Another Shifter Question?

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    Donna Bryant


    I would first like to say this is my first experience in

    driving a VW. My TD is built on a ’68 VW chassis and I

    thought the shifting had a lot of play in the stick. I

    did have the pedals moved closer to the seat, but still

    have a bit of a reach for 1st & 3rd gear. I bought a new

    “stock shifter kit” hoping to take the loose play out,

    and to have a spare after I tried heating and bending the

    original, to bring the shift knob into easier reach. The

    stick had a T-handle which I thought the threads were

    stripped, because when turned it would never tighten to a

    fixed position. After removing the shifter I noticed the

    ball bearing in the side of the ?ball? at the bottom of

    the shifter. I have not been able to locate any

    information if this ball bearing needs to be any

    particular position when reinstalled. After bending the

    old shifter and re-installing I realized that the T-

    handle is not stripped, it is tight ? the continuous

    spinning is the entire shifter. Is there any way to

    prevent this spinning? Because after bending the shifter

    it takes a lot of concentration to not spin the shifter

    around, putting 1st & 3rd gear even farther out of reach.

    Maybe bending the shifter was not such a good idea? I do

    see a lot of parts suppliers sell T-handle and Trigger

    shifters that are bent. Do these spin around also? If

    not, how is the spinning stopped?

    Hoping someone can give me some direction on how to

    proceed ?

    Thanks for the help, this is a great site for



    ?Go Saints!?



    When you removed your shift lever did you get a good look at the shift rod socket? Some of the older stock VW shift levers had a rivet and pin on the shift lever ball. That pin fit into the slot in the shift rod socket. Over time the pin would break allowing the shifter to spin in the socket or the the rivet heat would wear out. VW put the shift pattern decal on the ash tray because the shift lever spun. The newer shift levers just have a slightly larger ball on the end and it too gets worn out over time. Perhaps a beead of weld on the rear side of the shift lever ball. If non stock, can’t really say. I have a T-handle sahifter in my Ghia and don’t have a swivel problem.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    Paul Mossberg


    The 1967 and earlier Type 1 (Beetles) have a slightly curved shift lever. There is a pin on the ball that keeps it from rotating.

    1968 and subsequent model years have a straight shift lever. VW dropped the pin because it was no longer “necessary”.

    More discussion here on the Samba:

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    Tom Colello


    Hey Donna, Glad to see another TD owner from Louisiana. I live in Baton Rouge. If you ever go to the Golden Oldies Car Show in Hammond I’m usually there with my other VW friends. Would love to get together. There’s only one more show in Hammond and it’s the 2nd saturday Nov 12th. It’s at the mall back by Academy Sports. If the weather’s good we’ll be there with Winston. Hope to see you there. You can get in touch with me via PM here or email me at

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