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My new Golf TDI...sort of doesn't work

4327 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  freeflyer
hey there.

i have a new 2011 golf tdi w automatic transmission. had it about a month, has a bit over 1000 miles on it.

this car is absolutely gorgeous inside and out and on the highway it's an absolute pleasure to drive. but around town, at slow speeds, in stop and go traffic...not so much.

i would really love to know if there is something wrong with my car or if this is just the way VWs are. its hard to describe the problems i am having because i dont know much about mechanics or technical stuff - i dont even know how to drive a manual. all i can do is describe what's happening the best i can.

when i turn the car on and head out of my parking spot, its almost like it wont....go. there just seems to be so much hesitation, or braking, imposed by the engine. its almost like i have the emergency brake on or something, but i dont. it just feels so...heavy, and i feel like i am in a constant battle to make it go, like its dragging. if i am driving at a very slow rate of speed, keeping my foot very lightly on the accelerator, it cycles between having the dragging feeling and not having it. it will move forward easily, then all of a sudden it gets a heavy braking feeling and it slows down, then the braking lifts and it moves easily again. it feels jerky and makes me dizzy. the same thing happens if i am slowing down. say there is a red light up ahead and i am applying light pressure on my brakes...it almost feels as though i am pumping on the brakes even though i am not. the car will slow down, then its almost as if the brakes are released and it coasts more easily, then the brakes come on again. i dont mean to suggest the brakes are not working, they are and they are slowing the car, but its not consistent. overall it is just very jerky and uneven.

also, i a am only getting around 20 mpg in city driving. by city driving i mean a speed limit of about 25 miles per hour, a fair number of stop signs, red lights, and so on. i was under the impression i should be getting better mileage than that? on the highway i get around 40.

anyhow i love this car and i want it to be perfect. but when im driving around town, ugh...its not fun at all. it makes me dizzy and i feel like a bad driver who cant brake or accelerate smoothly.

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There is something wrong with it.

Some suggestions: securely and safely jack up the rear wheels. With the parking brake off, the rear wheels should easily spin. Perhaps a parking brake is dragging?

There should not be any hesitation or braking feeling. It's possible it's the DSG transmission - if you quickly lift off the brake and step on the gas, many people complain of lag. It's not turbo lag, it's the transmission not engaging the clutches properly. If you're in light stop-go, it sounds like the car is engaging/disengaging the clutches. Try speeding up or slowing down. I've never driven a DSG long term so I don't know these feelings or the ones I've driven weren't like that.

And of course, take the car to the dealer and tell them it's not shifting well and it's making you dizzy. It's a new car under warranty. 20 mpg city is low.
The first step is logging the complaint. Drive a few other DSG TDI and see if they have the same problem. If there's a problem, make sure the dealer knows that you're not happy after giving them thousands of dollars and that you want them to fix any problems with the car.
...i dont know much about mechanics or technical stuff.......all i can do is describe what's happening the best i can.
Here is my my two cents
Please go to your VW dealership's service department.
Ask to take the service writer for a ride.
Show them your car's symptoms during the ride.
Also, use this opportunity to ask all the questions you want about the operation of you new car.

Best wishes.

Please don't forget to update this thread after your trip.:D
This may just be the OP's driving style and a lack of familiarity with the TDI/DSG package. The TDI w/ DSG wants to tip in slowly and then is ready to take the torque. This can sometimes be a bit jerky for example when slowing to corner and then accelerating again. It is hard not to rev the engine. It will also engine brake on deceleration. There seems to be a very deliberate strategy on the part of the DSG shift logic to let the engine brake rather than "coasting" as you would do in a manual or with a fluid tranny.
same here for the mileage, I got my car about a month, and most time is in the city driving about 20-25 mpg. I think it is because the many traffics in the moring and night during the weekdays, but I am not so sure. COULD anybody here let me know, is that normal, Please???

