Hard Shifting 03 New Beetle

PHOTOGUY1000

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Location
Canyon Lake, CA
TDI
2015 Golf S, SE & SEL
I am working with my daughter who is a couple hours away at school so car is not in front of me. She says the car has become hard to shift has to use a lot of strength to push it in gear. My first instinct would be to adjust the linkage & by a refresh kit but she says it shifts easy when the car is not running? So is it clutch time or should I try to adjust the linkage... if it s the later I would like to order some parts before I go down & swap cars with her?

Thanks!
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Likely clutch or DMF, but go ahead and rule out other stuff like lineage, broke shift parts or even slave cylinder (does it get a flush and bleed on the hydraulics every now and then?)
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
Diesel geek bushings

Change the gear oil

Reassess after that

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leafs

Veteran Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Location
canada
TDI
alh
my car shifts kinda notchy too. not hard but the gear kinda notches in most times, mainly 2nd gear. have already adjusted shift linkage and changed tranny oil. Have noticed if I put it in a second time (consecutive) gear slides in like butter. New dmf/clutch/release bearing. I'm thinking the 2nd gear synchro is a bit worn. maybe it's the shift tower, but that doesn't really explain why it's mainly second so I'm leaning synchro. I've heard a bit that these cars manual trannies are a bit notchy so I don't know if it's normal or not as it's my first tdi.
 
Last edited:

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
My 2000 would barely go into first like at a stop light until I changed with gear 300

My 2001 didn't want to go I to 1st until new bushings

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rallywagon

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Location
Western NC
TDI
'98 Jetta, '00 Jetta
This could be the clutch slave or master cylinders leaking down. She should check her brake fluid level and look for leaking fluid under the car.
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
You could try to power bleed the slave too...I it's got air it'll act funny sometimes

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GCBUG00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Location
Hartsville SC
TDI
2000 Beetle
If you can get it in 1st SLOWLY bring up clutch pedal. How far does the pedal come up before the car starts to move?

Right off of the floor, suspect air in hydro's.
Comes up over 1 1/2" before car starts to move, don't suspect air in hydros.

Difficult to get it into 1st and maybe other gears? Stick loose and wiggly?

Shifter bushings got the Diesel Geek bushing kit and watch videos. I just did this and found 2 bushings gone and didn't know how sloppy the stick was. It ain't sloppy no more.

Gary
 

PHOTOGUY1000

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Location
Canyon Lake, CA
TDI
2015 Golf S, SE & SEL
First thing I had her do was go get the hydraulics bled and fluid changed. The clutch is strong & does not slip at all. I am going to meet her today grab her car & I will start with adjusting linkage & changing fluid bought some Penzoil Synchromesh today. Below is a video she sent me shifting the car.



https://youtu.be/ZeyyXJHBreM
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
There have been mixed reviews on syncromesh but good luck

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WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
I have had great results with motul gear 300

It's GL5 and some say it's bad to use, I like it and have had good luck with it

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Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
My shifting was notchy. I switched to valvoline synchromesh it solved the notchyness. Then about 20k miles later I noticed it would occasionally grind going into 2nd and sometimes 3rd.

I bought the dieselgeek bushing kit, that tightened things up and helped.....some. It didn’t eliminate the occasional grind into 2nd. This was right around Father’s Day so I told my kids I wanted the dieselgeek short shifter and they obliged. Installing it did not eliminate the grind either. I adjusted that thing for a month, I could not entirely get rid of that annoying grind.

Finally I switched the transmission oil back to vw oem and the grind was gone. With the arrival of cold weather it may get notchy again, I may not even notice because the short shifter changes the shifting dynamic. It’s a click-click instead of a butter smooth shift like normal.

Change the bushings and adjust the linkage, there are videos for doing both on the dieselgeek web site. I think in my case if I had adjusted the linkage before I put in the short shifter I might have been able to get rid of that grind but I’m not sure. I do know switching out the synchromesh to oem solved my problem.

Now you see why there are mixed reviews.
 

GCBUG00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Location
Hartsville SC
TDI
2000 Beetle
Photoguy100,

I cannot judge if clutch is fully releasing as I described in my post.

Shifter doesn't look like it's shifting freely, she is putting some arm in in to make the shifts. I'm running Syncromesh for couple years now nothing bad to report. 1 car, 1 driver.

Consider inspecting the workings at the Golf Club on top of trans, slider and TWO bushings on pivot shaft.

If you carefully pop the boot up from the consol, wiggle the stick L-R, Front to back and look for slop. Also the stick itself has bushings under the up down spring. Any and all can mess up.

I had notchy 1st gear selection and it was the front to back cable end bushing that was shot and messed mine up.

Now it's click click shifting all gears. 374K on car.

