If your gearshift lever feels like you are rattling a stick in a bucket, and you have to hunt to get your car in gear, then you probably need to replace the shift rod bushing beneath the shift lever. There is a plastic looking bushing that supports the shifter end of the shift rod that goes back through the tunnel to the transmission. Like all things in time it finally wears out and the shift rod is left being loosely supported by the bracket that once held the bushing. To replace the bushing you first remove the shift lever by unbolting the two 13mm bolts that hold it to the tunnel.
Then access the shift coupler under the inspection plate under the back seat. Remove it from the shift rod by either removing the 8 mm bolt that runs through the middle like we have here or on the older cars just loosen the 8 mm set screw that holds it to the rod.
The rod has to be removed through the front of the car. There is a plate on the front of the chassis that is held by two 10mm screws.
In the spare tire well there is a small plate that must be removed. (There is even a plate on the front apron that can be removed if you need to completely remove the rod from the car.)
With the plates removed we now go back into the car and push the rod out the front using a pair of pliers through the shifter hole.
You may need long fingers to retrieve the end of the shifter from the floor of the chassis in the front and pull it through the access hole.
Pushing it on into the spare tire well will remove it from the bushing. Or should we say bushing bracket.
There is a metal tension ring that was likely still on the rod that goes on the new bushing before it is greased and pushed into the bracket. The bracket is just a round hole pressed into a heavy piece of sheet metal. You may need a flashlight to see it clearly.
With the ring on the bushing and the inside greased you carefully snap it into the bracket. The groove should face the driver side.
Now push the shift rod back into the tunnel and retrieve the end with a wire hook .
Guide the end into the bushing.
Now just push it back with your pliers the same way you pushed it out. I usually oil the rod to make it slide through easier and then grease the end that will be working in the bushing.
Now all you have left is to put all your plates back and reinstall the coupler and the shifter. Be sure to put the shift plate on like this.
As soon as you try the shifter
I guarantee that you are going to wonder why you didn't do this sooner.
Removing the shifter and the coupler are covered in our Vol.5 transmission
replacement video or DVD.
Rick Higgins and Crew
Bug Me Video, Inc.
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