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Draining and Replacing ATF, and Cleaning ATF Strainer

With the car raised and supported securely on jack stands, place a drain pan of at least 5.6 l (6 US qt.) capacity under the transmission and remove the two rear pan bolts. See Fig. 7-9. Loosen the two front pan bolts, then pull the ATF pan down at the rear and allow as much fluid as possible to drain, then remove the front bolts and remove the pan and gasket. Pour out the fluid remaining in the pan.


Towing the car or running the engine with no fluid in the transmission will ruin the transmission bearings.

Fig. 7-9. Exploded view of ATF pan and strainer components. Always use new gasket without sealer.

Clean the pan and dry it completely. Remove the two screws retaining the strainer and remove the cover and the strainer. The strainer can be cleaned if it is dirty or clogged. Replace a damaged strainer or one that cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Remount the strainer using a new gasket. Torque the screws to 4 Nm (35 in. lb.). Using a new gasket without any sealer, install the ATF pan. Working diagonally, tighten the pan bolts to 20 Nm (15 ft. lb.). Refill the transmission with fluid according to the type and amount specified in 3. Fluid and Lubricant Specifications. Then check the fluid level as described above.


On 1985 and 1986 models, transmission slippage during cornering or at stops may only be caused by a low ATF level, however, if the level is correct and the problem still occurs, there may be another problem. A redesigned strainer cover (Volkswagen part no. 010 325 429A) and gasket (Volkswagen part no. 010 325 443) to correct the problem are available from authorized Volkswagen dealers.

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