Gearshift Rattle Repair
When i got the beetle, the gearshift made a rattling sound at certain
speeds. My friend Greg said the solution was "keep your hand on the
gearshift". Well...I don't think that it should work like that.
Something rattling usually means that something's wearing, and
things needlessly wearing is exactly what you don't want in a
The failure is a simple one. The bottom of the gear shift connects to
a "shift rod" that runs through the center tunnel to the back of the
car under the center of the rear seat where it joins the rod that
sticks out of the front of the transmission which in turns controls
what gear the transmission is in. This rod ties to the transmission
control rod at the back and is supported in the front by a bracket
that is welded to the inside of the tunnel. To allow the shift rod to
ride smoothly in the bracket, there's a plastic bushing that snaps
into the bracket that in turn supports the shift rod. The bushing
wears out over time (especially if it's not kept greasy), and it
disintigrates and the fragments fall into the tunnel. So the rattling
is the shift rod riding directly in the steel bracket in the tunnel,
which doesn't hold it very tightly and and the shift rod will
eventually wear a hole in the bracket if it's there for too long.
The repair is cheap, the bushing costs a dollar or something. The
repair is simple in concept, you just replace the bushing. In
practice, it's annoying and complicated. The new bushing has to be
snapped into the bracket while the shift rod is out of the bracket.
The fat end of the shift rod won't go through the bracket, so the
shift rod has to be decoupled at the rear and slid forward through the
tunnel toward the front of the car until it's out of the bracket.
Once the bushing is replaced, then the shift rod has to be pulled back
through the bracket and re-attached at the rear of the car. This
wouldn't be that bad, except that the only way you can get to the
shift rod is through the very small hole where the gear shift goes
through the top of the tunnel to get to the shift rod. I can't even
get a full hand in there, so it's a matter of being able to
manipulate the shift rod by way of a pliers that sticks through the
hole for the gear shift.