Question about 1998 Volkswagen Passat

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1998 V6 2.8 liter Passat w/tiptronic automatic transmission

This VW's transmission suddenly started slamming the next gear. When shifting to 2,3, and 4 gears it will hesitate to long before dropping it into the next gear. So, when it's time to shift into the next gear it pulls it out of the lower gear and rrrrrrooohhhm bang! into the next gear! Ouch, man it does not sound pretty. It slams the next gear, unless you quickly let off the gas. If you let off the gas it'll quietly drop it into the next gear. Especaily when it's cold. After it's warmed up it's ok, unless you take it over 3,000rpm. Then you got to be really carefull.

I just changed the transmission fluid for the second time.

First time, I used a cheaper Wolf's Head trany fluid put in that "met VW trany specs". The trany was fine up to this point. However, my buddy mechanic didn't know there was a filter to change, and he didn't drop the pan etc.

Now everything was fine up to that point till after that I took it to another garage where they tuned a HAFC that garentees a 50% increase in mpg. They don't do anything that would concern the trany besides putting it on a dyno. After leaving this garage is when this transmssion started slapping the next gears. It looks like they might have done something to it, like maybe over heating the trany, or stressing it more than it should have been. They do some fine tuning, but nothing with the transmission, besides putting it on a dyno. So it kinda looks like they might have done something to it, maybe just coincidence. It could be that it's coming from the aftermarket transmission fluid. Although it was brand new trany fluid. It doesn't seem like it'd be either really. It seems coincidental.

So, what's my problem?

I had a VW mechanic change it again, (just yesterday for the second time.) I asked them to take out all of the aftermarket stuff, and check for any metal shavings or something that would indicate that something is going bad with the transmission. They said everything looked fine. They drove it, and immediatley had they same results with the VW trany fluid, so they recommended me go to a VW transmission specialist.

What would be your prognosis?

Linford Wenger

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  • Anonymous Jul 06, 2008

    i have the same car. when driving hard it seems fine, but when driving slow it seems to rev up before going into the next gear. if i keep my foot on the gas it will slam the next gear. also it seems to get confused when to change. i only just bought the car! i'm going to change fluid but other than that i'm thinking that it may br a computer problem. did you fix your gearbox?

  • linfweng Jul 09, 2008


    Talked to several VW mechanics and one VW transmission specialist about my 1998 VW Passat. The trany specialist agreed that it's likely one of these problems. First problem may be that it's one of several solenoids in the transmission that would be malfunctioning. I think each gear has a solenoid. This problem would be the easiest and cheapest problem. Under $400 to fix. More or less, you never know what they're going to run into.

    2nd one might be a small broken spring in the trany known to cause the trany to slap the next gear. A $400 to 500.00 fix.

    A 3rd thing may be the (valve body) in the trans. This would be most coslty next to a rebuilt transmission. A $1200 to 1500 fix.

    Another thing I could do is sell it at an auto auction through a VW dealer, (he offered me that service) take the losses and buy a cheaper car with less things to go wrong.

    I've got an appointment July 22nd at the VW specialist. I've asked him to stick his scantool on it to see how, and what it's doing in real time. I'll keep you posted.


  • vijaylaksh Aug 17, 2008

    I bought a 1998 VW Passat 4 days back. I too have the same problem. It is banging on the gears then and there. I took it to AMCO and they suggested me to keep driving for a while. Please let me know if any one knows the solution for the problem. Otherwise the drive is excellent in my passat.


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Problem solved!!

I had a tuner go over the wiring. He found a loose ground wire and grounded it properly. The transmission has been shifting correctly ever since!!! It felt like a mechanical problem, and acted like a mechanical problem, but it was just a loose ground wire.

Let this be a heads up on VW transmissions!

Thankfully it was only a loose ground wire and not a $5,000 trany!!

Linford Wenger
Ehprata, Pa 17522

Posted on Sep 05, 2008

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Could we know where you found the loose ground wire ? I have the same problem.. thanks

Posted on Nov 26, 2015

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