Autostick (Semi-Automatic) to Standard manual transmission conversion process.

      Well, I knew it would happen someday. I didn't really expect it a week after I finally got everything working right on the Bug, however. It started innocently enough. Occasional clutch slipping, nothing too serious. Then one day, very close to my house fortunately, it just wouldn't go. I limped home very slowly. The time had come. I had been preparing for this for a while.
      The cost of autostick clutch parts are very high, two or three times that of standard clutch parts. I knew that if I needed anything more than a simple clutch disk, I was probably going to make the conversion to a 4-speed manual transmission. Needless to say, I did. Between trading, and careful buying and swapping, I was able to make the conversion for $150. Even buying all new or rebuilt parts, I could have done it for $500. The cost to simply repair the autostick and keep it were going to be around $250. The choice was simple....convert.
      A primary factor in the decision making process was the long term effects. Over time, the autostick would be more expensive. Also, many parts like the clutch servo or control valve are either very expensive, or unavailable. Come to find out too, the torque converter seal leaks a lot of the time, and I kind of got sick of that. The semi-automatic transmission, in my opinion, takes away from the very simplicity of the Beetle too, but in use, and maintenance.
Okay, enough babble. Here is my picture-less, blow by blow account of the conversion. Before you continue however, be sure you do what I the conversion article at THIS SITE....twice.
It would also help to view both the Haynes and Bentley manuals beforehand, becoming familiar with both the standard and semi-automatic transmissions.

Pull the engine. Nothing fancy. Don't get in a hurry or do anything stupid. Just pull the engine the normal way. You can visit my Engine Page for a refresher course.
Now that the engine is out, remove the control valve, ATF Tank, vacumn tank, all related hoses, and the clutch servo off the transmission. Bag all this stuff up, clean it later. If you aren't able to sell it or trade it for something, then GIVE it to some other Veedubber that has an autostick. If you just junk the stuff, the VW Gods will come down and enact justice on your engine in someway.
Use sheet metal or any other creative process you choose to cover up all the extra holes in the engine compartment that the autostick parts left. You will have four. One for the ATF fluid hoses you removed, one for the vacumn line to the servo that you removed, one for the vacumn tank nozzle that went to the control valve, and one to the ATF fluid tank. You must not leave the holes unattended or you will hamper the cooling ability of your engine.
Remove the bolts on the CV joints that connect the axles to the transmission. This is a special socket, available at most auto parts stores. You don't need to take them off on the side of the wheels. The CVs will rest on the support frame of the chassis that holds the tranny. If your CV boots are all cracked or cut and the CV joint is all dried up, then this is a good time to service them. I wasn't going to mess with the CVs at this time, so I slipped a baggie over the exposed ends.
Now go inside the car, under the back seat where the shift-rod connects to the transmission. Unscrew the setscrew, it has a square head on it. Don't lose it.
Once it's loose, move your shifter into L1 or L3 (pull it toward the back of the car). The resulting motion should pull the shift coupler clear of the transmission. If for some reason the little spring has remained connected to the shift coupler after all these years, you might need to remove it. I looks like a brake return spring.
Now, use your floor jack and a small piece of wood or something and support the transmission. The two very large bolts on the ends of the support frame are 27mm, take them off. Later, you can separate this piece from the transmission. Now remove the two nuts that hold the front of the transmission to the frame. On my car, these were 17mm. Take note of the transmission ground strap that will be hanging off the tranny around there, it will need to come loose. Loosen whichever side is easier to get to. Remove all wire connections. On the semi-automatic tranny you will have several. Eventually you can probably cut some of the wiring out, but for now just band them all together or something. Now pull the tranny out. It's kind of heavy, and you will be in an awkward position, but it's not that hard.
Give everything a general clean-up, reorganize your tools. Double-check the steps you have done so far, have a hamburger. Wash your hands because now you're going inside the car.
Remove the shift coupler from the shift rod. Remove the shifter assembly (shifter, stop plate, spring, boot). Under the front of your car, in the trunk and around the apron, will be various plates that need to be removed. You will be sliding the shift rod out through the front of the car. Consult your manual here if you need, under shift rod replacement. Once you have removed all of the shift rod plates and covers, (3 on my '69) slide out the shiftrod. Some cars may need a new shift rod, some may not. Mine was the correct length. Bring your shiftrod to your favorite VW Air-cooled parts supplier and have them take a look to be sure. While you're there, pick up a new shift rod bushing, and a coupler if yours looks worn.
Remove the pedal assembly. Take care not to damage the accelerator cable. Now your car should be completely devoid of autostick parts.
