Introduction: VW Beetle Golf Jetta Automatic to 5 Speed Swap

Picture of VW Beetle Golf Jetta Automatic to 5 Speed Swap

Note this is for the TDI only, the 1.8T and VR6 are similar, but wiring, and programming are almost 100% different.

So... why do you want to swap?
1) the 01m automatic transmission is junk... and at $4500 used, it's expensive junk
2) the 02j 5 speed is not junk, and at $600-$1000 used, you can save a lot of money converting.
3) The automatic TDI only gets about 35 MPG real world, where the manual is capable of delivering a prius challenging 50 MPG.
4) It's the "green" thing to do...
5) Your automatic transmission just died... and you want to save some money, and get better economy to boot.

This is my first instructable, Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Epilog Challenge! I don't think I'm going to win, but hey it's not a bad try!

Who is this for?
This instructable is for owners of any Mk4 VW Golf/Jetta/Beetle... a.k.a. 1998-2006 beetle, 1999.5-2005 jetta, and 1999.5-2005 Golf. This one is specifically from a 2001 Beetle TDI ith occasional shots from a 2003 Jetta TDI. It's for the budget conscious, or for the green, or for those who want a little more power.

Notable DIfferences
The automatic has a different:
Coolant pipe
Power steering line
Injection Pump
Transmission Computer (the manual doesn't have any wires, other than the speed sensor and the reverse switch)
Transmission (Duh!)
Shift Linkage (Duh!)
Clutch Pedal... not there (Duh!)
Wiring Harness (Duh!)
Park Neutral Relay

Since there are all of these differences, we're not going to use the transmission, transmission computer, axles, Starter, chunks of the wiring harness, park neutral relay, and probably a bunch of other stuff that was left out just because we're a bit lazy, or didn't take that photo... We're going to adapt the existing harness for clutch cancel, cruise, and reverse switch later on... we're also going to adapt one of the brackets from the automatic wiring harness to support the power steering line.

What we need
"53" relay (horn relay)
Red 3M crimp butt connectors
Reverse switch (should come with the transmission)
Clutch Switches (there are two on the clutch pedal, make sure you get the two brackets)
Shift Linkage, complete with shift boot and shift knob, there are two boot types, so it might take two tries before you've got it right
Clutch Pedal
Transmission from a TDI (if yours is a 2.0 or 1.8T, try to get one from a TDI, it's got better gear ratios)
Manual Transmission Starter (the automatic one won't work)
Manual Transmission Axles
Dust Tins from the Engine (it's between the transmission and engine, and comes with two pieces)
All of the nuts and bolts that were removed from the junkyard
New Stuff Needed:
1x New Clutch (might as well throw in a G60/VR6 from or )
1x sigma5 short shifter (the OEM shifter won't clear the power steering line).
2x Nuts for the wheel end of the Axles, these are one time use only!
12x Bolts for the manual transmission end of the axles, these are also one time use only
1x bottle of blue threadlocker
2x Vertical bolts for the transmission mount (again, stretch bolts!)
2L VW Gear Lube for the 02j transmission
Yes, you will need a LOT of tools for this job
Special Tools:
VAG-COM from
M8, M10, M12 Triple Square bits
Clutch Alignment Tool (might come in the clutch kit)
Transmission Jack (will make it MUCH easier than bench pressing the puppy in and out!)
Continuity meter (normal VOM will work)
30mm 12 point socket

Good Luck, and try to keep up!

Step 1: Prepare for the Swap! Remove (almost) EVERYTHING!

Picture of Prepare for the Swap! Remove (almost) EVERYTHING!

First things first, don't try this unless you've got a flat area, jack stands, wheel chocks, and some help!

Loosen the front lug nuts (they're acutally bolts, so remember DON'T REMOVE THE BOLTS!!!)
Jack the car up, support it, and chock the wheels
remove both front tires

Have someone step on the brakes while you complete the following:
Remove the 30mm 12 point nuts holding on the axles to the wheel hubs.
Remove the M10 or M12 bolts holding the axles to the transmission

Start removing the axles:
Remove the 16mm bolt from the front of the A arm to the sway bar, and move it out of the way
Use a Three arm puller (or axle shaft removal tool) to push the axle out of the hub, then turn the wheel one way or the other to remove both axles.

