Sloppy gear change mechanism

Bryn

Member
I‘ve done a search and can’t find anything conclusive... my 2003 TDi Sport now has 211,000 miles on it and apart from the Air con being kaput everything else works just fine, but the gear stick has no ’spring’ in it, meaning the gear change is sloppy, with me having to move the gear stick about to get a smooth change, if you know what I mean...

I’ve done the cable adjustment, and the gears go in pretty smoothly, but the Mrs won’t drive it because if the way the gear shift is....

I’d like to know if this is an easy fix ...Thanks :)
 

Evripidis

Member
Hi, check the counterweight on the shift shaft above the tower assembly. Right above where the cables attach to the levers. Mine was stripped and I shimmed with a washer. Luckily that was it and not the whole assembly. The lever has to be locked in place from inside the car prior to adjusting the cables. Your description reminds me too much of mine though.
 

Bryn

Member
Hi, check the counterweight on the shift shaft above the tower assembly. Right above where the cables attach to the levers. Mine was stripped and I shimmed with a washer. Luckily that was it and not the whole assembly. The lever has to be locked in place from inside the car prior to adjusting the cables. Your description reminds me too much of mine though.
thanks for that... I did lock the lever inside when I did it....will have a look at the counterweight tomorrow:cool:
 

DJ 190

A2OC Donor
How coincidental is this! Just 40 minutes ago I'd taken the gear changer assembly out of my A2. (I get confused with the "tower assembly"/shift shaft and other terms). I'm talking about the part that is internal and has the gear knob/rod as part of it. So what did I discover? Well. lots of wear debris and mess! There seems to be play where the main rod connects to the shift-lever via a white nylon bush. So this could be the reason for difficult and obstructive changes. The most difficult has been changing down from 5th gear to 4th. Just about impossible! It appears that the bush can be unscrewed from the end of the rod and replaced independently without having to remove the complete cable. I'l know tomorrow if that is indeed the case.
Oh, what exactly is this "counterweight" that you've been referring too, please?

David
 

Evripidis

Member
Looks like this and it's centre point is internally toothed:


The tower assembly was going to be my next thing to replace down the road but thankfully it was not necessary. I would have in all honesty just to be on the safe side but A2Steve didn't stock any at the moment. Apparently there is a water drain right above the assembly and should this become misalligned with the bonnet then water will drip right on top of it causing all sort of trouble; hence the debris I guess.
 

Robin_Cox

Member
..
[ The most difficult has been changing down from 5th gear to 4th. Just about impossible! It appears that the bush can be unscrewed from the end of the rod and replaced independently without having to remove the complete cable. I'l know tomorrow if that is indeed the case.
Oh, what exactly is this "counterweight" that you've been referring too, please?

Hi David - I don't know if you have had a look at the various videos on youtube from dieselgeek ; the components underneath the gearstick feature heavily in their videos for replacing bushes and shims in the mechanism immediately under the gaiter - but some of these may cover aspects of your issues? They're not A2-specific but there is a lot of similarity in systems used by the Golf 4/5 and other VAG fwd cars in the early 2000s that mean the information is largely transferable.


The counterweight referred to above is at the other end of the cables directly above the shifter and selector mechanism on top of the shift rod and inside the gearbox respectively - it looks a bit like the head of a golf driver cast in aluminium bolted on top of the mechanism - there are two ball connectors, one at the end of each cable ; one is attached to a bell crank that shunts the counterweight (and shift rod below) vertically up and down within the gearbox through the shifter housing (corresponding to left / right movements of the gearstick between planes of 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6), and the other is attached to the counterweight connector horizontally, pivoting the selector shaft around its own axis (fore-aft gearlever movements correspondingly moving from the odd-numbered gears to the even and vice versa). I also found a load of decade-old rubber shavings in the space under the gear gaiter in the car when I got my car back from having the box swap and was tweaking it to make the shift smoother - cleaning them out may not be the biggest improvement but at least you know that the swarf isn't impacting on the mechanism.

The corresponding diagrams of the assemblies in question show that I am using all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order (!).


and https://audi.7zap.com/en/rdw/audi+a2/a2/2003-248/3/311-311090/
 
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Robin_Cox

Member
Looks like this and it's centre point is internally toothed:


The tower assembly was going to be my next thing to replace down the road but thankfully it was not necessary. I would have in all honesty just to be on the safe side but A2Steve didn't stock any at the moment. Apparently there is a water drain right above the assembly and should this become misalligned with the bonnet then water will drip right on top of it causing all sort of trouble; hence the debris I guess.
It's not misalignment of the drain per se that is the problem ; it is misalignment or loss of the bolt-on plastic drain cup and drainpipe that is supposed to be positioned above the gearchange mechanism that causes water from the bonnet drain to cascade over / into the gearbox and cause serious corrosion of the bearing / ball sleeve in the selector housing that the shift rod slides through.
 
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Bryn

Member
Looked at the counterweight as described above.. tbh I don’t know what’s normal with it...and whether mine isn’t :rolleyes:
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
My money is on a very worn tower assembly but check the gearstick as suggested first (much easier).

I had exactly this issue and it does make the car difficult to drive easily). After a lot of time investigating everything it was due to wear in the tower (I e the gear change mechanism that sits on top of the gearbox under the “counter weight”.

