VW Passat & Audi A4 1990-2000

Automatic Transaxle

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fluid recommendations

CAUTION
On Passat models produced before 1998, make sure to properly identify the transaxle installed in your vehicle by locating the code identifying characters stamped into the transaxle housing. Failure to properly identify the transaxle could lead to improper servicing, lubrication, and severe internal damage.

Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat transaxles are of a unique design. The differential assembly is separated internally from the components of the transmission. On Quattro models with All Wheel Drive (AWD) the center differential is also separated as a unit from the transmission and from the front differential.

Because of this unique design, different fluids are required for the transmission portion of the transaxle and the differential, and, if equipped with AWD, the center differential.


CAUTION
Failure to use approved fluids and improperly filling of the transaxle or differential(s) could lead to severe mechanical damage.


NOTE
The part numbers provided in the following information could change without notice and are provided only as a reference. Always consult your local dealer for the correct lubricant for your vehicle.

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

The 1990-93 Passat GL/CL and 1995-96 Passat GLS models use Dexron® ATF in the transmission gearset/torque converter section of the automatic transaxle. This fluid is reddish in color, and turns brown once it has been in use.

The 1993-97 Passat GLX, 1998-00 Passat GLS and 1996-00 Audi A4 models use a special synthetic ATF, ESSO LT 71141 available only from the manufacturer's dealer network. The fluid is yellow in color and available from your local dealer in either 0.5L (Part No. G 052 162 A1) or 1.0L (Part No. G 052 162 A2) containers.


WARNING
The manufacturer strictly states that no additives should be used in the with the ATF fluid!


CAUTION
Always consult your dealer on the current recommended Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) type.

Refer to the manufacturer's suggested maintenance information for replacement intervals.

Differential Fluid
Except 01m Transaxles

The differential portion of the A4 and Passat automatic transaxles use G 50, SAE 75 W 90 synthetic gear oil. The fluid is from your local dealer in either 0.5L (Part No. G 052 145 A1) or 1.0L (Part No. G 052 145 A2) containers.

Volkswagen does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. However, periodic Inspection of the level of the fluid (and the fluid itself) is recommended.

01m Transaxles

The differential portion of the 01M automatic transaxles used on Passat models uses VW ATF to lubricate the differential assembly. This synthetic lubricant is available from your local dealer in either 0.5L (Part No. G 052 162 A1) or 1.0L (Part No. G 052 162 A2) containers.

Volkswagen does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. However, periodic Inspection of the level of the fluid (and the fluid itself) is recommended.

Center Differential Fluid

The center differential portion of the automatic transaxles used on A4 and Passat models equipped with All Wheel Drive (AWD) uses G 50, SAE 75 W 90 synthetic gear oil. The fluid is from your local dealer in either 0.5L (Part No. G 052 145 A1) or 1.0L (Part No. G 052 145 A2) containers.

Volkswagen does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. However, periodic Inspection of the level of the fluid (and the fluid itself) is recommended.

LEVEL CHECK
Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) Level
1990-93 Passat GL/CL models

NOTE
This procedure includes 1993-97 Passat models equipped with the 096 transaxle which is equipped with a dip stick. If equipped with the 01M transaxle, refer to the procedure for models not equipped with a dipstick. The 3 digit transaxle code is stamped into the transaxle housing.

The 1990-93 Passat GL/CL and 1995-96 Passat GLS models use a standard dipstick to check the level of the gearset/torque converter fluid in the transaxle. Tool No. VAG 1551, VAG 1552, or their equivalent is used to measure the temperature of the fluid in the transaxle. The transaxle fluid can be checked with the fluid at 68°F (20°C), or at 122-158°F (50-70°C). Since Automatic Transaxle Fluid (ATF) expands according to temperature, it is recommended (but not necessary) that the VAG 1551 or VAG 1552 tool be used to measure the temperature of the transaxle fluid to ensure a proper reading.


NOTE
With the engine at normal operating temperature, the temperature of the ATF is approximately 140°F (60°C).


WARNING
DO NOT overfill an automatic transmission. Pressure is generated inside the case and over filling will cause fluid leaks.

In addition to the MIN and MAX marks on the dipstick, there is a 20° mark at the very bottom of the dipstick. The difference between the MIN and MAX marks is 1 / 4 of a quart (0.2L). When cold, fill the transaxle to the 20° mark. Warm up the engine to normal operating temperature and check the level again. It should be between the MIN and MAX marks. If not, add fluid as required.

  1. Make sure the engine and transaxle are warm. Drive the vehicle a few miles if necessary to bring the transaxle to normal operating temperature.
  2.  
  3. With the selector lever in P , remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert it, and withdraw it again.
  4.  
  5. The fluid level should be within the two marks. If the level is low, correct it by pouring Dexron® automatic transmission fluid (with an appropriate funnel) through the dipstick tube. Bear in mind that the difference between the two marks is less than one pint.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The transmission ATF dipstick has three indicators. The fluid level should be between the Min and Max at 122-158°F (50-70°C)

Passat GLX, GLS and Audi A4 models

NOTE
This procedure includes 1993-97 Passat models equipped with the 01M transaxle which is not equipped with a dip stick. If equipped with the 096 transaxle, refer to the previous procedure. The 3-digit transaxle code is stamped into the transaxle housing.


