transmission removal-mk3 Jetta and Passat TDI
VW Jetta and VW Passat transmission removal DIY
back to 1000q: mk3 FAQ and "how to" index
This article has tips on how to remove and replace the transmission in the mk3 Jetta and Passat TDI. Removal is required for clutch, flywheel change or rear main seal replacement.
The Jetta and Passat are pretty much the same except the Jetta as a little more clearance, differences are noted below. You have to remove the transmission if you want to change the clutch or flywheel or replace the rear main oil seal. If you want to replace the 5th gear with a taller gear to improve mileage and lower rpm/noise, this would be a very good time to do it, see 1000q: 5th gear swap for more details. It is also a good time to change the transmission gear oil, see 1000q: manual trans gear oil. The mk3 TDI only came in manual in the US. This article is only notes and is not a substitute for the factory service manual, refer to your factory service manual for the official instructions.
An engine support is needed because you will be removing 2 of the 3 motor mounts. It's also a good time to replace the motor mounts or CV boots if they are worn or cracked.
Here are some more notes on transmission removal in the forum.
Parts (click links to compare current prices)
transmission jack (optional but suggested)
metric socket set and wrenches
8mm triple square (12 point) bit for the driveaxle bolts, see metalnerd bits
12 point sockets (optional, for the clutch and flywheel replacement)
transmission driveaxle seals 2x VW# 084 409 189 b make sure the seals are 62mm outer diameter, 48mm inner, 7mm height *Napa, Autozone, and Carquest, all have the wrong seal for the TDI transmission! Insist on double checking the seal dimensions if you order at the local store!
12x driveaxle bolts (optional) VW# 893 407 237 (8x 50mm)
new paper gaskets for the driveaxle/flange seal (optional) VW# 8d0 407 309
engine support (pictured below, available from harbor freight or northern tool)
hose clamp pliers (optional)
ProcedureSummary: there are 3 basic steps: remove shifter cables, starter, clutch slave cylinder, etc. Raise engine and remove driver's side and front motor mounts. Unbolt transmission and lower the trans. Detailed steps below.
Secure the car and raise the front on multiple pairs of jack stands and wood blocks. Using wood blocks gave me a little more clearance under the car for the transmission jack. You will be shaking the car a bit, so make sure the car is stable and secure on level, solid ground. Chock the wheels and apply the parking brake.
Remove the battery and battery securing bracket (1x 13mm bolt). You can screw the bracket back in place to avoid losing the bolt. Set the battery aside, don't bother putting it on wood since it doesn't make a difference in discharging.
Optional step: If you are going to be doing a 5th gear swap while the transmission is out, remove the end cover and get the large torx bolts loose now. You can step on the brakes and put the car in gear to hold those torx bolts. Once the transmission is out, it'll be much harder to counterhold the bolts. See 1000q: 5th gear swap for more details.
Remove the 2 intercooler-intake manifold and turbo outlet-intercooler pipes that are directly over the transmission. It will give you much better clearance. Hose clamp pliers like the ones pictured above do a much better job or removing spring hose clamps than regular pliers. I prefer taping over the exposed piping rather than using a paper towel since paper towels can get stuffed down and forgotten.
Unplug the reverse/backup sensor (by the shifter cable ends) and the speedo sensor (by the firewall side of the transmission, on top). Put some bright tape on them so you remember where they are. In the pic below, the transmission ground strap was removed. You can remove the strap anytime (1x 13mm nut threaded on top of a 17mm bolt). I suggest putting the nut back so you don't lose it.
Remove the slave clutch cylinder (2x 13mm bolts) and unbolt/remove the shifter cables. One shifter cable will slide out if you lift up the plastic clip, the other is bolted under the counterweight. You can also access some axle bolts from the top, take this opportunity to loosen some.
Suggested: remove the reverse sensor housing so it won't get damaged. There are 2x 10mm? bolts holding the black thing the reverse sensor plug plugged into. Cover the exposed hole.
Remove the shifter bracket (3x 13mm bolts), tie it and the slave cylinder out of the way.
Go under the car and remove the "brick" (4x 14mm bolts, 4x 13mm nuts). Pictured below is a Passat. The Jetta has 2 bolts/nuts holding the counterweight. My best guess is that the weight is there to balance and tune the car body. I also had a CV boot heat shield - it did not come stock on the mk3 but you can add one to prevent early wear on the boot. Also pictured below (red line) is the flange where the service manual suggests nudging the engine to shift it for transmission removal. As you can see, the transmission flange (that I suggest removing later) is blocked by the "L" shaped flange on the engine below, marked with the red line. Removing the flange later will give you more room to get the trans out.
Remove the power steering loop from the transmission bracket. (1x 10mm). The bracket doesn't have to be removed; if you loosen the bolt, the bracket will rotate out of the way.
Remove both driveaxles from the transmission flange. You will have to rotate the wheels to get access to the 12 point triple square bolts. Do not use an allen or torx bit, they will strip the bolt heads! You can get access to the driver's side axle bolts from the top. For best results, mark the alignment of the flange to the driveaxle with paint or tape. Also use saran wrap or clean plastic to cover the exposed inner CV joints. Make sure to retrieve the paper gasket that seals the driveaxle to the flange. If it tears, have a replacement handy.
Also remove the 2x 11mm bolts that hold the lower clutch inspection plate. There is 1x 10mm bolt holding the upper inspection plate.
Remove the wiring from the starter and the bracket. The bracket is held by a 13mm nut and you may also be able to unclip it as seen in the lower pic.
