Suspension or transmission problem?
I recently purchased a 5-speed Cabrio and had it inspected. The mechanic reported the need to replace my rear struts (leaking) and perform an alignment. He never mentioned anything about the loud, awful 'winding' noise that occurs when the car is moving in reverse and the clutch is not depressed. The noise virtually disappears if I depress the clutch while moving in reverse. Also, in 1st and 2nd gear it seems the engine quickly 'grinds' (I can barely drive a few seconds before it lags and I need to shift) and the car barely accelerates. It only seems to drive smoothly in 3rd gear and beyond.
winding noise is the clutch bearing (when you depresse the clutch it actualy stop turning tough the noise stoping) then i think you need a clutch also
I know this is a super old question, but I thought I'd add to it to help others that may be wondering about the rear struts. I just had to have mine replaced ('97 GTI), and it will start with your suspension feeling loose, and eventually when it gets really bad you can feel your car kind of swaying or skating in the back. That's what prompted me to get mine checked out (that, and a small yellowish-brown puddle of fluid near the rear axle).
Search Volkswagen Cabrio Questions
Volkswagen Cabrio Experts