Volkswagen Passat 1998 2005 User Manual

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

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ATF & Filter Replacement

Volkswagen and Audi consider the transmission to be filled for life - considering how many folks sell/total a car before 100k miles, this may well be true. But for the rest of us who enjoy keeping a multikilo buck expenditure around for a while, keeping the transmission happy should be a top priority - diluting fluid which has broken down due to heat, removing wear-in metal particles from the pan magnets, etc. For the most part, just changing the fluid every 30k miles should ensure a long life, with a proper filter change and fluid flush every now and then. Of course, at this point the issue of the "sealed" transmission pops up and ruins everyone's day. We should be worried about overfilling the tranny, right?

As per the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Don't Panic.

While VW makes a fuss about checking the fluid level between 95-113° F, there's a reasonable bit of allowance in this specification for a properly operating transmission. During my fluid drain, I started by checking the existing fluid level with the transmission at ambient temperature (around 60° F at the time), theoretically resulting in zero fluid flowing from the level cutout. In reality, about a quart of highly darkened fluid poured out of the transmission. In total, I drained 3.7 quarts of ATF and completely filled the transmission after the specified 2.7 quarts. The main cause of this points to a factory mistake - the factory overfilled the transmission by a full quart, and the car's been operating like this for the past 4 years/60,000 miles. The other possibility is that fluid from the torque converter drained back into the transmission pan - however, a fluid level check some weeks later showed the transmission to be properly filled.

Considering the state of the fluid that was drained, a complete flush, filter change, and installation of a transmission fluid cooler is slated for the near future...stay tuned.

July 13, 2003Unfortunately, the car was in an accident at 63k, ~6 months after the ATF service, at a total loss. In the duration, however, the transmission operated perfectly, with the smooth shifts I'd appreciated when the car was first purchased. Over the period, some further research into the transmission turned up some of the following.

The VW/Audi Tiptronic transmission is manufactured by ZF, model 5HP19FL (A4 '96-'02,

A6 '98-'01 A8 '97-'99, Passat '98 -> '05). Incidentally, this transmission and some of its variants are also used in late model BMWs, which may help expand the research base if you have a particular question regarding this system. Considering the cost of the ATF through normal VW parts sources, I'd hoped that a suitable aftermarket replacement could be found - however, ZF seems to VERY STRONGLY recommend that only a particular fluid be used, (1 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM]

Volkswagen Passat 1998 2005 User Manual Passat - ATF & Filter Replacement

that is, Esso LT 71141. I spent some time speaking to ZF distributors in the US hoping to find an inexpensive source for the fluid - unfortunately, the fluid is normally stocked as drums, and most would sell by the quart at relatively high prices ($15-$19 USD). While a few of the distributors were curious as well about the compatibility of various other fluids, ZF would not honor warranty issues without the Esso fluid, precluding the ability to test out alternate fluids.

You can find some more information on the transmission and fluid through the following documents:

ZF 5HP19FL Spare Parts Catalog - includes ZF's

fluid filling procedures for the transmission and differential.

ZF 5HP19FL Data Sheet (Deutsch) ZF 5HP19FL Exploded View

Esso LT 71141 Specifications - note that this is a

rough translation from a Russian language page. Also note that the fluid is usually referred to as "long-life", not unlimited life. A service interval of ~75k miles is given.

BMW Model Range Transmission Overview - look for blue.

The online retailers seem to now be stocking a Pentosin ATF for VW/Audi applications. If this fluid is an appropriate substitute, chances are increasing that other good quality makes of synthetic ATF would be perfectly acceptable. Prime candidates are Mobil1 Synthetic ATF and Redline High-Temp ATF.

August 3, 2003Many thanks to Geri, who took a few pics while

changing ATF, including dropping the pan and replacing the filter. Also note his comments at the end of this page.

Also, the fluid filling procedure has been slightly changed, to reduce the time needed to fully refill the transmission.

