Gear change help


Registered User
The gear change on my A4 1.8t Quatro sometimes can be very notchy from 1st to 2nd and makes a crunching noise when engaging. I have had the clutch,flywheel and gearbox oil replaced by the dealership but still this problem persists, the dealership now says this is normal for an a4 gearbox.
Please can anyone give any pointers to the cause of this problem as it is driving me bonkers!!!


Well-Known Member
It is normal, and is very fooking annoying on a luxury saloon. I cured mine a lot by adjusting the side to side linkage angle (slacken the allen bolt on the grey foot at the bottom (visible from the left of the shifter when boot/ rubbers / covers off) and gently rotate the shift to the right slightly to its just biased right-of-centre, then re-tighten - and the 1 to 2 shift will be much better, as it dog-legs to the left entering 2nd any way, and if its too close to the left already that makes it awkward to engage and 5th too easy.

An old trick thats bullet proof and makes the box shift smoothly, is to replace all the manual gearbox oil with ATF (Automatic transmission fluid) - fine for all modern manual gearboxes and was a very common trick on 5-speed capri box when fitted to an RS2000 (I did this at a professional ford mechanics suggestion) - it was like night and day. And before anyone says its bad, it has the more than sufficient shear properties to protect the gears and is man enough for 500hp US autos, so it wont break bown or shear in a 200hp manual box.

Check Audizine cos theres several threads advising this too.

If i keep mine much longer thats the next thing on the list but the adjustment has made a BIG difference.


Registered User
Cheers mate I'll give that a try, how easy is it to get at the linkage, does the ashtray base have to be removed?


Well-Known Member
You cant remove the flippin ashtray mate, its the ashtray from hell.

However, you don't need to.

Pull up the silver surround plate complete with gaitor right up

Cut the one-shot clip that holds the knob and gaiter on the shaft

(Replace that with a small jubilee clip later) and slide the gaiter/knob/plate off

Remove the 2 x 7mm bolts that secure the front of the ashtray frame to the gear surround area and tip the ashtray up and backwards slightly to get it out of the way tho its not essential, and you cannot remove it even after this no matter what you try, the a/c unit would have to be removed so just tip it back. It wont tip back when its open BTW.

pull out the sound proofing (does naff all anyway, mine has none in there now) - theres a big browny-grey bit of hard foam, then 2 pieces of multi colored sponge block, throw them away cos they are never ever going to fit properly again anyway and disintegrate over time, filling the gearshift mechanism with tiny bits of crap.

Remove the circular rubber plate that sits over the gear shift centre bearing, keep that and put it back later, keeps dust and fag ash out of the ball joint.

Remove 2 10mm bolts fore and aft of a black plastic plate and lift it off, exposing the shift mechanism at last.

There are now 2 Allen-head socket bolts, one on top that sets forward and rearward stick position, put back centrally if ever disturbed, thats the standard alignment, tho you don't need to touch that one for this mod.

At the bottom, on the left hand side you will see a grey aluminum foot/bar that has the other Allen head bolt - thats the shift adjustment point. With the stick in neutral its accessible with a long-ish 6 or 7mm Allen or torx bit or key (its tight)

Slacken that bolt (don't remove) after marking the relationship of the little curved plate and the foot itself with a permanent marker (so you can tell where it started)

Slide the whole shift stick right slightly till you can see the stick is now just right of centre, slightly biased towards you. holding it there, tighten the bolt back up, gently at first so it doesn't twist the stick back to where it was (just cos of the clockwise tightening action) and check it still leans about 5 to 10 degrees towards the driver.

Tighten the bolt fully, its to be tight, but don't beast it to death cos its screwed into a aluminium foot that can strip if you really monster it up, just make sure its tight, but armed with a 6" socket wrench and bit you cant likely put enough torque into it to damage it anyway, I reckon its to be as tight as any engine bracket bolt if you know what I mean. Just don't go nuts thats all.

Try the shift with the clutch down, or even better drive it a bit with no knob to see what it feels like, it will be much better and improved further when the knob is refitted.

Rebuild is the reverse, fit rubber ring on top of shift ball bearing unit (white plastic centre bit), fit oblong top black plate with its 2x 10mm bolts, set ashtray back down and close lid, line up its bolt holes and put the 7mm bolts back, dont over tighten these or the ashtray will be a bitch to open. Drop a 1" jubilee or worm clip down over the shaft and let it drop down and sit on the rubber ring, drop the knob and gaiter on, push down slightly to make sure its home (slight click feeling) and slide the jubilee clip up over the 4 plastic fingers at the bottom of the gear knob assembly (you'll see what i mean) and with the screw part positioned at the rear, tighten the jubilee clip until quite tight. (if the screw/barrel is at the rear you wont feel the clip is there once the gaiter is down)

drop the gaiter and surround down and clip into place again. If you find that some of the clips for this (there are 4) stay on the surround when its removed, and some in the holes they were in, remove them from the lower holes by gently prising downwards with your fingers and catch them as they fall out below. They WONT come out from the top once they are left in the holes, but once you have them all fitted back on the four flat posts on the underside of the surround, and snugly home in there little housings, the surround will click into place like a breeze.

Try it out with now, and enjoy the easier 1 to 2 change!

Heres the bolt you need to loosen to adjust the 2nd gear position, you can see the stick is biased to the right, but not as much as it looks in the pic, thats just the angle it was shot at to show the adjustment bolt clearly and the stick is actually in reverse in the pic:



Registered User
WOW, thats what I call help! thanks for taking the time and trouble to answer my question in such detail, I will hopefully have time to do this job in the next couple of days and will let you know how I got on, roughly, how long do you think it will take?


Well-Known Member
no probs mate, all in takes under an hour, honestly its quite easy but dont try it if the wife is waiting to go somewhere and starts hassling you, pick a quiet hour to concentrate on getting it adjusted to suit you and I think you will be impressed.

The audi shift is much maligned everywhere and I still intend to investigate the other end of the shift but the engine placement makes it difficult to see the bits :(

That procedure helps because when the stick is central or even slightly left as it leaves the factory, the shift foot hits other bits as you try and enter 2nd so it graunches a bit, in second there should be a bit of leftward play, But in mine and most others there is less play in 2nd than 1st and thats what causes the problem I reckon, as the shift is hard against the left side already before it tries entering 2nd and there needs to be a bit more clearance so it can drop straight into the middle of the gate as 2nd has a slight left hand dog-leg as it goes in, i.e. it feels as if the 2nd gate isnt directly under 1st unlike 3 to 4 for example, and make sure 5th and reverse enter cleanly after the adjustment, but its really easy.



Registered User
Many thanks Scotsman, youre instructions were spot on, gearchange much better than before,job done within an hour.
On another matter maybe you can help, been reading up on Maf sensors and wondered if mine was faulty (fuel consumption heavy) I unplugged sensor and had a good drive about, engine running ok, no spluttering etc. if anything it seemed more responsive,the only difference was a warning light on the dash. Went into my local dealer in Carlisle to enquire and they told me that it was a MAP sensor not a MAF and that by unplugging it from the air intake would only record a fault on the engine mamagement system, they advised me to get a diagnostic check from themselves which would take approx. 1 hr at a cost of £90.00.
Do you have any thoughts on this?


Well-Known Member
ah, Ive already answered that post mate.....check it out :)

Glad you got a good result on the gearshift, well done! :thumbsup: