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Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon)
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youremyboyblue
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:42 pm    Post subject: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

this is an attempt to document as thoroughly as possible the process. any and all feedback is appreciated! i'll revise the post and post pics as necessary.

here's my dry run from reading the bentley:

shifter rebuild
gowesty parts: Shifter Kit [Vanagon] (VANO SHIFTER FIX 83-91)
Gear Shifter Repair Kit [Vanagon] (251-798-116A)
start of applicable bentley sections 34.10/34.20

general order of install:
phase 1) gearshifter lever bearing replacement (front)
phase 2) gearshifter lever replacement (rear)
phase 3) gearshifter lever adjustment

detailed install steps:
1) gearshifter lever bearing replacement (front)

  1. open bentley to section 34.10/34.20

    1. familiarize one's self with gearshift linkage and all components

  2. set aside tools required

    1. list


    1. torque wrench
    2. socket wrench
    3. ramps
    4. chocks/blocks
    5. gloves
    6. grease MoS2(?)

  3. set aside new components to install - insure all parts accounted for

    1. list


    1. spacer ring
    2. rubber guide
    3. shells
    4. lower ball half
    5. spring
    6. upper ball half
    7. gearshift lever bearing housing
    8. washer
    9. nut
    10. washer
    11. nut
    12. spring
    13. bushing
    14. headless screw
    15. threadless bolt
    16. black plastic bushings (a & b)
    17. nut

  4. review bentley again (and, again)
  5. assemble gearshift lever bearing (per bentley)

    1. place shells in rubber guide

      1 shell - top:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


      1 shell - bottom:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


      both shells - top:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


      both shells - bottom:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    2. push lower ball half into shells (collar face up)

      lower ball collar upward prior to seating:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


      lower ball seated in shells:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    3. insert spring

      spring onto lower ball:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    4. push upper ball half into shells (spring in between)

      spring in between bottom lower and upper ball:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


      spring loaded ball in shells:
      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    5. apply moly grease to ball
    6. push spacer ring into rubber guide from below
    7. push rubber guide and spacer ring into gearshift lever bearing housing
    8. screw headless screw into bushing

  6. prep vehicle for work

    1. place van on ramps

      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    2. ebrake on

      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    3. blocks behind wheels

      Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    4. out of gear (?)
    5. remove spare wheel (19mm)

  7. from above, remove shift knob (counter clockwise)

    a few twists to the left:

    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    put knob somewhere for safe keeping:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


  8. from below, remove shift mechanism housing - (4) 10mm

    a couple shots inside the housing (rear to front):

    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    two of four 10mm nuts of shift mechanism housing:

    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


  9. from below, remove gearshift lever base from front shift rod front head

    gearshift lever to front shift rod connection:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    "threadless" bolt, nut removed:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    gearshift lever free from front shift rod:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    gearshift lever base (upper) and front shift rod front head (lower):
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    front shift rod front head:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


  10. remove boot

    before:

    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    after:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


  11. remove gearshifter lever bearing housing assembly

    gearshifter lever bearing housing assembly connections (2) 10mm:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    ready for removal:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


    remove shift lever/gearshift lever bearing housing from van:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


  12. replace with replacement gearshifter lever bearing housing assembly
  13. reassemble boot
  14. reassemble knob
  15. phase 1 complete


Last edited by youremyboyblue on Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:49 pm; edited 7 times in total
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
f) grease MoS2(?)


I believe that is the same as CV grease.
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CessnaJon
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just redid my shifter front to back on my 90 Westy.Part Geek has the shifter repair kit for $96 - original VW(base of shifter). Front and rear bushings, boots (3 total) and cup w/ relay lever from Go Westy.Short shift kit was from Van Cafe.I left the universal joint alone- was not worn.While you have it apart, check the front shift rod ears that guide it through the gate and the base of the shifter.Mine were long gone-fixed it with some 5 minute epoxy- smooth as owl poop now!
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youremyboyblue
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:35 pm    Post subject: upon further inspection ... Reply with quote

the good news (for now) is, the plastic dog ears look to be intact!

additionally, from what i can see, the existing gearshift lever/bearing/housing is in good working order. there's just a bit of upward play, similar to that of the newly assembled bearing. aside from the black grease, there is a redish/orange grease also. lastly, without opening the bearing, all plastic bushings look to be whole and no cracks.

i wonder if this has been replaced already or just held up this well after 20+ years. the bearing housing is the "old" style.

existing gearshift lever/bearing/housing:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


black grease & "solid" plastic bushings:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


redish/orange grease:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


unless anyone suggests otherwise, i think i'll just clean everything up, put things back together and move on to the shift rod lever in the rear.
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wyomingresident
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bump for awesome post!

