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Under the rear coupling on the shift lever on my 73 Ghia there is a spring attached to a tab which is attached to the floor pan. The other end of the spring is attached to nothing. I don't appear to need that spring for anything but should it be attached to something?
 

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67 Bug. 2275cc, 10.1:1, 48IDA,Eagle2242Cam,2300Lb clutch, 3.85 diff. Lowered,roll bar, 5pt, swaybars
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You are talking about the end of the shaft that has a U-joint attached and is under the rear seat, right?

On the end of the shaft is a U-joint which has a U shaped coupling that has a bolt that goes through it. The factory bolt has a custom head which has a hole that you hook the spring to. The spring pulls down on the bolt head, which applies a counter-clockwise tension on the shaft (when looking forward), which puts a small tension on the shift lever holding it toward the right (3rd and 4th gears).

If someone lost the original bolt which had the head with a hole, they may have replaced it with a normal bolt which has no place to hook the spring.
 

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67 Bug. 2275cc, 10.1:1, 48IDA,Eagle2242Cam,2300Lb clutch, 3.85 diff. Lowered,roll bar, 5pt, swaybars
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130 Posts
It is best if you find the right bolt and reattach the spring as it was designed.

It may be very difficult to find one of these bolts near term so you can try a simple solution:
Get a ~1" diameter fender washer at a home supply store that has a hole that just fits the existing bolt (maybe 5/16" hole).
Drill a small hole about a 1/16" near the edge.
Bend the washer, about the middle, between the edge and edge of middle hole, to ~90 degrees (an L bend), with the little hole in the center of the bend.
Install the washer under the head of the bolt so the bend sticks outward from the shaft. This will give you a surface that sticks out from the bolt head that you can hook the spring to.
Check for clearance between the chassis inspection hole, the shaft U-joint and cover plate while moving the shifter lever around.
While this might work it is still a good idea to keep your eyes open for the correct bolt that has the extended head and hole for the spring. A transmission shop that handles vintage VWs may have a bunch of these just sitting around.
 
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