August 12, 2004Added ZF's spare parts catalog for the 5HP19FL.

February 2, 2005Quaker State Multi-Vehicle ATF is confirmed as a suitable replacement for LT 71141 - it's also a synthetic ATF (update - this should read syntheticblend ATF. 08/05/2005), and specifically discusses Esso compatibility: Quaker State Multi-

Vehicle ATF Datasheet (Deutsch). Note that the

application chart only lists VW/Audi models up to 2000 - if you have a later year model and know that it's tranny uses LT 71141, the Quaker State is still a fine replacement. The nice thing is that it's available pretty much everywhere, and inexpensive (~$3/quart). At that price, a filter and fluid change should run around $50. At that price, it's also reasonable to pick up a few extra quarts and just flush the system - check the additional resources below for some pointers on ATF flushes (simple procedure). (2 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM] Passat - ATF & Filter Replacement

April 24, 2005Minor update to note that Quaker State MultiVehicle ATF is also sold as Pennzoil Multi-Vehicle ATF. Added a link to an ATF & filter change on the 5HP30 tranny under "Additional Resources" below.

August 5, 2005Update to note that Valvoline MERCON V is also a confirmed suitable ATF for ZF trannies. (manufacturer statement)

Note that the ATF types listed here are brands that have very specifically stated full compatibility with ZF transmissions. The advantage of this is peace of mind - any fluid-related transmission problems can be directly taken up with the ATF manufacturer (though after several years of use there have been no reports of problems using approved non-Esso fluids). Currently, that is not possible with Mobil1 or Redline, two providers of fully synthetic ATF (there has also been at least one report of Mobil1 actually degrading shift quality in the 5HP19). The transmission is perfectly happy with synthetic-blend ATFs such as Pennzoil & Valvoline - that's exactly what it was shipped with from the factory.

Any performance differences between the various fluids are *VASTLY* exceeded by the performance benefit of replacing broken-down fluid with a fresh fill.

Part Information & Sources:

Note - always confirm part numbers by looking at the actual part mounted in the car! Mistakes will happen sometime, somewhere.

Part numbers:


Transmission fluid

G 052 162 A2

Check/fill plug seal

01V 321 379

Drain plug & seal

01V 321 377


Note - unfortunately, the seal and drain plug are available together only, around


$10 or so.

Pan gasket

01V 321 371


01V 325 429

Filter seal

01V 325 443

OEM Pricing: ~$15/liter

Quaker State/Pennzoil Multi-Vehicle ATF: $3/quart

Valvoline MERCON V ATF: $3/quart

You'll need 6 quarts, or 4 quarts if you're not dropping the pan and changing the filter.


8mm socketed hex (Allen) driver

17mm socketed hex (Allen) driver

Torque wrench, low range up to 20 ft-lbs or so. Only needed if dropping the pan and replacing the ATF filter.

Torque wrench, capable up to 60 ft-lbs

The 17mm driver can be found at your local AutoZone in a nice multipack, less than $10. It also includes a 14mm driver that can be used to remove the driveshaft to wheel hub bolts if you need to do work on the halfshaft (CV boots/joints).

ATF Drain: (3 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM] Passat - ATF & Filter Replacement

1.Start by raising the car on jackstands (no one is considering working under the car with just a tire jack, right?). Use four jackstands, as the transmission must be level during the fluid check. (illustration)

2.Keeping a pan nearby, open the check/fill plug with the 17mm hex driver. Some fluid should pour out - with the engine off, the fluid level in the pan will be higher than it is during operation. However, far more fluid came out of my transmission than should have. (illustration)

3.Move the pan under the drain plug and open it with the 8mm hex driver. There should be a nice flow of black fluid. (illustration)

4.Allow the fluid to drain for a while.

5.Install a new drain plug and tighten to 30 ft-lbs / 40 Nm.

6.Compare new fluid to old fluid - yes...definitely in need of a flush. (illustration)

7.If you're not changing out the ATF filter and cleaning the magnets (recommended), skip down to ATF refill.

