Help! Suddenly can't shift. What to check?

pkhoury

That guy with the goats
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Location
Medina, TX
TDI
2013 JSW, 2003 Jetta Ute, 2 x 2002 Golf, 2000 Golf
I drove my car early this morning and noticed that it was hard to get the transmission to go into gear (5 speed manual). I just got in and tried to drive again. This time, it wouldn't go into 1st. I was able to get it into 5th, but I can't get it back out. What's going on? What do I check first?

I changed the gear oil a couple of years ago. Otherwise,, I have not messed with transmission or clutch in the last 180K miles.

Thanks in advance!
I had the same problem two months ago - 1st and 5th. Ended up being a cracked/bent clutch fork. I'm kinda glad I had to pull the transmission, because my oil gasket failed and a bunch of that crud was in the oil pickup screen.
 

pkhoury

That guy with the goats
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Location
Medina, TX
TDI
2013 JSW, 2003 Jetta Ute, 2 x 2002 Golf, 2000 Golf
If your fork was cracked, it would be pretty easy to feel. You wouldn't feel hardly any resistance and your slave wouldn't return.

I would find it odd for a fork to be cracked and just "bending" but still returning to position.
LOL. I experienced it two months ago, and it got to a point where the car just stopped driving until I went to neutral. That was a fun experience. Lesson learned - replace the clutch fork when I do a clutch (it's not that expensive) and ONLY buy OEM. Not some Chineseium crap.
 

pkhoury

That guy with the goats
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Location
Medina, TX
TDI
2013 JSW, 2003 Jetta Ute, 2 x 2002 Golf, 2000 Golf
idparts is great that way. hard to beat their customer service. it does not hurt to get the new flywheel with the package deal. save your old one, bring it to machine shop at your convenience and get it resurfaced to have "just in case".

make sure to compare your LUK flywheel with the one idparts sent. get the dimensions etc for the benefit of others :) namely, depth and diameters of clutch surface area
Guthrie helped me on this two months ago. I know he remembers the many calls/texts. But yeah - keep us all posted when you pull the transmission. Don't forget to do your rear main seal while you're in there!
 

Zak99b5

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Location
Albany NY
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI
Guthrie helped me on this two months ago. I know he remembers the many calls/texts. But yeah - keep us all posted when you pull the transmission. Don't forget to do your rear main seal while you're in there!
I’m looking to pull the tranny tomorrow since the weather is supposed to be good to do my clutch. I was planning on leaving the old RMS alone if it is dry. Let sleeping dogs lie and all. I’ve never changed one before, and it’s not just a simple bolt-on part to change. But how tricky are they to get right? Can’t be too bad, can it?
 

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
I’m looking to pull the tranny tomorrow since the weather is supposed to be good to do my clutch. I was planning on leaving the old RMS alone if it is dry. Let sleeping dogs lie and all. I’ve never changed one before, and it’s not just a simple bolt-on part to change. But how tricky are they to get right? Can’t be too bad, can it?
I replaced the RMS in my 2005 NB when I did the clutch. I also dropped and resealed the oil pan, so it was easier than usual since the pan was already down. Still, I remember that it was a delicate operation with specific steps to take and hazards to avoid.

I have been sick with fever cycles (the technical medical term is Shake'N'Bake) since Wednesday. Last night was the first one with no fever and no anti-fever meds (ibuprofen and acetaminophen), but I still have cough and congestion. It will be at least a couple of days until I can go outside to work.