Remove the transmission:
Go under the car, on the back of the automatic transmission dust tin is a plastic cover, remove the cover
Rotate the engine to remove the three 15mm nuts from the torque converter
Remove the battery, tray, and air box
Remove all wiring harnesses from the automatic transmission
Remove the Power Steering line from the automatic transmission mount
Remove the shift linkage using a pry bar
Unplug the Transmission cooler hoses and use a 5/8" coolant hose coupler.
Remove the Starter
Remove both upper bolts from the top of the transmission
Support the engine with an engine support
Remove the two Transmission mount bolts (18mm bolts)
Remove the lower transmission mount, this can be a pain, but it will help facilitate the removal of the transmission greatly.
Rotate the engine and transmission slightly forward using a screwjack between the engine and the subframe (the car comes with one in the trunk.. A.K.A "The Widowmaker Jack")
Place transmission Jack under transmission
Remove the four lower transmission bolts
Remove transmission (yeah, I make it sound easy!)

Prep the block!
Remove the flexplate and the dust tins on the engine... an impact would be nice here, or have someone counterhold the engine on the other side... this should be a 17 or 18mm 12 point socket.

Remove the Shift linkage:
Remove three bolts holding the downpipe to the turbo
Remove two 13mm bolts holding it to a cross member
Loosen two 17mm nuts holding a pipe clamp in place.
Slide pipe clamp to the rear of the car (sometimes this requires a hammer)
Remove the downpipe from the car
Remove the Front Heat Sheild from the bottom of the car to expose the Shifter assembly.
Remove the two bolts from the shifter assembly
Go back into the inside of the car
Remove the console, see your manual it's a bit complicated... We've got most of it in photos below... but your mileage may vary!
Remove ash tray
Remove cigarette lighter assembly
Remove Metal cross brace
Remove the Shifter handle by putting the car into neutral, then pull the thumb lever out, then yank the whole thing off HARD.
Remove the metal cover
Remove the plastic PRND321 cover by snapping it off
Remove the shifter trim slider by snapping it off
Remove the two wiring harnesses
Remove the Shift Lock Solenoid wire
Remove the two 13mm nuts, and the shifter should drop out

Now for the rest of the removal story...

Step 2: Remove and Rewire!

Picture of Remove and Rewire!

So you thought the previous was easy... well... most people can get that far in a day, so now that you've burned off the first two hours of your day... here's more!

Disassemble the knee plates (Beetle version, Golf/Jetta is similar)
Remove the fuse panel cover
Remove the Headlight switch by pushing in and turning the switch, then pulling the switch out
Remove the dimmer switch
Remove the cover plates on the hazard switch panel
Remove the four screws on the Hazard switch panel
Remove the six screws on the knee panel
Remove the knee panel
Remove the four screws on the Metal knee panel
Remove the metal knee panel exposing the relay panel
Remove the two 10mm nuts holding on the relay panel
Remove the 175 relay (we're going to be using the socket for the 53 relay shortly)
Remove the insulation covering the firewall where the clutch pedal will go
Remove the plug where the clutch goes

Please reference your Bentley manual for actual pin-outs, and wire colors as these vary by year/model, also make sure to check for continuity on all items.

Connect Reverse lights
Cut the transmission range connector off of the wiring harness this is the connector on the back of the transmission near the ABS pump.
Use the Black/Green wire to one side of the reverse switch 
Continuity check the Yellow/Blue or Grey/Red wire from the 175 relay socket to the matching color on the Transmission range switch wiring.
Cut this wire at the 175 socket
Cut the Black/Blue wire with enough wire to spare a butt connection later for the clutch cancel switch and connect side that leads into the harness to the yellow/blue or the grey/red wire in the previous steps. This is a standard butt connection that connects the reverse switch to the reverse lights. Heat shrink this connection
Connect the transmission range side of the Yellow/Blue or Grey/Red to the other side of the reverse switch. Heat shrink these connections

Connect Clutch Cancel Switch
Cut the brown wire at the 175 relay and connect it to the Grey or White clutch pedal switch (on the top bracket)
Connect the other wire from the switch to the Black/Blue wire you cut for the reverse lights in the above underlined and bold step.

