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Upgrades (non TDI Engine related) The place of handling, lighting and other upgrades that do not relate to the performance or economy of the TDI engine. In other words upgrades to your TDI that don't fit into TDI Fuel Economy & TDI Engine Enhancements.Please note the Performance Disclaimer

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Old November 30th, 2010, 13:33   #1
Ausgezeichnet TDi
 
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Default HOW-TO: 1999.5 MK4 02J Shift Linkage Upgrade

This HOW-TO explains how to exchange your 5-speed shift linkage from a 98 or 99 New Beetle or 99.5 Golf or Jetta to that of a 2000-2005 MK4 vehicle. When the MK4 Jetta, Golf and New Beetle were initially released, they used shift linkage mostly akin to the previous MK3 generation. The old linkage works OK when all of the parts are new, but it’s still somewhat sloppy and has plastic parts that are prone to degradation and breakage. This was corrected in the MY2000 and newer linkages. Clearly put, if you have THIS style transmission linkage, you have the old version. THIS picture shows the newer version. The shift box inside the car is also different between pre-2000 and 2000 and later MK4, as shown in THIS picture. My pre-2000 shifter and linkage was fully functional, but after replacing the black plastic carrier piece after it broke the first time, I researched and found that there were better options out there! Parts are easy to find, you just need to be careful about what you look for. Also be wary from whom you purchase the parts from. Special thanks to TDIClub members jcrews, turbocharged798, as well as Jim from Dieselgeek for their help throughout the project. (Please note that Dieselgeek sells new short shifters but does not sell used parts. I recommend looking through VWVortex or your local VW salvage yard.)

Time to complete this job: Around 5-8 hours depending on skill level and work space available. *Make sure you have all of your parts before starting this job, otherwise you’ll have to put it all back together or wait for 2 weeks for a special part like I did! Total parts cost was around $200 including the Dieselgeek TTX shifter.

Tools Needed:
I highly recommend an A4 Bentley repair manual, as well as 1/4 + 3/8” drive ratchets, extensions and swivels, 8-17mm shallow and deep well sockets, Torx bits, Phillips head screw driver, assortment of pry bars, telescoping magnet, spring clamp pliers, diagonal cutters, 3/8” torque wrench, synthetic grease and G070 OE synthetic gear oil. I also recommend using a digital camera to take pictures before and during disassembly for your reference.

Parts List:
· Shift Box, cables, cable ends and cable bracket from a 2000-2005 5-Speed equipped VW MK4 body style. You can get this from either a TDI, 1.8T, 2.0L, or VR6, they all are the same as long as they are 5 speed. Cable ends come in two styles, ball socket style that pop on-off or pin style that slide on-off and secure with clip. I personally prefer the clip style as they are less of a hassle, but whatever you can get will work fine.

NOTE: 6-speed shift cables will not work! The six speed shift box will work as it is the same as five speed but not the cables or cable bracket for the tranny.

· Gear selector shaft from a 2000-2005 02J 5 Speed Transmission. Your existing shaft from a 99.5 WILL NOT work with the new top cover. This picture explains it. The shafts are laid in the same position side by side. Take note of where the grooves in the crown are (the new style is on the right).

· Selector shaft top cover from a 2000-2005. (Part #1 in this ETKA diagram) Try to get a top cover with the oval ended new style reverse switch installed. You will also need the matching D-shaped connector for the new reverse switch (VW P/N 1J0 973 702) . You will need to swap the wire ends into the new connector or cut and splice on a used pigtail as your old style rectangular reverse switch plug will not fit the new style oval ended connector. HERE is the bottom of the old cover, vs. the new cover. There are also bearings in this top cover, try to get a cover that is clean underneath and doesn’t look rusty. Be careful not to get a used selector shaft that has pitting where it runs on its bearing.

*Make sure that the cover has a locking pin in it to adjust the linkage, and that it’s working properly*

· New selector shaft nut. VW P/N N 909 083 01. It is a one time use nut.

Removal:
1. Remove the MAF sensor connector. Using your spring hose clamps (or whatever you like to use), detach the intake snorkel spring clamp from the airbox and remove the intake snorkel. Release tension on the clamp so that it stays on the lip of the airbox. Use a rubber glove or towel to prevent dropping anything into the intake ducting.

2. Using a 10mm socket, 1/4” socket wrench and 1’ extension remove the two bolts holding the airbox in. Loosen 90% of the way then use your telescoping magnet to remove them the rest of the way. When loose, pull up and towards the engine away from the fresh air duct. When it is out, you can disconnect the fresh air vacuum hose coming from the N-75, or just set the entire airbox on top of the engine.