ATF Filter Change:

8.Remove the ATF pan - there are many bolts securing the pan. Note that there will still be some fluid in the pan, so take care.

9.With the pan off, you'll see the valve body and ATF filter. Remove the two bolts securing the filter, and gently pull off the filter.

10.Lubricate the new filter's seal with some ATF, and install. Tighten the two bolts to 54 inch-lbs / 6 N-m.

11.Clean off the pan with a lint-free cloth - especially the magnets. If the transmission is in good condition, there should only be some fuzz on the magnets. If you see bits of metal and large particles, start digging deep into your savings. :)

12.Replace the pan. The bolts should be tightened in a star pattern, making several passes until all bolts are installed and ready for final tightening (don't install and fully tighten a bolt in one step). This ensures that the pan doesn't warp, preventing a good seal. Tighten to 84 in-lbs / 10 Nm.

ATF Refill:

13.Add fresh fluid through the check/fill tube until it begins to overflow. A plastic cap covers the fill tube, with a square cutout to the side - this allows fluid to be added and excess fluid to overflow. To get fluid into the hole, I used a length of vinyl tubing - one end inserted through the cap's cutout, the other attached to a funnel several feet from the ground. Pour fluid in the funnel, transmission gets filled. By the way, VAG's special tool does the same gravity feed, by hanging from a raised hood. A fluid pump should also work well. (illustration)

14.After the fluid slows to a dropwise overflow, leave the filling apparatus in place and start the engine. With the engine idling, the transmission oil pump will run, dropping the fluid level.

15.Add fluid until it overflows again.

16.With the engine still idling, press on the brakes and move the gear selector through all gears, pausing at each gear for a few seconds. This will circulate fluid through the valve body and may drop the level a bit.

17.Add fluid until overflow.

18.By now, the fluid should be warm, and at the correct level. Reinstall the check/fill plug with the new seal and tighten to 59 ft-lbs / 80 Nm. After the seal is in place, shut down the engine.

19.You should check the fluid level again after a few days - reusing the check/fill plug seal won't pose a problem, but the seal is inexpensive if you feel like replacing it for every check. Before doing this final check, start with the engine cold and drive around for a mile or two - this should get the transmission up to the specified temperature range (95-113° F) - Haynes' seat of the pants method is to feel the transmission pan. If it feels warm but not hot to the touch, the fluid should be in the correct range. Considering the amount of factory overfill in my transmission, this methodology is more than accurate enough.


July 13, 2003 - It's also easy enough to use the shareware version of VAG-COM to monitor the ATF

temperature, if you're not interested in VAG-COM's other abilities - an interface cable can be built from commonly available electronic components for around $10 or so. More information on this to be added.

That's pretty much all there is to it. Enjoy!

Additional note from Geri:

OK, I will try to explain but beware of my bad English:

My Tranny was shifting very rough, when shifting from "D" to "R" I had a ugly noise and a rumble in the car. I was told from our local VW Dealer that I do not have to change the Fluid, (4 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM] Passat - ATF & Filter Replacement

its "Lifetime" filled. I can`t believe that. So I asked a lot of People, only one Person told me I must change caused by my heavy Tuning with NOS

Then we had this Threads in the German and the US Forums, in both Forums People were asking if it would make sense to change.

OK, I bought the Material (6 Liters ATF needed) and after one Hour the Filter and the Oil was changed.

Driving home felt so smooth, quick shifting without a rough noise. But when parking the Car I was impressed: Shifting from "D" to "R" did not make any noise.

Last thing I have to say: I had much dirt in the old Fluid, the magnetics were full with metall+

+++ I can really advice you to do that Oilchange.

