bravenrace
bravenrace HalfDork
1/27/09 11:04 a.m.

Hey guys, My niece just called me and says she needs a new car. Her '95 Jetta has a bad clutch and the check engine light comes on intermittently. When the light comes on, the car runs rough, but when it's not on it runs fine. The clutch is slipping, and is apparently adjusted the best it can be. A "friend" of hers that works at a shop looked at it, said the clutch would be $800 and told her that they couldn't read the trouble code on a Jetta that old. (WTF?). Now, I'm a general gearhead and I've worked on lots of late model and FWD cars, but know next to nothing about this Jetta. Does that sound right to you VW guys? The shop told her that changing the clutch on her car was much more difficult than most. I'm considering doing it myself so that she isn't pressured into buying a new car right away. I have a lift, but still want to know what I'm getting myself into. The car is about 50 miles away, which is why I'm not just looking at it to answer my questions. So here are my questions:

  1. Is there anything special I need to know about changing the clutch on a Jetta? For a comparison, is it harder than a similar year Civic? If so, what is it that makes it hard?
  2. Who has the best price on clutches for this car?
  3. Is there some trick to extracting the trouble code, or can any Autozone read it like they do other cars?
  4. In the case of the engine light, is there a typical problem that usually causes this? I'd also welcome any other information about this car. Before anyone comments on whether or not it's worth repairing, note that to make that determination is exactly why I'm asking. Thanks in advance, JIm
16vCorey
16vCorey SuperDork
1/27/09 11:25 a.m.

As far as the clutch goes, that's mostly BS. Those are super easy to change. The only special tool you will need is the 12 point torx-style tool for the drive axles. You will also need a 12 point 9mm socket to take the flywheel apart from the pressure plate. That's not really anything special, but it's not commonly used. I've changed one under jack stands in gravel in under 4 hours.

The general OBD-II scanners won't read the codes, since OBD-II didn't start until '96. Any nicer scanner can scan it fine as long as you have the proper adapter. The hall sensor in the distributor is a pretty common failure on the ABA engine. If you get the codes read, and it comes up as a camshaft position sensor, or something like that, change the distributor. Or if you're cheap and good with a punch, take the distributor apart and change the hall sensor.

bravenrace
bravenrace HalfDork
1/27/09 11:30 a.m.

What size Torx? I have a lot of them already, but something tells me it's going to be bigger than what I have. Is this something that might be able to be rented?

jdmae92
jdmae92 Reader
1/27/09 11:31 a.m.

I have worked on a friends Jetta before but have never done a clutch. The only input I have is that if it is a VR6 it is a pain to work on.

He is also trying to get rid of it you would like to suggest she trades a 95 Jetta that needs a clutch for a 95 Jetta that needs brakes.

16vCorey
16vCorey SuperDork
1/27/09 11:38 a.m.
bravenrace wrote: What size Torx? I have a lot of them already, but something tells me it's going to be bigger than what I have. Is this something that might be able to be rented?

It's not really a torx, and I believe they're measured in mm. You can get a whole 4pc set at Autozone for $10. They look like this(although the Autozone ones require a separate socket) Autozome style: Also, the VR6 is a bit harder to work on, as it's much more cramped. But I'm assuming you have a 4cyl, since you said it has a clutch cable. The VR6's had the O2A trans, which is hydraulic.

Travis_K
Travis_K Reader
1/27/09 11:42 a.m.

When you change the clutch, change the valve cover gasket as well. Its not terribly hard to change, but you usually need to take all the engine mounts loose and move the engine to the side to have room to get the tranny out.

Travis_K
Travis_K Reader
1/27/09 11:43 a.m.

The bit for the CV joints is called a triple square right?

bravenrace
bravenrace HalfDork
1/27/09 11:57 a.m.

Thanks guys. I assume the transaxle comes out the bottom?

Travis_K
Travis_K Reader
1/27/09 12:24 p.m.
bravenrace wrote: Thanks guys. I assume the transaxle comes out the bottom?

Yes it does.

bravenrace
bravenrace HalfDork
1/27/09 2:29 p.m.

Hey guys, I just found out that the car is a Jetta 3 GL, and it has the 2.0 four cylinder. She said that they told her that the 3 GL was an uncommon model? Can anyone enlighten me, or verify if that makes any difference in the clutch R&R?

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
1/27/09 2:48 p.m.

No difference.

It is uncommon like atmosphere for the most part.

doc_speeder
doc_speeder New Reader
1/27/09 3:24 p.m.

Don't be afraid of working on this car, they are really quite simple from a mechanical point of view. Sounds to me like the shop is trying to justify an unreasonably high bill if should they get the work. If you don't take it on, I'd advise her to get an estimate or opinion from another shop.

Treb
Treb New Reader
1/27/09 4:27 p.m.

As far as getting the code from the CEL, you can get it to blink out the codes by jumping a couple of wires...

there's an OBD-II port just above the cigarette lighter, but the car is OBD-I, so a normal OBD-II scanner might not do it.

A paperclip will do it, though.

Good resource for VW of that era: http://faculty.ccp.edu/faculty/dreed/Campingart/jettatech/index.htm

His explanation of the CEL code procedures: http://faculty.ccp.edu/faculty/dreed/Campingart/jettatech/codes/index.htm

I'll echo the above comments that these are pretty simple cars, mechanically. Nothing to be afraid of.

Oh, and the clutch cable should be self-adjusting.

RXBeetle
RXBeetle New Reader
1/27/09 5:09 p.m.

