Technical > Transmission Forum

Which Shift Coupler should You choose for your bus?


On a previous post I wrote about my minor trials and tribulations ordering the cheapest available shift coupler from CIP1 when I originally had intended to buy both the cheapest as well as the most expensive just so I could compare.  I've done the same with tail lights too so I could then choose the one I actually preferred for the money from then on.   Sometimes spending more is worth it, sometimes it's not.  So I like to check.    So what I've done here is order 3 of the most price-differentiated shift couplers that fit '65 to '79 buses.   If you are reading this you likely already know the part but for those that don't, it's the piece that pivots and handles your shifter movements you make at the front of the bus that move the shift rod that runs all the way to the back of the bus and into the nose cone of the transmission.  It's the piece attached right at the nose cone of the transmission.   It does not move a ton with each shift position so when it begins to wear out and gets sloppy and no longer tight, the movements that translate inside the nose cone into what gear to go into become not-so-clean and positive.   It's a pretty important piece.

So I ordered three versions from CIP1 so I could compare.   They have at least one other but I don't have unlimited funds.  I chose the cheapest one, a reasonable-looking medium priced one and the most expensive one.  Here they are:  Left to right is cheapest to most expensive:

Another angle.  this would be the underside view if it was installed in your bus.  Again left to right is cheapest to most expensive:

First coupler of the group.  The following photos are of various angles of the cheapest one:   

Note in the photo below the collar/tube that holds onto the nosecone shaft is only crimped into place and as others have suggested, this style could let go one day and just spin freely:

End view.  This style uses just a lag-bolt to hold it all together.   This may have been common as it's the same as the one I've recently pulled out of my '76 bus. 

This is the center shaft that will go through the connecting "T" rod coming out of the nose cone.  It's just stamped/bent steel plate that's formed into a tube:

The end section.   I was slightly surprised at this as it's got original VW marks and numbers.  I guess it's not a golden rule that German-made parts is always going to be the best option even though it seems like it usually is:

Note that the end cap piece that holds it all in place appears to be a single piece of plastic.  Does not appear to be vinyl but I could be mistaken:

One last photo:

Second coupler of the group.  Ok, this is the medium priced one.  It's the middle one in the 1st two photos of the three together at the top of this post.
The metal armature seems to be slightly heavier-duty and the center shaft piece is an actual metal tube rather than bent/stamped steel:

Unlike the cheapest one, this version has a specialized washer and lock-nut to hold the center pin in place:

Collar view:

End view showing what appears to be a plastic and vinyl combination of the end cap holding everything in place:

The collar is pressed in with a toothed connection all the way around.   I assume that it holds better than the cheaper one's method but some engineer-type can correct me:

Third coupler of the group.  Ok some mechanical parts are just plain pretty.   The most expensive option is one of those.   Just taking it out of the package it was clearly heavier, cleaner and built like a frigging tank.  Here's the first view.  Notice how everything lines up, solid, and with a center heavy duty pivot tube:

End view.  The end cap mounts appear to be either heavy rubber or vinyl (if I was a professional reviewer I'd go to the trouble of finding out but I'm already looking forward to getting to the end of writing this post).   Did I mention how pretty and heavy duty this thing looks?  Note also that this is the only one of the three that also has the hole through the grub screw to keep it from loosening over time.  Yes, it's happened: I've seen it. 

View of the attach collar that holds onto the rod out of the nose cone.  No welding needed to ensure it's secure:  The entire armature is one single molded steel piece:

No crimps to loosen:

You want solid and tight and no slop?   This certainly looks like it's going to deliver.  As well it's the thickest metal of the three:

Last photo of the most expensive option.   Even the center pin is thick and heavy-duty with a bolt that holds it in place on the other end.   The ONLY concern I have about this arrangement is it had no lockwasher and while you could certainly tighten the bejeezus out of it, I might add a little bit of threadlock to it just to help keep it from inadvertently loosening off.  Or a lockwasher:

So yeah, I guess my feelings about this became pretty clear as you read through this.   That third version and most expensive version is my choice, hands down and worth every penny.   

I bet the middle one is genuine VW of Mexico.


--- Quote from: Bruce on May 02, 2019, 06:17:52 PM ---I bet the middle one is genuine VW of Mexico.

--- End quote ---
Although it was the first one (the cheapest cost one) that has the "Germany" and VW logo and part number in the side piece as per the photos.   I did find that surprising. 

The two rubber inserts may be original VW, but the cage is an aftermarket piece of junk.

Just as a followup to this post.  I spent all day driving my 1976 bus yesterday with my new shift coupler (and I'd replaced the front worn bushing and adjusted the stop plate thingie under the shifter) and my gear shifting was absolutely freaking awesome.  From unable to get into 3rd or 4th at all while driving to nice solid shifts that were not mushy at all and I'm more than happy with this shift coupler.   Worth every penny buying the heavy-duty version, in my opinion. 


[0] Message Index

Go to full version