Not COVID - my throat isn't sore.
 

burpod

teh stallionz!!1
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Location
cape cod, ma
TDI
82 rabbit vnt ahu, 98 jetta vnt ahu, 05 parts car, 88 scirocco.. :/
I’m looking to pull the tranny tomorrow since the weather is supposed to be good to do my clutch. I was planning on leaving the old RMS alone if it is dry. Let sleeping dogs lie and all. I’ve never changed one before, and it’s not just a simple bolt-on part to change. But how tricky are they to get right? Can’t be too bad, can it?
easy to do.. just take old one off, clean the surfaces, and push the new one on - the teflon type comes with a seal guide already installed on it, and it goes on dry, just carefully push on :)
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 2005 BEW Beetle, 2005 Jetta Wagon
The times that I have run into issues with shifting like this I found a bunch of walnuts jammed in the shift tower mechanism atop of the trans. Those little critters love the space there to build winter lodging.
I assume by now you would have seen something like this on yours if it was going on.
 

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
Ding! And the answer is... Broken pressure plate springs!

Springs on a new Luk 17-050:


Almost half of my springs are broken:


Honorable mentions:

Release lever pivot ball (old vs new)


The throwout bearing was still functional, but it has definitely seen better days.


Although I think the friction material is still good on this clutch, after 180K miles, the clutch is well and truly worn out.
 
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JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 2005 BEW Beetle, 2005 Jetta Wagon
I uncovered something similar today. The finger springs were worn down paper thin but not broken. The previous mechanic's fix was to slip washers under the pressure plate mounting points to bring the finger springs closer to the throw out bearing. :oops:
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2002 Golf 6MT; 2015 Sportwagen 6MT; 2016 A3 e-tron 6DSG
Ding! And the answer is... Broken pressure plate springs!

Springs on a new Luk 17-050:


Almost half of my springs are broken:


Honorable mentions:

Release lever pivot ball (old vs new)


The throwout bearing was still functional, but it has definitely seen better days.


Although I think the friction material is still good on this clutch, after 180K miles, the clutch is well and truly worn out.
Could it be that "honourable mention" caused "winner-winner"?
 

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
I uncovered something similar today. The finger springs were worn down paper thin but not broken. The previous mechanic's fix was to slip washers under the pressure plate mounting points to bring the finger springs closer to the throw out bearing. :oops:
Jerry-rigging like that from professional mechanics is the #1 reason I do a lot of my own work. #2 reason is saving money - but if I had a mechanic I could trust and who charged reasonable rates, I would gladly pay for him/her to do the work.
 

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
Could it be that "honourable mention" caused "winner-winner"?
Possibly. The whole thing is worn out; who knows what led to what? I found the timing inspection plug missing, and I've washed my engine a couple of times recently chasing oil leaks. I'm sure that accounts for a lot of the rust and was probably a factor also.
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2002 Golf 6MT; 2015 Sportwagen 6MT; 2016 A3 e-tron 6DSG
The reason I asked / postulated is that a little while ago, I had a guy who suddenly couldn't shift and found this in the bell housing:


Looked like a relatively new Valeo SMF/clutch had been installed, but release-bearing contact area on the spring-fingers on the pressure plate had already been ground down.
 

shoebear

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
TDI
1998 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon, 2005 New Beetle, 2013 Sportwagen
Wow! I wonder why that happened on a fairly new clutch - that is, what do I need to do to prevent it?

Also, that looks like a broken piece of the pivot ball clip spring on the left of the first photo.
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2002 Golf 6MT; 2015 Sportwagen 6MT; 2016 A3 e-tron 6DSG
New clutch, but whoever did the work decided to roll the dice with the original release arm and pivot ball. Just like on yours, pivot ball Teflon coating wore down, metal punched a hole in the pivot arm "socket" (photo #1)...and voila!
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 2005 BEW Beetle, 2005 Jetta Wagon
Jerry-rigging like that from professional mechanics is the #1 reason I do a lot of my own work. #2 reason is saving money - but if I had a mechanic I could trust and who charged reasonable rates, I would gladly pay for him/her to do the work.
I'm not really sure what was accomplished with the washers. Yes, that may have put the finger springs in a more protruding position in relation to the T.O. bearing but it also weakened the grip on the clutch. I did not witness this arrangement in action because I pulled it off of a salvage yard engine.
 
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