If your car does not have the clutch tube in it, read on. If it does, skip to STEP 13. you need a clutch tube.....yippee. Then it's time to cut the tunnel. Using the pictures and information you have see at Matt Claydon's Website, your manuals, and no doubt some of John Henry's work as well, you should have a chart, or at least a good idea of where to cut the holes in the tunnel.
It's a good idea to remove the passenger seat now, as you will be cutting the holes on the passenger side of the tunnel. By my best estimate, the right hand side of the first hole should be about three inches back from the edge of the pedal assembly hole. Imagine a rectangle that begins there and goes back about six inches. Drill the top two corners with a new, 1/2 inch drill bit. You can get by with smaller, as long as the blade for your jigsaw fits in the holes. Once you have the top two corners drilled, use your jigsaw to cut from hole to hole, then from each hole down to the floor pan. About two inches of uncut tunnel should remain before your jigsaw won't allow anymore movement. Now you have a big flap of metal that you can just bend down. Perform the same task in a spot at the back of the emergency brake. Again, hopefully you have seen the websites I have mentioned and have an idea what I'm talking about. Maybe someday I'll add some pics, but not now.
    Through the front hole you have cut in the passenger side of the tunnel, you will be able to see the bracket where your clutch tube will rest. In the hole behind the e-brake, you won't see much of anything really. One thing is neat. With all the stuff out of the tunnel, and all these holes, you get a real feel for what goes on in there. You'll be able to see where the shift bushing goes, you'll see the accelerator tube, and in general you'll uncover the secret mysteries of the VW tunnel.
You will need to drill a hole at the back of the car for the clutch tube. Again, use the pictures on those other web pages, but essentiallly it's between the accelerator tube and the tranny access hole. You can wait on this step if you want, and drill it after you have fitted the clutch tube.
Find and fit a clutch tube. You need to find a steel tube with about a 3/8 inch outside diamter. It wouldn't hurt to go ahead and buy a clutch cable at this point so you can see just exactly what is supposed to go inside the steel tube. Somewhere out there, these tubes exist. You may have to bend or curve it slightly. The idea is, you should be able to feed it into the tunnel and it will rest on the bracket at the front near the pedal assembly, and still exit out the back of the car at the appropriate position. You are also supposed to fashion a brack of sorts at the spot behind the e-brake (you were wondering why we cut there weren't you?). Once you have positioned this clutch tube, you should now see where the hole at the back of the car needs to be drilled. That 1/2 inch drill bit you used earlier should still be plenty sharp enough for this task. Once the tube is positioned correctly, you can tack weld it in there with a stick welder or some other kind of welder.
BUT......before you do, put the shift rod back in and make sure the two don't interfere with each other. Also, it's best not to cut the tube too short at the back of the car yet because you don't know exactly how far it will need to stick out. Once the tube is fitted correctly and does not interfere with the shift rod, weld it in.
You'll need to weld it at the front where it lays in the bracket. You'll need to weld the bracket to the tube, and then the bracket either to the side of the tunnel, or the bottom of the tunnel. Finally, there is a spot you should be able to weld as the tube exits the car.

The following information can be damaging to VW purists or to anyone opposed to imperfection !
If you happend to catch my earlier drift, I said that "somewhere" these tubes exist, referring to the clutch tubes. I couldn't find one. I wasn't about to drive all over town to every industrial metal company and explain what I was doing and what I needed. Additionally, I wasn't prepared to rent a welder, or wait for my neighbor to have time to do it. He helped me patch my floor pans, and I had to wait around for him to have time. I wasn't that patient this time. I put the creative juices to work trying to find an alternative solution. Here is what I came up with. REMEMBER, the holes in the tunnel are cut. I can go in at any time and weld in a steel tube. Instead, however, I picked up an eight foot piece of copper pipe. Not copper tubing, copper pipe. Nice and rigid, but I could still put the slight bend in I would need. Once I had positioned the pipe, I used three metal clamps (heavy duty hose clamps) to secure it. In the big area behind the e-brake, I used a stout metal hose clamp to secure the tube to the existing accelerator tube. I also used one under the back seat before the pipe exists the chassis, and in front by the accelerator cable. This baby is tight and will probably never let go. As mentioned, if it gives me too much grief, I can always slide the copper out and weld in steel.
A note. I'm really not into just rigging whatever works. But this was a practical solution to the problem that is invisible once everything is put back together. Keep in mind I was doing the entire conversion on my own and this was the only thing holding me back.