Steve B
 

Robin_Cox

Member
H
I‘ve done a search and can’t find anything conclusive... my 2003 TDi Sport now has 211,000 miles on it and apart from the Air con being kaput everything else works just fine, but the gear stick has no ’spring’ in it, meaning the gear change is sloppy, with me having to move the gear stick about to get a smooth change, if you know what I mean...
I’d like to know if this is an easy fix ...Thanks :)
Hi Bryn, sorry for hijacking the thread. As I asked David above, have you looked at the videos posted by dieselgeek on Youtube? Your symptoms sound like some of those that they describe in various videos about different sources of sloppiness in the shift, ranging from worn bushes under the gear-lever (both cable attachment points and the pivots that translate gearlever movement into cable movement) as well as at the other end of the cables where they are attached to the counterweight and top of the shift rod. There are a number of small plastic bushes and shims in renewal kits that are sold by various places that you can use to refresh these connection points, but the videos might help you home in on which one (s) is (are) causing your issues. Best of luck! Robin
 

Bryn

Member
Thanks for the replies chaps... will have to go into it a bit deeper.. I’ve coped with it for 18 months since I got it....and as it’s growing on me itd be great to get it all sorted :)
 

audio

A2OC Donor
Thats one of a trillion jobs in my list too!...gear stick is harder than the one of a classic tractor!..cant find the gears and reverse is a wresting match! .i have checked the shift rod tower and it works free and easy without the cables attached. i do notice rubber/nylonish friction under the gear stick though. havent looked into how to do it and how to reach there but i am quite sure problem is there on mine.
 

DJ 190

A2OC Donor
So I completed the work today. there was loads of debris and sloppiness in the gear-changer mechanism (down from the gear-knob).
Here's a picture of the removed component and its replacement :-

DSCN1166.JPG


Did a test drive .... The change IS more positive, BUT, the problem is still present ! You can make every change in every direction EXCEPT 5th gear down to 4th. It's just like there isn't a slot for it! You get to half-way in the change and you just can't then pull the lever down into the 4th gear position! So what's wrong and how do I put it right? I do have another brand-new tower ..... I've also done the cable adjustment procedure. I'd so like to get this sorted ......

David
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
@DJ 190
There is an outside chance that it is the synchro that has a problem inside the gearbox.

try double declutching (Into neutral from 5th then clutch up then blip the throttle and then instantly change down using the clutch) and if it goes down from 5th to 4th then, that indicates (unfortunately) a gearbox rather than selector issue.
Steve B
 

audio

A2OC Donor
i noticed an improvement (side ways on gear stick) when i lubricated the cables (in the boots) at the shift tower end. dont know if that could also be done at the other end? if you could plz do a write-up on how did you remove the mechanism, wd be great help!
 

Bryn

Member
i think I’m going to have to put up with it as it is.....I haven’t got the skill to start pulling everything to bits in the off chance I can find out whts wrong with mine, all the gears go in easily, it’s just that on mine the gear stick is like stirring porridge...I can get a smooth change as I know how far to move the lever between gates.... as I said earlier, the mrs won’t drive it.... and anyone else needs a little time to tune in to it...
 

Rusty911

A2OC Donor
Thats one of a trillion jobs in my list too!...gear stick is harder than the one of a classic tractor!..cant find the gears and reverse is a wresting match! .i have checked the shift rod tower and it works free and easy without the cables attached. i do notice rubber/nylonish friction under the gear stick though. havent looked into how to do it and how to reach there but i am quite sure problem is there on mine.
Yours sounds identical to my TDi and you've highlighted something I was going to point out: before embarking on too much dismantling, disconnect the cables from the selector mech at the gearbox end and lift them out of the way. You can then select the gears yourself at the gearbox end. One cable does the up and down movement, one does left and right (or back and forward if you prefer). Therefore, simply go up and back, up and forward, middle and back/forward, down and back/forward. You'll easily get the hang of it. If the tower and gearbox is happy, they will noticeably click into gear with a happy springiness, likewise they should ping back out.

If there's a hint (or worse) of feeling like wading through toffee, lack of smoothness or whatever, there's an issue here, although that doesn't mean your gear-lever end is fault free. You may have issues there as well.

I have to say, the quality of change in my TDi is appalling, but it very much feels it's the lever end rather than deep down mechanical. I think it's the one thing that the would transform the car the most in terms of the driving experience.
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
i think I’m going to have to put up with it as it is.....I haven’t got the skill to start pulling everything to bits in the off chance I can find out whts wrong with mine, all the gears go in easily, it’s just that on mine the gear stick is like stirring porridge...I can get a smooth change as I know how far to move the lever between gates.... as I said earlier, the mrs won’t drive it.... and anyone else needs a little time to tune in to it...
Just remember that if you ever come to sell the car this issue will show up on a test drive and surely cause the sale to fall through (especially since you are used to it and they would not be)

But why on earth you would want to sell an A2 I don’t know (unless it is to buy a better one!😁

Steve B
 

cheechy

A2OC Donor
Ok so 5th to 4th wasnt good in mine until I fitted a refurbed tower into mine last month. New level selector, new sleeve bearing and much better changes.
 
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