From:             "Al Powell" 
Organization:      TAMU Agricultural Communications
Date sent:                 Sat, 2 Mar 1996 11:19:18 CDT
Subject:                Shifter bushings - Z
Send reply to:
Priority:         normal

From a John DeArmond post - 

[ not a faq but a question answered a long time ago.  From the archives...]

Fixing your Shifter.

Have you noticed that your 4 or 5 speed manual transmission shift
lever is getting loose, that the action is sloppy, that maybe it
twists a bit as you shift?  Is that what's bothering you, Vern?
Well, here's how to fix it in the privacy of your own home.

This problem is caused by the fact that the bushing on which the
shift lever pivots is some kind of composition material that
tends to wear out or disintegrate.  In my case (75 280), the bushing
was completely gone so I really don't have any idea what it was made

To get to this bushing, first remove the center console after unscrewing
the shift knob.  Underneath is a rubber boot that seals the shifter from
the outside.  Remove the 4 screws that hold it on and get it out of the
way.  You will see the snout of the transmission.  There should be another
small boot that seals the entrance of the shift lever into the transmission.
Pull this boot upward and off.  You will see a clevis-pin arrangement.
The shift lever is held in place by a pin that inserts through a stamped
clevis assembly and is held in place by a "C" ring.  Remove this ring
and the pin.  The shift lever then just pulls up and out.  There should
be a cylindrical plastic bushing on the end of the shifter.   It should
be free to pivot but not sloppy.

Examine the hole where clevis pin came out.  There should be a bushing of
some sorts there.  If there is only the shift rod, then the bushing has
broken up and disappeared.  If any residue is in the hole, punch it out
with a punch and hammer.

We'll now make a new bushing out of brass.
At this point, a lathe is handy but a drill press or electric drill
and some files will do.  The raw material of choice is porous, oil
impregnated bronze but since we're doing this at home, brass will
have to do.  I started with a brass double ended 3/8" male pipe coupling.

The procedure is simple.  Chuck one end of this coupling in your
drill press or electric drill clamped in a vice.  Select a medium grade
file and, pushing it against the rotation of the drill, slowly square off
the fitting and reduce its diameter until it is about 0.010 larger than
the hole in the shift rod.  Then select a fine tooth file and take
an additional 0.005 off so that you have about 0.005 interference
fit.  If you don't have calipers or a mike, this fit is about when the
part will almost start into the hole in the shifter but needes considerable
force to actually go.  Machine the part all the way up to and including
the wrench flats on the coupling.  When you finish, you should have
a piece with threads on one end, a shoulder, followed by a finely finished
cylinder on the other.

The part is pressed into the shifter rod all the way up to the shoulder.
If you don't have a press, a vice and a socket will do fine.  Invert
the socket so the bolt end is out, place the shifter rod on top of the
socket and start the new bushing from the other side.  Squeeze the
whole assembly in the vice until it snugs into place.

Next, take a hack saw and cut the bushing off flush with the sides of the
shift rod.  Take a fine file and smooth the surfaces until the bushing
is absolutely flat with the rod.  Polish with emory cloth.

Next, the center hole must be bored to the correct diameter to accept
the clevis pin.  A 23/64" drill happens to be exactly the right size
for this operation. You must work up to this size in several steps.
If you try to go all at once, the soft brass will grab the bit and
likely destroy the bushing if not the bit.  Drill slowly and carefully,
trying not to heat the part.  I use 1,1,1 tricloroethane as a cutting fluid.
Liquid dishwashing detergent also works well.  Deburr the hole with
a pocket knife and the job is done.

Reassemble the shifter mechanism and enjoy.  You will find that the
shifting action gains a precision you've probably never experienced
in a Z before.  It's absolutely great to be able to feel the gears
engage on each shift.  Plus there is no more buzzing in the
lever at high RPM.