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sloppy shifter fix (honda factory kit)

Old 19-Oct-2005, 02:07 PM
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DIY sloppy shifter fix (honda factory kit)

I did some work on a 97 LX the other day for a friend. When driving it to my place i noticed it had the sloppiest shifter I have ever felt in a Honda. It moved side to side in gear so much you couldn’t tell it if it was actually in gear or in neutral. The owner never mentioned anything about it, I’m assuming she was used to it and thought it was normal.

I went to Honda and bought a shifter bushing "kit" its all factory parts and comes as a kit.

New nut and bolt

2 new rubber seals

2 new bushing sleeves

1 new bushing insert spacer (with the grooves for the o rings)

and 4 new rubber o rings to complete the bushing assy.


The easiest way to complete this job is to remove the whole shifter extension rod and assembly (with shift leaver still attached to the extension rod) from the vehicle. I found this out after struggling under the car only to find out the bushing has to be pressed into the lever. So remove the whole assy from the car.

Start by removing the shift **** from the lever inside the car. and the console with the shift boot (6 screws)

Next take a 12 mm or 14mm (forget which one) wrench and remove the bolt that holds the extension rod to the tranny housing ( the one on the right with the big rubber bushing...not the shift linkage)

Then go to the shift lever and spray the hell out of the bolt with some liquid wrench, the rust build-up is bad there, being exposed to the elements and exhaust heat. remove the through bolt.

Next remove the 2 bolts that are holding the extenion mount cushion bracket to the underside of the car.

Remove the whole assy from under the vehicle being careful not to rip the dust boot attaching from the inside of the car... just poke your finger up in there it will pop right out.

Take the assy to your work bench and push out the old bushing and clean the inside of the lever well, making sure all the leftover plastic sleeve is all out of there, its probably in a million pieces so take the extra time to be sure its all out.

Next lay the lever flat on the bench and tap in the new sleeves ( silicone lube will help the process) try using a wooden mallet to avoid damaging the sleeves.

Next slip the new o rings onto the new bushing spacer and lube them well with silicone lube or Vaseline only... other oils may damage the rubber. The silicone will proved longer protection than the Vaseline.

Press the insert with the orings into the lever sleeve with a vice. Its good practice to put wood between the vice and the parts to avoid damage.

Now what I did to stiffen the bushing on the front of the rod, (I could of bought a new bushing or ES kit, but I forgot so this worked just as well because there’s no serious load on it) was wrap electrical tape around it to tighten it up... just pop it out with the but end of a screwdriver and wrap around the inside of the bushing with tape.. then pop it back in, if its still loose, wrap more tape.

Next is to reinstall it back onto the car. I find its easier to put the shifter up through the car (carefully so not to rip any boots or dust seals) then attach the forward end of the extension rod...Then the 2 bolts holding the extension mount cushion bracket.

Next is the tricky part, make sure your shifter is facing the right way, then set the rubber seals on the lever bushing ends. The trick here is lots of lube on those seals otherwise you will never get them to stay on while you slide it onto the shift linkage. With lots of patients and dropping the seals a few times, you will get the bolt holes to line up. Put new bolt on and tighten the new nut to about snug ( its a nylon locking nut so it doesn’t have to be tight)

Go into the car put the dust cap back in place install the console and shift ****.....throw a few shifts, if it feels too tight go back under and loosen your new nut and bolt... if to loose tighten the bolt. play with the tightness of the nut and bolt until you get the right shift feel that you like.

Go for a boot and enjoy your new factory feel shifter! I couldn’t believe the difference... (EDIT : the ES kit does not replace any of this except the bushing i told you to put tape on, so do this kit with or before or INSTEAD of the ES kit)

oh yah total cost of the kit is 41$$ after tax and a few hours of your time.

see alwaysoverkills pic below for a better idea of what your doing.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 03:02 PM
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nice write-up.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 06:06 PM
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I just reinstalled my OEM shifter back into my car and I also bought the kit you speak of. The shifts are longer now, but much smoother then before. I noticed that the O-rings in my OEM shifter were worn/dried out, so I got the kit. I also replaced the rubber boot that civers the "ball" part of the shifter because my was torn and all stretched out. It was a very easy install too. Basic tools and a flor jack.

