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Help!! Jetta 1.8t transmission jerk-free only after battery drain and jump!! (??)

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Help!! Jetta 1.8t transmission jerk-free only after battery drain and jump!! (??)

Old 08-19-2016, 04:06 PM
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Location: Los Angeles, Ca
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Exclamation Help!! Jetta 1.8t transmission jerk-free only after battery drain and jump!! (??)


Why is my transmission smooth only for a while after my battery was drained and then jumped??? (Full details below).

Hello, my name is Roland and I am new to the community, and fairly new to the world of electrical/tranny issues (which in this case I'm thinking are related), so here is my dilemna...

I have a 2003 Vw Jetta Automatic 1.8t 5 speed tiptronic. Apparently the transmission is 09a type (?)

I recently had my mechanic changed all the shift solenoids in the valve body of the tranny, as encouraged by many forum goers as a solution for when there is shifting issues. I was having an issue where the car wouldn't engage in reverse until the car was fully warm. If the car was cold and you put it in reverse, it would behave as if it was still in park. Anyway, changing the solenoids fixed the problem!

But unfortunately right afterwards, I had developed some horrible shifting issues in the other gears. The engine would have to Rev up to 3500 before shifting from 1st to 2nd, and there would be a fairly light but noticeable jerk in that gear transition.

BUT WORST OF ALL, it would have to Rev up to 3500 or even 4000 before shifting from 2nd to 3rd, and there would be a very harsh jerk in that gear transition! It feels like the car is being rear ended everytime it up shifts to 3rd gear from 2nd. And if I try to speed straight through from 1st to 3rd gear, it kicks so hard it feels like the car is about to shut off for a second.

I heard that these trannys have an adaptive shift program, where the car would have to be driven a while, to monitor your driving style, before the shifting would smooth out after any tranny work. Well I drove it for a while and it hadn't fixed itself.

Then one day I left my lights on accidentally overnight (because my car doesn't give a warning beep when the lights are left on (another issue I need to fix, apparently connected to my central locking issue, which also needs addressing). So the next morning, I had to jump the battery, and it took about 4 times me turning the ignition and a frustrating 20 minutes of charging time before the battery had enough juice before it started up (mind you this isn't the first time my battery was low).

But once it charged up and the car started, I took the car for a spin, driving slow through the gears at first (due to my car's matador bull-like jerking issue), and I noticed I didn't feel any slipping or jerking, and in 1st I didn't feel any loss of power or slipping as I increased in speed up to 2nd gear. And most importantly, the SHIFTING FROM 2ND TO 3RD GEAR WAS PERFECT!!
I drove it around for a while and everything seemed ok, in all gears. Now the car was running like a champ! Smooth as butter.

But then a few days later, my battery died again while I had it at my mechanic's shop (this time door left open too long and I guess interior lights drained it). My mechanic charged it with his little machine, and once it started up, the friggin EPC light came on (first time ever)! I thought maybe it had something to do with the battery so my mechanic cleared it to see if it would come back. It didnt.

But once I drove away, all my smooth shifting went away! It reverted back to the slightly jerky high Rev shifting from 1st to 2nd, and much worse rear end crash -like jerking when shifting from 2nd to 3rd. What gives?

So this time later that night, I purposely left my lights on all night til morning, as draining the battery last time resolved the shifting issue for some reason and I wished to recreate that scenario.

Sure enough, the next morning, the battery was dead so I charged it, it took a good 10 minutes this time to charge but then it started up the car. I drove it and once again no more 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd shifting issue! It was back driving very smooth. So I took the car around for a while just to really make sure all was ok. It WAS for a good 45 minutes. But just as I started to drive back home, I felt a change in the shifting almost in an instant. The fist gear power all of a sudden was sluggishly pulling, and all the jerky high rev shifting issues were back in the first 3 gears. It changed as suddenly as turning off a light switch.

This whole ordeal made me furious as I didn't have this issue before the battery draining issue and solenoid change. On one hand hand, I'm happy that changing the solenoids fixed my only reverse when warm issue. But this 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd jerky shifting issue is a major thorn in my hide.

Does anyone have any light to shed to point me in the right direction of getting this resolved? I'm far from an expert, but I really dont think it's the solenoids, because the shifting was fine once the battery drained for a good while before it reverted to this bad shifting again. My thought is if it were the shift solenoids it wouldn't shift smooth regardless of temperature of if the battery was drained or not (right)?

But regarding this battery drain temporary fix. Why did it drive smooth once the battery is drained and then jumped, then go back to crappy shifting after a while? Could it be TCM related? Fuse related? Battery related? I know batteries that have issues can have seemingly unrelated issues and cause cars to do weird things (like throw an epc light on the dash). But my battery seems ok as my battery charged back up just fine, but I dunno...

I read in a few forums that you should reset the tcm after any engine/tranny work, and this resets the adaptive shifting. And from my understanding, the adaptive shifting for the transmission is suppose to assist with smoothing out the shifting to adjust to your driving style after monitoring it for a while. So in other words, it would start off bad then get better. When my battery died, did it reset the adaptive shifting to relearn my driving? If it did, it's strange because as you can see in my case the opposite seems to be happening. It starts off good then gets bad.

I already spent a bunch of money on the solenoids I'M trying not to spend too much more but I would like this thing resolved... What do you guys think is happening? My mind is telling me it's electrical related, but I don't know how exactly. And is there some ecu/tcm/throttle reset I am kind of doing when the battery drains that I can do officially that will get my car driving smoothly again (and more permenantly this time)? Any finger pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to everyone in advance.


2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8t, Tiptronic 09a Transmission, Silver

hard shifts,transmsission,shift solenoid,tcm,ecu,battery

Last edited by Roland1981; 08-19-2016 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Updated Signature
Old 06-29-2017, 11:04 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 2

Hello Roland,

I am having the very same problem and wonder if you ever figured it out for your car? I haven't had the whole battery experience and our mechanic has received a fault code for the transmission pressure switch. The problem is this is not available separately from a valve body kit, through the usual parts channels. So I am on the hunt for a switch to replace the current one and see if the shifting problem is solved...
Old 06-30-2017, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Stoke on Trent, England
Posts: 2,243

This is an old thread. Same problem as which?

You need to get your motor scanned (preferably with VAG-COM\VCDS) for any error codes logged in the ecu and post them, that will save a lot of guessing.

Roland added his car spec in his post. Its easier to add it to your signature then is shows on all posts you make.

Please tell us your car spec in your signature
Old 06-30-2017, 08:38 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 2

I meant the hard shifting. Since I wrote here I've discovered this thread which explains everything...


Am sharing it in case anyone else comes here with the same hard shifting problem and needs more info. Tho' it's a pretty depressing picture.
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