98 Cabrio 5 speed, when I take off in 1st it feels like it's in 3rd, same when I try to go in to 5th. the shifter feels really loose in neutral too.

Asked by Aug 06, 2014 at 10:24 PM about the 1998 Volkswagen Cabrio 2 Dr GL Convertible

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Was running fine, then yesterday when trying to go, I put it in 1st(like I always do),but it
felt like I was trying to take off in 3rd instead. Once it got going it didn't feel like it needed
to be shifted til I was going about the speed I would need to shift out of 3rd at. Then when I
try to put it in 5th, the RPM's shoot up real high like I was going in to 3rd. The shifter feels
really loose in neutral as well, and it didn't before.

3 Answers


Sound,s like it,s time for a new clutch and pressure plate.


I think it is just your shifter linkage- you will have to get under the car, or take out the console, or both- this is a tricky repair- but it is cheaper than a clutch or tranny- good luck- I would just take it to a good mechanic- if he is GOOD he will come up with the right diagnosis too-

Actually turned out to be the (hope this isn't too technical), plastic thingy that connects the shift rod to the linkage I think. It's supposed to clamp onto the 'ball' on the ends of each, well it had come off one end. So I just clamped it back on (luckily it hadn't broke), and it was good to go! The best part was that I was able to do this all right under the hood. Didn't have to take console off, or climb under. Took about 15 mins. from the time I lifted the hood to it being fixed.

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