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Shifter joint replacement: a DIY by Lachlan

Let me start out by stating the impetus behind this DIY. I love to drive a manual. Having control over how the car shifts is a big part of the fun in driving for me. With that in mind, how the shifter acts is a big part of my enjoyment. I like a crisp feel to my shifter. I like to know exactly where I'm sticking it (at this point I'll remind you we're still talking about cars). That's why I've added kartboy shifter bushings front and rear and even TiC pivot bushings to my STi short shifter linkage. But even after adding these modifications there was still a pronounced wobble in the selection direction (side-to-side) which you'll see below. The culprits are worn-out bushings on the joint that connects the shifter to the transmission. There are four total bushings; you can buy these little guys separately; HOWEVER, only two are replaceable on the joint; if the two non-replaceable bushings are worn out (like on mine), you'll have to replace the whole joint. This DIY should take you under two hours.

Q: How long does this DIY take?
A: Should take under two hours

Q: What is the cost of this DIY?
A: If you do it yourself (hence DIY), $40-$50 for the shifter joint, depending on where you shop (p/n 35047AC030)

Q: What tools do I need?
Floor Jack
Jack Stands
Creeper (optional)
Light source
eye protection
gloves
3/16" punch
5/16" punch
hammer
Torque Wrench with metric sockets (17mm, 19mm)
Shifter Joint p/n 35047AC030 (or rebuild your own)
ratchet with 10mm, 12mm sockets or a 10mm and 12mm box wrench
a second 10mm and 12mm box wrench
whatever tools you need to remove your shifter trim (probably a philips screwdriver)
tape (I used electrical, you may not need it)

Q: Can I just replace the bushings to save time and money?
A: There is a separate part number for the bushings (35035FC ?). These are significantly cheaper than buying the whole joint and you would only have to follow about half the instructions here. However, There are four bushings on the joint; only two are replaceable. So if your wobble stems from the unreplaceable bushings (as it probably does if you have side-to-side wobble), replacing the other two bushings will do you little good.

Q: I have a wobbly shifter, do I have to do this DIY? What will happen if I don't?
A: No, you don't. I did it because I enjoy a solid shifter with a crisp feel. Your car will operate just fine with a wobbly joint.


CN: This mod is for those who enjoy crisp shifting and have an old, worn out shifter linkage.

Now, ON WITH THE DIY!


Here is a vid showing how sloppy my shifter was:

That's all wiggle, no selection at all (as in that's not moving it out of neutral-center). The culprit was an old warn-out joint between the shifing fork and the transmission.

I bought a new one from subarugenuineparts for $40 (p/n 35047AC030)
First thing to to is jack up your car and put it on stands. You'll need to remove the transmission cross member, so also put a jack under the tranny to support it, then unbolt it (6 bolts, 2 nuts)

Depending on your exhaust setup, you may need to remove your downpipe to get it out (I'm using a taco express 3" exhaust and I was able to squeeze it by) Since I'm not N/A I don't know how that exhaust is routed; if it's in the way, get it out of said way.

Next you'll need to get those nasty roll pins out of there. There are two, one inside the other.

Get the inside one out first with a 3/16" punch and a hammer. Punch it through and it will just fall out. Then use a 5/16" punch and hammer out the outer pin.

Now you need to go into your car. Depending on your model, you'll have a different shifter trim setup. Do what you need to to get to the shifter fork.

Take out the bolt (don't lose the bushings inside the shifter) and yank on the fork until you hear the joint separate underneath.

Go back under your car and you'll see that the joint is free from the transmission side. A little spring may have come loose; save it for reinstallation. Maneuver the joint to where you have easy access to the bolt that holds it onto the shifter fork.

Make note of the orientation of the old joint so you can put the new one in the same way. Unbolt, remove. Here's a comparison of the two joints:

You can see that the old one has a lot of wiggle room, and it looks like one of the bushings has disappeared. Take a good look at the bushings. The two at the bottom of the pic (only one is visible, the other one is directly opposite) are removable and replaceable. If these are your problem, you can replace them without replacing the whole joint. If you, like me, are having side-to-side wobble, then the problem is most likely the bushings toward the top of the picture. There is a pin through these bushings and they CANNOT BE REPLACED without replacing the whole joint.


