Vanagon Syncro – some shift linkage mods

During the engine and trans out ordeal the last month or two, I added a couple of mods. One was a new shifter “cup”. The part that fits over the ball thingy attached to the selector shaft.

I had made a few different versions of this part over the years and was using a simple cylinder shaped aluminum one. Decided to swap in a stainless version I made some years ago. Also made aluminum version of roughly same design but I liked the stainless. You can tell which is which in this pic.

You see both are split bottom designs. Doing away with the stock method of a roll pin to attach to the shift rod. I think it’s better with the bolt. No slop at all. Here it is with boot on. The fit of the ball in the cup is close, not binding close, but close. Lubed with sylglide.

Here’s the old oily dirty simple version. oh and you can see the guide bushing in its bracket. And I had put in a zerk fitting on the cup.. why? for gods sake.

Another thing I did was make a new plastic bushing that guides the shift rod just infront of the above part. My Syncro did not come with the booted bushing found in later syncros or the ones with the “bad weather package”. Consequently the bushing gets hit by road spray and dirt and slush etc. You have to routinely clean and grease it. I’d like to have boots on it, but until then I made a Delrin bushing with a Teflon liner. I won’t grease it. To reduce the possibility of the Delrin transmitting more vibrations to the shift rod than the softer stock bushing, I added an o ring around the middle, located in a groove. The computer model shows the groove in a refined model. I added similar groove to the part after I took the pic. The grooves at each end are for boots if I can find suitable.

Yeah, always for me the first go round of making something brings up things I’ve overlooked.

  1. #1 by Kevin Guarnottta on August 9, 2021 - 5:48 am

    that is amazing…are you going to ever produce stuff like this for sale?

    • #2 by albell on August 9, 2021 - 6:31 am

      Thanks. I dunno about sales. Most of the stuff would be kinda expensive, doubt many if any would pay. Especially when there are less expensive options. But maybe someday I’ll sell something 🙂

  2. #3 by Leon on August 9, 2021 - 6:43 am

    I like your work on improving shifting and comments
    Totally agree that bolt is much better than roll pin.
    In fact i have used bolt myself with stock part.
    Delrin is best material for ball, not sure teflon is needed. Thinking about protecting assembly from dirt, i have rubber boots but rod is still exposed. Perhaps some kind of metal shield would help.
    Many years ago i got sick and tired of stick being in the wrong place, too far forward and so much like agrucultural design. So i moved stick back about 8″ making shifting much more comfortable, added short shift spacer and built front console in space left from moving shifter
    As result it made huge difference, 2 coffe cup holders, lots of storage and plenty of table space to put food, snacks etc
    Vanagon was brilliant design but cheap execution,

    • #4 by albell on August 9, 2021 - 7:01 am


      I’ve made another bushing that is all delrin, no Teflon liner. I think the Teflon will make a difference though. It feels slicker on the shift rod than the all Delrin version.
      I’m interested in your shift relocation. Did you move the entire stock set up back or did you make or use another system?

      • #5 by Leon on August 10, 2021 - 9:29 pm

        Teflon is great, little slicker than delrin but delrin will last much longer.
        Whole shifter assmbly went back including shorter shifter rod, cut and weld, box shortened, bent and cut, new holes
        Have it in both of my Gons

      • #6 by albell on August 10, 2021 - 10:41 pm

        Thanks for the info on shifter relocation.

        I’m not sure I agree on the Teflon wear, in this application. I’m thinking that without grease to hold grit, the Teflon will last long enough.

        And I don’t like the stiction I’ve found with Delrin on steel. But those were higher force, so forget that 🙂



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