Installation instructions for the IPP short throw shifter

1996 to 2001 Audi A4

1998 to 2001 VW Passat (with threaded shifter knob)


Innovative Performance Products will assume no liability for any injury resulting from the misinterpretation of the installation instructions. Follow the instructions at your will.

Before starting the installation of the short throw shifter please read the complete instructions as well as the accompanying pictures.  You can also choose to print these instructions to aid in the installation process.

Tools needed for the installation:

·        1/4 inch (works best because you can’t over tighten with it) or 3/8 inch drive ratchet (comes in most tool sets)

·        4 or 6 inch extension (comes in most tool sets)

·         10mm socket (comes in most tool sets)

·         13mm socket (if your car HAS push-down reverse from the factory) (comes in most tool sets)

·         T-25 Torx driver (if your car is a late 1999 or newer A4/ all Passats) (comes in most tool sets), or

·         5mm hex driver, or a 5mm Allen key (if your car is an early 1999 or older A4) (you will need to use the locking pliers to turn the Allen key)

·         6mm hex driver, (looks like an Allen key, but fits on a ratchet end), or an 6mm Allen key ( you will need to use the locking pliers to turn the Allen key)

·         10mm combination wrench (gear wrenches work great)

·         Rubber hammer (if your car does NOT have push-down reverse from the factory)(best if it is a rubber mallet or plastic hammer)

·        Locking pliers (Vice-grips)

·        Snap ring pliers (flat-head screwdriver will work, but you need to be careful not to stab your finger when trying to pry on the snap ring to remove it)

Where applicable in the installation instructions, the tool being used is described in red text.

Early 1999 and older A4s/VW Passats came equipped with the push-down shifter. All late 1999, as well as 2000 and newer models did not have this feature. Although some of the parts pictured herein may look different from yours, they will all follow the same removal procedures listed below.

1.       Place the car in neutral and set the parking brake firmly.

2.       Remove your shifter knob by turning it in a counter-clockwise direction.

3.       Remove the shifter boot by prying up on the rear side (closest to the handbrake) with your fingers. (See picture below).

Older shifter boot style (1997 Audi A4 shown, VW Passat similar)

Newer Shifter boot style ( late 1999 Audi A4 shown)

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Description: Description: AUDI_shifter 002

4.   Remove the two nuts holding the dampening baffle to the shifter linkage, and then remove the dampening baffle to expose the shifter linkage assembly.

·         On early 1999 and older A4s/Passats, one nut will need to be removed using a 13mm socket, the other a 10mm socket.

·         On late 1999 and newer A4s/Passats, both nuts will need to be removed using a 10mm socket.

Dampening baffle nuts (Late 1999 A4 shown)

Removing dampening baffle to expose shifter linkage assembly

Description: Description: AUDI_shifter 005

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5.       Next, remove the four 10mm nuts that fasten the shift linkage to the body of the vehicle. The nuts closest to the rear of the console can be accessed with a regular ¼ inch drive ratchet, extension, and a 10mm socket. The front nuts must be removed using a 10mm box-end wrench. On older cars, this is a little more difficult, due to the smaller opening of the shifter boot. PATIENCE IS KEY HERE.

During the removal of these four nuts, be very careful not to drop any of them into either side of the driveshaft tunnel, otherwise you may need to remove the centre console to get them out.

Front nuts removal (10mm combination wrench)

(shown on late 1999 Audi A4)

Rear nuts removal (¼” drive ratchet, extension, and 10mm socket)

(shown on late 1999 Audi A4)

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6.       The complete shift linkage and housing should now be loose. You can now lower the housing downward to rest on the driveshaft.

7.       With a 6mm Allen wrench loosen the sift linkage brace bolt. It is installed from the factory with Loc-Tite, and may be on very tight. At this time you should also loosen the other 6mm Socket-head cap bolt that fastens the shifter linkage to the selector rod. Note the position of the rectangular aluminum washer.

Shifter brace bolt removal                                                            

(6mm hex driver, 3/8” drive ratchet, and 6”extension)

Shifter linkage to selector rod bolt and rectangular washer (aluminum)

(6mm hex driver, 3/8” drive ratchet, and 6”extension)

Description: Description: AUDI_shifter 007

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8.       Remove the four bolts or screws holding the shift linkage to the shift linkage housing. The housing can be shifted back and forth to gain access to the rear or front screws/bolts.

·         On early 1999 and older A4s, remove the four 5mm Socket head cap bolts (Allen head).

·         On all late 1999 and newer A4s, and all Passats, remove the four T-25 Torx screws.

Torx screws (three can bee seen in this picture) (late 1999 A4 shown)        

(T-25 Torx driver, 3/8” drive ratchet, and 6” extension)

Description: Description: AUDI_shifter 011

9.       With Torx screws/ Allen bolts have been removed, the shifter linkage can now be removed from its housing. To do this you will need to wiggle it around. Once the shift linkage is out of the car, it can be disassembled.

10.   Remove the shifter rod to shifter fork bolt and nut using a 10mm wrench and socket. Slide the two pieces apart.

Shifter Fork to shifter Rod bolt

(10mm combination wrench, 10mm socket, ¼” drive ratchet, extension not needed)

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11.   Remove the snap ring holding the shaft to the shifter linkage. If you do not have a pair of snap ring pliers, the snap ring can be removed using a flat screw driver. It is a good idea to have someone to help you do this. THERE IS A DANGER OF STABBING YOURSELF USING THIS METHOD. BE CAREFULL.

Early 1999 and older A4/Passat shifter shaft snap ring

Late 1999 and newer A4/Passat snap ring removal (Snap ring pliers)

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12.   Place the shifter shaft vertical on a solid surface, and apply downward force to the shifter assembly.

