DIY 3000GT/Stealth Solid Shifter Bushings Install
WARNING: This Do-It-Yourself (DIY) article is for informational purposes only. Working on your car may be dangerous and may result in injury or death. The author accepts no liability for any such injury or death, intentional or unintentional, resulting from this guide. You have been warned, proceed at your own personal risk.
The problem with old cars such as the 3000GT is that all the rubber bushings end up drying out and losing their pliant characteristics. In some cases the rubber can deteriorate so badly the rubber disintegrates. One place that you can feel this is in the shifter assembly and linkage which feels like sloppy, wet noodle gear engagement, disengagement and side-to-side slop. The solution (potentially) are solid shifter bushings. These solid bushings replace the old offending rubber OEM ones.
The good news is that these are very easy to install and should take you about 1 hour max for both the shifter base bushings and engine bay bushings.
Available at 3SX.com here. Although I purchased mine on Ebay from the seller Summit Engineering for half the price.
Shifter Base Bushings Install
First step is to remove the carpet on both sides of your centre console. There is 1 screw (in the middle) and 1 plastic push screw (aka christmas tree) near the firewall for each side. Then remove the shift boot by pulling it up from the centre console, it’s only held in by a plastic trim clipped to the inside.
Once done the shifter assembly will be exposed. As in the picture above you will remove the 2 x 12mm bolts circled in red, on the right of the shifter. As well you will remove the 2 x 12 mm bolts on the left.
Once each of the 4 bolts have been removed, remove the rubber bushing with a flat-blade screwdriver and push it out from the top. Don’t worry about damaging the bushings as they are garbage anyways. After all bushings are removed, put the new bushings in. Notice that the solid bushings are used in pairs and are all the same. At each corner 1 goes on the bottom and the other goes on top. Thread the bolts back in but don’t tighten them all up until you’ve got all bushings in place. Then tighten them up with your 12mm wrench and/or ratchet.
Engine Compartment Bushings
These are comparatively easy. Locate the 2 shifter cables where they meet the transmission.
Remove the rubber bushing using your flat-blade screwdriver. You may need to man-handle it a bit to get it out. Don’t worry about tearing the bushing as you won’t be using it anymore.
Here’s a pic of the old bushing versus the new brass bushing.
Slide the solid brass bushing into place, clip the retainer into place, place the bushing back onto the shifter linkage post, and insert the cotter pin back into place as pictured.
And your done. Pat yourself on the back and open a cold one. This DIY was super easy
Driving Impressions and Review
I’ve been driving with these solid shifter bushings for about a month now and have noticed a *slightly* more crisp shift engagement. Side-to-side slop has also been reduced very slightly. I would attribute this to the fact that my original rubber bushings were not in terrible condition and were performing adequately. So in actuality the performance enhancement of this mod was very slight but shifter feel did improve noticeably.
On the upside these bushings were very low-cost in comparison to almost any modification for the 3/S. Ease of installation is a huge plus as well with an overall install time of about 1 hour or less if you’ve done it before.
My original intention for pursuing this upgrade was to cure some side-to-side slop that I feel when in gear. For example, in 2nd gear I am able to move the shifter about 0.5-1cm to the right. While in 4th gear I can move it about 0.5cm to the left or right. After the installation of these bushings there was no difference in that behavior. The culprit is the return spring on the shifter that centres the gear in neutral as you can see in this picture. In my case it allows some movement even in gear making the side-to-side movement seem soft for the first part of travel.
In summary, although the solid shifter bushings do not result in a quantitative performance improvement, in terms of horsepower or lap-times, I do feel that they are a worthy upgrade. They’re very inexpensive and easy to install, but more to the point, they improve the qualitative or tactile aspect of the driving interface. That is, when you’re performing the action of driving you are in physical contact with the shifter each and every time you drive. Therefore considering the improvement to the driving sensation provided by this mod and the easy of install/price, I give this my full recommendation.