How to remove the VW Jetta 5 speed manual transmission - for mk5, Jetta/Golf TDI 2005.5-2008

back to 1000q: mk5 TDI FAQ list and "how to" indexdifficulty: 3/5


This article shows how to remove the manual transmission on a Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2005.5-2006.  For cars outside of North America, it can also apply to Jetta and Golf TDI 2005.5-2008.

If you want to change the clutch, flywheel, clutch fork, throwout bearing, or rear main oil seal, the transmission needs to come out.  If you have a 5 speed transmission, you can also change your 5th gear to improve highway mileage and lower rpm and noise, see 1000q: 5th gear swap for more details. Related links: 1000q: changing the manual transmission gear oil, 1000q: rear main seal replacement, 1000q: clutch/flywheel replacement


standard metric sockets and wrenches plus a 21mm and a deep 18mm socket
8mm triple square bits (they are 12 point, not torx) (and 12 mm if removing flywheel)
9mm 12 point socket (if removing pressure plate)
torque wrench (see 1000q: torque wrench FAQ for tips)
jack stand, floor jack, wheel chocks, and safety equipment
engine support with chains/shackles (shown in procedure section)

3x 16mm horizontal motor mount bolts VW# n 102 415 01 or VW# n 102 415 07
2x 18mm vertical motor mount bolts VW# n 105 524 01 or VW# n 105 524 02
21mm dogbone mount bolt VW# n 105 580 01
short dogbone mount bolt VW# n 102 048 04 or VW# n 102 048 08
long dogbone mount bolt VW# n 104 548 01
2x 13mm transmission brace bolts VW# n 101 424 02


Remove the 2 piece plastic engine cover by pulling it.  It will pull straight off.  Remove the battery cover and fuse box cover.

Remove the air intake box and battery.  See 1000q: air filter box removal and 1000q: battery shelf removal for details.  Cover the exposed air hoses to prevent anything from falling in them.  Use compressed air to clean any loose dirt off.  The axles will be removed and the CV joints will be exposed.  You don't want the joints filled with dirt during removal!

Caution - make sure you do not short out the negative and positive terminals of the battery at the same time.  Remove any watches, necklaces, rings, etc., while working on the battery since connecting the positive to a ground can cause serious injury!  Always wear eye protection when working on your car and see the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer.

If you're not familiar with how the shifter cables move, have someone sit in the car and move the shifter through the gears.  Note how the cables move because you want them to be returned to a neutral position during installation.  Remove the 3 clips holding the shifter cables (yellow arrows, lift the center of the clips to unlock the clip, inset picture).  Also remove the 3x 13mm bolts holding the shifter bracket. (blue arrows)

Remove the cables from the shifter and slide the section of shifter bracket outlined in yellow out.  Wiggle the rest of the shifter and move the black lever (yellow arrow) to an upright position to lock the shifter.  Counterhold the shifter lever and remove the 13mm nut to remove the bracket.  Note the shifter's position - you can scratch a line to index it.  It may be stuck so just wiggle it back and forth to remove it.  

It should look something like the below picture.  Put the 13mm nut back to avoid losing it.  It's a single use nut but I ended up reusing it with some medium strength locktite during installation to prevent it from loosening.  Also unplug the reverse sensor.

Unbolt the clutch slave cylinder (2x 13mm bolts) and brace (2x 13mm bolts).  The slave cylinder should have a rubber section and a bracket.  Slip the line out of the bracket and tie the slave cylinder and the shifter cables out of the way.  DO NOT remove the large 18mm bolts yet (red x's) because those are the mount bolts and are holding up that side of the engine/transmission and removal will cause a big fall.  You will remove them later so I'm stating this warning in case you decide to skip steps.  Inspect the slave cylinder for leaks.

Remove the starter.  See 1000q: starter removal for details.  Put the 13mm nuts back on the 18mm bolts to avoid losing them.

Raise the car, rest it securely on jack stands at the factory jack points, chock the front and rear wheels.  Make sure the car is safe and secure before getting underneath it, see the TOS agreement for the full legal disclaimer.  I put the car on wood blocks to support it.  Here is a how I made them for my car: 1000q: wood blocks.