·         This will separate the shifter shaft from the shifter assembly on later 1999 and newer A4s/Passats.

·         On early 1999 A4s/Passats, this will separate the shifter shaft from its socket.

Early 1999 and older A4/Passat shifter assembly (separated)

Late 1999 and newer A4/Passat shifter assembly (separated)

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Steps 13, 14, and 15 apply only to late 1999 and newer A4s/Passats.

13.   Separate the shifter ball from the ball socket in the same manner that the shifter shaft was separated from the shifter assembly (see step 12)

Separating the shifter ball from its socket

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14.   Remove the rubber isolator from the shifter shaft. This procedure is harder then it looks. Over time, the rubber “sticks” to the shaft. We recommend you use plenty of lubrication (anything from water to Wd-40) to ease the removal of this piece. We found that the simplest way of removing the isolator was:

·         Clamp it lightly (so as not to squeeze it on the shaft) with vice-grips, and

·         Then tapping it with a plastic or rubber hammer. Protect the shaft threads by placing the shaft on a piece of wood when hammering.

Separating the rubber isolator from the shaft                            

(Locking pliers and plastic hammer)

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15.   Transfer the rubber isolator to the new shaft. Lightly coat the shaft with the provided grease. It should slide on the new shaft without any problems.

The following applies to all 1996 to 2001 A4s, and all VW Passats.

16.   Using the supplied synthetic grease, thoroughly coat the inside of the shifter ball socket. Leave a small quantity aside to be used later.

17.   Re-install the shifter shaft into the shifter assembly in the reverse procedure of steps 12-15.

18.   Thoroughly coat the bottom of the shaft and insert the provided bushing into the shaft.

19.   Assemble the shaft with the shifter fork (see picture).

NOTE: The shifter fork is tapered, and is widest at the top. The shaft must be inserted exactly as pictured, or you will risk scratching the shaft’s surface.

ALSO NOTE THE ORIENTATION OF THE SHIFTER FORK ONTO THE SHAFT. It can only be installed in this manner.

Inserting bushing into shaft

Inserting shaft into shifter fork

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20.   Insert the bolt through the shifter fork in the same manner that the OEM bolt was inserted in the OEM fork. (From left to right when looking at the shifter in its installed position.

21.   Lightly tighten the provided nut onto the bolt using a 7/16 wrench. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. You should tighten the nut until a very light resistance is felt when rotating the shifter fork on its bushing. The Nylon insert prevents the nut from loosening itself off.

22.   The rest of the installation is the reverse of removal. Start by lowering the complete shifter assembly back into the shifter housing.

23.   When installing the four T-25 Torx screws, or 5mm Allen bolts, take care not to drop them into the housing, as this will be a definite set-back. You can use a little bit of tape to hold the screw to the screwdriver. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN.

24.   Replace the socket -head cap bolt that fastens the shifter linkage to the selector rod. Don’t forget the large rectangular washer. Do not tighten the bolt at this time. It will need to be loose for adjustment of the shifter.

25.   Replace the shifter brace bolt (6mm Socket-head cap bolt), and leave it loose as well. This bolt will enable you to adjust the complete shifter assembly back and forth to suit your preference.

26.   You are now ready to re-attach the shifter housing to the body of the car. There is one or two brackets (one on earlier models, two on later model A4s) on the centre console. The bolts on the shifter housing must be guided through these brackets before the nuts are threaded on to them.

27.   Thread the nuts on to the housing bolts and tighten them by hand.

28.   Tighten the two front nuts using the box-end wrench. The rear nuts can be tightened with a ratchet. Do not over tighten the nuts; the specified torque is 15 ft-lb.


Adjustment instructions

NOTE: Adjustment is necessary to ensure a properly aligned shifter.

While performing the adjustment, it is also necessary to check for interference between the shifter fork bolt and the shifter housing.  Ensure that you can freely move the shifter to the left-most and right-most position without it ever hitting the sides of the housing. 

Holding the shifter shaft vertical, before tightening the shifter linkage to selector rod bolt (the one with the rectangular washer), is the proper procedure for ensuring there will be no interference issues. If there is some contact, determine which side it is hitting, and move the shifter to the opposite side.

For instance, if the shifter makes contact when you move it into first or second gear, then you will need to move the shifter closer to the right side of the housing, and vice versa. To do this you will need to loosen the lower adjustment bolt (the one with the big rectangular washer), and move the shifter to the opposite side that it hits when you are shifting. Hold the shifter there while re-tightening the bolt. The shifter should be sitting almost perfectly vertical when it is adjusted properly.

1.       Adjust the seat of the car to where you normally have it when you drive. Temporarily thread the shift knob onto the shaft. You can slide the entire linkage back and forth to where you like it.

2.       You can now lightly tighten the 6mm linkage brace bolt.

3.       You can adjust the shifter shaft back and forth and lightly tighten the selector rod 6mm Socket-head cap bolt. If the distances between the shifting of the gears are uneven, loosen the selector shaft Socket head cap bolt (the lower one) and readjust until the distances between neutral and first gear, are close to the distances between neutral and second gear. Make sure this bolt is tight after the adjustment is complete or else it will move while you are driving. Repeat this procedure until you get the best feel for the shift between all gears. This can take several tries, but it is very important to have a good feeling shift.

4.       When you are satisfied with the shifter feel, finish tightening the selector rod bolt. The specified torque is 25 ft-lb. If you use a ¼ inch drive ratchet, you can tighten it to its fullest. The residual Loc-Tite will keep the threads locked.

5.       Install the baffle and its 10mm and/or 13mm nuts.

6.       Replace the shifter boot and knob, and you are ready to go.

We hope we covered every aspect of the installation. If you have any questions, please contact us.

You will enjoy years of trouble-free, great feeling shifts.