Reverse gear failures and noise in the manual transmission models are common.Google+
Car Problem Reports
Volkswagen Golf Reverse Gear Failures and Noise in Manual Transmission Models are Common
Volkswagen Golf Problem
Average Mileage: 128,844 mi (113,000 mi - 147,000 mi)
Visitor, 1998 Volkswagen Golf, 147,000 mi
Reverse sounded like a playing card against the spokes of a bike wheel. 3 months later it started popping out of gear if not held in place. Finally, even when holding it in gear, it now slips and grinds, and if I am not backing down a hill... then I go nowhere.
Not sure what has failed, why, or what the repair is, or what it will cost.
Visitor, 1998 Volkswagen Golf, 113,000 mi
1998 VW Golf GT 5-speed manual
When in reverse, immediately pops out of gear when engine is accelerated. When shifter is held against reverse shifter stop, reverse gear still pops out or makes a grinding noise.
Visitor, 1997 Volkswagen Golf
Only 138,000 kms on the car but grinding noises in reverse and now pops out a higher revs. No fix at this time.
Visitor, 1999 Volkswagen Golf, 127,000 mi
My 1999 Golf Manual transmission will not go into 1st gear or reverse.