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Thread: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem

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  1. Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    My Passat B5 TDI 6-speed suddenly started to have problems selecting gears today. Sometimes it was OK, but sometimes I just couldn't get it into one gear or another (mostly reverse, 1, 2). The stick also now suddenly has a lot of play in it.
    Now, I'm not an auto-engineer, so please excuse me if I'm using the wrong terminology or making incorrect assumptions, but I've got to start somewhere. . . Here goes. . . It feels like the selector gate may be broken, as the stick seems to just move around with no limitations, and I can eventually find a gear with it. The stick has always had a bit of vibration or wobble associated with it as I drive along. It used to be quite noticeable until I started taking the car to a different garage for the servicing, and suddenly it was quieter! Maybe the previous garage wasn't doing the oil change properly?

    The car is old of course, and has gone round the clock twice so I should expect things to start going wrong with the gearbox sometime. It's also a bit late for a service, so it may be that it just needs that oil change!

    I'll be contacting my usual garage tomorrow to see what they think, but I'd like to learn as much as possible about what COULD be wrong first. I've read a few posts on this forum, and generally on the web, but most info out there seems to be for automatics. I've found articles that suggest it could be the linkages between the selector and gearbox - possibly requiring just an adjustment or maybe some new washers. This sounds encouraging!
    The car had a new clutch last year, so it shouldn't be that.

    Does anyone have any ideas what could be up?
    Also, would I be safe driving it like this, or is it likely to pack up completely and leave me stranded on the road?

    I was considering replacing this car this year anyway (I need to drive into Birmingham and they're introducing a Clean Air Zone soon, which this car would definitely be in breach of), but COVID has depleted my funds and I'd like to keep this one going a bit longer, if possible. It's had lots of problems over the years, but overall it's been the best car I've ever owned: a solid workhorse and a pleasure to drive.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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  3. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    Wow! That was quick!
    This looks promising. The OP's symptoms do seem to match what it feels like on mine.
    Thanks for the info. I'll investigate further. . .
     
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  4. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    Update:
    I took it to a (well respected) local garage yesterday for an opinion. On the way, I roasted the clutch when I got the car in 1st gear but it turned out to be 3rd - going up a hill!
    The mechanic reckoned that the problem was with the clutch too, as he couldn't get it out of gear at one stage. Of course, I could have damaged the clutch getting there. There wa smoke coming from it!
    He took a look underneath on the ramp and showed me what appeared to be a substandard attempt to connect the linkage rods to the gearbox - they were rubbing on the casing.
    He said if I could get the kit for renewing the linkages he would fit it, but he also said that he'd need to partially strip the components in order to work out what else (if anything) could be wrong. I was keen for him to do a proper job and replace the gearbox if necessary. After all, it's an old car that's done a lot of miles.
    Unfortunately, he can't even look at it until the 28th, as he's booked up solid.

    So this morning I'm attempting to take the car to another local garage (and dreading the journey!) for another opinion and - hopefully - the chance to have it fixed sooner.
     
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  5. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    I took it to a nearby gearbox place this morning, but the guy there wasn't able to have a proper look. He had thought from my verbal description that it was a different type of gearbox that he could check from above. As it was, he needed to get it on a ramp, and his ramp was in use. He mentioned that he's incredibly busy at the moment - the most demand he's seen in over three years - so this was a bad time for me to suddenly need a garage.
    I rang round a few other places afterwards and eventually got connected to a proper gearbox specialist in Redditch who reckons it should be straightforward and easy to fix. He can't even look at it until next Thursday, but he's confident that it's something like what Gazwould suggested above, and that it will be done by the weekend. I hope he's right! He's very experienced and does nothing except gearboxes, so I have confidence in him. I'd found that company's details earlier, but didn't ring them as their Yell write-up says they do services for the road transport, plant and associated industries. When I phoned they told me that they do private vehicles too.
    Fingers crossed. . .
     
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  6. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    Update:
    I got the car to the Gearbox place on Thursday. Bad news: he reckoned it wasn't the selector linkages, but the gearbox itself - an internal spring has broken that centred the selector. He gave me a few tips on how to drive the car in this state (it is possible - as long as I don't panic).
    He said he could fit a new gearbox and gave me a price for the work, BUT I had to source my own gearbox.
    He gave me the name of a breaker in Coventry that's well regarded as a supplier of good, reliable gearboxes, and thought I could get one for maybe 150. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get in touch with that breaker. Their phone line is always answered with a "we're too busy to come to the phone" message. I've tried ringing at different times of the day, every day since Thursday. No luck. They have a fax number, but that doesn't work (no surprise). No web site, no email.
    I don't fancy driving all the way to North Coventry just to talk to them - not with my car in this state!
    The breaker was listed on the Cylex trade site, so I submitted an enquiry on Cylex for the gearbox, hoping that they would pick it up. No luck so far.
    I've also submitted parts enquiries on 1st Choice and Parts Gateway.

    OK, so here's where I could do with some more advice:
    1) Can anyone recommend a trustworthy breaker / spare supplier? (I'm in the South Birmingham / Redditch area).
    2) The gearbox guy said I also need another part, and I couldn't quite make out what he said at the time. It sounded like "balan". Does anyone know what this could be?

    Many thanks to everyone on VWAF for your help with this.
     
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  7. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    Try this place.

    Frontier Volksworks - Home of VAG spares

    its in small heath Birmingham
    eye for an eye means the whole world goes blind
     
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  8. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    Thanks for the link. I've now sent them a message.
     