Connect Cruise
Cut the Green/Black wire from the backside of the 175 socket (should be pin 5, or the one directly in the middle of the socket) and connect it to the blue or black clutch pedal switch (the bottom one)
Cut the Grey/Red (yellow/green on 2000+ vehicles, should be Pin 9)
Check for continuity on the Grey/Red or Yellow/Green wires in the TCU connector to the grey/red or yellow/green on the 175 socket
Connect the Grey/Red or Yellow/Green wire on the 175 socket to the other side of the blue or black clutch pedal switch
Remove the TCU from the car
Pull apart the TCU connector
Disconnect the ECU harness and pull apart the large connector
There will be a yellow/red wire that has continuity with pin 19 in the ECU large connector. Cut this wire at the TCU
Connect the Yellow/Red wire in the TCU to the Grey/Red or Yellow/Green wire in the TCU.
Move the wire from ECU pin 19 to pin 66 (98 and 99 beetles are pin 44 so verify the connector pin in your bentley before doing this).
Heat shrink the Butt connectors.
Wrap the unused connectors in Gaffers tape or other harness tape. (You may also cut the unused harness out of the loom).
Reassemble the relay panel
Place a 53 relay into the modified socket.

You now can start the car! (almost!).

Step 3: Start Instaling Stuff

Picture of Start Instaling Stuff

Just when you thought we were done removing stuff... we are!

Basically everything after this point is annoying little stuff, so we're in warp gear.... break out the service manuals for torque information! There won't be as many photos, since there isn't much to show... no secrets, just a little cursing when you can't get the transmission in on the first stab...

What Next?
Now time to stab that shifter, put the heatsheild back in place, and put the exhaust back! (yes that's one of the steps... do it now!)
Stab the clutch pedal without the hydraulic line installed... three 13mm nuts hold it to the firewall
Mount the clutch pedal bracket that braces it with the brake pedal, put the clutch switch bracket on this stud.
Mount the sensors on the clutch pedal as stated in the wiring on the previous page, the cruise goes on the bottom, the cancel goes on the top bracket
Put the hard hydraulic line on the clutch pedal under the hood
Put the soft clutch line on the clutch pedal under the hood
Cut the Brake fluid reservoir nipple where the soft clutch line connects
Quickly put the soft clutch line on the reservoir.

Install the Clutch
Don't forget to align the clutch before and during tightening the pressure plate

Install the transmission
Don't forget to lube the input shaft
Install the starter
Install the dieselgeek Short Shifter, and adjust
Install and Bleed the Slave Cylinder, verify clutch pedal has feel to it
Dont forget the transmission mount below!
Plug in the reverse light switch

Install the Axles
Install the axle heat sheild

Install the Swaybar

Install the airbox, battery tray, battery, etc

Now on to the key on test!

Step 4: Sir Not Appearing in This Film

Picture of Sir Not Appearing in This Film

Now for the key on test...

First key on means you don't start the car... it's just keying on to check lights, program the computer, etc.

Key on
Now, open your VCDS software with the cable plugged into the DLC connector under the drivers side dash you should still have apart
Go to Engine
Go to Coding
Change the coding from 1 to 2
Key Off
Key On
Go to Engine
Go to Fault Codes
Clear Codes

Now your car is configured for a manual transmission car.

put the car into reverse, you should have reverse lights, remove the car from reverse

start the car briefly, check for unusual noises

mount the tires, and take it for a quick spin
check cruise control and that all gears work properly

Come back and reassemble the interior in the reverse order you took it apart and you are DONE!

Now you too can have 50 MPG at 65 MPH!


DevinD23 (author)2017-05-31

anyone have any information on the wiring needed for the 1.8t tiptronic to manual swap? can't get the car to start

alphaseinor (author)DevinD232017-05-31

Is it not starting, or not cranking?

the 1.8T is totally different than the TDI, but the wiring for the 53 relay conversion is the same.

DevinD23 (author)alphaseinor2017-05-31

not cranking

alphaseinor (author)DevinD232017-05-31

If it's not cranking, did you replace the 175 relay with a 53 relay?