Bye, Geri

Additional resources: - ATF & Filter Replacement (for the ZF 5HP30 tranny on BMW's 7 series) - Audi A8 ATF & Filter Replacement - ATF Change Procedures

OzBrick Volvo 850 - ATF Flushing

Volvo 7xx/9xx/90 Maintenance FAQ - Automatic Transmission Information


Hi all, for those with specific questions such as "My car is doing this, what's wrong?" etc. I recommend you head on over to the Passat B5 forums on VWVortex. You will need to get a username, but its free and simple to sign up. Many people can help with a variety of issues.

Ben (USA) - Apr 23, 2008 @ 9:26 am

I have a problem with my 2002 Passat 1.8. The tranny started to slip when at a stop. I drained the tranny and replaced the fluid and now it is stuck in 3rd or 4th gear. Tranny does not shift at all. Any ideas as to what happened or what I may have done?

Kenneth - Apr 18, 2008 @ 9:39 am

Hi Folks, nice to read that this site is still on and has such a great responce for doing this oilchange. Meanwhile I got rid of NOS and switched to PES G2 Supercharger, still with the same tranny - but with it`s third "livetime" Oilfill. With it`s first sure it would have been already damaged. But my Tranny is still working very fine even with much more power than stock. And finaly I bought and old Audi Cabrio (Convertible) with nearly the same transmission. Useless to say that I have also changed ATF on this car! Greets from Austria, Geri

Geri - Mar 31, 2008 @ 2:06 pm (website)

I have just called Warren Unilube and they say their Coastal Multi-Vehicle Synthetic Blend ATF meets VW/Audi G052162 spec. I am thinking about using it in '01 Passat tiptronic transmission.

Oleg - Mar 25, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

hi guys, i bought a 1998 passat gls and it runs great, but i have to give it a bose each time to start it up. i don't know whats wrong with it. i did change the battery but no luck. the windows and the heated seats don't work too. i check all the fuse and all of them looks fine, but some of them don't have power, i don't know why. what can i do? any advice would be great... thanks

hash ( from Toronto, Canada) - Mar 16, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

Hi Guys, I have a 2000 Beetle 1.8T APH (trans.code ELU). What kind of ATF you recommend? And how many litres I need exactly? Thx! This is a great website!

Alex (Mississauga, Canada) - Feb 25, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

Hi Guys this is Irving Villaseñor from Veracruz Mexico, I have a passat 2002, recently I've changed the transmission fluid but my car has started with a non usual behaivor, when I'm driving in the 5th. gear and I release the gas and push it again it becames to make kind strange movements I mean like the motor is going to turn off. Can you tell me if is this cause I changed the transmission fluid?

I'm a little bit scared cause these transmissions are too expensives and I don't want to invest in a new one.

Many thanks in advance.

Irving Villaseñor from Veracruz Mexico - Feb 18, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

This sight is great . You guys saved me big $$$$$$$$$$$$$ (5 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM] Passat - ATF & Filter Replacement

James USA - Jan 17, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

Can the red QS multi-vehicle ATF be used in a 2002 Passat SW? craig - Jan 14, 2008 @ 5:28 am


ZAKI JAMAL NATTO - Jan 2, 2008 @ 6:24 am

Alexander, read the article!! talogue - Oct 18, 2007 @ 10:19 am

Valvoline Mercon V is currently $0.95 per quart from Advanced Auto Parts. -- compared to $6+ for Mobil 1 ATF.

talogue - Oct 18, 2007 @ 10:19 am

I have a Passat 1.8 T 2002 Tip-tronic and I don't know if i can use the Quaker State Multi-Vehicle ATF, please answer my question!!