Once you have the clutch tube in, fold up the metal flap behind the emergency brake. Wait until the clutch cable is in and the pedal assembly is back together before folding up the other one, it's much easier to put the cable in with access from the other side. You can seal these area's with silicone or seam sealer later, and tack weld them if you went with the welding route. They will be covered by padding and carpet anyway.
For those of you with clutch tubes installed already, thanks for rejoining us. At this point our cars have no autostick parts. Assuming you have collected all the replacement parts....lets start re-assembly. First, install your shift rod with its new bushing and coupler, use plenty of grease. Don't forget to put all those cover plates back on at the front of the car. Go ahead and fasten the shift coupler to the rod, if for no other reason that to keep it from getting lost. Mount the new shifter assembly, but only snug down those 13mm bolts. You'll probably need to adjust them later. Grease up your new clutch cable and slide it into the clutch tube through the hole the pedal assembly goes into. We'll be bolting up the pedal assembly later, for now just keep it laying on the floorboard.
Before we bolt up that tranny, lets talk about the engine modifications that must be done. Only a few items. Number one, you must change the oil pump to a standard (non-autostick) oil pump. You can take this opportunity to put in a heavy duty oil pump or some external oil cooling product, but a regular $20 oil pump at least must be put in. You will also need to remove the autostick driveplate from the engine and replace it with a real flywheel. You will need a new main oil seal...'cause it makes sense since you have it apart, a new gland nut, flywheel, and flywheel shims. You'll need to set the crank end play, or at least have it done for you when bolting these items on.
Finally you will need to bolt up the new clutch disk, and clutch cover (pressure plate). You need to use a clutch pilot tool to keep the clutch disk aligned with the gland nut while you tighten down the clutch cover.
Remember you must choose a clutch cover based on the kind of throwout bearing your transmission uses. Be sure and have the correct pressure plate installed while you are there. If you have not gotten a tranny yet, do not bolt on a clutch cover.

You will also need to plug the extra vacumn holes on the carb and the big one on the intake manifold. You will have at least one more hole in your engine tin where the ATF fluid line used to go that you need to plug. Now your engine is ready, put it aside until you need it.
Special Note: Those of you that installed their own clutch tubes will probably need to shorten the tube once the tranny is in, so you can size it up for the Bowden tube. This is really hard to get to with a hacksaw once the tranny is in. You will need a small tubing cutter. If you don't have one. then just test fit the tranny so you can determine the proper length of the clutch tube. Slide the tranny back out and cut the tubing. Don't cut it too short!. More on the Bowden tube in step 16.
To mount your transmission, you will need new transmission mounts. A large single piece for the front, and the two smaller pieces at the rear. That support bracket that used the big 27mm bolts...remember that? You should have taken it off the old autostick tranny and cleaned it up. If for some reason those rubber transmission mounts were fairly new you can use them, but otherwise just bolt on new ones. Bolt the new front mount onto the tranny nosecone and tighten them up. Bolt the new rear mounts onto the tranny and the support bracket, keep all the tranny mount bolts kind of loose until the tranny is mounted.
If you are going to have reverse lights hooked up, locate the plug in your wiring harness, and the appropriate place on your transmission. Make a note to get those two together during assembly.
Now lift that heavy sucker up and slide it into position. You have to get it over the frame forks, through the CV joints and mate it up with the bolts on the chassis. While you are juggling this big heavy thing, you also have to feed transaxle shaft into the hole in the body. It's not has bad as it sounds. It should now be nearly in position. Tighten the nosecone mount to the chassis first, but not quite all the way. DON'T FORGET THE TRANSMISSION GROUND STRAP !!. Get those big 27mm monsters going in their holes, then go ahead and tighten the front bolts all the way. Now tighten the 27mm bolts all the way. TADA...the tranny is in.
Before you do anything else, get inside the car and make sure you can slip the shift coupler onto the transxle shaft. You can even snug it down with the little setscrew if you like. If that all lines up, you can go back under the car and finish up. For starters, tighten up those transmission mount bolts we left loose earlier. Now reattach those CV joints that have been hanging around. You may need to put on the emergency brake to keep them from turning while you tighten.