Installation of the new joint is mostly the reverse. Make sure the shifter fork is oriented correctly; the fork is asymmetrical and won't work right if you twist it 180 degrees. Bolt in the new joint to the shifter fork. There are two ways to bolt it in, but only one right way. If you install it upside down you'll find the spring difficult to reinstall (hint, the spring goes horizontally, not vertically). Slip the opposite end of the joint over the arm coming out of the transmission so the pin holes line up. Then go into the car and reattach the fork to the shifter.

I encourage you not to install the spring until after the roll pin is in (unlike the picture I took above). If the spring is in, the holes won't line up very well. Hammer in the outer pin with your punch and hammer. The space is tight up there so to facilitate I attached the pin to the punch with electrical tape

Punch it in then do the same for the center pin. Reattach the spring, and that's it for the joint. Reassemble the tranny crossmember (51 ft lbs for the rear bolts, 103 ft lbs for the front bolts, 26 ft lbs for the tranny nuts) and the exhaust if you took it apart. You're done (unless, like me, you can never stand to fix one thing without breaking another)



*edit by mod* just to add a link to the option to rebuild your existing joint.
 

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great write up. for all those about to do this, i warn you that it is a complete pain in the ass/back/neck repair. probably the rare repair i didnt enjoy doing.

if you have a short shifter, (not the complete sti linkage, just a kartboy for example) now is a great time to make a small adjustment to reduce NVH you may be getting from it.

the fork being pulled on here needs a slight adjustment:



when you use a short shifter, the pivot point of the shifter is raised about an inch, which consequently increases the angle of the shift fork. as a result, the clearance between the middle of the shift fork and the underbody of the car is reduced, sometimes to the point where the top side of the shift fork shaft binds against it. this was causing major NVH in my car.

so while you have it pulled out, use your powerful karate chop to increase the bend of the fork, about an inch. dont worry if you crease it, this is far from being a stress/load carrying shaft. this extra bit of bend will allow the fork to clear the underbody much better and reduce NVH considerably. just be careful when banging away not to deform the fork ends (learn from my mistake).
 

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94 Impreza wagon
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208 Posts
Thanks Lachlan! I need to do this really bad...my shifter wobble is even worse than yours.

Do you know the part # for the piece you replaced?
 

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2007 FXT Sport
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4,597 Posts
That's one of the best write ups I've seen, nicely done.
Unfortunetly, for what it looks like it's worth, I'll stick with my shifter wobble cause that does look like a PITA.

And mine is wayyyyyyy worse than the OP.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's maybe 2 hours of work or so. Just depends how annoyed you are by the wobble!
 

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99 M3
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Hang on... what gear was that wobble taken in? Because if that's neutral then boy mine is fucked!
 

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00 OBS
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Thanks! For the write up and vids, Those were very excellent. I need to do this in my legacy. Only difference is, I have about twice as much slop as you do. :eek:mg:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
scooby_snacks said:
Hang on... what gear was that wobble taken in? Because if that's neutral then boy mine is fucked!
That's neutral, but like I said up top, there's no selection in that vid. If I were to select 1st/2nd, it would have gone over twice as far.
 

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'08 DGM Legacy Spec. B
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Nice write up. For those of you that are cool with your local Subaru dealer, you may be able to get that part for free since it is replaced when customers get the STI linkage (according to parts dude). My parts dude offered it to me but he couldn't find any at the time.
 

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94 Impreza wagon
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jonGF8 said:
Nice write up. For those of you that are cool with your local Subaru dealer, you may be able to get that part for free since it is replaced when customers get the STI linkage (according to parts dude). My parts dude offered it to me but he couldn't find any at the time.

hmmm....do you think you could give me his name and which dealership he works at? I'm near riverside a lot. I need to find a good dealer anyway.

-Lyle
 

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2000 2.5 RS Impreza 4 door
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The whole joint is part # 35047AC030 .

And the blue bushings are part # 35035FC000 . (according to subiedriver8)

EDIT: Damn you and your ninja edit, Carisma. Damn you.
 
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