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Thread: Relocating the shift lever

  1. #1
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    Relocating the shift lever

    Since everything is on lock down here because of the virus my out door projects have been put on hold. Trying to conserve money until this thing blows over. So that leaves me to get an early jump of working on the car.

    I was thinking of starting a post on the relocating the shift lever.

    I haven't been able to find a post specific to doing this.
    Has it been done??

    I could just post it in my build folder but then it would just get lost in time and next to impossible for someone to find it if they were looking for information on the process to relocating the shift lever so I was thinking of posting it here where it would be easy to find.

    So back to my question, Has the procedure been posted on the forum(I couldn't find a post on it but I didn't do a all out search for it either) or does anyone care to have the procedure posted??

    If I do this is it better to post it here in the transmission section or maybe in the chassis section
    Last edited by Brett; 24-03-2020 at 10:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    I think most of us if not all have bought finished cars rather than a new kit or new Beetle chassis. so whilst most of us would not need the info, I am sure in time some one would find it useful. that said I would like to see you do a post just because I like the threads you do and appreciate the time you take to do them.

    Dirk

  3. #3
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    My gear shift relocation was done by Flatlands Engineering.
    It was done by cutting out the area around the gear lever from the main tube, including the gear shift rod locator under the gear shift 'hole' of course, then choosing a suitable spot in the main tube to weld it back in (these are the two holes on the left of the main tube in the pic)

    In my case the same relocation procedure was performed on the handbrake bracket as well (the two holes on the right of the main tube).
    Interestingly the UK Nova Build manual suggests moving the gear lever back 6-7 inches (15-17cm) and not relocating the handbrake - just shortening it.
    In my opinion, taller drivers will need to move the gear shift more than 7 ins and therefore will need to relocate the handbrake.

    One other method I have seen on a Nova was cutting out a large section of the main tube, which included both the Gear shift and Handbrake and moving the entire section further back, pretty brave but seemed to have worked well on the car in question.


  4. #4
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    There is also some info in the elam build manual (suppliment at the end) and the modification manual on moving gear lever and shortening the handbrake lever etc here http://www.euro-nova.co.uk/vb/downloads.php if it is useful `¬)

    Would be good to see your photo's of your progress on this of course!

  5. #5
    Hi Brett, Simple job if not overthought.

    1st get your sitting position and wheel position sorted, once done sit in the driving position and hands on wheel, drop gear changing hand, in our case right hand, to where you would like the knob to be, both rearward distance and height.

    Mark where that falls on the tunnel directly below that position and measure the height.

    Measure from the center of the gear shift to back along tunnel, this is your new gearshift stick position. X

    With the gear shift completely removed measure back to locate the bush mounting in the tunnel.

    Mark that on the tunnel, (so you know where the bush mounting is)

    Measure from center of stick to new center X and then extend that to the mark made behind bush.

    Cut out the gear shift mount just wide enough to include the mount and bracket from just in front of the gear shift mounting to the rear marking and remove panel complete with bush bracket.

    Cut across just behind bracket and weld X in front of gear shift.

    At this point remove shift rod through front of chassis if not already done.

    Weld complete panel into cutout.

    Bingo, you have moved your shifter backwards.

    Next cut section X out of shift rod and re weld and refit as normal, new grommet of course.

    Refit shifter

    Cut down (or extend) shifter to comfortable height with knob attached.

    and all done.

    In your case get hand brake to clear.

    Shift mod.jpg
    I had to move back quite a bit, in fact it's mounted over the hand brake position and I used a different self contained shifter from a Skoda 1300, and a Volvo hand brake.
    Dsc01412.jpg
    Last edited by Peter; 25-03-2020 at 01:29 PM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    As promised here is part 1 of relocating the shift lever.

    Just for your information this is the second relocating of the shift lever. First time was done for an earlier version center console.

    First step is the old shift bushing guide plate must be removed. This is a new one I ordered a while back.
    P3220003.jpg
    If your removing the oem guide plate you can drill out the spot welds and remove the plate and reuse it. But since I'm removing one that I previously welded in it gets a little more involved.

    Old shift shaft bushing plate removed
    P3220001.jpg

    A pattern is made and a piece of sheet metal is cut to the shape of the pattern to seal up the opening of the old shift lever location.
    P3220002.jpg

    I used magnets to hold the plate in place while I tac welded the plate in place
    P3230004.jpg

    Once tac welded the magnets are removed and I finished welding the plate in.

    P3230005.jpg

  7. #7
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    Nice update - thanks
    How far did you move the shifter back and can I ask what your height is?

    I'm 6"1 and moved the lever back ~6 inches on my first car. I reckon 7-8inch might have been better.
    There are other factors in play here like the rake of the seats, roof height Mk1 vs Mk2 etc.

    I would advise any newbies to spend a few minutes in the car, settle into the drivers seat you plan on using, get comfortable, operate the pedals, and if you have to slightly lean forward to engage first gear then move the shifter back - the driving position needs to be spot-on for your comfort and safety.

  8. #8
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    Very detailed as always.
    Are you planning on moving the handbrake back or shortening it? The Avante uses a BL mini hand brake which is quite short and moved further back, it is very hard to get it onto the last click of the ratchet, I think I would be better with a longer leaver set further back to give me more torque.

    Dirk

  9. #9
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    Nice update - thanks
    How far did you move the shifter back and can I ask what your height is?

    I'm 6"1 and moved the lever back ~6 inches on my first car. I reckon 7-8inch might have been better.
    There are other factors in play here like the rake of the seats, roof height Mk1 vs Mk2 etc.

    I would advise any newbies to spend a few minutes in the car, settle into the drivers seat you plan on using, get comfortable, operate the pedals, and if you have to slightly lean forward to engage first gear then move the shifter back - the driving position needs to be spot-on for your comfort and safety.
    Shifter was relocated 241mm(9.5inches)back. My height is 1803mm(5 feet 11 inches)

    My seats have adjustable rack, adjustable distance and fold forward for better access to whats behind the seats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    Very detailed as always.
    Are you planning on moving the handbrake back or shortening it? The Avante uses a BL mini hand brake which is quite short and moved further back, it is very hard to get it onto the last click of the ratchet, I think I would be better with a longer leaver set further back to give me more torque.

    Dirk
    There are no provisions for a hand brake in the center console. Instead the parking brake/emergency brake will be foot operated.
    This modification will allow better use of the already limited space in the center console.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Brett's Avatar
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    Part 2

    Next I located the spot where the new shifter will go. This was done with dash, seats, center console installed all in there proper locations and me sitting in the car


    After determining the best place to relocate the shifter to, I made a template of the shifting bracket and located the center of that

    P3290002.jpg

    Green painters tape was first applied to the tunnel at the location of the new shifters location so all points of interest could clearly be seen.
    Using the template centered where the new location will be I marked out the limits of the shift bracket onto the tunnel.
    New location can be seen marked out behind the old location that is still not sealed up in the photo

    P3220001.jpg

    opening was cut and the bracket clamped in place for a check on the proper location and fit
    P3240005.jpg

    Once satisfied with the location the bracket was spot welded in place

    P3240007.jpg

    One point of interest to bring out is that the OEM shift lever is offset from the center of the tunnel. My install is centered on the tunnel.
    If you were to do this as the factory did(offset) you would need to make a blister on the side of the tunnel otherwise you will have a clearance issue and the cup end on the shift rod will hit the side of the tunnel not allowing you to shift into those gears.

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