The ES bushings are unrelated to the kit though. The urethane ES bushings replace different rubber OEM parts that can also wear out. I have the ES parts also and I think they just make the shifters firmer by removing any movement from the entire shifter assembly.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 06:08 PM
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It wouls also be a god investment if you are using a B&M shifter. The B&M shifters reuse some of the OEM parts.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 09:51 PM
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energy suspension is about $30 for the polyurethane kit though, but good write-up.

can all shifters be adjusted to feel stiffer by adjusting the bolt you mentioned? my skunk2 feels very easy like hot knife in butter, i'd actually like alittle stiffer.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 10:00 PM
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Do you guys have the part# for the OEM factory bushing "kit"???
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 10:08 PM
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Originally posted by alwaysoverkill
energy suspension is about $30 for the polyurethane kit though, but good write-up.

can all shifters be adjusted to feel stiffer by adjusting the bolt you mentioned? my skunk2 feels very easy like hot knife in butter, i'd actually like alittle stiffer.
yes you can stifen the movement by tightenting the bolt to your likings.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 10:11 PM
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I don't have the part #, but if you ask at the parts counter, they'll know what it is.
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Old 19-Oct-2005, 10:16 PM
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Originally posted by DumbasSi
The ES bushings are unrelated to the kit though. The urethane ES bushings replace different rubber OEM parts that can also wear out. I have the ES parts also and I think they just make the shifters firmer by removing any movement from the entire shifter assembly.

Good point, your right... come to think of it i installed my es kit on my own car with an after market shifter ...one with an abec bering instead of the oring bushing... I guess the es kit is kinda bogus with an OEM shifter, cuz the only bushing that really makes a difference is the one at the bottem of the shifter which isnt included in the kit. and the front bushing can be stiffened with some trusty old electrical tape
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Old 20-Oct-2005, 09:12 AM
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My shifter right now is extremely sloppy, so from what I get from this, people are saying it is best to buy the OEM shifter Kit and not the Energy Suspension Shifter bushings? It seems like the Energy Suspension once just re-inforce or tighthen the existing bushings.

What do you guys recommend I do OEM Kit or ES Kit? I have a stock shifter by the way
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Old 20-Oct-2005, 10:14 AM
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Originally posted by Moe_Mentum
My shifter right now is extremely sloppy, so from what I get from this, people are saying it is best to buy the OEM shifter Kit and not the Energy Suspension Shifter bushings? It seems like the Energy Suspension once just re-inforce or tighthen the existing bushings.

What do you guys recommend I do OEM Kit or ES Kit? I have a stock shifter by the way

the es wont fix the side to side slop, get the oem kit. but since your under there with access to the others why not to the es kit also for an extra dramatic change
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Old 20-Oct-2005, 10:26 AM
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Yeah I guess, but then that will lead to other things like "Why not Get a short Shifter" Then after that.. why not Stick I twin turbo on .. I already have her on the jack.

But the OEM kit + the ES kit would be like $80 or so .. think its worth it?
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Old 20-Oct-2005, 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by BoOsTd
the only bushing that really makes a difference is the one at the bottem of the shifter which isnt included in the kit. and the front bushing can be stiffened with some trusty old electrical tape
Which bushing are you talking about, right now i have the ES kit and its pretty firm mbut there is still some slop i'd like to get rid of.
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Old 20-Oct-2005, 10:57 AM
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Originally posted by alwaysoverkill


Which bushing are you talking about, right now i have the ES kit and its pretty firm mbut there is still some slop i'd like to get rid of.
it comes with every little part pictured at the bottem of the shift lever orings bushings ect...including the nut and bolt pictured to the right... its a nice kit, it reuses NONE of the old parts





BTW tnx for the pic... Im going to edit my write up with the proper part names to make it match the pic for easier use.
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Old 20-Oct-2005, 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by Moe_Mentum
Yeah I guess, but then that will lead to other things like "Why not Get a short Shifter" Then after that.. why not Stick I twin turbo on .. I already have her on the jack.

But the OEM kit + the ES kit would be like $80 or so .. think its worth it?

The OEM kit is def wort every penny. but im hesitant towards the ES kit, cuz like i said before you can stiffen the front "extention" bushing with electrical tape (it sounds ghetto, but beleive me it works well) theres no safety at risk or load on it like a suspension bushing the only uther bushing the es kit comes with is the extention mount cusion, they funny looking one which generally stays pretty firm anyway...

The only reason i installed the es kit on my own car is because it came with my Master kit....


personally i would do the OEM kit first, then if your not completely satisfied to the es kit later... its not much trouble to lift the car up again and undo the 3 bolts.
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Old 07-Nov-2005, 08:06 PM
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nice writeup, just what i needed THX
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Old 08-Nov-2005, 08:57 PM
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Originally posted by kIeRaN
nice writeup, just what i needed THX

No problamo.

I figured the write up was worth the effort since almost every honda experiences the rubber o ring rotting syndrome... hope it helps out some peeps
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