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Old 10-02-2017, 07:41 PM   #1
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Drives: Golf 2.5 6speed MT
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Everything you should know about a manual 6 speed swap

Manual 6-speed swap

Hi everyone, this is my first thread of this kind, so it's probably not perfect, but I will try to make it easy to read and interesting !

What is this ?

Well, this is a non-official dedicated topic for a manual 6-speed swap, not a DIY guide.

Why ?

For some of us, our 5 speed differential is weak and has a tendency to break under moderate driving with a bit of hard driving. We don't hear that much about it on this forum, but trust me, I'm not the only one who have experienced the "self-machined differential".

The "self-machined differential" is when the rivets holding differential ring gear together sheared off or when you "drop a pin", here is a picture to illustrate my words...

It will continues its rotational movement and it's going to break eveything and make an giant hole in the bell housing, all the gearbox oil of the differential will flow into he bell housing where the clutch and the flywheel is located, both your differential and your clucth will be gone...

I know some of you will say that it only happens to "street burnout queens", but I haven't spin my wheels that much, maybe 4 quick times, sure it has not helped in my case, but when my differential broke I was driving on the highway and I wanted to overtake a car.

A manual 6 speed swap is bolt-on, it's like replacing your 5 speed trans except that you aren't putting the same parts. It probably cost less than replacing your broken trans for a stock one, plus, the differential is way more solid !

Parts you need for an 02Q swap

This is for an 02Q swap, I don't know if it's the same for the other 6-speed transmission. The 02Q is the trans that we mostly find on the GTI (mk5, mk6)

  • 02Q Gearbox (Really ?)
  • Axles
  • Starter
  • Transmission support
  • Slave cylinder / throw-out bearing
  • Bleeder block and clutch line
  • Shifter cable end links (What makes the connection between the shifter on top of your transmission and the shifter cables)
  • The shifter cables bracket (It hold your shifter cable on top of the transmission and it bolt on the transmission with 3 bolts)
  • FSI Clutch kit and Flywheel
*** Only use parts from a FSI engine, the TSI will not fit ! The FSI flywheel have 6 bolts and it fits our engine while the TSI has 8 bolts ! ***

Now you have every parts for a 02Q swap, I would say a full used kit cost arround 1000$ CAD

*** Important notes / advices ***

Even if it's bolt-on, there is an important thing to do in order to avoid big bills like it happened to me. You have to grind like 1/8inch (maybe more, it's up to your preferences) on top of the transmission in order to make sure that the trans will not sit on the timing cover. The 02Q is a bit higher than our 5-speed and this small difference is enough to break the timing cover, if you don't grind it, when you will torque the bolts to the engine, it will apply force to the timing cover and it will break it and you will have engine oil leaks.

Before installing the transmission, I recommend you to replace the differential seals (where the axle fit into the differential), it's cheap and it will avoid you future leaks. Keep in mind, that the trans have probably been stored for a long time, the seal might had the time to dry enough to break. I would also replace the slave cylinder / throw-out bearing, it costs a bit more, but it has a tendacy to break and leaks and you know the pattern, you will have to change your clutch if this happens. Buy it at your VW stealership, it doesn't cost that much more than an aftermarket part, it worth the extra cost for an oem quality product, I bought an aftermarket one at 200$ CAD and the bearing is bad, I'm already hearing whistling sound arround 4000rpm.

Next thing, when you will try to sit the trans on the engine, do not tilt the transmission from right to left, you can, but you have to make sure that the transmission does not hit a case while doing this motion, otherwise, you will hit a case, it's made of alluminium and it's very thin, so it's easy to break (timing case for exemple) !

The shifter box !

Some people would say you have to replace your shifter box and shifter cable for the GTI one, I'm not saying they are wrong, but it's not a most and it's probably a huge waste of time ! The shifter box is exactly the same thing than our shifter box except that it's older (2008 < 2010+).

