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post #1 of 5 Old 12-12-2013, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Change Shifter Base Bushings (Manual Transmission)

Hi, TN. It’s been a while since I had to work on something different on the car! Today I have a small upgrade for the shifter that is seldom talked about:

Ever got into a car with a very nice manual transmission and rowed the gears feeling that nice mechanical precise and accurate feeling like a bolt-action rifle? Only to return to your car and feeling like the shifter is moving through a bucket of glue. Well now you can improve upon that feel. It might not be as good as the rod based shifter but it will help.

This is the first upgrade I have. It's the bushings that hold the shifter assembly to the floor of the vehicle. I haven't seen anyone really do an in depth look a changing these and *** didn't send instructions, however it's really quite easy and requires only minor disassembly.
I have some pics of this.

Notes: These are from *** Performance (which I’ll continuously plug) and fit all years and trims of the 9th Gen Corolla with a manual transmission. Today I will be installing them on my 2005 Corolla XRS with the 6-speed manual (still stock: not with a short shifter). They will however work on the 5-speed as well. *These are not applicable to an automatic transmission.


You may also use this guide if you’re simply renewing the rubber shifter bushings.

User Warning: This job has the potential to cause damage to your property in the event of improper installation. Use your personal discression when taking on this task. If you do not feel comfortable performing the task: DON'T. I am not responsible for the damage or malfunction of your property. I trust you will make safe choices if you choose to perform this task. This is a guide to help you and not a repair manual.

From the *** FAQ:
Originally Posted by *** Performance
Cable bushings and Base bushings explained!
Truth be told, there is a lot more that goes into making the perfect shift assembly than the average consumer may believe. Most people suppose that once you throw in a short shifter and a nice heavy shift knob, you’ve exhausted all of the possibilities to improve upon your shift feel. This is simply not true, and it is even more so when dealing with your typical, modern cable actuated shifter. Cable actuated shifters often feel more spongy or vague than their rod shifter counterpart simply because of their complexity. In a cable actuated shifter, there are multiple points between the shift knob and the shift actuator on the transmission where large rubber bushings are used and often offer generous amounts of flex. This flex is transmitted directly to the shifter as a sloppy vague feel.
So now the question persists, what can I do to improve upon this vague feeling past your typical short shifter and shift knob modification? The answer comes in the form of superior bushings; both on the base of the in-car shifter assembly, and directly where the linkage meets with the transmission. We’re often asked what the differences are between *** Performance Base Bushings and Cable Bushings so we’ll try to take an in-depth look at their different purposes and designs in this article.
- Base Bushings (The best bang, for your buck!)
It should be noted that for every cable actuated shifter, we offer base bushings! Essentially, our base bushings are precise CNC machined aluminum bushings that replace the soft and flexible OEM bushings that attach the shifter assembly to the floor of the vehicle. The result is a completely differ shift feel. Due to the fact that aluminum won't flex like rubber, your shifter will feel much more solid and precise.
The most noticeable difference after installing *** Performance base bushings is the definition of the "H" pattern. What I am referring to here is the gates in the shifter. With this added feel and gate definition, locating and selecting gears is easier than ever before.
- Cable Bushings (Metal alloys at work!)
Once one side of the shift assembly has been taken care of with the base bushings, it’s time to move onto the other side to where the cables connect to the transmission. Many cable actuated shifters have bushings that connect the cables to the transmission shift lever. This is our final point of interest with our shifter overhaul.
By nature, many of these soft rubber cable bushings are in a housing that must pivot and rotate with the cable. Therefore we had to find a material that would allow for this rotation without causing friction resistance and possible binding, while being hard enough to remove the flex and play that is inherent with the OEM rubber bushings. What we came up with was our Bronzoil metal alloy.
Bronzoil is hard enough to eliminate all play, slack, and flex in the cable linkage, while having “lubricating” properties to prevent all of the potential negative effects that were mentioned above. While it is not mandatory to use the Base Bushings in conjunction with the Cable bushings, the combination is a recipe for a solid feeling shifter, and more precise, gated shifts each and every time.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and as always, if you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to let us know!
Team *** Performance

Time: Base Bushings: 30-45min

Tools you’ll need:

Trim Tool or small flat head screwdriver
10mm, 12mm and 13mm driver and rachet with extension
Phillips head screw driver

Parts supplied by ***:
4 Aluminum shifter base bushings
4 Washers

4 M8 X 1.25 X 30mm bolts

We are replacing the bushings at the base of the shifter assembly. Rubber flexes, hence provides movement so when you shift you get that vague rubbery feeling while shifting. In the same way braided steel brake lines eliminate the expansion of the rubber hose and crisp up brake pedal feel with better modulation, solid bushings do the same thing but for the shifter.

