I have owned my 2008 GTI MKV FSI for the past 4 years. For the first ~8k miles (bought at 42k), everything behaved as expected and performed nicely. At a certain point around 50k, I noticed that the clutch pedals bite point would sometimes change dramatically. This would usually happen after engine braking down a long hill. After awhile, the clutch pedal would occasionally bite much sooner than I was used to, and raise to about half the clutch depth. Putting a toe under the clutch could make it pop back up, which point it tends to behave normally for another random interval before repeating the problem.
I noticed that this was more frequent after spending any time at high RPMs. Also I found that by staying lower in the RPM band, the clutch pedal engage point would raise itself nearly up to the top of the pedal. At first I thought the only thing that might vary between low and high RPM driving would be the use of the dual-mass flywheel. But there's more to this adventure! I found that some days, my brake pedal would remain slightly squishy even when fully depressed, and that by pumping the brake pedal (wait for it...) the clutch engagement point would drop!
So far I've spent more than a little bit of money trying to find the problem, and here's what I've done/found:
- One-way restrictor in bleed valve removed. The clutch has more 'feeling' now but didn't affect the frequency of encountering this issue.
- Clutch master cylinder replacement (and clutch lines bled), no effect.
- Brake lines bled and refilled (did not affect 'squishy' feeling)
- At some point, I had a bad motor mount that broke my intake free. After replacing the motor mount and putting in a trans mount insert, no improvement.
- I've had the mechanic look at the pedal assembly and the position/fill state of the shared hydraulic reservoir, nothing appears out of the ordinary.
The one thing I've avoided so far has been slave cylinder replacement, because it costs so much to access the slave cylinder in these cars (inside bell housing) that if you take it apart to that point to find the problem, you might as well replace the clutch while you're at it. Now you're looking at at least $1300 with no guarantee of fixing the issue.
Here are my list of plausible hypothesis. I would love to hear anyone else's input on any one of these, or things I could try to demonstrate it is one particular problem instead of another:
- Dual mass flywheel failure leading to the clutch backing-out, occasionally, reseating itself after high RPMs. Don't know how to test this besides dropping the bell housing.
- Cracked pedal assembly affecting each-others master cylinders.
- Bad slave cylinder that sometimes catches when releasing the clutch, or whose auto-adjustment operation is messed up.
- Output shaft end-play. More than one post on VW forums from people showing this same problem ended up reporting end-play that exceeded tolerance, leading to full engine/transmission replacement (under warrantee for them, I'm not so lucky).
- Token "there's nothing wrong with the car, it's the driver" answer.
The car is at about 80k miles now, and I've spent a bit more money on it than it probably deserves. Should I quit now and trade it for something else? I love the way it handles, but I just can't get over the annoying clutch behavior.