I searched & didn't find any threads matching this problem: reverse works fine with no slipping or delayed or too soft or too hard shifting. No forward gears work at all. With the front end jacked up, the wheels will not spin forward in 1st gear. Sometimes with the wheels not spining, when 1st gear is selected, the wheels will spin backwards a few turns. Gears 2-D will spin the wheels forward, but will not move the car, when sitting on the ground.
The car is a 2001 Jetta TDI with 180K miles, 100% stock original. I'm trying to help out a buddy, it's his daughter's car. I drained the fluid (very dark, but no burnt smell that I could tell) & replaced the filter. The old filter was the original OEM with a 2001 date stamped on it. I think the fluid was the original also. There was no metal chunks in the pan. The magnet only very minor fuzz on it. There was no clutch lining particles that I could see in the pan. I forgot to take the old filter apart, but I didn't see any chunks in the parts you could see. The pad looked dark brown. I flushed it a few times until the fluid came out mostly red. Pulling the pan off the last time I did notice a few brown clutch particles in the bottom. They were about the size of a grain of sand, maybe 10-12 total. My buddy wanted to try the Lucas "fix", but that of course didn't help. I don't have a Vag-Com & the Chinese copy my buddy bought doesn't work. A "smart" code reader he has, only shows a glow plug issue, nothing about the transmission.
Talking to his daughter, it seems like it has been not going back into 1st gear when taking off from a stop, like it should. She said she could feel it dropping out of gear when stopped. She would have to rev the engine up to get it to go into gear. This has been going on for like 4-5 months. The car would be fine in all other gears, just 1st would be a problem taking off. The day it failed, she said that after taking off it would shudder or pulse when driving. It happened when she was driving around a mall where there are many stop signs real close to each other, so it was being driven slow in 1st gear for a while. She parked it to let it cool down. After that only reverse works. She used to drive with it in D only & did not race or drive the car hard.
I'm thinking that the valve body is worn or clogged up & maybe 1st gear is bad, even though I don't see any large amount of clutch lining. I'm also thinking it has been driven for a long time on old dead fluid & maybe even low on the fluid level also. Has this failure mode been seen before? Does this sound like a bad valve body? I know the torque converter is working & the oil pump, as reverse is still working OK. Can a TDI even be driven carefully (no hills) with a bad 1st gear for awhile? How long will a well maintained 10M last before the torque converter or clutches, pump etc. die, 200K 225K 250K? Have people had good luck with used "low mileage" transmissions? A dealer reman is not an option for their price range. Can the 10M even be rebuilt by the local Turbo 350 "expert" transmission shops? I know A-1 VW's like that back of my hand, but have never liked any auto transmissions at all. I tell people they are never worth fixing, just swap to a manual trans & learn how to really drive. She wants the auto & I don't think the car can even be converted to a manual transmission due to CA SMOG laws. I can kinda see maybe taking a gamble on a rebuilt valve body, but I don't see how there can be much life, if any left in that abused transmission. Does anybody like CoolAirVw have any ideas? Thanks in advance.