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How to modify & improve the gearshift for a MQ250 gearbox on a MK7 Golf

golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Disclaimer:- This info is for community usage. I am NOT affiliated to, or sponsored by, any company/individual to promote them or their products. Companies/individuals may NOT use my name, photos, or threads/technical guides, for financial or personal gain (fraudulent misrepresentation).

Part 1 of 7
Vehicle used in this guide

UK spec, 2014yr model, Mk7 Golf Estate (GSW), GT (Highline) trim, 1.4lt TSI (140PS) CHPA petrol engine, MQ250 6speed manual gearbox, multi-link rear suspension.

Vehicles that this guide is applicable to
Any VAG (Audi/Seat/Skoda/VW) car with the MQB platform, & a MQ250 manual gearbox. If you have a GTD/GTI/R & therefore a MQ350 gearbox see forum member "Waggers", "How-to-guide" here:-
http://www.golfmk7.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11825

Introduction
I have never been 100% happy with the gearshift on my MK7 Golf, & have often found reverse & 2-3 gears very difficult to engage smoothly. My previous VAG car had all metal brackets, ball & socket cable ends, metal levers etc. So this mechanism with plastic brackets/levers & rubber bushes, although good for reducing noise & vibration, is a retrograde step in my opinion!

So what can be done? Unfortunately most of the metal levers, short shifts, etc. that are sold & discussed are for the MQ350 gearboxes, or similar versions which all have the mechanism “mirror imaged” to ours, i.e. the arm & relay levers are in the opposite positions & are also different shapes.

However whilst researching possible solutions I noticed this statement on the Dieselgeek site here:-
http://www.dieselgeek.com/MK5_5_Speed_VW_Short_Shifter_p/ss-mk5-mk6sigma5.htm
“Sigma 5 Speed Short Shifter for MK5, MK6 & MK7. This shifter also fits Euro-spec VAG cars with a MQ250 transmission (5 speed or 6 speed)”. This is the ultimate kit for our gearbox, but costs, & I like to use OEM VAG if possible.


This got me doing more research on various parts from Audi & VW cars with those platforms & then cross-referencing part numbers with photos etc & using Google a LOT! Which led me to finding this thread with photos of the parts I was wanting to use, but being installed on a MK5 Golf GT 1.9TDI R-Line!!:-
http://www.mk5golfgti.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,88074.60.html?PHPSESSID=gpo91745kekf5sjcu9o4 58ccl3
Unfortunately the person who wrote the thread has made a schoolboy error in getting a thicker main pivot pin made to fit the mounting point & does not realise that VW made plastic pivot bushes to fit the gap!

What is even more amazing is that the “Selector unit” (the vertical rod sticking out of the gearbox to connect to the weighted arm) on the VW Golf MK7 MQ250 is part number 02S301230H, & has been used since 2006 on the VW Jetta!
http://www.partsbase.org/parts/vw-02s301230h/
 
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golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Part 2 of 7
Gear stick shaft bushes


Special thanks to forum member "yirayira" who pointed these out:-

Direct link:-
https://www.dieselgeek.com/Precision_VW_Shift_Shaft_bushings_for_MK4_p/shift-shaft.htm

I was sceptical of the improvement they could make, but was quite surprised!! My OEM bushes (made from PUR) although 3yrs old & less than 20K miles were soft!

Basically the gearstick rod (what the gearknob is fixed to) is connected to the cables & with the cables locked to the selector mech & the mech locked in alignment position, there is still movement between the gearstick rod & outer tube. The tube that this rod slides in has the alignment “arm” on it. Therefore the rod & tube require perfect alignment/rigidity otherwise the whole gearshift alignment is messed up. Unfortunately the VAG “gummy bear” consistency bushes do not help as there is too much “play”, & thus you will never get perfect alignment!!

These Dieselgeek bushes solve that problem & I would recommend this as the FIRST upgrade that should be carried out..otherwise you still have bad alignment problems..

