Transmission crunches going into third



I have a 1997 VW Jetta 5 speed manual with 100,018 miles. A week ago I pulled up to a stop sign and pushed the clutch in and the pedal stayed on the floor. I thought…broken clutch cable. Had car towed to mechanic, who informed me that cable was not broken and he then took out the transmission and said that it was a broken cltuch release fork. Picked car up after the repair and now the transmission crunches when shifting into third. Mechanic has the car again and is now saying that the transmission probably need replaced.

Can anyone help me with some advise on what might have happened to cause this, or what the mechanic might have done to the transmission when replacing the clutch release fork.




My advice: Find a new mechaninc!

Your car doesn’t even have a clutch fork.



The receipt says “remove and replace gearshift lever” and the part that was replaced is was listed as “gear shift lever in Trans ($34.90)”. The mechanic told me it was a clutch fork that had broken. Searching google there are multiple references to a clutch fork for a VW jetta 97. I will call a VW dealership and ask if this model of car indeed has a clutch fork. Unfortunately I do not have a part #.

Thanks for your comment.


Me again. Hi all…I am really struggling here. I went to the mechanic again last night and my car is still not fixed. He said he didn’t get to it, but he has a transmission expert coming today to look at it. He now says that if the expert cannot fix it he will replace the transmission (he has now had the car for a week). Also, based on what mrbean says above I don’t know if I am being completely taken for a ride or not.

Can anyone else shed any light on what might be the problem with my car.



A crunch while going into 3rd only would point to worn parts in the synchronizer assembly (hub/sleeve/synchros/inserts/etc).
Nothing the mechanic did would have any affect on this problem.

A dragging clutch can make the problem appear worse.
What I would have a problem with is why the transmission would be pulled and the entire clutch assembly not be replaced at that time?


I asked the mechanic about that and he said that the clutch itself was in good order, so he didn’t replace the entire thing. He did say that if the clutch needed replaced in the next year he would do it for 1/2 labor.

Regarding the worn parts in the synchronizer assembly…are these parts replaceable? Or would one have to replace the whole transmission?


Also, what do you mean by a “dragging clutch?”


A dragging clutch is one in which the clutch disc is not releasing completely or is rubbing on the flywheel and trying to grab.

Incorrect cable adjustment or a failing clutch master or slave cylinder in a hydraulic system is the cause of the first and the second may be caused by a warped clutch disc or a disc that is oil saturated from a leaking engine or trans seal.

In other words, a perfectly good cluctch that is properly adjusted may work well enough that you may get around a worn synchronizer assembly with no problems. With a worn and improperly adjusted clutch then the wear problem may be more noticeable.

I don’t know what to say about the mechanic except he has guts. A 30k mile car is one thing but to have the trans out on a 100k+ car and not recommend a new clutch is not very smart IMHO. The trans is out and there is no extra labor involved so I see no sense in ignoring the clutch assembly itself.

About all I can recommend is that you make sure the adjustment on the clutch is correct and get all of the clutch disengagement that you can. There would be no piecemeal fix on a worn synchronizer in the 3/4 gear assembly. This falls into the “trans rebuild” category.

Hope that helps anyway and good luck.