The shifter cable doesn't have a huge difference in length, a really really really small difference for the longer cable, but other than that, I feel no difference shifiting with the 5-speed cable and 6-speed cable (I did lost some time installing the GTI shifter box, but you won't have to !)

If you keep the 5-speed cable, just swap both cables to have the good length, anyway, you would not be able to mount them if they aren't in the right direction.

To make sure you are on the neutral, put your shift knob in neutral position, then you should be able to push the shifter on your trans.

Be gentle with the shifter mechanism when you push it, don't hit it with a tool if you want to remove the shifter, you could break something into the transmission.

If you want to replace the shifter box, you will have to remove the center console, the intake (engine cover), then remove the battery, remove the exhaust (cat-back), you can keep the downpipe, if it's on the way, just move it, it has a flexible. Finally, you will have to remove the 4 nuts holding the shifter box, then you remove it from under the car and for the installation, reverse the steps.

Shifter cable adjustement

Maybe you will find it hard to shift into a gear, I'm saying maybe, it won't happens to everyone, do not worry, it's not an issue with gears, well I hope it for you

You just have to "play" with the shifter cable length. You don't have to fully slide the shifter cable into the shifter cable endlinks ! If it's hard to engage gears on the left or on the right (1,2,5 and 6) then it's the cable making the up-down motion, if it's hard to engage gear on top or in the bottom, then it's the cable that is making the left-to-right motion. (I don't think you will have to play with this cable).

For my part, it was harder to shift the gear on the left than on the right, if this happens to you, you have to make the cable that do the up-down motion a bit longer, just a little bit, not too much or you won't be able to go into reverse gear !

Fuel economy ; not really

If you are looking to swap over an 6-speed (02Q) trans for fuel economy, you won't save fuel ! The final ratio of the sixth gear is approx. the same than our fifth gear. In the city, the car will accelerate faster due to the gearing, in general the car is faster and torque more (my opinion) and it has the same fuel usage. Please note the speed sensor doesn't need t be recoded

My opinion

Does it worth it ? Absolutely yes ! I just wish that I would have known more stuff about the swap before doing it, I would have avoided so many extras bills and issues. The car is faster and I notice it more on the 0-80km/h, the experience with a hydraulic clutch is awesome, I love the slave cylinder compared to the clutch fork, it's smooth and I'm pretty sure that even with a aftermarket performance clutch kit, it would be still comfortable for daily driving. The car shift smother and you can cleary shift faster, the gear engage faster and the clutch is just so quick ! The differential is also better, it handle more and it seems to transfer the power more efficiently !

I also noticed that they are more aftermarket parts for an 02Q than for our transmission, it would also cost me less to repair it, it's easy to find a 02Q at good price with low milleage !

Trans that has been swap to our car
  • GTI 2008 FSI
  • GTI 2009 (FSI clutch and flywheel)
  • GLI MK4
Mostly every 02Q and 02M trans will work. (02Q are cheaper and easier to find) Be carefull with the recent 02Q trans, for exemple GLI 2011+, they have a speed cable or something like that, I don't know if it fits with our cars.


If you have any question, feel free to ask and if you have other uselful informations to share, do it !

You are now ready for an 6-speed swap ! Let's go !

Last edited by FlowMK6; 10-02-2017 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:46 PM   #2
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What if you are coming from auto? Is it exponentially more money?
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:28 PM   #3
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Drives: Golf 2.5 6speed MT
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: QC, Canada
Posts: 226
Originally Posted by megacollect View Post
What if you are coming from auto? Is it exponentially more money?
Yea it will cost more, you will have to get a manual ECU, clutch pedal, new brake pedal, clutch master cylinder and much more, but if you are planning to swap your automatic to manual, I would recommend the 6speed swap instead of the 5speed, here is a thread to help you:

Be careful his wiring might not be the same as you, I would look at the wiring diagram of your car, but the parts and installation process is the same, good luck !

Last edited by FlowMK6; 10-02-2017 at 10:41 PM.
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