Shift Lever Seat Replacement
I made a trip down to my local Toyota dealer and had them print out the exploded view of the shift lever mechanism from their computer (refer to the diagram). It wasn't clear to me which bushing was the part to replace, as there were two indicated on this diagram -- a nylon bushing that snaps onto the very end of the shifter, surrounding the "ball" that manipulates the forks in the tranny, and another rubber gasket-type seat for the large spherical ball that creates the pivot for the shift lever. I ordered both, since the cost was low and I didn't want to risk buying the wrong part. Here are the part numbers and list prices that my truck required ('92 4Runner SR5 V6 5-spd), your transmission may be different:
|Bushing, Shift Lever||33548-31010||$3.74|
|Seat, Shift Lever||33505-35020||$8.89|
I looked in my repair manual for information regarding disassembly of the flange that holds the shift lever, and found a brief description of this procedure in the section that describes transmission removal. It instructs you to remove the shifter knobs and the section of the console that surrounds the shift levers, then remove the flange and rubber boot that seals the body, and lift up the smaller boot on the transmission itself. There is a collar that surrounds the shifter that can be removed by simply pressing down and turning 1/4 turn to the left, and then the entire shift lever can be lifted out of the transmission. I was relieved to find that I did not need to remove the entire flange that bolts to the top of the transmission, as reaching these four bolts can sometimes require lowering the crossmember and transmission to gain access with a wrench.
I found the removal of the shift lever to be about as easy as described. In my case, the toughest part was removing the rubber boots from the body. This is due to the significant amount of wiring I have installed just below the console for the audio system, cell phone, GPS, and auxiliary power connection upgrades, plus a custom console I have added under the dash for additional switches. Normally the access in here is clear of any wiring, so it should be easy to remove this boot assembly.
I had a tough time getting a decent grip on the collar that holds the shift lever, but found that I could grab it with a pair of needle-nose pliers and turn it while pushing down with the other hand. Once the collar turned about a 1/4 turn, the shift lever lifted right out.
I found that the nylon bushing on the end of the lever was still in perfect condition, but the rubber seat for the shift lever pivot was pretty much destroyed, it had disintegrated into about 25 pieces. The old seat is shown on the left, and the replacement is on the right of this picture. I had to use tweezers to extract all the tiny chunks of rubber from within the flange, being careful not to drop the bits into the tranny. After removing all the chunks, I swabbed out the flange with a rag wrapped around a small screwdriver.
Inserting the new seat was easy, especially after I lubricated it with a dab of silicone grease. To replace the nylon bushing, I held the shift lever in a vise and yanked the old one off with a pair of pliers, and snapped the new on. Then, it was a matter of reinstalling the shift lever into the transmission (be careful to orient it in the correct direction with the nylon bushing in the "pocket" in the shifter forks). Re-install the boots, console, and knobs, and it's done. The entire repair sould take less than an hour, with just a few hand tools (phillips screw driver, pliers, tweezers, etc.).
Overall the shifting is greatly improved. I can definitely tell a difference in the feel of the shift lever, and most (but not all) of the slop is gone. This is definitely a highly recommended repair for any high mileage tranny, especially if you're doing any tranny work anyway such as replacing the clutch. I plan to do the same procedure on my '84 extracab trail rig in the near future