Gary
 

leafs

Veteran Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Location
canada
TDI
alh
First thing I had her do was go get the hydraulics bled and fluid changed. The clutch is strong & does not slip at all. I am going to meet her today grab her car & I will start with adjusting linkage & changing fluid bought some Penzoil Synchromesh today. Below is a video she sent me shifting the car.
https://youtu.be/ZeyyXJHBreM
yeah that's similar to how my tranny shifts although I can't really judge how much force she is putting into the shifter but it appears similar. keep us posted because I would like to get rid of the notchy shifting too.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
....................... She says the car has become hard to shift has to use a lot of strength to push it in gear.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm not thinkin fluid. Some of these cars are roadable with practically empty units. Different fluids do make shifting different, but not read of "lot of strength" for just one gear.
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
I'd put money on needing a first gear getter

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rallywagon

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Location
Western NC
TDI
'98 Jetta, '00 Jetta
Synchromesh is good stuff at a good price, but I think it is quite a bit thinner than the spec for that transmission. This is what I would use:
MOTORCRAFT XTM5QS Rock Auto usually has a great price on this good stuff.
 

KrashDH

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
There have been mixed reviews on syncromesh but good luck

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Have there been?

After my OEM fluid was broken down (when I drained it came out the consistency of water) I started getting hard shifting from 1st to 2nd, and a bit from second to 3rd. I really had to slow down my shifting and ensure I found the sweet spot of the gear to get it in without grinding.

When I refilled with Pennzoil synchromesh, completely solved the shifting issue. Must have been 3 years ago now, it's probably due for another swap but haven't had any signs of it breaking down.

The GM/ACDelco synchromesh is supposed to be even better, I may try that the next go around.
 

WildChild80

Veteran Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Location
Nashville, AR
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI 2000 Jetta TDI 2000 New Beetle TDI ALL 5 speeds
Maybe I'll try the GM stuff in the modified car that feels like the trans is barely hanging on...

I know most Honda guys love it

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PHOTOGUY1000

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Location
Canyon Lake, CA
TDI
2015 Golf S, SE & SEL
Changed the fluid & put the super slider on. Shift with ease while not running but as so as you get going its harder to get in gear. Seems to shift better easier at 2K than 3K. I will put a clutch in it but I don't want to do it if its not going to fix the problem?
 

GCBUG00

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Location
Hartsville SC
TDI
2000 Beetle
Engine running, select 1st gear.

Slowly bring clutch pedal up.

How far does the clutch pedal come up before the engine starts to move the car?

Pedal reserve travel, maybe 1 1/2" before engine starts to move car, good. Right off of the floor? Not good. 1st suspect air in hydro's.

Any history on clutch age?

If old, years old, or not correctly detailed at replacement they can build up rust dust crud on splines that does not allow free sliding of disc on input shaft messes up shifting big time.

Gary
 

PHOTOGUY1000

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Location
Canyon Lake, CA
TDI
2015 Golf S, SE & SEL
Gary...

I just had the system bled new fluid put in so Cant believe any air is in there at this point. The age of the clutch not sure... I picked up the car for my daughter at 198K now has 220K on it. Bought it off a little dealer so not much background info. All the gears have there moments shifts perfect when the car is not running... seems to shift better at lower rpms 2k verses my normal shift point at 3k. Truthfully my jetta is pretty darn notchy not much different than this car is now but my daughter wants it back to the way it was... I hardly noticed it until she really pointed it out to me because I am so use to driving my jetta anyway.
 

Dro.Pru

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Location
Holmdel,NJ
TDI
2004 VW Jetta TDI
I haven't dealt with this in a diesel yet, but on my brother's mk5 golf (gas). I had borrowed it on a roadtrip to NC to visit a friend and on the way back all of a sudden I couldn't get it into any gear. I called AAA and the tow truck driver and I bled the clutch together. That was a bandaid fix that held me together till i got home and for about another month. Then finally it really went. Turns out the clutch was worn through to almost threads AND the SLAVE cylinder was in shambles. (I can post pictures if you want me to)
Gary...
I just had the system bled new fluid put in so Cant believe any air is in there at this point. The age of the clutch not sure... I picked up the car for my daughter at 198K now has 220K on it. Bought it off a little dealer so not much background info.
If what you did so far doesn't do the trick, I would take the slave cylinder out and inspect it. It should be external, and if it's like the jetta tdi or golf's layout, you might need to take out the battery housing or air filter housing for better access.
Then think about a new clutch. I try to work cheapest/easiest to most expensive/time consuming when diagnosing problems.
In my case the new clutch/flywheel and slave cylinder did the trick.
All the gears have there moments shifts perfect when the car is not running... seems to shift better at lower rpms 2k verses my normal shift point at 3k. Truthfully my jetta is pretty darn notchy not much different than this car is now but my daughter wants it back to the way it was... I hardly noticed it until she really pointed it out to me because I am so use to driving my jetta anyway.
I can understand that too. We get used to how things are/were. Again in my case, the old clutch was grabbing very late on the clutch pedal. (as in higher up on the swing). I was accustomed to this because every manual VW i've driven was like this (all used and roughly 10 years old). After the clutch slave was bled however, it was engaging really close to the floor. So much so that I stalled several times at first because my left foot was rushing to just about where it used to engage (muscle memory). Once the clutch was replaced it remained down low... Took a about 100 miles to get used to.
 

PHOTOGUY1000

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Location
Canyon Lake, CA
TDI
2015 Golf S, SE & SEL
Took the beetle out tonight about 70 miles round trip. On the way down shifting was fighting me but few hours later on way back it was quite a bit better. When I left it was about 95 out coming back more like 78 so I wonder if temp had any affect or if new fluid is starting to help a bit?
 
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