The engine starts and seems to run fine. Service has been regular and fluid levels are fine. Air filter is clean. When transmission is engaged, there is no forward progress for a few minutes until it seems oil heats up. When going forward or reverse, progress is slow and there is absolutely no power. The blades engage appropriately and seem to have power to drive them; just the transmission doesn't want to work.
Check your drive belt and the tensioner pulley that holds tension on the drive belt. Its possible for the tensioner pulley to be sticking and not putting enough pressure on the drive belt causing it to slip.
Grab hold of that tensioner pully and make sure it moves in and out freely against the drive belt.
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My service manual for a 90-93 Passat makes no mention of a VR-6 engine but here's what it says for the regular auto transmission.
Loosen the bottom pan bolts and let the old fluid drain into a catch pan. Remove it and clean it . Replace the strainer (filter) if it can't be cleaned or is damaged. Replace the pan gasket, be sure the 4 corner gasket spacers are in place before tightening the bolts.Torques are 71 in-lbs for the filter and 89 in-lbs for the pan bolts.
To check the fluid level, the engine and trans must have a minimum of 6 miles of driving on them before the level is checked. The engine is running when you check it. The 20*C mark is the cold level.
VW recommends this be done every 2 years or 30,000 miles.
The problem is the transmission is loosing pressure, when the engine is
reved the transmission pump replenishes that pressure and the
transmission re-engages. Here are the most obvious reasons:
1) Low tranny fluid. 2) Dirty filter slowing flow of fluid in the tranny. 3) From there it gets complicated and expensive but basically something in the tranny is started to let go and the fragments are clogging the system and/or filter; in that case you are looking at a potential major overhaul of your tranny.
I would check the fluid level first, assuming it's up I would drain the pan and check the filter-pay close attention to whats in the fluid-are there chunkies or anything other than clean fluid? Check and change the filter. Unless it's just low fluid the chances are pretty good it's serious.
Check your transmission fluid level. When the engine is not running the fluid is not being pushed into the torque converter so check the fluid level with the engine is running, from a safety point of view have a friend sit in the driver's seat with a foot on the brake with the transmission in park or neutral. If the level is low, extra fluid can be added via the transmission dipstick tube ( DO NOT confuse this with the dipstick for engine oil!). If the problem persists it could be that you have sheared the oil pump shaft within the transmission. What ever the cause there is little that can be done by way of DIY and a consultation with an auto transmission centre would be the best next point of call
Often, noise in the power steering is the result of air trapped in the system. It can also come from contaminated or worn out fluid. If the fluid level in the power steering reservoir is low, the pump will tend to whine and/or chatter. First, check the fluid level. If it is low, there is a leak somewhere. Keep the fluid level up if you must drive it, or the power steering pump will be destroyed. Once you have determined there are no leaks, or repaired any leaks you have have found, the best solution is to remove as much fluid from the system as possible, and then refill it with fresh, clean fluid. There is a product called Lucas power steering stop leak (or somesuch) which is excellent for quieting power steering components and extending their life. Use 1/2qt to 1 qt of regular fluid first, and then the whole bottle of Lucas when refilling. Top off with regular fluid as needed. Be sure to check the fluid level again after letting the engine idle and turning the wheels back and forth several times, as some air will be purged from the system and the level may go down substantially.
your owners manual will tell you exactly. usually all filters should be changed (oil, air, auto transmission if equipped, fuel, cabin air etc) as well as spark plugs and wires, distributor cap and rotor if equipped, check the belts and hoses as well as the charging system. All fluid levels should be checked and topped off. Check your tire p.s.i. as well.
Have you checked the transmission fluid level? The car should be driven for 20 minutes or more, then with engine running vehicle in park, pull out dipstick, wipe clean, reinsert, check level. When the car doesn't go anywhere, do you let it idle for 5 mins before you drive? If yes, the fluid level could be low enough that 5 min idling warms it up just enough that the fluid is expanding and slightly raising the level just enough to operate. The fluid on the dipstick should be pink, if it's dark you should have it changed, along w/ the trans filter. Be careful of fast change shops, as some just shove a hose down the dipstick tube and suction some of the fluid out. This is NOT a fluid or filter change, just a small amount of fluid is removed. Hope it's just the fluid level, but keep checking on regular basis, as running w/ low fluid (or overfilled) can ruin a trans. countrycurt0