Question about 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio

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96 cabrio 5 spd trans shifting issues

The car started having problems with finding reverse & 1st gears. then couldnt get reverse at all. drove approx 1000 mi. without reverse, no noise, grinding, or any other problems. then put car on lift & helper pushed linkage into reverse, & it engaged & acted fine, just couldnt get in rev. by shifting with shift lever. then noticed bushing missing on shifter shaft bracket, replaced it, no difference. also replaced 11/2" dia ball like follower that rides in metal u shaped piece in linkage. now have no gears that i can shift into since all that. i am baffled, but seems like a linkage problem, or broken shift fork?

Posted by Anonymous on


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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 234 Answers

SOURCE: 1982 rabbit shift linkage

There is a plastic ball that is in the shift linkage that also wears and is usually not included in the shift linkage bushing kit. It is attached to a metal piece and is bolted to the shift linkage. This is generally the problem if you already replaced the bushings.

Sometimes the linkage is out of adjustment but I would make sure that the ball is not worn first. They generally cost $5.00 - $8.00 or so.

If you need to adjust the linkage you can try the following, but if the bushings or the ball is worn adjustment will not do any good.

There is an adjustment on the shift rod that goes from the shifter to the transmission. It is a rod slipped into a tube with a locking collar or clamp.

The way that I do this is to make sure that your vehicle is in 1st gear and then loosen the bolt on the clamp.

Make sure that the clamp is loose enough so that the shaft can slip in the tube. Put the shifter in the 1st gear position and then tighten the clamp.

You may need to fiddle with this a little to get it in just the right spot.

This is much easier if you have an assistant.

Posted on Apr 15, 2009

  • 78010 Answers

SOURCE: I cant put my car into first, second or reverse gear

u need to adjust the shift linkage cables, the adjustment is made at the trans end of the shift cables, very involved, u will need a repair manual to get it right and also a possible set of new shift cables as well..

Posted on Jul 06, 2009

  • 202 Answers

SOURCE: hard to shift manual trans

if it's a high mileage vehicle it sounds like your going to need a clutch

Posted on Nov 18, 2009

  • 94 Answers

SOURCE: 96 jetta gls problem shifting but only sometimes.

The clutch is made of three main items. #1 the cable, #2 the drive bearing, #3 the clutch spring. Check the following: your cable (pedal) need a way of 1/2 to 3/4 inch with no pressure, then you feel that the bearing connects with the clutch spring. If your have no open way, adjust the cable. If you have the proper way and you can feel the bearing connects with the clutch spring, press the pedal to the ground (engine running) and try to shift into 2. gear. Do this slowly to feel if the gear slips in. If that doesn't work, you need to replace the clutch set. Don't replace the Clutch spring alone, use a replacement set ( clutch disk, spring and bearing). there are a lot of part dealers out there how sell this. Good Luck!

Posted on Dec 12, 2009

  • 1026 Answers

SOURCE: I just purchased a 1999

it could be clutch problem reverse gear not fitted with synchro so inclined to grind more if clutch adjustment is out

Posted on Feb 23, 2011

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