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Write-up: Shift lever replacement [pics]

Hi all,

Today I finally replaced my shift lever to get rid of the sloppyness and tighten things up. I know there's already several threads about this , but I figured pictures never hurt...

I started with this...


I pried out the plastic retainer frame with my fingers, as a screw driver may snap the damn piece. It's easiest to start on the front side and work to the back.
Underneath the boot you'll find a confirmation that the car in fact IS 20+ years old; deteriorated foam looks like a little rat's nest.
.

Now look at the base of the shift knob. Pry the metal clip off the shift lever. This lets you slide the knob and boot assembly off the lever. Now the lever is exposed that I was about the swap. The rubber grommets hold the shift knob in place and reduce vibrations from the tranny.


Now pry the e-clip off the end of the 'branch' that comes off the shift lever. It will jump away, so don't make any attempts to catch it while prying off. Luckily, there was no way to go for Mr. Clip, since it just landed on the foam. I wasn't going to re-use it, but for any of you that will, make sure it can't go anywhere.
Now slide the shift rod (the black piece that goes back to the tranny) off the lever. There is a concave washer in between the rod and the lever, so make sure not to lose it.
Look down...The shift lever is bolted down with 2 13mm bolts. Undo these and take the lever out of the car. It should be snapped in a white plastic bushing, which might come out in pieces. Mine was still in one piece though, but very deformed. Also, the base that holds the lever down should come out with the bushing and lever.
I was going to replace all hardware, but I needed the black metal base plate that bolts the lever in the car. So I just took a pair of pliers and snapped the damn bushing off, since it's snapped on very tight. It broke right away and you could tell it had become brittle over age.

If you look at the 2 levers, there doesn't seem to be much wear. The only obvious thing was that the groove for the e-clip was significantly wider on the used lever. This definitely contributes to the sloppyness of the shifter.


I did re-use the 2 little rubber grommets, so I swapped these over to the new shift lever. Now the frustrating part...Getting the new lever in the new white bushing. This is a VERY tight fit and you have to be careful not to crack the new bushing during assembly. I only had one, so I needed to be careful. At first, I just tried to snap it on, using a flat surface and my body weight. But after several attemptsI didn't feel very secure and in my visions I already saw my new bushing shattered in 1000 pieces in a millisecond. From what I've read in another topic, it helps to put the bushing in hot water for a couple of minutes. Well, let me tell you...THAT did the trick. It snapped right in place with little effort. Now you only have to make sure to put the metal base in between the two before assembly, otherwise it has to come loose and you can do it again. Ask me how I know...doh!

Assembly is a piece of cake.
Bolt the lever back in the car, using the 2 13mm bolts and washers you just loosened, slide the new concave washer on the shift 'branch', slide the blac shift rod on the 'branch' and secure with a new e-clip.


In my case, I replaced the shift pattern with a new one and cleaned up the boot a bit. Here's the end result!


And it all happened inside this car...



Well, in the last couple of years I mainly took and never gave, so I hope this write-up with pictures was helpful.
Now I only need to find time to install the short shift kit, that's been sitting around for weeks...

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Old 01-06-2008, 04:11 PM
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Good write up and excelent pics.
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Old 01-06-2008, 04:24 PM
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Good Job! It's always nice to get a project done (I have a few on my list). Great pics too.
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:40 PM
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Atta boy! way to contribute to society! nice write up on a job that i need to do.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:27 PM
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Nice write up. I just did this job too a few weeks back. My old shift lever post was cone shaped, not pretty like yours.
One thing you forgot to mention is to put a little bearing grease on the post, and on the ball under the (!!@*&:/%) white bushing before sliding the tranny shaft on and bolting it down. It will keep it smooth and help keep the wear down over the years.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:08 AM
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Nice job
I did the same thing about 6 mos. ago & installed a momo knob.
It definately has a better feel than the stock knob & is WAY lighter.
The only drawback is more drivetrain vibration is felt in it due to less weight to dampen it.
Does anybody have any experience installing the short shift kit?
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:45 AM
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where can i buy these rubbers?!

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Old 10-13-2008, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by looneybin View Post
Does anybody have any experience installing the short shift kit?
After just changing the transmission, I have had that part of the shift linkage out. The shift rod that comes from the shifter ends above the transmission and the shift linkage assembly is connected to it by sliding into the end of the shifter rod and held together by a set screw. There was a rubber sheathing that was stretched over mine that was difficult to slide off to access the screw (and 10x more difficult to get back on). There's another set screw that holds the lever connected to the shift linkage to the selector shaft on the transmission. Mine was stuck pretty good and needed a puller to work it free from the selector shaft. There's also a pivoting brace about 6 in. long that attaches to the end of the shift linkage and is bolted to the transmission. Undo all three of these and the shift linkage is out. Installation of the short shift linkage should be the reverse of removal of the stock one. From what I can tell from pictures, the short shift linkage uses a shorter lever arm for the selector shaft to shorten the throw. There might be some readjusting required, but the only thing I noticed that looked adjustable, at least on the stock part, is where the sidways pivoting brace bolts to the linkage assembly.

While on the subject, the other thing that contributes to shifter slop is the plastic part at the end of this shift linkage that connects the linkage rod to the selector shaft lever. It is the part inside the 4 #21 rubber grommets in the diagram. There was no obvious way to replace it without replacing the entire assembly from what I could tell. Or maybe there was a circlip under all the rust.


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Old 10-13-2008, 05:58 PM
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If you are serious about removing slop from your shifter, do this:

http://www.dietersmotorsports.com/tech/tech-july-03.htm

It will make an AMAZING difference in how tight your shifter handle is, and it only will cost you ~$5.00.

Do it with a short shift kit and it will seem like a whole new car!!

Cheers,

Keith
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:33 PM
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missed this by a few seconds. thanks!
Old 10-14-2008, 10:17 AM
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Is your radio out of a 986/996?
Old 10-15-2008, 06:10 PM
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Thanks for posting the photos. I just picked up a 1984 944 and this is going to be my first project with the car and the photos are going to be of great help.
Old 11-10-2008, 03:31 PM
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It says you need to rerove the transaxle. $5.00 maybe but it looks like a lot of work.
Old 11-10-2008, 04:53 PM
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