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  9. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    No reply yet. I might have to phone them. . .
    I'm also looking at buying a replacement car, as this one is now worth so little, it might cost more than it's worth to repair it.
    Birmingham is due to start its Clean Air Zone in a few months, so I might have to look for a newer version that's ULEZ-compliant, or maybe even a Golf or Octavia.
    However, I really don't fancy a newer version, with all the extra stuff inside that can go wrong (electronic handbrake, for instance. . .), so that's an argument for keeping this one going a bit longer and just avoiding Birmingham (not ideal though - that's where we rehearse and record every week).
    (So don't be surprised when you see posts in other VWAF forums asking questions about other vehicles.)
     
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  10. Re: Passat B5 manual 6-speed gear selector problem 
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    Here's the end of the story (almost):
    I bought a slightly damaged Skoda Octavia Elegance on Saturday. It's only two years younger, but with its petrol engine it's ULEZ-compliant, and so far it's run well.
    Then I needed to find a buyer for the Passat. I made the mistake of advertising it on Facebook Marketplace. Nearly all the buyers who responded seemed a bit dodgy, and I nearly gave up and pulled the ad. But I sent a reply back to one guy who was at least local (Birmingham). He rapidly took control of the process.
    According to his FB page, he bought and sold cars. He offered me 300 for it. He was very keen - no, insistent - that he picked it up this evening.
    All my instincts told me that this was not the way to go, but I went along anyway. I discussed the motor over the phone with him and carefully explained all the issues, the state it was in and so on. He didn't appear to have actually read the advert, as he kept asking things that had already been explained in the advert text (like the price). I said that it was driveable, but it would need care, and mentioned that I was glad that someone in the trade was buying it, as they'd know how to cope with the gearbox problems to get it home. I asked him where he was based, and he told me it was Alum Rock. That should have set alarm bells ringing!
    This evening his nephew turned up with three mates. He took the car for a quick drive with me - revving it up along our road much too fast - then got it stuck at the top of the road because he couldn't find reverse.
    We got it back to our house. As you might expect, after a call to his boss, he now offered me 200. My partner tried to negotiate it higher (she's always more keen to haggle), but we couldn't agree on a price, so we gave up; they got in their car and went to drive off. After they turned round at the end of the road (dropping a heap of fast food litter all over the road as they pulled off, which I later had to pick up and dispose of), they stopped again and had another go at buying the car. "Just sell us the car and we'll take it from there - you won't have to worry about it any more. It'll be our problem" - or something like that.
    So we dickered some more and got to 230 (just over the price I'd been offered by a scrappie online a few days earlier). We did the paperwork and they paid us. The main guy who did the paperwork didn't seem to know how to do it - I had to lead, and that was only because I'd rehearsed the process earlier in the day with a YouTube video.
    The keys were handed over and off they went - again, revving it ridiculously all the way up the road.
    I went straight indoors and did the change of ownership online (I was worried that they'd have an accident on the way with the car still in my name).
    Then, almost as soon as I'd done that, I get a call on the mobile from the lads. "Your car is smoking, man! We're stuck at the top of your road!" I felt like saying "What do you mean, 'YOUR car'? You've just bought it!" But I knew that wouldn't end well.
    So I ran out of the house and up the road to the car. Yes, smoke coming out of the bonnet. That unmistakable smell of fried clutch. I'd done something similar a few weeks ago when I had the car in 3rd by accident, going up a hill. That time, there was no damage done. But this time, the clutch was now completely useless. Now we couldn't get it into ANY gear. The car was f****d! And of course, they wanted their money back. . .
    We had to turn it round and push it back to our house, but to get it onto the drive required all the lads, plus three of my neighbours. Then I lost it and shouted and swore - mostly out of frustration rather than at the lads (although they'd obviously damaged my car). Then the youngest, hitherto most innocuous-looking, one started getting very aggressive, calling us "scammers", threatening my partner at one point and looking like he was ready for a punch-up. She didn't spot the danger and kept trying to tell them off for ruining the car, so there I was stuck in the middle again, trying to keep things at least a bit calmer.
    The main guy calmed his mate down - it must have been his turn to play "good cop" today. We dickered over the money a bit more. The main guy said we only had to give him 200 back, but then he denied that later when we gave him 200, and insisted on it being 220. My partner wasn't going to do this, so I found my own stash and added the 20. There was a real potential for a fight building up at this point. The mood was nasty.
    I asked about the change of ownership. Main guy said he was a trader, so he could reverse it when he got back to the office.
    Then the lot of them f****d off in their car - again driving like maniacs.
    I felt physically sick by now. I hate these confrontations.
    Straightaway I phoned the DVLA to explain the situation and try to sort it out. I didn't trust main guy to do anything right, and imagined a scenario where I couldn't even scrap the car because it was no longer "mine". The DVLA staff were very helpful, and I think it's now all sorted, except that I've now lost another month's tax (I forgot to ask about doing SORN at the time).
    Then I contacted a scrap car comparison site that had sent me an offer for the car a day before, checked that the car being a non-runner wouldn't affect the offer price (apparently not - it's all down to the weight of the car) and accepted the offer.
    So hopefully the car will be taken away in a few days. They won't care if it it's driveable or not, I was told.

    I just wished I'd not tried to get a bit more for the car and just accepted the scrap valuation in the first place. Not because of the money but because of the awful scenes that we had to deal with, and the damage done to the car and my psyche. My poor car deserved better than this for its final days.
    I doubt that I'll calm down for weeks now. I'll be going over the "should have done this, should have done that" scenarios ad infinitum.

    The moral of the story is: NEVER TRY TO SELL A CAR ON FACEBOOK!
    Last edited by JohnPierpoint; 06-10-2020 at 11:48 PM. Reason: typos
     
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