Relevant info too!
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debbiej
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: strong hands, tecnique or tools? Reply with quote

very helpful
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rfoubi
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice, im doing the same right now. The only thing that would more helpful is if your photos were a little darker and blurrier. thanks
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Chris Vellat
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:
Quote:
f) grease MoS2(?)


I believe that is the same as CV grease.


Correct, it's called molybdenum disulfide grease.
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rfoubi
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

on a more serious note, is there an easy way to align the bolts before tightening? I cant get seem to get the shifting back to smooth normal after reinstalling. It makes sense when i go under the van and manually move the linkage, but when it comes time to bolt it on from the top, i either cant hit neutral, or have 1-4 but cant pop into reverse, etc.
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Darren2dream
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*bump*
I did this job today and am having the same problem as the last post had but it looks like no one had any suggestions at that time.

The van seemed to shift ok when up on the jacks, I took it down, cleaned up, tried it out and what I thought was reverse seems to be first & I have no reverse... Tomorrow I want to lift the van again & mess around with various bolts to play with the alignment but I'm not sure where I should start.... any suggestions?

I will say that even though it dosen't shift in the right pattern, it's an amazing improvement from what I had.. My plastic ball joint disintegrated last weekend.

*EDIT* Thanks to other fantastic posts here I was able to gain some amazingly valuable insight & align the shifter just fine... NOW to do the back end, a bit that seems easier since it's just one screw but, I'm totally afraid of messing things up...
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for this post...

I doing it now...

is there any tip on how to get both shells into the rubber guide..? I got itthen in but it take a lot of force and swearing...
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imdbui
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

0to60in6min wrote:
thanks for this post...

I doing it now...

is there any tip on how to get both shells into the rubber guide..? I got itthen in but it take a lot of force and swearing...


You've probably figured it out by now. But I just put both halves into the rubber guide first, and then realign them to form a circle once they are already in. Then pop the ball in.
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for tip...

I will use it for my other van...
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iheartstrangers
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

Can anyone tell me what function the spring that is held tight by the bushing with the set screw serves?

I am reinstalling all of this as my gear shifter broke, but am struggling to make sense of that part.

Thanks!
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davideric9
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

I think this spring keep the shifter from dropping into the reverse position. This is the spring you are pushing against when you go into reverse.
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iheartstrangers
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

Could you explain further? How am I pushing against it? I just don't understand how it works as it is merely sandwiched between the components of that ball set and the bushing. When is that spring coming into play?
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Stephenmarklay
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

iheartstrangers wrote:
Could you explain further? How am I pushing against it? I just don't understand how it works as it is merely sandwiched between the components of that ball set and the bushing. When is that spring coming into play?


Belated:

I "think" the spring acts like a retainer. With the shifter lever arm you could apply enough force pushing into gear that you could pop the top hemisphere out of the assembly. The rather robust spring is still pushing down on the assembly as you are pulling it away and keeps it all together.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

I took my ball all apart cleaned and lubed it all. Nothing was broken and it looks fine. Very smooth now.

For the life of me I donít know why there is not a gasket between the base plate on the assembly and the body. I have a wee amount of surface rust on the inside lip of the van and my van is pretty rust free. I imagine vans that see a lot of road salts that this area is a bit more rusty.

I am going to use a small amount of body caulk on underside when I put it together.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

The spring keeps the ball tight. The breakage symptom is when the enclosing sphere pops apart and the spring isnít restrained the ball jumps up and down pretty bad. You can still drive but the linkage is all loose and it takes some practice. I suspect there are Vanagon drivers who think thatís normal and donít realize esomething is broken.

The moral of the story is, if you buy a Vanagon and you can drive it but the shifter is all loose, it probably needs this fix.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:48 am    Post subject: Re: Shifter rebuild - how-to (1986 Syncro Vanagon) Reply with quote

Itís kind of a mystery to me why VW did not close off the back of the shift guide box and use a rubber boot. Why have this area open for gunk to get in the way of smooth shifting?
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