Alexander - Oct 13, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

Mobil 1 Syntgetic ATF ZF compatibility: yes. ( talogue - Oct 12, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

I'll tell you guys, just about when you have lost all your faith in the world and humanity from being screwed right and left from everyone and AUDI DEALERS especially, along comes a guy like this and writes such a detailed article on such a controversial subject and rescues all of us honest working poor slobes from dispair and MUCHO BUCKS!!! needless to say. We all raise our glasses and tip our hats to you. Thank you and may you have gods blessings for the rest of your life. OK enough of the mushy stuff. Really great article. Anyway I have an 99 Audi A4 and noticed the rear trany seal leaking while I was doing an oil change so I took it to the dealer to get the scoope on the fix. The mechanic said dont worry about it it"s only a small leak. Im like WHAT! But who knows how much and how long its been leaking and there is no dip stick to check it with. Im from the old days in case you havent noticed and I like to Know How much fluid is in my trany. I had them replace the seal and top up the fluid. But Im sure the mechanic was hoping I would listen to him and eventualy blow my trany and have to buy a new one from them. What a way to drum up some buisness huh. STAY AWAY FROM AUDI DEALERS!!!!!!!!! After that I was seriously considering selling my A4, which I love, just because I have to go to hell and back just to make sure theres enough trany fluid in the box. Well after reading this article I think, I will give it a shot and change my trany fluid since it has 135,000 on it and it to is starting to slip a bit here and there. And If you want my advice on the fluid type issue, If your not 100% sure the other trany fluids are ok to use, just go ahead and spend the extra $50 or so and buy the right stuff. What the heck your saving so much already by doing it your self and when your laying there in bed at night thinking, " man is my trany going to blow tomorrow, Ya know how your stomach drops out when you feel that first slip, Man I Hope I used the right stuff" ??? You will know for sure you got the right fluid and you will have one less headache. Even a $100 is better than $7000 for a new trany. And Its worth the peace of mind. Anyway guys just my opinion. Well gona go buy some fluid and give the trany a trans.......

fussion. HA HA . Happy Motoring. And keep the faith.

George olczak, New Jersey,USA - Oct 9, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

thank you so much for the info. it was very helpful. i did find out that the fluid was not the problem but a broken motor mount was causing the bang when accelerating.

thomas rooney usa - Oct 5, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

My transmission now have 150k miles, and is starting to slip. The dealer strongly recommends against changing the fluid & filter as a remedy. What are my options? Considering there is a probability that clean filter and fluid may make it worst. help!!

99 vw 150k miles, nj - Paul - Sep 8, 2007 @ 10:06 pm


This will be a head scratcher...

I bought a Passat Automatic which had slight problem with Auto box. The problem was sometimes when driving it goes through the gears pretty quick, other times hit hangs onto a gear and wont kick into higher gear (and when it does you feel a thud). Instantly I thought ATF oil and filter change will do the trick as clearly gearbox was sticking. So I got the Oil but bought wrong filter (only realised when I opened the tray). Anyway I drained the oil and conventionally petrol washed the filter, dried it and put it all back. Wow, did that car drive smooth.........(for a few days until filter clogged up and symptoms were back).

I got a new correct filter and the right oil, excited, I changed the oil and filter and put the thing back and topped up correctly.It drove sweet, with one thing though it was throwing the oil out from the top breather, which I thought must have been the excess oil. A few days later, the gear changes (higher gears) have become coarse, with a 'kick back' (Almost like the wheels lock up for a split moment). This is the clutches playing up now.

My point is when I put in new oil it drives perfect, but as the gearbox works the oil - exposes to heat and transmission load, the gearbox performance deteriorates.

My mechanics said it could be torque converter - my point, the issue never has been about transmission or pulling power, it's alwatys been when the oil has been in the box a few days, part of it has been chucked out, what is left is unusually being condensed (probably because it is experiencing unnecessary heating/not enough cooling). Now the car kicks hard especially in higher gears. (6 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM] Passat - ATF & Filter Replacement

One thing worth mentioning, I changed the Radiator as there was a leak, as I understand, the G/Box transmission oil is cooled by your VW Radiator (After I put in a new cambelt and waterpump).

Any advise guys, please email me on

Hope my experience helps someone out there

Wasim London - Sep 6, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

Does anyone have any experience with replacing an alternator on the '04 1.8T engine? Help please!