Also. Did you connect the brown wire from the 175 socket to one side of the top switch, and the black/blue ***relay*** side wire to the other side of the switch?

DevinD23 (author)alphaseinor2017-05-31

am I better off finding a full motor/trans harness from a 1.8t?

alphaseinor (author)DevinD232017-05-31

no, not unless you want to disassemble the whole car, and do the body harness while you are in there.

Jeankvega98 (author)2017-03-26

I just finished my 2005 gti 1.8t auto to manual swap... now it doesn't accelerate like it used to accelerate is really lazy and the speedometer is not working. What can I do? Is my daily I need help ASAP

alphaseinor (author)Jeankvega982017-03-26

This instructable wasn't designed for 1.8T swaps, only TDI swaps
There are a ton of people who are doing this, however it's not even close to the same thing for wiring the cruise.

1) did you put in a manual ECU?
2) Did you connect the VSS sensor to the instrument cluster?
3) Did you connect the A27 bus from the ECU to the instrument cluster?

These are not covered by this instructable, it's over the head of most everyone I've tried to instruct online, so I leave it blank for those who can read a bentley manual.

cahacen (author)alphaseinor2017-09-27

I want to thank you very much, for doing this very good tutorial and trying to solve all the problems that shows the good person that you are. I am doing this tutorial with a gearbox 02j for a jetta 1.8t engine awp I would like to please explain to me how to connect the A27 bus from the ECU to the instrument cluster. Greetings from Province Santa fe Argentina. and when you want, you are invited to a barbecue with good Argentine beef and Argentine wine.

hevo (author)alphaseinor2017-06-18

I'm having the same issue. Similar swap, I put a 5 spd in my 02 VW Jetta GTI 1.8T. Car's running fine, can't figure out how to connect the speedometer tho. I can't find anywhere online where anyone is specifically instructing how to connect the VSS sensor to the instrument cluster. Can you also tell me what the A27 bus is?

I need the help to finish this car and I can follow along to your instructions. As an aside, I am a professional mechanic in performance and modifications for 17 years, but I don't have experience in VW. This is my first transfer with VW so I don't know all these differences. If you want to have a private message conversation, I would really appreciate it. In fact, any help is appreciated. Thanks

MartinB317 (author)2017-08-10

anyone have engine codes that ran looking for an automatic transmission, even though i swapped to the manual computer?

i have a 2000 jetta VR6 and im getting :

P1626- can-bus missing message from transmission control

and P1691 MIL circuit Open

i heard i should have also swapped the gauge cluster, but i dont know if that sends codes to the computer.
car runs completely fine though.

alphaseinor (author)MartinB3172017-08-10

Did you remove the transmission computer from the harness?

which module is the code in?

what is the part number for the ECU?

MartinB317 (author)alphaseinor2017-08-11

Here is the main computer
ive tried unplugging and plugging in the automatic trans computer,
is there something else that goes in that slot for the manual? ( not sure if i checked, and i got rid of the car)

and i dont have a VAGCOM if thats what u meant by "What module is the code in"

Thanx hope that helps

alphaseinor (author)MartinB3172017-08-11

the transmission computer stays unplugged.

021906018Q is coming up as an automatic 00-01 VR6 ECU, not a manual.

alphaseinor (author)MartinB3172017-08-10

Oh, and no you don't need to replace the cluster.

alphaseinor (author)2017-05-01

Which car do you have?

You will need to program the ECU for the immobilizer to get it started, assuming you switched the ECU.

trevrvr6 (author)alphaseinor2017-05-25

I'm now driving the car with the original automatic ECU because the Manual ECU has the immobilizer that stops the car from running. With the original Automatic ECU the runs good but I thought I'd have it edited to a manual.

I found someone with a VCDS but it won't edit the setting to a 00031, it keeps defaulting back to 00033.

Can a VCDS edit the transmission to a manual or edit the immobilizer or does this need to be done by a authorized dealer/shop? Can I get a code to order ride the setting?

The car is 2002 Jetta VR6 16 Value.

