1984 Vanagon Clutch Replacement


New member
I have a 1984 Vanagon, water-cooled, that has developed a problem with the clutch. 2nd gear constantly slips out and wont stay engaged so I am figuring that I will have to have it replaced.
My questions:
1. Will I have to replace the entire clutch assembly or is there a way to just work on that (2nd) gear?
2. How much is a reasonable estimate for having this work done?

I know all mechanics are different on prices but if anyone has any experience fixing/having fixed this particular problem I'd really appreciate it. Thanks ya'll :)

Martin Williams

New member
Hey, ho, maybe there is a terminology gap here. The "clutch" is between the engine and the transaxle, the transaxle is the part that actually houses the gears that you shift. It sounds as if the problem is in the transaxle, not the clutch. Bad news for you is the transaxle is more $$, but while you're in there you might as well change the clutch, too, it will save having to do that in a few years. It's the labor that costs, not so much the parts.
Anyway, you can find somebody to work on a transaxle but a VW transaxle is not the same creature that most transmission shops are used to. I have just purchased rebuilt ones and swapped them out myself. I figure I'm getting a complete assembly that has been gone through and comes with a guarantee. Places like GoWesty and Bus Depot have them (search for "transaxle", 1984) and there may be somebody in your area who rebuilds them too. Ordering one, you get to pay shipping and also a core charge of several hundred dollars that you'll get back once they receive your old transaxle (so they have another one to rebuild). You might ask your local VW parts supplier what they have available.
Might be also that the problem is in the shift linkage (the rods and such between your gearshift knob and the transaxle) - I don't have so much experience with the "newer" models (I have mostly '60s and '70s) but I understand there are some pieces that can wear out and cause sloppy shifting. This would be a lot less money and trouble than a rebuilt transaxle. Anybody else out there who can comment on that possibility?