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Pelican Technical Article:

Manual Transmission Fluid Change

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$30

Talent:

**

Tools:

17mm Allen socket, drain pan, cleaner and rags

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (1999-00)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)
VW Golf GTI GLX (2000-01)
VW Golf GTI VR6 (2002-05)

Parts Required:

3 quarts of synthetic transmission fluid

Hot Tip:

Keep the car level as you elevate it; drive the car for a bit to heat the fluid up to allow it to drain more freely.

Performance Gain:

New fluid will help transmission shift and operate smoothly and extend service life

Complementary Modification:

Engine Oil Change

Changing transmission fluid is a straightforward task, and one of those things that is good to do whenever you take ownership of a new (to you) car. Transmission fluid has a longer change interval and thus is more likely to have been neglected by the previous owner.

Fortunately, changing transmission fluid in the GTI Mark 4 is actually easier than changing the oil, at least in a manual transmission car, because you don't have to change the filter as well. You simply drain the old and find a way to fill the transmission with new fluid.

It's easier to do this job if you first raise the car to a level position (the fill hole, when the car is level, serves as the indicator that the transmission has the proper amount of oil in it), and then remove the under tray. Do not just lift the front end as this will give you a false reading on the fluid level.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle is that you need a 17mm Allen to remove and reinstall the drain and fill plugs.

Locate the drain and fill plugs. The fill plug is on the front left side of the transmission case while the drain plug is on the bottom by the dog bone.

As with any car always make sure you can remove the fill plug first before you remove the drain plug. There is nothing worse than draining the fluid out of a vehicle and not being able to fill it back up. This will leave you stranded without the use of the vehicle to go and get what ever you need to assist in removing the fill plug. Use the 17mm Allen and remove the fill plug.

The drain plug has a tendency to get covered with oil and road grime. Make sure you clean the plug so that you can get a good seat with the tool. If you strip this plug you are in for a world of hurt trying to remove it.

Use the 17mm Allen and remove the plug.

Drain the transmission oil into a suitable container and dispose of according to your local regulations. Never drain or pour used oil into the street or sewer.

Check the drain plug for any debris and metal shavings. Small amounts of metal are normal as the transmission wears but anything resembling chunks or pieces of metal are huge signs of trouble with your transmission.

Reinstall the drain plug and fill the transmission with new oil. I prefer to use a pump and pump the transmission full but some oil containers can be poured straight in without too much of a mess.

Fill the transmission until it starts to flow back out the fill hole. When the oil is level with fill hole it is full. The transmission should take between 2.1 and 2.2 quarts.

Reinstall the fill plug and you are done.

Figure 1

Remove the four T25 Torx screws (red arrows) holding the under tray to the car

Locate the drain and fill plugs.
Figure 2

Locate the drain and fill plugs. The fill plug (yellow arrow) is on the front left side of the transmission case while the drain plug (red arrow) is on the bottom by the dog bone.

As with any car always make sure you can remove the fill plug first before you remove the drain plug (red arrow).
Figure 3

As with any car always make sure you can remove the fill plug first before you remove the drain plug (red arrow). There is nothing worse than draining the fluid out of a vehicle and not being able to fill it back up. This will leave you stranded without the use of the vehicle to go and get what ever you need to assist in removing the fill plug. Use the 17mm Allen and remove the fill plug.

The drain plug has a tendency to get covered with oil and road grime.
Figure 4

The drain plug has a tendency to get covered with oil and road grime. Make sure you clean the plug (red arrow) so that you can get a good seat with the tool. If you strip this plug you are in for a world of hurt trying to remove it.

Use the 17mm Allen (red arrow) and remove the plug.
Figure 5

Use the 17mm Allen (red arrow) and remove the plug.

Drain the transmission oil into a suitable container and dispose of according to your local regulations.
Figure 6

Drain the transmission oil into a suitable container and dispose of according to your local regulations. Never drain or pour used oil into the street or sewer.

Check the drain plug for any debris and metal shavings (red arrow).
Figure 7

Check the drain plug for any debris and metal shavings (red arrow). Small amounts of metal are normal as the transmission wears but anything resembling chunks or pieces of metal are huge signs of trouble with your transmission.

Reinstall the drain plug and fill the transmission with new oil.
Figure 8

Reinstall the drain plug and fill the transmission with new oil. I prefer to use a pump and pump the transmission (yellow arrow) full but some oil containers can be poured straight in without too much of a mess.

Fill the transmission until it starts to flow back out the fill hole (yellow arrow).
Figure 9

Fill the transmission until it starts to flow back out the fill hole (yellow arrow). When the oil is level with fill hole it is full. The transmission should take between 2.1 and 2.2 quarts.

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Comments and Suggestions:
KAW Comments: My 2002 vw gti golf 1.8t isn't shifting forward or reversing. But I notice my trans fluid wasn't full and with a Lil burnt scent. And here in the Bahamas there's problem's finding and ordering a transmission filter/screener. So they clean it and put it back in. It worked but it back the same. Think it's the transwer fluid? Please help. What's app me or call 2424297536
October 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be a slip caused by low fluid or low pressure. Start by checking your fluid level. If it is OK, you may have worn parts causing a pressure drop and slip. I would have it checked by a transmission specialist before it gets much worse.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Carl Comments: Thanks for this post, extremely useful!!
February 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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