!!!ACHTUNG!!! Before you bother with any of this get the car moving in reverse and blip the gas. If jumps right out of gear chances are reverse is on the way out and you'll just be pulling the trans again shortly when it finally fails.

That being said, the only thing that sucks about doin a clutch job on a Mk3 jetta is getting the trans out. The axles unbolt from the flanges and the drives side has to be removed. The flanges stay on the trans though and they really like to hang you up while you expect the trans to just plop out. I keep a 2X6 and a jack under the oil pan of the engine and raise/lower as necessary till the trans has clearance to be liberated from the car. Oh yeah berkley those tripple square bolts squeeeezed around the CV boot. I swap em all out with really high grade SHCS so I can use an allen wrench and a pipe to pop them loose the next time and the ball end allen to get them out quick.

PorschesOnTheCheap
PorschesOnTheCheap New Reader
1/27/09 5:50 p.m.

It's been my experience that the "check engine" light in a modern VW just means the car is running. My wife has a 2002 VW Cabrio that she loves. If she didn't, I'd push it off a cliff. In the last 2000 miles we've replaced:

  • both oxygen sensors
  • catalytic converter
  • idle speed motor (part of a $400 throttle body)
  • charcoal canister
  • mass air flow sensor

The car is exceptionally well maintained and only has 73K miles on it. We got it from the original owner and despite the light, it has always run excellent. It even passes emissions no problem - it's just that stupid light that keeps it from going through inspection. So we drive it on my dealer plate :)

The good news is that with a 1995 VW, the "check engine" light can easily be rewired/soldered to come on with the seat belt light (and, therefore, turn off a few seconds after start up). This will please the inspection station, as the light will come on with the key and turn off within a few seconds of the car running.

Travis_K
Travis_K Reader
1/27/09 7:15 p.m.

I asked my friend that used to have a couple of mk3s (and an mk2 with an mk3 engine) and he said you also need to replace the bolts on the pressure plate, and make sure you have a machine shop available that can resurface the flywheel (it is a somewhat unique design).

bravenrace
bravenrace HalfDork
1/28/09 6:44 a.m.
PorschesOnTheCheap wrote: It's been my experience that the "check engine" light in a modern VW just means the car is running. My wife has a 2002 VW Cabrio that she loves. If she didn't, I'd push it off a cliff. In the last 2000 miles we've replaced: - both oxygen sensors - catalytic converter - idle speed motor (part of a $400 throttle body) - charcoal canister - mass air flow sensor The car is exceptionally well maintained and only has 73K miles on it. We got it from the original owner and despite the light, it has always run excellent. It even passes emissions no problem - it's just that stupid light that keeps it from going through inspection. So we drive it on my dealer plate :) The good news is that with a 1995 VW, the "check engine" light can easily be rewired/soldered to come on with the seat belt light (and, therefore, turn off a few seconds after start up). This will please the inspection station, as the light will come on with the key and turn off within a few seconds of the car running.

Well, like I said, the car runs poorly when the light comes on, so I'm thinking there's some legitimate reason for it coming on.

jungle
jungle New Reader
2/2/09 5:19 p.m.

A clutch kit should be less than $300....I HIGHLY reccommend www.parts4vws.com for all vw bits oem & aftermarket.

I always have issues aligning up the front motor mount on these cars since the bolts go through the starter, front motor mount, and the motor.

jungle
jungle New Reader
2/3/09 1:56 p.m.

also forgot...find somebody w/ a VAGCOM to scan the CEL issues, they are FAR superior to the average odb reader.....there is actually a website that lists vagcom owners in a given area.

16vCorey
16vCorey SuperDork
2/3/09 2:42 p.m.
Travis_K wrote: I asked my friend that used to have a couple of mk3s (and an mk2 with an mk3 engine) and he said you also need to replace the bolts on the pressure plate, and make sure you have a machine shop available that can resurface the flywheel (it is a somewhat unique design).

People say that, but I've never replaced the bolts and just hit the flywheel with a die grinder and scotch brite pad (I'm tellin' ya poop, these things will do anything!) to knock the glaze off of it, and I can't count how many VW clutches I've changed. The clutch kits are about $150 at rockauto.com.

VWguyBruce
VWguyBruce Reader
2/3/09 3:11 p.m.

Hit each of the triple square bolts with a bit of brake clean in the hole before you try and seat the tool in the hole. You can strip these out pretty easy if they aren't seated all the way in. I go so far as to tap the bit into each hole to make sure it's completely seated. I don't have any problems using them as long as they haven't been dorked up in the past.

I remove the triple square bolts at the six o'clock position on the CV, that way the boot doesn't get in the way. Out of gear, rotate axle for next bolt, in gear, break bolt loose, etc. That's how I found it the easiest.

Like 16vCorey, I have reused the PP bolts but I usually have them thrown in when I order parts. Sometimes you're in pinch though. I also don't turn watercooled VW flywheels. I break the glaze though.

While the trans is out you might as well change the input shaft bushing and seal, cheap and easy.

Parts at www.germanautoparts.com are the same price as Rock Auto too.

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 New Reader
2/4/09 1:43 p.m.

Always replace the bolts that hold the pressure plate to the crank, those are stretch bolts. I have had a flywheel loosen by reusing them, even with loctite. The ones that hold the flywheel to the pressure plate are fine to reuse, but be sure to use loctite on them. Also, the auto adjust clutch cable has been known to eat clutches. Replace with new or a manual adjust one.

I think all the other ins/outs of this has been stated previously.

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