2004 VW New Beetle ATF question

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Feb 14, 2013
I will be attempting to "fix/service" a 2004 Beetle convertible with the 2.0L gas engine and the automatic transmission (paddle manual shift option). I believe the transmission is the 09G model. I know you're supposed to use the VW european ATF in the car. But this was a $2000 purchase and has 150K miles so I'm not too worried about the transmission. The car starts and runs fine cold. Shifts well and does everything like it's supposed to. Once it fully warms up the ATF it starts shifting hard and all sorts of weird things...mainly due to common valve body issues these transmissions have once they have alot of miles on them. What I'd like to try is perhaps some ATF that exhibits the properties of the cold ATF when it's hot. The bores in the valve body get worn out and the hot ATF fluid thins out causing problems. Anybody know of any "shade tree" tricks or any type of ATF that will remain "think" as it warms up. I've read of people using MaxLife ATF in Beetles with great success. But thats on normal good running cars. I'm trying to mask a problem so I don't really care what type of ATF I use as long as it's thicker than typical once warm. The car belongs to a friend who bought it as a toy for the summer around town and doesn't want to start dropping $1000 here and there on a worn out $2000 Beetle that otherwise is a good car until the transmission warms up completely.
I would definitely change the fluid, this will be the best way to have proper fluid when the vehicle warms up. Edit: just a drain and fill, not a flush...
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I think the O9A is an Aisin transmission, and in other cars, it would have been filled with Mobil 3309 or Toyota T-IV. In those cases, Valvoline Maxlife works well and has a low price. How is the transmission cooled? If it has a cooler that faces the air, wash the cooler as best you can. If the cooler is cooled with engine antifreeze, clean your cooling system, replace your thermostat, and be sure your cooling fans run properly. Some engine temperature gauges are hardly more than a dummy light, and will not let you know if the engine coolant is somewhat higher than normal. Also, replace the temperature sender, as those tend to lose accuracy, and when they do, your cooling fans might not come on when they should. Some people replace the OEM air to liquid cooler with something more effective, or they supplement the OEM liquid to liquid cooler with an air to liquid cooler when transmissions run hotter than what is ideal.
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