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The Mechatronics of the Volkswagen Dual-Clutch Transmission

Updated on May 22, 2017

Many cars, mostly Volkswagens and Audis, have these unique advanced dual-clutch automatic transmissions. They have been around for a few years now and are hailed as an evolutionary step forward from the traditional transmission. People love them or hate them—it all depends on whether you had any problems with them. In 2009, VW recalled 53000 of them for defective mechatronic units.

The mechatronic unit is a computerized control part of the dual clutch system. It is complex and hard to troubleshoot when things go awry. When they do go bad, the dash will flash "PNDRS" and you will basically shut down wherever you are. You may be able to limp home in certain gears, or you may be stranded.

Volkswagen Dual-Clutch Gearbox

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Clutch sensorPressure control valvesN92 SolenoidDSG overviewMechatronicsComputer circuit board
Clutch sensor
Clutch sensor
Pressure control valves
Pressure control valves
N92 Solenoid
N92 Solenoid
DSG overview
DSG overview
Mechatronics
Mechatronics
Computer circuit board
Computer circuit board

The mechatronics are housed in the gearbox, surrounded by DSG oil. They make up the central control unit. All sensor signals and all signals from other control units come together at this point and all actions are initiated and monitored from here.

The unit has 12 sensors, By hydraulic means, it controls or regulates eight gear actuators via six pressure modulation valves and five selector valves, and it also controls the pressure and flow of cooling oil from both clutches. Temperatures of -40 °C to +150 °C and mechanical vibrations of up to 33 g occur and need to be dealt with. The oil temperature is kept from rising above 135 °C by an oil cooler. The gears are selected via selector forks in the same way as a manual gearbox. Each selector fork selects two gears. The forks are actuated hydraulically on the direct shift gearbox, not by selector rods.

Many times, the failures begin with sensor temps failing, either failing outright or falling out of specification. Many sensors have backups, so that if the main sensor fails a backup sensor will provide the data to the computer. If the data sent is incorrect, the computer will do what it thinks is right based on that incorrect data; hence, failures result. You may only be able to operate in certain gears or none at all. You may notice grinding or bad fuel economy.

Usually, if a sensor fails, only that section impacted by the sensor is effected. So, if a sensor fails for second gear, you will not be able to use that gear.

Sender G509, a key sensor, can be found in the housing of gearbox input speed sender G182. It measures the temperature of the DSG oil at the outlet of the multi-plate clutches. It operates in a temperature range of –55 °C to +180 °C. If G509 fails, the backup sensors may be able to prevent catastrophic loss. But if they fail, the tranny will go into self-protect mode and you will be stranded.

If your transmission suddenly starts to shift into odd gears or the car stops, it could be the N92 solenoid valve inside the mechatronics unit which controls activation of all the gears.

Components of the Mechatronic

 
 
G93
Gear oil temperature sender
G182
Gearbox input speed sender
G193
Hydraulic pressure sender 1
G194
Hydraulic pressure sender 2
G195
Gearbox output speed sender 1
G196
Gearbox output speed sender 2
G487
Gear actuator travel sensor 1
G488
Gear actuator travel sensor 2
G489
Gear actuator travel sensor 3
G490
Gear actuator travel sensor 4
G501
Speed sender for input shaft 1
G502
Speed sender for input shaft 2
G509
Multi-plate clutch oil temperature sender
G510
Control unit temperature sender
J623
Engine control unit
J329
Terminal 15 voltage supply relay
J519
Onboard supply control unit
J527
Steering column electronics control unit
J587
Selector lever sensors control unit
J743
Direct shift gearbox mechatronics
N88
Solenoid valve 1
N89
Solenoid valve 2
N90
Solenoid valve 3
N91
Solenoid valve 4
N92
Solenoid valve 5
N110
Selector lever lock solenoid
N215
Pressure control valve 1 for automatic gearbox
N216
Pressure control valve 2 for automatic gearbox
N217
Pressure control valve 3 for automatic gearbox
N218
Pressure control valve 4 for automatic gearbox
N233
Pressure control valve 5 for automatic gearbox
N371
Pressure control valve 6 for automatic gearbox.

On vehicle diagnosis, testing and information systems, use VAS 5051, the following modes of operation: Guided fault finding, Guided functions.

VW has made over 1 million DSG transmissions. Most are working fine with no problems, as long as the owner maintains them by changing the fluid every 40,000 miles and properly filling them to the correct level. Costs at garages range from $250-500. The DSG fluid runs $18 per liter, the filter $30. A new mechatronic unit is $4000-5000; a new tranny is far worse.

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      Evan 5 years ago

      Great article. One question though, why do they use hydraulic actuators?

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      Miguel 21 months ago

      Which solenoid controls clutch engagement?

    • profile image

      ovidiu 16 months ago

      @ Miguel ...solenoid n215 for r, 1,3,5 gears

      solenoid n216 for 2,4,6 gears

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