It is always best to fix your shift linkage before it gets too
sloppy. The three areas of the linkage that need periodic service are
the shifter base, the box under the shifter and the linkage parts back
at the transmission.
- Shifter base
- When plastic pieces break in the base of the shifter, the shifter
will usually drop down and develop up and down play causing difficulty
in finding gears and finding the correct shift pattern. The base is a
bit of a rubrik's cube. Remove the shift boot in order to access the 2
bolts that secure the shifter base to the floor. Remove these two bolts
and then the through bolt that connects the shifter to the shift
linkage. Now you can take the shifter out of the van and work on a
bench to disassemble the base and reassemble with new plastic parts and
grease it up good.
- Shifter box
- If you have real scratchy shifting instead of smooth as butter
shifting, it is often because dirt has gotten up into the shift box.
Lower the spare tire clam shell and spare tire for access. Clean out
all dirt from the inside of the box. Apply grease to the rails on the
inner sides of the box. The shift rod that travels to the back has
plastic caps on the arms that come off the rod that come in contact
with these rails. Without lubrication the plastic gets ground away. Fortunately the plastic caps are now available separate from the rod which has become unavailable, but always keep this area well lubricated!
- Linkage parts
- Back at the transmission, play can develop in a number of areas.
There is a shift lever on the side of the transmission shaped like an
upside down U with a plastic ball on the end. The ball sets in a cup
that is attached to the shift rod with a roll pin. The rubber boot
wears with age causing the lubrication to dry up, allowing dirt to get
into the ball and cup, causing both the ball and the cup to wear. The
roll pin will also sometimes wear, allowing slop in that connection
too. Replacing these worn parts, applying lubrication and installing
new boots to protect these areas will make this area as good as new.
There is also a bushing at the center of the shift linkage located
right behind the gas tank that is also wise to grease.
these areas are addressed, you may need to do a fine adjustment to the
shift linkage by loosening the two bolts at the base of the shifter and
moving it until the shift pattern is found with ease. If all gears
cannot be found in their correct locations, it may be necessary to
loosen a clamp in the middle of the shift linkage so that the two
linkage rods can be rotated a spline or two in order to get the
shifting into a range that the fine adjustment can remedy.