Thank you

trevrvr6 (author)alphaseinor2017-05-02

2002 Jetta VR6 12 valve,

I switched back to the automatic ECU, plugged in the TCU, put back the 175 relay and added the park switch. Car now turns over but not starting. I detached the battery for 10 minutes, touched the positive and negative cables together and turned the ignition on for 10seconds before trying to start. Same thing, turns over but doesn't start.

Can I make the car think it's an automatic again and test drive it?

Thank you

alphaseinor (author)trevrvr62017-05-02

Touching the battery terminals together does nothing on any car past 1996.

ECU won't have anything to do with it spinning the engine or not.

What codes were in the system?

trevrvr6 (author)alphaseinor2017-05-02

No codes are given now , its not giving information, when a diagnostic is plugged in.

trevrvr6 (author)trevrvr62017-05-09

I reconnected by connections with the original ECU, plugged in the TCU, plugged in the park/neutral switch, it started and the test drive was amazing!

Next I'll reprogram the ECU to manual, wire the back up lights, speedometer, and clutch switches!

For this project I needed a transmission, flywheel, clutch plate, starter, shifter assembly, clutch pedal assembly, and heat shield clips so far.

Thank you for

dbrons95 (author)2017-05-13

Is there any way to get around putting in a short shifter? Can I not just replace the power steering line?

trevrvr6 (author)2017-04-20

Thank you for putting this together.

I'm in the middle of swapping my daughters 2002 Jetta VR6 12 Value, and I've found it very useful. While I'm waiting on the flywheel and clutch, I'll be working on the wiring. I have a manual ECU, connectors and these instructions, but I'm not to electrically inclined, ugh.

If anyone has advice please share and if anyone has questions from my experience, feel free to ask!

dieseldemon (author)2017-04-10

Hi alphaseinor

I am getting ready to swap a 5 speed trans from a 2000 1.8T Jetta into a 2000 1.9 TDI the 1.9 is an auto will this combo work I plan on changing the 5th gear in the manual to a .658 for millage

Thanks for your time

mitch3640 (author)2017-04-04

Hi, I am new here and could really use some help. I went through the entire swap, put a used five speed in a 2000 beetle, 1.8T, GLX. Car runs great, always has. Drives great, (except I can't seem to find 5th gear). Anyway, brought it to a shop to have the computer re-coded for manual and they tell me the ECU is "hard coded" and cannot be changed. He wants me to get another ECU and a cluster so he can "get the codes off it". This is near impossible to find. Called around and others tell me this is not necessary to do until model year 2003, and that the code should be changeable. Any advice would be appreciated. Mitch.


Chuckt1975 (author)2016-11-14

I am currently working on a auto to manual swap. Using a 02J out of a 02 Jetta with a 1.8T and putting it in a 03 Jetta with a 1.8T with a 09A. Was wondering if someone could help me with how to get the bellhousing bolts out of the 09A. Having trouble getting socket/ratchet between valve body and trans. Having trouble getting the 2 bolts at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions

alphaseinor (author)Chuckt19752017-03-10

You can get a set of triple square tools, then cut them down a bit. use a wrench on them to get the bolts out.

Roadhazardguy (author)2016-11-16

If I have an 02 auto Tdi Jetta with a bad auto trans can I swap a manual trans in it from a 98 Tdi jetta, along with all the associated parts? The cars are the same body style but I see that there are some differences between the years. Thanks!

a 98 jetta (at least here in the USA) is a MK3, it won't work in a 2002 because that's a mk4. pretty much everything would be different, from the axles down to the shifter and pedal assembly. wiring would be completely different between the two cars as they share almost nothing. I think the starter might work.

Mrazek (author)2016-11-27

Hi guys,

what would happend if I do not programe the computer after the trans swap? I have no VAG-com.


alphaseinor (author)Mrazek2017-03-10

assuming it's a TDI, you'd have a check engine light for the automatic transmission computer, missing. no cruise cancel on the clutch pedal, and I'm sure there would be some hanging idle issues as well.