Now the fun part. For those whose cars had a clutch tube already, slip the Bowden tube over the clutch cable and secure it to the transmission. If you installed your own clutch tube then you will need to cut the tube to fit. You need to have about a one inch bend in the bowden must remain with a bend in it. Do not cut it too short! Cut it down so that after slipping on the Bowden tube and inserting the tube into the mount on the transmission, the Bowden tube should have about a one inch bend in it. It will usually need to be cut 2 or 3 inches from the body/chassis. The only way you can get back there is with a small tubing cutter. I have a small tubing cutter and knew I could reach in there and cut it so I went ahead and bolted the tranny right up. If the clutch tube you have chosen is too large for the Bowden tube to fit over, then you may have to use some sort of coupling piece....use your imagination....go to Home Depot. Slide the Bowden tube over the cable and into the bracket on the tranny. Do not put the wingnut on the clutch cable at this time.
Now that the tranny is in, go ahead and tighten up that shift coupler if you haven't already. It's also time to make sure the clutch cable is attached to the Pedal Assembly. Loop the clutch cable around the clutch arm on the pedal assembly and mount the pedal assembly to the tunnel. Take care not to allow the clutch pedal to flop backward and lose the loop on the cable.
Just an added note here. On the floor board where the pedal assembly goes, should be a bolt and some kind of bracket. If you find that after you bolt up the pedal assembly your clutch pedal wants to keep falling backwards, you will need to modify that bracket or create a new one.
NOW you can put that wingnut on the clutch cable and snug it up a bit. Everything should be ready to go. Pedal assembly, clutch cable, shift rod, coupler, transmission....all should be done. Time to put the engine back in.
The only thing to bother talking about here is the engine bolts. Mine were all the wrong size once I converted. Get a correct set of engine bolts and put the engine back. I thought it was a little harder to put the engine back in than on the autostick because you have to line up the tranny shaft with the hole in the clutch cover. All it all though, without all the extra hoses and wires the autostick had, it was kind of nice. Bolt that sucker up. You may have put the starter on with the tranny, if not, put it on now and hook up the wires.
Your autostick starter will work on your manual transmission, some say it's even better.
There is a whole wad of extra wires from the autostick, be sure they are bundled up and out of the way.
Put on the rear wheels, reattach the battery cable if you remembered to disconnect it, lower the car, and roll it out of the garage, or at least roll it back a couple of feet to settle the car. Sit in the drivers seat and push in the clutch cable. Get a feel for the cable. You can reach the clutch cable wingnut from under the car without jacking it up. It's probably too early to make an adjustment at this time. Now, start the car. Your shifter is probably not adjusted correctly yet, so be sure and push in the clutch pedal. Since your battery is probably dead from sitting so long, get out of the car and hook up a charger or jumper cables. NOW start the car, clutch pedal in.
Even though your shifter may need adjusting, you'll wanted to get the clutch pedal/cable adjusted first and get that out of the way. Slowly let out the clutch to see if you are in a gear or not. If not, push the clutch pedal in and move the shifter forward, you are bound to get into either 1st or 3rd. Now, slowly let out the clutch cable until you feel/hear the engine revs slow down and possible feel the car move a little. Depending on how much movement you had in the pedal, you might need to turn the wingnut in some more, or back it out. Your goal here is to make sure that when the pedal is pushed in, it disengages the clutch, while also maintaining that the wingnut isn't so tight the clutch disk is partially disengaged at all times.
At this point, hopefully your engine is still running smoothly, and that you made any wingnut adjustments before the engine got too hot. If you can get into all four gears, and reverse is locked out unless you push down, then you are done. Go drive! For the rest of you, you will need to play with the shifter adjustment until you can get all four gears, while still having reverse be locked out. I won't even begin to try and tell you what way the shift plate should go, I struggled with that, but I knew that when I had to push down to get into 3rd, it was backwards. You have to remember to think backwards when adjusting the shift plate. Since the shifter works on the lever principle, any adjustement to the right, will affect left movement, and vice-versa. It took me about two hours. I kept the engine running and the clutch in. Loosen the shifter, adjusted, try the gears, repeat. I finally made some physical modification to the stop plate, allowing it to scoot over to the right about 1/8 more and that fixed it.
ENJOY !! I've been driving mine now for nearly a year. I really love it. Sometimes I miss the autostick. It really had a neat feel, but with the standard I get better gas mileage, lower rpm's at top speed, and real peace of mind that the autostick just could not give me. I am glad I had the chance to drive and own the autostick. But as the years go on, the numbers weigh heavily against owning one, or at least maintaining one economically.

This blow-by-blow account is meant to relate my experiences, and suppliment what you have seen/heard on other websites, and your manuals. I wouldn't use it as your only source of info, though that applies to nearly everything. Because these cars have been around so long, there is a vast amount of experience out there, as well as bogus info. Use as many sources as you can find, and take the most common responses as your solution. Good luck.