CAUTION
If the following equipment is not available or if safety would be compromised, this procedure should be performed by the dealer or a trained service technician and properly equipped facility.

The use of Tool No. VAG 1551 or VAG 1552 or their equivalent is necessary to monitor the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) temperature. The following parameters are necessary to properly check the ATF fluid level:



Vehicle raised, safely supported and level
 
Climate control in the OFF position
 
Transaxle must not be in emergency (limp) mode
 
Gear selector in <P> with engine at normal idle speed
 
ATF fluid temperature between 86-113°F (30-45°C)
 

  1. Verify that the transmission is not in the emergency (limp) operation mode. Do NOT perform this procedure if the transmission is in the emergency (limp) mode.
  2.  
  3. Connect the VAG 1551, 1552 or its equivalent to the Data Link Connector (DLC).
  4.  
  5. With the engine at normal idle, the gear selector in P with all electrical consumers and the climate control OFF , raise and safely support the vehicle such that it is level and the underside of the transmission pan is accessible.
  6.  
  7. Place a suitable drain pan under the transaxle.
  8.  


CAUTION
Transmission fluid is hot and could scald exposed skin. Wear eye protection and avoid contact with the transmission fluid.


WARNING
The ATF fluid level plug must not be removed if the fluid temperature is above 86°F (30°C).

  1. Remove the ATF fluid level plug. On 096 transaxles (1997 and earlier Passat models) DO NOT remove the overflow tube when the level plug is removed.
  2.  
  3. When the ATF fluid temperature reaches 86-113°F (30-45°C), if the fluid level is correct, the ATF should begin to drip from the fill cavity.
  4.  
  5. Install the fill plug using a new sealing washer.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The transmission fill plug is also the level plug on 96 and later A4 and 98 and later Passat models

Automatic Transaxle Differential Fluid

The manufacturer does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. However, periodic Inspection of the level of the fluid (and the fluid itself) is recommended. A high oil level indicates one of three conditions. First, the previous mechanic/owner may have accidentally overfilled the transaxle if the vehicle was not level. Secondly a high oil level (assuming the vehicle is level) can be caused by excessive condensation (water) in the differential. This may be a result of constant operation in wet areas, or high humidity. Moisture can condense inside of the transaxle in the same manner that a can of cold soda "sweats" when removed from a refrigerator. Lastly, a high oil condition may indicate that the internal seals that separate the differential section from the torque converter/gearset are possibly faulty, and ATF has contaminated the differential oil.

1990-97 Passat GL/CL, GLX, GLS models

On 1990-97 Passat models equipped with 096 and 01M transaxles proceed as follows:

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
  2.  
  3. Locate the speedometer drive gear, (located near the right side driveshaft flange).
  4.  
  5. Unplug the connector from the gear, and unscrew the gear from the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Using a clean, lint-free rag, wipe the end of the gear clean.
  8.  
  9. Screw the speedometer drive gear into the transaxle, until it is fully seated.
  10.  
  11. Remove the speedometer drive gear, and note the oil level. The oil level should not be above the MAX mark (flange) on the gear shaft. If the oil level is low, add oil (in small increments to avoid overfilling) through the speedometer gear hole in the transaxle. The difference between the Min and Max level is only 3 ounces (0.1L)!
  12.  
  13. Once the oil level is correct, install the speedometer drive gear, and secure the harness connector.
  14.  

1996-00 A4 and 1998-00 Passat models

NOTE
Access to the fill/level plug is difficult with the vehicle on the ground. The vehicle must be level to ensure an accurate reading. Carefully raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands in order to access the fill/level plug. Make sure the vehicle is level before completely removing the plug.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle such that it is level.
  4.  
  5. Place a suitable drain receptacle underneath the rear of the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the filler plug on the side of the transaxle, near the halfshaft flange.
  8.  
  9. Note the oil level; it should be even with the lower edge of the filler hole.
  10.  
  11. If the oil level is low, add the proper type and viscosity as necessary to obtain the correct oil level.
  12.  
  13. Install the filler plug, and tighten it securely.
  14.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The gear oil fill and level plug shown with the transaxle assembly removed



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The gear oil fill and level plug is near the centerline of the drive axle. Make sure the vehicle is level when checking



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The differential fluid fill and level plug is on the side of the transmission near the axle. A suitable sized hex tool is needed to remove and install the plug

Automatic Transaxle Center Differential Fluid
1996-00 All Wheel Drive (AWD) Models

