Volkswagen Golf/Jetta/Cabriole 1990-1999

Automatic Transaxle

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fluid recommendations



Volkswagen transaxle are of a unique design; the differential is separated internally from the rest of the transaxle. Because of this unique design, different fluids are required for the transaxle gearset/torque converter and differential.

Dexron® ATF is used in the gearset/torque converter information of all 010 and 096 automatic transaxle. A3 platform vehicles equipped with 01M transaxle use a special synthetic ATF, available only from the manufacturer. Volkswagen recommends that the gearset/torque converter automatic transaxle fluid be replaced every 30,000 miles if you use your car for frequent trailer towing, mountain driving, or other severe service.

The differential section of all 010 automatic transaxle use 90W hypoid gear oil, API service GL-5, Mil-l-2105B. 096 automatic transaxle use SAE 75W90 synthetic gear oil. The 01M transaxle uses Volkswagen synthetic ATF to lubricate the differential.

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



Gearset/Torque Converter
010 and 096 transaxles

A1, A2, and A3 platform vehicles equipped with 010 and 096 "Phase I" transaxle use a standard dipstick to check the level of the gearset/torque converter fluid in the transaxle. On 096 transaxle, a special tool, VAG 1551, is used to measure the temperature of the fluid in the transaxle. The transaxle fluid can be checked with the fluid at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), or at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Since Automatic Transaxle Fluid (ATF) expands according to temperature, it is recommended (but not necessary) that the VAG 1551 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 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).


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 0.24 qts. 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.  

01m Transaxles

A3 platform vehicles equipped with the 01M "Phase II" transaxle require special electronic tools to check and correct the fluid level. As a result, they are not equipped with a dipstick. Because of this, a procedure is not given. It is highly recommended that vehicles equipped with an 01M transaxle be taken to a qualified service facility for transaxle fluid service.

Differential

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 information from the torque converter/gearset are possibly faulty, and ATF has contaminated the differential oil.

010 transaxles
  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
  2.  
  3. Place a suitable drain receptacle underneath the rear of the transaxle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the filler plug on the passenger side of the transaxle, near the passenger side halfshaft flange.
  6.  


NOTE
Although access to the filler plug will be difficult with the vehicle on the ground, it is necessary to ensure an accurate reading. You may wish to raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands in order to loosen the filler plug, then lower the vehicle to the ground making sure the vehicle is level before completely removing the filler plug.

  1. Note the oil level; it should be even with the lower edge of the filler hole.
  2.  
  3. If the oil level is low, add oil (of the proper type and viscosity) as necessary to obtain the correct oil level.
  4.  
  5. Install the filler plug, and tighten it securely.
  6.  

096 AND 01m Transaxles
  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.
  12.  
  13. Once the oil level is correct, install the speedometer drive gear, and secure the harness connector.
  14.  

DRAIN AND REFILL



Gearset/Torque Converter

A3 platform vehicles equipped with the 01M "Phase II" transaxle require special electronic tools to check and correct the fluid level after the transaxle fluid. Because of this, no procedure is given. It is highly recommended that vehicles equipped with an 01M transaxle be taken to a qualified service facility for transaxle fluid service.

010 and 096 transaxles only

Since 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.
    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.  

  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.
    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.  

  8.  
  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.  

Differential

Volkswagen does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. Consequently, the manufacturer does not supply a drain plug for the differential information of 010, 096, and 01M transaxle. The oil/fluid can be removed from the differential housing with a suction-type oil changing tool (commonly available a boat supply facilities) placed inside of the check plug. Another method (although much more involved) of draining the oil/fluid is by removing the differential cover. This is less desirable, because access to the cover is limited.

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.

 
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