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How to: Make a mk7 6MT Suck Less

Twist1

Drag Racing Champion
Ever since I bought my mk7 I have been in love. I am not new to MT VW's, or MT 2.0 TSI engines for that matter, but there was something about this 6MT that really seemed "off" in it's stock configuration. Searching online showed quite a common pattern: it just sucks. Some claim they can live with it, some claim it is buttery smooth, but a lot of enthusiasts will admit there is much to be desired. It is long, rough and blocky with a stock clutch that does not help matters any.

This post is dedicated to new owners of MT mk7s that are searching for free/cheap DIY@home mods that will make a vastly better MT shifting experience. All of these mods can be completed within an hour and are night and day when combined together and compared to the stock feeling the shifts have. I have yet to find a compiled post with all MT-related DIY/cheap part mods that can easily improve the feel of the stock MT set up so here you guys go:

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1) Clutch Assist Spring Removal
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This is the biggest "bang for your time" mod there is for the stock set up. It removes the spring that assists in pulling the pedal to the floor, resulting in a faster rebound and eliminates the "lag" drivers feel when clutching fast.

Original post with instructions here:
http://www.golfmk7.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14745&highlight=Free+6mt+mod
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2) Shift Linkage Alignment/Re-calibration.
This mod re positions/aligns your shift linkage in your MT mk7 (or previous gens). This restores that brand new car/ buttery smooth feel of "popping" or sliding into gears quicker than a quarterback on prom night.

Instructions on install can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeOoDJuhSx8
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3) Clutch Delay-Valve Removal.
The most popular of the DIY MT mods, as well as being one of the first. The OEM "Bleeder Block" houses a small, greenish-yellow restricting ring that slows the amount of DOT-4 Fluid that can pass through at once. This restriction was put in place to delay the engagement (and diseng.) of the clutch. The original VAG purpose behind such a design is to slow down the clutch feeling in a way that is complimentary to drivers that are sloppy with engagement/disengagement (but becomes a hindrance when attempting fast, precise upshifts). Removing this restriction also removes the forceful "slipping" of the clutch in order to shift smoothly. The engagement point becomes much more pronounced as well. When you replace the stock clutch, it is highly recommended that this piece is removed if the bleeder block is not upgraded.

Instructions can be found here: http://www.vwroc.com/forums/topic/12185-tutorial-clutch-delay-valve-removal-manual-cars/

NOTE: Those advanced with power tools have actually drilled out the stock bleeder block in a way that opens up the channel for clutch fluid to pass through. This is a DIY option for the ECS Tuning Clutch Bleeder Block but I do not recommend such a mod.
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4) Shifter and Mount Bushings.

Although this mod is not usually considered a popular "DIY," it is quick, easy and cheap. There is also a DIY option for those not wishing to spend 30$ for new bushings. The stock shifter and mount bushings are made of a cheap, flexible material. This material can degrade over time and cause inconsistent, notchy "errs" in the 6MT shifting. One way to check if your bushings are "playing" on the end of the linkage is to remove the stock airbox, locate the bushings that connect to the "arm/cable" which moves the shifter and TWIST them. If there is significant play, it may be time to upgrade your bushings. If you do not wish to upgrade the factory rubber to a harder material or spend the cash, you can use a silicone or similar "hardening gel" to tighten the bushings to the plastic housing and sand it smooth. This will give the same effect. NOTE: There are two main upgrade-able bushings in our 6MT system. The MOUNT bushings and the SHIFTER cable bushings. I find the mount bushings to provide nearly no difference in feel once upgraded. However, the shifter bushings do provide a more connected "drive" into the shift fork. Both can be upgraded for little cost/install time.

Link to popular shifter bushings:
https://www.uspmotorsports.com/Driv...-Solution-Shifter-Cable-Bushings-MK7-GTI.html
Link to a DIY version of upgraded bushings:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e5uQgt0NaI
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5) DIY Clutch-Stop.
The OEM clutch-pedal press is long. Like really long. Like 80s truck long. For kicks I actually measured the pedal's press (in inches) and compared it to my 1984 Ford Pick up 4MT. My attempt at this mod would indicate which one was longer. This easy DIY mod creates a clutch "stop" that simply prevents clutch overtravel. Much like a bolt action rifle's trigger, getting rid of over travel reduces the amount of distance the pedal must travel. This creates a shorter and more distinct pedal press. NOTE: Please be very conservative with the amount of space you add to the clutch stop, as no one really knows the distance in which the TOB stops moving fully (creating accelerated clutch wear).

