'06 Jetta - apocalypse now? transmission breakdown?

2006 Jetta 2.5, automatic w/ tiptronic, last week passed its 80K tuneup at VW dealership with no issues except battery recharge and CV boot (fr. rt. outer).

Today I’m at stop sign, low-grade hill, and accelerated on some gravel. Tires spin, the car gets up into traffic and then loses driving power, rolls backward. It starts up okay, but can’t go into Drive or Reverse. In Park, it just rolls backward on a hill. It’s like the car thinks it’s in Neutral despite the gear shifting. Putting into Park gives a painful sound, too, so I turned the car off before doing that. Towed back to VW dealership.

Pros: The car was stopped immediately upon failure and it broke down at low speed. No bad odor, no loud noises from engine.

Worst fears: total transmission failure, timing belt failure, clutch, etc.

I’m expecting a major blow here which I really can’t afford. 3 years of payments to go. Hopefully someone can raise my spirits here or at least advise me once I get the diagnosis.

It’s not likely to do w/the timing belt. If the timing belt broke, the engine wouldn’t start.

To replace the CV boot, assuming this is fwd, the axel had to be at least partially removed. Which CV boots were involved? There’s 4 total on the front, 2 inners, and 2 outers. It’s possible something went wrong when the axel was reinstalled. If so, that might be a fairly simple fix.

Otherwise, it looks like some kind of transmission problem. It’s hard to say via the internet whether it is a major one or a minor one though. It might just be a linkage problem. You’ll just have to have your shop look at it. If a diy’er had this problem the first thing they’d do is check the transmission fluid level. Edit: If the drive axel’s had to be removed, sometimes during the process the transmission fluid can drain out of either the differential or both the differential and the transmission.

Thanks, George.

The front right out CV boot and axle were replaced. Wow, I never thought this could be related.

I couldn’t check the trans fluid because it’s sealed. Maybe solenoid in transmission?

I’m just worried the trans had a heart attack, whatever the equivalent may be.

There is really no such thing as a tune-up on modern cars. They’re referred to as maintenance services and it would help to know all that was done during this service.

The CV boot repair raises a little bit of a red flag as an improper repair or installation could certainly lead to a racket, sudden failure, and the car not moving.
Concerns would be a CV shaft axle nut left loose, transmission attachment bolts not tightened properly, etc.

If the problem is related to the CV repair then any repair cost should be on them; not you.

Sounds like a loose/separated/otherwise broken CV shaft to me too.

When I worked for VW we used to change boots without removing the shaft from the car. This meant unbolting it from the transmission and going at it from the inside out.
VW uses Triple Square attachment bolts and it’s very common for those bolts to cake up with grime and dirt on the inside splines.

If that grime/dirt is not thoroughly cleaned out before reinstalling the bolts it can be near impossible to tighten them properly.
I’m not saying this is the cause here; only a possibility.

If they removed the shaft from the car then the possibility of not properly tightening the outer halfshaft nut also exists. This kind of situation can result in the hub splines stripping out when stressed due to the loose fit as the hub splines are metallurgically weaker than the hub splines.
I’ve seen both situations in the past.

Thanks for insight, guys. The CV job is a red flag now.

Now I wish that I towed my Jetta back to Firestone, who did the CV job. When I paid for the 80K maintenance at VW dealer, they just told me about the CV problem in a glib way, even though the mechanic had written it needed immediate attention. I wish the dealer would’ve just fixed it or told me on the phone. So then I took it to Firestone next day, since it was Sunday, thinking what could go wrong?

But now with the possibility of further damage, I’m glad a VW mechanic will see it. Thanks again!

Firestone was not a good choice. If it is the cv install that caused the problem, you will need full documentation from the dealer and pics would not hurt. Have them keep the damaged parts for you. You will need it to get Firestone to pay the bill.

Firestone says immediate attention? They looked at 80k odometer and gave u a laundry list of immediate attention stuff?

VW has used those triple square bolt heads from at least 1969 (my son’s '69 bug has them). There is a very good possibility that the mechanic used a common 6 point driver on them. I’d demand to see the half shaft to trans flange bolts to look for damage to the bolt heads. As ok4450 noted, the fastener head has to be very clean, but still, the Firestone mechanic(?) needs to get the proper tools.

No, sorry, VW dealer handed me back the car after the 80K maintenance and said, “Oh by the way your CV boot needs replacement.” Gee, thanks, they only had my car for 3 days and never told me about it on the phone. So I took it to Firestone the next day to get it fixed (since it was Sunday).

I thought CV boot and axle replacement was a routine job. My bad luck!

Well you guys were right! The axle was broken and the VW dealer has documented the improper assembly and saved the broken parts. They said the transmission is now damaged, too.

Before making any repairs, Firestone has taken the car for inspection. FS local manager promised they will warranty/reimburse for these repairs and towing, but now I have big concerns about the transmission (don’t know the details yet). I don’t trust them to diagnose or fix a VW transmission.

Firestone said they’ll give me a loaner car if the repairs take some time. Maybe I should call their corp. office, too, but first I need a full listing of damages and repairs to be done.

  • Chris

Sounds like we here were right about the CV shaft being the issue. However, now I’m questioning the dealer’s response of the transmission being damaged. If this is a CV shaft with a bolt-on flange at the transmission I can see that the bolt holes or perhaps the flange could be damaged but I don’t see how the transmission itself could be.

Keep us posted on the details.

Sorry about those woes. The folks at Firestone gave me the creeps when they recommended $700 of work(maintenance) mostly duplicate based on inspection. The creepy part is one week before I had done the majority of $700 done at delaer($400) and had the items they said bad were in a dealer report with excellent condition and likely under warranty. They said very little when I produced the paper work and questioned there ethics and abilities as mechanics.

I was in buying tires !

Without seeing the transmission I can’t say if it’s damaged or not. However, I will say that it’s entirely possible depending upon how severe the banging was when things started letting go.

For many years Subaru used DOJ pins to lock the CV shafts to the splined axle stubs on the transmission. These pins were easily removed. They were also easily installed IF the holes were aligned properly. If they were 180 degrees off a visual inspection would not show a problem but the pin will not go into place.
Usually the stub axle or damage to the differential would occur before the pin would ever seat.

I’ve seen probably a dozen damaged Subaru transmissions all because someone was not aware of the DOJ pin hole orientation. In a few situations the transmission case was cracked and in others the stub axles, spider gears, or the ring gear was damaged; all of which mean junk or major expense to repair.