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    Thread: Complete Shifter Rebuild w/ USRT Smartshift Install

    1. 11-24-2005 02:29 PM #1
      I picked up the USRT kit a while back and finally got around to getting it installed. I rebuilt my shiftbox and reinstalled my Neuspeed short shift while I was at it. Quick review follows the pics.
      Removing the existing shift linkage is fairly straight forward and easy enough to do from the info in the Bentley manual.

      Getting the shift box out was a pain. My exhaust system was very rusted. I decided that cutting the bolts that hold the front of the cat to the downpipe was the easiest way to go.

      I also used a jack to hold the exhaust and move it up a bit so I could release the hanger ahead of the axle:

      rear hanger

      This gives you just enough room:

      The main reason to drop the shift box is to replace the ball and cup at the bottom. You need to remove the shift rod to pull out the lever.

      The bushing in the front of the shift box has to be pushed into the box to pull the shift rod out. Lube this up with some silicone spray to help. There are two small lips that most be worked through the hole:




      Now just remove all of the old relay arms and bushings. Out with the old:

      The ball cup is straight forward enough:

      lubed and ready

      I used a vise to push the shift ball out of the way to remove the pin and reinstall. It is a roll pin and just needs a few taps with a punch and hammer:



      Here is the reassembled shift box:

      I chose to grind off all of the studs for the relay arms as in the USRT instructions. I painted everything to prevent rust:

      I am using a Neuspeed short shifter and the short relay arm is shorter than the stock part. I had to grind down some of the body of the USRT short relay arm and grind down some of the threaded part:

      I measured all of the relay arms center to center and matched the length and angle of the ends as exact as possible. It would be VERY difficult to adjust this stuff in the car. Take your time here and make sure everything is tightened down:

      I had to open up the large Delrin bushings as they were way to tight to fit on the relay shaft. Just a little sanding with some fine paper was all that was needed. Check the fit as you go:


      I used some white lithium and a 22mm socket to get the front shift rod bushing back in:

      I mocked up the entire assembly before installing it in the car:



      In the car:

      The artsy shot:

      Moody night pic:

      The ride:


      I have driven the car a few times and am impressed with the shifting. If you are expecting this to totally transform your A2 shifter, you will be disappointed. It still does not have that mechanical snick-snick feel of (insert your favorite shifter here), but it is very smooth and precise and 90% of the play is gone. Short of an upgrade to cable shift and a VWMS shifter, I do not think you could do much better.
      Off to the family for cranberry sauce!

    2. 11-24-2005 02:34 PM #2
      so how long did this all take

    3. 11-24-2005 02:43 PM #3
      I really take my time when I work on things to get everything right and understand how it works. I was taking pictures, making notes, painting parts and, as I mentioned had a real rust problem.
      So, it took me a few hours each each evening for 3 days. A competent mechanic could probably wrap it up in a few hours on a day off.

    4. Member secondgen's Avatar
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      11-24-2005 02:46 PM #4
      Good writeup. Nice Supertrap.
      I did almost the same thing you did, but no USRT stuff, replaced all the bushings, cleaned and painted all reused metal parts, and it took me around 3hrs to do all of it. Could take less could take more, I had access to a lift and i'd already had the exhaust off the car. And i'm really anal, so everything had to be perfect....
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    5. Member DubPhreek's Avatar
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      11-24-2005 02:51 PM #5
      totally, this is worthy of the locked DIY, very straightforward, and well put together posting!!
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    6. Member Jezztor's Avatar
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      11-24-2005 03:06 PM #6
      Great writeup, you are the man [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    7. 11-24-2005 09:38 PM #7
      Thanks guys!
      I have gotten so much out of this forum, I feel I owe it another hundred posts like this, even if it has been a little wacky lately.

    8. 11-24-2005 09:43 PM #8
      man that USRT kit looks sick

    9. Member G60 Carat's Avatar
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      11-24-2005 10:08 PM #9
      Great Write up! I didn't even know this product exsisted until now. (very interested!)

      P.S. I have to say, the under carriage shots had me saying, "what the hell are they putting this kit into it?" Your car wins the sexiest Jetta with the rustiest exhaust award!
      "Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals."
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    10. Senior Member Big Dac With Fries's Avatar
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      11-24-2005 10:23 PM #10
      Wow, seeing the linkage out of a car just made it a whole lot simpler.
      How much was this kit?
      "I was thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie."

    11. 11-24-2005 11:24 PM #11
      I think i need to do a similar thing to my car. where is the spring that keeps the shifter in the middle when its not in any gear? My shifter just falls to the side, or it is pulled to the right by a spring somewhere. Also, there is no defined "slot" feel when i shift the gears, i dont think i even have a 5th, you know, when youre shifting, it feels like each gear, the stick feels like it fits into a slot, that is gone on mine. do i need a ball kit or a bushing kit or both? how much would a replacement stock kit cost?

    12. Banned knappy's Avatar
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      11-24-2005 11:34 PM #12
      Great write up. I'll be doing similar soon on mine. I'm gonna use a brand new shifter box though. Mine is trashed.

    13. 11-25-2005 12:07 AM #13
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      I think i need to do a similar thing to my car. where is the spring that keeps the shifter in the middle when its not in any gear? My shifter just falls to the side, or it is pulled to the right by a spring somewhere. Also, there is no defined "slot" feel when i shift the gears, i dont think i even have a 5th, you know, when youre shifting, it feels like each gear, the stick feels like it fits into a slot, that is gone on mine. do i need a ball kit or a bushing kit or both? how much would a replacement stock kit cost?