Remove the lower splash shield. (3x T30 torx screws and 8x T25 torx screws along the sides)

Also remove the front-left side splash shield (8x T25 torx screws).  This is the piece with the brake duct in it.  The one in front of the wheel (white arrow) has a flat tip instead of a pointy tip.  This is probably best because it's in front of the tire.

Here are a few more torx screws (bumper removed for illustration) and what you're removing.  There are 2 more screws inside the wheel well.

Disconnect the downpipe from the rear exhaust.  Look behind the frame brace.  Spray some PB Blaster or other penetrating lubricant around the exhaust clamp and nuts.  Let it soak for a minute.  Loosen the clamp (2x 13mm bolt/nuts) and slide it to the side.

Also disconnect the 2x 13mm bolts on the downpipe support on the rear of the front subframe.  This will avoid stressing the downpipe during transmission removal.

Remove the "dogbone" pendulum mount.  Loosen the large 21mm bolt first before loosening the other 2 16mm bolts.  Loosen all bolts before removing them to help counterhold it.

Disconnect both axles from the transmission output flange.  You can see the driver's side flange from above - loosen some from above if possible.  Each has 6x 10mm triple square bolts.  Make sure the triple square bit is all the way in and straight or else it can strip.  If your car is on jack stands, have a helper step on the brakes to counterhold the axles.  If it's on wood blocks or ramps, the weight of the car will counterhold it and the wheel chocks should prevent movement.  Even still, have a helper step on the brakes so that there is no possibility of movement.

Note - on previous VW it was extremely helpful to remove the passenger driveshaft flange off the transmission for clearance.  If you clean out the grease in the flange you will see a 5 or 6mm allen head bolt in the center which holds the flange.  It would snag on the flywheel and engine during removal and it may snag a little here too but because the mk5 has a lot more room I would avoid the extra trouble and spilled gear oil.

Note - the triple square axle bolts are single use only stretch bolts but it would be rare for any garage to replace them.  Occasionally they come loose and damage the axle so I suggest replacement plus a torque wrench or going a few ft-lb higher.  Threadlocker will probably not stick to grease.  At the next service, check the axle bolts again.

Tie each axle up (not by the rubber boot) so that it's hanging up and out of the way.  Some plastic over the exposed CV joint will help keep it clean.

Support the engine from above with a hanger.  Do not use a hydraulic engine hoist as the primary method of supporting the engine because the hydraulic piston could suddenly blow a seal and fail, causing the engine and transmission to fall on you.  Put shackles or large+thick bolt/nut through chains and hang them by the lift points.  The passenger side lift point is in front of the engine above the alternator and the driver's side lift point is above the turbo. 

Highlighted in green below is one of the lifting points.  

To get to the other lifting point you have to remove the intake hose at the turbo (pictured above).  Pinch the breather hose and bend it to the side.  Also unplug the CCV (crankcase ventilation) heater plug.  Remove the spring clamp and pull the hose.  Put a clean rag in it to prevent anything from falling inside.  The lifting point is highlighted below.  If you can't get to it then remove the bolt (highlighted in red above) and use the eye on the cylinder head to support the engine.  If you use the secondary lift point it may twist the engine since you're supporting it from only the front.

After the engine is fully supported, raise the transmission end about 1/4".  This will reduce the amount of weight on the mount and help prevent stripping of the aluminum mount.  Remove the 2x 18mm bolts holding the transmission mount (yellow arrows below, had red X's in an earlier step)  Note the blue dotted line and the alignemnt of the upper part of the mount vs. the lower part of the mount.  The bolt holes are oval and have some adjustment.  You want it to be the same afterwards.  The marks from the old bolt heads will help you position it during installation.

Lower the transmission side a little and remove the 3x 16mm bolts and remove the aluminum transmission mount.

Remove the inspection plate (1x 10mm bolt, pic is from an earlier step)

Place a transmission jack under the engine and secure it.  I don't like using the straps that came with mine so I put some safety straps from the top, shown below.  They were looped over the engine support and hooked into the transmission to hold it and prevent falling.  

