Short Shift Kits for your Volkswagen

by : Bill Weston

In the last two parts of this three part series, we covered a great deal of high quality, low cost, suspension upgrades.  We also covered a performance intake by Euro Sport, which added a little pep to our step, and some aggressive sound.  In Part III of our series, we’ll cover varying weighted short shift kits for the GTI and Jetta.  We’ll also have a look at  steel braided hoses for your brakes and clutch.  To start, let’s take a look at short shift kits, and what they can do for you.

No matter the age of your GTI or Jetta, there's room for improvement in that box of rocks you use for shifting. (or so it feels) If you're in a MKI or MKII Golf or Jetta, you'll want to have a look at the Euro Sport Short Shift Kit, as well as the Euro Sport Sure Shifters. A short shift kit will reduce throw by about 40%! 40%! You won't know how you lived without this after it's installed! Couple the short shift kit up with Euro Sport's Sure Shifter Kit and you'll get a much more solid feel in your throw. Prices range from about $85 - $125.

For those of you with the latest and greatest Volkswagen automobiles, y'all have to pay a little more. To get the same results, but, hopefully we're still in your price range. We'll try to keep it cheap. For MKIII's on up, Neuspeed has some fine quality engineering to offer. Neuspeed has a Short Shift Kit up to the latest MKV! Prices range from about $190 - $230, and each come pre-weighted. Installation isn't murder, but is a little time consuming. It is recommended you consult the Bentley Manual prior to this install. It will help ensure you don't break anything as you're pulling apart interior.

The last performance upgrade to be covered in our three part series is steel braided hoeses. Steel braided hoses provide more precision in braking and clutching. (those of you with a MKII & older have a clutch cable) When braking and clutching, hydraulics are used to activate the brake calipers and the clutch slave cylinder. Usually the stock lines are made of rubber braided hosing. Rubber is ok, and does the job well, but tends to expand a little when you depress the brake or the clutch. Replacing these hoses with steel braided hoses eliminates that expansion. Thus giving more precise braking and clutching. The price range on steel braided hoses runs from about $110 - $180. Two recommended purchases when changing out brake and clutch lines for steel braided hose:

Change your brake/clutch fluid to synthetic

Get Speed Bleeders

The reason behind these recommendations? Brake fluid is a consumable, and it's consumed when overheating of your brakes occur. Braking is by no means over rated, and the last thing you want to experience is a lack of it. Synthetic fluid is less susceptible to overheating, and thus likely to last longer. The boiling point of regular DOT 5.1 brake fluid is about 527? F. A synthetic brake fluid such as Motul RBF600, has a boiling point of about 593? F. The increase in boiling point slows consumption, and keeps the risk of brake fade at a distance. Bottles of Motul can be found all over, for roughly $12.00/bottle.

The Speed Bleeders recommendation comes from the stand point of convenience, and price. (est. $12.95/pair) If you have a '00 or older dub, these are a life saver when completing steel braided hose swap outs. Especially if you're doing this solo. It helps considerably to have a second person, but if one isn't available, you'll save yourself much headache with these little guys. Simply replace your existing bleeder, and manage your bleeding with a quarter turn of the Speed Bleeder. It doesn't appear as though Speed Bleeders produces their product for VW's past the year 2000 and above, yet. Installation is relatively easy, but more time consuming than anything. Consult the Bentley Manual for details on replacing brake lines, the clutch slave line, and brake bleeding. Most cars have an order in which you're suppose to bleed each of the four calipers!

With these small performance improvements you will enjoy your VW a lot more than back when your car was bone-stock.  After upgrading your car with lots of performance upgrades keep in mind that it is vital for you to improve stopping power as well with brake upgrades!  Always remember to stay safe and keep your performance modifications well-balanced.