      Sounds like the ball and cup are worn. I could not get 5th either. You could try a shifter alignment. The tool is cheap and it is well explained in the Bently manual and on here.
      Do a search. Complete rebuild kits seem to start around $85 or so (cup and ball and all the bushings and relay arms).

    14. 11-25-2005 12:28 AM #14
      could only find one thread on the shifter alignment tool, could you possible give me a link about one? im going to buy a bently manual tomorrow, it seems to be kindof the bible for these cars. see this is my first car so im a little new to all this


    15. Member Broke's Avatar
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      11-25-2005 03:14 AM #16
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      where is the spring that keeps the shifter in the middle when its not in any gear? My shifter just falls to the side, or it is pulled to the right by a spring somewhere.

      There are 2 springs that control that, and they are in the transmission, on the selector mechanism.
      In this pic...

      ...on the right side of the pic is an L-shaped bracket. It is on the back of the trans....that pic is what you'll see if you look at the trans as viewed through the drivers side wheel well.
      Here is another pic of the bracket....

      Remove the ball cup on the bottom of that bracket (the pic shows it with the cup already removed, the cup is shown in the pictures earlier in the thread, plastic white dogbone looking thing), and then pull and push the bracket into and out of the trans (towards the front and rear of the car, not towards the left and right side of the car). It shoud feel spring loaded in both directions, and want to return to a center point.
      It should push in further than it will pull out as well....it only pulls out a small bit to be aligned to engage 5th gear (if you pull it out and then turn it, it engages 5th), and then springs back to sit at the 3rd/4th gear spot, and then you push it in about twice as much as you can pull it out, and it'll pass up 1st/2nd spot, and go on to reverse spot.
      The in and out motion of the shaft in the trans aligns it with the particular fork inside the trans, and then the rotation of the bracket left and right is making that fork inside select a gear.
      Reverse has its own fork, 1st and 2nd gear share a fork, 3rd and 4th share a fork, and 5th has its own fork.
      If the L-shaped bracket doesn't spring back and forth, you need to remove the 27mm hex selector cover to inspect the springs.
      Broke


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    16. Senior Member skidplate's Avatar
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      11-25-2005 04:00 AM #17
      I've had that usrt kit in my garage for a couple months now. I need to install it I just don't have the time to do it. I need to get my other car legal to drive so I can make time.
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    17. 11-25-2005 05:27 AM #18
      where is the 27mm hex nut? is that the one in the first picture under the word detents? or is it inside that boot with the selector? youre saying that my shifter ball and linkage should be alright? its the springs inside that make it center (makes sense), but are the "slots" in the bushings and linkage or in the tranny? i havent taken it apart yet, im trying to do this without having to replace or take apart anything i dont have to

    18. Member Broke's Avatar
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      11-25-2005 05:44 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      where is the 27mm hex nut?


      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      is that the one in the first picture under the word detents?

      Nope, those are the detents
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      or is it inside that boot with the selector?

      No, that's just a dust boot for the selector shaft, there is a shaft seal in there too.
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      youre saying that my shifter ball and linkage should be alright?

      Not at all, they very well may be worn and needing replacement, and it is very possible you are mistaking a sloppy shifter for faulty springs, thus, the test of pulling and pushing the bracket in and out for an easy check.
      It isn't impossible for the springs to fail, but it is more likely the bushings are bad in the linkage....the quick test will tell you.
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      its the springs inside that make it center (makes sense), but are the "slots" in the bushings and linkage or in the tranny?

      The trans. However, the linkage controls it and if worn, will surely affect it, and needs checked and replaced if needed.
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      i havent taken it apart yet, im trying to do this without having to replace or take apart anything i dont have to

      Eventually some things need taken apart to inspect them, there isn't a way around that, but for the most part, the instructions you'll find will be as efficient as possible [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Broke

    19. 11-25-2005 06:05 PM #20
      thank you very much, i replaced the selector rod and it seems to have made it 10x better. i can get into gears and everyhting. i tested the selector for the springs, and they worked fine. However, the shifter is pushed to the right, all the way, but is not center. Also, it does not let me into second gear. all the others seem fine though, and that slot feel that i was talking about has been restored.

    20. Member Broke's Avatar
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      11-25-2005 06:30 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by sleepygreen »
      i tested the selector for the springs, and they worked fine. However, the shifter is pushed to the right, all the way, but is not center. Also, it does not let me into second gear. all the others seem fine though, and that slot feel that i was talking about has been restored.

      It sounds like you could benefit from the kit shown by the original poster of this thread then, but you know the springs are OK now [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Broke

    21. Member J.Knipl's Avatar
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      11-25-2005 07:48 PM #22
      Thank you !!! I needed this .
      I finally fixed my sig

    22. 11-25-2005 08:00 PM #23
      dude where were you when i did mine last year..........nice setup and pics... [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    23. Member Graham's Avatar
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      11-27-2005 12:55 AM #24
      Thanks to Broke for pointing me here...
      I'm about to install my kit on my Mk 3 in small doses. First to see if I was going to modify the Neuspeed kit I've had in the car for years, or use the stock parts, I've put the stock linkage back in. It's like driving a big truck with that much throw.
      Anyway, I'll start with the neuspeed kit, and install the relevant bushings and put in the USRT weighted rod. If that's all good, and I can find a bench grinder, I'll do more bits.
      Thanks for the above write up, it will be helpful. Bookmarked.
      Graham

    24. 11-27-2005 09:20 PM #25
      great write up i have to do this soon [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
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