Eureka! After negotiating with VanCafe for months, they have finally managed to track down a source of the elusive Genuine VW Syncro transmission selector shaft oil seals for me.
This two-way seal is designed to keep the bunyips out of the transmission oil when crossing rivers, as well as keeping the oil in, and is far superior to the 2WD transmission seals that are routinely fitted to rebuilt, reconditioned or repaired transaxles.
This is not because mechanics are doing the wrong thing, but because the proper seal has not been available for so long that it is not even listed by VW or EKTA anymore. Most workshops have not even heard of it.
Even if your van still have the original seal fitted, it would be hard and brittle and fairly ineffective by now.
Proper seals are identified by an exterior sealing lip with a radial "bracelet" spring behind the lip. It can be seen by pulling back the rubber cover where the selector-shaft comes out of the gearbox.
Beware of seals currently sold in Australia, as they are invariably the 2WD seal which carries the same part number on EKTA as the original part.
Leaking seals can be identified by oil seepage half-way along the driver's side of the transmission, where the selector shaft lives.
I just received my new seal in the mail. It is labelled "Original VW Classic Parts" and appears to be made in Germany, and is identical to the original item.
They are very reasonably priced, and because of their small size and light weight, postage should be cheap.
I strongly recommend that everyone buys at least one of these to sit on the shelf until needed, as they are unprocurable in Australia.
Many thanks to Peter from VanCafe who went to great lengths to follow up my enquiries for a low-buck item.
You can view the item at http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_131_1245/transmission_selector_shaft_seal.html
Part number is 020 141 733D
The seal can easily be fitted in an afternoon if you have access to a hoist, pit, axle stands or high ramps to elevate the vehicle.
It's a lot easier to do it at your own convenience in the comfort of your shed, than wait until it let's go half-way up Big Red.
Or worse still, suck a few litres of the Snowy River into the innards, and find out about it when the gearbox expires halfway up The Staircase on the Deddick Track.
Thats when you find out what a bunyip sounds like. Nothing like a seal.
I followed the instructions in the workshop manual and the tips on the VanCafe page when replacing the seal.
When removing the old seal, [if you don't have an oil-seal remover], punch two perforations in the old oil-seal with a gimlet, so that you can drag it out with a hook-pick.
DON"T HAMMER A SCREWDRIVER OR GIMLET DEEPER THAN IS NEEDED TO PERFORATE THE SURFACE - A PLASTIC BUSHING SITS ABOUT 5 MM BEHIND IT!!!
Luckily I practised on my spare transaxle first.
I'll be ordering another seal to replace the one on the spare transaxle, so if anyone wants to throw in for a group purchase, I will be happy to make the order.
Let me know if you want one,
Roger [Beetle Bayley].