JohnK450 (author)2016-12-02

I have an 00 VW Golf 2.0L with an automatic transmission that just crapped out. I want to do the auto to 5 speed swap. I found a donor car which is a 1999 VW Golf 2.0L with the same body style. I believe it's a 1999.5 model since it matches my body style. Is there anything different that I need to do from your steps? I heard the shifter is crap in teh 1999.5 Golf. I am not a 100% sure on getting the wiring done right but I need to attempt this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


alphaseinor (author)JohnK4502017-03-10

It probably won't work, you should go with one from a 2000, and you'll still need to swap the ecu out, since it's a 2.0, not a TDI. the wiring will likely be different for the cruise control, and there are like 3 different ECUs with 3 different engines in 2000, so you'll need to figure out which ECU to run.

JeremyR117 (author)2017-02-04

Ok so just for my piece of mind. I don't need the ecu nor cluster?

alphaseinor (author)JeremyR1172017-03-10

assuming it's a 1999-2003 TDI, that's correct.

MarkD382 (author)2017-02-12

I have 2004 gti 1.8t with automatic transmission 09A i change 02j manual 5 speed but speedometer not funcion i need help thanks

alphaseinor (author)MarkD3822017-03-10

You need to wire up the speedo, again this instructable is for the TDI only, which is a totally different animal.

LeviL15 (author)2017-02-24

I paid a shop to do this swap now no speedo ..Any ideas on the plug difference also my driver door will not look and alarm will not set since this swap..

alphaseinor (author)LeviL152017-02-24

which car is it? there are a lot of different transmission options, some of which need much more wiring than what is on this page.

As for the door lock and alarm, if the door lock won't work, then the alarm won't set. but it has nothing to do with the swap (unless the shop did something to your door lock).

Sounds like a warranty job at the place it was done.

my shop is, I'm in North Texas if you want to bring it to me to figure out what they screwed up.

LeviL15 (author)alphaseinor2017-03-09

it is 2003 gti 1.8t and they did what they did and want me bring it back in and pay for more services, but for what i paid it was a ok deal. read something that said alarm will not set if the car isnt in park so maybe it has something to do with the transmission harness.. not sure really just wanna figuer this out

LeviL15 (author)LeviL152017-03-09

also they couldnt do the vagcom thing to switch it over to think that it is a manual now also no back up lights... i know its alot but any info would help..thanks...

alphaseinor (author)LeviL152017-03-10

As for reverse lights, it's directly connected from the switch on the transmission to the reverse lights, can't screw it up, so I highly doubt they did any wiring if this isn't working, along with the speedo, and cruise... my guess is you still have PRNDL in your instrument cluster, meaning they just got the car to start using a different relay or something, then didn't do anything else... really really horrible shop, don't take it there any more.

alphaseinor (author)LeviL152017-03-10

Yeah, you need to have the ECU reflashed or replaced with a manual version, there is no VCDS coding to make the automatic version work.

Whoever did the job didn't do it right. period.

alphaseinor (author)LeviL152017-03-10

Nothing to do with the alarm, so no idea.... you didn't hear it from this page.

transmission harness shouldn't even be plugged in

jaynem21 (author)2016-11-20

i did my auto to manual swap but my auto did have a vss on the back like my manual tran can u help me to connect my vss it has three wires brown, white/blue and a black/white wires

alphaseinor (author)jaynem212016-11-21

It should just plug in. If the connector is different, just use the connector from the automatic transmission

jaynem21 made it! (author)alphaseinor2016-11-21

my auto tranny only have two plug ins one is the range switch which i use for the reveres switch and the other is a big round plug with alot of wires

the pic below is like the tranny i had an can i drive the car with the auto ecu untill i get my manual ecu

mk2gti (author)2016-11-09

quick question? i have a 2001 jetta 1.8t 5 speed manual,,,,,,


I would like to run tdi starter for higher torque to fire the gas engine....

no one seems to have a solid answer on vortex and it looks same to me.

help me out so i can order one! ps. good write up, thanks

alphaseinor (author)mk2gti2016-11-09

It should work just fine, TDI people have been using 1.8T starters for the longest time if they need something in a pinch.

drgears (author)2016-08-24

did the trans swap on 02 Jetta (diesel version) swap went well ,,,did relay re-wire swap ,,,car starts fine ,,problem is cannot get engine to come above curb idol,,2500 rpm...what am I missing ? thanks

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