valve body and possibly “check” the solenoids (not sure how they could do this), to the tune of nearly a thousand dollars, but even then there is no chance 1) the problem really is the valve body, or 2) that the boiler room warranty operation would approve the claim.
I am sorry this is so long, but I know I need to make an immediate decision about this car. The last thing I need to be spending thousands on a new valve body or entire transmission a few thousand miles out of this warranty period.
Based on the car’s behavior, do you think it’s safe to conclude this could be a valve body issue? The only thing is, I have no idea 1) How the engine movements /over-torqueing of the driveline is related to the solenoids in the valve body, 2) why the unplugged MAF solved one problem partly and caused another, and 3) why the downshift drama can be nixed when simply downshifting using tiptronic. That all lends me to think of a computer/electrical problem. Previous repair records indicate the transmission range-sensor needed to be replaced after the car couldn’t be shifted out of Park. I am really not well-versed enough in what the valve body actually does, but the dealer has told me it is the “brain” of the transmission (what about TCM?). I should mention that the transmission has never thrown out any fault codes and the VAG-COM cable/program I bought has confirmed this - the modules reports everything as OK.
I would really appreciate any insight from anyone who was so god willing to read through this entire story. Thank you all so much.

Modified by tuolumne at 4:04 AM 8-14-2009

Modified by tuolumne at 4:19 AM 8-14-2009


Modified by tuolumne at 4:20 AM 8-14-2009
 

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Re: 500 miles left on extended warranty - Transmission/Valve body concern (tuolumne)

common issues with the 5hp19a transmission
1-torque converter failure (noticed when accelerating usually after the 2 or 3upshift and it laggs feeling like it shifts to third and then catches. or when coming to a stop and not stopping all the way it takes time to actually accelerate (like its slipping), or when you are driving on the HW, the transmission feels like it drops a gear then engages again. Torque converters are a common problem on theese (same one as the w8 passat do a search on those issues)
2- There was a design flaw for the 2-3 band servo fluid map in the valve body. the hole was drilled to large causing premature engagement (too much pressure) on the front clutch assembly. That in turn is what causes the 3-2, 2-1 downshift clunk because the front pump clutches burn out and cant properly slow down the transmission causing it to bump (kind of like a manual trans grinding).
long story short you need a new torque converter and transmission. But unfortunately no shop will replace either because they have not "totally failed" IE it still shifts fine and the check engine light is not on for torque converter solenoid. aka you are screwed and will have to shell out the 1600.00 for a new trans/tq from ebay. (http://www.europeantransmissions.com/shop/product.php?productid=16204)
ebay ones are usually 1400.00 + a 300 torque converter + fluid $100
oh, and by the way my trans has all those isses and the dealer would NOT replace it under warranty because the said it had not "failed" yet. http://****************.com/smile/emthdown.gif
oh and also might want to have the control arms checked out, then can cause the steering wheel clunk. And also have the cam seals checked for oil leaks .
 

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Re: 500 miles left on extended warranty - Transmission/Valve body concern (Slimjimmn)

oh and another problem with the valve bodys, there are little rubber cups at the end of the fluid paths in the valve body for the shift solenoids, yea rubber +80k miles = rupture. They blow out and cause a loss of pressure when shifting, mainly the 2-3 cup because of the improperly machined hole in the fluid path in the valve body. If you remove the pan and find the rubber cup than it needs a valve body. Oh and it causes slipping from 2-3 (or whatever gear the cup ruptures on)
 
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Re: 500 miles left on extended warranty - Transmission/Valve body concern (Slimjimmn)

Quote, originally posted by Slimjimmn »

long story short you need a new torque converter and transmission. But unfortunately no shop will replace either because they have not "totally failed" IE it still shifts fine and the check engine light is not on for torque converter solenoid. aka you are screwed and will have to shell out the 1600.00 for a new trans/tq from ebay. (http://www.europeantransmissions.com/shop/product.php?productid=16204)

If the shop is reasonable, they should replace the transmission if it totally fails even after the warranty is up now because you documented that it was having problems prior to the expiration. But not all shops will do this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: 500 miles left on extended warranty - Transmission/Valve body concern (Slimjimmn)

First off let me thank Slimjimmn for such a thoughtful and detailed reply. I have to be honest with you, I have spent hours on the internet searching for information regarding this transmission and the valve body, and your reply truly was the first I had ever read of that information. I greatly appreciate it.
Secondly, I have an update to this situation:
had brought the car to another shop who specializes only in MB/BMW/Mini/VW/Audi/Porsche (parking lot was full of 911s and AMGs when I drove up, nice sign) as a last ditch effort to do something for this transmission. They quoted me $960 to drop the valve body and test each individual solenoids, a bullet that was hard to bite given the cost of a used tranny is only marginally more.
Well, they called me back this afternoon to tell me as soon as they took off the valve body, they sawabundant "metal shavings" around the interior of the transmission, saying that the entire unit was "finished" (their words). Now the fun part of dealing with the warranty company comes into play. It states here in the contract that they reserve the right to used "remanufactured or used parts". I'll keep you all apprised of the latest updates to this nightmare. Thanks for all the responses.
 

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Re: 500 miles left on extended warranty - Transmission/Valve body concern (tuolumne)

i removed my valve body and solenoids to inspect for metal shavings and found none. Any solenoid that is bad will set a light for a short or open ect... Anywho good thing they dropped the pan because there is no way to find metal shavings w/o doing so. Bummer my VW dealer I took mine to would not even drop the pan to check because they couldnt "duplicate" the concern even though I went on a test drive and it happened like 4-5 times and the tech still said he didnt feel it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: 500 miles left on extended warranty - Transmission/Valve body concern (Slimjimmn)

Just to update:
I got the (used) transmission installed and the results are bad.
The vehicle still does everything listed above. The engine raises up 2" when put in gear (changed the snub mount, no change), the driveline is overtorqued, and the 3-2 slam is even worse now.
Obviously this is not a problem of the transmission, this is something much more serious. The very fact that downshifting using tiptronic stops the thumping clanking noise means this has to be some sort of TCM/ECM computer issue. I have no idea what the problem is by I am at wits end and seriously considering just getting rid of this car. The shop who installed the transmission now has no idea why the issue persists. Mind you, the shop was filled with Mercedes-Benz AMG and Porsche 911s the day I picked it up, so I trust them. They flat out asked me if the car had been in an accident before and if the driveline was ****ed up. I have no idea since the car was used, but I don't see why the problem only comes on after the car has been driven for 5 minutes. Still, why would the engine be raising up this absurd amount when put in gear? Something is very, very wrong in the driveline of this car. After everything I've been through with this damn car, I can't possibly see continuing to waste so much time and money on it.
 
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