All info on fitting here:-
How-to video from Dieselgeek:-
 
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golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Part II

Relay lever, also known as the “side to side”.
This is the side to side movement of the gearstick which controls the vertical movement of the main weighted lever arm, & moves the gears between R to N plane, 1+2 to 3+4 plane, 3+4 to 5+6 plane.

As standard fit from the factory this is a black plastic lever with a white plastic retaining clip, & guide wedge. It has a hollow (tube) plastic main & cable eye end pivot. This is the first item to modify as there is too much that can flex & break over time. The only reason VAG changed to this from the earlier metal version is that it is much cheaper to make.

To improve the precision & eliminate flex/slop/slack etc.

1. Either Upgrade the plastic cable end eye bushes with the 42 Draft Designs kit here:-
http://www.42draftdesigns.com/VW-Shifter-Bushing-Set--Mk7-6S-MY15_p_965.html

Problem sorted!
Using the below listed metal bracket causes the cable to be too long & thus makes the correct alignment of this cable impossible. Resulting in the gear knob thuncking back "up". The reverse lock-out tab on the other end of the gear knob shaft slides off the reverse lock-out ramp plate/bracket. The gearbox is ok & stays in reverse, just the gearstick shaft that moves.
shaft. This same fault is reported with the standard factory plastic lever also!

The Bowden cable catch (eye) has an internal length of 72.5mm. The cable has 27.5mm of plain end with "bobble", then 46mm of thread, then the rest is plain again. So 27.5+46= 73.5mm, the whole of the thread should be able to go inside the Bowden cable catch, but it will not & leaves about 7mm showing, why?

The threaded part on the cable is 7mm diameter & the plain sections are 6mm diameter. There is a reduction step from 7mm to 6mm where the three prongs joint the main body of the eye. The prongs are 40mm long, leaving 32.5mm which is reduced to 6mm diameter in the head of the catch. Therefore the threaded section stops against this step & you have 27.5mm of plain end in a 32.5mm section leaving 5mm of unused space!

How to solve?
Easy, carefully enlarge the hole in the eye that the cable goes into between the three "prongs". I used a 6.5mm drill bit then a 7mm drill bit, both by hand, no power tools! This will allow you to get the cable full depth into the eye. If you need to gain more room then shorten the cable by using a dremmel or pipe cutters & cut the bobble at the notch. You will gain 9mm in total, & you only require a 7mm gain as my eye correctly aligned just covers the whole of the thread!
As I was experimenting I ended up cutting the cable first before I realised that the eye had the step in it & I cut 13mm off the cable in total!

Personally there are loads of people which are having problems with the factory setup & I think from the sound of things that it's all this plastic side to side lever & that there is bad alignment on this cable. I also think that this 6mm hole which creates a "step" is a result of bad manufacture & that it should be 7mm all the way to allow the cable to adjust fully into the eye catch!

Anyway mine works with NO "popping" of the knob in reverse & now all gears are there & reverse selection has that nice old clonk/thunck sound!!...:D

2. Or replace the whole lever with the metal one which was first used on the 1998 VW MK4 Golf 5speed manual!
http://www.partsbase.org/vw/golf-variant-4motion-golf-eu-1998-1j-w-000-001-71130-selector-mechanism-for-vehicles-with-shift-cable/#p-vw-1j0711202p
& last used on the 2006 Audi TT fwd 6speed manual.
http://www.partsbase.org/audi/audi-tt-tts-coupe-roadster-att-eu-2006-71140-selector-mechanism/


Item 47:- 1J0 711 202P is a kit which comprises all the following items:-

  • 1J0 711 203 L – Metal side to side lever £ 27.14
  • Item 43:- 1J0 711 550 – White plastic “E” shape guide £4.57
  • Item 46:- 1J0 711 761 C – Black plastic Bowen cable end £11.51
  • Item 20:- N 908 159 03 – Retaining washer, metal clip £0.58


For a full OEM factory set-up you still require these extra items:-
Item 48:- 1J0 711 067 L White plastic bearing bushing for main pivot, £1.67 (x2)


  • N 908 159 03 – Retaining washer, metal Clip £0.58 (x1)

Please be aware that this part shortens the amount you have to move the gearstick side to side more than the equivalent version for an MQ350 gearbox! The dimension from the centre of the main pivot to the centre of the pivot for the cable eye is 64mm. The original plastic bracket dimension is 73mm. So a reduction of 12.33% movement at the lever.

