Cable Shifter

PBS Engineering Cable Shifters

Finally, a mid-engine cable shifter that eliminates the stress and vulnerability of the VW Nose Cone, yet provides the same positive feel of the original factory unit.

The shifter is made of 356 T6 cast aluminum and features a spring loaded reverse lockout built into the cover. It comes complete with everything except the cables which you custom order to fit your application. It can be installed with ordinary hand tools without dismantling your transmission.


The VW Mounting Adapter bolts onto the rear plate of the shifter cover. The two holes on the bottom will pick up the stock VW nose cone mounting tab on the frame.

The plate is 3/8″ steel and the two holes are tapped for mounting. Mounting hardware is included.


The top plate has two holes, this will allow the simple mounting of a cover or shift boot if desired The mounting side has slotted holes that will accept 3/8 bolts. The cables now are located on the underside of the upper plate making for a neater installation of the cables.

Rear cover inside, Cover rear view

PBS Cable Shifter Installation Instructions

Download and print PDF instructions

It is designed for use with any Type 1, 2D or 3D transmission. The shifter kit consists of a cockpit mounted shift handle assembly, a rear cable mounting bracket and the transmission mounted rear cover assembly. These units are connected by two each, ¼ inch, flexible, push-pull cables which are not included with the kit.

The PBS shifter cover assembly replaces the stock VW nose cone. The shifter cover is mounted to the transmission using the 7mm bolts supplied with the kit.

The rear cable mounting bracket mounts on the transmission with the top two studs which fasten the bearing carrier to the main case.

The bracket extends toward the axles.

In order to make reverse work with the PBS cable shifter, it is necessary to modify the VW reverse shift rail. This can be done with a handheld die grinder and a 3” abrasive cut off wheel.

With the cover removed to expose the 3 shift rails, put one of the 7mm cover mounting bolts in the bottom center hole in the transmission bearing carrier. Lay a straight edge along the side of this bolt and tangent to the upper shift rail as shown in Figure A.

The reverse rail fork must be cut back to this line. Be certain that the reverse rail has been cut off as shown in the figure. If it is too long, it will bind on the shift finger. If it is too short, the shift finger may slip out of the fork.

The bearings should be covered with duct tape to keep debris out of them while you are cutting. Clean away all metallic and abrasive dust after cutting. Remove the rest of the original 7mm studs in the bearing carrier and you are ready for a trial assembly.

With the transmission in neutral the groove in the 3 shift rails should all be in line with each other so that the shift finger can move vertically from one rail to the next. Rotate the shift finger in the PBS cover assembly so that it points out toward the transmission at about a 45º angle. Slip the finger into the groove of one of the shift rail forks as you install the cover assembly. Use 2 or 3 of the 7mm bolts to secure the cover assembly to the transmission.

At this point, the shift shaft in the PBS cover should move freely up and down between the 1st / 2nd and 3rd / 4th shift rails by rocking the cover mounted bell crank. You should also be able to push the shift shaft all the way down against the 25 lb. reverse lockout spring and engage the reverse shift rail with the shift finger. (You can press down on the shaft with the palm of your hand).

Engage all four forward gears and reverse one at a time by rotating the shift shaft with its top lever. It may be necessary to rotate the axles a little to allow engagement in the various gears. With the shift shaft down against the reverse spring, but not deflecting the spring, rotating the lever clockwise will engage 1st gear and counterclockwise for 2nd gear. Return the shift lever to center (neutral) and then lifting the shift shaft to its upper limit will allow engagement of 3rd gear with clockwise or 4th gear with counterclockwise rotation.

With the shaft depressed to the bottom of its travel against the reverse lockout spring, rotating the shift shaft lever counterclockwise will engage reverse gear. When the shifting action of the cover assembly has been verified, the cover can be removed, sealed with an appropriate gasket sealer and reinstalled with all of the 7mm bolts.

The cockpit mounted shifter handle assembly is designed to be bolted in to any chassis. However the shift handle / cable mounts distance & orientation are maintained. After bolting the shift lever assembly to the chassis and the rear cable bracket & cover assembly to the transmission, measure the distance between the front and rear cable anchoring points (not rod ends) with a piece of rope or wire following along the path the cables will be routed through the car.

The cable that attaches to the shifter handle goes to the shift lever on the rear cover and the other will go to the bell crank. Avoid tight bends for best results. Measure the rope length for each cable and add 15 1/4 ” to the length measured. Round up the resulting dimension to the nearest inch for each cable. This will be the overall length of the cables needed.

PBS recommends:
Control Cables, Inc.
9816 Alburtis Ave. Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670 (562) 949-0455.

These will be Cablecraft push-pull cables. Specify a 1/4 inch cable with threaded bulkhead style mounts on both ends with a 3” stroke. Note that the length includes the complete cable assembly except for the rod ends which will be screwed onto the cable ends (they are supplied with the kit). These cables can usually be made up within one day and shipped UPS to any destination.

At this point, the cables can be installed and adjusted for length. Lengths can be altered by adjusting either the cable housing mounting nuts or by adjusting the rod ends on the cable ends. The shifter handle can be set to a comfortable upright position. Moving it forward and backward should engage 1st and 2nd gears and moving the shifter handle to the right for 3rd and 4th gears respectively.

With the shift handle back in neutral position move it hard to the left (against the reverse spring) and it will allow the lever to be pulled back to engage reverse. Remember that the axles may need to be rotated to allow engagement of the various gears. At this point, tighten all of the cable locknuts and rod end jam nuts and your PBS cable shifter installation is complete!