3. Remove the top plastic cover from the battery box.

4. Remove the battery terminals (negative first) using a 10mm socket.

5. Remove the battery cover by unscrewing the 6mm (10mm head) bolt in front, as well as 2 in the rear. Then there are two “pins” on the each side towards the rear of the battery, you simply pull up on the battery cover to unhook the cover. Then, you need to open up the cable protector on the back side of the battery cover (2 clips) to completely free the battery cover.

6. Unscrew the battery hold down bolt using a 13mm socket and extension. When it’s loose, use your magnet to extract the bolt and hold down bracket. You may need to remove the air intake duct that covers the driver side headlight. When it’s completely loose, slide the battery towards the front of the car and lift up to remove it.

7. Next, you’ll need to remove 4 bolts holding down the battery tray using a 10mm socket.

8. Now you should be able to fully view the stock-shift linkage.

9. First, make sure the transmission is in neutral. Next, remove the connector and two bolts holding the reverse light switch in place.

10. Remove the cable end bolts, then the shift weight, selector shaft nut, and toothed selector bracket. Also remove the shift carrier nut, and slide the cable out from the shift carrier. You will have to gently pry up on the end of the carrier, and slide the cable out gently to prevent it from breaking.

11. Once everything is removed, hand-thread the nut onto the selector shaft (you’ll see why in a couple steps).

12. Remove the two bolts on both sides of the gear selector cover. After they are removed, you may have to tap gently on the cover housing with a hammer, or use a pry-bar to free the top cover from the transmission. It will take awhile, but it will come out eventually.

13. Once the top cover is free, make absolutely sure the transmission is in neutral (The selector shaft moves up and down when the tranny is in neutral.) and pull straight up on the cover. If you try to pull the selector shaft out of the transmission while it is in gear you will need to disassemble the tranny to set it back up correctly. If the top nut is still attached, it will bring the selector shaft with it (which will be covered in gear oil). Cover the top cover hole with a rag.

14. Next, remove the clutch hydraulic line and wire loom from the shift cable bracket, and remove the three bolts attaching the shift cable bracket to the transmission.

15. Next, you will remove the shift knob/boot as well as the lower console. To remove the shift boot, you can either undo the elastic around the shifter trim, or you can unclip the lower trim from the lower console. To remove the trim, you push forward on the rear portion of the trim, and lift up. From there, the front portion of the trim slides toward the rear so you can slide it out. To remove the knob, there is a metal clip around the lower portion of the shift knob that you will need to cut with diagonal cutters. Then it slides straight off the shaft.

16. Remove the ash tray by lifting straight up, then remove the Torx screw holding the ash tray to the lower console. You have to slide the ash tray console toward the front of the car then straight up, then unclip the 12v outlet to completely remove the ash tray console.

17. Next, remove the 4 Torx screws on the lower console (2 on each side). You will need to spread the rear part of the lower console over the rear console, then lift up and out to remove the front lower console. If you are having difficulty removing this, remove the rear console as well. To remove the rear console, remove the rear ash tray unit, remove the rear cup holder, unscrew the two Torx screws, put the parking brake on as high as it will go, then slowly lift towards the front of the car to clear the parking brake. *If you have an armrest, it will need to be removed first*.

18. Once the front console is removed it will look like THIS, then remove the two nuts on the front of the shifter box.

19. Jack up the car in increments and support it with the proper load-rated jack stands/wood blocks/etc. You will need at least 1.5 feet of space to clear your body and work comfortably under the car.

20. This next part is personal preference (and a real PITA). I removed the three exhaust downpipe nuts from the top (using long extensions, swivels, and wobble sockets), but they can also be removed from the underside. With the engine cool, spray your favorite penetrating oil on the three downpipe nuts at the turbo, as well as the exhaust clamp where the downpipe mates to the rear portion of the exhaust.

21. Remove the three nuts on the downpipe flange, then separate the downpipe from the turbo outlet.

22. Remove the two nuts on the exhaust clamp. If they’re not budging or are completely frozen (like mine were) you’ll need to cut it off with a torch, Sawzall, or air powered cut-off wheel. I cut the two bolts then I was able to spread the clamp enough to slide it onto the downpipe, where it could then be slid off later. I purchased my new downpipe clamp HERE. I’d also recommend purchasing new 8mm copper lock nuts and turbo downpipe gasket.

23. Remove the downpipe from its exhaust hanger, and slide it out under the car.

24. Now you have to remove the heat shielding. To do this, you have to remove the speed nuts that attach the heat shields to the body. If you can’t spin them off with a small screwdriver or if they’re too rusty, get under their edge and break them off. DON’T pull down on the heat shield to remove them otherwise you will create a gaping hole where the speed nuts are supposed to attach (ask me how I know….). New speed nuts can be purchased through the dealer for about $0.65 each. Remove the small piece over the exhaust clamp first then remove the large section covering the shifter linkage.