Remove the 2x 18mm upper transmission bolts.  The one by the differential is 18mm and points the other way.  The other 3 are 16mm bolts.  The 2x 18mm starter bolts should have already been removed.  Ignore the torque values, that's for installation.  Slide the transmission gently away from the engine.  If it feels jammed check for bolts still on, transmission getting stuck on the hanging axle, differential hitting the subframe, and the transmission flange getting stuck on the flywheel.  It helps to move the engine slightly towards the front and rotate the differential up to clear the subframe.  The transmission shaft has to come out straight or else it will get caught.

Tip from Dale K: he used a block-tackle (pulley system) hanging from the engine support to lower the transmission. The hoist was rated for 500 lbs so it easily lowered the transmission. More details in this forum post.

To remove the flywheel, clutch, or pressure plate, see 1000q: clutch removal.  To replace the rear main seal, see 1000q: mk5 rear main seal removal.  If you replace the pivot ball (the thing the clutch lever pivots on) you need a 17mm deep socket.  

Installation is the reverse of removal.  Put a very thin touch of grease on the splines and throw-out bearing contact surfaces.  Less is better.  If you're replacing the clutch fork, press the retaining spring off and it should come off easily.  Replace the fork at your discretion if you have high miles or are going to a significantly stiffer clutch.  Also put some grease on the pivot ball and clutch slave cylinder divot.

During installation, make sure you "stab" the clutch straight on with the transmission shaft.  You may have to twist it very slightly to get the splines to line up.  Don't let the weight of the transmission rest on the shaft during installation.

Remember to raise the engine/transmission up to the level of the aluminum mount before tightening the screws or else the threads will get stripped.  You don't want to raise the engine using the bolts, raise the engine using a jack/lift and the engine support.  Also make sure to align the position of the aluminum mount.  Note the marks from the old holes and the blue dotted line shown earlier.

The bolts that go into the aluminum engine mount should never be reused because the engine can fall down on that side.  It's a common problem for the mount to strip or the bolts to fail so don't reuse old bolts on those locations.  The 2x 13mm brace bolts are also single use only.

When tightening the axle bolts, tighten them all to wrench tight in a diagonal pattern to about 7 ft-lb and then to their final values of 30 ft-lbs.  This helps keep it flat.  I also apply locktite and check them later for tightness.  The service manual says that they are single use only but shops rarely replace them and they seem to not cause problems.

The service manual says that you have to adjust the shifter linkage using their procedure of taking apart the center console and locking the shifter.  I would just have a helper move the shifter to neutral and install the shifter linkage in a neutral position.  If you made an index mark on the splined shifter linkage shaft it will help.  If not, be careful when shifting for the first time because it may be out of position and cause you to go into reverse when you intend to go into first!  The service manual says that the nut is single use only but I ended up reusing it with some locktite (17 ft-lbs).  Also refer to 1000q: shifter cable adjustment.

Torque specs

3x 16mm transmission bellhousing bolts: 30 ft-lb (refer to pic above)
3x 18mm transmission bellhousing bolts: 59 ft-lb (refer to pic above)
2x 18mm starter bolts: 59 ft-lb (refer to pic above)
10mm inspection plate bolt: 7 ft-lb
various 13mm nuts on the starter: 11 ft-lb
3x 16mm aluminum transmission mount horizontal bolts (use new bolts): 30 ft-lb + 1/4 turn (90 degrees)
2x 18mm aluminum transmission mount vertical bolts (use new bolts): 44 ft-lb + 1/4 turn
big 21mm dogbone mount bolt (use new bolts): 74 ft-lb + 1/4 turn
other 2 16mm dogbone mount bolts (use new bolts): 30 ft-lb + 1/4 turn
2x 13mm transmission brace bolts: 15 ft-lb + 1/4 turn
2x 13mm clutch slave cylinder bolts: 15 ft-lb
6x (per side) axle bolts: first to 7 ft-lb and then to 30 ft-lb in a diagonal pattern
shifter linkage nut: 17 ft-lb
2x 13mm exhaust support bolts: 30 ft-lb
2x 13mm exhaust clamp bolt/nuts: good and tight

If you have any problems with removing or installing the transmission, please post in the forums.