Don USA - Aug 17, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

I have a 2003 Passat w/ 1.8 Turbo and Tiptronic Trans. Last week I changed the timing belt, water pump, tensioner, rollers, and all belts. With 102,000 miles this service was due, even though most of the miles are highway miles. This week I decided to change the Transmission fluid. I used Mobile One full synthetic for Mercon V transmissions. If you go on to the Mobile One web site, you will see that this ATF is also rated for ZF transmissions in the Spec sheet. You will need to purchase 4 quarts ($6.88 ea at Advance Auto Parts) and a 17 mm hex/allen wrench. I bought mine from NAPA for $9.09 plus tax. I also put my rear wheels on steel ramps and used jack stands on the front--very important. This allows the front wheels to rotate and this is necessary to put all four quarts back into the transmission when refilling. I drained out over four quarts of very dark fluid..yes it was also overfilled from the factory (I bought my Passat new). When I removed the large 17mm fill plug/nut..about a half quart of fluid came out and then I pulled the drain plug and the rest came out. After letting it drain for about an hour, I put the drain plug back in. I used a long funnel with a 3 foot section of plastic hose attached to it and on the other side I used a metal 3/8" fuel line with a hook or bend in it to hook into the refile hole. I ran the hose down from the back side of the firewall and hooked the funnel to the hood. About 2.5 quarts will go in and then you will have to start the engine and shift the transmission into and out of drive for a few minutes. The fluid will overflow after 2.5 qts, so have a pan to catch this. Leave the engine running and the transmission in drive and pour the rest of the fluid into the funnel. It will take it all. I left my engine running and crawled under the car to replace the 17mm plug. Using Steel ramps on the rear...I felt safe doing this. The car runs fine and transmission shift like new again. You can do this!

Ken Williams, Georgia, USA - Jul 26, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

I was Wondering if Ican change my transmission fluid and filter in my audi A4 2001 2.8 v6 the same way as shown before?

Diego - Jul 10, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

Ian looking for transmission fluid for 2001 passat auto what can I use that not to mush money. Thank You


Carlos Ramirez - Jun 21, 2007 @ 10:36 am

Thanks for the info, this website is awesome, considering I have a Passat and A4. 17mm hex wrench can be found at Sears. It appeared to be the only hex wrench over 10mm, so I guess I lucked out. Oh just a note I believe the other gentleman was incorrect, as I was able to put 3.7 quarts in my Passat of Valvoline ATF Merc V. If anyone would like to share maintenance knowledge, my email is

Don US-FL - Jun 7, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

a 17 MM diy tool can be made easily with a bolt and 2 17MM headed nuts locked together on one end. Just use a socket on the bolt. It works with any size allen.

Dave US - May 20, 2007 @ 8:35 am

Will it hurt my 2003 passat 1.8T if I had to use the RED Multi vehicle ATF? Please e-mail me @chris-h- Thanks

Chris, USA - May 8, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

Thank you. Sign me up for the "I drained my transmission fluid instead of my oil" foundation. You saved me an expensive tow truck trip to the dealership. And, my transmission shifts better than ever.

1999 Passat 1.8T with 170k miles. Used Valvoline Merkon V.

The hardest part was locating a 17mm hex wrench.

Jeremy (Kansas City, MO) - May 7, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

Thanks for all your help !! It save you money ,,Doing it yourself! But i have Some other problem!

My Tranny Is On limp mode Or Safe mode..How do i reset it back or Why is In Limp mode??

Oscar Anaya - Apr 23, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

My dear


AHMAD ALSALIM - UAE - Mar 19, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

LUBRICANT equivalent. G052 162 ME THE AUDI QUATRO A4 1.8 T 1999 gustavo madrid - Mar 10, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

Awesome site! Very informative.

What type and size bit are the many screws that hold the transmission oil pan? I peaked under my 2001 passat and mine looks to be a torx bit, but not sure of the size. (7 of 13) [5/8/2008 7:19:11 PM]

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