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I needed to get into the Shifter Guts recently, and found several posts on this here but most of the photos were missing, so I decided to record my experience and post photos here so hopefully, they wont go away. I will post steps in below with photos to keep message size down.

The reason I needed to get in there isnt important. What is, is this job is not difficult. Getting all the way in takes less than 30 min. You remove exactly 2 fasteners!

These steps can be completed in different order, if you desire. For instance, you can remove the storage tray first, then the shifter handle or the reverse.

Vehicle: 2004 T1.

Tools: You will need a T20 torx head with driver, a plastic interior trim pry tool, a tack puller or small slotted screw driver, vice grips (optional), an ESD bag (anti-stat bag for electronics) and a roll of duct tape.

First, this is the console. Put the key in the ignition and turn it on, but you do not have to start the engine. Move the shift handle to the N position. Turn the key off. You will have to leave it in the ignition.

CAREFULLY clamp the vice grip tool around the shifter thumb button, and pull out on the button. It will come out less than 1/2 inch to a stop. Remove vice grip tool.

Now take a 1/2" strip of duct tape and wrap a few times around the thumb button. This will keep the button from popping back in when you remove the handle.

Remove the wood grain badge on the shifter handle by using the pry tool to GENTLY pry it off.

Next, empty out your storage bin. You will remove the light by simply using the pry tool to prise it out, and remove it by disconnecting the light. Simple, eh?

Now, pull out the storage tray by gently pulling up where the light lives and lift the tray out.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Shifter Removal

Remove the U-Clip in the shifter handle by pulling it out with a tack puller or a small slotted screwdriver. Be careful not to loose it!!!

Now grab the shift handle, give it a good yank and pull it straight up and off.

When you remove the storage tray, two torx screws will be exposed. See them here? Remove with a T20 bit and a driver.

Now use the pry tool to GENTLY pry up on the console. It is wood backed with plastic. Get under the plastic and CAREFULLY use the pry tool to work under it and work it up. It is held down with clips around its perimeter. Take your time, you dont want to break it!!!!

Now remove the various connectors for the things under the console. Remove the lighter connector which is located in the gray foam wrap you see.
 

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Continuing On...

Remove the console assy and set aside.

Remove the shifter cover, which is just an expensive piece of plastic with the gear letters on it. Pull it up gently, and it will unsnap.

You now are down to the circuit board. This contains the LED's to illuminate the gear letters, etc. It is also where the tiptronic hall sensors live. Its a pretty expensive piece, up around $300. So BE CAREFUL when removing it.

It is held in place by the wiring connector, which you can see on the left hand side. I think the best way to release it is to put a small slotted screwdriver in that slot forward of the black connector pin. If you push down on that it will release the connector. CAREFULLY remove the circuit board and place in an ESD bag.

Next is a white plastic housing with the black "shades" or "slits" that you see move back and forth when you shift gears. Those metal things you see sitting on it are the magnets for the tiptronic. They interact with the hall sensors on the circuit board. It is held in place by a clip on each corner. Just pull the clip out away from the part a little, one corner at a time and it will release. Remove, and set aside.

You are now down to the Bare Naked Shfiter. :D
 

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Finishing Up.

As the shop manuals say, "Installation is in reverse order of removal". But, hold on, there are a few small details you need to be aware of.

First, as you reinstall everything, and put the console back on, after you connect everything CAREFULLY snap the clips into place, one at a time. I put them in the front part of the console closest to the ashtray first. Work them in carefully. You have to make sure you tuck the cables under so they dont interfere with the fit, which will be flush with the rest of the console. Replace the torx screws, and replace the storage tray. Reconnect the light and push back into place.

Now, you need to reinstall the shifter handle. Hopefully you put the clip back into the shifter handle, but if not, no worry. Just push it back in all the way. Now, place the shifter handle back on to the shaft, but place the thumb button facing to the rear of the car. Push it down just to it stops. Now, turn the handle to the normal position. Give it good Smack! with your hand, and it will snap back down into place. Replace the emblem fascia piece, just push it on with a few fingers. It goes in bottom first.

Now, remove the duct tape from the thumb button, and push the button back where it goes.

Done. :D Now, that wasn't too difficult, was it???
 

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Excellent. But WHY did you need to get in there in the first place?
 

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Oh yes it is!
 

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Why? Cos I'm nosey and it's a helluva job he's done there . . .
 

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Excellent write up with pics ! I was really worried about the "special tool" and all for the shifter removal ! This is straight forward. :)
 

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Thank you for the write up, I think I may have a circuit or magnet issue with my tiptronic. Hope I can just clean that area of whatever mess has accumulated and she will shift great yet again.
 

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Has anyone swapped an aftermarket shift for the original T-handle? I'm not a fan of the T shape and prefer the knob type. I haven't really looked for a replacement, but does anyone have a link to an aftermarket site with shifter knobs to save me some time?

BTW, this was an excellent write up and it should be moved to the DIY section if it hasn't been already.
 

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Thank you

A great post and great pictures..it helped immensely. I have 2006 r5 and live in Panama.
However my problem seems to be in the shift knob itself. The button is retracted and stays there. The spring is good but it must be missing a crosspiece that raises the shifter lock.
Rod
 

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Aww man, thanks for this awesome diy! I need to replace the part you call the "blinds" or "slits". It's partially cracked and gets tied up sometimes when I use sport or tiptronic, so until it's fixed I can only use drive, and that's no fun!😀
 

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Great tutorial. I've taken apart the shifter mechanism multiple times using the method described in it. However, the last time I somehow got distracted and forget to pull out the button before removing the handle. Unfortunately it didn't break anything, but I only realized my mistake when I wanted to put the handle back on. It gave me a hard time, but I finally succeeded.

In this situation in order to pull out the button you actually have to blow inside the handle to push the button out. The VW service manual recommends compressed air, but your lungs should also be able to deliver enough air pressure, if you just blow really hard. Once you have reached a big enough air pressure, the button will be pushed out (until you keep blowing) so you can grab it with your fingers.

Unfortunately you can't blow or pull it easily out to the extent required to be able to properly install it back on. The button will not lock in the pulled out position, but will keep falling back into the hole. So, once you've secure it somewhat with a piece of tape (as recommended in the original tutorial at the beginning) from falling back completely, you've to start wiggling it and try to pull it out even more.

If you keep doing it long enough, you will finally succeed. At least I did. The trick is to try not to pull too hard on the button, because it won't you get anywhere, and you might even break the button mechanism. Also try to keep changing the orientation of the handle itself while wiggling the button and pulling it outwards, firmly but not too hard. This will help to actually be able to pull out the button into the lock position, which once reached, enables you to install the handle properly back on using the 180 degree flip.

Again, the trick is: pulling firmly, but not too hard on the button, while wiggling it and trying to change the orientation of the handle. Sooner or later it will just pop up in the locked position, and you can put the handle back on. It took me about 10 minutes until I succeeded, but the time required might vary heavily.

Anyway, keep trying, but gently, because if you don't succeed or you break something, you'll have to order a new handle, which will cost you about $200 even when ordered through a distributor (but the dealer will most likely charge you 3x times as much for it). And if you break the plastic stick the handle goes on, it will cost you probably a thousand or more to get it replaced.
 

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Necro Bump for active photos to a very thorough how-to. Installed my $85 8E1713187F shifter cover strip with ease (removing the t20 cracked the underlying plastic though) and tiptronic function is ready to go. The Shasta will be happy! Thanks to the Touareg veterans.
 
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