Installation instructions can be found here: http://www.golfmk7.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24943
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6) Engine, Transmission and Dogbone Mounts
People sometimes forget that there are three mounts that work in conjunction in holding our engine and consequent assembly to both the transmission and bay. All can very quickly become soft, wiggly and ridden with excessive play. The two mounts that have the most impact on 6MT performance would be the transmission and dogbone mounts. Now, figuring out which one to go with is a little bit of a hassle, as you must first ask yourself what the goals for the car are. Harder, aluminum-based mounts will create a planted (to say the least) feeling in your forks. This is at the expense of NVH/vibrations in some cases. However, there are many options for aftermarket mounts that simply up the durometer of the rubber/poly (hardness-*ish) by a slight degree. Going this route will help keep gears from wriggling around on you as much, IE, a more stable feeling in the shift-forks. They can also help in reducing the dreaded 'wheel-hop' of higher HP FWD cars. Upgrades can be made to one or all three of the mounts to help plant and stabilize the feeling of gears, bay sway and FWD hop.

Link to a popular OEM+ style option that ups the durometer but sticks with a rubber/poly material (034 density line):
https://store.034motorsport.com/mot...a3-s3-tt-tts-mkvii-volkswagen-golf-gti-r.html

Link to a very popular dogbone mount made of aluminum:
https://store.034motorsport.com/mqb...golf-gti-r-8v-audi-a3-s3-billet-aluminum.html

Link to a "dismiss the GF's whining about NVH, I wanna racecar mount. Will prevent majority of tranny/engine sway:
https://store.blackforestindustries.com/bfimk7mqbst2.html

Word of caution: If you upgrade your stock dogbone/ torque arm insert to a stiffer aftermarket design and forget about it for 10s of thousands of miles, more than likely the added stress onto the other two mounts has accelerated the wear of the OEM material.
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7) Changing/Upgrading to Aftermarket Shifters/Parts
Although this is not a DIY, or sometimes very cheap, it is a popular option that can completely change the dynamic of the shifter. If you are looking to change the WAY in which the car goes into gear, this is your route. The previous mods are mostly geared towards those looking to keep the oem set-up, but want to clean and smooth it up on the stock parts. However, a multitude of aftermarket shifters and adapters exists. Do your research before buying however, as most short throw shifters will reduce the distance the knob travels at the expense of smoothness sought doing the above mods. Aside from a complete shifter assembly (which can range from 100-300$), there is an adapter that is made by Boomba which simply sits on top of your stock shifter, changing the angles in which the arm rotates the shifter.
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8) Changing your Shift Knob.
Not a lot of people look at the shift knob as causing a problem in engagement feel in MT cars. However, the mk7s seem to have an enormous following for aftermarket shift knobs. Why? Because the OEM knob albeit stylish, is semi-HOLLOW. That's right. Hollow. This means every single notch, scratch, bump and jitter that your shifter feels is shot straight into your hand! This knob makes the MT on the mk7 feel worse than it really is. It is also relatively light, which increases the amount of force the user must apply to go into gear. There are many, many aftermarket shift knobs available in a variety of weights and styles. The most popular and highest reviewed seem to be those made by Black Forest Industries.
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9) Upgrading your Clutch Line.
There are many that swear by aftermarket clutch lines. Although there is little performance change to be had, aftermarket clutch lines REDUCE the amount of variances plastic or rubber lines go through on a daily basis. Most OEM lines are consistently in a state of flux. From constricting to loosening to contracting, they can be the last thing from "consistent." Upgrading your OEM clutch line to a steel braided design or other material will provide consistency in the way your foot signals the disc to work. It can make a much more consistent pedal press and engagement point over the course of a day of driving. (A man once told me steel lines are to clutch assemblies as intercoolers are to F.I. engines). They resist variances caused by changing temperatures much better than stock materials.

NOTE: Upgrading to a SS Clutch line or similar design can also be used to bypass the "swirl-delay" valve found on the clutch line. Again, this is another delaying valve that functions similarly to the clutch delay valve (mk7 delay valves 4 dayz!). By forcing the fluid to recirculate in a "snail"-shaped valve within the clutch line, the clutch engagement is dampened in feel and function. Going with a straight-through design can bypass this silly do-hickey and quicken engagement communication. This could possibly be done by a DIY, but with a new line so cheap why start cutting away at factory lines?

