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Old 04-17-2005, 05:25 PM   #1
Scooby Guru
Member#: 4800
Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: TXIC
Location: Houston, Tx
1990 Legacy & 97 OBS

Default Custom 5spd shifter joint bushings

I finally got around to figuring out what I was going to do to replace the stock bushings which add a fair amount of slop.

For a bit of background on the whole shifter slop issues, check out this thread


4 Nylon flanged bearings - McMaster Carr part # 6294K64
1 Box 3/8" SS button head socket cap screws - McMaster Carr part # 92949A633
1 pack 3/8" hex nut (course threads) - Purchased at Home Depot
1 pack 3/8" flat SS washers - Purchase at Home Depot
1 pack 3/8" flat nylon washer - Purchased at Lowes
1 pack 3/8" x .194" x 1/32" flat nylon washer - Purchased at Lowes
high strength red locktite

Optional: 4 bronze flanged bearings can be substituted for the nylon bearings. McMaster Carr part # 7815K19


First thing you need to do is remove the joint from the car. You need to unbolt the bottom shifter support arm, and move it out of the way. Remove the bolt holding the shifter linkage to the joint.

Next you need to remove the spring pins holding the joint to the shifter rod. There are two spring pins, a smaller inner pin, and larger outer pin. I found it easier to get at the spring pins by putting the transmission 5th gear.

There's really no easy way to get at these spring pins. You will need a set of punches....the longer the better. Start be removing the inner/smaller spring pin, and then remove the outer spring pin. Then slide the joint off.

Once you have the joint out, you will need to grind the rivot head off. Grind the small head off, not the big one. Once that is off, the joint will come apart. You will need to drill the smaller hole on the joint cage to 3/8". make sure to file all the burs away after you drill the hole. Clean everything up, put the bearings/bushings in the joint and add the thicker 3/8 nylon washer as a spacer. Slide the socket cap screw through, and tighten down the nut to test fit everything. You want to tighten things enough so there is not too much side-to-side movement, but not too tight that the joint does not move freely. If you need to add/reduce the nylon washers to remove slop, do so with the larger or smaller thickness washers.

Disassemble everything, apply grease to the bearings/bushings, joint & cage, and nylon washer. Reassemble, apply locktite to the threads before you tighten down the nut.

NOTE: The socket cap head must be on the side of the joint that faces the transmission. It should be on the side with the place to hook the centering spring.

Grease the remainging two bearings/bushings and insert them into the joint. Slide the joint back on the shifter rod of the transmission, and reinstall the spring pins. This process can be a pain, because the spring pins do not want to stay put so you can knock them back into place. I ended up fabricating my own custom punches with 1/4" round bar & a grinding wheel. I made the tip of the round bar smaller so that it slid in the center of the spring pin to hold it on the bar. This provided enough support so that the spring pin didn't slide out when I was trying to reinstall it.

I would have been at it a lot longer if I hadn't of made these:

With the joint installed, reconnect the shifter linkage to the joint. I ended up using the smaller thickness nylon washer as a spacer. You'll just need to play around with it and see what works best for your setup.

Reconnect the shifter support arm, and connect the center spring (if equipped).

That's it.


I haven't been able to drive the car yet due to it missing a front axle, but once I get the axle back in, I'll give a more thorough review after I've had some time to drive it. However from just sitting in the car and shifting, the feel is definitely more "solid". There's still a little side to side play, due to the tolerances in the bearings/bushings & bolt size, but there's nothing you can really do about that, and it's not too bad.

The only thing I might try differently is to use the bronze bearings. The reason I say that would be due to longevity. I'm not sure how the nylon will hold up. It may hold up fine. I originally chose it due to the fact it would probably not transmit NVH as much as the bronze bearings would.

Here are the pics:

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