In 2009 VW started offering 4 cylinder TDIs with 6-speed manual transmissions. These cars included Golf, Jetta, Beetle, Jetta Sportwagen, and, starting in 2012, Passat. Like most VWs, these cars have dual mass flywheels and clutches made by LUK or Sachs.
TDI owners buy more manual transmission cars than gasoline VW buyers. And many TDI owners have experience with choosing a replacement clutch for their 5-Speed TDIs from ’99 – ’06. Most buyers simply swapped the OE dual mass flywheel (DMF) for a single mass wheel (SMF) and used either a Sachs VR6 or A3/B4 replacement clutch. If they had a modified TDI, they may get a South Bend or similar clutch.
Overall, six-speed flywheels and clutches are lasting longer than their predecessor 5-speeds. Why? They’re larger, for one thing, and modern TDIs make less torque at low speeds than earlier cars. However, they still wear out, and dual mass flywheels can fail after many miles of use.
Compared to the 5-speed cars (02J transmission code), the replacement choices for the 6-speed (02Q transmission code) are a bit more involved. Here’s why:
- The 02Q 6-Speed often has a much louder “rattle” at idle in neutral than the 5-speed 02J
- The 02Q has a different synchro design than the 02J, and some aggressive drivers have experienced synchro failure with single mass flywheel conversions
- Conversely, dual mass flywheels have some torque-handling limitations, and can “shudder” or experience shortened life if driven hard with an upgraded clutch
The upshot of these complications is a variety of replacement options. They include:
- SMF replacement kits with the same holding power as the stock setup
- Stock DMF/clutch replacement kits
- Stock replacement DMF with upgraded clutch options
- Upgraded SMF/Clutch kits
How do you choose? First, if no noise at idle and/or the same pedal feel as the stock setup is important to you, then stick with a DMF setup. But if holding strength and ability to take abuse in aggressive road or track driving is paramount, then an SMF kit may be a better option.
LUK offers stock replacement kits to the automotive aftermarket, which provides exactly the same performance characteristics and holding power as the OE setup. LUK is the most common maker of original equipment flywheels and clutches for VW’s 6-speed transmissions.
If you prefer to switch to a single mass flywheel setup, Valeo has a kit that is the quietest of the SMF kits, and holds as much or more power than the stock setup. This kit can also be modified with improved friction material for more holding power.
TDIs with Power Mods
If you need a setup that can handle more power, South Bend Clutch makes upgrade kits for both single and dual mass flywheels. Regardless of flywheel selection, the modify their clutches to several stages:
- Stage 2 Daily, which has improved friction material and slightly stronger clamping force for greater than stock holding power, up to 395 ft-lbs.
- Stage 2 Endurance, which adds Feramic, or sintered iron, on the flywheel side of the clutch disk for more holding power, up to 425 ft-lbs.
- Stage 3 Daily, which uses different components, higher friction organic material, and Feramic to hold up to 470 ft-lbs of torque.
The South Bend DMF setups drive similarly to stock. Only difference you might notice is slightly increased pedal effort and, on the Stage 2 Endurance and Stage 3 clutches, quicker engagement. SMF kits with the six-speed have a noticeable rattle at idle in neutral. Some customers find it objectionable, but are willing to tolerate it for the improved durability of that setup. If you aren’t sure you might want to find a 6-speed with a SMF to make sure you like it.
Many VW drivers like the light pedal effort and smooth engagement a dual mass flywheel setup offers. And with the 6-speed transmission, a stock replacement is going to be the easiest setup to live with day-to-day. But if you need to hold more power, you have a variety of alternatives. Shop around and see what works best for you.