Optional but suggested: Here are additional steps that are not in the service manual but I found necessary to remove and replace my Volkwagen Passat's transmission. Any non oem part or deviation from the instructions in your factory service manual are done at your own risk. You don't have to do them but after the hassle of removing the transmission, I didn't want the new pressure plate, etc., to get mangled when putting the trans back in because they will make handling the transmission much easier. Remove the driver's side driveaxle completely. To do this, expose the driver side axle nut on the outside face of the driver's side wheel. It is a 30mm self locking nut (torque is 195 ft lbs). The car and the tire must be on the ground to counterhold against the nut so do this before jacking up your car. Once the axle is disconnected from the transmission flange and the axle nut is removed, the axle should come out with some maneuvering. You may have to turn the wheels to get a little more room. If you can't get the axle out, remove the ball joint and the wheel hub should tilt and let you pull the axle out. The other suggested step is to remove the passenger side transmission flange to get more clearance. This makes it much easier to remove the transmission. After disconnecting the driveaxle, clean out some of the grease in the flange. There is a 6mm allen bolt in the center of the flange as seen in the below pictures of the transmission after removal. You may have to counterhold the flange if you already disconnected the other side. Stuff a paper towel into the hole so that gear oil doesn't spill out when you maneuver the transmission.
The Passat doesn't have as much clearance, pictured below left is a Passat showing the metal body blocking the transmission. Below right is a Jetta transmission showing a lot more room.
Support the engine from above with a support and the transmission from below with a transmission jack.
Remove the transmission ground strap (1x 13mm nut holding the cable). The nut is sitting on top of a larger 17mm bolt that is holding the transmission. I suggest hand threading the small nut back once the ground strap is removed so that you don't lose it
You may want to raise the engine using the support. This will take the weight off the motor mount brackets for easy removal.
Disconnect the connections on the starter and remove the starter. (long 2x 16mm bolts). See 1000q: starter removal if you need more tips. Remove the front motor mount bracket. There is 1 small bolt and 1 large bolt on the side and 1x 17mm? bolt holding the mount bracket to the mount.
Remove the transmission/driver's side motor mount bracket. There are 2 long bolts and 1 short bolt in the middle that hold the bracket to the transmission. Also remove the 1x 17mm bolt holding the mount bracket to the mount. Below is a pic after transmission removal.
The manual calls for a scissor jack placed between the frame and a flange on the engine (where the oil pan/lower block meet) to shift the engine for clearance. I couldn't figure out how to place it correctly so I must be missing something. Below is a picture of how I think it's supposed to work. When done correctly, it gives you more clearance to maneuver the transmission out. I ended up placing the jack between the frame rail and the end of the transmission for clearance. Separate as necessary and at no time should you position yourself to get pinched if the jack slips.
Remove the bolts holding the transmission. Below is a pic after removal. There are (3x 17mm) bolts holding it in (other than the starter and motor mount bolts): 2 on the top and 1 on the rear bottom. I put some paint on the bolts for quick identification during reinstallation. The blue numbers in the below picture are referenced in a later step. Also see 1000q: torque wrench FAQ for tips on torque wrench use.
Push the transmission away from the engine. It should come out easily. If it doesn't, check for interference with the frame, hanging wire/cables, or the top-front bolt (the one that is hiding under the 13mm nut). At this point, you will find a lot more room if you removed the driver's side axle.
Carefully lower the transmission. You may find that rotating the differential end (the end with the flanges) up will help you get the transmission out past the motor mount. Removing the driver's side axle and the passenger side flange should help too.
While the transmission is out, it would be a convenient time to do clutch or rear main seal servicing, swap out the 5th gear, or replace the transmission input and output seals. CAUTION: the transmission output driveaxle seals sold by local parts stores is wrong! The correct seal is 62mm outer diameter, 48mm inner, 7mm height, VW# 084 409 189 b. For some reason, the parts reference that they all use is wrong and you will get the wrong part unless you verify. They may have corrected this error since then but double check it yourself! I like to paint the flywheel TDC stamp red as seen below. This makes it easier to see in the future. The red dots on the bolts were so I would remember their position to avoid having "spare parts" at the end of a project!
Installation is the reverse of removal. You should lightly grease the input splines and inspect/replace the clutch throw out bearing. Do not wash the bearing, just wipe it down. Less grease is better than too much grease. When installing the transmission, start with the differential side up and rotate it down. Once it's into position, you can replace the driver's side transmission/motor mount bracket and pass side flange. Lubricate the pass side flange before putting it in the oil seal. Use a new paper gasket (VW# 8d0 407 309) on the transmission flange/driveaxle. If any of the 12 point bolts were stripped, use a new one (VW# 893 407 237 (8x 50mm). Always double check the torque on the driveaxles by rotating it and double checking. You may find that the driveaxle was slightly off or there was some other reason that caused the bolts to be slightly loose and back out later. For this reason, I suggest re-tightening the driveaxle bolts after a day of driving. I tighten them to a slightly higher torque because they have a tendency to loosen later. I believe they might be single use bolts but garages never replace them.
Even if you stuffed a paper towel into the removed flange, you may find that you lost some transmission gear oil. This is a good time to change the gear oil. See 1000q: transmission gear oil for more tips.
Even though I marked the bolts with red paint dots, some bolts still ended up in a pile. Here are the size of the fasteners and their torques as seen in the above picture (number is in blue)
1. 17mm --M12 x 55---59 ft-lbs
2. 17mm?--M12 x62---59 ft-lbs
3. 16mm --M12 x62----59 ft-lbs
4. ??mm --M12 x46----59 ft-lbs
5. 16mm --M10 x160--44 ft-lbs
6. 10mm --M7 x12 ----about 8ft-lbs (89 in-lbs)