Make mine a double

Malcolm Short of LuK answers our questions on how to work on a new generation of gearboxes

Published:  12 April, 2013

At Frank Massey's conference in November, there was an interesting demonstration from LuK on the subject of how to change the clutch on modern electronically-actuated Direct Shift Gearboxes (DSG).

In very simple terms, a DSG transmission (often called 'flappy-paddle as there is no mechanical gear lever) resembles two manual gearboxes complete with two clutches contained within one housing. These devices employ a sealed-for-life box containing electronic actuators which is known as the 'mechatronics unit'. These operate the clutch automatically for the driver and so eliminate the problems of people riding the clutch and so on.

The problem is that independents aren't seeing them yet. Motorists are taking them to main dealers and we have some evidence to suggest that the dealers aren't changing just the clutch but are swapping in whole gearboxes. We phoned two VW dealers for a quote and they quoted £3,000, which is ridiculous for a three hour job.

Changing a DSG clutch is not impossible to do and it isn't even that tricky once you've got the correct tools and training. When you've got the knowledge it is actually quite straightforward. The first thing we did at LuK when we started stocking the DSG kit was to put all of our staff - technical and service - on the training course so we've got all our customer service team able to do it. It isn't difficult at all.

That said, you do have to identify the correct vehicle as there are a couple of variations out there. There's the wet type which is the Borg-Warner clutch but it's still sitting on one of our dual mass flywheels. There's the seven-speed on which the clutches act as the secondary mass of the DMF because they are so heavy so all that's bolted to the crankshaft is the primary mass.

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