Reverse gear failures and noise in the manual transmission models are common.Google+
Car Problem Reports
Volkswagen Jetta Reverse Gear Failures and Noise in Manual Transmission Models are Common
Volkswagen Jetta Problem
Average Mileage: 131,191 mi (45,000 mi - 192,450 mi)
Visitor, 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, 148,000 mi
2002 VR6 Manual Transmission - Doesn't shift into Reverse anymore. No noise from transmission, or engine bay area. No smoke. No leaks. Allows me to shift into where Reverse should be, but only seems to engage 1st gear...treats it like I didn't go over far enough for Reverse.
Visitor, 1996 Volkswagen Jetta, 102,000 mi
reverse gear went out
Visitor, 1999 Volkswagen Jetta, 126,000 mi
so far just noise...loud, rhythmic with ground speed, revers only, even w/ clutch in and rolling.
Visitor, 1998 Volkswagen Jetta, 79,000 mi
the differential gear gave out when taking off from a stop and shifting into first gear.... complete transmission rebuild
I pulled into my driveway and my car won't go in reverse. I think linkage is out.
Visitor, 1998 Volkswagen Jetta, 148,000 mi
Stripped reverse gear occured TWICE to my transmission and replacement! Very costly!
Visitor, 1992 Volkswagen Jetta, 192,450 mi
Sometimes reverse gear does not work until I put it back in neutral, let off the clutch, press clutch again, then shift into reverse. Also I get a clunking noise sometimes when shifting.
Visitor, 1999 Volkswagen Jetta, 148,000 mi
Lost reverse will shift fine in first and second but won't shift out of second into higher gear. Automatic 2.0 Volkswagen jetta
Visitor, 1996 Volkswagen Jetta
I'm having the same problem ; (
makes a grinding noise then trying to shift into reverse either stalls or kicks into first gear.