Link to a Stainless Steel Design by USP: https://www.uspmotorsports.com/Volk...Stainless-steel-clutch-line-Audi-VW-6spd.html

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10) Maintenance and Skill!

The two words that have the BIGGEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK when talking about mk7 6MTs. Care for your clutch, fluid and components and they will care for you. No aftermarket part in the world or fantastic DIY mod will ever come close to even half the value as pure, MT-driving skill. Learning how to properly drive (really, properly drive) a 6MT is worth it's weight in gold on forced-induction motors. Your ability to shift efficiently and quickly in a safe and non-damaging manner is the ultimate DIY mod.
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The order of the above mods is no accident. This is my recommendation (in order) for smoothing and quickening the stock MT feel. They all compliment each other and doing all the DIY mods alone will vastly improve your shifting experience and pleasure. Happy Driving :):):cool::cool:.
 
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GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Nice thread man!

Only thing I'd add would be a mention of our engine, transmission, and dog bone mounts being excessively soft which can also make grabbing gears a bit tricky. Especially 1-2 & 2-3
 

Twist1

Drag Racing Champion
Nice thread man!

Only thing I'd add would be a mention of our engine, transmission, and dog bone mounts being excessively soft which can also make grabbing gears a bit tricky. Especially 1-2 & 2-3
Was literally about to add when I saw this! Thanks!
 

Quebster

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Dallas, Tx
Great sticky!

Mostly likely going to want to add the "swirl valve delete". The ECS aftermarket SS clutch line is supposed to allow you to bypass the "swirl valve" that connects to the master cylinder. According to ECS:

"As far as we know the valve causes a fluid restriction through the unit which is there to dampen clutch engagement and soften clutch operation, leaving a lag and slightly numb & delayed characteristic which is favored by the average driver. For those who want a sportier more direct driving experience, the unrestricted fluid passage after valve removal results in, faster, firmer clutch engagement and disengagement."

So basically another delay valve, making that 2. I should have more info on how this feels next week after Christmas.
 

ITGUY

Go Kart Champion
Location
PA
Great sticky!

Mostly likely going to want to add the "swirl valve delete". The ECS aftermarket SS clutch line is supposed to allow you to bypass the "swirl valve" that connects to the master cylinder. According to ECS:

"As far as we know the valve causes a fluid restriction through the unit which is there to dampen clutch engagement and soften clutch operation, leaving a lag and slightly numb & delayed characteristic which is favored by the average driver. For those who want a sportier more direct driving experience, the unrestricted fluid passage after valve removal results in, faster, firmer clutch engagement and disengagement."

So basically another delay valve, making that 2. I should have more info on how this feels next week after Christmas.
The SS line from USP should allow you to delete that if you want.
 

Quebster

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Dallas, Tx
I think the shifter cable bushings will make the most difference, vs the bracket bushings. Or, you could get the Diesel Geek Sigma 6 short shifter, which is a short shifter and "includes" the shifter cable bushings. Then you just need the bracket bushings :)
 

Twist1

Drag Racing Champion

nicholam77

Ready to race!
Location
Minneapolis
Awesome Sticky and great to have this all in one place. Unfortunate it isn't better out of the box but a lot of these mods are easy and make a big difference.
 

TheKickinSquid

New member
Location
Alabama
Great thread - thanks for compiling. I’ve installed the DIY clutch stop that SK posted, and it has been great.

In fact, if you’re local to me I still have 3 of the hard rubber bumpers I’d be willing share.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mursepaolo

Ready to race!
Location
Los Angeles
Didn't know about that recalibration procedure. Will have to try that as I think I messed with the forks too much back when I installed the CTS bushings.
 

TrinivdubOG

Ready to race!
Location
Caribbean
Great sticky!

Mostly likely going to want to add the "swirl valve delete". The ECS aftermarket SS clutch line is supposed to allow you to bypass the "swirl valve" that connects to the master cylinder. According to ECS:

"As far as we know the valve causes a fluid restriction through the unit which is there to dampen clutch engagement and soften clutch operation, leaving a lag and slightly numb & delayed characteristic which is favored by the average driver. For those who want a sportier more direct driving experience, the unrestricted fluid passage after valve removal results in, faster, firmer clutch engagement and disengagement."

So basically another delay valve, making that 2. I should have more info on how this feels next week after Christmas.
Did not know about this, got the ecs line but unfortunately because my car is rhd the line isn't long enough, so had no other choice but to connect it to the delay valve. Now if I could get a line with a female end on one side, then I could connect it direct to the line coming from the master cylinder.

 
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