How to Install a Shifter


When purchasing a shifter for an automatic transmission, the number of gear positions must be taken into account. If the vehicle is a four-speed or three-speed with overdrive, a standard floor shifter will not work. This must be specified when purchasing.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet
  • Set of 3/8-inch drive sockets
  • Common screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Sharp knife
  • Drill
  • Set of wrenches
  • Wire cutters
  • White chalk or a light colored marking utensil
  • Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. Disconnect the existing transmission shift linkage or cable.
    If the vehicle has a solid rod linkage, open the hood and remove the cotter pin in the rod attached to the shift lever on the base of the steering column. Pull the rod out of the shift lever.
    If the vehicle has a cable operated gearshift, remove the cable under the dash--where it is connected to the steering column--by using the common screwdriver and pushing the cable end, which is a snap connection, off the shift lever. Open the hood and pull the cable out through the firewall.

  • Disconnect the linkage or cable from the transmission. On either system, remove the cable or rod from the shift lever on the side of the transmission. Remove the bracket holding the cable from the transmission pan using a 13 millimeter socket and a ratchet.

  • Remove the outer cover from the new gear shifter to expose the interior of the shifter, the hold down bolts and the shifter cable. Position the shifter and use a marker to mark the four holes in the carpet to align with the holes in the shifter base.

  • Lift the shifter off the carpet and cut small holes in the carpet at the marks for the bolts in the shifter. Lay the shifter over the holes made in the carpet. Use the center punch and hammer to punch the holes for a guide for the drill.

  • Remove the shifter and drill the holes for the hold-down bolts. Place the shifter over the holes and insert the bolts through the holes in the shifter and floor, threads pointed downward.

  • Slide under the vehicle and install the nuts on the bolts protruding through the floor. Tighten them with a wrench.

  • Go back inside the vehicle and mark a spot on the carpet 2 inches in front of the shifter. This is where the shifter cable will pass through the floor. Cut the carpet just enough so that it does not tangle with the drill. Drill a hole in this location large enough for the shifter cable end to pass through. Slide under the vehicle and pass the shifter cable end through the hole.

  • Remove the small bolt in the front of the shifter mechanism used to hold the cable tight. Install the shifter cable, placing the cable end into the shifter boss and attaching it with a washer and cotter pin. Push the cable into the recess in the shifter base and replace the hold-down bolt. Tighten the hold-down bolt with a wrench.

  • Slide under the vehicle to loop the shifter cable so that it makes a loop on the driver's side, returning to the left side of the transmission.

  • Install the mounting bracket on the transmission pan. The bracket goes on the left rear of the pan. Hold the bracket up to the pan and line the bolt holes in the bracket up with the bolts in the pan. Remove the two bolts in the pan that are in alignment with the bracket. Install the new bolts through the bracket and into the transmission pan and tighten.

  • Install the cable plastic snap end into the recess in the bracket and push until it snaps into place. Make sure that the shifter is in park. Push the shifter end onto the transmission shift lever. Install the washer and cotter pin provided. If the cable is not the appropriate length to install on the shift lever, pull the ears up on the plastic adjuster on the cable located in the transmission pan bracket. Pull or push, as necessary, the cable until an easy fit into the hole in the shift lever is obtained. Once correctly fitted, push the ears back down on the plastic adjustment to lock it in place.

  • Slide the cover over the gear shifter and install the pins provided by lining up the holes and pushing them in.

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