I'm not exactly sure how much this is needed, but there wasn't one so I figured I would post this up just for the heck of it in hopes that someone is able to take away from it. But anyways here it is: If your experiencing trouble shifting or problems getting in gear, on top of other things such as low trans. fluid, or clutch problems, it may be time to replace your shift linkage bushings...
The shift linkage is defined as 'the system of cables, levers, rods, etc. that connects the shift lever (shifter) to the gear box in order to transmit forward motion.'
So obviously the 'shift linkage bushings' are what connects these things to make the system work. Over time, through heavy use, these can become worn out and need replaced. Here is how you do it...
First things first you'll need some tools:
1. Standard flat head screwdriver
2. Standard phillips head screwdriver
3. Standard socket wrench w/ extension and 13mm, 8mm, and 10mm sockets
4. 10mm wrench
5. Needle nose pliers
6. Channel locks
Removing the center console and shifter
To access the shift linkage located under the shifter you must first remove all the screws located within the center console. There are one in each of the front cup holders, and four located inside the console, making a total of six.
Once removed, place the screws in a location where you will not loose them. (It is common practice to place the shifter in fourth gear and have the parking brake engaged in order to pull out the center console, but you will have to place the car in neutral in order to properly line up both linkages to the shifter, so be sure to do this on level ground.) You will then need to remove the shifter knob, in most cases the stock knob will simply pull off, and the shifter boot. Be careful when removing as to not break the boot's anchors.
Pulling out the console is relatively easy, lifting up from back to front. Once pulled, the shift linkage will be completely exposed allowing you to examine the bushings located underneath the shifter. It should be relatively simple to judge whether these bushings are worn out or not. Next you will need to remove the three nuts holding the shifter in place. You will need to use the 8mm socket here, once removed place the nuts where you will not lose them.
Now you will need to pop off the old bushings from the connecting shifter linkage, this can be done by hand or using a flat head screwdriver. Be careful not to break the plastic bushing receiver. To remove the bushing from the housing you will need to use needle nose pliers, grab the bushing by placing each of the ends of the pliers in opposite bushing holes, gently squeeze, and pull until the bushing removes itself. Replace the bushings and use the channel locks to gently squeeze the bushing back into place, where it meets the shifter linkage grommet flush. Then just backtrack your steps to complete this part of the installation. (Here is a picture of the replaced bushings)
Changing the bushings atop the transmission.
When trying to replace the shift linkage bushings located on the top of the transmission the first thing that must be removed is your CAI (cold air intake) and sensors. All you will need to do this is a flat head screwdriver to loosen up the clamps connecting your CAI to the turbo, head, vacuum lines, and the sensor. Once removed, pull your CAI out, begin to remove the battery.
Once the CAI and battery are removed you will need to then remove the battery tray.
To do this:
1) Remove the battery retensioner plate located on the back to the tray
2) Remove the line cluster arm pin located on the front of the battery tray
3) Then remove the four bolts that hold the tray itself in place
Once the tray has been pulled, you will be able to see the two linkage arms that sit on top of the transmission. You will need to pull these bushings out in the same fashion that you did the others. (or in my case there wasn't any of the bushing left to replace.)
When properly replaced it should look like this:
Now just back track your steps and marvel at the difference in feel of the shift
Here are the stock bushings just for you to see.
When replacing I personally prefer Booger Bushings, you can find them here at Modern Performance.
Booger Shift Linkage Bushings 03-05 Neon SRT / 03-07 PT Cruiser GT - 03-05 Dodge SRT4 Drivetrain Parts, Clutches, Axles, Short Throw Shifters, Booger
Good Luck, Thanks.