WARNING:-
You have to modify the “E” guide (Item No. 43) as the top part interferes with the metal weighted arm & will break off when the gear lever is in 4th gear. I trimmed mine as shown in the photos. These guide bushes are known for breaking & I wonder if this is the reason, bad design! However with the modification these are much better than the OEM guides as they are bigger & have more contact area to spread the forces.

You can then upgrade the cable end eye bushes with the 42 Draft Designs kit here:-
http://store.42draftdesigns.com/VW-Shifter-Bushing-Set--Mk5-6S-MY07_p_284.html

You can also upgrade the plastic main pivot bushes to the 42 Draft Designs kit here:-
http://www.42draftdesigns.com/VWAudi-Brass-Shifter-Relay-Lever-Bushings_p_999.html

For the “ultimate” set up I would get item 47 & the 42DD main pivot bushes instead of item 48. Then get the eye bush kit
 

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golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Part III

Gearshift lever also known as the “back to front” or “weighted main arm”.
This is the front to back movement of the gearstick which controls the rotational movement of the weighted arm, & moves the gears on each plane from N to R, 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6.

The standard fit item from the factory is cast metal with a zinc plating. This item is very good. However you can move the pivot point for the cable eye end closer to the central shaft pivot & thus decrease the amount of movement required at the gearstick end. This is called a “short shift”.

Using the one first designed for the 2007 Audi TT fwd 1.8lt 6speed manual here:-
http://www.partsbase.org/audi/audi-...-for-6-speed-manual-gearbox/#p-aud-8j0711046d
& was last used on the 2013 Audi TT fwd 1.8lt 6speed here:-
http://www.partsbase.org/audi/audi-...elector-mechanism-for-6-speed-manual-gearbox/

Item 52:- 8J0 711 046 D, gearshift lever front, £30.11 is a kit which comprises the following items:-
· 8J0 711 051 D Metal gear shift lever
· Item 46 1J0 711 761 B Bowden cable catch
· N908 159 03 metal clip retaining washer.
You will need a new locking nut as these are use once due to the “oval” thread
Item 39:- N 907 611 02, Hex collared nut M8, £0.58
This part has a PR code of 0EJ which means
“0EJ EDF Installation differentiation for transmission MQ 250 vehicle components”
Basically it was designed for our MQ250 gearbox but used for the more “sporty” Audis.

Please be aware that this part shortens the amount you have to move the gearstick front to back! The dimension from the centre of the main pivot shaft to the centre of the pivot for the cable eye is 63mm. The original dimension is 71mm. So a reduction of 11.27% movement at the lever.

The locking nut (Item No. 39) has no torque setting for. However I do recall on a thread a figure of 17lbft as a maximum but people have broken the shaft!! In my book for ISO bolts & settings the range for an M8 size is 8.5Nm (6.27lbft) to 46Nm (33.95lbft) (depending on grade & lubrication). I chose to do it up by hand using a small ratchet which equalled 6lbft & then nipped it up to 8lbft with the torque wrench. I used a small amount of copper grease on the splines & the mating face of the collar on the nut, to prevent rusting together.

Pics to follow
 

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golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Part IV

Abutment bracket.
This item is the big plastic bracket bolted to the top of the gearbox which the gear change cable go thought & holds them down to the gearbox.

I have looked at various brackets used with MQ250 gearboxes, old & new versions, 5speed, 6speed etc. I cannot find any which have the same layout for the bolt holes, nor the same positioning & angle for the gear change cables. Therefore we have to put up with this plastic bracket.

However it is very well moulded & has good web bracing! Unfortunately it still has the usual rubber mounting bushes lined with a steel “top-hat” style sleeve.

We can replace these items directly with solid aluminium or metal versions from various companies.