25. When the shift box and linkage are exposed, remove the two bolts attaching the shifter box to the body. Place one hand on the shifter box and lower it down gently. Then, guide the cables out through the opening near the exhaust hanger. YIPEE!! Halfway there!

Last edited by Ausgezeichnet TDi; November 30th, 2010 at 14:11.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 13:44   #2
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Installation:
1. Guide the shifter cables through the top of the opening near the exhaust hanger. Take the new shift box, and thread in the two rear bolts into the body. Don’t completely tighten them yet. Go to the top of the car, and put the two nuts on the top of the shift box. Try to center the box as much as possible when tightening. Then go down below and tighten everything up.

2. Next, install the heat shielding using new speed nuts. I coated the new nuts in High-Temp Zinc-X to prevent corrosion in the future.

3. Now install your new downpipe flange gasket, slide your rear exhaust clamp onto the rear portion of the exhaust, route the downpipe collector onto the turbo exhaust housing studs, and slide the hanger studs into the hanger bracket. Dab a little anti-seize on the exhaust studs as well as the rear exhaust clamp bolts. Tighten the exhaust ports to Gutentight Nm then tighten up your rear exhaust clamp. There will most likely be a gap between the downpipe and rear exhaust, but the clamp is large enough to seal off the gap.

4. If you are changing the transmission fluid, now would be a good time to do so as you have easy fill access through the open selector shaft hole. Open the drain plug on the very bottom of the transmission with a 17mm Allen socket. When fully drained, tighten up the drain plug (The plug has tapered pipe threads). To finish, pour in 2 liters of VW G 070 fluid.

5. After the gear oil drain and fill, you can lower the car. (In increments)

6. Install the three bolts for the cable bracket and re-attach the slave cylinder hydraulic line and wire loom to that bracket.

7. Now, install the new selector shaft into the transmission. The key on the lower part of the shaft faces towards the front of the car, you can see this when you look at the shift forks inside the trans. The cup has a tab in it that will only go in facing the passenger side of the car.

8. Once the shaft is in place, lube the top portion of the shaft with G-070 trans fluid, then slide the top cover onto the shaft. Tighten the two 8mm holding bolts (with 13mm heads).

9. If you are installing a Dieselgeek TTX shifter, please follow THESE directions to complete the installation. To align your new shift mechanism use THIS video provided by Dieselgeek.com or just read ahead.

10. If you are using the stock shift weight, continue to follow these directions.

11. The top of the gear selector shaft is splined and has a “joined spline” or keyway to mark the position of where the shifter weight goes. It goes on smoothly when installed in the correct position, and is very difficult to install in the wrong position. Install the shifter weight on the shaft with your new 13mm locknut. The torque spec this nut is 18 lb/ft but this is difficult to measure to to it's location. Gutentight is what I torqued it to.

12. Lube the shaft of the black pivot bracket with synthetic grease. Next, slide the black pivot bracket into the top cover housing. There are two plastic pivot bushings on each end, make sure that these bushings stay in while pushing in the bracket. While sliding it in, you have to slide the plastic slider onto the shift weight to engage the keyway. Then, secure the bracket with the metal clip on the end.

13. Next, put a little grease on the mounting posts of the cable ends. Un-spring and lock your cable ends and install them on the shifter weight, and pivot bracket. To un-spring and lock the cable ends, pull back towards the head of the cable then turn clockwise ¼ turn to lock them in position. The ball socket pop-on style simply pops onto the ball end of the shifter weight/bracket, and the pin style simply slide over the post and are secured by those metal clips. If you are using the pin type slide-on style, then one of the cable ends has a larger hole than the other but don't worry as it will be clear which is which when installing them.

14. Now is a good time to install your new reverse light switch connector. Cut the old connector off right at the base of the connector, and strip the wire ends. Then, connect your used connector pigtail ends to the wire ends by soldering or using butt connectors with heat shrink and then insulate your connection.

15. Next, align the shift mechanism using THIS video provided by Dieselgeek.com. Instructions can also be found here at the bottom of the page. Make sure your gears mesh properly and that your reverse light is working correctly.

16. In order, install the battery tray, battery and hold down clamp, battery side cover, battery terminals, battery wire harness and wireway, then the battery top cover.

17. Install the airbox, intake snorkel tube, and don’t forget to reconnect your fresh air line from the N-75 if you removed it from the passenger side of the airbox! Now, install the rear center console piece first. Engage the parking brake as high as it will go, then slide the console over the parking brake and secure the two Torx screws under the rear ash tray, then install the rear cup holder. Then, install the front center console piece. There are two slots in the center console that it must engage, as well as two slots in each side towards the foot wells that the piece must engage. It’s not easy to install, but once you do it a couple times you’ll get the hang of it. Once secured with the 4 Torx screws, re-install the front ash tray, 12v plug, and Torx screw. Then, install your shifter knob (5/8" small hose clamp/zip tie if you like), then the shifter boot/trim.

