Updated: 22-Jun-22

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Transmission & Clutch

Transmission Specifications

Click here for complete transmission specifications for all Cabriolets.

Transmission Code

The transmission code can be found on the bottom of the transmission bell-housing and is broken down as such:

020 Manual Transmission

Maintenance, Repair Guides & Troubleshooting

Please visit BrokeVW

General Information

There's a big hole on top, what's it for?  That is the timing hole; it is where you access the timing marks on the flywheel in order to check and set the engine/ignition timing.

  • This hole should be covered at all times.  If your trans is missing the plug and cap, replace them ASAP.  Click here for plug and cap details.
  • This hole is not for refilling the transmission with fluid.

Shifter/shift knob thread size: 12mmx1.50

Clutch in at red lights? Keeping the clutch pedal pressed in at red lights is not necessarily a bad thing, but it puts more wear and tear on the throw-out bearing.

Using the transmission to hold the car while stopped on a hill?  Don't do it, unless you can afford to replace the clutch at regular intervals.  Please use your brakes when stopped on a hill.

010 Automatic Transmission

Repair Guides & Troubleshooting

010 factory ignition starter Technical Service Bulletin (PDF)

010 factory troubleshooting manual (PDF)


General Information

Shifter/shift knob set screw: 2.5mm Allen

Transmission Fluid

Change the fluids every 30,000-60,000 miles.

020 Manual Transmission

OEM fluid: SAE 80W hypoid oil; API service GL-4; Mil-L-2105

Recommended by other VW owners:

  • GM's Syncromesh, Pennzoil/Quaker State Syncromesh (SAE 80W), AC Delco Syncromesh
  • Amsoil Severe Gear 75W90
  • Sta-Lube 85W90 GL-4 (#SL24239; may be too heavy for cold climates)
  • Brad-Penn
  • OEM fluid from your VW dealer

Not recommended:

  • Redline MT-90 & MTL: These used to be popular choices... until people found abnormal wear, and conflicting information arose about this fluid being appropriate for hypoid gear transaxles.  It is also a poor choice fluid in cold climates as it causes difficult shifting until the car is sufficiently warmed up.  Many folks out there are, however, still using Redline, so use this fluid at your discretion.
  • Royal Purple: subpar product not even worth discussing.

GL-4 vs. GL-5: According to a transmission rebuilder, when GL-5 synthetic gear oils were first introduced (back in the air-cooled VW days), they contained high amounts of reactive sulfur harmful to yellow metals, such as the brass components in early VW transmissions.  Volkswagen then began moly-coating their transmission synchros in the late '60s/early '70s; when moly-coated, reactive sulfur cannot harm the rings. So, theoretically, and according to the expert, modern GL-5 gear oils (now which most contain no or low reactive sulfur) should be fine to use in your Cabriolet.  However, with GL-4 oils still being produced (albeit not readily locally available these days), it's wise to stick with the fluid type Volkswagen originally recommended.

Capacity: 2.0 L / 2.1 quarts

010 Automatic Transmission

Transmission ATF

Original: Dexron or Dexron II

Current: Dexron III or Dexron VI

Capacity: 3.0 L (refill); 6.1 L (dry fill)

Filter: Part #010-325-421A

Filter & gasket kit: Part #010-398-009

Final Drive Gear Oil

SAE 90W hypoid oil, API service GL-5, Mil-L-2105B

Pan gasket: Part #010-321-371B

Capacity: 0.75 L

Speedometer Drive Gears

Red Speedometer Gear

No. of teeth: 15

Final drive ratios: 3.65 and 3.67

VW part #171957821B

White Speedometer Gear

No. of teeth: 16

Final drive ratios: 3.89 and 3.94

VW part #171957821A

Green Speedometer Gear

No. of teeth: 17

Final drive ratios: 4.25

VW part #171957821C

Drive gears are sold separately from the speedometer cables.

Drive gear securing ring part number: N 900 154 01

What if the speedometer cable gear has fallen into the transmission?  Do your best to get it out.  A lot of folks have never had issues with roving speedo gears, while others have needed repair work due to the gear (or parts of it) getting jammed into transmission components.  Don't become a victim of the latter.


Stiff Clutch Pedal

If the clutch pedal is difficult to press, replace the clutch cable (don't bother trying to adjust it; it's a $16 part... buy it, install it, adjust it to specs and drive happily ever after). While you're at it, inspect the clutch cable carrier tube at the firewall (this tube can fail if the cable is not adjusted at regular intervals and/or if a stiff cable is allowed to saw through its protective sheath).  If the tube is found to be broken, it'll need to be repaired.

Clutch Pedal Went to the Floor

  • Clutch cable broke
  • Clutch cable carrier tube at the firewall broke
  • Clutch assembly broke
  • Clutch release arm broke
  • Throw-out bearing went bad
  • Pushrod is stuck
  • ...or any combination of the above

Clutch Freeplay Specifications

Clutch lever freeplay: 6mm (1/4")

Clutch cable freeplay at adjusting disc: 12mm (1/2")