Thanks in advance
i just wanted to thank everyone for their replies. what i would really like to do is take the time to systematically figure out exactly WHEN i am feeling the problems, if that's possible. that is, if i can come up with a set of steps to follow to reliably get the problem to occur, it would be very helpful because i could relay that info to you guys and obviously it would help a lot when trying to illustrate the problem to someone in the service department. anyhow, if i manage to do this i will post back here and let you all know.

in the meantime, there is one specific example i can mention. if im on an open stretch of road driving at say 20 or 25 miles per hour and i just take my foot off the accelerator and let the car coast it will, as i have mentioned, "brake" and gradually slow down. fine, i guess i can live with that. but it doenst brake *smoothly*. it will travel a few feet with the braking feeling, then the braking will release and the car will coast forward uninhibited, then the brake feeling will come on, and so on. it literally feels like im putting pressure on the brake, then removing it, then putting pressure on the brake again, etc. but im not touching the brake. its just the inconsistency that bothers me, because it makes it hard to control the vehicle smoothly. the amount of pressure that i need to use to brake or accelerate changes. its like the car has two personalities, one of which is very sensitive and finely tuned and the other of which is much less responsive.

i am slightly concerned that @philcollison might be right. im wondering if this is just a feature of the car that i am simply not used to. the only other vehicle i have driven (besides rentals cars etc) is a pickup truck with automatic transmission which i have had for 11 years. if im driving my truck and i take my foot off the accelerator it just coasts indefinitely, full force ahead. similarly, if im at a stop and i take my foot off the brake, the truck GOES. there is no braking imposed by the engine, as far as i can tell. so to feel the "braking" in the VW engine seems very strange to me. and personally, i dont like it. i find it hard in slow traffic to keep my speed smooth when there is the braking which i then have to counter with the gas pedal. but at any rate...maybe thats just the way these cars are and im not used to it.

in summary...im wondering if the braking feeling is just something i have to get used to, but am still concerned about the inconsistent response and lurchiness. i have had a male, mechanically minded, manual transmission driving companion in the car who has definitely noticed the lurching.

anyhow i apologize for rambling and frankly if i read this i probably *would* just think i was a bad woman driver. a possibility i am willing to accept. but id like to at least know for sure, haha.

thanks again, and i apologize for invoking male/female/driver stereotypes. hope i have not offended anyone.
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From what you described about letting your foot off the accelerator and letting it coast, it sounds to me just like what philcollision said.

If your previous experience is with an automatic from 10 years ago, you have to remember that the DSG is more of an automated manual, so you get some effects (ie engine braking) of a manual transmission. Also, older automatics always had the clutch engaged so you had that power at idle. DSG's disengage the clutch at a stop so you may not go right away (someone correct me if I described something wrong here).

I had a manual before I got my 2010 Golf so I guess I knew what to expect. But it doesn't hurt to take it into the dealer and see what they say because though DSG's are fairly reliable, they are not bulletproof.
There is no question that the DSG shift logic includes engine braking on deceleration. Since this is an automated manual you feel it distinctly. I drive an A4 MT and do not choose to engine brake, but the engineers at VW apparently do, so it's there. It seems that the route you drive and perhaps also your driving style call out the down-shifting more than average. I would be surprised if there is a shift logic re-flash through VW, VAG-com or otherwise. Bear in mind you have 3 different shift options. Fully automatic drive (shifter to the right), fully automatic sport (shifter to the left) and manual (up/down through the shifter or paddles). Make sure you are not in sport mode. Other than that, you may just need to modify your driving style or accommodate yourself to the car the way it is. I for one am delighted with the Golf. I did find the power delivery a bit quirky at first, and drive a bit differently than I would with other cars, but am a real fan. Enjoy.
Another DSG feature you may be experiencing is hill-hold feature where the brakes remain applied for a few seconds if you're starting out on an incline.

I've also noticed the DSG engine braking when slowing. It seems that the downshifting becomes more aggressive with harder braking. My mileage has been around 30 in stop-and-go driving and in the mid-40s on the highway.

After driving manual transmissions for the last 25 years, I find that the VW DSG does take some getting used to. It's certainly much more sophisticated than the auto transmission in the Plymouth Fury that I drove in high school.
Just out of curiosity, is the DSG in the GTI the same as in the TDI? Since getting my car I have driven a friend's GTI and don't feel the "braking" at all. It seems so much more responsive. I made a conscious decision to get the TDI over the GTI because I really wanted the good mileage and just because the diesel is way more my style than the flashy GTI. But I *do* love the feel of the GTI, I have to say.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining, I do love my Golf! I'm just trying to get my head wrapped around everything. You guys are all being really helpful!
No, the gear ratios are also different. If they weren't, the TDI transmission would be racing if it had a gas transmission and vice versa due to the rpm range.

The TDI ratios are here: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/a6/2011-2012-vw-golf-tdi-forum-faq.htm The GTI ratios can be found at vw's site and are all different.
looks like you have to get used to it...
When you get off the gas the car decelarates with engine braking and it will downshift according to the speed your are rolling, hence the 'jerky' feeling.
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