1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup Diesel not shifting?

I could not get it into reverse for the longest time, now it goes in reverse but now it will not go into 1st or 2nd. What could this possibly be? Do I need to take the manual tranny out? Please help me out.
I took off the linkages and moved the shift lever on the tranny by hand and still could not get it into 1st or 2nd. So it cant be the linkages.

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3 Responses to 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup Diesel not shifting?

  1. Nick June 22, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    the linkage on the older vws tends to wear out and get sloppy, sometimes to the point of not being able to shift. I would try picking up a rebuild kit for the shift linkage and see if that helps.

  2. Joe June 22, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    check trans oil level.check for bent shift rods. lube up linkage

  3. James June 22, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    Like Nick said, the metal shift linkages have plastic bushings to make sure they move smoothly. Over time, the plastic wears out (sometimes even falls off entirely). You can get a rebuild kit from online suppliers like GermanAutoParts.com, or if you plan on keeping the truck for a long time, Usually Sideways Rally Team makes an awesome shift kit that is made of spherical bearings and will outlast the sheet metal in the truck. You can find them at USRT.com