020 Oil Change


Here are a couple pics to help ID some places on the 020, and some info about what oil to use and where to put it and how to know when the oil level is full...

In the first pic...

Red circle = side 17mm fill plug
yellow circle = speedo hole
red square = '020' stamp
white circle = vent tube
blue circle = timing check hole

In second pic....

red circle = same as above
red square = same as above
double red circles = bottom 17mm drain plug
yellow square = trans code and mfg date
green circle = reverse bolt

Depending on the date of the trans, the filling procedure can be slightly different, but both start by draining the fluid out of the double-red circle 17mm plug. A warm trans will drain more easily, so go for a ride to heat it up.

Before removing the bottom 17mm drain, check that you can loosen the side 17mm fill plug, we don't want to drain it only to find the fill plug is seized in.

Once drained, stick the plug back in, and remove the red circle side 17mm fill plug and the fluid is added through there, or the speedo hole. The car should be level, and fluid can be added by using a long neck funnel in the speedo hole, using the open side filler hole to gauge when the trans is full as explained below.

If you try to add it into the timing check hole (blue circle) then you will get oil on the clutch, and will need to pull the trans to replace the clutch!

Depending on the numbers in the yellow square, the fill procedure changes.
For trans made after Sept 8, 1987 (shown on trans as 08097), then you add fluid to the trans until it runs out of the red circled side 17mm hole. Proper fluid (2.0L) is when the fluid level in the trans is even and level with the bottom of that drain hole.

For trans made before Sept 8, 1987, you do the same as above, adding fluid until it starts to run out of the side 17mm hole, then you plug that hole back up, and add 0.5L more fluid into the trans via the speedo hole in the yellow circle.

Install torque is 18 ft-lbs.

That mfg date is when VW moved the red circled hole up on the side of the case by 7mm. The date code will be the last 5 digits after the trans code. It is arranged as day-day-month-month-year, so 08097 is 08 day in 09 month in the 7th year of that decade. If it is a MK3 2.0L car, you know it is 1997, if it is a MK2 trans, it would be 1987, etc..

Updated Info 6/3/09

For MK1 cars, it seems there may not be a need to add the additional 0.5L of oil to the trans. The trans, as mounted in the MK1, sits at a different angle than when mounted in a MK2, and this affects when the oil runs out of the side filler hole. Thanks to Richard S. for this pic from his MK2 Haynes manual.


Some questions are raised by this though, like what does a 1988 Scirocco trans have... the old style or the new filler hole? It is a MK1, so the trans should sit at an angle that doesn't need the extra oil, but it is made after 1987, so the 5th housing should have the filler hole 7mm higher... this would mean it would be over-filled. I own a 1988 Scirocco, in fact, it is THAT car that made me start doing trans work, and I rebuilt the trans to it, then I sold it, and I forget where it went, or if I had swapped 5th housings, and so on, so I own the car, but can't answer my own question!

Anyway, I've checked my Scirocco Bentley, there is no mention of adding the extra oil, so for now, I'll say on the Mk1 cars, you should be OK with filling it until it is level with the side filler hole.... I am tempted not to state this, as the problems of having too much trans fluid (possible leaks) pales in comparison to not enough fluid (ruined trans)... but it would seem MK1 manuals don't specify the extra oil. Considering the way these older trans tend to seep and leak, and the susceptibility of 5th to burn up from low oil, it might not be terribly bad to have a little extra oil in there!

Here is a pic of a newer housing with the hole moved up 7mm, you can see it is closer to the bolt above it than it is to the bolt below it. On the older 5th housings, the drain plug is right in the middle. Look for the bump shown in the 2nd pic. The new style is on the left, the old style is on the right...


You can see the hole moved up when looking at it from the inside...

Proper fill capacity on all the 020 trans, regardless of the manufacture date, is 2.1 US Quarts or 2.0 Liters.

VW calls for hypoid oil API GL4, MIL-L2105 SAE 75 or G50 SAE 75W90
synthetic lubricant.


Update 1/27/10
Oil and Grinding Gears

Here is a thread on the Vortex discussing the effect of the oil on gear selection. Changing the oil can help if you have a grinding 2nd gear or problems selecting the forward gears. Here is a link to the thread: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3832505


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