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Questions and Answers

Automatic To A Manual?

Q. Hello Vincent, I have a question about transmissions for a 1998 VW Passat. My 1998 VW Passat has a Tiptronic automatic transmission. What would it take to remove the automatic transmission and install a manual transmission? Does the rear end gearing have to be changed, as well.

The car is approaching 100,000 miles and the end of factory warranty. My understanding is that standard transmissions are less expensive to repair or replace than automatic. I also wouldn't mind having a 5-speed again, without having to purchase another vehicle. I would appreciate any info you could offer.


A. Well David, it can be done. But the thing you have to remember it's not just a matter of taking out the automatic transmission and dropping in a manual transmission. The first thing you need to do is make sure you can get a manual transmission for that car. Some VW's did not have a manual transmission as an option.

You will have to install a shifter and shift cable and linkages. The axle shafts may have to be replaced as well. Another thing that will have to be changed is the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) since the calibration for an automatic transmission a manual transmission are different.

The transmission contains the rear end, hence the more appropriate name transaxle, so you won't have to worry about that.

Like I said, it can be done. A junk yard is the best place to start. They will have books to see what parts will work and what you will have to get.

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