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My haunted car, part II



6:13 pm on May 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well I got a call from the repair shop. The transmission failed because the metal case developed a crack, then a hole. All of the oil escaped from that hole.
I asked him, is this common? He said no, this is the first time he ever has seen this in a VW transmission.
Yes, he said, in Chrysler transmissions it always happens - they are cheap. But never in VW transmissions!
So he will try to replace the transmission with a good low-mileage used one under warranty.
I told him he can visit my home and look at the driveway - there is no oil stain at all, it is completely clean and dry, so if the oil leaked it wasn't here.


8:44 pm on May 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

similar thing happened to my 96 Saturn (now dead, RIP). Oil leak, but no oil stain. Maybe the oil leaked only when I was out driving?


10:42 pm on May 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I went to the shop this afternoon. The tranny was sitting on the ground. The hole is inside the bell housing where the differential casting meets the bell casting.

The hole is roughly rectangular and you can see the differential gears. This hole isn't supposed to be there, so the oil spewed out as the vehicle was being driven.

The clutch was on the floor. It actually didn't seem that bad at all, still seemed to be lots of meat left on the disc. But I'll let the pros decide what needs changing, given the location of the failure.


11:10 pm on May 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

How 'bout I sell you my car next year when the car I want comes out. It should still have about 20,000 miles left on the factory warranty. ;)


1:36 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

At this point the car already has many new parts installed. It might last quite a while now because of the combination of warranty and the inconvenient yet timely malfunctions.

Something obviously shot out of the transmission, something out of the differential shot a hole in the casting. Wish I knew what.

Automan Empire

2:43 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's not a very common failure... in the trade, we would say that the tranny "grenaded."

A boneyard tranny is the way to go. Even if your old one didn't "grenade", the cost of repairing a manual gearbox correctly and the usual reliability thereof is in favor of the used unit.

I hope you are at a VW mechanic, and not a national chain transmission place. Those are famous for declaring the case no good, then charging more for that than the original job, when a warranty situation is presented.

As far as re-using the clutch, make sure the thickness of the lining above the rivet heads is more than 50% of new otherwise don't re-use it. The cost of a set of clutch parts is usually far less than pulling the tranny again in six months should it come to that. Also look at the pressure plate for major brown/blue/purple spots or serious cracking (minor checking ok). Also see about replacing the rear main engine seal while the tranny is out. Lot of labor to go back in again.
Good luck

Automan Empire

2:46 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Oh, and in mechanic forums, or when posting technical questions about a car, remember to put year, make, model, and possibly engine size, trans type, and number of doors etc, in your post. ;)


3:17 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Grenaded" eh? Cute!

Ka-BOOM! Hehehehe!

The warranty company hasn't designated the local VW dealership as the repair depot. Instead an independent transmission repair shop in my town is responsible for all warranty repair work under this contract. It's owned and operated by a husband and wife team. They've got a good local reputation, that I know. They get a lot of work. I used to run deliveries to them on a daily basis. The shop is clean and well organized.

You're right about the cost of replacing the clutch. Pulling and reinstalling the tranny alone is about $500 labour cost. EEK!

There's still significant meat on the clutch disk, well above the rivets. Just a little bit of grooving on the flywheel, not so bad really. No discolouration on the flywheel. But there is a spray pattern on the clutch disk. It does look like the clutch might have been exposed to oil once the hole opened up.

I couldn't see the condition of the pressure plate - the clutch disk was resting on top of it and I shouldn't have been in the shop (for too long) anways. The throwout bearing made no noise and felt normal under the left foot (it's a cable pull, not hydraulic).

I'll wait and see what they say. If they can resurrect and warranty the disk with a thorough washing in solvent and brake cleaner, maybe it'll be good. But if they say it should be replaced, I'll scrape up the money somehow. I'd prefer a new clutch assembly if given a choice.

This might be ok. I'm a very technical hands-on kind of car owner and details don't frighten me. I'm accustomed to reworking SMT circuit boards through a microscope, so I know about patience.

I'll try to remember to ask about the engine seal. Makes good sense.

I'm borrowing my brother's digital camera tomorrow. He wants to see what the failure looks like (he's a Chrysler mechanic). If I get some good shots of the failure I'll try to post them.


5:29 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

in Chrysler transmissions it always happens - they are cheap

Ahem. Yes, I know.


1:58 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here is a directory containing some pics I took aroud 9:30 this morning. Yes, the clutch has to be replaced. It got soaked from oil.


Shop boss says it looks like the differential pin decided to go for a walk and took part of the casing with it.


2:22 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Looks like you picked a weird [home.tiscali.be] one.


4:47 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have owned many cars with the same transmission as yours and have never known this. Yours was over 200000km tho if I remember right. There is a gearbox on a golf they called the 'synchro'. This is a 4WD golf. They have a reputation for spitting the diff pins out and putting them thru the case. I have owned 2 synchros and both did the same. I have never known a 2WD jetta/golf/rabbit/scirocco do this tho. You must have given it some stick ;oP



5:11 pm on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, it's only front wheel drive, not 4 wheel drive.

That's just it. I picked it up at 211,571 km.

I only drove it for 4 days before having to take it in for this scary noise. I only put under 300 km on it. Mostly city speed driving (60 km/h or less). A couple of times I took it on the highway (100 km/h) for about 20 km.

It's a mystery to me!


4:37 pm on May 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sounds like you need to do some serious digging in the vw forums [google.com].

Good luck and be sure to let us know how it turns out.


7:06 pm on May 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Somehow this thread reminds me of the time I added an oil pressure gauge to my '85 Escort. It ran fine for a few days, but then on my way back from the Post Office, the hose for the new gauge popped off at the engine end. I lost two quarts of oil in the two blocks I drove before I could safely pull over and stop. Left a wide trail of oil down the street that was visible for at least a year afterward. It's been about four years, but I still haven't gotten the engine fully cleaned of all the oil that spewed out all over under the hood.


7:17 pm on May 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was hoping to pick it up either Friday or Saturday. But the shop called, said the replacement transmission isn't quite right. Something about the mountings for the starter and mouting to the block.

It's a long weekend here, so hopefully it'll be ready on Tuesday. I'm chatting on a couple of Yahoo forums for WV. Hopefully nothing worse happens!


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