2.0 (020) Trans Shifter Bushing Rebuild.

Why Do This?
It gets to the point where driving your car, its once crisp shifts, is now like shaking hands with an old man.

The fix is pretty fast, and given its ease, I am surprised that more people don't do it.  Or worse... just wait until a bushing completely wears out and then your stuck with a trans that can't shift.  The process shown here takes less than an hour, requires minimal tools, and gives a real good feeling once its done.  Best of all, almost all the work is done "up top".  Take your time, this is a simple job, and its hard to mess up.  Bushings get worn out from dirt, heat, stress, and age.  There is not need "to realign the shifter" with this job, that's only needed if you remove the shifter from inside the car.

There are two videos on this page, sort of a "before" and "after".

The relay ball moves the shifter "fore an aft" like 1st to 2nd AND it slides left and right as you select 1/2 - 3/4 - R/5.  It gets a ton of wear, and if the ball breaks its hard to drive...  The bushings on the weighted shift rod aid in moving the gear lever left and right. Before you condemn VW logic of using so many strange levers and bushings, I urge you to try a 1996 Honda Civic linkage system.  That system, even on a good day feels like the VW system at its worst. 

I used parts from two kits, one kit was an older 020 bushing kit from my old MKII Golf, the rest of the parts came from the Dieselgeek.com website.  The MKII kit is 100% the same as the MKIII kit.  The MKII and MKIII setups are identical, except for the weighted shift rod on the MKIIIs to give them a better feel.  Total cost was les then $40 (With shipping!)

I did not replace the (orange) rod bushing off the main shift lever shaft.  That requires taking out the shifter, and I was lazy, and it was not that worn.  If you are thinking about to a short shift kit, now is the time to do it.  Since, your taking all the "long" parts off for the most part.  

The Bentley (VW) manual does spec MoS2 (VW P/N G000602) lube on the bushings.  I feel this is a mixed idea, since the bushings are exposed to road grime and dust, any type of lubricant will attract dust and dirt and that will grind the bushings to a pulp.  I used a spray dry graphite for lube, and then a *little* synthetic grease designed for seatbelt guide tracks (Teflon safe).

Tools Needed:

13mm deep socket
17mm deep socket
3/8 drive ratchet and long extension
Two flathead screwdrivers, one big, one little
Floor jack and stand

Parts Needed:

Dieselgeek 020 shifter rebuild bushing kit (NLA)- Missing Linkz now carries a similar kit.
MKII or MKIII shifter bushing kit
Synthetic Grease (non petroleum)

These are the parts were gonna replace.  Again, I'm lazy and I didn't do the orange bushing.

Before we take stuff apart, take a look at the setup. 

Can I make a short shifter? - YES YOU CAN!

If you were to lengthen the length of that lever with the nut, that would make you have a short shift kit. (Yes, just like the ones you buy).  This would shorten the fore and aft shifter movement, but leave the side to side operation the same.  The two choices to do this would be to cut the stock lever, and then weld it longer by about 1/8", OR form a new part to fit in.  The only thing you would have to worry about is the weighted shift rod hitting the long relay lever in some gears like reverse.  Keep in mind this will NOT change the side to side to side shift movement like some other kits.  To do that, you have to modify the lever on the trans, or change the length of the long relay lever.  Just realize this, if you cut and weld the rod - that's it, you get what you got.  HERE'S A LINK ON THE FINAL RESULT!

What about all this "synchronizer stress" I hear about.

I say its all BS.  If your car has worn or damaged syncros, this is not going to help fix it.  Nor will it cause it to "get worse".  It WILL require you to apply slightly more leverage on the shifter since you would loose some system leverage in order to gain a true shorter throw.  But the fact is the "stress" on the syncros is the same as it ever was.  However the stress on the linkages is slightly more.  Some say that the "point" of a short shifter is that the "time" needed to shift is less, the fact is I could shift "real fast" with a longer shift lever and still damage things.  I say that the point of a shorter throw is 100% about feel rather than reduced shift times.

Here is the relay ball, were looking down the back side of the engine, drivers side.  That relay ball is where most of the play winds up happening.    Here is a video of the slack in action (720K Windows Media File)  In the video my hand is on the weighted shift lever.

Start by removing the long relay lever at both ends.  DON'T just pry on the ball, pop off the clamp with a small screwdriver.  THEN pop the ball off.

Next remove the nut with a 13mm deep socket and the long extension.  It may be tight.  If its hard to turn STOP and give it a little a little shot of penetrating oil.

Once you get the nut off, swing the lever out of the way.

Move long relay lever up and over (so the mail shift shaft rolls to the left) and then move the relay ball to the right.  Nothing is holding the ball on now, and it should be able to slide off the shaft.  Also, the relay ball shaft can now (and will) slide down (to the floor).  Under the ball studs is a soft gasket.  This gasket is designed to keep crud off the balls.  They are just soft, black, gaskets.  Replace them, they should be in the kit.

Once the relay ball shaft slides down, you can pop up the upper bushing,  Yea, its worn.

The Dieselgeek "ball" just fits better, and I hope it lasts longer than the OEM ball.  I measured them and the OEM ball (worn) was .010" smaller than the Dieselgeek unit.  

Under the car, you can get the lower bushing off.  Just use a screwdriver (bigger) to pop off that part in my hand.  Once that comes off you can slide the old lower bushing off.  This is the only time you need to work under the car.  Keep an eye back on the locating tab on the new bushing.  (Use a jack stand, and hydraulic jack, the front motor mount is a good place to pick the car up..)

Back up top, pop off the metal clip that holds the weighted shift rod, and then pull off the old bushings off both ends of the rod.  Getting these bushings back on is a little bit of a pain.  You need to install them first into the shift levers, THEN install the weighted rod.

Pull "up" (to the sky) on the relay shaft, the lower busing should "pop" into place.

Slide everything back in place, for now leave off the long relay shaft, and the weighted shift rod.  Use a deep 17mm socket to tap the top busing back in place.  Keep an eye on the locating tab.

Once you get the long relay shaft back on its ball studs, pop the clamps shut.  And then put the weighted shaft back on along with the metal clips.  Make sure the "square" of the lever is flush on the relay shaft before bolting it down.

Tighten the nut to 15 ft/lbs.  Here's a video of how it should all work. (1.6Mb Windows Media File) The shifter feels crisp again!!

Go for a drive!