18. Take her for a spin and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor!

Last edited by Ausgezeichnet TDi; November 30th, 2010 at 14:08.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 13:45   #3
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Old November 30th, 2010, 15:54   #4
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Excellent write-up and great pictures. Kudos for going through the time and effort.

May I make one suggestion? Strongly consider moving the photos onto the TDIclub picture server so they can be there for eternity. If someday you inadvertently move those pics around in your Photobucket account, or something else happens, they will not work. It happens all too often when viewing How-To's like this.
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Old November 30th, 2010, 16:12   #5
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Thanks for posting this. A great resource for the early A4 owners. I need to make this change one of these days, my linkage needs some help and I'd hate to replace any parts on it when the 2000+ shifter works so much better.

-Jason
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Originally Posted by BRUSSELS BELGIAN View Post
Maybe I should pay MYSELF to do bad work on my car!
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Old November 30th, 2010, 17:14   #6
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CADGUY, thanks for the reminder! I'll put them on the club server. It was so much easier using PB during the writeup, but I know what you mean about missing pics on other how-tos.

For anyone who needs parts for their 99.5 linkage, let me know.
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=298749
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Old January 11th, 2011, 21:58   #7
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Ryan,

Thanks much for the excellent write-up. You've inspired me to make this upgrade instead of upgrading the whole car.

Chris
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Old January 11th, 2011, 22:27   #8
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Nice job.

My plastic linkage broke after 220k miles or so, and it was at a very bad time in the city 45 miles from home. Stop and go traffic is not fun while only having 3rd and 4th gear.

But, rather than do all the work (would've been a great time to upgrade to a short shift kit), i just replaced the $30 plastic part since the original did last 220k.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 07:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6x6man View Post
Ryan,

Thanks much for the excellent write-up. You've inspired me to make this upgrade instead of upgrading the whole car.

Chris
No problem Chris, please let me know if you have anything to add to it as I kind of went through it quickly. Any WAAC GTG's coming up?

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Nice job.

My plastic linkage broke after 220k miles or so, and it was at a very bad time in the city 45 miles from home. Stop and go traffic is not fun while only having 3rd and 4th gear.

But, rather than do all the work (would've been a great time to upgrade to a short shift kit), i just replaced the $30 plastic part since the original did last 220k.
Mine broke around 100k but I know what you mean, definitely cheaper to just get the replacement piece. I have to do a clutch soon and I feel its going to be a lot easier to align the new shift linkage after the job than the old stuff. Plus its toooight as a toiger at the moment, the way its supposed to be!
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Old January 12th, 2011, 20:17   #10
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No GTG @ the WAAC are in the planing at this time. Actually you're the first person that has even asked about one. Actually I was wondering if dieselgrandad was going to host a GTG this spring.

I had to replace the plastic carrier on my '99.5 Jetta shortly after I bought the car (which was about a year and a half ago @ ~155k.) It was so far out of adjustment when I bought the car, I would have to push the shifter down (like you're putting it in reverse) in order to get it into first gear. When I adjusted it, I discovered the carrier was cracked and about ready to fall into two pieces. I replaced it ASAP in hopes it would tighten things up too, but no luck. I guess the sloppiness is just a nature of the beast.

Came across this picture I took of the new vs old shift carrier when I changed it. You can see how the bolt that is molded into it was close to falling out. I got lucky.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 13:34   #11
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Ryan,

I just received my last part that I believe I need to perform this upgrade. That part was the Gear Selector Shaft. From looking at the comparison picture, is it that the joined spline is at the ~11 o-clock position? I just wanted to confirm that I received the correct part (has some communication issues with the salvage yard.)

Thanks.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 15:45   #12
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Chris,

Yep that's it. Did you get the shaft and cover as a set? Good luck with the install! I'm about to rip everything out again to put in a clutch .
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Old February 21st, 2011, 16:06   #13
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No, I didn't get the shaft and cover as a set. Long story, I got them from the same place but in two shipments, so I'm not sure if they came from the same trans or not, I kind of assume they did (or should I say hope).
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Old May 27th, 2011, 13:14   #14
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Thank you for this excellent write up.
This is by far one of the best.
Thank you.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:00   #15
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You can't use the six speed shifter? Ryanp sent me 2 6 speed kits and the shifters with cables appear identical to what is in my 2001 bug. In fact I used my 5 speed shifter with my six speed and all matched perfectly and was a perfect fit.
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