NOTE
Access to the fill/level plug is difficult with the vehicle on the ground. The vehicle must be level to ensure an accurate reading. Carefully raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands in order to access the fill/level plug. Make sure the vehicle is level before completely removing the plug.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle such that it is level.
  4.  
  5. Place a suitable drain receptacle underneath the rear of the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the filler plug on the side of the transaxle, near the halfshaft flange.
  8.  
  9. Note the oil level; it should be even with the lower edge of the filler hole.
  10.  
  11. If the oil level is low, add the proper type and viscosity as necessary to obtain the correct oil level.
  12.  
  13. Install the filler plug, and tighten it securely.
  14.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The center differential is a separate unit attached to the automatic transaxle. It drives the rear differential on the AWD models

DRAIN AND REFILL
Automatic Transmission (ATF) Fluid
1990-93 Passat GL/CL models

NOTE
This procedure includes 1993-97 Passat models equipped with the 096 transaxle which is equipped with a dip stick. The 3-digit transaxle code is stamped into the transaxle housing.

Because the 010 and 096 transaxle Do NOT have a drain plug, the only way to drain the automatic transaxle fluid is to remove the pan.

  1. Raise and safely support the front of the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Using a thick-bristled brush, clean any dirt and/or grease build-up from the area around the fluid pan.
  4.  
  5. Place drain receptacle (large enough to contain all of the transaxle fluid) under the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the two rear pan bolts, then loosen the two front pan bolts just enough to allow the fluid to drain.
  8.  
  9. Once the fluid ceased to drain from the pan, remove the remaining bolts and lower the pan.
  10.  


NOTE
There will be a small quantity of fluid in the pan. Lower the pan carefully to avoid spillage.

  1. Discard the old gasket and clean the pan with solvent. Make sure the gasket surface on the pan and the transaxle are clean, dry and free of all old gasket material.
  2.  
  3. Remove the bolts to remove the strainer and clean it. If the strainer is excessively dirty or damaged, it should be replaced.
  4.  
    1. On 010 transaxle, torque the strainer bolts to 35 inch lbs. (4 Nm).
    2.  
    3. On 096 transaxle, torque the strainer bolts to 71 inch lbs. (8 Nm).
    4.  

  5. Fit the gasket onto the pan. Usually the gasket does not require any type of sealing compound to form an effective seal. Sometimes a sealer is necessary to hold the gasket in place while installing the pan. Be sure to glue the gasket to the pan, not to the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Fit the pan into place and start all the bolts.
  8.  
    1. On 010 transaxle, torque the bolts (in a crisscross pattern) to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
    2.  
    3. On 096 transaxle, torque the bolts (in a crisscross pattern) to 9 ft. lbs. (12 Nm).
    4.  

  9. Using a long-necked funnel, refill the transaxle with 3.2 quarts of fluid through the dipstick tube.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle from the jackstands.
  12.  
  13. Run the engine to check for leaks and to check the level.
  14.  
  15. Add fluid as necessary to adjust the level. Do NOT overfill the transaxle!
  16.  

Passat GLX, GLS and Audi A4 models

NOTE
The following information includes 1993-97 Passat models equipped with the 01M transaxle which is not equipped with a dip stick. If equipped with the 096 transaxle, refer to the previous procedure. The 3 digit transaxle code is stamped into the transaxle housing.

These automatic transaxles require special electronic tools and fluid filling equipment which is beyond the scope of this guide. Because of the special equipment required and the potential for severe and costly mechanical damage if not properly performed, it is suggested that the ATF fluid in the transaxle be changed by an authorized dealer.

Automatic Transaxle Differential Fluid

The manufacturer does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil. Consequently, the manufacturer does not supply a drain plug for the differential. The oil/fluid can be removed from the differential housing with a suction-type oil siphon tool (commonly available at automotive and boat supply facilities) by extracting the fluid via the fill/level plug.

Unless you believe that the differential oil is contaminated, changing the oil/fluid in the differential of the transaxle is not necessary. The manufacturer states that the differential is filled for the life of the transaxle, and that replacement of the fluid/oil is not necessary, however the fluid should be topped off if necessary or replaced if related repairs are performed.

Automatic Transaxle Center Differential Fluid
1996-00 All Wheel Drive (AWD) Models

The manufacturer does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the center differential oil.

Unless you believe that the center differential oil is contaminated, changing the oil/fluid should not be necessary. The fluid should be topped off if necessary or replaced if related repairs are performed.


NOTE
Access to the fill/level plug is difficult with the vehicle on the ground. The vehicle must be level to ensure an accurate reading. Carefully raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands in order to access the fill/level plug. Make sure the vehicle is level before completely removing the plug.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle such that it is level.
  4.  
  5. Place a suitable drain receptacle underneath the rear of the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the filler plug on the side of the center differential.
  8.  
  9. Remove the drain plug from the bottom of the center differential.
  10.  
  11. Install drain plug using a new crush washer.
  12.  
  13. Using the approved fluid, fill the center differential through the fill hole on the side of the unit until the oil level is 3 / 64 in. (1.0mm) below the lower edge of the filler hole.
  14.  
  15. Install the fill/level plug using a new crush washer, and tighten it securely.
  16.  

 
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