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Hi folks

Ive just had the gear shift linkage go on my vintage speedster and I’m presuming the rod guide bush has gone as well,other than the inspection cover plate I can’t see any other covers to remove,I know on a beetle there’s a cover on the front you take off and you can pull the shift rod out off. On a vs can you push the rod up far enough so that it clears the guide?

oh by the way I managed to sort my carb and timeing trouble so thanks to everyone for the advice 

Original Post

Remove the two shifter bolts and shifter, grab the rod cup with a pliers ..if it moves up and down the nylon bushing is bad. Move the carpet to access the rear shift coupler plate ..Loosen the 7mm bolt ( check condition) and slid the shift rod forward, you do this with a pair of long needle nose pliers in the shifter hole walking to forward . You only need to push the rod forward until it clears the nylon bushing support. ( It does not need to be removed from the tunnel but if so it does clear the rear of the battery box ) Replacing the nylon bushing ( note which groove the busing is in the bracket)  I hold a long 3/8 socket extension against the nylon bushing bracket and allow the new bushing to slide down the extension, while holding the extension against the bracket feed it into the bracket split side up being sure you have the bushing in the correct slot ( you will cus more than a few times)'ll won't be able to get the round metal ring back on  . Grease the shift rod and push it through the bushing again by walking it with the pliers.  Reattach the coupler and shifter , adjust as needed.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Place your car in neutral on a level surface.

For shift rod access, remove the rear cover (on top of the central tunnel).  It probably has one screw holding it in.  Remove the screw and the cover comes up at the screw hole and then out in the screw's direction to release the tabs on the other side.

Remove the shift lever assembly for access to the rod bushing.  Note how the lockout plate is positioned beneath the lever base - It looks like a metal gasket with a tab in the central hole - Take a photo, if necessary, because it has to go back in precisely as it is in there now.  It has a top and a bottom and they are different.  Note how it is oriented for re-installation later.

The bushing is sitting right behind the lever opening.  When you get a new nylon bushing, make sure it comes with the spring clip to hold it in.

Remove the cover at the front of the car (2-10mm screws) to get the rod out of the way.

Release the coupler at the rear where you removed the cover.  Make sure you release the coupler from the rod, otherwise the rod won't go through the bushing.  New couplers are usually Urethane but either Urethane or rubber is OK.  I happen to prefer the rubber ones and a German one is WAAAAY better than anything from Asia or Mexico (or Urethane), just sayin.

Grab the shift rod in the shift lever opening and move it forward a little and mark where the bushing has worn the rod for later reference with a sharpie marker.  The bushing sits just behind the opening and is in a bracket welded to the top of the tunnel. 

Move the rod forward a little at a time until it clears the bushing - you don't need to fully pull it out the front of the car, just clear the bushing.  

Peek in there and see how the bushing is secured in the bracket, remove the spring clip and remove the old, worn, scabby-looking bushing, then install the spiffy new bushing with the same orientation as the old yadda-yadda one you took out.  It sometimes helps to use a 3/8" drive 6" ratchet extension as a guide - just put the bushing on it and use the extension to guide the bushing into the bracket, then reach in and push it home.

Install the new spring clip.  It is usually harder to do this than it looks - be patient.

Get the shift rod ready to go back into the bushing and then slide it a bit at a time towards the rear until you see your Sharpie mark.  Grease the heck out of it all around the circumference where the marker is, then push it back until the end cup is in the middle of the shift lever hole and pointing up.  the greasy part should be centered at the bushing.

Go back to the rear cover and install your spiffy, new coupler - make sure the grub screw fits into the depression in the end of the shift rod (it orients it as well as holds it fast) and on the shaft coming from the transaxle.  Use locking wire on both grub screws if the screw heads are cross-drilled for lock wire.  If not, use Locktite Blue on the screws before assembly.

Place a glob of grease into the cup on the front of the shift rod and loosely re-assemble the locking plate and shift lever to the tunnel, making sure the ball on the bottom of the lever fits into the cup AND the pin on the side of the ball fits into the corresponding slot in the cup AND the lockout plate is oriented as it was before.

Sit in the driver's seat and move the shifter base about until you like where the shift lever ball (in your hand) is in neutral, front to back and left to right, then tighten down the lever base.

Take it for a test drive to see if it shifts OK - does it feel as though it goes into each gear as you remember it?  Can you easily get it into Reverse?  If you insert a "no" in there then you'll have to adjust the shift lever base position a bit to get it tuned in.  (We can help with that on here, just tell us what it's doing.)  It can be hard to get into a gear, or it might not fully engage a gear - that can be adjusted to tune it in.

That's about it.  Take photos.  Have some Guinness or Murphy's   or Smithwick's on hand for added reassurance.


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