Here are the 42 Draft Designs versions:-
http://www.42draftdesigns.com/VW-Shifter-Bracket-Bushings_p_749.html


To fit these you require a 13mm socket & long reach extension bars & good dexterity! Do up hand tight only & do not over tighten as you will crack the plastic!!

Now enjoy the feeling of never having to worry about replacing old soft rubber bushes!

Pics to follow
 
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golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Part V

Gear knob
This item I find is indistinct in it’s shape & does not sit in the hand well. This is a personal preference though, so I decided to modify this also. I tried the one fitted to the GTD/GTI & liked the feel of it much more than our basic one! So I ordered the one from the GTD as this is the same as the GTI one, but without the red stitching & ring. I had to chop about 50mm off, basically the hollow top section. Then file the solid part as per the top shaped section you have just cut off.
 
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golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
I am including some basic photos to give people an idea about the modification to the eye & cable for the side to side lever.

The descriptions etc are correct & so are the part numbers in the thread, however I will not be able to finish the write up properly until next year as they take time & I need to do tax returns etc!:(
 

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Calum.

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Halifax, NS
Awesome write up Dave! Thank you!

I'm really curious how much of this will be a direct fit to the 5speed. From what I can gather in my presently sleep deprived state, damn sick kids..., all of the factory parts you listed should work on the 5 speed in my '16 NA Golf, if the DG part will swap between the 5 speed and the 6 speed? Then it would just be a matter of ensuring I get the right 42draft bushings?

I'm a complete noob with VAG, how do I figure out my transmission code?
 

golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Awesome write up Dave! Thank you!

I'm really curious how much of this will be a direct fit to the 5speed. From what I can gather in my presently sleep deprived state, damn sick kids..., all of the factory parts you listed should work on the 5 speed in my '16 NA Golf, if the DG part will swap between the 5 speed and the 6 speed? Then it would just be a matter of ensuring I get the right 42draft bushings?

I'm a complete noob with VAG, how do I figure out my transmission code?

You will either have the MQ200 or the MQ250 gearbox, best to look at the weighted arm which will have it stamped on it, or it should be in the logbook/service book sticker.
 

Davey Jones

Ready to race!
Location
Austin, TX
Dieselgeek shifters are a great option. They've been producing shifters for VWs for a long time.
 

Calum.

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Halifax, NS
You will either have the MQ200 or the MQ250 gearbox, best to look at the weighted arm which will have it stamped on it, or it should be in the logbook/service book sticker.

The sticker says QSY, which according the link below is a MQ250. But what does MQ250 denote if it's used for both 5 and 6 speed variants? I could make some guesses based on the pictures in the link, but I'd rather not make assumptions.
 

golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
The sticker says QSY, which according the link below is a MQ250. But what does MQ250 denote if it's used for both 5 and 6 speed variants? I could make some guesses based on the pictures in the link, but I'd rather not make assumptions.

MQ250 is the main designation in relation to torque limit, the Audi TT weighted arm in the picture also has MQ250 stamped on it!

Diesel geek, make good stuff, just costs more & does not look OEM. I prefer to use VAG parts where possible, & the whole shift is shorter on both axis like the D.G. version!
 

Calum.

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Halifax, NS
MQ250 is the main designation in relation to torque limit, the Audi TT weighted arm in the picture also has MQ250 stamped on it!

Diesel geek, make good stuff, just costs more & does not look OEM. I prefer to use VAG parts where possible, & the whole shift is shorter on both axis like the D.G. version!


Again, thanks!
 

Davey Jones

Ready to race!
Location
Austin, TX
Diesel geek, make good stuff, just costs more & does not look OEM. I prefer to use VAG parts where possible, & the whole shift is shorter on both axis like the D.G. version!

Costs more for a quality product, that also replaced the plastic cable end links with metals ones. I understand wanting to stay OEM, but the OEM shifter assembly is full of inferior materials and you can feel it. You can't see the shifter under your air box anyway, but IMO the DG Sigma looks nicer than the stock piece anyway.
 
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