How to Install a Short Shifter in an MK4 Jetta

Written by don kress
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How to Install a Short Shifter in an MK4 Jetta
Installing a short shifter in a Volkswagen Jetta makes for quick shifting. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Installing a short shifter in an MK4 Volkswagen Jetta is a relatively easy project to undertake as long as you have some experience in dismantling and reassembling the air box of your car. If you've never done this before, you'll have to be careful to avoid breaking parts. German cars, noted for their technical excellence, are also notoriously difficult to work on due to the tight tolerances between panels. Installation of a short shift kit requires only common hand tools and can usually be done in just a few minutes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 3/8-inch drive socket set
  • Socket extensions

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  1. 1

    Open the bonnet of your Jetta. The installation of a Mark IV Jetta short shift kit takes place on the transmission itself.

  2. 2

    Loosen the compression clamp that holds the vehicle's air filter in place on the air box then use a socket wrench to unbolt the air box from the chassis. If you are unfamiliar with the engine layout, the air box is located just behind the driver's side headlight, and the air filter tube is a round black tube that extends from the back of this box.

  3. 3

    Disconnect the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor from the air intake tube. This sensor is located on the backside of the air box where the air filter tube enters. The sensor is at the top of the tube and can be simply pried up and out of its slot with a finger.

  4. 4

    Take off the tube that runs to the base of the air box. This is the emissions tube. There is no clamp for this tube; it simply slides off.

  5. 5

    Lift the air box out of the engine bay and set it aside.

  6. 6

    Remove the C-clip from the Jetta's shifter linkage by pressing it off of the post with a finger. As you look down into the engine bay where the air box was located, the shift linkage is just to the left. It is a black insulated cable with a spring on the end and is connected to the Jetta's shifter bracket. Removing the C-clip will allow the shift linkage to come out of the shifter bracket.

  7. 7

    Take off the shift linkage end by holding the base of the spring with one hand while twisting and compressing the end with your other hand. You will feel the spring lock into place. You can then pull the shift linkage end with the spring off of the shift linkage. Install the short shifter linkage in the opposite manner from which you took off the old linkage end.

  8. 8

    Remove the C-clip that is right beside the shift linkage C-clip. The post that is connected to this C-clip can then be slid out of the shift bracket and out of the way.

  9. 9

    Pull up on the shift bracket to remove it from the engine compartment. The replacement shift bracket has a similar base to the stock shift bracket, so it will only install one way. Push the replacement shift bracket into position.

  10. 10

    Reinstall the C-clip that holds the shift bracket in place then insert the shift linkage with its new end into the shift bracket, securing it with the other C-clip.

  11. 11

    Test the gear lever to ensure that the car goes into all of its gears. If it does not, the shifter linkage that you twisted to lock into place can be adjusted by turning then readjusting the depth at which the shift linkage is held. If the gears all engage correctly, then you can reassemble the car in the opposite manner that you disassembled it.

Tips and warnings

  • Follow the kit instructions carefully. While the installation is straightforward, it can be tricky if you've never installed a kit like this before.

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