VW A1/A2/A3 Shift Linkage Installation

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If you look closely at the water-cooled VW shift linkage, its truly a marvel of mechanical design. It transmits the front-back and side-side motion of the shift lever on the floor of the vehicle into motion on selector shaft of the transmission, to allow shifting gears. Front-back motion of the gear shift is transferred as back-front motion of the shift rod which in turn is translated into left-right rotation of the relay shaft which in turn is translated into a rotation of the selector shaft. Side-side motion of the gear shift is converted to rotation of the shift rod, which is converted to a left-right motion of the rear selector rod then to a front-back motion of the front selector rod which pushes and pulls on the selector shaft of the transmission. Click on the image(s) below for a detailed view of a typical A1 or A2/A3 shift linkage: A1: Shift Linkage Diagram A2/A3: Shift Linkage Diagram

Set the parking brake and place the transmission in neutral, open the hood You may want to remove the relay shaft for ease of installation A1: Remove the nut that retains the shift ball at the base and the or the clip that retains the shift rod at the top (needed if replacing the pivot bushings), or just do the upgrade on the lever in place A2/A3: Remove the nut at the top of the relay shaft that holds the shift arm in place Remove the bushing that the shift rod inserts into If the bushing is hardened from age, try soaking it in very hot, soapy water to soften and lubricate it Use a flat bladed screwdriver to press in at the base of the small end of the bushing to collapse it and push it through the hole If all else fails, you can cut off the small end and press it out of the hole If not installing a complete Missing LinkZ kit, then it would be necessary to replace the bushing Place the extension on top of the lever and the clamp on the bottom Tighten the retaining nut and torque it down to approx. 20-30 ft-lbs to securely clamp the extension to the lever Make sure there is no side to side play in the extension, if so, tighten it further Re-install the bushing at the inner hole for a ~25% reduction or the outer hole for a ~50% reduction, insert the rod and insert the retaining clip If the old bushing was damaged, consider replacing it with a new one If installing the full Missing LinkZ kit, there is no need to re-install the old bushing, its no longer needed If the relay shaft/arm was removed, replace it and make sure all the fasteners are tight Lower the hood and give it a test drive, it may take a few days to adapt to the new and improved feel of the shifter I encourage you to start at ~25% and try it for a few days Then try the ~50% position for a few days Pick the reduction level you like the best You can also remove the extension to revert to the stock shifter travel On some vehicles, you may experience interference with the lengthened relay shaft arm; hitting the turbo, for example If so, you can often bend the relay shaft arm a bit to clear the obstruction.


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