Base Bushings Replacement

Originally Posted by *** Performance
Aluminum Bushings that Transform the Shifter and Add Precision and Definition to the Gates, ultimately making Locating and Selecting Gears Easier than ever before!

Engine off. Put the hand/parking brake on. Put the transmission in neutral. Remove the two 10mm screws in the center console storage bin behind the shifter.

Undo the shift knob (counter clockwise).

Use a flathead screwdriver (or trim tool) and pry up on the edge of this trim forward of the shifter. The trim should come loose. Lift off the trim and shift boot and disconnect the electrical connections for the cigarette lighter (the small one will have a tab.

Remove the trim for the parking brake handle

Undo the 2 Philips head screws that attach the center console (try not to drop them). Remove the 10mm bolts in the storage bin. There is a small tab on the bottom side of the connection for the 12V input to the bin for the disconnect. Remove the center console.

This will give you good access to the shifter. *Now I didn't remove any other electrical connections or the shifter cables (on the shifter) because I could deal with the space, however you might need too. Be careful with the electrical plastic retainers because they're all push clipped in and you might break them.

To remove the rubber shifter base bushings; unloosen and take on the bolts with the 12mm extension and ratchet (they're on pretty tight, I tried with the driver first but it wouldn't budge by hand.

Now remove the metal portion of the stock bushings by pressing down while pulling with your hands; they should leave from the rubber. They leave from the bottom of the shifter base (DOWN). You will have to tilt the assembly to the drivers side or forward to reach the bottom (especially with the forward drivers side bushing. You might pry or use a punch to remove them (mine slid easily off the rubber so I just did it by hand).

The really fun part is trying to remove the rubber part of the bushings from the plastic base. I pushed the rubber from the bottom through the hole and removed from the top. It takes a bit of fiddling especially with the fwd driver side due to the access.

After I got them all out I put all 4 new aluminum bushings under the base and lined it up by hand. You might have to play with them a bit with the screwdriver to line them up with the holes of the base as well as the for the bolt. *The tolerances are tight. Don't tighten them if they're not exactly centered with the base holes; you might crack/damage the plastic base if they're not centered.

Reinstall the shifter assembly withe the new slightly larger washers and 13mm bolts . *Be careful not to over tighten the 13mm bolts holding the shifter assembly it's plastic being squished by metal, Factory torque is 12Nm (/9ft-lb), not very much.

Re-install the center console. Make sure to line up the front tabs of the console with the holes on lower part of the dash.

Re-install the connector power for the 12v auxiliary and put in the two Phillips screws. Put back the 10mm bolts in the storage bin.

Re-connect the connectors for the cigarette lighter and slip the shifter boot over the shifter and re-install the trim. Install the shift knob. Install the parking brake trim.

Run it through the gates and feel the difference.

My car is currently uninsured with the battery out so I haven't driven it yet. I did run it through the gears and there is a difference. While the stock shifter was decent, this is more stiff and the gates are definately more defined. I mean going into Reverse takes a good tug now and there's no mistaking it for 1st and vice versa. No 6th to 3rd gear shifts would happen with this. There also some vibrations that come through the shifter now (what the rubber is usually used to isolate).

Here is the link for the second 1/2 which is the cable bushings on the transmission side:

Last edited by Exage; 12-15-2013 at 01:38 AM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-19-2014, 08:33 PM
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Thanks very much for your guide. I bought a similar kit from *** for my Echo, and it removed a lot of vagueness in my shift.

For me, I have a couple of tips.

Wear gloves. The plastics have sharp edges, and I had limited tilt for my shifter. End up cutting my left index finger putting the bushing down for the front driver one.

Also, check your torque spec, and use a ratcheting torque wrench, instead of the needle one. I was trying to be cheap, and the limited space meant that it can be difficult getting the socket just right so that I could read the measurement.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-09-2014, 11:13 PM
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i did this and got zero improvement with feel. i did the shifter cable bushings and got a HUGE difference though. i guess my shifter base bushings were in great shape at 100k miles.

2006 Corolla LE, Manual
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-10-2014, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by lastdaysofgravity View Post
i did this and got zero improvement with feel. i did the shifter cable bushings and got a HUGE difference though. i guess my shifter base bushings were in great shape at 100k miles.
I only replaced the brass cable end bushings for a great improvement over stock plastic ones which were well worn out at about the same mileage... Stock shifter base bushings are good and snug once tightened up.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-10-2014, 09:28 AM
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The base bushing removed the vagueness for me, and the cable end were frozen on to the shifter under the hood. When my mechanic freed it up, and put the brass ones in, it definitely improved.

For the 2004 one, I got rubber over brass cable end bushings, and they were warn unevenly.
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