RSFab is glad to finally release our Linkage Rod System for late model Vanagon/Transporter 2wd, Syncro and Subaru 5spd conversions. They are made of High quality 303 polished stainless tubing, tig welded at all connections, with redesigned bushings to limit service intervals/wear and supplied with all the hardware needed to install.
The main rods are bent to exact specifications to mimic the factory rods in your Vanagon/Transporter to return your van’s shifting to better than factory feel. These vans are getting older every day and a simple bushing replacement no longer cures all issues. With years of use also comes years of wear, corrosion, and plain abuse. Abrasion from the factory setup at the contact area for the bushings are the biggest culprit to sloppy shifting.
The grease at the factory bushings and road grit has polished the original rods, thus reducing the OD or outside diameter of the tubing. We have seen linkage rods from slightly worn to a massive reduction to OD and wear grooves from the factory bushings. We have all heard comments from friends and family, “I replaced my shifter bushing a year ago and they are loose again”. This is mainly due to worn rods, and excess slop allowing the stock approx 1″ wide contact bushing to rock back and forth prematurely, wearing these bushings. We have designed the front bushing to eliminate these issues. The new front bushing is approx 3″ long with NylonMD sleeve bearing and actual double lip seals at both ends. Only a small amount of grease in the center of the bushing is required and no other service will ever be needed. This design allows the load of the shifter rod to be spread out over a much larger area and matched with polished stainless rod; it will undoubtedly outlast the van it’s in before it will ever need to be replaced. Do it once and forget about it.
Front Rod and Accessories:
The front rod have been redesigned too. It featured a stamped and formed front shift ear bracket, due to the technology used, no heat is built up in the forming process which would anneal the material and make it softer. The kit includes new ABS plastic shifter ear tabs with the included epoxy and should make these almost indestructible. The rear portion of the front rod is where it shines most. The original front rod used a swaged spline section in conjunction with a yoke attached with a bicycle-esk clamp. Where as the clamp was designed mostly for assembly from the factory for quick and fast attachment. The problem lays in the fact these vehicles are getting older. Transmissions have been replaced, shifters have worn components, rods have worn and new items have been added through out the years. Anybody who has had to replace the bushings and adjust the shifter afterwards can tell you how much of a bear this can be. The primary adjustment is done at the splines on the factory unit; the clamp the factory used actually relied on brute force to align these two parts by putting two dimples in among the splines to positively clamp. If you wanted to rotate the shaft, these dimples make it hard to adjust without at least two people and excess foul language. We have changed it up a bit by utilizing two collars around a solid section of stainless on a smooth bore to get the grip strength but not deal with the issues of the splines. If you do the adjustment by yourself or give it to your mechanic, the new design will be greatly appreciated, with added ease and adjustability of the system.
Rear Rod :
The rear rod has one major change over the factory rod; attachment of the rear cup for the shift selector ball. This connection on the factory rod after years of use wears into the pin retaining the cup. This consists of a 6mm pin through thin walled tubing, which eventually has a shearing action which cuts the pin and creates even more slop in a imperfect system. We have tackled this by tig welding a turned piece of stainless with a much thicker wall to slow if not stop this shearing action.
The rear bushing on these vehicles actually see a lot of movement because of the bends right before the bushing. The stock bushing is a soft polymer with axial grooves for grease paths and bellows which try to mitigate ingress of water and road debris. Again, a lot of wear can be seen on this factory rod at this location and installation of a new stock bushing just gets you a little time before it wears again. So we looked at it a little differently; the body of the bushing is Delrin for excellent wear resistance inside the factory clam shell brackets. We then insert another NylonMD bushing sleeve for excellent wear resistance. A seal on the front side to mitigate debris from getting into the front side of the bearing. This bearing point is not greased, so no grease to attract grit and grime.
Midpoint Universal w/Stainless pins:
All kits will also include our Midpoint Universal which is also made of stainless steel and all new pins w/e-clips to finish it off.
This project has gone through many changes and reiterations for the last two years. I believe we have finally achieved a good balance of quality and design.